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Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

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Herts, UK
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Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

Hi - wife and I are planning a trip late August from UK starting in the Asheville area and then ending up in DC. In total we will have about two weeks but with an event to attend at the end (nr Baltimore).

We want to allow 3 days in Asheville to start and 5 days in Washington / Baltimore at the end, so we are looking for guidance on max of 3 places to stay and explore a little as we drive between the two - a total of 6-7 nights along the way. At this stage I am looking for thoughts on towns / communities, and 'must see sights' rather than lodging - although I will not refuse any help in that direction either :-)

Many thanks and appreciation in advance,

Chapel Hill, North...
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1. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

Well with that luxurious amount of time you should definitely plan on driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are lots of stops around there, but you might like to spend a night in the Blowing Rock/Boone/Valle Crucis "High Country" area. The Mast Farm Inn is a lovely B&B in Valle Crucis if that sounds appealing. Sights and attractions in the "High Country" include Grandfather Mountain (www.grandfather.com), the Moses Cone Manor off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, and lots more.

Another easy can't miss place between Asheville and DC is Charlottesville and Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home).

What are your interests? Hiking? Historic sites? Music, food, entertainment?

Herts, UK
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2. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

Hi Panchopup,

Thanks for the feedback - I'll look into the suggestions and get some thoughts together.

You ask about interests - hiking? we're mid aged, but with differing levels of endurance so a 5 mile trek on relatively easy terrain woud be standard on these kinds of trips, and we like to take it at leisurely pace. We are not the type for mountaineering but love the scenery those areas afford.

We are also not food afficionados - sure, we enjoy good food, but we're not the kind to make it a high point of a trip; good, wholesome, good value and plenty of veggie options for my better half :-).

Historic sights - most defintely; and being first time visitors to this particular area of the US with its civil war associations it would be criminal not to take advantage to see some of those sights and places.

Entertainment? Not wild party goers, but the option for an evening with live music would always go well.

If this helps you to give a little more guidance then fantastic; if not, what you've provided so far, together with an eagle eye on other forun topics will stll be very helpful/

Thank you

Clemmons, North...
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3. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

To add to pancho's excellent suggestions, I'll just throw out a few more things/places/sights--you can google for more info. Not saying you'd want to do all of these, but just to give you an idea of a few things/places you may not know about:

--West Jefferson, NC, is a very small town, but for its size it hosts a wealth of artists and craftsmen whose wares are sold in a number of galleries. Be sure to stop by the Ashe County Cheese store!

--Mt. Airy, NC, a quintessential small town that welcomes tourists. Lots of neat shops to explore, and they often have weekend street festivals. If you are familiar with (and a fan of) The Andy Griffith Show, you'll like it here.

--If you leave Mt. Airy via US 52 North, just across the Virginia line is the small town of Cana. The road is lined with antique stores, produce markets, and "country stores". It's a great way to connect with the local culture, and in season you'll find some great local products like cherries, apples, melons, vegetables, cheeses, crafts, and lots more. From here you can easily access I-77 just a few miles north at Fancy Gap.

--Floyd, Va., a quaint little mountain town where you'll find shops, arts & crafts galleries, and you'll often find live bluegrass music on Saturday nights.

--Shot Tower State Park, located where I-77 crosses the New River, about 15 miles into Virginia. This is a quick stop where you can see a tower that was used to make ammunition for settlers.

--If you have the time and inclination, you might consider a visit to the Cascades near the small town of Pembroke, VA, perhaps a 30 minute detour off of I-81. It's a large, scenic waterfall, and to get there you hike about 1 mile or so along a rocky creek. It's just a great back-to-nature recreational activity in beautiful surroundings.

--Roanoke, VA has a nice downtown area, with shops, restaurants, etc.

--In Charlottesville, VA, you can tour Monticello, the estate of Thomas Jefferson. It's an interesting look at colonial America.

Have fun planning your trip!

Chapel Hill, North...
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4. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

Regarding historic sites, I'm aware of more Revolutionary War/Colonial era sites in the mountains of NC rather than Civil War era sites. More Civil War battles were fought in the middle (piedmont) and eastern sections of NC. You'll probably find more Civil War era sites in Virginia as you make your way across the state, so if that's a particular area of interest you might ask in the Virginia forum. This site may be of help, too: http://www.civilwartraveler.com/ .

Also check out http://www.nps.gov/frsp/nonnps.htm and http://www.shenandoahatwar.org/

For Revolutionary War history (and some good apples and maybe music) stop at The Orchard At Altapass (http://altapassorchard.com/) on the Blue Ridge Parkway and take the Hayride to follow the trail of and hear the story of the Overmountain Men who fought in the battle of Kings Mountain and forced Cornwallis to retreat.

There's lots of Daniel Boone history in Boone, too, and the outdoor drama "Horn in the West". (http://www.horninthewest.com/)

In the Asheville are you might also be interested in visiting Cherokee NC and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Cherokee also put on a summertime outdoor drama: "Unto These Hills" http://www.cherokee-nc.com/index.php?page=9 .

If you're a fan of the Civil War novel/movie "Cold Mountain" you might like to see the real Cold Mountain down near Asheville: www.romanticasheville.com/coldmountain.htm . I don't think there's a site there, but it's a pretty view. If you're ambitious you can hike it.

Edited: 01 May 2012, 14:25
5. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

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Chapel Hill, North...
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6. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

Biltmore is a big tourist draw in the Asheville area. It was built in the late 1800s/early 1900s for the Vanderbilt family and is sometimes called one of "America's castles". It's really more of a chateau. I know being from the UK you have _real_ castles so YMMV as far as interest. Folks who love it really love it, so well worth a stop if that's your kind of thing. http://www.biltmore.com/

Edited: 01 May 2012, 16:49
Brookneal, Virginia
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7. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

When starting your route through Virginia, Heartwood is always a great first stop...

http://www.heartwoodvirginia.org/

Chapel Hill, North...
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8. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

That looks great JT. How long has that been around? Used to go to Abingdon a lot when I was a kid. Had relatives in the area.

Asheville, NC
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9. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

Hi there,

The Asheville CVB here. One of our Civil War sites is the Vance Birthplace on Reems Creek Rd. It's a NC State Park and offers up a bit of history from that time. It's located on Reems Creek Rd. in Weaverville. Access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and I-26 are within 10 minutes of this site. While in Weaverville I recommend trying Blue Mountain Pizza. It's located on Main St and it's the best pizza in WNC in my opinion.

The Biltmore is very cool so I definitely recommend checking that out. Also, downtown Asheville has a lot of culture and interesting shops. PLaces you might enjoy there are Tupelo Honey Cafe, Early Girl Eatery or Cucina 24.

There are some places to stay in East Asheville that would put you close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and minutes from everything in downtown. It would also shave off some time for the next leg of the journey assuming you're taking I-40 East.

Have a great time!

Summerville, Georgia
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10. Re: Help appreciated in itinerary planning Asheville to DC

As a Western North Carolina native, here is my list of places I have typically taken out of town visitors.

1) Biltmore Estate *make this one a priority. It has to be seen to be believed. Rivals if not exceeding many of Europe's royal palaces.

2) Chimney Rock Park , a beautiful taste of the Western North Carolina landscape. If you're in decent shape, you can handle the hiking here.

3) Grandfather Mountain , also a beautiful taste of Western North Carolina geography. An International Biosphere preserve, one of the most ecologically Important destinations in the world.

4) Blue Ridge Parkway , I agree with other posters, you must see at least some of it. Since you are going to DC, you could feasibly travel the entire thing, which would be worth it's while if you have time.

5) Consider taking a tour with LaZoom Comedy Tours of Downtown Asheville. Hilarious and informative.

6) As far as food goes, Tupelo Honey Cafe (great Southern food with modern style), 12 Bones Smokehouse (a favorite of President Obama's), and Fiddlin Pig (great food and live Bluegrass, our native music) are my favorites.

7) As for hotel, I don't know what your budget is, but Grove Park Inn is the premier resort in Asheville. A beautiful place and wonderful service. The Inn on Biltmore Estate is equally opulent, though without the rich history of Grove Park. If B & B's are more your thing, Mountain Magnolia Inn in the charming town of Hot Springs, NC (just outside of Asheville) is wonderful.

Enjoy your visit to God's country!