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HotWheels Apr 2nd, 2005 03:48 PM

5 Days Between Races In Charlotte/Where to spend them?
We plan to attend Nascar events/stay in Charlotte May 21, and again May 27 thru 29.
We have approx. 5 days during events, and also Memorial Day (fly out 6/1/Charlotte).
We want to spend this time sightseeing & relaxing - have never been to the Carolinas before. Would we have time to visit both the Asheville area & the Wrightsville/Sunset beach area? Or would you opt for driving to Charleston, SC? (We don't want to constantly be driving to get to somewhere, but scenic drives are OK). Could we visit the Blue Ridge/Asheville area based from Charlotte, or would it make more sense to stay there a night or two? Any help will be appreciated, as traffic/weather may enter into plans.

kjenn Apr 3rd, 2005 08:34 AM

It really depends on what you like, but Asheville is a neat town- very artsy and bohemian. You could see the Biltmore Estate, which is impressive but expensive (near $40 a person). It is about a 2.5 hour drive from Charlotte. I have been on the Blue Ridge Parkway around the Boone area, and it is a pretty drive with lots of views. The Boone/Blowing Rock area is another area with things to do such as see Grandfather Mountain and explore downtown Blowing Rock (expensive, but cute). Both of these can be done in a (long) daytrip if necessary.

However, I would personally opt for Charleston S.C.- it is amazing, and there is no place like it. I would stay overnight, also, preferably in downtown Charleston so you can walk everywhere.From downtown, you have about a 15-min drive to the beaches if you choose. The drive is appx. 3.5 hours (I-77 South to I-26 East/South-not sure of direction). There are carriage tours, old mansion tours, shops, restaurants, harbor tours, etc. You can take a boat out to Fort Sumter where the Civil War shots were fired. It is just a great place to visit. I would stay there for at least a night or two.

jetprincess Apr 3rd, 2005 09:31 AM

You could happily spend 3/4 days in Charleston. It is only a 3 hour drive from Charlotte. Asheville is much longer. There is so much to do in Charleston, I could go on forever. If you have any specific questions, I would be happy to answer them. Please know that at the end of May there is the Spoleto Festival (a huge arts festival) going on and accomodations might be tricky.

cmcfong Apr 3rd, 2005 12:47 PM

I would second the statement that Charleston is fantastic, but during the Spoleto festival it is jam packed with people.
I love Asheville. It is a craft center for the area. It has great restaurants and easy access to hiking. Its location also provides quick trips to other nearby towns such as Hendersonville and Black Mountain. I would not try to visit Wrightsville Beach and Asheville both during your stay.
Wrightsville Beach is just outside of Wilmington which is a lovely NC city. There are lots of good restaurants and shops in the area.

leahinsc Apr 3rd, 2005 01:15 PM

Couple things to think about
1. Memorial Day will be busy in Charleston and at the beach so you may have problems finding accomodations.
2. Piccolo-Spoleto starts May 26 (til June 12)in Charleston so - even more difficulty finding somewhere to stay - BUT if you enjoy the arts, music, theatre - it would be worth a visit.
3. Asheville is just a little less than 2 hrs from Charlotte - not longer as another post-er said - I drive it for work.
4. Charleston has the potential of being very hot and muggy by that time of year.
I'd recommend taking a trip to a beach near CHarleston - Folly, Isle of Palm, Sullivan's, Kiawah and seeing Charleston after the May 21st race and then around Memorial Day drive out to Asheville.

HotWheels Apr 3rd, 2005 03:27 PM

Thanks for the comments, but another question - if we chose to go to Charlotte area (BEFORE the Spoleto Festival), would it be wiser to stay in the city or at a beach location?
Would two days in the Asheville area be enough to see the area, or would it be wise to plan Charlotte for another time?

HotWheels Apr 3rd, 2005 03:31 PM

Forgive me - I meant Charleston, not Charlotte for another time - I'm getting a brain freeze!!!

leahinsc Apr 3rd, 2005 03:35 PM

hot wheels - you had me confused there for a moment but I think you meant to write CHARLESTON and wrote CHarlotte instead -right?
So, assuming that is what you meant...depends on what you are looking for and what you enjoy as far as staying in the city of CHarleston vs staying at the beach. Charleston is a wonderful city to walk around in throughout the day and if you enjoy history, shopping, architecture, antiques it would be nice to park yourself for a day or 2 at a hotel or B&B right downtown and just immerse yourself in Charleston. If you are more keen on being at the beach than staying at one of the beach communities that are fairly close (Folly, Isle of Palm, Sullivan's) and then driving in - under 30 minutes - and parking downtown and spending most of the day there may work out better.
I think you could see quite a bit in ASheville in 2 along the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the Biltmore Estate and Winery, take a trolley ride of the historic neighborhoods, have a meal or 2 downtown and stroll around and see our shops and galleries....

GoTravel Apr 3rd, 2005 04:05 PM

Spoleto is May 27-June 15th and is one of the worlds best art and music festivals. If you can find accommodations around Charleston during your five days, I would most definitely try.

Edisto Island would be a great place to stay. It is a barrier island south of Charleston and your weekly dates of May 22-26 will be fairly inexpensive out on the island.

You may find decently priced accommodations in Charleston proper during those dates because they are before the official start of Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto. I would just start shopping for hotel rooms now. The only reason for the city to be full would be accommodations for performers, musicians, and artists.

I say give Charleston a spin.

GoTravel Apr 3rd, 2005 04:06 PM

Forgot to add, because of geography the South Carolina beaches are closer than the North Carolina beaches.

HotWheels Apr 3rd, 2005 04:20 PM

Thanks so much for the help! I was so confused, but now I'm getting a better idea of what we can reasonably do with our time. (The tip that the SC beaches are closer cleared my confusion on one aspect of my planning - THANKS!)
At this time, I think we'll try Charleston area first, then Asheville for 30/31. I'll post later if this works out!

GoTravel Apr 3rd, 2005 04:26 PM

Glad to clear that up for you HotWheels.

Charleston is a straight interstate shot down I-77 then jumping on I-26 to Charleston. Three to four hours tops.

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