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Initial planning assistance - BRP and GSMNP

Haifa, Israel
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29 posts
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Initial planning assistance - BRP and GSMNP


I am posting this request on both the Aseville and Gatlinberg forums, since part of the question is how to split our trip between the two.....

We are planning a week trip in early May to the area hoping to see highlights of both BRP and GSMNO. We are a couple in our late 40`s, enjoying views and nature (albiet not great hikers unfortunately), as well as intersting paces (as Biltmore) and shopping.....

I read quite a lot of posts, yet would appreciate directed guidance to a few questions:

1. We are flying in from NYC. We thought Asheville should be a good point to arrive and embark, yet flights are limited. Is Charlotte a better point?

2. How should we split our time? We would rather travel less per-day and move. Should we travel towards Boone/Blowing Rock (and then what?) or towards Cherokee and from there towards the Park and TN? Should we stay in any of those towns or split our lodgings between Asheville and Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge?

Please forgive me for such elementary questions. I promise that after you responses, my next questions will be more focused.



Clemmons, North...
Destination Expert
for North Carolina, Winston Salem
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1,924 posts
40 reviews
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1. Re: Initial planning assistance - BRP and GSMNP

Hi lirsun,

Here's a suggested itenerary:

Fly into either Charlotte or Greensboro, then drive to Boone/Blowing Rock. It's a little less than 2 hours drive from either airport, so pick the one that offers the best deal/most convenient arrival time. Spend a night or two in Boone/Blowing Rock, taking some time to explore both downtown areas, shop at the Tanger Outlets, visit the original Mast General Store in nearby Valle Crucis, or whatever else may interest you (see http://www.highcountryhost.com/ if you need more ideas).

Then take a day to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville. Suggested stops include Moses Cone Manor, Linville Falls, Mt. Mitchell, and Craggy Gardens. I also highly recommend Grandfather Mountain (with it's mile-high swinging bridge) and Linville Caverns, both of which are a short side trip off the Parkway. Spend a couple of days in Asheville exploring the downtown shops/restaurants and visiting the Biltmore Estate. You can then take the Blue Ridge Parkway on to Cherokee (lots of tunnels in this stretch, as well as the Cradle of Forestry). You also have two other options-- you can take the Great Smoky Mountains expressway, stopping off in the quaint mountain villages of Dillsboro, Sylva, and/or Bryson City. Or you can take US 19 from Lake Junaluska through Maggie Valley, which is a little more "touristy". Google for more info.

I can't help much with the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge part...both are tourist traps that don't appeal to me very much..so perhaps someone else can help with that area. Cherokee is also largely a tourist trap, but I can definitely recommend visiting the Oconaluftee Indian Village for a bit of education on how the native American population in that area lived.

Good luck!

Haifa, Israel
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2. Re: Initial planning assistance - BRP and GSMNP

Thanks - sounds like a great plan!

3. Re: Initial planning assistance - BRP and GSMNP

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