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Driving the BRP.....Virginia or North Carolina?

Driving the BRP.....Virginia or North Carolina?

Old Jul 26th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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Driving the BRP.....Virginia or North Carolina?

We are taking a six-week road trip which will include DC to Asheville (Biltmore) and then to the Outer Banks. On the first leg, if we stick to the interstates (66 and 81) it will take about 8 hours. We are planning to spend the night in Asheville, take our Biltmore tour all of the next day, then spend that night in Asheville also. When we leave the following day, we are headed to OB. The question is: which section of the Parkway do we want to see? Years ago, I drove a part of it in NC and I remember I loved the windy roads and the tunnels. But if we drive WEST from Asheville that day, it will be a rather circuitous route to get us east again towards the Outer Banks. I know we would then need an extra day en route. Then again, if we take BRP from its northernmost point, while we are southbound toward Asheville, we would have to spend another night BEFORE we get to Asheville, in which case we would forego the BRP the day AFTER the Biltmore. We want to take our time, have a picnic, hike some of the trails, and enjoy the view. Driving the Parkway is a treat, not a race. THERE'S JUST NOT ENOUGH TIME!!!
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Old Jul 26th, 2014, 03:57 PM
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I think I know the geography around Asheville pretty well, and cannot see exactly why you would want to take the BRP to the OBX.
Please tell us where you are coming from to get to Asheville.
Why would you not go just east on I40 toward the coast.
Or why wouldn't you take the BRP TO Asheville from somewhere in VA.
The BRP is a treasure, but there is a tiresomeness to it when you do it forever--at 45 MPH.
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Old Jul 26th, 2014, 05:35 PM
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I know that it was a long intro to a post, but I did that in the hopes of making my request clear; guess not. In my first line I mention that we will be travelling FROM DC TO ASHEVILLE. So, if we decide to take the BRP while driving FROM DC....I need to decide if it would be better to take the first half (from I64 to say, Roanoke) then jump over to 81 the rest of the way.....or to go to Roanoke via 81 AND THEN go to Ashville via BRP. I realize, as I mentioned, that this will add another day to the trip from DC to Asheville. We would spend the night SOMEWHERE along the BRP. But if, in the opinion of the "Fodor's Angels", the best part of the BRP is WEST of Asheville, then I see no reason to take that "tiresome, 45-MPH plod" along the BRP NORTH of Asheville. Another option for us is to drive the BRP to the west outside of Asheville AS A SEPARATE DAY TRIP, after we have visited the Biltmore. I realize, as I stated in the post, that this is out of the way. We are willing to make a loop and go (probably counter-clockwise) out of Asheville to the west, then take the BRP back toward Asheville, spend the night somewhere, and drive to OBX the following day.
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Old Jul 27th, 2014, 03:50 AM
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I don't know that the prettiest part of BRP is south/west of Asheville. I think it is quite lovely north also. There is also the possibility that to the south you will be riding above the clouds, depending on the weather.
I haven't been on the parkway north of Roanoke so I'd recommend your Roanoke to Asheville option.
Do you need to return to DC then?
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Old Jul 27th, 2014, 08:40 AM
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NO. We will be going to OBX after Asheville. That is why I thought we could go west from Asheville, do a counter-clockwise day trip in order to see part of the BRP south of Asheville, and end up that night somewhere between say, Greenville, SC and Charlotte, NC. Then the next day would be a straight shot to OBX. But you have a good point about the clouds.....is that fairly common? This part of our trip will be around the first week-end of September. I guess I should also be considering the potential for holiday traffic, since that is the Labor Day week-end. I'm leaning toward your suggestion of taking the BRP from Roanoke to Asheville. What do you think?
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Old Jul 27th, 2014, 09:04 AM
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Well, that is fine--after the OBX WHERE are you going was really my question. YOu might want to do it backwards--go to the OBX from DC and then do some of the BRP from somewhere to somewhere. Ending in the OBX is a long way from anywhere--unless maybe you are heading on south to Charleston, say.
I understand Asheville-OBX, and yes you could do a little loop as you describe which is fine.
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Old Jul 27th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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Several options come to mind.
I think you could do it as a separate day trip if that appeals to you. Biltmore Estate does not have to take a full day but it is a great experience. If you do decide to go west, Greenville SC is a wonderful town with cute shops and restaurants. I don't know how familiar you are with Asheville but I will recommend that you go up to the Grove Park Inn and have a look around - it is fantastic inside and full of history. The lobby with the walk in fireplaces are just fabulous! Also, Curate (Spanish tapas at their best) and Rhubard (chef from Blackberry Farm) are both wonderful restaurants in town.
One alternate idea: You could take 81 to 26 toward Asheville and when you get to Johnson City head toward Boone/Blowing Rock and from there get on the Parkway. It is about 2:45 driving time to Asheville from Blowing Rock. Have a great trip!
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Old Jul 29th, 2014, 07:50 AM
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Well, we figured it out. After driving from DC, we are going to spend the first night at one of the campgrounds just south of Roanoke on the BRP. Then we drive the BRP to Asheville, where we will stay at a VRBO home just south of the Biltmore. Visit the Biltmore the next day, spend some time in town (thank you for the dining and sightseeing suggestions!!!)and maybe spend a little time the next morning in the area before driving to the OBX. I know from being there about 20 years ago that the area is so pretty we really can't go wrong no matter HOW we choose to go, but info from locals is always so helpful. Thank you!!
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Old Jul 29th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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I am still curious about where you are going after OBX. Your plan sounds fine, of course.
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Old Jul 29th, 2014, 09:56 AM
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We have also done this but made the mistake Gretchen points out.

We did the whole BRP. By mile whatever it was I had had enough, it ruined the whole experience. We travelled from DC down the BRP to Ashville then down to Savannah up to the OBX and back to DC. Do the BRP in small doses.

Ashville was great and even by British standards, Biltmore was something else.

I loved the tour guide response to a visitor asking why there were no other houses to be viewed from the Biltmore. "Why the family just bought them all and demolished them all".
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Old Jul 29th, 2014, 03:17 PM
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Well, I didn't want to bore everybody with TOO MUCH info in the first post. We are home exchangers; we have traded our home for similar homes worldwide. This particular trip starts in Vienna, VA (just across the Potomac). Since they are using our car here in Sonoma, CA, we will be using their car in the DC area. These folks ALSO own a home in OBX. So, we spend 10 days in DC, drive down to Roanoke, spend the day hiking or picnicking or whatever, stay there in an Airbnb room (that part changed). Then we drive to Asheville the next day at a leisurely pace along BRP. Now, from looking at the maps, it seems that if we DO get that "enough is enough" feeling we can jump onto a faster hwy at several points along the way. Two days in A-ville, then drive to OBX. THEN (I know you've been waiting, Gretchen) back to Vienna, VA. Drop off the car, Taxi to IAD to catch a flight to Burlington, VT, where we will be doing ANOTHER exchange. We hope to catch fall colors, and will be going to Montreal for a few days during that stay. This part of the trip is over two weeks, again, with a car. All in all.....6 weeks. As an aside, I love comparing Hearst Castle to Biltmore, for those of you who have seen both. They are FABULOUS at X-mas.
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