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Louisville KY to Asheville NC: what to see between?

Asheville, North...
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Louisville KY to Asheville NC: what to see between?

We are road tripping south to spend some time with friends in Asheville NC (plus Blue Ridge Parkway surroundings, possibly Greenville SC and a little north Georgia), and plan to break up the trip a bit on the way there and back.

We'll hopefully make it in to Louisville late on a Wednesday night and hope to be to Asheville by Friday evening. Thinking of staying in Knoxville TN on Thursday(?). This means approx. 6 hours driving over two days, with advice needed to fill the time and where to stay affordably between. Must-see interesting little towns or naturally beautiful places? We tend to avoid museum-type fare since time is so limited--we just want to wander, enjoy unique sights and being away from the city.

Any advice on must-see places? Frankfort for antiques? Lexington? Best to head south from Lexington through Berea, London etc. or head all the way east toward Pikeville then south, skipping Knoxville altogether?

Any advice from folks who know the area would be much appreciated... thanks!

Lexington, Kentucky
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1. Re: Louisville KY to Asheville NC: what to see between?

There will be many unique attractions on your way to Asheville! What types of things are you interested in seeing (i.e. historical, horses)? One town that you might be interested in is Midway (halfway between Frankfort and Lexington). It is a very quaint town with unique shopping and local restaurants.

If you're interested in horses, you can't miss the Kentucky Horse Park. With the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in September, the Park is putting on the glitz. You can also tour horse farms and maybe even see a former Derby winner!

Berea was recently inducted into the Top 25 Arts Towns. There are tons of arts and crafts stores. Just off the I-75 is the Kentucky Artisan Center with a collection of Kentucky products--many made in Berea.

If you like bourbon (or just history), you can't miss the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve are both within 10 miles of I-75 in Frankfort. There are a three different tours you can go on, depending on the day.

Louisville, Kentucky
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2. Re: Louisville KY to Asheville NC: what to see between?

I agree that Woodford Reserve gives a great distillery tour and the horse farms around Lexington are very cool. I've never been to the horse park but I hear its interesting.

Lots of other possiblities, you could stop by Cumberland Falls state park and take in the scenery or go to Natural Bridge and take a hike up to the natural bridge or if your not a hiker there is a chair lift available for a fee. Fort Boonesbourgh is a nice stop if your into the historic.

Cumberland Gap National Park is very nice and has a cave tour available and is right on the way. Of course you could swing through Gatlinburg or the Great Smokie Mountains National park, maybe take the driving tour of Cades Cove.

Cumberland Gap link


Cumberland Falls link


Natural Bridge link


Fort Boonesbourgh link


Cade Cove link


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3. Re: Louisville KY to Asheville NC: what to see between?

Wed: Chicago to Louisville = 5 hours down I-65


Wake up in Louisville & eat breakfast at Lynn's Paradise Cafe or Toast on Market.



After breakfast, shop for a bit......

Either cafe has unique thrift & antique stores a few doors away.

If you eat at Toast, Joe Ley is very close. Huge.


If you eat at Lynn's, there are several....Nitty Gritty and The Deal are the first two that I can think of.


Thur: Depart Louisville around 2pm. Lots of choices on stops.


You can be in any of the places mentioned below within a couple of hours (except Corbin) and have from 4 or 5pm to sight-see for the rest of the day.

-You can be in Midway in 1 hour. Really cute. Downtown consists of about 4 blocks & cute little shops & cafes. I believe there's a winery in Midway also. (Frankfort just isn't that interesting)

-Lexington in 1.5 hours. Gratz Park Inn is my favorite.

-Shakertown in an hour and forty minutes


-Boonesboro in an hour and forty-five minutes. Not much there other than the recreation of the fort & period actors. Spend an hour or so & check it out....and spend the night in one of the other locations.

-Berea in about two hours. Boone Tavern Hotel is cool. Lots of crafts & artisans.

Corbin/Cumberland Falls/DuPont Lodge - will take you about 3 hours from Louisville.

Friday: If you were to stay in/around Lexington or the communities mentioned above, you've got about 1.5 hours to Corbin. Then a little over an hour to Knoxville. And it's been awhile, but I believe it's around 2 hours from Knoxville to Asheville. There's not much in Knoxville. I wouldn't bother to stay the night. So if you leave around Noon and drove straight through, you could be in Ashville by 5 or 6pm.

If you want to do a swing through Cumberland Falls. The round trip drive to the Falls from exit 25 will take you an hour. Spend another hour or so checking it out....and that's about all that's needed. .......So even with a side-trip to Cumberland Falls, you could make Asheville by 7pm or 8pm.

If you do decide to visit Corbin, eat at "The Root Beer Stand" (just ask anyone where it is when you get off the exit). Car hops & window trays. And you could also visit the KFC "museum" (home of the very first KFC) Don't eat there unless you're just particularly fond of KFC. The food is the same.

The Pikeville route is probably interesting to someone not from the area. There's Cumberland Gap and Chain Rock. There's also plenty of poverty and strip mining.

4. Re: Louisville KY to Asheville NC: what to see between?

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