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Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

Atlanta
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Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

I will be driving back from Philadelphia to Atlanta with my daughter in May, bringing her home from college. We will need to stop over somewhere for a night and I wondered what city or town we should stop in. Even though it won't be for long, it would be nice to see something new and fun instead of just staying on the interstate. Any ideas?

Fairfax, Virginia
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1. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

well, i don't know how far off the interstate you would be willing to go, but if you you wanted to take other highways altogether, i would suggest going down the eastern shore. you could stop at assateague island and do some camping and you could drive on the chesapeake bay bridge-tunnel to norfolk, va. there, you could see the naval base and ship yards. and you could go to the ocean at virginia beach. but, that would put you way on the east side of VA. if you wanted more mountains and hills, then you could try driving down route 29 through charlottesville and lynchburg. this route offers montpelier (james madison's home), monticello, UVA, a few vineyards and great mountain views. and route 29 eventually runs into I-85 down in greensboro, nc. if this interests you, then you could also try the skyline drive.

i hope this helps if you are looking to not use the interstate. but, if you want to stay on the interstate and just have a few short excursions off of it, what interstates are you planning on using?

Atlanta
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2. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

I don't know which interstate as I haven't driven it before and haven't figured it out yet. But the Highway 29 route sounds interesting. Any suggestions for a place along that route to stay overnight? And thanks for your response.

Arlington, Virginia
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3. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

If you are going to take Rt. 29, you should stop in Charlottesville. It's a beautiful, historic town that's the home of University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson's home, Montpelier. There's a 10 block section of downtown that's closed to traffic, and it's full of restaurants, bookstores and coffee shops.

If you do wind up on the western side of Virginia, you should spend some time driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's a long road, but easy to get on and off, and any section you pick will give you a beautiful drive.

Virginia
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4. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

You know, one of the issues with your weekend will be all the colleges having their graduations, alumni weekends, trustee weekends etc. So do find an area and find your accommodations as soon as possible.

You might like....and these are mid-trip I think...some towns that have and are near colleges.....Lyncburg and Charlottesville, as were suggested already. Perhaps Lexington, Winchester.

Do see about your route. We love being a member of AAA for all those handy free maps and guidebooks...and they never mind no matter how many times we lose or misplace a map and need another. See if you can find a national map to get a sense of it all. You would probably not want to do I95. It is more of a loop out...but then that is a loop vaguely along the east, if you'd like to get off for a beach trip...say to Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks, which you'd probably like to take more than one night. Two would actually not be bad, three even better.

Otherwise, through Virginia there's the superhighway I81 alongt he west. Just east of it is the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just east of that - loosely - is Rt. 29.

I81 is a super highway which feels like a country lane with great mountain views on both sides and lovely farmland. You want to stop along the road and take pictures with the cows. (But they don't like that, Interstate and all.) But I can tell you several towns to get off. (Among them Winchester, New Market, Lexington)

You can enjoy being in the National Forest along the Blue Ridge Parkway for as long or short a time as you like and take 29 or 81 the rest. The speed is slow in many places and windy so some people say 'a little goes a long way', as much as enjoy it myself. The park police do watch your speed. There are places to eat, trails to explore and great places to stay right along the Parkway. We can help you with that if you decide to go that way.

Rt. 29 is sort of in between in style. Many places there are no lights and lots of beautiful countryside. You are not as high up as on I81, but rather part of the landscape, and each has its advantages. We can tell you places along here too. (Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Culpepper, etc.)

What weekend or week will you be travelling? There may be small town festivals for you to enjoy.

Fairfax, Virginia
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5. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

oh yeah, i agree with explorer3 concerning the other colleges getting graduations and whatnot all along rt. 29.

charlottesville will be swamped the weekend of may 19 b/c that is UVA's graduation. i'll tell you this right now, if you are traveling around that weekend, avoid charlottesville. there will be no rooms available and traffic will be horrendous.

lynchburg will also be swamped around mid-may as there are 4 colleges in that town.

so, if you are traveling in mid-may, perhaps you should look into I-81 as explorer3 suggests instead of rt. 29. you could always do rt. 29 on a subsequent trip down to the ATL.

Ashburn, VA
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6. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

Other commencements to consider along the I81 route - James Madison Univeristy (Go Dukes!) is May 5, Virginia Tech is May 11. There's also Radford and many other smaller schools along that road. Find a hotel/stopping point now rather than trying to pick one out while on the road because many will be filled with parents and friends attending these graduations.

Atlanta
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7. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

Thanks for all the ideas everyone! Her last day of school at Temple is Tuesday, May 8, so we would be traveling sometime after then. I wanted to fly up and then rent a car or van to drive her back with her stuff. However, I'm learning about one way car rental and how expensive that is. So may end up not taking this trip at all but just flying her home, shipping some things back to Atlanta and storing some in Philly. This is a learning process for me. BUT if I don't make the drive now, I will some day and it sounds like fun. Thanks again.

Virginia
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8. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

If this is her first year, you'll find lots of weekends to go up and may drive then. Perhaps taking her home for a holiday or something. Yes, storage units are usually very big where there are colleges. They may be a bit outside of town to save money, but they are often big business somewhere near colleges. I too was surprised. In central virginia there are many historic homes, mansions with immense basements and attics and many students would rent a mansion...very nice, took very good care....and then rent out their attic for summer storage because students in the dorms needed to clean everything out at the end of every year.

There are indeed lots of colleges in Va....even those in Farmville utilize accommodations in and around Charlottesville and Lynchburg. Along 81 are also VMI and Washington and Lee. And I do know people who have needed to camp out on the Blue Ridge in order to attend extended family graduations. Ah, the South and our big five day weddings and graduations, right?

But spring is so beautiful in Virginia. Historic Garden Week in Virginia is toward the end of April for that reason.

Perhaps you or your daughter can find out from friends better rates on one way travel. Mother's Day is coming up. Maybe you can treat yourselves to a special getaway.

I'll let you know if I come up with anything.

Atlanta
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9. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

A year and a half later, I am ready to revisit this subject. Never made that trip last year, but this year my husband and I are driving our daughter to school in Philadelphia at the end of August. On the way back, I'd like to take a scenic route and stay overnight somewhere. Given the time limitations, any suggestions on where to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway returning from Philadelphia to Atlanta, where to stop overnight and how to proceed from there. We will only be taking 2 days to make the whole drive, so it's got to be the condensed version! Thanks for any ideas.

Chesapeake, VA
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for Virginia Beach
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10. Re: Overnight stop between Philadelphia and Atlanta

The quickest way to get to the fun part is to take I-95 to DC and pick up I-66 over to Front Royal (about 3.5 hours). You can get on the parkway there and then enjoy your ride as far as you want to go. Fancy Gap is the last stop in Virginia - that's about 4 hours from Front Royal. How far do you want to drive in a day? A pretty little town to stop in rather than Fancy Gap is Lexington. Good shops, good restaurants, nice to walk around. Washington & Lee University and Virginia Military Institute are there too.

I'll stop with this and let you ask more questions.

www.blueridgeskyline.com