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sl2013 Aug 16th, 2015 08:08 AM

Ideas for a place to stop driving south on Blue Ridge Parkway?
I recently asked a question for suggestions to stop for the night at a (pretty) place near I-81 on an upcoming trip from NJ to just NE of Atlanta. Thanks to Starrs and JanetKMR for their help!

I'm starting a new question because I now want to explore possibly driving through part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and stopping for the night somewhere along the way. I would leave NJ on a Thursday morning in mid-late October and have to arrive near Atlanta by 5pm - 7pm the next day.
I'm planning to take I-81 to somewhere in Virginia and get on BRP. I would really love to make a brief stop near the Asheville area, then take the route Starrs suggested, which has me going through Calyton GA. I would love to get to my stopping point on Thursday early enough to enjoy the scenery/dinner, which probably has me driving no more than about 9 hours.

Looking at, I thought the Floyd area might be a good place to stop? Or maybe it's too far? I have never driven the BRP before, and really don't have a feeling on how realistic this drive is given the time constraints especially it being peak autumn season. I am open to all suggestions on a place to stop.. or any advice at all. I am really looking to have this drive enjoyable, and spend the night at a friendly, safe place, and get to enjoy some great views of mother nature. Unfortunately,we will not have time to hike or explore much. thanks in advance!!
Oh, if need be, I could skip the brief stop in Asheville, but am really trying to squeeze this in.

Gretchen Aug 16th, 2015 09:26 AM

The speed limit IS 45mph. I'm not sure where Floyd is but stop around the Boone/Blowing Rock area for all the beauty you want.

brdcollie Aug 17th, 2015 05:11 AM

You could drive I-81 to I-26 just outside of Kingsport/Johnson City Tenn. Once in the Asheville area you can exit I-26 onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive south on the Parkway about 30 mins to stay at the Pisgah Inn ( Unfortunately that seems like it would be about a 10 hour drive, so unless you left NJ very early it's likely to be dark by the time you get to the Parkway. The next morning you could then drive a few miles further south on the Parkway to pick up Rt 276 down to Waynesville, NC where you can join Rt. 74 to Rt. 441. Or if you have time, just stay on the Parkway to Sylva and pick up Rt 441 there. By the way, you may have trouble getting a reservation at the Pisgah Inn for that time of year since the leaf season books early, especially weekends. If so, just stay in Asheville and do the Parkway drive the next day to Sylva, NC, then on to ATL.

schlegal1 Aug 21st, 2015 01:49 PM

Floyd is lovely -- I don't know what your "too far" criteria is. If you get on the Parkway where it begins in Waynesboro, VA it will probably take about about 3 hours to get to Floyd. We recently spent a weekend in Floyd and liked it a great deal but the hotel is right in town and doesn't have a pretty view.

You could stop here earlier if you like:

I took a look at your other thread--a lot of good info there. If you stay on 81 S then there are some several-mile long stretches where the MPH slows to 55 or 60 (some kind of stupid "Safety corridors") and traffic can be a little heavier there. And if you have never driven 81 bear in mind it's full of tractor trailer traffic (that bothers some people). The BRP is great but as noted, the MPH is 45 so it's fairly slow going.

sl2013 Aug 23rd, 2015 05:44 PM

First, thank you so much everyone!!

I think we've changed our minds again! We've decided to stop for the night around Wytheville area on I-81, then in the morning, continue on 81 until going south on Route 91 through TN. Next get on 421, taking us through Boone, NC and getting on 321. Drive through Blowing Rock, then get on BRP at Sandy Flat Gap and continue onto Linn Cove Viaduct.Eventually get on 221 around Linville Falls, then 40 W to Asheville. From there, continue on 40, to 441 to Clayton GA, then onto our destination.

Any thoughts on the 2nd day of driving? Is anyone familiar with these roads, especially 91 through TN? I could take Boone and/or Blowing Rock out, but I would like to drive the Linn Cove Viaduct.

My apologies for all the changes, but I'm not at all familiar with this area of the country, and it's taking me time to decide on the best route for us. All your suggestions are greatly appreciated, and thank you for helping us with figuring out our drive.

Also, would like to note, that because of time constraints, we will not really have time to stop other than for lunch and facilities. Of course, will stop where safe and take pictures!

Gretchen Aug 23rd, 2015 06:47 PM

I looked at a map and could not find 91. If you want to go to Boone and Blowing Rock, from Wytheville you can get on I77 south and drive to the intersection of 421 in about an hour and go to Boone--about another hour. I think this might be better than mountain driving although it could be very pretty.
I saw Route 21 drop directly south from Wytheville and then intersect with some other roads to Boone.

sl2013 Aug 23rd, 2015 07:21 PM

Thanks Gretchen. VA-91 is exit 29 from I-81 in Monroe, going towards Glades Springs/Damascus.

I see I-77 and 421. Google maps has it taking 30 minutes longer this way, but probably doesn't take into account the lower speeds on mountain roads, so it may take around the same time.

starrs Aug 23rd, 2015 08:18 PM

The good news about the BRP is that you can get on and off as much as you want. You can get on at Front Royal VA (Skyline Drive) and drive all the way to Cherokee, NC if you want. I've probably driven all of the segments of the BRP through the years, but never in order. It's beautiful. It's a wonderful resource and asset to this country. I get antsy driving 45 mph max for long periods of time.

I suppose my point is, pick a place to stay overnight that's about where you want to end the day - and get there via the BRP or combinations of interstate and secondary roads.

For a lot of the routing, the secondary roads have wonderful scenery as well. It's going to be a pretty drive, no matter which you choose.

For example - I know I can drive the 100 miles from Cherokee to Asheville and I can guesstimate how long it will take at 45 mph max and stopping at overlooks. Or if I get crunched for time, I can get off and drive a different route. If I get in a hurry, I could do the drive between the cities in an hour. It's really okay if you don't plan the BRP drive too exactly. You can get to your evening destination easily. And if you use interstates to make up time, you can always circle back the next morning to where you left the parkway and continue the drive.

starrs Aug 23rd, 2015 08:21 PM

I like this version of the map to plan -

Gretchen Aug 24th, 2015 04:50 AM

Doing it on MapQuest I found the time estimates to be essentially the same on 77, US 21 and the route from Abingdon, which I think must be 91. That surprised me, but of the 3 I might consider Route 21 directly south from Wytheville for the scenery.

sl2013 Aug 24th, 2015 05:46 PM

Starrs, I really appreciate your comments about not having to plan this too exactly. For some reason, that really puts me at ease.

Thank you all for the driving suggestions and help! Only wish I had a few more days to enjoy, but am so looking forward to this drive!

Gretchen Aug 25th, 2015 08:55 AM

That is a really good map!! Makes me want to jump in the car and go. Thanks

starrs Aug 25th, 2015 09:37 AM

Gretchen, me too! :-)

This is a great resource for picking the places to stop along the way -

sl2013 Aug 26th, 2015 10:30 AM

thanks again ladies, the map and link are very helpful!

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