View Full Version : OT- Blueridge Parkway in July

03-18-2008, 09:52 AM
My plans have changed this summer and we have just decided to go to the east instead of the west (saving the west for next summer). My family loves the Smoky Mountains and will be taking our first trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to the Shanendoah Valley. Disboard people seem to have been everywhere and done everything so I decided that this would be the perfect place to come to ask questions. We would like to see as much as possible on this trip including civil war battlefields and possibly a day at Mount Airy (who is not a big fan of Andy). I would like some help planning the trip and what to see we will probably spend the first night or two in Pigeon Forge then leave on the Parkway part of the trip. Suggestions on where to stay and how to break up the trip would be much appreciated.

03-18-2008, 10:12 AM
Did you know that you can stay at Andy Griffith's childhood home? I want to do it sometime, but live close enough to Mt Airy that it is just a day trip for me.
If you go as far north as the Shenandoah Caverns, I would recommend them, although they've gotten a little pricey since they have an all inclusive ticket for the parade float museum and a couple other things. But you can get coupons from their website.
Natural Bridge has several things to do there. I think they have caverns also. My cousin vacations there a lot.

03-18-2008, 10:45 PM
I live about 12 miles from the parkway outside Roanoke.

We enjoy picnics at the Peaks of Otter near milemarker 75 all the time, and take visitors up the parkway from Route 24 just outside Roanoke to the Peaks and then back down Route 43 into Bedford. We have yet to picnic and NOT seen at least a few deer. The Peaks are 2 mountains - Flat Top and Sharp Top. Sharp Top has a bus that takes you to within 1/2 or so of the summitt. The view from this 3800 foot peak is amazing and should not be missed on a clear day.

03-19-2008, 06:04 AM
If you are staying in Pigeon Forge for a few days, I assume you're starting the Blue Ridge Parkway at its beginning in Cherokee, NC, right? There are many things to do in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of the Smokies. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a wonderful drive where you can see log cabins, virgin timber, waterfalls, and a mill on a loop road just outside Gatlinburg. Asheville, NC is on your way along the Parkway. Have you considered visiting Biltmore House in Asheville during your trip?

My DH and I love the Parkway. There are a lot of things to do and see. Linville, NC--Grandfather Mtn. Little Switzerland is nice. I hope you'll have a great time!! :goodvibes

03-19-2008, 08:19 AM
Thanks for the comments so far. We will definatly be doing Roaring Fork and Cades Cove while in the Pigeon Forge area (have been there many times and would never miss it) and we will be going from the south entrance to the parkway. Had thought about the Biltmore but notice it is pretty expensive, can anyone tell me if it is worth the time and money. Also leaving from Pigeon Forge can someone who is familiar please help me with how far we should anticipate getting in a day and where would be the best place to stay. We are planning to go all the way to the Shenendoah Valley so any info on that would be appreciated too. Wow DISBOARDers are so helpful. Thanks again for your time.

03-19-2008, 10:51 AM
We've only been as far as Asheville on The Parkway. We've only done that in stages too ( and not on the same trip either) because it is slow going and a lot of stopping and looking.We plan to take in the rest someday.When we visited The Biltmore which I loved, we stayed in Brevard, NC. drove over that morning and spent the day at The Biltmore and then drove back on The Parkway. I can't remember how long it took us though. If you can find one I know ther is a travel booklet that tells all about The Parkway and the highlights. I think I picked it up at a Welcome Center or either from The NC tourism site. And it was FREE. Good luck on your trip, I can't wait to do it myself all 400+ plus miles. Here's a link to the parkway mile by mile http://ncnatural.com/Parkway/MilebyMile-NC.html#380to410

03-19-2008, 12:17 PM
We LOVE the Blue Ridge Parkway. We have driven from Skyline Drive in Virginia, through Shenandoah National Park, and down the Blue Ridge to around the Grandfather Mountain area in NC. I enjoyed stopping at all of the scenic overlooks (and taking lots of pictures). I have an Aunt and Uncle that live off the Parkway near Boone.

If you have never done it before, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, the speed limit is much lower then on regular highways, so be sure to plot extra time. Deer are abundant, and love to jump out in front of your car too!
You can get stuck behind big motor homes, or car pulled trailers too. Going up, down and around some of the portions of these roads can also lead to slow going.

If you do go up into Shenandoah National Park, the Park Service does have a couple of lodges you can stay at, but you should probably look into making reservations for them now. They do book up.

Don't forget to visit the Mabry Mill, which is the most photographed site on the Blue Ridge (which is in Virginia). I would also recommend a visit to Grandfather Mountain. They had a small zoo there, and you can hike up to a swinging bridge that is more then a mile above sea level. Great views from up there! Maybe a day in Blowing Rock (lots of little shops), some good food too! And don't forget the Lynn Cove viaduct. Amazing how they built that road!