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Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

London, United...
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Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

Hi everyone!

My boyfriend and I are planning a 15 day road trip in September 5th-21st flying from London to NYC, then on to Washington D.C and then to Lexington, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans. But, we're a bit stuck with the D.C to Lexington route!

We'd love to see some of the Smokey Mountains and love a scenic drive with places to stop off and get meal and drinks etc but nothing overly touristy (if possible). We know it's a really long drive but we're not sure yet if we will stay a night in the Smokeys. We won't be able to bring any walking stuff with us and my boyfriend is allergic to horses so it might be more beneficial with such little time to keep driving.

If you have a great route that isn't too touristy and even if it includes a stay over, that's fine, we'd just be happy for any recommendations!

We also love off the beaten track sort of things so deserted cabins and unique diners etc!

Thanks so much, Amy

North Carolina
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1. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

Which Lexington?

Chapel Hill, North...
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2. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

Are you talking about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or just the Appalachian/Blue Ridge mountains in general?

There aren't a lot of wild horses in the NC mountains so I don't think your boyfriend's allergy should be a problem if you don't plan to go horseback riding or something. You're not particularly liable to run into any horses, wild or domesticated, although I suppose you could.

London, United...
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3. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

Kentucky

North Carolina
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4. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

You should ask on the Kentucky forum for the best route to Lexington from D.C.

It doesn't sound like you'll be traveling through North Carolina at all

Edited: 29 January 2014, 14:54
London, United...
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5. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

Sorry, realise that I've spelt Smoky incorrectly!

I'm talking about both the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian/Blue Ridge mountains in general. We do want to go through North Carolina as we don't want to go direct to Lexington. To be honest, looking online it's very difficult to differentiate between driving through the Smokys or Blue Ridge mountains - hence why i'm stuck on the route!

Thanks

Chapel Hill, North...
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6. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

The "Smokies" generally refers to the National Park. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smoky_Mountains

The Blue Ridge generally refers to the mountains in NC, TN, VA, and some of GA. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Ridge_Mountains

The Appalachian mountain range stretches up into Canada so you will be crossing the Appalachians no matter which way you go. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_Mountains

The National Park service has a good website on the GSMNP at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm .

You might also like to do a little research here on TA. The "Things To Do" section will give you lots of good ideas. tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g1438847-Activit… You might also like to read through the NC Mountains forums for similar threads: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1438847-i12759-No… .

Outside of TA I think Romantic Asheville does a good job outline various trips in the mountains (not just Asheville) http://www.romanticasheville.com . Other Asheville area sites are:

http://www.exploreasheville.com

http://asheville.com

http://www.ashevillenc.com

Other sites that might help in the Boone/Blowing Rock area are:

http://www.exploreboonearea.com

http://www.blowingrock.com

http://highcountryhost.com

http://www.highcountryjourney.com

http://www.grandfather.com (Grandfather Mountain)

It would be more direct to go from Asheville or Boone/Blowing Rock to Nashville, but you could zigzag back up to Lexington, KY, too. (There's also a Lexington NC, as well as a Lexington, SC.)

Are you flying out of New Orleans or coming back to NYC? If it's a loop you might want to hit the NC mountains on the return, so you don't have such a zigzaggy route.

Come back if you have more specific questions.

Edited: 29 January 2014, 19:50
Raleigh, North...
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7. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

This is not exactly direct but it would be scenic and take you through, or by some nice places.

Take I-64 out of Washington to I-81. This is a pretty drive across most of Virginia. Near Wytheville, take I-77 South to nar Galax where you can pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take the Parkway all the way to Asheville, stopping for the night either in Blowing Rock, NC or Asheville, if you can get that far. From Asheville, take I-40, another scenic interstate, to Knoxville where you can pick up I-75 to Lexington, or you could take I-40 on to Nashville.

I much shorter route would be I-64 straight to Lexington, with a little jog on the West Virginia Turnpike, but you would miss a lot.

North Carolina
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8. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

To confuse you even further, if you drive south on I-81 far enough, you'll pass the cute town of Lexington, Virginia, the home of Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute (VMI).

(There are lots of Lexingtons in the U.S., including a famous one in Massachusetts). :-))

9. Re: Best route for driving through the Smokey Mountains!

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