Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

NYC to Florida drive....seeking advice on stops in Va, NC, SC

NYC to Florida drive....seeking advice on stops in Va, NC, SC

Old Aug 29th, 2013, 02:18 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
NYC to Florida drive....seeking advice on stops in Va, NC, SC

With the help of the advice I received here, two of us had an interesting, and delicious, journey from our home in NYC to a rental condo in south Florida last December. Details in this thread: http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...ea-islands.cfm


We plan to rent another condo this winter, and would like to take a route different from last year's, which included overnights in Staunton, Va , Winston Salem, and St. Simons Island.

Please bear with me; this is another long and winding post!

Having heard awful things about the drive south from NYC to DC on I-95, I am thinking of driving via the Eastern Shore of MD and the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel, which would put us in the area of Norfolk, Va, or perhaps Elizabeth City, NC on the first night. (Do not want to drive more than 7 hours each day).

Does anyone have any ideas for a hotel (non-chain is best) for the first night in the general area of Norfolk/EC? Any great local places to eat on the Eastern Shore, or in the Norfolk or EC area? Would not like any complicated city driving, unless there is a great hotel at the end of it!


The second day of driving will likely follow a route east of I-95 in order to take in one or two of the legendary Eastern NC BBQ outposts (Right now I am looking at Bunn's BBq in Windsor, NC, and Wilbur's in Goldsboro; we can do one for late breakfast and the second for lunch).

Second night: Had planned on driving as far as Bluffton, SC, but I see that the drive from Norfolk to Bluffton is almost 8 hours or so---with food stops, this might be too much car time.

SO: Looking at Florence, SC, and would like comments on that city, or other likely stops on the second night.
There appears to be a handsome downtown area, and a good hotel in Florence.

Third and maybe Fourth night: Bluffton, SC. This would break up the driving days and give us a short drive on the second day, along with a chance to meander around this area of the Low Country, with a possible visit to Beaufort (SC). There is an excellent, if pricey hotel in Bluffton that we are thinking of trying. ( if anyone has stayed at Palmetto Bluff, please comment!) Certainly would need info on where to eat in Bluffton. (local seafood sounds best; do not want a "fancy" setting). See linked thread, above, for where we ate along our drives last year..

So:

Day 1..Leave NYC, drive via EAstern Shore to Norfolk, Va or Elizabeth City, NC.

Day 2..Meander south, sampling NC bbq, to Florence, SC

Day 3..Short drive to Bluffton, SC, with stops at Le Creuset outlet..meander around remainder of day and on following day. (day 4) (Any other stops en route??)

Day 5: Long slog from Bluffton to south Florida.





Thanks for reading this rambling post...please offer your comments on hotels and food en route.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2013, 02:55 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,661
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
eks, yay!

When I first started reading I got excited because I thought you would come through Greensboro. Maybe next time.

I like Bluffton and I have friends who have stayed at that Inn-very nice. But I LOVE Beaufort. It's a lovely town (go watch "Big Chill") with some nice restaurants, some funkier ,like Shrimp Shack and Gullah Grub.
http://www.gullahgrubs.com/Home.html

You could also visit my Favorite Place On Earth, Hunting Island State Park
http://southcarolinaparks.com/huntin...roduction.aspx

Think about it.

Florence is ok. Not particularly scenic, but the big state Farmer's Market there is open year round. There's an historic inn not far away from there called Abingdon. Never stayed there but it looks nice. If it were me I'd just stay in the traffic flow and beat the street to Beaufort. Summerton Diner in Summerton has good southern stuff. And McCabes bbq in MAnning is great but make sure they are open when you paln to go, if you do.

That outlet is fine, but I think it's still pricey.

Can't help you with where to stay in E City-haven't been here in years. You might be able to check out Blackbeards though if you decide to go that far down.

If I think of anything else I'll post. I love a road trip.

That Norfolk/Chesapeak area can be trafficy too, so you might want to stop before you get to NC.

You made good Q choices. Sounds like you won't have time to get far off that nasty 95. If you do, consider Blackbeard's in Conetoe (say kah-net-a. Don't say Conetoe or they will know you are Fum Off : D : D) And I know you know to fly past South of the Border, senor.
suewoo is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2013, 02:56 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,661
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OK that got out of order but you get the drift.
suewoo is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 04:18 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sue: Thanks so much for the long and information-packed response! I love it: "beat the street" to Beaufort! I will look into your suggestions, and also see if I can find out more about the traffic conditions along the eastern shore route.

Thank you for the mention of McCabe's in Manning, very close to I-95. Looks like they are open Thursday through Saturday, 10am to 3pm. I am seeing that a few of the others I had on my list have similar abbreviated hours. (Scott's in Hemingway, for example)

And thank you SO much for that pronunciation tip. Never in a million years would I have known it was kah-net-a!!! I only wish I had a week to meander all around the area, sampling bbq! But I can get some on the way home, and maybe we can even meet somewhere!!

Hoping someone will come up with an interesting place to stay around Norfolk/E. City.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 04:21 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Forgot to ask: Should we try Skylight Inn instead of Wilbur's? Both are more or less on the route from Eastern Shore/Norfolk to I-95. Wish all decisions were this difficult!!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 04:22 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
http://www.skylightinnbbq.com/

OR

http://www.wilbersbarbecue.com/
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 05:06 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wilber's is THE BBQ place of NC==been there since the 20's when it was in competition with the other BBQ spot in Goldsboro, Scott's, which is black owned, but everyone ate there long before desegregation. I believe Scott's is still there also--they sell their BBQ sauce commercially (vinegar and pepper!!).
Florence is not particularly memorable but you should buy some pecans while you are in this area--chocolate covered, and all. They may be sold at gas plazas or such even. There is a big store just off I95 at the Route 52/Darlington exit next to the Pilot gas plaza.
And yes. LC outlets are still pricey.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 05:19 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,661
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wilbur's gets lots of love on Chowhound and it's not far off the road. I haven't been in decades. I need to make a Q trip out there myself. But I don't think you can go wrong with either one.

Scott's is FABULOUS. I used to come through there on my way from Charleston to Greensboro. Well worth the time.

Gretchen, do you mean Young's Pecans? I used to stop there on my way back and forth as well. It's near the intersection of 95 and 52. I heard some people from Texas bought it, but I don't know if that means all the pecans come from Texas or what.
suewoo is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 05:57 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 42,500
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Re the Delaware segment. I would advise you to use 113 south as opposed to 13 south of Dover.
Dukey1 is online now  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 10:33 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 958
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
About Florence. We lived there for 25 years before retiring to the Charleston area a couple of years ago (we were professors at the University located there). For the past 5-10 years the Florence downtown area has been undergoing a major cultural revitalization. There’s a spectacular new library, new little theatre, new performing arts center and currently under construction a new art and history museum—all huge, beautiful buildings constructed in such a way as to create a downtown cultural corridor. If you haven’t been there in the last 5 years it is worth a second look. The new hotel you mentioned is located there and has, IMO, the very best restaurant—Victor’s bistro. It’s been around for many years but has relocated to the first floor of this new hotel. If you decide to spend a night in Florence, don’t stay near the interstate, but go directly to downtown and stay right there. If you get into Florence early enough, wander into the Art Trail Gallery which is a gallery for local and regional artists. I don’t know the schedule of events or gallery hours but the town website should have that information for the gallery and for any evening cultural events. If the new art museum was completed and open, I’d suggest you spend some time there. They have a wonderful collection of pueblo pottery including several Maria Martinez works.

We were at a wedding in Norfolk in July and it took us about 8 hours driving from there to Charleston, so getting to Florence should take about 6 or so, more of course when you add your BBQ stops.

In Norfolk/ Virginia Beach we stayed at Bay Beach in Virginia Beach which is just after crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel. The Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center and the Travelodge were the two hotels selected for guests of the wedding. I would definitely stay in the Resort Hotel and Conference center. There’s a great little breakfast place close by called Citrus--hugely popular, great food.

I second the Hunting Island State Park stop near Beaufort SC. One of my favorite places too.
kathleen is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 12:03 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, to the four of you for taking time to respond. I am actually as excited about the drive as I am about the stay in Florida!

I did not realize that there was another Scott's BBq, in addition to the Rodney Scott's in Hemingway, SC. I guess I may have to resign myself to gaining a few pounds on this drive.
How to choose between all these tempting sounding places?

Article by Rick Bragg, on NC bbq, from 1995:

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/15/ga...ted=all&src=pm






Will certainly look into the pecans! Pecan pie for dessert after bbq??

Kathleen: Thanks for the tip on Virginia Beach. Looking at the map, this looks more convenient than going into central Norfolk..am I correct in thinking this? I am guessing that the beach strip will be pretty dismal in December, but we will be tired that night after the long drive from NY, and we can plan a lunch (crab in Md??) and just have a snack for dinner. Do you think that makes more sense than staying in Norfolk?

If we stop in Florence, we would certainly stay in the center..I want to avoid being marooned out on the highway.

Dukey: Will do. Is that because 113 is more scenic, or because it has less traffic?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 12:50 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,661
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You should bring a nice cooler and get Q to go. Tell them you want buns to go with your pound. That article is hysterical. You might have to go to Skylight to make that poor man feel better.

I never go through downtown Flo-town when traveling. Nice to know it's working on a nice town area. And it's not far at all from the yucko 95.
suewoo is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 01:12 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 958
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I really don’t know Norfolk at all having stayed there just that one time. But I do know that waking up in a hotel that overlooks a beach is a fine way to wake up. A quiet, very early morning stroll isn’t out of the question when the beach is so near. The beach of course is not as nice as ours here in SC, but that’s just my biased opinion. If you are hungry for more than a snack (or even just a light meal), I can suggest the place we ate dinner one evening. The restaurant called Lynnhaven Fish House Restaurant (very good, also very popular) is up the beach from the hotel, though it is too far to walk if it’s late or you’re tired.

When leaving to head toward SC, it seemed pretty easy to connect to the major highways leading through Norfolk then south.

If you want the Pecans in Florence, use Exit 164 (US 52) and begin to head toward Darlington. In less than a mile I believe that you’ll find the Pecan Retail Shop, on the right. It used to be on the way into Florence, but it relocated in the other direction, towards Darlington. Even if you choose not to stay in Florence, the quick stop for the pecans is worth it. Chocolate covered Pecans are always good. Check the hours of the shop- Young Plantations Outlet.

Sue, I may never go through downtown Florence again either, but I am happy to know of all the new and on-going projects. It was a downtown waiting to re-happen, and now it's in progress.
kathleen is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 01:17 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, it is Young's--and the shop is at that exit.
Scott's in Goldsboro could be THE experience of the trip.
We take the I95 bypass to miss Florence on the way to the beach every time!!
Interesting about that gallery. I also collect Southwest pottery so might need to trek in some time.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 02:51 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm seeing conflicting info online about Scott's in Goldsboro. One site mentions that they open Thursdays and Fridays for lunch, but elsewhere I read that they "may be" closed. Could they have given up their restaurant to concentrate on their sauce business?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 03:20 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Their sauce business is long established. DDIL is from Goldsboro and we ate at Wilber's--their family fave. Go to Wilber's and if you find Scott's open, buy some to go?
Gretchen is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2013, 04:15 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,661
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would call and see. I can't imagine that they are closed: too famous, lol.

(919) 734-0711

One other place you need to know about: Pearl Fryar's place in Bishopville. It's off your route, but I'm telling you: if you go you'll never regret it.

http://www.pearlfryar.com/

I got to work with him back in 2005-6. He is awesome and his yard is unbelievable.
suewoo is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2013, 05:19 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is such great info..many thanks to everyone.

McCabe's in Manning, SC has been officially added to the list of food stops. ONly open near weekends, as are most of the others, so will plan to leave NYC on a day (maybe Wednesday) when I can be sure to be in the right place at the right time for local bbq further south.



Good site:


http://www.top100bbq.com/index.php/1...ants/83-mcabes
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2013, 07:30 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,478
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi ek...

I live in Bluffton, SC and would actually recommend staying in Beaufort for your overnight. Although Bluffton has grown tremendously in the 20 years I've lived here, the center of town is quite small (1 square mile) and hotel options are limited to chain hotels along the main artery (US 278 onto Hilton Head) with the exception of Palmetto Bluff, which is a gated resort off the beaten path & very "high-end".

Downtown Beaufort on the other hand, has some nice little B&B type places, the Rhett House jumps to mind first and I believe another is the Beaufort Inn.

Although there are a few good restaurants in Bluffton, the one I'd highly, highly recommend is NEO a farm to table gastro-pub which opened about a year a ago and the chef is fantastic. I've followed him the last several years at his previous restaurants and was thrilled when he opened his own place last year. Here is the restaurant website: http://www.neohhi.com/

What you may want to consider is staying in Beaufort for the night and have dinner there (several good restaurants there, but all are a jumble in my mind right now, will think about more and post back)and then drive to Bluffton and have lunch at NEO, which is at the foot of the bridge onto Hilton Head Island. I've only ever been to NEO for dinner, but I'm dying to go for lunch because I've heard the burgers there are fantastic, if you like burgers that is! But everything I've ever had there has been delicious. And, Russell (the chef) sources all his menu items (except beer & wine) from within 100 miles of here. Everything is really fresh!
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2013, 09:54 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 42,500
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Sorry for the delay; 113 south of Dover is probably the faster route; not necessarily any more scenic.

I can heartily second the idea of an overnight in Beaufort; the place has become immensely more popular and larger since I lived there in the early 1960's but it has some delightful sections in the older part of downtown off Bay Street. St. Helena's church is one must-see IMO.
Dukey1 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -