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help! Ashville or Charleston?

seattle, WA
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help! Ashville or Charleston?

I am trying to put together a last minute trip with my 80 year old Mom. We've got some days free when we can travel and I can't decide where to go....we would have 5 days to spend in whatever destination we choose, Thursday through Monday. My sister will be flying down to meet us for the weekend. I think my sister would like to go to Ashville (to see the Biltmore Estate and maybe raft the river) since she hasn't been there before but is willing to meet us in Charleston. My thought is that there is more to do in and around Charleston....so that might be the better destination for this particular trip.... But I've never been to any of these areas and I just don't know. I'll have a car available. Any suggestions on what we might do? Many thanks! One thing, we all enjoy eating well, and I've often travelled to New Orleans just for the food, so I'm looking forward to this visit.

Cambridge, MA
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1. Re: help! Ashville or Charleston?

I first ran across this question (which at the time included Savannah too) in the Georgia forum. My response can be found there.

Charlotte, North...
Destination Expert
for North Carolina
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2. Re: help! Ashville or Charleston?

Hi,

Both Asheville and Charleston are beautiful, fun places to visit. Right now however, Charleston is definitely the best choice. Our mountains here in NC have suffered terrible, historic type flood damage from Hurricane Frances, and then Hurricane Ivan. Many roads, even parts of major highways have been washed away. Some homes and businesses were washed away. The grounds around the Biltmore House were flooded, but I think everything is fine now. There are however many road detours throughout the area, which will remain for months. Also, the Blue Ridge Parkway which is a major tourist attraction, has suffered damage to it's roadway.

Charleston is great this time of year. (Unless, of course there is a hurricane!) The horse drawn carriage tours are our favorite. The tour guides have great knowledge of Charleston's interesting history. There also many historic homes to tour, and lots of great shopping. There is also a very nice aquarium in the historic area, a great waterfront park, plus much much more. My favorite restaurants there are; Carolina's, and Magnolia's, the chefs at both places serve high quality creative Southern cusine. Outside of Charleston there are several restored plantations to visit, our favorite is Middleton Plantation. They have beautiful grounds, plus they have craftsmen there who demonstrate how tools and other needed items were made on the plantations. Also, it is just a 20 minute drive from historic Charleston to the beaches, there are many barrier islands which you could visit. Sullivan's Island is our favorite, we enjoy visiting Fort Moultrie National Park. You can walk through the fort and also visit the museum there. Very interesting stuff! Also, there are several seafood restaurants on Sullivan's Island which serve true, good fried Southern seafood. Sullivan's Restaurant is the best. Hyman's restaurant in historic Charleston is often recommended by tourists, but it is definitely not the best southern style seafood restaurant down there; plus they have the worst waiting lines in Charleston. Ask a tour guide for recommendations of good seafood restaurants in the historic district. Accomodations in the historic district are generally pricey, with few discounts available. I do believe it is worth the price however to stay in the Historic district. Public parking there can be a nightmare. We usually stay in a hotel near the Market; it is a good central location. Our favorites are the Embassy Suites and the Andrew Pinckney Inn. I've also heard great things about the Market Pavillion Hotel. Wherever you go, have a great time!

seattle, WA
10 posts
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3. Re: help! Ashville or Charleston?

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I have made my air flight reservations with your recommendations in mind and I am so looking forward to this trip. I am going to print out your suggestions and also email them to the rest of my group. I live on the west coast and have family on the east coast and we like to meet in different places, so there will be future opportunities to meet in Ashville.

Houston, TX
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4. Re: help! Ashville or Charleston?

Hi UNCMickey,

My wife and I are scheduled to travel to Asheville at the end of October for a few days. I was curious about the effects of the hurricanes and you mentioned in a response, flooding in and around the Biltmore Estate. Our B&B happens to be near the Biltmore vacinity. My agenda was to see autumn in all its color for the first time in my life, since I'm from Texas. You being from that area, what are your thoughts for visiting Asheville at the end of October with regards to all the flooding?

JLAustin

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: help! Ashville or Charleston?

Hi,

I'm in Charlotte, two hours from Asheville. On the TV and radio, the mountain area tourism representatives are telling people to come on up! The Biltmore House is open. Buildings at the entrance to Biltmore House were either damaged or washed away. They've either repaired the entrance, or are using another. Biltmore House itself was not damaged. The shopping area of Biltmore Village had a lot of damage but I've heard that part of it has also reopened. The area got a break on this last hurricane (Jeanne) the storm came through the middle of the state instead of the mountains. I would call your accomodation to make sure they're up and running, and ask if you need to change your driving route to get to them. The roads seem to be the biggest issue right now. They've got enough of the Blue Ridge Parkway open where you can get on and enjoy it. There are also many smaller side roads which offer terrific views, I'm sure that the people you're staying with can tell you the best routes to drive. Also there are many beautiful waterfalls in the area. One of our family's favorite Sunday "getaways" is to drive up to the mountains and find waterfalls. Many are marked and have a place to park and walk to them. Some of the best however, you have to get locals to tell you about them and where to find them.

It sounds like you can still go and have a great time; plus, they're still forecasting an above average year for leaf color. You may just need a little extra patience to deal with traffic. Here's the Asheville tourism website: ExploreAsheville.com They update the leaf color and may have additional info. on flood damage.

Best Wishes for a Great vacation!

Houston, TX
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6. Re: help! Ashville or Charleston?

Hello,

Thank you for your response and advice. We look forward to Asheville and our lodging was unaffected.

Apparently only the secondary roads were affected and by the end of Oct., the area should be even more wonderful.

Thanks again!

Jeff

Fayetteville
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1 post
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7. Re: help! Ashville or Charleston?

Biltmore is captivating. It is about an 8 minute walk (downhill) from most of the parking areas. The "behind the scenes" tour requires a great deal of walking (it's a BIG place!) also. Ask regarding the best way for an 80 year old to traverse the grounds and home.

Trillium Bistro (Asheville) has very good food. The "Low Stack" with polenta is my favorite. Has a nice web site.

columbia sc
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8. Re: help! Ashville or Charleston?

This time of year Id do Asheville. Both are great, on the other hand Charleston will be more 80 year old friendly. Both offer a lot in the way of the arts and Historic arcitecture. Dining is better in Charleston. Charleston also has some bed and no breakfast rooms downtown so you can park and walk everyware you want to go. With Mom go Charleston save the Mountains for a younger crowd.Rupert