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  1. Default Blue Ridge Parkway Roadtrip - 6 days and on a budget

    Dear All,

    I am planning a roadtrip across the States and as part of it am doing the Blueridge Parkway. We have scheduled 6 days to do the trip and would like to do all the major sites along the way - so Grandfather Mountain, Biltmore estate etc. We are doing it from the Southern cherokee entrance, to the northern exit and heading to DC afterwards.

    We are students from England and so are wanting to make the trip on a budget. Does anyone have any recommendations on stopping places for the night along the way - and how to break down the trip into days and nights, and where to end each day? Any recommendations on cheap accomodation?

    We are trying to weave a food theme into the trip as well - and other parts of the trip we have turned into a mini food tour. Any food recommendations along the way would be hugely welcomed. Especially interested to try E N Carolina bbq, but all recommendations and types welcome!!

    Many thanks,

  2. #2

    Default Just a few ideas

    Hello Lucy,

    I'm more familiar with the middle portion of the BRP than the north or south, but in approximate order from south to north you may wish to consider the following:

    Nantahala Outdoor Center, near Andrews, NC. Here you can take a half-day guided paddle down the Nantahala River, with hot showers/changing rooms at the end, much needed and much appreciated since the water's so cold.

    Asheville area, in general. Asheville is the capital of liberal/progressive/hipster NC and is quickly becoming known for craft brewing.

    Craggy Gardens. This area along the BRP is laced with short to long trails and splendid views.

    Mount Mitchell State Park. Mount Mitchell is a drive-up to the highest point east of the Mississippi River. On a clear day, the views can't be beat.

    Museum of NC Minerals. At the Spruce Pine exit and a fine display of the geology and mineralogy of western NC.

    Penland School of Crafts. A world-renowned campus/studio/residence complex where all sorts of craftwork is created. Near Spruce Pine.

    Chestoa Overlook. Dramatic overlook of the Linville Gorge.

    Linville Falls. About a mile's walk down an easy trail to overlooks of the falls and the Linville Gorge.

    Grandfather Mountain. The drive-up and the "Mile High Swinging Bridge" are a bit campy but are a must. The wildlife habitat is pretty neat and the museum is first-rate.

    Julian Price Lake/Park. The day-use park is on a very nice trail following Boone Fork Creek on a five mile loop. Just walking 2 miles or so brings you to a nice cascade, where the stream pours over and around a huge jumble of boulders.

    Moses Cone Memorial Park/Flat Top Manor. Textile magnate Moses Cone purchased many small farms and built a mansion in the late 19th century and used it as a place to escape the summer heat in the Piedmont. He retained many of the farmers to tend to orchards and pasture and built 25 miles of gently-sloping carriage trails, which today are outstanding walking trails. The 2.9 miles each way walk to the observation tower he built atop Flat Top Mountain brings you to superlative views. The manor house today houses a gallery for NC crafts.

    Boone/Blowing Rock. The former is a college town (I graduated from Appalachian State) while the latter is known for dining and shopping the auction houses. Just on the edge of Blowing Rock, down US 321 south about 2 miles from Main Street, The Canyons is perched on the edge of the Johns River Gorge, offering good eats and awesome views, with world-class sunsets. Over in Boone is the Coyote Kitchen, an awesome little Central American restaurant tucked into a shopping center.

    About 5 miles north of Deep Gap (home of the late, great Doc Watson) is a small park whose name escapes me (Doughton?), but there's a short trail down to the top of a long, long cascade where a stream plunges all the way down the face of the Blue Ridge.

    Up in Virginia, just past US 58 at Meadows of Dan, are some wineries which some of our friends are quite fond of.

    North of Roanoke, the Peaks of Otter are worth a visit. Be sure to take the shuttle bus to the peak.

    At the northern end of the BRP, at Rockfish Gap, I-64 brings you to Charlottesville within 30 minutes. Just off of the mountain, near Crozet, is Pollak Vinyards, with a sampling room/bar which my wife recently visited and likes a great deal.

    The degree to which you spend time on hiking trails, etc, will govern your pace, and between that and the fact that most of our travel is day trips around our family's vacation home near Boone, I can't help you much with overnight stop suggestions.

    Have fun planning and taking your BRP Road Trip!

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-10-2012 at 03:48 PM. Reason: added link for photos

  3. Default

    Baltimore and the nearby areas of Maryland are well-known for seafood, especially crab. DC's fairly close, so you might be able to find some there. Although they're not typically American, DC also is known for Ethiopian and Salvadoran food if you'd like to try those.

  4. #4

    Default Music and cabins

    Among the major highlights of our drive along the BRP (we did it north to south) were these:

    Blue Ridge Music Center

    There's a museum, trails and, best of all, live music every day. Even if you only have half an hour spare, you won't regret it.

    Rocky Knob Cabins

    Located a couple of miles from Meadows of Dan, these cabins were once home to the CCC teams that built the parkway. Go and buy some provisions in Meadows of Dan, cook yourself a meal back at the cabin then sit on the porch with a beer. Wonderful. And then, in the morning, go for breakfast at Mabry Mill.

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