Thanks for all the great advice and adventures shared here. It has been very helpful in my planning a segment of a trip this summer with friends up the East coast. This segment is from Orlando to Washington, which we hope to make by rental car from July 25th or 26th arriving in Washington around Aug 1st.
I was captivated by the idea of going through the Smoky Mtns, and taking the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive (Shenandoah Nat Pk) as the major part of the route north. I had it planned as day 1 to north of Atlanta, day 2 Smoky Mtns to Gatlinburg, day 3 to Asheville, day 4 to Mabry Mill/Rocky Knob; day 5 to around Montebello, day 6 to Washington. I understand it is hard to make many miles on the BRP, so don't want to rush it.
It has now been suggested that we visit Savannah and or Charleston. I've read info here on how wonderful both places are, especially Charleston. Is it worth going that much off the main route? We can probably squeeze out an extra day, but would need to speed up the rest of the trip to fit it in (I am thinking of a day and a half to two days and going from Charleston to Asheville, and then taking a day to do a loop around the Smokies.
Would we see similar type southern towns by going the original route? We want to get a good flavor of the South as well as the mountains. We are happy to see some historic homes, but not fanatical. Quite happy with small towns, and experiencing as much of the food, culture, history as we can along the way.
I can see how we could easily speed up where we get behind schedule by jumping off the BRP onto the 221 etc or I81. Are there areas of the BRP not to be missed in doing that? It sounds idylic but perhaps not so practical to drive the whole BRP.
Any advice on timing, and places to see would be appreciated.