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  1. #1

    Default Orlando 10 day circular route via blue ridge mountains

    Well, the flight to Orlando, and the Jeep are booked and we - parents + 2 girls (16 & 10) - have a blank canvas 18 days wide on which to paint our July 2013 road trip. We've decided to end it with 8 days in theme park mayhem, so that leaves 10 days for a circular road trip. Our last year's fabulous Vegas-California trip was, with hindsight, easy in the planning. You just headed for all the places you'd seen on the TV and, with a little help from this Forum, we had a whale of a time. But the south-east isn't so full of obvious choices. We think we ought to go up the coast, to Savannah, and Charleston, and then do some (or all?) of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But where to head inland - towards Charlotte? Or, head further up the coast and head inland to Raleigh, allowing a fuller tour of the parkway, (though I'm not sure I want to spend 2 days driving at 35mph, beautiful though it will be). Then to Ashville and the Smoky Mountains, maybe - but, after that? I am happy to visit Nashville and Memphis, but equally happy to give them a miss. I like the sound of the Mississippi area and the blues highway, though New Orleans looks maybe a few miles too far. Dropping south via Chattanooga may cut the trip to a reasonable length. We don't want to spend 10 nights in 10 different hotels, but we are prepared perhaps to have a couple of two-night stops. I've bought the map, and the Logue Guide to the Blue Ridge, and I thought that after a few days a clear picture would appear. It hasn't. Help would be appreciated. We don't want to go climbing or rafting, or spend time in concrete jungles, but most other things - including looking out of a car window - will be fine. Our thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Default The BRP in July

    Hello johnnyfingers,

    I often mention the combination of slow travel speeds, crowds, and incessant curves to those contemplating driving the entire BRP as being "too much of a good thing" for some. From south of Asheville (note spelling--should help in ongoing searches/planning), the BRP runs 469 miles to Rockfish Gap in VA, and then the Skyline Drive running through Shenandoah National Park is another 105 miles up to a point immediately west of Washington, DC. While I've never driven the entire BRP, I'd assume it would be two VERY long days or better, 3 days.

    You have two good and fairly easy opportunities to reach the BRP from your coastal traverse. From Charleston, I-26 runs straight up through SC to Asheville, or you could branch off of I-26 to I-77 and reach the BRP at Fancy Gap, VA. In my humble opinion, the mountain scenery along the BRP north of Fancy Gap pales considerably to that from Fancy Gap on southward. In particular, from Deep Gap, NC to Asheville, and from Asheville to Cherokee are the prime dramatic mountain vista segments of the BRP. The highest elevations along the BRP are within these segments, and drive-ups to 5,000' and beyond are possible at Grandfather Mountain, near Blowing Rock (parking area elevation 5,280') and Mount Mitchell (peak elevation 6,683' and only a 5 minute walk up a paved pathway from the parking area). Short walks on the order of a half-mile or less, do-able in running shoes or sandals, will bring you to quite a number of waterfalls, overlooks, and other sights along the BRP. Be sure to download the National Park Service BRP brochure and map.

    The southern terminus of the BRP at Cherokee is of course the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains NP, as such was the intent of the BRP to begin with--to link the Shenandoah and GSMNPs.

    As to multi-night stops, I'd consider Blowing Rock, NC and Asheville, NC. Blowing Rock is a very small town but is entirely devoted to tourism in July. It's within a mile or so from the BRP and features loads of motels, restaurants, shopping, and even a proper pub (Six Pence Pub and Grill--I hoisted a couple of pints there two weeks ago!), all within walking distance. Probably best to reserve room(s) if you want to be assured of having overnights within walking distance of Main Street (oh, and you can have a look at Main Street Blowing Rock at Blowing Rock's central feature is the Town Park, seen prominently on the noted webcam. Just outside of town along the BRP is Moses Cone Memorial Park, a sub-unit of the BRP. The Cone Manor is the restored 19th century manor house built by Cone as a place of respite from his textile factory base in Greensboro, NC. A nice mountain crafts store is there and local artisans create their wares before you at Cone Manor during the summer. The house is in the midst of 25 miles of gently graded graveled carriage trails which Cone built. The carriage trails are now used as footpaths and bridle trails.

    I've spent very little time in Asheville, but it enjoys a reputation as a very progressive small city with a vibrant downtown. It is also rapidly becoming a Mecca for craft brewing, so some pints of local brew are readily available in sidewalk cafe' brewpubs in Asheville.
    Asheville is home to the Grove Park Inn, a high-end hotel, and Vanderbilt's Biltmore House, one of the only true "castles" in the States.

    I hope this helps, and I hope you'll enjoy the planning and the RoadTrip!


  3. #3


    Thanks Foy, I appreciate the advice, particularly on the best views of the mountains. This tells us where to get on the Parkway - Fancy Gap.

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