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Nashville, Memphis, and The Great Smoky Mountains.

Nashville, Memphis, and The Great Smoky Mountains.

Dec 12th, 2008, 11:11 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Maria -
Check out the Hampton Inn Beale St. in Memphis - they have some suites which have a sofa bed in the living room, plus a full kitchen. Their breakfast is not as extensive as Embassy Suites, but perfectly acceptable; and the location there is great. The rooms overlook W.C. Handy park where there are often musicians playing (noise was not a problem)- you're also around the corner from Beale St. so you and your husband could go there at night while your in-laws relaxed in the suite. We loved it there.
We also spent one night at the Heartbreak Hotel across the street from Graceland - it was a hoot!
debCT is offline  
Dec 12th, 2008, 11:42 AM
  #22  
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These are all great suggestions! I'll have to check out where Asheville is. It's been mentioned alot in other posts too. How far of a drive is that from Sevierville (or Gatlinburg)?

Love all the food suggestions too!

Thanks for the suggestion of dollywood but we're not really theme park type of people. I was just at WDW in Orlando for work for a week and in the evenings, my boss who is a huge fan took us to some places. I've had enough theme parks for awhile. I'm also the type to prefer going to Zion or Bryce instead of staying in Vegas. Asheville, however, sounds really nice. Especially if it's an artist community. I will definitely have to check that out.
maria_so is offline  
Dec 12th, 2008, 01:10 PM
  #23  
 
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In Nashville, staying at the Vanderbilt Embassy Suites would be convenient to the West End area (several restaurants within walking distance), Music Row, and of course Vanderbilt, although it's a few blocks from the edge of campus. Music Row is mostly businesses rather than touristy things. I don't think the neighborhood is seedy - I wouldn't walk around alone at night, but that's true of most places.

Staying at the downtown Hilton, you'll be in walking distance to the Sommet Center (large arena), the Country Music Hall of Fame, the new symphony center, the Ryman Auditorium, and several honky-tonks/bars on Lower Broadway and 2nd Avenue (Tootsie's, Robert's, Wildhorse). Downtown may be a little safer than the Embassy Suites area only because there are more people walking around later at night. Either place, you may encounter a homeless person, but to me that doesn't make a place seedy.

There are several attractions for which you'd need a car or cab for from either location (Belle Meade, Bluebird Cafe, Opryland, etc.). So I think, all things being equal, it just depends on what in Nashville interests you. Those two hotels are a short drive apart. Opryland is certainly a sight, but as aliska mentioned, it's a ways from any other attractions. It's kind of its own complex out there.

In the Smokies, Laurel Falls and Abrams Falls are good hikes. I think Abrams is more strenuous than Laurel, but it's been awhile since I've done either. Cades Cove is a must.
jent103 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2008, 02:03 PM
  #24  
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THANKS JENT103.I think we've pretty much decided on staying at the embassy suites both in nashville and memphis and just driving to places. Like you said, it's not that far.

So far, here's our itinerary:

8/14 arrive Nashville around 5pm. Check in and drive to a restaurant near/in Beale st and then walk around a bit. Go back to hotel and crash.

8/15 - 8/16 get up early and drive to memphis.

(not sure yet of the itinerary here but we have 2 days. I'm sure elvis stuff - what else?)

8/17 get up early and drive back to nashville. tickets for grand ole opry in the evening, etc.

8/18 get up early and drive to mammoth cave in kentucky - dinner somewhere in nashville that evening.

8/19 get up early to drive to GSMNP. Check in at hidden mountain, do some grocery shopping and settle in. Check out Gatlinburg arts/crafts street. Check out pigeon forge.

8/20 GSMNP
8/21 GSMNP
8/22 Drive through GSMNP (slowly to enjoy the sights) to Asheville, check out the biltmore, etc. (any suggestions for lunch?)
8/23 pack up get ready to head back to Nashville for a 6pm flight home.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
maria_so is offline  
Dec 12th, 2008, 08:50 PM
  #25  
 
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Driving through the Park (via US 441S) to Cherokee, N.C., and on to Asheville will easily take half a day. The highway from Gatlinburg to Cherokee is a twisty two-lane road full of tourists, so you will not make good time. That's a highway for meandering, unless it's the off-season. And since you're already spending a couple days in the Park, you will likely have traveled that highway, maybe even all the way to Cherokee, by the time you're ready to head to Asheville.

So here's my recommendation for the Asheville day: it's a beautiful drive -- and nearly as scenic -- around the National Park to Asheville via I-40. From Sevierville you can take US441N to I-40 at Newport, Tenn. That would give you a lot more time to explore Asheville and the Biltmore. Biltmore will take at least a half day if not more to see and enjoy and not feel rushed.

xrae is offline  
Dec 13th, 2008, 03:47 PM
  #26  
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thanks xrae! that's great advice. i saw an add about hot springs, nc and if we can talk my inlaws into trying it, we'd love to stop by there on the way home say after or before dinner on the way back to hidden mountain. has anyone done the hot springs there? specifically, we were thinking of booking one of the tubs in hot springs spa resort.

Thanks!
maria_so is offline  
Dec 13th, 2008, 07:47 PM
  #27  
 
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The area around Beale Street is ok but I wouldn't go further at night. When I was at the Peabody there was allot of homeless offering to watch my car. Graceland is ok but it is a giant house that is still in the same condition it was when Elvis was there. They are very bitchy about flash photography there. Memphis isn't really fun which I am sad to say.
bertaron is offline  
Dec 13th, 2008, 08:10 PM
  #28  
 
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I have to disagree that Memphis isn't fun. I love Memphis. And Graceland hasn't changed since Elvis died? That's the point!!!! The car museum is worth the trip. Not to mention the Civil Rights Museum and the Pink Palace and the Orpheum Theater and and and....
SharonG is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 06:42 AM
  #29  
 
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Hi Maria - I just wanted to clarify on your 8/14 that Beale Street is in Memphis, not Nashville. Not sure if you weren't clear on that or just typed the wrong street name! Also, I don't believe the Opry does shows on Mondays (your 8/17). The shows are usually on weekend nights (Friday & two shows Saturday) and one show on Tuesday night, so you could go on 8/18 (though that might cut your Mammoth Cave visit short).
jent103 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 07:58 AM
  #30  
 
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I've been through Hot Springs a few times but have never "taken the baths" there. Hot Springs is one of the very few places where the Appalachian Trail goes right through town, so businesses there really cater to hikers. It's a nice little town. Again, the roads through that area are two lane and twisty, so don't plan on making good time; just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

xrae is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 08:58 AM
  #31  
 
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I also have to disagree that Memphis isn't fun. I love the ducks at the Peabody (and the lovely dessert cafe there), the bands on Beale St., the Sun Studios tour, the beautiful Rhodes College in midtown (my alma mater), Graceland in all its glory, etc.
lisettemac is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 11:13 AM
  #32  
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jent, thanks. yes, I meant memphis. just typing too fast lately. thanks for the show times too. didn't check on that yet since it's too far out to see who's playing when and where but really good to know.

xrae, are the hot springs not as known around there? we're hikers and we LOVE to get to a mineral pool after a nice hike. albeit we won't be doing any long hikes with the inlaws in tow but a little.

thanks!
maria_so is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 11:33 AM
  #33  
 
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Be sure to make a reservation for a tour in Mammoth Cave.I would hate to have you get there and all the tours be full.
Sorry but 2nd Ave in Nashville is closed for some special events,not all the time. It was closed Thanksgiving weekend however.When is Fanfare?
letsgo39 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 12:51 PM
  #34  
 
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Fanfest 2009 will be June 11 - 14.
debCT is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 09:26 PM
  #35  
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letsgo30, ooooooooooh! really good to know that! wonder how far in advance they book it. will have to check with mammoth! muchas gracias!

fanfair? looks like we'll miss it so will not go look. i may be really disappointed....

thanks all!
maria_so is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 11:14 PM
  #36  
 
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The area around Vanderbilt University is perfectly safe. Trust me, I went to school there. The Loews Vanderbilt Plaza is the nicest hotel in that area and right across the street from the university. There is also a newer Marriott down the street on West End that looks very nice. Not sure about the set up of the rooms. If you want to not have the car to see things then I would stay downtown, but Nashville is definitely a driving city. It's super fun! Have a great time.
Skiergirl is offline  
Dec 16th, 2008, 07:11 PM
  #37  
 
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Maria, I would say that Hot Springs, N.C., doesn't draw your typical Asheville tourist. That's my guess only. It's not even remotely upscale. There are some very nice $$$ spas in Asheville.
xrae is offline  
Dec 16th, 2008, 08:34 PM
  #38  
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xrae, all the better for me. I prefer the more natural mineral pools (like I love the one in Ouray, CO at the Weisbaden and the Ojo Caliente in New Mexico). I prefer the ones where the mineral hot springs is a natural occurance, not a big business type of thing, but that's just me.

thanks all for hotel suggestions. We're pretty set on embassy suites at this point. it'll fit our needs the best. we'll have a car and we've accepted that this trip will be a bit different for our lodging choices as usual because of inlaws.

We're looking forward to this trip and so are they!
maria_so is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 12:43 PM
  #39  
 
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Maria

Mammouth Cave tours can be booked on line at their web site.
letsgo39 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 07:15 PM
  #40  
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letsgo, yeah, i looked. have you been to the tours at mammoth cave? The mammoth one I can't book (box office only) but it looks like frozen niagra is the best one? What do you recommend? DO you think we can do 2 and if so, which 2?

thanks!
maria_so is offline  

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