blue ridge parkway

Old Jan 30th, 2014, 12:20 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
blue ridge parkway

hi....planning to drive the BRP on vacation from England.
1-most likely fly into and out of washington dc and want to also do nashville and memphis,maybe somewaht ambitious but
2-how long to do justice to BRP?
3-is skyline drive a separate road
welcome any input

chris
chrismorley is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2014, 01:11 PM
  #2  
HKP
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,601
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Skyline Drive follows the part of the Appalachians that run NE/SW in Virginia -- at the VA/NC state line, it links up with the Blue Ridge Parkway which traverses NC. Both are very long (esp BRP) and take quite a while to drive because they wind and twist, climb and drop.

Just to give you an idea, the BRP is marked with mileage markers from Va. line/Skyline Dr. south, and Asheville is at milepost 390, which still leaves you another 150-200 miles to get to the end. The further south you go, the twistier it can get. Meanwhile, speed limits range from 25 to 45 MPH, usually hovering around 35-40 MPH, more or less. So it could take you a matter of days to do the whole length.

A map from the Park Service website for BRP: http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisi.../blrimap-2.pdf

Note that for much of the length of both Skyline and BRP, Interstate 81 runs parallel and to the west, much flatter, quicker, and often with nice views up into the mtns. Access between the two isn't always easy, however, and you have to know where you can switch between them if you plan to do that. Maps are a necessity (get them from AAA/BAA if possible) because GPS isn't always reliable and the signal may fade in the mountains.

Similarly, Nashville is nearly 10 hrs. from DC via highways, and Memphis another 3 beyond that.

Not sure what specifically draws you to those two cities, but if you're determined to see them, might suggest taking rte. 66 from DC to Interstate 81 South into North Carolina. Check the BRP maps to decide where you'd like to switch over from the interstate -- which may take 10-20 mi. on rural roads, be aware. For your purposes, I'm guessing the Parkway between the Boone/Blowing Rock area south to the Asheville area might give you a really nice feel for it. Then you could see something of Asheville (a surprising place) and take Interstate 40 to Knoxville (also an interesting place) and on to Memphis/Nashville, depending on your time.

FWIW I-40 west of Asheville is notorious among truckers as being one of the most treacherous east of the Rocky Mtns. It will give you a thrill (esp. in fog or snow).
HKP is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2014, 01:14 PM
  #3  
HKP
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,601
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I didn't explain why I suggested skipping most of Skyline Dr. The stretch from the mid-point toward NC has some quite lovely look-outs and it's a favorite of Washingtonians, but there's rather a long, slopping, not-too-dramatic drive to get there from Winchester that takes times you might not have.
HKP is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2014, 01:49 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,107
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
HKP, I like your idea. Blowing Rock and Boone is a nice area and I think everyone knows how I love Asheville. I would suggest that ChrisM thinks about adding Chattanooga - it has a lot to offer! It would help if we knew some interests and then we could offer more ideas.
willowjane is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2014, 04:57 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 969
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are you otherwise touring DC? If you're not, I'm not sure hey you're flying into DC. Atlanta would seem to make mor sense. Or maybe Charlotte. Also, how many days is your trip and what time of year?
indyhiker is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 03:49 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,276
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
HKP's assessment of I40 west of Asheville is really not appropriate--except maybe to truckers. BUt it is one of the most beautiful drives along the Pigeon River Gorge you can do. I can't really count the number of times I have driven it, and always look forward to it. It is curvy, but that stretch is not particularly long--maybe 30 miles? Now that I think of it, I have never even seen an accident there.
The BRP is very beautiful from the NC border to the Boone-Blowing Rock area. The other reason a long drive on the Parkway can be tedious is the speed limit is 45MPH.
I'm not sure what is particularly interesting in Knoxville!! But Asheville would be worth a stop and visit.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 04:50 AM
  #7  
HKP
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,601
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Gretchen, I agree I-40 west of Asheville is beautiful - mentioned comparison with Rockies to both warn and encourage OP to think of it as similar to BRP but at highway speeds... should have been clearer. Also agree BRP from NC border to Boone-Blowing Rock is pretty, but so is stretch north of Asheville.

Knoxville has some historical interest and sights, and frankly, a visit to Oak Ridge (effectively a suburb of Knoxville) to see where the Manhattan project was carried on and a town was built in about a blink of an eye, is fascinating. Not sure a day in Knoxville is worth it for a Brit, but Oak Ridge, esp. museum, surely is.
HKP is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 06:13 AM
  #8  
HKP
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,601
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Postnote re: Oak Ridge, if anyone's interested: This is rarely noted as a tourist attraction, largely because there's plenty of very low-profile, very high-security work still going on there in dozens of numbered or anonymous buildings, mostly under the aegis of the Dept. of Energy. But 20th century world history was forever changed by what happened there in the 1940s.

This was where the US atomic bomb was developed for use to end WW 2 in the Pacific. Thousands of scientists and related workers were recruited to come work on what was called "The Manhattan Project" but rarely referred to outside the area, because it was ultra-top-top secret.

They set up housing and infrastructure in a matter of weeks to a few months, and you can still see the housing that was built so fast that someone would leave home in the morning and come back to find a whole new street of houses had gone up. Families were uprooted and relocated with only the vaguest idea why.

The museum is called The American Museum of Science and Energy http://amse.org/ but the part devoted to Oak Ridge history has amazing photos and documents of the people who were there and what happened in the new town (esp. role of women). You'll also learn, if you didn't know, about the role of fusion and what's being investigated about it.

There's also plenty that's NOT said but implied. And you should probably have a good local map because if you drive down the wrong road into a restricted zone, you might get far more excitement than you want.
HKP is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 08:00 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,276
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, the road is STILL nothing like Colorado driving--honest.
And now that Oak Ridge has been opened up, it well might be worth a look.
My mother was from Knoxville so we visited my grandparents often, including during the war years. There was always this big mystery about what was going on in that little town nearby.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 08:38 AM
  #10  
HKP
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,601
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
(Gretchen, don't know why you're so upset about what truckers have told me re: that stretch of I-40 -- and do note that they said "east of Rockies" -- in other words NOT like the Rockies. FWIW I did drive it once in a pelting foggy thunderstorm and heard this comment in Black Mountain from truckers who had just driven through the same storm. "You might not know this but ..." began one guy.)

Would love to know what your grandparents thought was going on -- my father was invited to join his entire univ. physics dept. going there to work together on the project -- he guessed what was going to happen and declined (on moral grounds, although he didn't tell them that).
HKP is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 09:15 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,276
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The road UP (going west) to Old Fort (Black Mountain) is a huge "pull" for truckers. I got what you said, but I just don't agree for a car and driver--it's a beautiful drive, and called the Million Dollar Highway because at the time it cost that per mile.
I hardly call that "upset". And the road is well marked for truckers to gear down and for the runaway truck ramps. THOSE are "fun" to see used!!
I wasn't very old at the time, and probably thought it was all big people "drama"!! LOL
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 10:11 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
IMO, BRP is long, slow and boring after a while. it's just trees, trees, trees with very few places you can see a view. I liked it for a little while but enough was enough. I agree that I-81 gives you nicer views. I would drive a portion of it and then spend some of your time visiting D.C and maybe some other towns/cities.

If you are more into nature, maybe spend some time in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.
Connie is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 10:30 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,099
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"it's just trees, trees, trees with very few places you can see a view."

This is not true for the BRP in NC - there are plenty of places with views. However, there are also plenty of long stretches where you are just traveling through a tree canopy which can be cool in itself, though after a while perhaps could be considered tedious.
Brian_in_Charlotte is online now  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 11:24 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,276
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with Brian--and when you get below Asheville sometimes there is no view at all because the clouds are below you!!
Gretchen is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2014, 04:02 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
to all thanks for such great insights,never sued a forum before so really good to hear the views.extra info i left out 1st time around..1-flying to dc from englands makes sense since shorter and be great to dc aswell,2-interests are nature,music,history hence wanting to go as far west as nashville/memphis if can fit all in,3-will certainly do 2 weeks but 3 if really needed to do it all justice..genuine thank you again for all
chrismorley is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2014, 04:07 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,276
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nice to be flexible to be able to add time. And yes, Washington is truly a great destination that I think is sometimes not appreciated. Be sure to allow enough time there.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2014, 11:06 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,099
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nashville isn't too too far out of your way, but Memphis might be. Be sure you really want to include Memphis. Asheville should also provide you with good music options on a smaller, local scale. Plus great beer.

Also I agree that Chattanooga is a great place to visit too.
Brian_in_Charlotte is online now  
Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 06:22 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 175
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great scenic drive. I've been in that area my entire life and never tire of it. However, if you are going to do DC and Nashville (both of which are great) then you may want to choose your parkway sections. If you go to the BRP site, there is an interactive map which will allow you to see how you could intersect with the Parkway, take a drive and go on to Nashville with the least time 'wasted'. http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/map.php However, there really isn't wasted time on the parkway. It's just that you may have to pick and choose to save time. I think one of the best sections is between Boone and Cherokee, NC or you could actually get off the parkway at Asheville too.
1Caroline is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2014, 09:36 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
thanks to all for input..most useful...chris
chrismorley is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
pyrowall
Road Trips
3
Dec 11th, 2016 07:45 AM
worldwidewinetours
United States
10
Jul 29th, 2014 03:17 PM
Peth_
United States
5
Dec 28th, 2007 11:28 AM
hannah25
Road Trips
6
Jan 5th, 2005 03:46 PM
sedonaweaver
United States
4
Jul 9th, 2003 08:04 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information