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Driving to Wilmington

Edinburgh, Scotland
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Driving to Wilmington

We are visiting from the UK in July and are travelling from Asheville to Wilmington as part of a road trip. Do we do it in a day (5-6 hrs) or do we stop over somewhere en-route. A nice town rather than a chain motel by the side of the highway wouls be preferred. Also any route recommendations?

Raleigh, NC
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1. Re: Driving to Wilmington

I could say truthfully that there are a number of sites wprth seeing between Asheville and Raleigh but my guess is that you would be better off just getting on I-40 and going straight through. If you were to stop, I would suggest Chapel Hill, about halfway anda nice college town with excellent restaurants and 2-3 very nice places to stay right in the village and a couple more just outside.

Asheville, North...
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2. Re: Driving to Wilmington

If you take the "northern" route of Interstate 40 , it is a very long drive with nothing exciting along the way and major traffic around Winston Salem, Greensboro and Raleigh .

The"southern" route from Asheville to Wilmington is take I-26 east to Columbia, South Carolina, then I-20 east to Florence, SC, then I-95 north back into North Carolina to US -74 east to Wilmington. This route avoid multiple traffic patterns, with some congestion in Columbia at rush hour, and saves at least 90 minutes of driving time. The zoo in Columbia is easily accessed from I-26 NW of Columbia, SC and has some nice exhibits to break up the drive.

Coming from Scotland, you will not likely have seen anyplace as cheesy as "South of the Border" a long-time landmark tourist trap on I-95 at the NC/SC border. Suffice it to say it is not scenic, but it is entertaining in a tongue-in-cheek way. Great postcards to send to folks back home.

July in the Carolinas can be brutally hot, so I'd drive the entire trip in one day, starting as early in the AM as you can stand, and get to Wilmington by early afternoon with several hours left to find a cold ale and a spot on the beach.

Raleigh, NC
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3. Re: Driving to Wilmington

I agree with Jeem. Take I-40 all the way, and make Chapel Hill your half-way stop. You could get a nice hotel there. Franklin Hotel or Carolina Inn (if you wanna put up the money) are in great locations in the historic downtown area. It's not quite Asheville or Wilmington, but probably the most picturesque town between them.

Asheville, North...
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4. Re: Driving to Wilmington

My daughter and my money got to Chapel Hill, and it is a nice university-based community with a beutiful campus and good resturaounts, but you're only talking 5 1/2 hours via the southern route and you can spend the rest of the day on the beach or in the mountains. Chapel Hill in July can be oppressively humid.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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5. Re: Driving to Wilmington

Thanks for the advice folks. Looks like we will do it without a stopover.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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6. Re: Driving to Wilmington

Just to report we took the southerly route as recommended. Stopped at "South of the Border" and was not disappointed with the bizzare sight!

Clemmons, North...
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7. Re: Driving to Wilmington

Hi geemax! I'm glad you were able to experience "SOB". I'm laughing inside, because I grew up about 25 miles from there so I'm very familiar with it. As a kid I thought it was an incredible place, but now I wonder how it stays in business. It is indeed an interesting slice of Americana.

How was the rest of your trip?

Clemmons, North...
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8. Re: Driving to Wilmington

Hey Mangonboat, just curious what you think about the direct US 74 route between Asheville and Wilmington...with the I-485 loop around Charlotte and other improvements along the way, seems it would now be a viable option. Have you driven this lately?

Asheville, North...
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9. Re: Driving to Wilmington

arbyunc,

I came back from Wilmington in June via the direct route, but it was at 3 in the morning so I zoomed around Charlotte on 485 and it was an easy drive the entire way. 485 has been so congested between 6 AM and 8 PM every time I am in Charlotte, I think I'd stick with the southern route except at night, although traffic in Columbia has gotten progressively worse around rush hour so its not nearly as attractive an alternative.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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10. Re: Driving to Wilmington

Hi arbync

The trip was excellent. Atlanta interesting - Marta very quiet compared to London Underground. Asheville NC very nice with loads of micro breweries and sights nearby. A.lso enjoyed the Blue Ridge Parkway Wilmington interesting too. Then Charleston which is lovely, Savannah very nice too but a bit more touristy and finally a bizzare night in Macon - like a ghost town on a Sunday! See my comments re the Ramada Plaza

Geemax