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Stony Point, NC to Richmond, VA and surrounding areas... help, please!

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My boyfriend and I have just started planning a business/pleasure trip for the fall.

Planning to fly from LAX into Charlotte, NC to visit family in Stony Point and then driving to Richmond, VA for a few days of work. Will have four days after the meetings to sight see. I have never been to the east coast before and am overwhelmed ( read torn) about making decisions between all of the historical sights and places that I have heard of my entire life and never seen! How to choose?!!

So here are my specific questions. In driving from Stony Point to Richmond... if we veer off of the interstate and take the "scenic route," do you have any recommendations for sightseeing or special places to stay? Wonderful meals? Not to miss scenery? Small towns that might otherwise be easily missed?

After the conference in Richmond, where to go? Where to stay? Beach or battlefields? Can we manage to squeeze in both? We love history, horses, live music, literature, and although we are used to the fast pace of Southern California, would love to relax a bit on this trip.

In Richmond, our lodging will be chosen for us but far as price for hotels, probably won't go over $200 per night. Prefer small historic hotels with some charm... not fussy bed and breakfast.

What do I need to know? TIA.

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