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  1. Default Rhode Island to Charlotte/Asheville

    Hi there,

    I'm planning a trip next month from providence down through NJ, VA and ending in the Charlotte area to get to some amusement parks. That's a pretty simple route. What I was hoping for was assistance on a route going from Charlotte/Asheville up through the blue ridge parkway and then if possible getting onto a northern mountain road for as long as we can before diverting back to a highway to return to RI. Taking my Challenger, so need to be able to find hotels along the way and would like to find Marriott brands preferably.

    Appreciate any insight given!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default I-95 vs. I-81

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, to be honest, that's not really much of a fight. I would opt for I-81 every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Either way it's two full days from Providence to either Charlotte or Asheville. But let's look at some routes.

    If there's a good reason to include New Jersey, then I-95 is pretty much the only way to do it, but if you can skip the Garden State then you can avoid I-95, NYC, Philly, Baltimore and DC altogether, not to mention a few toll roads. And it's incredibly simple. Just take US-6 west out of Providence to I-384/I-84 west at Manchester CT and on to Scranton where you'd get on I-81 and I-77 south to Charlotte or I-81 south and I-26 east to Asheville. If you use the suggested route, Winchester VA would be about halfway and it has three Marriott properties to choose from, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites and TownPlace Suites.

    Your best opportunity to include some of the Blue Ridge Parkway would be between Staunton and Roanoke VA where the Parkway runs more or less parallel to I-81 just to its southeast, and travels through the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest.

    As for "a northern mountain road", The northern Appalachians aren't all that mountainous except in a few areas. And the main roads tend to follow the valleys as much as possible. For your purposes, and assuming you'll do this on the return leg, I think striking north from Harrisburg towards I-80 and then rejoining I-81 would be your best bet to see some 'mountain' scenery. What I'd suggest is US-15 north to US-22 west. At Thompsontown head onto some two-lane state roads, PA-333 and PA-235 to Hartleton PA and then PA-45 east to Lewisburg and there get back onto US-15 north to I-80 east. If you decide to do this and still want to take only two days, you might want to move your mid-point a bit farther north to Hagerstown MD where, again, there are three Marriott properties.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-22-2022 at 03:55 PM. Reason: Updated directins to Asheville

  3. #3


    Depending on how much time there is for travel, and what (if anything) you had in mind for NJ a couple other possibilities pop up.

    To include a trip through NJ without having to use I-95, you could follow the above directions. When I-84 crosses the NY Thruway (I-87), take that south and then go onto I-287 as you enter NJ.

    That goes through somewhat more mountainous areas in NJ and crosses both I-80 and I-78, either of which taken West will get you into PA and connect back to I-81, while still staying away from the worst areas of traffic in NJ that come with getting closer to I-95.

    For the return, if you are taking the Blue Ridge Parkway as suggested, at the northern end near Staunton it continues on for 105 miles as the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. That certainly qualifies for mountains and views, but note that it is a 35 MPH road, so that distance will take 3 hours, not including any stops you might make. Once you get to the northern end, it's not too hard to get back over to I-81 to continue north from there (US 522 North or I-66 West in some combination).

    One additional (not mountains but interestingly scenic route) - if you followed the suggested section in PA above, you could not return directly to I-81, but continue over I-80 East almost back into NJ, then take US 209 North at Stroudsburg and re-connect to I-84 in Matamoras, this takes you through the Delaware Water Gap which is also a known scenic area (but again, a bit slower road wise).

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