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  1. Default Fredericksburg VA to Roanoke to Asheville NC

    Our family (Myself, wife and 4 kids) are travelling over from Australia yet again in Apr 13. We are driving from NY to Orlando over 4 weeks and have most of the trip planned apart from the section between Fredericksburg VA to Roanoke to Asheville NC. After staying in DC for 4 nights I have one night accom booked at Fredericksburg. I had planned on going to the Marine Corps Museum on the way. Then after spending the night in Fredericksburg I want to do a historical civil war site for around 3 hours. I know there are many and i'd love to see them all but time doesn't permit. Just looking for a one that is not too vast and can show the kids especially after making them watch the entire documentary of Ken Burns Civil War. Some of them look so big that the small time I have would not do it justice. Any ideas?

    After that we will be driving to Roanoke where we have a nights accom booked. There are several different routes I could take but i'm looking for a scenic one off the main interstates.

    From here we will be meandering down stretches of the BRP and staying one night at Boone.

    Then continue on the BRP to Asheville. I'm also wondering, is the Bilton Estate near Asheville worth it or is there better value exploring Asheville and the surrounding towns. We have 2 nights in Asheville.

    Any ideas would be great. I love this site and forum and the information I have received on it in the past has been tremendous.

    Regards Spud

  2. #2

    Default Familiar territory

    Hello spud,

    I am quite familiar with central Virginia from Fredericksburg southwest to Lynchburg so I have some thoughts which you may find useful.

    I've never been into the town of Fredericksburg but have overnighted along I-95 at the junction with VA 3. That being the case, I don't know what sort of "view-able" Civil War sights there may be in town. It occurs to me one could perhaps see the Confederates' view from Marye Heights down to the Rappahannock River where the Federal had to cross under fire (after building their pontoon bridge under fire, I believe).

    Immediately to the west (<10 miles) is the Chancellorsville battlefield. There are a number of static exhibits, most of which I've seen, but one really can't grasp the events which unfolded there--there are no wide-open fields, etc, where one can see the direction from which the opposing forces came before their clashes.

    Given the relatively small area within which sustained, close ranged, and horrific combat took place, the "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania may afford some viewing at which one sees much of the tactical grounds in one view. Both Chancellorsville and Spotsylvania battlefields are within the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, a unit of the National Parks System. Like all NPS units, this one has a good website with suggestions to visitors.

    Now, for that trip to Roanoke: If you get moving early and don't spend more than the discussed 3 hours or so at Fredericksburg area sites, you can reach Appomattox in time to see "where it ended". An entirely enjoyable, rural drive would be traveling west on back roads to either VA 20 or US 15 near Orange, VA, south on US 15 to Dilwyn (Welsh for "William", I believe, so named for the Welsh quarrymen who emigrated to the Arvonia area to work the slate quarries in the late 18th and early 19th centuries), west on US 60, south/west on VA 24 to Appomattox. Appomattox sits astride US 460 and you can head west on 460 through Lynchburg and Bedford to Roanoke. It's probably 2-2.5 hours of drive time at a leisurely pace to reach Appomattox from the Chancellorsville area. I'd guess another hour to 1.5 hours over to Roanoke from Appomattox. If you were to so choose, you could drive directly to Appomattox, foregoing the Fredericksburg area battlefields. Come to think of it, you could stay on US 15 to Farmville, VA, take a 2 mile round-trip walk along a wide, level hiking/cycling trail (High Bridge Trail State Park), walk out onto the High Bridge (newly built guardrails), and get a great view of the action at High Bridge between Lee's final battle and Appomattox. There is a "Lee's Retreat" route which traces the roads upon which his army marched from Sailor's Creek battlefield and Appomattox. I think you could easily reach Farmville within 2 hours (VA 3, VA 20, US 15), spend an hour walking to the High Bridge and back to the parking area, another hour driving along the marked route to Appomattox, and a couple of hours at Appomattox. That would give you and the kids a good, long view of the retreat route by driving along its exact trace.

    The High Bridge Trail State Park, Sailor's Creek (aka Saylor's Creek), and Appomattox all have websites.

    Be aware of the possibility of segments of the Blue Ridge Parkway being closed in April. A late-season snowstorm would likely close affected parts for a few hours to a few days. The Parkway is not plowed in winter, for the most part, so any April snow will remain until the sun and warmer temps melt it away.

    I've never been to Biltmore House, despite it's presence within my home state. Asheville holds prominence as a liberal, trendy city with much in the way of activities.

    Enjoy planning and taking your RoadTrip.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-14-2013 at 03:07 PM. Reason: fixed typo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It's Up to You

    Keep in mind that it's up to you how much time to spend at any of the many military parks sprinkled throughout Virginia. Even if you could spend several days roaming a battlefield as vast and significant as Gettysburg, you can also get valuable insights by simply hitting the visitors center and taking a short hike over some of the bloodstained ground.

    Near the start of your trip is one such battlefield, Spotsylvania, which was the site of several engagements through the war. But note that the park's website offers suggestions for what to do (under the Plan Your Trip tab) if you only have a limited amount of time. Another option, of course, is to visit one or two of the lesser-known battle sites in the Shenandoah Valley such as Kernstown, Monocacy, and Cedar Creek.


  4. Default Great stuff and thanks for the info

    Thanks AZBuck and Foy. As usual, great insightful feedback. I did have Appomattox in mind so i'm glad you mentioned it as it is on the way depending on which way you go. Saylor's Creek sound up our alley as well. Can't wait. Thanks again


  5. Default A quick Summary

    Hi Guys,
    Happy to say we had a fantastic trip. I highly recommend the Marine Corps Museum between DC and Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg is a charming town with plenty of history. I also highly recommend Chatham House which is in the town itself and has a beautiful outlook over the river. This was a former plantation house and served a a Union hospital during the civil war. The 2 lovely people who worked there, an older gentleman and a lady gave us a personalised tour. Sorry I can't remember their names. They said they didn't get too many Aussies visiting there. Foy, I also took your advice and went to Marye Heights which was fantastic and also took the route you suggested to Appomattox which was a pleasant a scenic drive off the main roads. We were lucky enough to see snow coming into Roanoke. Unfortunately many sections of the BRP were closed. Not sure why but it definately wasn't due to snow as the sections we did travel were fine. Linville falls was impressive. Lastly, Asheville is a very cool city to visit. It has a exciting atmosphere and isn't too big but still has plenty of places to eat. Biltmore Estate is expensive but worth it.

    Thanks again - already planning the next trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise


    Try the McDonald's by the I-40 Biltmore exit in Asheville, NC. It is like no other McDonald's you've ever been to. Almost too fancy. Fill up with gas before getting to Asheville as it is usually at least 20 cents more than other places. And, I-40 west of Asheville is quite a cut through the mountains.

    If you get a chance to try some Carolina BBQ, by all means, do it.

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