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2 weeks in August from UK

Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 12:07 PM
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2 weeks in August from UK

Hi all We're thinking of flying direct to Atlanta and then driving to Nashville. We have approx. 14 days and want to take in the whole "southern experience". We have been to the USA a few times before and enjoy getting lost and the surprises this brings.
We are a couple with no kids, around the 40years of age mark, like music, good wholesome food, good quality accommodation, nice scenery and a good laugh.
We need advice on what to do please.
Thanks in advance...
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Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 12:17 PM
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Welcome to the USA! I live in the South and love it here; but, candor demands that I warn you, it will be hot and humid at that time of year.

I suggest Asheville, NC, Charleston, SC, Beaufort, SC and the Outer Banks of NC be on your itinerary.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 12:30 PM
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Hi Tiptoe!

Firstly, expect the weather outside to feel like your bathroom does when you step outside of your shower, extremely hot, extremely humid, and very sticky.

Unless you are in the mountains, it doesn't cool off at night. I live in South Carolina and it is not unusual for the heat index to still be 100 degrees at midnight.

The good news is that we buy our HVAC units for their ability to cool not heat and cool they do. Bring a sweater with you because everywhere you go indoors will be frigid.

My suggestion is to head out of Atlanta. Quick.

Can't help you with Nasheville but from Nasheville, I would drive to Asheville and spend a couple of days. Go to The Biltmore, hike Chimney Rock.

From there, drive down to Charleston. I'd stay out on one of the islands either Sullivan's Island or Wild Dunes and spend my days on the beach and head downtown Charleston by night.

One of the great things about the south Atlantic Ocean is that our ocean water temps during the summer are like the Caribbean around 85 degrees.

Charleston isn't bad at all at night but like I said, bring a sweater.

I wouldn't attempt the plantations. Just too miserable outside.

After Charleston, I'd go to Savannah and stay on Tybee Island or Hilton Head and do the beach by day and Savannah by night.

The drive from Charleston to Savannah on US Highway 17 through the ACE Basin is absolutely beautiful and stunning. It is the largest undeveloped estuary on the east coast at around 150,000 acres and is a joint government and private land preserve.
 
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 12:59 PM
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hi Guys, thanks for the promt reply....and the warm weather warning. We had never heard of Asheville till we looked at the forums here. It sounds loverly. We initially thought of Nashville, Memphis then back to North / South Carolina however we're not sure of how long it would take us to drive those kind of distances.
Is it worth getting a flight into, say Memphis Via Chicargo or NYC & then fly out of somewhere else? or is the Atlanta deal the best way of doing it?
Still confused but getting there
Thanks again
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Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 01:11 PM
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You've lost me.

Do you mean fly into Chicago or New York then driving south? No.

Out of curiousity, why Nasheville? While it is a wonderful city, it would be much more enjoyable during other months.

Personally, I'd say fly to Atlanta, drive to New Orleans, then St. Augustine, then Savannah, then Charleston, then Asheville, then back to Atlanta.

That would give you two good days in each city and the driving between them isn't bad at all.

Atlanta to New Orleans 7 hours 450 miles

New Orleans to St. Augustine (longest drive) 8 hours or about 550 miles.

St. Augustine to Savannah 3 hours or 175 miles

Savannah to Charleston 2 hours 115 miles

Charleston to Asheville 4 hours 275 miles

Asheville to Atlanta 2 1/2 hours or 300 miles.

The majority of your driving would be interstate and with the exception of the first two drives, the rest would be easy.

I'd do it.

 
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 01:27 PM
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Hi Go Travel, blimey with that drive and the jet lag I think we'd need a holiday when we got back to dear old Blighty don't ya know. The reason for Nashville is my partner likes The music originating from there, both country and western, though to be honest it's a bit mushy for an old punk rocker like me!!
Asheville and the Caroliners via Nashville sounds good especially to a (bad) golfer like myself, and it would give us time to recover on a beach for a few days and get to sample the local way of life/food/beer etc. What do you think?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 01:29 PM
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Just realised the time.22.30 And I'm up for work at 05.30 so I'm off to bed. please keep the suggestions coming they are much appreciated...good night
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Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 01:41 PM
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I don't suggest golfing that time of year because of the heat but it will be cheap!

I'd do Atlanta to Asheville (The Grove Park Inn is a favorite), Asheville to Charleston, Charleston to Savannah, then Savannah back to Atlanta.

Another alternative would be to fly into Charlotte North Carolina. It is a major hub for US Airways and I know there are alot of direct flights to the UK. Also, American Airlines has a direct flight to Raleigh, NC.
 
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 01:44 PM
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Tiptoe: You may not see this until you come home from work tonight - but my 2 pence worth . . . .

You have been to the States - but have you been to the SE in August??

I am a Californian who lived in the UK for a few years and take most of my holidays there to this day. I have lots of friends who live in the Carolinas, Wash. DC and Georgia and visit them now and then. This is just to give you some background. You have humidity in the UK - but you do not have the sorts of heat/humidity you will face on this trip. I have visited Charleston SC w/ my NC friends in late summer and it was absolutely unbearable in the daytime. I've been to Atlanta and DC in July and August and though I would die!

Out here in N. California we get 100+F in the summer w/ maybe 18-22% humidity. It feels hot but totally bearable. But in the areas you want to visit you will have the 90'sF w/ 80-95% humidity. It just drains you and you never dry out - and then you walk inside and totally freeze due to the a/c.

I love my friends and I will still visit them - but it is NEVER my choice to go to the SE in Jul/Aug/Sept.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 02:07 PM
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To add to janisj's warning, I grew up in Edinburgh and when I moved to the US, lived in Louisiana for a year. The humidity is unbelievable. So are the bugs that go along with it! As GoTravel mentioned, inside anywhere is freezing cold because of air conditioning.

If you have time, read a couple of books by Dorothea Benton Frank or Anne Rivers Siddons before your trip to get in the mood!

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Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 02:14 PM
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barbara: I forgot to mention the creepy-crawly things (eew! )

I'm just not used to the types/number/size of bugs one sees in the South . . . . .
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Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 02:26 PM
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Tiptoe, the heat and humidity that myself, Barbara, and janis are describing is the reason I keep stressing coastal southern towns.

I know it sounds absurd but the breeze of 85 degree ocean water will cool you off when the temps are near 100 degrees. In July the average daily high is 91 degrees and that is without factoring in the humidity.

It is very common for the heat index (the heat index is what the temperature feels like when you combine heat and humidity) to reach 120 degrees in July.
 
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 02:42 PM
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GoTravel is right about the ocean helping a bit. And my friends tell me the coast is usually much more bearable. BUT when we went to Charleston (which is on the water) even my friend from NC, and who is "used" to it, nearly melted

I don't know if that was an exceptional heat wave/weather pattern or not - but we literally could not bear being outside during the daytime. Even out at Fort Sumter which is on an island it was very hot and humid.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 03:31 AM
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I have lived in the UK, Nashville, southern and northern Mississippi (near enough respectively to New Orleans and Memphis), Virginia, and North Carolina.

Your original plan was better than most of those you have been offered.

Nashville is not REMOTELY as hot and humid as New Orleans or Charleston in the summer. Average daytime temperature is in the mid-80's, hot for you but not unbearable.

I would fly to Atlanta and begin by driving north into the mountains. Asheville makes a nice destination, but you will see the area best if you stay on the smaller highways, say I-85 to US 23 to Franklin (it gets more scenic as it goes on)for your first night, then on to Asheville for a night or two or three before heading west after you are acclimated and have shed the jetlag.

Again, I strongly advise taking the smaller roads across the Smoky Mountains and avoiding Gatlinburg and Cherokee like the plague. Think Blackpool at its worst. On US 441, traffic can crawl across the mountains bumper to bumper. The Nantahala area south of the National Park is beautiful. Your destination should be Knoxville, from which you can take a fairly attractive interstate highway to Nashville.

I applaud your reasons for wanting to visit Nashville, though I don't share your musical tastes. I lived there for four years in graduate school, and it is a very pleasant place. Try to visit the suburb of Belle Meade, which is to Music City as Surrey is to the East End.

I assume you want to go to Memphis for music as well. It is 220 miles from Nashville, all motorway, and will be pretty miserably hot, but if you want to understand the blues, it is very useful to visit Memphis when it is hot and then to drive slowly down Highway 61 into the Delta, stopping in Greenville for the night, where you can eat at the original Doe's Eat Place. Plantations rise from the haze, real plantations, not white columned visions, and crops are planted right up to the road.

Cross the Mississippi and wander back to Memphis on the Arkansas side, passing through some of the most poverty stricken parts of the US.

Can you fly into Atlanta and fly back there from Memphis? I know Delta serve both places. It would save a lot of retracing of your steps. Once from Nashville to Memphis may be interesting. The return journey isn't. If you have to drive, try US 64, which, once you cross the Tennessee River, will pass through pleasant, scenic rural areas with interesting old towns.

Have fun. Be prepared to see some places that are really, really different.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 08:00 AM
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Hi all. Once again, thanks for all the information, It has been invaluable. We are taking on board the warnings about the heat & humidity. We are fairly used to the heat as we both have relatives that retired to Spain & we visit regularly, but not too sure about the humidity. We have been to Florida in July, and that wasn't too bad. Also we braved Death Valley at the same time of year...you know what they say about mad dogs and English men!!!
It looks like we may hit Nashville for a couple of days then head for the mountains and the coast.
Please keep the places of interest coming in, knowledge is all powerful. And work was as wonderful as ever....
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Tiptoe,

Too bad nobody has actually given you advice, but instead told you of the heat and humidity. My inlaws from Switzerland have visited us in Texas in 100+ degrees and they never really complained.

It would be like somebody wanting to visit Edinburgh in the winter and people just tell them to expect damp and cold conditions and not to do anything. Not really what they expect, as I'm sure they would already be aware of that, just as I'm sure you are aware that the SE USA is hot and humid in the summer.

So, since you're going to be here, I'll do my part to give you an intinerary that will let you take advantage of everything that the South has to offer, given the time of year.

Days 1-3: Fly into Atlanta. Visit the Aquarium, CNN center, Olympic Park, hike Stone Mountain (morning) and please take in an Atlanta Braves game. The Atlanta Braves are a classic baseball team and the stadium is wonderful. You'll get a classic American experience.

Days 4-7: Drive south to New Orleans. Stay at a historic hotel in the French Quarter. Tour the French Quarter (walking tour), do a Katrina devastation bus tour, the cemetaries, and the Garden District. Ride the streetcar down St. Charles to Audubon Zoo and tour the zoo if interested (very nice).
Walk Bourbon Street at night. Visit the famous restaurants like Commander's Palace, Emeril's, etc... One plus is that summer is the off season in New Orleans, so you'll get great rates at the hotels

Days 8-10: Take a swamp tour (I recommend airboat in summer as it's cooler). One advantage in summer is that gators will be out in full force, so great viewing is to be had. I'd recommend staying at a plantation for the first day or two and then staying the rest of the stay in Cajun country (Nottoway comes to mind for the plantation). Take a plantation tour of Oak Alley and Laura Plantation as well. Don't listen to the advice offered previously about not touring plantations, as the interior of the plantations are air conditioned anyway. Tour Cajun Country. Visit the Tabasco factory and Jungle Gardens, which are amazing and you can drive through them and stop at the areas of interest. Visit St. Martinville and see where the "Evangeline Oak" is.

Days 11-13: Drive along the Gulf Coast and stop at Seaside, Florida. This is an amazing beach, from the movie "The Truman Show". Unwind at the beach as you've done a bit of traveling by now.

Day 14: Drive back to Atlanta and catch your flight back home.

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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 04:16 AM
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I would highly recommend ASheville, N.C. and the Smoky mountains since it is cooler in the mountains, always in the mornings and at night, even in August. In Asheville, do not miss seeing Biltmore HOuse, a great chateau still owned by the family.There is a hotel on the grounds and also hotels near the entrance of the estate. You can spend a whole day here...chateau, winery, gardens, eating, etc. I have seen many chaeaux in the Loire valley and this one is more impressive since it is totally furnished,many objets d'or are very rare--Napoleon's chess set and table for one. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a wonderful drive and you can get on in Asheville. Asheville has lots of galleries too. It will be hot, but do not miss Savannah, Ga. and Charleston,S.C.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 04:26 AM
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Tiptoe - Why August? If you want to visit the South of the US, the best time is March-April when the temps are do-able and the spring flowers in bloom. Or go in the fall - Oct. Its REAALLLLY hot and humid in the South in the summer. The sweltering haze will obscure the scenery.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 05:18 AM
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If you enjoy getting lost and the surprises it brings stay away from the large southern cities for a portion of your stay. Meander thru the country side, stop at some local attractions and enjoy the local eateries and enjoy some fair like grits and gravy and talk with the local people. Doing this you will be able to take in the slower pace and enjoy some real "southern experiences"... If you have seen one inner city or Interstate Highway you have seen them all.

http://www.us-highways.com/

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/
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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 07:47 AM
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Tiptoe, what did you decide? If you're still coming to Nashville I'd love to help you out, but as this thread is almost two months old you may have decided something else!
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