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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Southern New Jersey

    Default Blue Ridge Parkway

    Hi all,

    A friend of mine and I are planning to take a week and get out of Jersey for a bit. We were thinking about cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway and possibly hitting Nashville. Does anyone recommend a route to do this? I'm hoping I can take in a good amount of the Parkway. We might just bail on Nashville if it's too far out of the way. We're just looking to go on a drive and see the sights, maybe find a decent spa/hotel and chill for a day or 2. If anyone can recommend some stops along the way that would be great.



  2. #2

    Default The BRP, Music City

    Jersey Traveler,

    Good afternoon from North Carolina. Here are a few things to take into account as you plan your RoadTrip:

    The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is long--469 miles to be exact. Add the Skyline Drive (SD) to it and it's 575 miles in all. On each, travel is slow. Nowhere are posted speed limits > 45 mph and there are many 35mph zones. It would not be uncommon to average 25-30mph on a "beginning of day to end of day" basis, allowing for scenic stops and lunch. There are hundreds of turn-outs and dozens of exhibits most folks will want to see at least some of. The SD, being shorter, passes through more or less homogeneous terrain--the crest of the Blue Ridge mountains in Central VA right down the middle of Shenandoah National Park (and the entrance fee there will be part of your planning--no entrance fees for the BRP even though it's also a National Park Service unit). The BRP traverses pretty much the full range of moderately high foothills to reaching elevations approaching 5,000' in North Carolina's Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain ranges.

    I have spent much time on the BRP in the vicinity of Boone and Blowing Rock, NC, where I went to college in the 1970s. Six months ago, I drove the BRP from milepost 393 at Asheville past Blowing Rock to Meadows of Dan, VA. The section near Asheville was one I hadn't traveled for +40 years--since I was around 10 or 12 years old. It was awesome. That section included a spur which takes you to Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi. All in all, I'd have to rate the section from about Asheville to about Roaring Gap, NC (practically on the NC/VA line as the most dramatic in terms of overall elevation, waterfalls, gorges, and high mountains (and Grandfather Mountain is within a couple miles of the BRP near Blowing Rock).

    Nashville is around 300 miles west of most any part of the BRP in NC. Figure a day spent just driving there and back (half-day each way) so you can better judge your time budget. It's decent driving on I-81 and I-40, depending on where you jump off the BRP, but it's a fairly long haul.

    My wife thoroughly enjoyed a day spa treatment at Westglow Spa, on a dramatic ridgetop just outside of Blowing Rock. Westglow strikes me as fairly high-end but I'm not a veteran of those kind of things. Down by Asheville is the Grove Park Inn, a sizable resort hotel with a long list of amenities. None less than our President and his wife just spent a weekend at the Grove Park Inn, so it is probably considered high-end, too. Beyond those, I really don't personally know of spas along the way, but I'll bet there are a handful more, at least.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Southern New Jersey

    Default Hotels Along The Way

    Thanks Foy! We're planning on just winging it and stopping when we get tired of driving. It looks like there's easy access to hotels along the way if we need a break. Did you find this to be the case?

    Also, how many days do you think we should allow for the drive starting from Front Royal? I'm thinking 2-3 days.

  4. #4

    Default 3 days at the very least


    With a combined length of 574 miles, the SD + BRP would take over 16 hours to traverse at an average "beginning to ending of the day" travel speed of 35 mph. Depending upon how many turnouts you stop at to take in the view for a few moments, how many short to long hikes you take, and how long you wish to dedicate to travel each day, it seems to me 3 days is a bare minimum. I'd really figure on at least 4 and would be happy to find I covered it more quickly and saw what I wanted to see while traveling at my own personally comfortable pace.

    All of my SD and BRP travel has been as a "local" where I graduated from Appalachian State University in the 1970s, have been a part-owner of vacation property in the Blowing Rock, NC area for +30 years, and lived for around 4 years outside of Charlottesville, VA. Accordingly, I've never overnighted in standard motels or even camped along the Parkways. It is certainly my impression that accomodations abound, however, both directly on the BRP and within short distances off of it at major crossings. They're a bit scarce between Little Switzerland and Asheville, however. The segment between Asheville and Cherokee I've never traveled, too.


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