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Savannah to Charlottesville

Melbourne, Australia
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Savannah to Charlottesville

I'm planning a trip driving from Savannah to Charlottesville spending about 2 weeks. Not sure whether to include Washington DC, may fly from there to Boston. I've posted on different forums but my route crosses different states. I've put together a few places which appeal and would appreciate some suggestions on where to stay overnight and how much time is needed to sight-see. If there are better places to include I'd love to hear about them. What I have so far is :

Savannah (2 nights) to Charleston (3 nights)

Georgetown, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Beaufort (a definite) Hillsborough, Seagrove?, Asheville (2 nights?) Knoxville?, Blue Ridge Parkway - where to stay? Roanoke? Charlottesville (2 nights)

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Myrtle Beach
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Beaufort
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1. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

Knoxville is way out of the way. Seagrove is worth a stop only if you like pottery. Without knowing your interests it is hard say where you should stay as your route is all over the map.

I would skip Myrtle Beach, Seagrove, Hillsborough, and Knoxville but that's just me.

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Knoxville
Knoxville
Tennessee
Seagrove Beach
Seagrove Beach
Florida Panhandle, FL
Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach
Coastal South Carolina, SC
Hillsborough
Hillsborough
North Carolina
Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

We're Australian so know very little about the US Southern states. I've only just started researching the area for our next trip. My family loved Charlottesville and surrounds when they were there for a working holiday a few years ago. I also would like to visit Savannah and Charleston so I'm trying to work out a route from Savannah to Charlottesville via the Blueridge Parkway. We love nature and walking, mountains and the coast, good food and wine, farmers' markets, pretty towns with nice cafes and galleries, shopping, history but not too much, music and theatre, places to stay that reflect the character of the area. I'm more interested in good pottery found in galleries so if that's not Seagrove then we will give it a miss. My guide book mentioned Hillsborough for its historical buildings, art, music, beautiful area and lodgings that are historical and charming. Then it is a Lonely Planet full of quirky "themed itineraries". The only way to find special towns to visit enroute to Asheville is to ask. If there aren't any then we are better off to go from A to B and not meander. I included Myrtle Beach only for Outlet shopping (not for overnight) but I know they can be found elsewhere. Should we drive from Wilmington to Asheville without diverting? Should we include Wilmington?

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Savannah
Georgia Coast, GA
Charleston
Charleston
Coastal South Carolina, SC
Hillsborough
Hillsborough
North Carolina
Asheville
Asheville
North Carolina Mountains, NC
Myrtle Beach
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Wilmington
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3. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

I would suggest 2 options:

1. Savannah, Charleston, Greenville, S.C., Asheville, Roanoke, Charlottesville. Washington, D.C., Boston. Are you skipping New York City this trip?

2. Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Raleigh (Hillsborough), Asheville, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Washington, (NYC, Boston?). There is huge new outlet on I-40 near Burlington, NC.

The Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Roanoke is a beautiful area but the speed limit is 45mph.

When is your visit?

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4. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

My thoughts, for what they're worth:

--I love Wilmington, but if you're going to Charleston and Savannah I would suggest skipping Wilmington as it is smaller and doesn't offer quite as much in the way of attractions and charm.

--If you are really into pottery, then Seagrove would definitely be a good stop for you. Not sure exactly what you mean by "good pottery found in galleries", but you won't find better pottery anywhere else, and the sellers are usually the same people who make it. Some have nice display facilities, and others are just little cabins or sheds with pottery sitting all around. There are several dozen potteries in the area, with many different styles represented. And the prices can't be beat. You could drive from Charleston to Seagrove in about 4 hours, then continue on to Asheville via I-73 north to I-40 west (about 3 hours).

--Spend a day or two in Asheville to explore downtown, then plan a day on the Blue Ridge Parkway to get to Boone/Blowing Rock. Suggested stops along the way include Mt. Mitchell, Craggy Gardens, Linville Caverns, Linville Falls/Gorge, Grandfather Mountain, and Moses Cone Park. Take some time to walk around the village of Blowing Rock, and the shops in downtown Boone (don't miss the Hobnob Cafe--highly recommended!)

--You can continue your trip to Charlottesville via the Blue Ridge Parkway/Skyline Drive, or if you want to make better time you can jump over to I-77/ I-81 once you get into Virginia.

--The same outlets found in Myrtle Beach (Tanger Outlets) are also in Boone, so you could drop Myrtle Beach from your itenerary as well.

Good luck!

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Charleston
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Seagrove Beach
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Asheville
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North Carolina Mountains, NC
Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway
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North Carolina Mountains, NC
Boone
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Blowing Rock
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Linville Caverns
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Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

I'm thinking beginning of May now to ensure a better time of year for New England. My husband doesn't want to include NYC this trip but it is many years since we were there, before 911. I'll take a closer look at what we may like to see/do if we go to NYC. We don't intend to spend time in Boston again. I'm not sure about Washington DC unless we fly or train from there to Boston. If we do what are the "must see" sights? The White House I suppose. From what you have said on this and other forums I think we'll take the road from Charleston to Asheville.

Should we include Beaufort SC which I've said is a definite based on what I've read. Is it easy to get to? I know this is a NC forum. It gets very complicated when you are travelling through so many states.

I appreciate all of your posts. Thanks everyone! A lot of planning to do yet.

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Massachusetts
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Beaufort
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6. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

When you finalize your itinerary, go the the specific forums to get the best information about hotels, restaurants, attractions, and tours. The last time my family was in Washington we enjoyed the following:

walking on the Mall and visiting the museums on the Mall;

touring the Supreme Court Building and the Library of Congress;

shopping and eating in Georgetown;

taking a trolley tour of the area.

I'm not sure about how tours of the White House and Capitol are arranged.

You can visit Beaufort, S.C. (pronounced byoofort) on your way from Savannah to Charleston. (Beaufort, N.C. is pronounced bowfort with a hard o).

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7. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

p.s. May would be a great time to visit.

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8. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

Marj, what does your whole trip look like? The main tourist areas in NC are the coast and the mountains. The piedmont (the middle of the state) is a great place to raise a family and work and go to school and there are some interesting places to see if you live here or are visiting this region specifically, but no I wouldn't recommend flying halfway around the world to visit anywhere in the piedmont unless you're a specific fan of something like NASCAR racing or folk-art (pottery, and outsider art) or NCAA basketball. Hillsborough is a cute little town that is definitely worth a stop if you're in the neighborhood, but I don't know if it's worth going out of your way to visit. If you're a big fan of the UNC Tarheels you might like to make a side trip to visit Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, but otherwise you'll probably get more bang for your buck heading for the mts. Likewise Seagrove is definitely worth a visit if you're really into pottery, but there's not much else there -- http://www.discoverseagrove.com/default.asp -- so unless that's a big draw for you, you might like to go elsewhere. It is a cute teeny town where everyone and their brother is a potter.

In NC the coast is a great place to have a relaxing family vacation and just chill out on the beach. I know you've got beaches in Oz so not sure that NC beaches would be worth a visit for that. They are really nice beaches, but they're not that different from SC beaches. If you're going to Charleston and Savannah anyway you'll get the antebellum South thing there. You could go to the Outer Banks and see the Wright Bros memorial, etc, but it would be really out of the way, so I would say to do the beach in SC and the mts in NC. The NC mts are better than the SC mts (more of 'em for one thing).

If you haven't done DC before and are at all interested I would include that. You might also like Williamsburg, Va if you're interested in history. Monticello might fill that bill, though, unless you're really into history. Williamsburg has re-enactors, though, and I'm not sure if they do that as much at Monticello. Williamsburg is more of a living history spot.

So, I looked at your thread in the roadtrips forum (tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k5033699…) and I think you might really enjoy the NC mts for natural beauty + some history, but it would be a big change from Savannah and Boston kind of history as the NC mt history is more about individuals rather than a big battle or the Boston Tea Party, etc. The people who lived in the mts were, by and large, poor farmers who lived in log cabins and the like. There are a lot of handcrafts associated with NC mt history like at the NC Folk Art Center in Asheville (southernhighlandguild.org/pages/folk-art-cen…) so you could probably get a pottery fix that way, too.

You might like to check out Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in the extreme SW of NC near Robbinsville. It has some of the oldest and largest old growth forest in the eastern US. It seems like that would be pretty different from Oz, but it's very far west and you may not want to go that far out of your way.

If you go on out past Asheville to the Smoky Mountain National Park, though, you could see some of the historic old cabins at Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Oconaluftee, etc. You can also find old cabins just about anywhere in the mts, though, if you don't want to go out to the Smokies.

You might want to go to the Boone NC area (the High Country of NC as it's higher elevation in general than the Asheville area) and stop at the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis. Blowing Rock is a quaint mountain town (catering to tourists with fat wallets and Floridians who have summer homes in the mts).

You might like to drive a portion of the parkway say from Asheville to Boone and then see if the 45mph (72kph) pace suits you. There are oodles of hikes and scenic overlooks. I think you will really enjoy this area of NC. The mts of NC are full of scenic little bitty towns like Valle Crucis, Blowing Rock, Todd, and slightly bigger ones like Boone. Damascus and Abingdon Va are small historic towns, too, that might be worth a stop. You can drive up 81 to Charlottesville if you get tired of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Grandfather Mountain is a great stop. You can hike up it if you enjoy that, but it is fairly strenuous and would take half a day so budget that time in. You might like to hike to Linville Falls, too. It's a fairly easy, slightly moderate hike. Beacon Heights is a wonderful short hike right off the parkway that goes out to a rocky bald that overlooks the undulating mountains of the Blue Ridge. You can check out some pictures here -- www.romanticasheville.com/beacon_heights.htm .

May is a lovely time to visit the mts of NC, but it can still be quite chilly at night compared to Savannah and Charleston. I have seen snow in the mts in April. It would be a rare snow indeed in May, but it could be anywhere from 40-80 degrees F (5-25C), so do pack a jacket. You'll probably see 80s (25+C) in Charleston and Savannah.

hth

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9. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

Here are a few more links if you haven't already discovered them:

http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/ Blue Ridge Parkway

www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/index.htm Smoky Mt National Park

http://crookedroad.org/ Crooked Road, Virginia's Music Heritage Trail

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10. Re: Savannah to Charlottesville

panchopup, The itinerary is starting to take shape.

Savannah, Beaufort?, Charleston, Asheville, Blowing Rock?, Charlottesville, Washington DC visiting Georgetown, Cape May, New Jersey, then New England touring. Not sure about NYC.

We enjoy walking in National Parks, love the mountains, we don't have many in Australia. We try to include some short "bushwalks" if we can when we travel overseas. You need to put your feet on the ground not just look from the car. Yes our beaches are the best in the World, and we've seen a few, but other coastlines are different and interesting. US coastal towns have a different character to ours and we enjoy them very much.

Thanks for your input it is very much appreciated and all the comments on the forums have helped me to decide what to include and what to leave out.

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