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Helo with Drive from Northern MS to Statesville NC Route

Helo with Drive from Northern MS to Statesville NC Route

Old May 6th, 2020, 08:20 AM
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Helo with Drive from Northern MS to Statesville NC Route

Hello!

We are driving later this month from Walnut , MS to Statesville NC and it looks to be about a 9 hour drive. For locals who are familiar with the routes, is it better to head north with a night in Knoxville or to head west through Alabama and then head north? Both routes are suggested and look to take about the same time.

it will be me, my husband and our son who is 16, we're picking up my son in MS and heading to NC to spend time with family. We are from CA and would love a scenic drive with somewhere to spend a night that is closer to Statesville with maybe a historical downtown with a good dinner restaurant. Any gems along the way?

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.
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Old May 6th, 2020, 12:15 PM
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The more interesting route would be through Alabama and up. Stop in Asheville for a visit--it's only a couple of hours to Statesville and there used to be a lot to do. Much will still probably be closed or very limited.
Once you are in Statesville go up to Winston Salem, if anything is open, for an interesting tour of Old Salem. There is lots to do in NC.
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Old May 6th, 2020, 12:56 PM
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Take I70 and I40, or turn off in Knoxville to cross the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and depwnding on time, rejoin the Interstate on the other side or take part of the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville.
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Old May 6th, 2020, 01:10 PM
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Not sure Michael looked at a map. I 70 is pretty far north.
I would recommend the middle part of these 3.
I40 from Nashville to Knoxville is really not very interesting. I40 from Knoxville to Asheville goes through the Pigeon River Gorge and I think it is one of the prettiest drives in the East.
The route through Alabama includes Chatanooga which is a nice town and could be a stop. Then you can wind through the GSMNP to Asheville if you want.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Waln...35.7826363!3e0

Last edited by Gretchen; May 6th, 2020 at 01:13 PM.
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Old May 6th, 2020, 03:27 PM
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Well, Google maps shows 3 options and all are within 20 minutes of each other.
I would NOT take the route through Birmingham, because the road construction (bridges) was horrible the last time I drove through. I have no idea if that project is completed or not.

Google maps is showing road construction on 565 east before Huntsville. I'd check into that to get more information.

The most northern route is 1 minute slower but shows no construction. So I'd pick that route via Nashville and Knoxville.

Both the upper and middle routes go via Asheville. I agree that Asheville would be a great overnight stop.

The GSMNP starts phased opening on May 9th -
https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/news/...g-on-may-9.htm

Last edited by starrs; May 6th, 2020 at 03:30 PM.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 06:43 AM
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Thank you all! We are loosely planning now to for sure drive through GSM park and stay in Asheville, depending on what is open. I think I'm going to wait until almost the last minute for the hotel reservation, since it seems each day there will be more options.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 02:35 PM
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lynni, here's hoping all goes well and that you will get to stay in Asheville for a couple of days.

Here's my trip report from there: Arty Asheville NC
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Old May 12th, 2020, 05:21 PM
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That sounds like a good plan.

Re GSMNP - There's a decent chance you may see black bear in the park in the spring. During my childhood years, we ALWAYS saw them, but bear management was very different (and bad) back then. As you drive north to south, there's a VERY good chance you'll see elk in the valley as you near the exit at Cherokee - especially if your drive is in late afternoon. Their reintroduction into the ecosystem has been very successful.

It's an easy drive from Cherokee to Asheville via interstate. You can also drive a much slower route via the Blue Ridge Parkway. I just checked and that segment is closed due to debris and fallen trees, but may be open when you take your trip.

https://www.nps.gov/maps/full.html?m...35.494/-82.664

The iconic place to stay in Asheville is the Grove Park Inn and I love it. You can stay in the historic section or the newer wings. Other options are on the Biltmore Estate itself or downtown, in walking distance to many restaurants. Asheville is a foodie town. If you want a moderate place to stay, the Hampton Inns or similar are a short drive to anywhere in the small city.

Asheville is fabulous. I always thought I'd move there one day.
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Old May 15th, 2020, 11:10 PM
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Thank you for sharing!
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