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Thread: 1st Road Trip

  1. Default 1st Road Trip

    Making plans for a summer trip, partially planned. Leaving upstate South Carolina, 1st stop is in Natural Bridge, Va. Then to Lancaster, Pa. After that not sure, was thinking going through West Virginia, Kentucky, then back through Tennessee before heading home. Looking for interesting places in WV and KY.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Obvious(?) Choices

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Judging by the two destinations you've listed on your itinerary so far, I'm guessing that this is a RoadTrip meant to get to relaxing, scenic places and not the big cities. In that case, the best (in my opinion) of what a return drive through West Virginia and Kentucky have to offer seems fairly obvious. First, though, you'll have to recognize that you're going to be repeating the basic drive between roughly Staunton VA and Lancaster PA. Fortunately there are two good , but strikingly different ways to go so you can do one up and the other back. The faster route is to just use I-81 while the more scenic, but much slower, is the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). The parkway will take you through the heart of Shenandoah National Park, but the park is accessible from either route. Also in the Lancaster area is another contemplative spot, the Gettysburg National Battlefield and Cemetery.

    On your way back, I'd suggest that you leave I-81/BRP around central Virginia and head westward on I-64/US-60 with a goal of visiting the New River Gorge National River then continuing on into Kentucky and the Bluegrass Parkway out of Lexington with the ultimate goal of Mammoth Cave National Park. Then on the way back to South Carolina use KY-90/KY-92 to I-75 south and cross the Appalachians again on US-441 out of Knoxville through Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Asheville NC area and home.


  3. Default

    You are correct AZ, relaxing scenic places and no big cities. There will be a short backtrack when we leave Lancaster, the alternative is to alter my original route and go through Richmond & Baltimore to get to PA, then hit Natural Bridge on the way to West Virginia. Not totally opposed to that, just don't want to stay in the big cities. Thanks for your suggestions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default In Which Case...

    There is a scenic alternative route heading north. Rather than using I-81 or the BRP on the leg up to Lancaster, use I-85 up to Greensboro NC and US-29 north from there. This is a very nice road through rolling countryside and some historic towns such as Lynchburg and Charlottesville (Jefferson's Monticello). Then at Culpeper switch over to US-15 up across the Potomac to Gettysburg and US-30 into Lancaster. You'd then, as you note, hit Natural Bridge VA on the way toe West Virginia and Kentucky.


  5. #5


    In eastern KY, there's Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Park. Both are beautiful with plenty of hiking opportunities, if you're inclined to hike. I enjoy people-watching at Miguel's Pizza near Red River Gorge -- fun to watch all the climbers milling around.

    In central KY, you can hit up multiple bourbon distilleries for tours and tastings. Or you can simply drive through some beautiful scenery -- horse farms, rolling hills, lovely old rock walls. There's also the KY Horse Park just north of Lexington.

    A little further west -- Mammoth Cave and the Corvette Museum toward the south, and more distilleries and the Bardstown area where you can tour My Old Kentucky Home toward the north. Bernheim Forest & Arboretum is one of my favorite places to hike -- it's between Bardstown and Louisville.

    If you're into history, consider Lincoln's Birthplace, Fort Boonesborough, Old Fort Harrod, and Perryville battlefield.

    You mentioned you wanted to avoid cities, so I'll hold back on my Louisville pitch. ;)

  6. Default

    Thanks for the info. Although I do want to avoid staying in big cities, I wouldn't mind going through Lexington and maybe Louisville, would like to visit Churchill Downs. Definitely have the Corvette Museum on my radar, and enjoy caverns. From Bowling Green I could begin my journey back to SC via Nashville and then through the Smoky Mountains.

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