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KY-NC-TN-VA Romantic Long Weekend

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[I’m tagging this in all four state forums.]

I’d like to surprise my wife with a few days away toward the end of June, like the 25th-28th (though somewhat flexible). We live in Virginia Beach but would like to get to the mountains, but I don’t want to stay in the Smoky Mountains (too little time and too many tourists – we’d rather do that in the off season). I’m looking for inexpensive alternatives “off the beaten path” (not a lot of cha-ching in the bank for this). We don’t require a fancy place to stay; Comfort Inns are perfect, although a reasonably priced B&B would be nice. An acquaintance got me thinking about the Cumberland Gap area, but I see there are other places in striking distance from there, such as Kentucky Ridge State Forest, Big Stone Gap in VA, Cherokee National Forest in TN, and others. I know nothing about that general area, and I don’t see any articles elsewhere on this web site.

We enjoy light hiking or walking – anything outdoorsy – or just driving around exploring small towns.

I thought of heading west on Rte 58 across Virginia, which would be 9 ½ to 10 hours to Cumberland Gap. That’s a little far but okay, because we both enjoy long drives for their own sake. We could always take a faster route back home, too. Or, if there’s anything closer that’s worth doing, I’d like to hear it!

Any recommendations… or recommendations for what to avoid? We’re mostly wanting to just relax, as we are extremely busy with three kids and looking ahead to a very busy summer, and we just want some time to ourselves. Many thanks!

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