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Traveling from Chicago to Virginia Beach VA & back

Chicago, Illinois
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Traveling from Chicago to Virginia Beach VA & back

My fiancé and I are visiting friends in Virginia Beach, VA. We live in Chicago. We’ve got two weeks to see whatever on the way there and back. Our only plans are to go to a Blackhawks vs Canes game in Raleigh on Oct 28th and then spend the weekend in VA beach. Any advice would be appreciated. We are leaning toward driving through TN rather than Ohio. We would love some advice. I've never been East of Indiana (Florida doesn't count). Most likely leaving Oct 25th. Thanks

Lakeland, TN
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for Tennessee, Memphis
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1. Re: Traveling from Chicago to Virginia Beach VA & back


Take I-57 south to 55 and in to Downtown Memphis for your start. Make time for two full days to sample the outstanding barbecued pork ribs and shoulder, the Blues, Graceland, Sun Studio, trolley rides, etc. A good choice for a hotel would be one with a rooftop or window view from which to see river vistas or Downtown activity. Ex: Peabody Hotel, Comfort Inn, Residence Inn Downtown.

Travel east on I-40 to just south of Nashville, then over to Franklin where you can tour a couple of great old Civil War mansions with stories to tell. (get a copy of "Widow Of The South" if you can and read it or at least a story summary before you go.) www.thewidowofthesouth.com Stroll the boutiques, coffe shops and pubs along the historic Main Street. A day or two in Nashville would allow you to see The Opry, honkytonk haven: lower Broadway and maybe tour Andrew Jackson's home, The Hermitage. Check out Loveless Cafe, kind of between Franklin and Nashville for unparalleled Country Cookin seved by "Good ol Girls"! www.lovelesscafe.com

A dip southeastward heading out of town towards Virginia would take you to Chattanooga, home of Lookout Mountain and The Tennessee Aquarium. If you have the time, it would be worth a day or two, but it would be a detour.

Back on I-40 on the other side of Knoxville are the beautiful Smoky Mtns. and Gatlinburg & Pidgeon Forge. The towns are quite full of locally staffed dinner productions and souvenier shops, but the featured attraction should be the mountains.

After East TN, you could head toward Ashville, NC on I-40 or split off 40 to 81 going up the Shenandoah Valley of Virgina. If you still had an overnight to spare, there's great little basic Inn and Restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway called The Peaks Of Otter Lodge. At that time of the year apple orchards have stands and stores full of tons of delcious local goodies and friendly local folks to tell you stories on your way up to the Lodge. When you get there, you will have no phone and no TV, just solitude gazing over the natural lake up to the highest peak in VA. Furry creatures will appear out of the woods all around and forage up to your back door. (Don't feed the Deer!)

The main lodgehouse has a restaurant with a long bank of windows to continue the view and the communing as you eat, and a small screened bar with a big fieldstone fireplace & big wooden rocking chairs. _ Just a suggestion! www.peaksofotter.com

Edited: 28 September 2011, 17:36
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2. Re: Traveling from Chicago to Virginia Beach VA & back

I would head south on I-65, through Indianapolis IN. into Nashville TN., Spend a couple days, head south/east on I-24 stop off to tour Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg TN. (tour is free!) and tour George Dickel Distillery in Normandy TN. which is close to Lynchburg TN. and you can get both tours in, in a days time. Continue on down I-24 to Chattanooga TN., stay a few days (lots of touristy things to do.....Rock City Gardens, Ruby Falls, Incline, Tennessee Aquarium..... and Chattanooga is a pretty town) and then head up I-75 to Knoxville (I wouldn't spend time here, just pass through) Stop in Gatlinburg TN. (if ya have never been) Stay a few days. Travel over the Smoky Mtns. into Cherokee NC. Casinos are here. Take I-40 east to Raleigh NC. and onto Virginia Beach VA.

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3. Re: Traveling from Chicago to Virginia Beach VA & back

Midway, KY is a neat town just W of Lexington, KY. Stop for the night at Scottwood B&B. There are some nice restaurants in Midway. Stop by Lexington on your way to Nashville for lunch and then spend the night downtown in Nashville. There are some nice restaurants and bars there. Head E to Asheville for the night and then on to VA Beach. Good luck.


Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Traveling from Chicago to Virginia Beach VA & back

I really appreciate the tips. We cait wait to hit the road

5. Re: Traveling from Chicago to Virginia Beach VA & back

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