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10 days in May NYC -Blue ridge parkway-asheville-savannah - NYC

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Apr 12th, 2012, 10:24 AM
  #1
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10 days in May NYC -Blue ridge parkway-asheville-savannah - NYC

Hello,
We are planning a driving trip from NYC via Blue ridge parkway-Asheville-Savannah (?) - back to NYC via seashore of NC. What would please send me suggestions regarding places to see, hotels to stay, thing to do? My hobby is photography; we want to hike a bit and just relax. Any tips and recommendation are welcome. Thank you all.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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That's a bit of a drive for just relaxing. I'd suggest Charleston as your southernmost stop instead of Savannah.
Maybe two days to get to Asheville. Look on the Parkway site for vistas and stopping places.
Two days in Asheville. Biltmore House is probably a given.
Drive to Charleston for 2 full days--I think it would be about a 5 hour drive so you'd have part of a day then. The plantations and the city are photo ops just waiting.
Froom Charleston you have a about a 12 hour drive to NYC so you could sort of gauge your remaining time by that.
Sue, is it Hunting Island that is the bird sanctuary near Charleston? Whatever that is would be a big plus.
Georgetown about an hour and a half up from Charleston is a lovely Revolutionary War town, and just north of that at Litchfield is Brookgreen Gardens. I would rate that a must see for you and your photography.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 01:53 PM
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I think you'll find an hour or so of the BR Parkway will be enough and you will be getting out your map to get onto the highway for awhile I would suggest finding out the most scenic stretches.. and do those. It is VERY slow going, beautiful, but none the less, you have quite an agenda to keep.

The Pisgah Inn was a definite highlight. We had lunch there and just sat and gazed out those windows.

http://www.pisgahinn.com/dining_and_...facilities.htm
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Apr 13th, 2012, 04:16 AM
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The Pisgah Inn is a bit below Asheville so they'll have to decide if they want to do that or head more easterly for the coast at that point.
I will also somewhat caution that your views from the high elevations of the parkway will depend on weather--you are often IN the clouds at some times of the year.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 06:55 AM
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Hunting Island is a beach state park down by Beaufort. I love it, but it's not a bird sanctuary per se. Are you talking about the Center for Birds of Prey? It's north of Charleston on Highway 17.

When are you traveling and how many days do you plan to take? There's a LOT to do, but to do the neat stuff you'll need a couple of weeks at least.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 07:11 AM
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OK shoot I missed it: 10 days. I would do what Gretchen said. Charleston is one big photo op and the food is world class. From here I'd go up 17 to Cape Romain and take the ferry over to Bull Island. Bring bug stuff.

You can keep on 17, visit Brookgreen Gardens, bypass Myrtle Beach, and go to WIlmington. I'm not sure you have enough time to take the ferry to Ocracoke and do the Banks.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Definitely make Savannah and Tybee Island part of your trip! I recommend http://busybeevacations, http://mermaidcottages.com and http://tybeejoyvacationrentals.com.

You won't regret it. Fantastic historic sites, green/eco tours, food and lots of photo ops!
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Apr 13th, 2012, 11:11 AM
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First of all-thank you all! I think about skipping Savannah and go to Charleston. Should we spend a day at Myrtle Beach or something better to see on the coast in mid-May (we are NOT golfers)? In terms of timing - we can leave on Wend night and stay over in MD or DC, so we would have 11 full days.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 03:19 PM
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I'm not nuts about Myrtle, but that's just me. I WOULD spend time, as I stated at Brookgreen and have lunch at Chive Blossom at Pawleys Island. Pawley's has historic beach "cottages" that are interesting. I would go on up to Wilmington and go here:
http://www.airliegardens.org/history.asp

There's a bottle house there that's on my bucket list.

Again, I'm not sure you'll have time for the Outer Banks. You'd have to drive up through small towns (not a bad thing, but it takes time) to catch the ferry. You have to reserve a spot on it. The NC DOT has a website where you can do that.

While in Charleston, you might enjoy driving to Mt Pleasant to Shem Creek, where the shrimp boats dock. I just had the first shrimp of the season. They are fabulous. If you see a lady walking dogs wave. It's me.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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Going from Asheville to Charleston is a snap. I-26 all the way. (It is an interstate but it is still an attractive road through the lower mountains.) A little bit further than midway Newberry, SC is a good stop. Four miles off the interstate is a restored opera house and town square. Several great lunch options.

I don't think Myrtle would add value to your trip unless you have teenagers in your group.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 03:29 PM
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P.S. There is a nice 100 year old Japanese garden in Newberry.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 04:36 PM
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palmettoprincess, I so need to come to Newberry. I just saw it on "City Confidential". LOL
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Apr 13th, 2012, 05:10 PM
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Since you have no desire to see Washington DC but need to see NYC, could I suggest taking the 3AM train #67 out of NYP to Richmond VA? It arrives before 11AM. Rent your car there and drive a loop including BRP, Asheville, Charleston and Manteo NC. Return the car to Richmond.
Return home from any of several airports (National, BWI or Newark (EWR).
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Apr 13th, 2012, 06:12 PM
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Suewoo: I saw that episode years ago. I knew Vickie's sister. It was sad.

Newberry is not my hometown but I work there one day a week. Last week a news crew from Asheville was filming a travel spot there. I recommend it for folks traveling between Asheville and Charleston because it is about half way and close to the interstate.

Another spot for a photographer to visit between Asheville and Charleston is the Poinsett Bridge north of Greenville.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 04:51 AM
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Please don't bother with MB! Brookgreen Gardens Sue and I are recommending is just 20 miles south of MB in the stretch of road that is Litchfield/Pawley's Island. There are really nice places to stay--on the beach with an ocean view or a lovely Hampton Inn across the road from Litchfield/the ocean. As you drive north to Wilmington, you'll go through MB and its traffic.
To give you an idea of time/distance, it is an 8 hour drive from Litchfield (90 minutes north of Charleston) to the OBX, which is why Sue is suggesting you may not have time for that.
Brookgreen Gardens is a unique place. It is an old plantation property purchased in the 30's by the Huntingtons who spent 6 months of the year there in a VERY VERY odd "home" across the road from Brookgreen proper. It is also open for touring and do go--it is a sort of Moorish "castle" on the oceanfront of an interesting architecture where you walk from one room directly into the next (no hallways) in a large square.
Anna Huntington was a metal sculptor and made colossal pieces. In addition there is a beautiful collection of other artists and their works in lovely settings.
We went again recently and they have done a very creative thing--all museums have "cellars" full of pieces they can't display at one time. They have built a hall with all these on display in cases instead of just packed away.
As a photographer, you will love/appreciate the settings of many of the sculptures in the alleyways of trees and plantings, in addition to the beautiful open settings in pavillions.
There is also a slave cemetery, and a walkway along the old rice planting washes along the river.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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Another vote to skip MB since you are not golfers. However, eating at one of the clubs can be a very nice relaxing down time .

Golf courses usually have fair-priced. tasty food. Looking out over the 18th hole in most clubs is a feast for the eyes.. only to be surpassed by looking over the ocean at MB.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Skip Myrtle Beach. Take the Cedar Island ferry over to Okrakoke on the Outer Banks. Check out the Wright Brothers first flight monument near Kill Devil Hills.
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Apr 15th, 2012, 06:43 PM
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We have cycled the entire parkway (yes, all 400+ miles) many times over the years. There are a couple of sections that are closed for construction reasons so be sure and check out those areas. The official parkway site has a number to call for road section closures: (828) 298 0398.

yes, be ready to take your time if you choose to drive along the Parkway, one section or many. Plan on a 60 mile drive taking at least 1.5 hours, but if you're not in a hurry, there are fantastic hikes, stops, and places to stay along the way. And photography opportunities abound. Without several days on the parkway, I might agree that it's not really fun to drive all 400 plus miles of it in one day - better to drive to a destination and explore sections with a day trip or two.

Also, Plan your gas stops ahead of time as there are very few gas stations on the parkway, their hours might be limited and they can be hard to find - so fill that tank up whenever you can! There are mile post markers (MPM) every mile along the parkway starting at 0 at the northern terminus and ending in the 400s at the southern terminus (Cherokee and Great Smokey Nat. Park). You will see them along the way and they will help you navigate.

Some favorite places of mine to stay, beginning north in VA. are the Park Service hotels, a bit rustic (often no phones or TVs): Otters Peak and Rocky Knob Virginia (lodging, dining and camping available at both, although only fairly rustic cabins at Rocky Knob and a bit hard to find, google rockyknobcabins, I think), both beautiful; Dalton Park is closed still, I think. Blowing Rock area has some fun things to do and lots of lodging, dining, shopping options. My very favorite part of the BRP is the short drive along the viaduct with - the Tanawa trail along it - nice visitor center here too (with bathrooms). if you like, check out Grandfather Mtn, a fee area and just off the parkway just south of the viaduct section. The mile high bridge is quite exciting, views are spectacular. There are some amazing hikes accessible from the parking lot at the mile high bridge - youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqSEt...0cAUAAAAAAAHAA.

From Blowing Rock to Asheville is about 100 miles along the Parkway and I enjoy this 100 mile section. Linville Falls visitor center (restrooms)... nice short (1 mile, relatively flat) hike to the very unique and beautiful water fall at the top of Linville Gorge. There are a couple of lodging and dining options here in the tiny town of Linville Falls, but your only about 50-60 miles from Asheville at this point. Continuing south towards Asheville, Grandfather Mountain, highest peak east of the Mississippi is another great stop at MPM 355, with 5 mile spur road to the top of Mt Mitchell. Again, amazing views if the weather is clear - and can be socked in as well. There is a little snack shop and gift shop up here as well. At MPM 365 is the parking lot for another favorite hike - Craggy Pinnacle, about 1 mile or less from the parking lot and a wonderful hike to stunning views. A visitor center is just through the tunnel after this parking lot, and it has rest rooms, water and again, lovely views. It's downhill from here to Asheville. At about MPM 377 is Craven's Gap (and your official on the Asheville commuter section of the Parkway from MPM 377 to MPM 395) and the first direct access to Downtown Asheville via Town Mountain Road, the paved road, NC hwy 694. It is a lovely 6 mile drive down Town Mountain Road and it will drop you right into downtown Asheville onto College Street - turn right and you'll be in the heart of downtown after a couple of blocks - left onto College will take you through "The Tunnel" and a more strippy part of Asheville.

Folk Art Center (beautiful local art work) is around MPM 385, I think, and the BRP HQ is just another mile or so south of the Folk Art Center, both worthwhile places to stop.

Call VacationInAsheville for lodging options in Asheville - Oakland Cottage B&B right in town, or for a Vacation Rental option (www.VacationInAsheville.com). A great Asheville site is www.exploreasheville.com for more lodging options and a great event calendar - this is a great site.

I too recommend getting on I-26 East once in Asheville for the easy 4 hour drive East on I-26 to Charleston, Isle of Palms, Sullivan's Island, Folly Beach area. But, if you're dead set on Savanna, take the I-95 exit for another hour or two on down to Savanna. And I also agree with skipping Myrtle Beach. There is a long ferry from somewhere in NC on the East Coast (Swansboro ferry?) that is about 2 hours to Ocracoke and I believe with one additional Ferry from Ocrocoke to Hatteras, you can then drive the entire Outer Banks all the way to Norfolk, VA. The OBX are beautiful, photography will be fantastic. All depends, yet again, on how much time you have!

Have fun!
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Apr 15th, 2012, 09:20 PM
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palmettoprincess,

I know! It was so sad. Vickie really was a great person, by all accounts. Too bad she married he wors of cruds.

I only watch City Confidential to hear the dear departed Paul Winfield. He was the best.
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Apr 16th, 2012, 11:36 AM
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Thank you all again for your tips. I will skip Myrtle Beach and go to Outer Banks. Can we swim there or it will be too cold in mid-May?
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