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Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Austin, Texas
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Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Ok, I'm still needing suggestions for planning our trip from Asheville up to Charlottesville, Va. where we've (I think) decided to catch a plane back home. I've had some great tips for the first part when we land in Knoxville, go through the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, then visit for 2 days in Asheville, but the rest is still to be decided. Also, still trying to figure out just how much time to allow for this whole trip. I really must get our plane reservations in the next 2 days! Any help with suggestions will be appreciated! austxmom

Norwich, United...
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1. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Here's a mile by mile list of the places of interest on the Parkway:

http://www.blueridgeonline.com/MilePost

There are numerous roads where you can leave the Parkway and cut across country to save time if you have to.

North Carolina
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2. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

I would allow 2 - 3 days for a trip on the BRP from Asheville to Charlottesville. That would allow you to visit some of sights along the way, stretch your legs at some hiking trails, visit nearby attractions, etc. Along the way are places in both NC and VA that are well worth a look. Once you get your overall plan in place, I'd suggest making some reservations for lodging along the way - things book up pretty quickly in the 'leaf peeping' season.

Chapel Hill, North...
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3. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Well, how much time do you have? The mountains of NC are a vacation destination for many folks who have summer homes there or who take a week or two of vacation and spend it there like you would at the beach. So you can take as long as you like and you will find plenty to do.

From Knoxville if you go down to the Smokies and then come up to Asheville (have you considered flying into Charlotte — CLT — could be cheaper fares and just 2 hrs to Asheville) after spending a couple of days in Asheville next get on the Blue Ridge Parkway and head north. You'll need at least one night in the Boone/Blowing Rock area, depending on how much you want to see. Could easily stay a week. Then head up toward VA. The Parkway is fine, or you could get off it and head over to the Grayson Highlands in VA and see the wild ponies.

And yes, if you're talking about the end of October (prime leaf peeping season) you'll have better luck with lodging if you place your reservations soon. They will fill up.

Edited: 02 September 2014, 15:12
Montreal, Canada
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4. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

This is the way any sports minded driver would take to get to the beginning of the BRP just north of Cherokee.

http://goo.gl/maps/2RUpt

Austin, Texas
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5. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Thanks everybody for your suggestions! I now know, we're flying into Knoxville, Weds. October 15 and flying out of Charlottesville on Tuesday, October 28th. All you experts can give me all the tips and suggestions you have for making the most of that time! I do want to take the Great Smokey Mountain National Park train ride before getting over to Asheville. It's so hard to know how much time to allow for Knoxville, Sieverville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg before Asheville. Then of course it's the timing of what to see and where to stay overnight from Asheville to Boone/Blowing Rock then up from there to Roanoke. We do want to get off the trail to visit Appomattox, the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, etc. From there to Charlottesville what should we plan to see and do?

Just looking over the map is getting me very excited! I just need to know the details! Thanks in advance for any help! Austxmom

Norwich, United...
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6. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Pigeon Forge is a fast food alley with the Dollywood theme park in the middle.

Gatlinburg is also rather touristy but not nearly so bad and a stroll up and down the main street in the evening is quite enjoyable.

I'd suggest spending as much time in the national park as possible. Cades Cove is a wonderful area of the park - it's a beautiful remote valley with numerous preserved wooden cabins and farm buildings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjnjiQHwddo

There are numerous reviews of the railroad here:

tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g48984-d…

In the Asheville area, the Waterrock Knob overlook has superb views over the seemingly endless ridges of the Smoky Mountains. It's accessed by a short spur road off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterrock_Knob

Hope this helps a bit.

Austin, Texas
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7. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Loved the UTube videos of the GSM Railroad! Thanks for your suggestions! S

Austin, Texas
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8. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Thanks for your suggestions! I've got a little bit better information now. We arrive in Knoxville at 2:00 pm on Wednesday Oct. 15. We'll check out a little of Knoxville then move on. Do you suggest we stay over in Knoxville or drive on to Gatlinburg? We've heard about the GSM Railroad in Bryson so thought we'd like to take that ride. I think my biggest challenge is figuring out what towns to stay in on the trip. After Asheville, we'll work our way up the BRParkway, a side trip to Appomattox and then up to Charlottesville, Va where our plane leaves in the afternoon of Tues, Oct. 28. Appreciate your help and any others with your suggestions! s

Chapel Hill, North...
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9. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

It just depends on what you like. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are very popular, but I could continue to avoid going there for the rest of my life and die happy. Tons of people really love that stuff though. If you're into country kitsch and Dolly (I do like Dolly, but not enough to do Dollywood) then you might really be into it.

Knoxville is not a huge tourist destination. If you need some time to recover from your flight spend one night, but I wouldn't think you would need more than that.

I actually am not a huge Smokies person either, but that's mainly because there are other places in the mountains much closer to me and it's hard to justify going 2 more hours west and paying for lodging when I have a free place to stay in the mountains just 3 hrs from home. I think it's worth visiting for sure, though. For a less commercial gateway consider Townsend TN. Cherokee, NC the NC entrance might be worth a visit, too. They have a big Harrah's casino there now, but do still have the Oconoluftee visitor's center and many exhibits on the Cherokee.

After Asheville stay in Blowing Rock or Boone one or two nights. Alternately consider Banner Elk or Valle Crucis. Be sure to visit the old original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis which dates from the 1800s and still functions as the community post office and gathering place.

Gotta run but hope that can get you started.

Austin, Texas
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10. Re: Help Planning Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Thanks! Appreciate the suggestions! s