Asheville, NC, Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway
I've lived in the above area for 22 years and have come here throughout my lifetime. I'm happy to share anything I can help with (from camping through upscale hotels/dining) for anyone thinking about visiting here. Asheville has recently been written about in NY Times, WSJ, Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, with accolades for everything from art, music, downtown, art deco architecture, eclectic shops, fabulous restaurants, and of course, the incredible scenery. Latest article listed cities in the US with food as good as NYC, SF and Seattle to consider, which included Asheville among only a dozen or so cities mentioned. Has also been mentioned as one of the top places to visit (worldwide!) by Forbes and one of the best places to retire...by several publications.
Asheville is also home to the largest privately owned residence in the US: George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, and numerous locations on the National Register for Historic Places. The Grove Park Inn is one, with stays by former presidents galore and well-known entertainers over the years. A view from its verandah (& restaurant) shows all of Asheville below it and mountain ranges all around.
Mt. Mitchell, the highest elevation east of the Mississippi, is about 45 minutes up the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the drive itself is spectacular. Smoky Mountains National Park is about 50 mountains to the west, also incredible. Waterfalls, hiking trails, and wildlife abound.
Have been to the Smokey Mountains several times. We usually stay in Pigeon Forge but love the Asheville area also. Anyone thinking about going I highly recommend it. And if you have the chance to go to Biltmore I recommend you do so and check out Biltmore village also. From Ashville you can run over to Pigeon Forge. A lot of tourist stores but also my favorite, some nice outlet stores. And I recommend the Apple Barn for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And make sure you pick up some pumpkin butter and apple butter at their gift shop. I order them by mail in between trips to the mountains. We live on the coast and if all my kids and grandkids didn't live so close I would love to spend the rest of my retirement years in either Ashville or Pigeon Forge.
Going to Ashville, NC, on 03/12/19 for 3 days. Going to see the musical band called "LITTLE FEAT". They are very good with the sound of their music, plus take in the sites on the way there and enjoy the surrounding area of Ashville NC. Hopefully some time hope to take a trip to Cherokee Creek to the Harrah's casino for fun and relaxation .
Have visited Cherokee County, specifically Murphy NC and surrounding towns in the past, while seeing children and grandchildren. Never thought of taking a plane to Nashville, which might well work for me as the 8-10-hour drive from home is less doable as time goes on...! Might try that. Sadly, have not yet retired, so my TIME is still restricted. The Smokey Mountains rival Virginia's Blue Ridge-both beautiful, but that blue haze over the tall NC mountains are indescribably beautiful! Highly recommend.
Good timing as I've been planning a trip like this. Our regional airline just started a route to Nashville so my plan is to fly to Nashville and rent a car. Spend a few days there and move on to spend a day or two at the Great Smokey Mountain NP. From there, Ashville to see the Biltmore Estate. Then, spend several days driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and then possibly continue north on Skyline Drive. I have family in MD that we'll visit for a couple of days and then drive home.
To not feel rushed, it seems that I should plan on this being close to a two week trip. I'm thinking 3-4 days on the Parkway. Is that too much? Should I make accomodation reservations along the Parkway ahead of time or would it be 'safe' to keep our plans flexible? Any must-see spots along the way?