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  1. Default Chicago to Shenandoah National Park, Great Smoky Mountains and New York

    Hi all

    I'm trying to plan a trip with my husband sometime in Aug/Sept/Oct to the US. I posted an earlier thread a few days back about a trip along the west coast from San Fran up to Seattle/Oregon. We are also considering another totally different route which would see us land in Chicago, drive through Illinois, then down to Shenandoah National Park, along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Great Smoky Mountains, and then end up in New York. We have about 14 days for the trip and are looking for a mix of nature/city life.

    I don't know much about this part of the USA. Based on the route I traced on google maps, it seems to involve a lot of driving. My rough itinerary is as follows:

    Days 1-3: land in and explore Chicago
    Days 4-5: drive to and visit Urbana Champaign (my husband's alma mater which he would like to include)
    Day 6: drive to Louisville (purely as a stopover - are there any suggestions for another town to break the journey?)
    Day 7-9: drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, explore
    Day 9-11: drive to Shenandoah National Park, explore
    Day 12-14: drive to New York, explore

    Is this too much to do in 14 days and does anyone who has been to these places have any opinions on whether this is a nicer trip or the San Fran-Seattle-Oregon trip (where our highlights would include Olympic National Park, Mt Rainer National Park) a nicer one?

    Thanks very much!

  2. #2
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Preferences

    Quote Originally Posted by tamszee View Post
    ... and does anyone who has been to these places have any opinions on whether this is a nicer trip or the San Fran-Seattle-Oregon trip (where our highlights would include Olympic National Park, Mt Rainer National Park) a nicer one?

    Thanks very much!
    'Nicer' is a subjective term. It is a matter of what your preference is. You could spend weeks in each of these regions, and not run out of things to see and do. And both areas afford many photographic opportunities.

    But it is up to you to choose, no one here can do that for you.

    Lifey

  3. #3

    Default Smokies to Shenandoah

    Hello tamszee,

    From the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) to the northern end of the Skyline Drive (SD) is some 570 miles. Taking that in over a 3 day period comes to 190 miles per day. At an AVERAGE travel speed of 30 mph (nowhere is the posted limit > 45mph and there are many 35 mph zones), you're looking at a little over 6 hours of travel time a day, which leaves some time for some longer stops and short hikes, for which there are dozens and dozens of opportunities.

    Particularly in the latter part of September and the whole of October, the BRP and SD will be congested with tourists there for the autumn colors, so travel may be greatly slowed, and overnight reservations highly recommended.

    Some might find 570 miles of slow travel on very curvy and sometimes hilly roads to be "too much of a good thing". The weather can be socked in with fog for hours or a day or more at a time. Fortunately, there are many options for interesting places to see in the Asheville and Blowing Rock, NC area, the Shenandoah Valley, and the Virginia Piedmont, particularly in the Charlottesville area.

    Have fun planning and taking your Blue Ridge RoadTrip!

    FB

  4. Default

    Hi guys
    Thanks very much. Having second thoughts about this trip now - sounds like too much driving!

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