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  1. Default Thanksgiving trip suggestions

    Hey guys,

    I am planning to take the three days off in Thanksgiving week. So in effect I would have a total of around 9 days to go somewhere.

    I am in the DC area. My initial plan was to go to smoky mountains, KY etc, but am thinking if there are any other possible trips I can take.

    So do you have any suggestions? I do not mind camping as long as it's not too cold. Also, my trips is mostly for nature photography.

    Thanks all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Scenic Kentucky

    I don't think you can go wrong traveling through the roads of Kentucky when it comes to scenery. There is something there that has drawn me back to the area four times in the last few years - the hills in the East, the Bluegrass country, the horses, etc. What area of Kentucky were you planning on heading into?

    One other option, though the camping will be quite limited if available at all, would be to head up into the Hudson River Valley of New York state.

    We, of course, could come up with hundreds of different places within a days drive of where you presently reside to give you some great photographs.

    Now, are you trying to get flora, fauna, or both?

  3. Default

    I was planning to go the cumberland gap area at the border of KY and TN. Then could go down to smoky mountains. From there go to SC and then head back.

    I would love to shoot both flora and fauna. However, I prefer scenic landscapes as I have good equipment for that.

    So suggestions plz! :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Kentucky

    If you are planning to go through the Cumberland Gap area, I would suggest making the trek up to Chained Rock in Kentucky. On a clear day, the views from up there are spectacular. I don't know how the weather is going to be at that time, as there is a short hike out to the area of which I speak.

    One thing about that area of the country is that particulates in the air can settle in, making photography difficult. Hence the "Smoky" Mountains. It probably isn't as noticeable at this time of year.

    You could head along Skyline Drive in Virginia for some more opportunities for both varieties of photographs. It's not too far from DC, so if you don't make it this time, there is always the chance of your going to that area at some other time, maybe a weekend trip.

  5. #5

    Default Smokies/Kentucky

    If you make it to Southern Kentucky, make sure to stop by Cumberland Falls State Park. This past Summer, my fiance and I drove through Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina on our way to Myrtle Beach and just fell in love with the area...there is a rest stop on I-40 that has a overlook I think. We're now thinking of going to the Smokies for our honeymoon. I highly recommend the entire TN/KY/NC area.

  6. #6

    Default General suggestions

    I would assume most, if not every bit, of the fall colors will be gone from the entire area by then, but you probably were aware of that.

    Once you get a feel for where to go, I'd do some calling/checking ahead to avoid getting caught in late season/holiday park and business closures.

    The Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway in VA and NC are prone to small-to-large scale closure if snow or ice occur. There is little to no snow removal effort, so the closures can be for days to weeks by mid-winter.

    If you do end up in SC late in the trip, and if your return date is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I would avoid I-95 returning to DC at any costs. Perhaps being a DC resident the traffic would not seem terrible to you, but me, I'd rather stick my fingers in a vise. To avoid all of that, consider coming up US 15 from central NC, through Chapel Hill (nice college village) and Durham (bypassed), thence through central Virginia, culminating at US 29 near Warrenton, thence whatever route takes to your DC home. You shouldn't find any serious traffic, and should find much beautiful, rolling countryside, all the way to Warrenton. The segment from about Farmville, VA all the way to Warrenton is particulary scenic, and remote. At Farmville, take the < 1 mile side trip through the campus of Hampden-Sydney College, an all-male college set in forest and fields 6 miles south of Farmville, and one of the prettiest campuses anywhere.

    For specific landscapes worthy of capture, I-81 runs fairly parallel to the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway through most of Virginia. Lots of great views along and from there, and you can jump on and jump off (average of 10-15 miles separate the routes down to I-77 or thereabouts). Having gone to college there, I like the Boone-Blowing Rock area of NW North Carolina. Now, that does get a little congested and tourist-y at Thanksgiving time nowadays, as many motels match up with Christmas tree farms for a weekend tour and find your own tree package. Still, you're right there at Grandfather Mountain and not too far from Mount Mitchell, where you can drive to 5,280 and 6,900', respectively, weather allowing. The famous Linn Cove Viaduct along the Parkway is on the shoulder of Grandfather Mtn. Caesar's Head and the waterfalls above Lake Jocassee in SC are very nice, as are the waterfalls around Highlands, NC, and your map work will show them to be proximal to one another.

    Have a great trip, and do post a report, won't you?


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