Time needed to drive Blue Ridge Parkway

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Aug 1st, 2004, 10:09 AM
  #1
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Time needed to drive Blue Ridge Parkway

This is my first time to this site, and I have gotten so much great information already! I did have one question of my own, though.

My husband and I are planning a trip to Virginia at the beginning of September. We are staying in Shenandoah NP for two nights, and then we have some extra time (around 2-3 days) to spend elsewhere. One option we are considering is driving the BRP from Shenandoah to the Smokey Mountains park. I've done quite a bit of research already, but I couldn't find any realistic estimates of how long would we need to do this drive. (Assuming we didn't want to drive straight without stopping at all.) Would it not be worth it to try and do it in one day? What would be a reasonable amount of time? If we don't have enough time to appreciate it, we may just spend the rest of our time elsewhere in VA.

Also, as a side question, what is the mosquito situation like in VA or TN in the first week of September?

Thank you!
msinformation is offline  
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Aug 1st, 2004, 10:35 AM
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The speed limit is 45 MPH. It is very lovely, curvy, nice views--but that is a LONG way at 45. I guess you are trying to get TO Tennessee--you are not very clear about that. Drive it for a while, get off and get back on--if your goal is to get to Tennessee.
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Aug 1st, 2004, 10:40 AM
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I guess that yes, Tennessee is our ultimate destination as we'd like to explore the Smokey Mountains, but we would like to see some of the Parkway as well. We just don't know if it's worth it to try and rush between the two places in two days if we're going to miss too much.
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Aug 1st, 2004, 11:02 AM
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maj
 
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We took the Blue Ridge Parkway from Cherokee to Asheville a couple of years ago, stopping at most of the viewpoints and taking a couple of short hikes, and it took us the whole day. We had planned on the whole day though and took our time. Gretchen's idea sounds pretty good to me.

Just a suggestion--if you don't get an answer to the mosquito question, try posting it again with the heading "mosquito situation in Smokey Mountains and Virginia". There are some fodorites who live in that area, and can probably answer that question for you.
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Aug 1st, 2004, 11:07 AM
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I like Gretchen's advice for this. A place you might want to exit the parkway for interstate is in Asheville. Jump onto I-40 and head to Tenn.

Places I like to stop on that route (well, I would stop at every overlook) include Mabry Mill VA, Moses Cone house, Lynn Cove Viaduct (take the walk there), Mt. Mitchell, Folk Art Center near Asheville. Most of those places have restroom facilities. Only Mabry Mill has a restaurant and gets very crowded at lunchtime.

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Aug 1st, 2004, 01:56 PM
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My husband and I did this same trip many years ago ... it was great. It will take much longer to drive the parkway than it seems on the map ... the road is windy and you'll want to allow time for stops and side trips. I recall that you could also only drive about 35 mph. If you really want to maximize the experience allow 3 days for the entire parkway ... that's what we did and it worked out perfect. The first overnight stop was in Roanoke, Virginia. The second overnight stop was in Blowing Rock, North Caroline. We ended in Maggie Valley (the North Carolina side of Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park) and stayed at the Cataloochee Ranch for a few days. Then we stayed on the Tenesee side of the Nat'l Park for a couple days in Gatlinburg.

Side trips that I recall we made along the way ... Natural Bridge (Virginia), Mabry Mills, Grandfather Mountain (NC), Asheville. There were also some other interesting side trips, however we ran out of time! The parkway from Blowing Rock to Smokey Mountain Nat'l Park was the most scenic.

Also keep in mind that fog is common, especially into North Carolina. One day the parkway was closed for a part of the morning. We decided to wait and start out later (from Blowing Rock), hoping that some would burn off ... and we were glad we did cause we would have missed some great scenery.

I think that driving the parkway in one day, even without stopping is really pushing it. Also, keep in mind that in September it will be getting dark much earlier so your days will be much shorter ... it may be dark by the time you get to the most scenic part.
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Aug 1st, 2004, 03:53 PM
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Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is quite a bit different from actually seeing the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have been at it since I was 30! And I still find new points of interest. I don't think it one of those roads you bite off in two chunks and call yourself done with it.

There is way too much of interest and scenic value to run through it like it was a zoo or something.

I like the part of the parkway from Doughton Park south to Waterrock Knob.
There is much to see along that section, many interesting overlooks, short hikes, and waterfalls.

Of course everyone sees it differently, but my way takes time for close inspection.

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Aug 1st, 2004, 04:26 PM
  #8
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Sounds like I suspected correctly. I don't think we'll want to rush through anything! We may just have to plan another trip back there in the future.

Thanks to everyone for your excellent advice.
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