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Mary May 30th, 2000 04:09 PM

Asheville and smokey mtns
Can anyone tell me about a trip they have made to Asheville and the Smokey Mountains? I am planning a week long trip and I'm not even sure where to fly into. My husband and I will be traveling with a 14 month old.

Jean May 31st, 2000 11:44 AM

Mary, you would probably get the best rates to fly into Knoxville, TN. You can easily drive from there to Ashville or Gatlinburg. Knoxville is about 1.5 to 2 hours from Knoxville, depending on the traffic. Other destinations near the Smokey Mtns.: Pigeon Forge, TN is about 1 hour from Knoxville, and has lots of outlet shopping and several country dinnner theatres; Townsend,Tn advertised as the quiet side of the Smokies, has fewer accomodations, and you can rent canoes and rafts there; Cherokee, North Carolina, on the southern edge of the Nat'l Park. haven't been to Cherokee in years so wouldn't be able to describe accurately. Gatlinburg has several shops along the downtown areas. Some people abhor the tourist like atmosphere, lots of t-shirt shops, but I personally enjoy. Ashville, NC is a city and you probably could fly into there. The Biltmore Estate is nearby, and the beautiful scenery where the Last of the Mohicans was filmed.

mike j May 31st, 2000 11:58 AM

Mary, Fly to Asheville if possible, if not, Asheville is a 2 hr. drive from Charlotte. You must go to Biltmore Estate... beautiful, awesome.. visit the on site winery for a tasting . Great Bistro adjacent. Asheville downtown is a bit funky / bohemian / safe / oddball / pedestrian friendly/ great coffee/ Andie McDowell sightings of late. Cool town.......

CMcDaniel May 31st, 2000 12:25 PM

Mary, We flew into Knoxville and drove from there to Gatlinburg where my husband's sister was getting married. Wild horses couldn't get me back to that town, but as Jean said, plenty of people just love it. We did enjoy some hikes in the Smokies, saw some virgin forest (an amazing site) but traffic was pretty bad most everywhere. <BR> <BR>We happily escaped Gatlinburg and headed to Asheville and the Richmond Hill Inn where we had a wonderfully private and beautifully appointed cottage. As Mike said, Asheville has a cool downtown...surprisingly so. We enjoyed the shops as much as we disliked those in Gatlinburg and had a wonderful time. <BR> <BR>Agreed too, the Biltmore is awesome. We spent an entire day there and could have used even more time, though doubt a 14 month old could weather that much touring! Don't know if it would be possible for you to find a sitter for the day--it's an experience you wouldn't want to miss and you'd probably be more comfortable if you could do it on your own. <BR> <BR>Surely there must be better ways to explore the Smokies than Gatlinburg. The mountains are beautiful and I'd love to go back...just not there, so am anxious to see what other responses you get.

Sheila May 31st, 2000 01:25 PM

We have been to the Smokies several times and I think it is better if you can find a place to stay away from downtown Gatlinburg. It is very peaceful if you can find a spot with a stream running along beside your rental with a view of the mountains. I find it very peaceful. We always enjoy a ride out to Cades Cove to look at wildlife and see the old buildings. The Biltmore Estate is beautiful and we really enjoyed the tour a couple of years ago. Be sure and have a stroller for your 14 month old. Pigeon Forge has a big outlet mall and alot of shows reminding me of Branson, Missouri. Dollywood is also there, a sort of amusement park with music. I hope this helps you a little.

Beth May 31st, 2000 03:20 PM

Second the recommendation for the Richmond Hill Inn; stayed there several years ago; lovely and at that time had a first rate restaurant (don't know if it is still there). When you do Biltmore, not IF, pay the small cost for the tape tour. We doubled back to get it after wandering through the first several rooms saying "wonder what this is?" If you have time, go north out of Asheville and stop at the North Carolina Craft Center - wonderful artisan made products. There is another wonderful hotel in Asheville that's been there for decades which is worth a visit just to view the lobby, etc. Can't recall the name right now, but anyone in the area can tell you.

Beth May 31st, 2000 03:23 PM

The hotel is the Grove Park. See other Asheville postings for more about it and the Richmond Hill.

ellie May 31st, 2000 06:31 PM

We go to the Smokeys at least once a year. Check out the chalet rentals. Most must be rented for 3 days minimum. About 10 miles east of Gatlinburg is Cobbly Nob which has a wide selection of chalets for rent at a very nice price. They offer golf, tennis, swimming pools and great views of the Smokeys. Do a search on Cobbly Nob or Gatlinburg. There are lots of chalets for rent with web pages. <BR> <BR>To stay on the quiet side of the smokeys try Maggie Valley in NC. <BR>

Lani May 31st, 2000 07:00 PM

Mary, <BR> <BR>Completely second the recommendations for Biltmore Estate (have been twice, once at Christmas Candlelight Tour), and staying at Richmond Hill Inn (Gabrielle's is still there - Oh, what a dinner we had there! Awesome!) <BR> <BR>The Asheville Airport is small - like some jets but small, puddle-jumper jets, I call them. I'd fly into Knoxville or Charlotte, if I were you, and drive the rest of the way. <BR> <BR>If you should go to Maggie Valley, don't miss the Cabbage Rose Christmas Shop. You'll think you've gone to heaven if you love that kind of shop! <BR> <BR>Take some money for beautiful crafts. I can never resist a few new things, and they have some of the best there! <BR> <BR>Have a good trip! <BR> <BR>Lani

Daniel Jun 1st, 2000 04:30 AM

I have been to Asheville numerous times and have to agree with all about the Biltmore House. I also agree that Gatlinburg is pure, overdeveloped KITSCH and not what I would recommend for a Smoky Mountain experience. <BR> <BR>From Asheville, take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway for some breathtaking views. I never have made up my mind if I prefer driving north toward Blowing Rock or South to Cherokee (another fairly kitschy spot, but at least there is the REAL Cherokee craft shop and museum.) <BR>Just north of Asheville on the B.R.Parkway is the Folk Art Center, an excellent resource for quality crafts from quilts to glassware. In town, the New Morning Gallery is not to be missed even if you don't buy. <BR> <BR>Other half-day or day trips could include Highlands, Lake Lure (where "Dirty Dancing" was filmed), Flat Rock (Carl Sandburg's home) and Hendersonville (good antique shopping.)

Laura Jun 1st, 2000 05:51 AM

good info available at the asheville website

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