Blue Ridge Pkwy--stops

Old Jun 20th, 2003, 11:35 AM
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Blue Ridge Pkwy--stops

Our family will be traveling in NC next month and taking the Blue Ridge Pkwy thru the state. What activities/stops do you recommend? Have heard some people suggest Boone and Blowing Rock. What about gem mining?
Thanks for any ideas.
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Old Jun 20th, 2003, 11:37 AM
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Asheville would be my first choice.
 
Old Jun 20th, 2003, 01:41 PM
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What exactly are you interested in seeing, CindyA? The parkway runs through so many places that you could really find something for just about any urge or whim, from a college town like Boone, to a swanky little resort town like Blowing Rock, to a hip and sophisticated city like Asheville and beyond. Seeing as the entire parkway is a scenic drive, I'd imagine you'd want something to do other than look at the forests, mountains, and lakes, but there are opportunities off the parkway to see things really special, such as waterfalls. Also, you could ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railway in Dillsboro, near the terminus of the parkway at Cherokee... What are you in the mood to see and do?

For gem mining specifically, you'd do best to head toward Franklin, which isn't on the parkway itself, but can be accessed by travelling south from Cherokee and the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

I second GoTravel's suggestion to see Asheville, a can't-miss, exquisitely beautiful, art-filled little city with tons to see and do, great restaurants, fun shopping, and amazing attractions such as the Biltmore Estate and the Asheville Urban Trail. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes through the city, with stops at such places as the Folk Art Center a commercial gallery and art museum of handicrafts and Appalachian art, on the east side of town.

Let us know what you'd like to see and do while in Western North Carolina, and you'll get some more specific suggestions.

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Old Jun 20th, 2003, 01:57 PM
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Thanks for the info. I can't be too specific as to what we want to do, because I'm not sure yet! We will be traveling with a 15 y.o. and 13 y.o. They thought the gem mining would be fun. We like great scenery, but want to get out and "do something" every so often. We will definitely plan on stopping in Asheville.
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Old Jun 20th, 2003, 02:13 PM
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One thing you might want to consider, CindyA, when you stop in Asheville, visit the Colburn Gem and Mineral Museum, in Pack Place, a collection of museums and theatres on Pack Square downtown. Seeing as your teenagers though gem mining might be fun, and all...

Let me think on what else would interest teens in the area, and I'll get back with more suggestions a little later on tonight.
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 01:44 PM
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Hi, CindyA. I've been giving some thought to what your teens might like to see and do, but you know how difficult that can be.

I imagine they'd like the overall feel and vibe of downtown Asheville, though. Beyond that, I suppose it's hit or miss. There's the Biltmore Estate, a 250-room mansion on 8,000 acres of gardens and forests, the botanical gardens, the NC Arboretum, a beach at Lake Lure (about 20 miles SE of Asheville), and Chimney Rock Park, a private nature park home to hiking trails, caves, waterfalls, and unusual rock formations, within sight of Lake Lure. There's a natural waterslide, along with dozens of waterfalls and hiking trails in the national forests of Transylvania County, SW of Asheville, but you can go whitewater rafting, fishing, or tubing in rivers all over the region.

Back downtown, there's the Colburn Gem and Mineral Musuem, which I mentioned before, in Pack Place, which is also home to the Asheville Art Museum, the YMI Cultural Center (a musuem of African American art and history), and the Health Adventure, which is a health and science museum for children. Pack Place is also home to the Diana Wortham Theatre, which I can't recommend highly enough -- if there's a performance at the Diana Wortham you'd be interested in, run, don't walk, to buy a ticket. There's a rock climbing wall on Wall Street. Speaking of performances though, if anyone's interested, you can take in the performing arts while in the city, because Asheville's performing arts and visual arts are stellar. Check the newspaper to see if the symphony, ballet, opera, or what have you are performing, or to see what plays might be offered at the various theatres around the city.

Of course, teens tend to like malls, and Asheville has two large ones. Asheville Mall is on Tunnel Road, on the east side, while Biltmore Square Mall is south of town on Brevard Road.

Farther afield, there's Cherokee culture, museums, and outdoor dramas in Cherokee, the capital of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, at the end of the parkway. Your teens wouldn't be able to take advantage of it, but there's a casino there as well.

Are these ideas helpful at all? Are any questions coming to mind?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2003, 02:20 PM
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Hauntedheadnc--Thanks for all the great ideas. I'll go over these w/ the kids and let them help pick. The natural waterslide sounds like something they'd really go for. We'll definitely spend some time in Asheville, and we'll be coming up thru Cherokee. Thanks again for your help!
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 09:12 AM
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Some other specific points of interest for kids that age (I have a 16 & 14 yearold) are: Heading north on 441 in the town of Franklin you have The Factory, a fun place for kids that has go-carts, batting cages, 2 putt-putt courses, bowling, arcade games, etc. You have 2 gem mines right next to 441, Cowee in Franklin and Gold City at top of mountain. Just outside Franklin east on 64 about 13 miles you have 3 spectacular waterfalls: Cullasaja, Dry, and Bridal Veil (Cullasaja a roaring massive waterfall, Dry you can walk behind, and Bridal you can drive behind. A few miles away you have paintball in Highlands! If your heading north of Franklin on 441 you have Dillsboro with aforementioned train. Neat ride. If you have time eat lunch at Jarrett House, good food. Gentle tubing/rafting available on Tuckaseege River. Just a few miles from Cherokee is the Nantahala River with great whitewater rafting. From Cherokee you have start of BRP. (just north of parkway on 441 is Clingmans Dome, great view). On the parkway you have just that, wonderful panoramic views and greenery/flowers. Awesome. Just as hauntedheadnc says there are so many places to stop on parkway and just off. Asheville is the quintessence of mountain living/culture within a city atmosphere. Sliding Rock is cool and fun, but can get crowded. All places that have been mentioned are great choices and are dependant on your origination/direction and time. Have fun!
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 05:42 PM
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If you're coming all the way to the end of the Parkway (in Cherokee NC) then be *SURE* to stop at the Waterrock Knob over look. The land falls away on both sides of the overlook, and you can see 20+ miles away on one side, and 52 miles on the other! (On a clear day. We had just such a clear day this week and went up at noon - spectacular!) There is a hike up to the top of the Knob, but you need to be in good shape to climb it, or take your time. It's steep, but part of it is paved, like a sidewalk. If you do go all the way to the top, look down into the greenest little valley you can see. It will be Maggie Valley. At the bottom will be a clearing with two rows of trees that meet in an X. They grow alongside two creeks that join. The X marks the spot - that's where I live!

Sandee
Timberwolf Creek B&B
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Maggie Valley
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 07:08 PM
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Oh wow! This posting is bringing me back to my childhood when we vacationed in NC and saw many of the sites mentioned. The ones I remember most? Seeing "Unto These Hills" in Cherokee on a cold summer night and holding a can of hot chocolate that was horrible for drinking... but great for warming the hands! And my Mom and Grandmother watching my brother and me slide down Slippery Rock... oooooh, the water was soooooooooo cold, but it was great fun!

Take your children to things they can't do around home. We even went gem hunting and my brother found a ruby. They put it in a chain and I might even have it to this day (35 years later!)

Of course, you have to do what YOU want to do. As an adult, I never miss the Folk Art Center. They usually have a live demonstration of how to do a craft, such as whittling (sp?), weaving, etc. Beautiful quilts, special displays, nice jewelry, etc. Well worth the visit, and the kids might like the crafts and such. You can stay as long as you want, and the last time I was there, they just asked for a donation of your own choosing. Well worth the trip, and right off the Parkway heading toward Blowing Rock from Asheville.

We always camped in NC and visited friends in East Flat Rock, outside of Asheville. Beautiful country up there! Everyone gave you the best advice, so you just have to sift through it and figure out your trip plans.

I truly envy your summer trip. Oh, how I wish I had those summers back.... but the memories still warm my heart to this day.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 07:17 PM
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Wow, that was a nice post Heartburn3. It brought back memories of traveling with my grandparents in the mountains. Blue Ridge Pkwy- black bears coming right up to car, Cherokee- shopping for just the right bow & arrow, Waynesville- going to a drive-in with Pa and Grandma and watching bluegrass performance on top of concession stand, Balsam Mountain 42"snowfall-Pa drove all the way up, 7'long icicles, driving to the "Big City"-Asheville. I could go on and on. Thank you Heartburn3.
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Old Jun 29th, 2003, 01:12 PM
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If you like waterfalls might want to consider Linville Falls at milepost 316.3 which is south of Blowing Rock. The Julian Price park at mile 295-298 has trails and a lake. Mt Mitchell State Park at milepost 355.4 reached via NC128 is the highest point in the US east of the Mississippi River. Grandfather Mountain about milepost 303 is off the parkway but has a mile high swinging bridge, black bear and other animals in natural surroundings. Also near by is the Linn Cove Viaduct which was the last section of the parkway to be completed. It is listed as an architectural wonder the way it is constructed.
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