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Big Sandy River to Charlottesville

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May 3rd, 2007, 02:17 PM
  #1
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Big Sandy River to Charlottesville

Hi Fodorites!
I'm going to be driving from about 30 miles south of Ashland Kentucky along the Big Sandy River to Charlottesville VA. Never been to either place before or the Appalachians. Can anyone suggest good routes and things to see in between? I like good scenery, good music, friendly folks, small towns. I'm sort of planning to go over to the SW corner of VA now and then northward through various valleys. Good decision? Best roads?
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May 3rd, 2007, 06:08 PM
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If you are interested in small towns and Appalachian Heritage music, check out the website www.thecrookedroad.org. You'll be travelling right through this area and it's got links to places to stay. I've stayed at the Claiborne House B&B in Rocky Mount which is along the trail and had a nice room (the Wash Cottage) and an excellent breakfast.
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May 6th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Thanks, the crooked road route looks interesting. Anyone have any thoughts on following that route and then going north towards Charlottesville through Appomattox, vs. going up the Shenandoah Valley? I'm trying to soak up some of the history of Virginia as well as avoid Interstate's.
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May 6th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Sorry I couldn't compare the two routes for you; I've only done the Shenandoah Valley portion. I could recommend both Lexington and Staunton, VA as nice small-town sojourns. I have stayed at B&Bs in each - Stoneridge in Lexington and the Thornrose House in Staunton - and can recommend both as very nice lodging options to the chain hotels.
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May 7th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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I'm not sure if you'll be in the Elkhorn City, KY area, but if your route takes you there..you must go to the Breaks Interstate Park (at the KY-VA border)They call it the Grand Canyon of the South.
http://www.breakspark.com/
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May 29th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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We just returned from traveling the Crooked Road Music Trail in Virginia. We stayed at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia. It was really nice and the hosts were super! Not stuffy at all.

There was a couple there from Scotland and another from Wales at the breakfast table! It was alot of fun. Shellie, the innkeeper made homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. She said she tries to provide something regional for out of the area guests. The best biscuits and gravy I have had.

I was a little nervous about staying at a B&B, but was told that Joe Wilson, author of The Crooked Road guidebook and also the Director of The Crooked Road project (Bill Smith) both stayed there and recommended it.

The innkeeper told me about a folklife festival called Blue Ridge Folklife Festival in October with 3 stages of music that run all day long. Mountain music, bluegrass, gospel, old spirituals. So if you love this music and the heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains - I would say GO!

Here is the link she emailed me: http://www.blueridgeinstitute.org/
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May 29th, 2007, 09:31 AM
  #7
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Thanks for the advice. I'm leaving pretty soon. Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to make a detailed journey through music country, it's basically just going to be a days drive to Charlottesville. If I were to enter Virginia on 460 from Big Sandy country there are several valleys that trend northward, I just know that I don't want to take Interstate 81. Any suggestions for which valleys and roads to take?
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Jun 12th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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This may be too late to help you, but if you wanted to go up through West Virginia backroads, you can take 460 past Princeton to Rich Creek, and turn left to get to Route 219 at Peterstown. Stay on 219 (two-lane road) to Union; at Union you'll take a left at the stop sign and then your first right to get on Route 3.

Those are all two-lane highways, which go through lovely country and past several old hot springs resorts. There's an Amish (I think) store at Gap Mills where you can buy homemade cheese and spices and things.

Route 3 will take you up to Covington, Va., where you can pick up I-64. 64 isn't nearly as awful as 81 and the scenery is pretty, and it takes you to Lexington. You'd pick up 81 at Lexington for about 30 miles, then you're back on 64 to Charlottesville.
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Jun 21st, 2007, 09:29 AM
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I thought Hwy 23 would be a windy 2 lane road through the mountains, turned out to be a 4 lane freeway, excellent time there. I decided to take 700 and 42 northward through Saltville and Ceres. These are beautiful valleys and my guess is that about any valley running parallel with them would have been the same. The roads are narrow and slow, 45-55 max so if you have time you could continue on them or join the freeway at some point.
I was very surprised to see that trucks can drive the full speed limit on Virginia freeways, which means they're zooming along at 70+mph, what a zoo! The trucks rule on Virginia freeways! Someone should start an election prop to bring them down to 55...
Thank you Fodorites, see you on the next trip.
Bon Voyage!
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