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Blowing Rock, Asheville & Gatlinburg - Help me build this trip??

Blowing Rock, Asheville & Gatlinburg - Help me build this trip??

Old Nov 18th, 2010, 01:56 PM
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Blowing Rock, Asheville & Gatlinburg - Help me build this trip??

Need help building Family Trip Itinerary ~ Blowing Rock, Asheville & Gatlinburg

I have started planning a special family trip for 4th of July time period and I’m so excited
to see this beautiful area. My husband and I are traveling with our two children(age 6 & 3) and my Parents. My mother does have some knee limitations, but since we have small children in tow we are not planning any major hikes and I think she will do great. We are from the ‘flatlands’ of S. Florida and are only use to oceans, so the Mountains will be so exciting for us all and a first for our kids. We love animals and nature, but we also love city life and cultural things, so that is why Gatlinburg looks good for us. I do not want cabin rentals only because I feel as the caretaker of this group, I will have to still be taking care of everyone…cleaning, cooking, etc... I have not locked anything in yet, but this is what I have so far. Feel free to give me any advice, I would love your suggestions because I’m so unfamiliar with this area. And please tell me where
I should add a night or take off a night if I need to. 9 nights would be my max.

Fly into Charlotte, NC(non-stop flight for me) and drive to Blowing Rock, NC (3 Nights)– (I have not picked any hotel here, but I have looked at Chetola Resort ) – Some sightseeing options - Grandfather Mountain, Tweetsie Railroad, Valle Crucis area, Maste General Store. I also would love to take a day trip over to Mount Airy(One of my father’s favorite Tv shows was The Andy Griffith Show and he would love this).

July 4th - Drive to Asheville – Maybe stop in town of little Switzerland.

Asheville, NC – July 4th ( 1 or 2 nights?) – Holiday inn Downtown? My husband is from Rhode Island and so the Biltmore reminds me of Newport, so if I had to minus a night here, I could do that. But, if it’s a must see city, then we’ll add a night. My mom and I love antique stores and unique shops, so if that is here, we’d love it.

Gatlinburg, TN (Lodge at Buckberry Creek( 4 nights ) I loved the fact that this was away from the main strip, but that I could still come to downtown easily and walk around during the evening, etc. To do- Dollywood, GSMNP(2 days/ Cades Cove and Laurel Falls seem kid friendly). I’d also like to check out the Arts & Crafts Loop if we have time.

** I know that we probably won’t do everything exactly and we very easily detour from plans with kids, but, I just like to have a basic itinerary to start with. On top of all this, my father and husband would like to golf a couple days. Not sure if this is possible time wise, but any suggestions?? I also will add that the kids are easy travelers and content just playing outside and exploring, so I do not have to load the trip with only kid attractions.

Is this itinerary ok? What do you think and suggest? I would love to add ideas to this..
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 02:17 PM
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(I can only help with Gatlinburg)

"We also love city life and cultural things, so that is why Gatlinburg looks good for us.

Just to check expectations - what sort of "city life and cultural things" are you expecting in Gatlinburg? Since you don't want to stay in a cabin (understandably), it may very well be a good option for you for that part of the trip, but it and Pigeon Forge are not exactly urban or filled with fine arts, to say the least, although the Arrowmont store in Gatlinburg can have some very cool handmade things.

That holiday time will be extremely busy in Gatlinburg. From Google Maps, it looks like that lodge is a ways from the "action" in downtown Gatlinburg. Traffic on holiday weekends and in the summer especially can be quite bad, so if you are planning to go into town each night, I'm not sure how that will work. There might be a back road that will be fine, I'm not sure, but once you hit Gatlinburg it will probably be packed. It can take a very long time to get just between Pigeon Forge (Dollywood) and Gatlinburg, since there's just the one road. Not to completely scare you off, but if you're the type who hates sitting in traffic, this may not be the best time or place.

Anyway. Traffic aside, Dollywood will be good with the kids, especially since you'll have a few adults to be with the youngest while the rest of you go on rides. Cades Cove is really child friendly if your kids are okay with a lot of time in the car. The loop road can take a long time to go around in the summer with all the traffic, though there are a lot of places to pull over (maybe take a picnic lunch). Laurel Falls, if I recall correctly, is a paved trail, so great for kids. If you want to do all three, though, you may need an extra day.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 03:05 PM
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cultural life and Gatlinburg is an oxymoron.
In Ashville, go up the Blue Ridge Parkway--or come down the Parkway from Blowing Rock--and stop at the Appalachian craft center.
I think Mt. Airy might be a pretty good hike from Blowing Rock. Don't have my map in front of me.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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Google Maps says Mount Airy is about two hours from Blowing Rock.

I meant to add - the attractions you're considering in the Gatlinburg are three of THE most popular ones, which is why I said you might need an extra day. On a weekday in early April or something, you might be able to do Cades Cove and Laurel Falls in a day without a problem. But in the height of summer with traffic and small children, I wouldn't necessarily plan on it.

I don't want to totally put you off visiting the area - it is one of the most visited national parks for a very good reason! But the traffic and crowds can be a real bear around holidays particularly, so I wanted you to be aware.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 03:25 PM
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The Gatlinburg AREA, I mean. Time to go home.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 03:29 PM
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Thank you jent103 for the info and I definitely am getting that I'm not going to be wandering art galleries in Pigeon forge, ha, ha.. But, that's okay too! I can handle the honky tonk stuff too. And I hear you about the traffic. Do you all think 4th of July in Asheville is the place to be?
Thank you for the Arrowmont store info, I hope to check it out.

@ Gretchen - Thank you as well about the stopping info for the Appalachian craft center. And Mt. Airy looks about 100 miles away.. You may be right. Does anyone know if traffic is slow that way or if it is highway mileage?
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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Ha, Ha. Jent103... I just got your new posts after I posted mine. I know its a crazy time to go, but, its our best travel dates with work, etc.. But, now I'm up in the air.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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Honky tonks are in Nashville! Pigeon Forge has laser tag and outlet malls. Gatlinburg has airbrushed t-shirts, several Ripley's venues (the aquarium is actually quite good and kid-friendly, by the way) and candy shops. Both have MANY venues to spend money on junk and subpar food, though there are some good spots inside the madness.

It sounds like you'll be there during the week and after the holiday weekend, so the traffic *might* not be that bad. But I would prepare for that possibility. I rented a cabin with some friends outside of town one year around July 4. Cades Cove wasn't terrible - it's a drive you want to go slowly on anyway, though there have been times when I've just SAT on the loop road. But the one time we went into Gatlinburg, it took forever (and we never even actually drove on the Parkway).

However, I do know the conundrum of having semi-set dates already! If you go, I would get a good map and avoid the main roads as much as you can, though it's not really possible to completely avoid them (that road to Cades Cove is going to be crowded regardless). And the lodge may have some good tips about avoiding traffic. Basically, if you can handle a lot of traffic and crowds, you'll probably be okay. But with two small kids, that's a pretty big if for some.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 06:58 PM
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I live in the Mt. Airy area. It took me about two hours to drive to Blowing Rock last month. I-77 to 421 to 321. I'd say google maps is on target.

If you are interested in visiting Mt. Airy, birthplace of Andy Griffith and center of all things Mayberry, we would love to see you. Much of the area is developed with allusions to the show, but we have some excellent restaurants, good wineries, interesting shops, nice hiking and biking options nearby. Let me know if you would like any information and I will do my best to pull it together for you. Check out www.visitmayberry.com for info.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 09:23 PM
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Just outside of Asheville is a small town called Black Mountain where they have some antique shops and also very cute boutiques.
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Old Nov 19th, 2010, 03:29 AM
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cmcfong - Thank you so much for writing. I only have 2 full days in Blowing rock because one day is all travel from airport, etc. The two hours is not so bad to me if we leave early morning and maybe stop at some wineries that you mention. I have read about a NC wine trail area in the past, is that the area you refer to?

To offlady - Thank you for the Black Mountain tip!
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Old Nov 19th, 2010, 04:53 AM
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luca, if you go to Black Mountain a good restaurant suggestion would be Veranda.

The Yadkin Valley wineries have created a trail. Check it here:
http://www.yvwt.com/ The best restaurants are at Century Kitchen at the Flint Hills Winery, Harvest Grill at Shelton, and the Restaurant at Sanders Ridge.

If you go to Mt. Airy be sure and have a pork chop sandwich at Snappy Lunch, visit High Cotton, Meadows of Dan and the Emporium at Main and Oak for good shops and dinner at Trio in the Emporium. Your dad can take a tour in Andy's squad car to see it all! It is an attractive town and we love visitors!
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Old Nov 19th, 2010, 05:03 AM
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luca, I forgot to suggest a couple of restaurants in Blowing Rock I think you and your family might enjoy. Glidewells is my new favorite place, Storie Street Grille, and Crippens.

I have stayed at Chetola many times and it is well operated. Rooms are good sized, easy access to walking trails, nice views, great indoor pool. It doesn't have the charms of the very nice bed and breakfasts in town, but it would a good choice given your group size.
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Old Nov 19th, 2010, 01:06 PM
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cmcfong ~ Thank you, Thank you! Yes, I have seen some stuff regarding the Yadkin Valley and its a trip in itself. I love your restaurant suggestions too! Now I almost wish we were spending the night in that area... Snappy Lunch looks adorable and I read about the Emporium too. And the Meadows of Dan area seems gorgeous! I just looked at your Blowing Rock suggestions too(went to the websites) and YUM!!!!!!!!
And thank you for the description of Chetola. I have seen very little pictures of the rooms and they looked dated and not exactly what I had in mind, but I think we need this type of property with kids. Thank you so much again for being such a big help!! Makes me happy that their is still a 'real Mayberry,' or at least people who are nice like those in 'Mayberry TV land.'
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Old Nov 19th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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Oh this is the real Mayberry and folks here take that role seriously.
The Meadows of Dan area is indeed gorgeous but it is an hour or so from Mt. Airy. However there is a very nice shop on Main St named Meadows of Dan and that is to what I was alluding.
If you do decide to stay in Mt. Airy or Pilot Mountain (where the "fast" girls lived in the show) I can recommend a few very nice b and b's or the Hampton Inn near the Shelton Winery in Dobson.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2010, 08:13 PM
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ttt
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Old Dec 24th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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Crippen's Country Inn and Restaurant in Blowing Rock is not only a fine restaurant but a nice place to stay.

Crippens Country Inn and Restaurant @ 239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC 828 - 295 - 3487.
http://www.crippens.com/dnn/
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 10:01 AM
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topping
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Old Jul 8th, 2013, 01:44 PM
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topping
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Old Jul 8th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Tenthumbs, WHY are you topping this. It is years old.
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