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Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina - Tips/Helps

Old May 5th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina - Tips/Helps

This is actually a vacation that I'm thinking of taking in 2006, but am just in the fact gathering stage. For those who have traveled or live in these states, your opinions, comments, suggestions are most appreciated!

1. Which would be the best time of year to travel to these states? Late spring (May/June) or fall (October)? I'm not a big fan of humidity, but would like to have to have some sunny days. I've looked up the climate, and it appears that October has the smallest chance of rain. True?

2. The itinerary I'm thinking of is to arrive in Atlanta, rent a car, and stay a couple of days.

Then, drive via Columbus to Charleston (looks like this can be done in one day, or should it be broken up?). Bulk of time on the trip would be spent in Charleston, but I'm not sure how many days to allow to truly explore this city. What would you suggest?

Continue driving into North Carolina to Raleigh. (Actually will be going to Cary, just outside of Raleigh, to visit an aunt.) Thinking of staying 2 days? Perhaps 1? Not sure. What items of interest are there in the Raleigh area?

Drive from Cary to Charlotte, spend the night, then onto Atlanta. (It just appears the drive might be too long from Raleigh to Atlanta, and might not have enough time to do Asheville.) Leave from Atlanta.

3. I could do this trip in any order, arriving at Atlanta, Raleigh, or Charleston, but will still be making the same general loop. I've heard "horror stories" of the airport at Atlanta, so would it be best to avoid?

4. Is the stop at Charlotte necessary? Is there another half-way point that would be of interest? I will be traveling with my mother, and I believe she knows some people in Charlotte so we might be visiting people there.

5. I know the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library is in Atlanta (something my mother will want to visit), and I also know that there are a number of monuments to Martin Luther King Jr in Atlanta that would be of interest to both of us. Other than that, I've no idea what there is to see or do in any of these cities. This is a part of the country I've not yet seen, so that, and visiting my aunt, are the reasons for going here. I've heard wonderful things about Charleston but any ideas of special places of interest? We are usually interested in a variety of things, but are not really into "nightlife." More historical, gardens, people-watching, exploring, and museums (but not overly much). I do love baseball, and would love to take in a Braves game while in Atlanta.

6. I was in New Orleans a couple of years ago, loved it, but was spoiled by the food. It was great! I've heard lots of good things about "southern cooking" and would like to try regional specialities. Any ideas of dishes "not to be missed"?

7. Lastly, I'm thinking of allowing 2 weeks for this trip. I could possibly stretch that into 2 1/2 weeks, but not much more. Enough time? Too much? Too little?

I know this is long, and I will be doing searching, but any suggestions are very appreciated!
Chele60 is offline  
Old May 5th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Since you're not planning on visiting the mountains (but see alternate plan below) I would suggest April. The flowers are blooming and it's usually nice weather. It starts to heat up in May . . . well, usually. I'm not sure if the temp. will reach 70 today.

For fall: Arrive Atlanta. Drive into N. Ga. mtns (I don't have a map with me so I don't know the route) and into Asheville. Visit Asheville. Drive Asheville to Cary (about 5 hours non-stop). Visit with family. Drive to Charleston. Visit Charleston. Drive to Columbia (I assume you mean Columbia, the capital of SC, and not Columbus, the capital of Ohio). Then back to Atlanta.

Yes, the RDU airport is smaller than the Atlanta airport, but depending on where you're flying from, Atlanta could be more convenient.

If you come to Raleigh in October, more than likely the State Fair is being held (about 10 days long). The art museum is nearby and is free admission, except for special exhibits.

Also in Oct. in the area, college football and after 10/15 basketball. If NHL is back the Carolina Hurricanes play in Raleigh. If you like the Andy Griffith Show, visit Pullen Park to see the statue of Andy and Opie.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Your time of year question is a tough one. Spring and fall in the South are both lovely times of the year! October is a great month because the leaves are changing and it is cooling off. But late April is beautiful when the flowers start blooming.

You asked about the Carter Presidential Library. It is well worth the trip. Not far from there is the Fernbank Natural Science Museum, which has some awesome exhibits and an IMAX theater.

I highly recommend the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. You can find the Web site on the National Parks Service since they run it. They have a very good thorough exhibit on Dr. King and his life, along with changing exhibits. I actually prefer it to the nearby King Center. Dr. King's birth home and Ebenezer Baptist Church are in that Auburn Avenue area. If you're interested, tours of what is called the Sweet Auburn area are offered. My husband and I took one last summer even though we're from Atlanta. We learned a lot!

If you come in the spring, you can definitely catch a Braves game. If you really love baseball, take a tour of the Ted. If you go on a game day, you won't see as much because they close off some areas. But it is a great tour regardless. If you go to a game, take MARTA to Five Points station and catch a shuttle to the Ted. That will save you massive traffic headaches.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:41 PM
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ncgrrl ~ Terrific suggestions! I guess I just automatically thought of going from Atlanta to Charleston, but I like the idea of going north from Atlanta through Asheville and into Cary! I love driving through beautiful scenery, and I've heard the southern states have some of the most beautiful. (And coming from desert-y So Cal it is quite a change!)

I like the idea that the art museum is free - love wondering around art museums. I've only been to one hockey game but I really liked, so the idea of seeing a pro hockey game is very appealing. I'll definitely put that on the list of possibilities.

And, yes, I did mean Columbia, not Columbus! *blushing* Now you know why I need to acquaint myself with this area of the country.

Thanks!
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:48 PM
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altswan ~ It appears my biggest dilemma is going to be figuring out what time of the year to go. It is appealing to be there when flowers are blooming and spring is in the air, but where I am we don't get the changes of color in the fall. Luckily, I'll have time to figure this one out.

Thank you for the information regarding the Carter Library. We live in the same city as the Nixon Library and enjoy it, and visited the Kennedy Library and enjoyed that as well. Now my mother wants to visit as many presidential libraries as possible, so this will be a good idea for both of us.

I'm glad you made the clarification regarding the monuments to King. It is a bit confusing and we would like to get the best. Thank you for making that more clear and will take a look at the National Parks page to learn more.

I think the Braves might still be playing late Sept/early Oct, though if they are in post season contention tickets might be more difficult to come by. But thank you for the tips on how to get to the stadium without the hassles of traffic! I wish we had something like that here in So Cal!
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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No need to blush. The various C-city names get confused around here.

From California, there are no nonstop flights to RDU.

If you do decide to come in spring, come on over to Durham and watch the Durham Bulls play baseball. The team no longer plays in the stadium used the movie "Bull Durham" but old stadium isn't that far away.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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Chele60, it CAN get confusing with the many King sites. I have been to the King Center and they do have some documents and items. But not nearly what the King Historical Site has on hand. Also, the King Center is in a sad state of disrepair. It is not run by the National State Parks, and I wish it was. There's been some fingerpointing about whose fault it is as to why this happened but nobody seems to have any solutions for how to fix it.

If you do come in late Septemer, you might indeed be able to enjoy some post-season Braves excitement. But as you said, tickets are harder to come by at that time. The leaves probably will not have changed in Atlanta until late October. But up in North Georgia and into the Carolinas, they tend to turn earlier in October. It varies every year according to how wet or dry the summer was.

I think if you flew into Atlanta and drove north into the Carolinas as Nccgrl advised, you would have a lovely drive. The Atlanta airport isn't too bad, really. They have clearly posted signs for just about everything. Just get on the train, head to baggage claim, go to car rental and you are on your way.

Asheville is one of my favorite places in the world. You can visit the Biltmore House (built at the turn of the century), which is a huge French chateau in the middle of the mountains. Spring and fall are both good times to go.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 03:37 AM
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I would probably opt for October over late May/June if you are planning on spending a large chunk of time in Charleston as by that time it can be quite muggy in that area. Or at least go May rather than June. I think the suggestion of driving North from ATL rather than east is a good one. Just drove back from ATL via Gainesville (985) and through mtns of N. GA - past Tallulah Falls (lots of road work right now) and Clayton, charming little downtown and the dogwoods are out.
Not to be missed dishes - I guess BBQ somewhere around Charlotte (look at www.chowhound.com), shrimp & grits in Charleston would be 2 suggestions -
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Old May 6th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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If you like nature, try Callaway gardens just outside of Altanta. I think it's 1 hr south.

Very beautiful...I'd recommend at least a whole afternoon there.
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