Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Old Sep 18th, 2003, 12:53 PM
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Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

I'll be driving the entire Blue Ridge Parkway from VA to NC next May, 2004 for the first time.
I'm interested mostly in the scenery and time would not be a problem.
I'm planning to stop at the Natural Bridge, Peaks of Otter, The Blowing Rock, Grandfather Mountain Park, Linville Caverns, Chimney Rock Park and Looking Glass Rock.
Do you have any other suggestions? Should I add or remove stops from my itinerary?

Thank you.
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Old Sep 18th, 2003, 01:03 PM
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Chimney Rock Park isn't necessarily on the Parkway, but can be accessed from Asheville, which is on the Parkway. Chimney Rock Park is located in Hickory Nut Gorge about 20 miles or so southeast of Asheville.

I recommend that you spend some time in Asheville if you'd be at all interested in a fun, beautiful, sophisticated and hip small city with outstanding architecture, lots to see and do, and good restaurants and nightlife.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, about 20 miles southwest of Asheville is Dupont State Forest, which features three of the tallest waterfalls in the eastern US, lakes, some historic cemetaries tucked away in the forests, and lots of hiking trails. All in all, I think it would be an excellent idea to stop in Asheville and explore the city itself and also the natural attractions nearby.

Want more information? Just ask!
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Old Sep 18th, 2003, 01:21 PM
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Thanks hauntedheadnc for the info.
Do you know the names of each of three waterfalls you just mentioned?
Thanks.
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Old Sep 18th, 2003, 01:30 PM
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A not once you get on the parkway there is no where to stop for gas or rest stops, we found that one out the hard way. So just be aware to keep the tank full.
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Old Sep 18th, 2003, 02:10 PM
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Lola
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hauntedhead,
how is the weather ?
stay safe!
 
Old Sep 18th, 2003, 05:33 PM
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My husband and I did this vacation a while back and it was great! We started in Shenandoah Nat'l Park in Virginia (after spending a few days there) and spent 3 days driving the Parkway, staying overnight in Roanoke VA, Blowing Rock NC and then Maggie Valley on the North Carolina side of Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park. Then we stayed a couple nights in Gatlinburg on the Tennesee side of the Park. The Natural Bridge was interesting ... although a bit off the path. The town of Blowing Rock was fun and quaint. We also enjoyed Grandfather Mountain. There is a stop right on the Parkway called Mabry Mills that is worth seeing ... an old mill ... very scenic. I definitely agree with spending some time in Asheville ... there's a famous residence to see around there but I can't recall the name.

We stayed at the Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley which was in the mountains ... They have horseback trail rides daily (1/2 and full day) up into the mountains ... scenery was incredible. We wish we stayed there longer and skipped Gatlinburg.

Definitely take your time ... depending on side trips. Fog is not unusual and will delay or slow you down. We ran into quite a bit around Blowing Rock which actually closed the Parkway for a portion.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 18th, 2003, 09:40 PM
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Lola -- Thanks! Thankfully here in Western North Carolina all we got from Isabel was a stiff breeze and a lot of clouds whirling about overhead that made for the most beautiful sunset today that I can remember. Usually when a hurricane hits the South Carolina coast or the Gulf Coast near Alabama or Florida that's when we here in WNC are guaranteed of a big sloppy rainstorm with lots of wind. We dodged this one, but the NC coast didn't, sadly... I hear the damage is pretty severe down there.
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Old Sep 18th, 2003, 09:53 PM
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GenXer -- By visiting the Dupont State Forest website (www.dupontstateforest.com), I was able to find a list of waterfalls in the forest.

Strangely, while I thought these were among the highest falls in the eastern part of the country, the only falls I found of considerable height was listed at 150 ft. This doesn't strike me as all that high, so I may have been misinformed. I know that Hickory Nut Falls in Chimney Rock Park, at 402 ft. is much higher, and that Pearson's Falls, south of Asheville and Hendersonville in Saluda is probably comparable to that 150 ft. tall falls.

Regardless, the falls are impressive and well worth visiting. The last time I was at the forest I was only able to see Hooker Falls, which was wide but not that tall, and Triple Falls, which was very tall and quite a sight to behold. Sorry for any misinformation, but I've read in several places that the falls in Dupont are the tallest, so I'll need to find a few sources before I go spouting that off again!

Regardless, check out the website, which has pictures of all the main attractions in the forest!
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Old Sep 18th, 2003, 09:57 PM
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Cher -- You're probably thinking of the Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt's 255-room palace on 8,000 acres just south of downtown. It's the largest private home in America, and when it was finished in 1895, was one of the most technologically advanced structured on earth. It's a must-see for anyone interested in art, architecture, machinery, technology, gardens, Victoriana, or the Gilded Age.

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Old Sep 19th, 2003, 12:47 PM
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A couple of books which might make your trip much more interesting. A two book series which divides the parkway from milepost 1 to 292 and 292 to the Great Smokies called Blue Ridge Parkway Guide by William G. Lord and Walking the Blue Ridge by Leonard M. Adkins. The Guide gives a mile by mile account of what is on the parkway. History of the area, what you will see and distances to nearby off parkway features. Both are available on Amazon.com. Early May is usually a little early to get the full displays of rhodoendron but the flame azalea and mountain laurel should be out. Be sure to stop at Crabtree Meadows to check out the blooms. Moses Cone near Ashville is a former home turned into visitor center in a pastoral setting and nearby Julian Price Park has a nice lake.
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Old Sep 20th, 2003, 08:13 PM
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I like Mabry Mill and Devil's Court House. they are quite aw ways apart, however.

As another attraction, the Folkart Center just north of Asheville isd fascinating. The items on display are often quite luxurious.

Also, the Cone Center near Blowing Rock is a nice place to visit as well.

The rhododendron plants at Craggy Gardens will not be bloom in May, but you may well see some at lower elevations.

Mount Mitchell park is reached by a road that turns off of the parkway. It is well worth the short detour.

The Museum of North Carolina Minerals near Spruce Pine is well worth a stop.

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Old Sep 21st, 2003, 03:46 AM
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Pisgah Inn, about 20 miles south of Asheville is a must do place to stay. It's the only hotel right on the parkway. Every room has a balcony or patio with the most increbible view out over the mountains. We have stayed all over the World and never had a room with better views. Lie in bed and watch a fantastic dawn or sit out on a rocker and see the wildlife at dusk. Nice restaurant, again with fabulous views, and great hikes all around.
Website, www.pisgahinn.com
Have a great trip, Greybeard.
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Old Sep 21st, 2003, 07:29 AM
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Thanks, will be in Asheville on Oct 7-10, cannot wait. I was told the road to Chimney Rock was pretty treacherous, steep and winding, I will be in a large Chevy van, should this be a problem? is there another way to get to it?
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Old Sep 21st, 2003, 08:10 AM
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Do you mean the road from the ticket plaza to the parking area in the park itself, ARKANSASNURSE, or do you mean one of the routed you'd take to get to the park in the first place?

If you're talking about the access road from the plaza up to the parking area where you'd then access the elevator to the mountaintop, there's no other way that I know of to get where you'd need to go, and I assure you that people have made it to the parking lot in vehicles much bulkier and more unwieldy than a Chevy van.

If you're talking about the route to Hickory Nut Gorge and the villages of Gerton, Bat Cave, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure, there are a couple of ways to get there. Neither is a problem if you're accustomed to mountain driving, but the easier way is to take US 64 East (Chimney Rock Rd.) from Hendersonville. From Asheville, you'd take I-26 East to Exit 18 A, and once you take the exit, you're on Chimney Rock Road! The other way I'm most familiar is US 74 A, which runs from Fairview, a suburb of Asheville up the mountain and through a soil and water conservation district, then down the mountain and into Hickory Nut Gorge. It's a beautiful drive, but if you go that route, you'll be whipping around new fewer than 13 hairpin switchback curves.
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