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  1. #1

    Default Clockwise circuit from Atlanta

    After much deliberation and humming and ha-ing, we have confirmed dates for this year's American Adventure, arriving in Atlanta in the middle of August and taking a fraction under 3 weeks to explore some of the Eastern states. I've sketched out most of our must-sees and would-really-like-to-sees in Google maps and am planning the following:

    North through Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana before turning right and following the Historic National Road eastwards for as long as we're enjoying it. We then need to make our way to Princeton, before heading back south again, this time via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    I aim to keep things as loose as possible in terms of routes and timings but the one thing we do need to do is call into Princeton to say hi to my sister. I'm reckoning on taking around 8 days from Atlanta to Princeton. Is there a route that might be more fun that others to get there? Maybe across the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays and then up the coast?

    We then need to get from Princeton to Shenandoah. Maybe this would be the time to follow the coast (to Williamsburg)? My wife would like to take in the Lincoln Memorial if possible or maybe this would be better tacked onto the end of the National Road section?

    Please feel free to comment on any other aspects of our proposed circuit (AZBuck - I'd particularly value any input you might have), but it's this top right section that I'm a little uncertain about.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-30-2008 at 08:59 AM. Reason: mistake by Editor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Resource Material


    I looked at some of the places you have identified on the Google map and it occurred to me that you might be interested in one or more of the book written by Chris Epting -- he has made a career of finding and documenting places like you and Carole tend to explore. On this page, you can find a list of his books that I have reviewed.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Random Thoughts

    It sounds like you'll have a little more time (maybe a day or two) after the Princeton visit than before, so I'd stick with the clockwise circuit. I think the coast offers some places and things that you might want to spend a bit more time at. Unfortunately, August is peak travel time, and even with most Americans feeling the pinch of rising gas prices, most of the folks in the large Eastern cities will just be sticking closer to home.

    Anyway, you seem to have the central portion of the trip pretty well booked, so let me try to point you to some of my favorite places on the Princeton-Atlanta leg. If Baltimore is not in your plans (I'm not sure what the lines are on the map you linked to) then from the National Road, head for Gettysburg and Amish country. 'Tourist' Amish country is Lancaster, Bird in Hand, Intercourse, but I really prefer just driving around in the Strasburg-Oxford-Parkesburg triangle just to the south of there. The Amish farms and stores are easy to pick out, they're the ones without wires connecting them to the power lines. But it's just beautiful countryside in any event.

    From there you can thread the needle between Philadelphia and Wilmington via Kennett Square (Longwood Gardens) and Chadds Ford (Brandywine River Art Museum, Brandywine Battlefield) to Chester to cross the Delaware River and use I-295 up to Princeton. My nephew went to grad school at Princeton. His digs reminded me a lot of Cambridge and Oxford, but I don't know how typical they were. I do remember him showing me Einstein's house (still a private residence, so no tours I'm afraid.)

    Given your preference for nature and history, I think I would send you down to Cape May from Princeton. US-206/NJ-54/US-322/NJ-50 would be my preferred route to the coast, and then US-9 to the Ferry to Lewes. Lewes, DE is another historic town, a great place to just walk around. I'd start with a visit to the Zwaanendael Museum and some of the historic downtown homes, but there are a few nice beach and bay walks here as well with a large state park south of town (ocean) and wildlife refuges to the north (on the bay). From here you've go a couple of options, but I think I'd recommend that you go across the Peninsula to towns like Easton, Oxford (That's the third Oxford mentioned in this post!) and St. Michaels. St. Michaels has, unfortunately, become a bit of an upscale tourist trap, but it is home to the Chesapeake Maritime Museum which is a must if you want to learn about the history of the Bay. I'd also recommend a day trip a little farther north and over the Bay Bridge (not to be confused with the Bay Bridge-Tunnel) to Annapolis. Another great compact historic town with great walking tours.

    South of Delaware, the Peninsula gets a little sparse, but Chincoteague and Assateague might appeal to you, and there is a small NASA launch facility and display just outside Chincoteague at Wallops Island, and you can continue all the way down to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to the Norfolk area and backtrack slightly to Williamsburg and Yorktown. But if you decide to go to Annapolis, and particularly if you decide to see Washington at this point, then just stay on this side of the Bay and go directly.

    From Williamsburg, I-64 will take you through Charlottesville (Monticello is a must) and put you in position to either see Shenandoah National Park, get on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or both. Parts of the Parkway will be closed for repair I think, but the rangers at Shenandoah should have the latest information. I'm not nearly as familiar with this portion of your drive, but Lexington, VA is probably worth a visit as is Asheville, NC. And one other major Civil War Battlefield, that you can see either at the start or end of your trip is Chattanooga/Chickamauga.


  4. #4

    Default Many thanks

    That's great - thank you both.

    Mark: I've just ordered all three of Chris' books. This is very much Carole's thing so she will be delighted.

    Buck: the lines are the bits of the National Road and Blue Ridge Parkway that I could identify/trace via Google maps. Both are incomplete but helped me identify the general circuit. Thanks in particular for the battlefield tips - I knew we were light on these and it's something I'm keen to experience.

    We'd decided to avoid the coast for the very reasons you give - peak season crowds - but your tips on the Delaware peninsula sound like just what we're looking for.

    Just one other question: are there a number of Amish communities? You highlighted the area immediately east of Lancaster PA; I'd also found this link to the Amish Country Byway in Ohio.

    Last edited by Peter Thody; 07-01-2008 at 12:48 AM. Reason: Added Amish question

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Amish

    There are Amish communities in about two dozen states and a few in Canada. The three largest concentrations are in northeast Ohio, around Elkhart, Indiana, and in Lancaster County in southeastern Pennsylvania. I am most familiar with the Pennsylvania community as I grew up in that general area and my brother owned an old farm outside Oxford, PA for a number of years.


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