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  1. Default roadtrip from Smokey Mntn in Tennesse I-81 to New Jersey

    We will be taking a trip to the Smokeys (have been there many times) and would like a recommendation of a nice stopover about 1/2 way home.
    I have 3 kids ages 4, 6, and 16. We arent much into the historical stuff but would like a nice town where you could see the backdrop of the mountains, some shopping and restaurants. We would like to stop somewhat early so we arent driving all day. So far I have a few places in mind. Lexington, Staunton, Lynchburg, New Market, Waynesboro, Winchester, Front Royal, Hagerstown MD???? Too many choices. Also a nice hotel for the kids to swim. We will be traveling I-81. We may go on the Blue Ridge Parkway for just a little bit but not too much. Are there any towns off of BRP that are nice?

    Any suggestions would be great

  2. #2

    Default Couple of general ideas

    Hello Ginger,

    Of the burgs you mentioned, in recent years I've only been to Lexington's, Staunton's (pronounced STAN-ton, you understand), and Harrisonburg's.

    Lexington and Staunton each have quaint, historical downtowns. Harrisonburg seems, to me, to be a more bustling modern college town without much other than normal suburban shopping and dining. Although it's been +30 years since I've seen Lynchburg's downtown, it strikes me as not terribly exciting, but congested, as I pass through along US 29 on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ditto Roanoke, but Roanoke's downtown is pretty neat and there is a great train museum there (I understand the historical stuff isn't your preference, but since Roanoke is on both the BRP and I-81, I thought I'd mention it).

    As to motels with swimming, I don't have a specific recommendation, but the larger chain motels can be found at both Lexington and Staunton, particularly Staunton, and I'd imagine it to be simple to locate one with the pool and children's attractions you seek at either place. I did recently stay at a Holiday Inn at Roanoke, on the north side of downtown, close to I-81, and they had an inside/outside pool with attached hot-tub that my nieces and nephews and the adults all enjoyed, and within a couple of miles was a large regional shopping mall and the whole spectrum of "family/casual" dining.

    From approximately Lexington on north, and particularly from Staunton on north, the BRP and Skyline Drive are within a few miles east of I-81 (averaging 10-15 miles, I'd say). Good access is found at I-64 and US 33, immediately east of Staunton and Harrisonburg, respectively. Charlottesville is just past the BRP/SD east of Staunton, and C'ville provides a large variety of lodging, nice downtown, and shopping. Further north, on that side of the Blue Ridge, lie Culpeper and Warrenton, neither being much for me to get excited about. Past Warrenton, you're in the DC suburbs, and for a guy like me, the traveling fun ends there.

    Have a safe, enjoyable trip.


  3. Default

    thanks very much for the information!

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