One of Sandra Bullock’s lesser-known films, 28 Days, tells the story of an alcoholic and a drug abuser named Gwen. After stealing a limousine from her sister's wedding reception and crashing it into someone's house, Gwen is given the choice between jail and rehab. The scenes at the addiction recovery center were shot at Buncombe County’s YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly. The patients are shown participating in individual and group therapy sessions in the main buildings, and the hotel-style rooms are reimagined as patient bedrooms. Scenes from the film and interviews with the cast were shot on the wide porch with its comfortable rocking chairs.
Listen to an interview with Sandra Bullock about the film:
One of the biggest attractions at the property is a series of rope courses that can be used for recreation and team-building exercises. Gwen and the other patients at the facility are expected to complete the high ropes course as part of their therapy, and the exercise becomes a turning point in Gwen’s recovery as she learns to trust herself and others.
Watch participants climb the Alpine Tower at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly:
Another memorable scene takes place on Laurel Lake. Gwen’s boyfriend, Jasper, comes to visit her at the rehab facility and takes her out on the lake in a rowboat to propose. In addition to the ring, however, Jasper brings a bottle of champagne to celebrate, and Gwen realizes that her relationship with Jasper is a danger to her fragile sobriety. Though initially resisting the recovery process and reluctant to get to know the other patients, Gwen eventually becomes a part of the community. She begins to take her sobriety seriously, breaking up with her co-dependent boyfriend and making amends with her sister. In real life, the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly is a retreat for groups, families, and individuals where trained staff lead life-changing experiences during day, overnight, and multi-day stays. Guided by Christian principles, the YMCA is committed to fostering youth development, healthy living for all ages, and social responsibility within a caring and beautiful setting. The high ropes course in the film is one of many challenge courses at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly.
Cover image by HowardMorland is licensed under (CC BY-SA 3.0).