5 Day Honeymoon On the Blue Ridge Parkway
April 2, 2008 3:05 AM   Subscribe

5 Day Honeymoon on Blue Ridge Parkway: What to See, Where To Stay?

Going next week. We want this to be leisurely - probably no hiking, etc... Also, we don't want to be in a constant "we've got to hurry so we can get to the Next Destination" sort of deal.

Starting on the south end and going up.

* What are definite things to see/make effort to go to?
* Best places/affordable places to stay?
* Best places to eat?
* Places off of the parkway to go to?
* Destinations nearby in Virginia?


Thanks
posted by raikkohamilonso to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I know the NC side better than Virginia, so my list would be: one night in Blowing Rock, Moses Cone Memorial Park, one or two nights in Asheville, Biltmore Estate.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:34 AM on April 2, 2008


This is not fancy but I loved it
posted by dsaelf at 3:39 AM on April 2, 2008


oops, I'm having problems getting the link to Otter peaks hotel on the parkway up---(new mac user) http://www.peaksofotter.com
posted by dsaelf at 3:49 AM on April 2, 2008


Mount Mitchell is fun to go to just to say you stood on the highest point east of the Mississippi. You can hike a little or a lot, or drive nearly to the top.

The Folk Art Center near Asheville has really nice art made by folks in the Southern Appalachians. It's a little pricey for shopping, but fun to visit as a museum.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:35 AM on April 2, 2008


The Parkway is great fun. I've done the entire length and portions several other times. Just keep in mind while you're there that this is not a freeway. Nobody is in a hurry. There are more than 250 scenic pullouts along 469 miles. Stop here and there, and check out the view. The Parkway is maintained by the National Park Service and is the most visited site in the park system. It is a road like no other. The speed limit is 45 mph. There is no need to go faster, as you're not trying to get anywhere; you're already there.

Immediately obvious as you travel on the Parkway is the immaculate care that the National Park Service takes with upkeep and maintenance. There is never any litter, the road itself has no potholes or bumps, and the lawns and gardens one finds along the way are splendid in their elegance.

Another cool feature found throughout the length of the journey are old, rustic fences. Lending a sense of an earlier time, you almost feel like you've stepped back several decades. I did a lot of pondering during my trips; the sites, the sounds, the whole aura makes the trip more than just one of distance. Make sure when you travel this scenic byway you make plenty of stops. You will miss the essence if you don't.

A lot of restoration took place as the parkway was constructed. You'll find many well-preserved 19th century relics like old cabins and garden plots. In season, they even have throwback demonstrations of the looms and other trades.

Linville Falls is an excellent respite from the driving. The falls themselves are about a 20 minute hike from the highway. Views from the falls area are remarkable. Other great stopping points are Craggy Gardens (although I believe there is a section of the Parkway closed near there for drainage repairs in 2008) and the Linn Cove Viaduct.

I know you will have a great honeymoon. You've made a terrific choice.
posted by netbros at 5:44 AM on April 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've been to Bear Pen Gap twice. Well worth a visit.

Also, The Grove Park Inn in Asheville is a must-see (where F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed). Even if you stop for a tour and a drink at the bar. The views are unbelievable and the building is amazing.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:42 AM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really liked Chateau Morisette, a vineyard/winery with stunning views. The wine tasting was fun and the restaurant is reputedly very good. A nice place to visit if you're in the area.
posted by CiaoMela at 6:46 AM on April 2, 2008


Visit Charlottesville and the University of Virginia. Charlottesville is a great town with a lot of good restaurants, and you'll probably enjoy seeing the central area of UVA with its rotunda, lawn and walled gardens. It's a really nice place to spend a spring day and evening. On the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of my favorite spots fro a view is Bear Fence. A mildly strenuous but very short (15 minutes tops) walk will get you to a rock peak with a 360-degree of the Blue Ridge.

And I've never done it myself, but I hear good things about hot air ballooning.
posted by newmoistness at 7:23 AM on April 2, 2008


I'm partial to Boone, NC, a small town with some infrastructure due to a good university and a good snow skiing location. Hotels will be relatively inexpensive since it's the off-season, and there are some great things to do nearby: Grandfather Mountain (a little touristy but a fantastic view), the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, my favorite overlook, Thunder Hill, and lots of restaurants and shopping, especially on King Street. And the active traveler can find tons to do, although the rivers and swimming holes will be ice-cold this time of year -- rock climbing, hiking, biking, canoeing, you name it.

Boone is on the northern NC section of the Parkway, but if you make it there it's worth taking a day.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 9:05 AM on April 2, 2008


Little Switzerland sounds like exactly what you're looking for.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:27 AM on April 2, 2008


The Grove Park Inn is gorgeous, as is the surrounding area.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:34 AM on April 2, 2008


The other responses have covered the parts of the Parkway in NC that I'd recommend. But it's definitely a good idea to keep track of the closures: some are scheduled, some happen when there's a rockfall or weather problems. The detours can be pretty circuitous.

One fun detour, though, is the winding road down from the Parkway near Mt Pisgah through Pisgah Forest and Cradle of Forestry towards Brevard. It's not quite as busy as the Parkway -- though April's generally a great month, before the tour buses show up -- but it's got a real 1950s folksiness to it.

Spring has definitely sprung, so it's going to be a fun trip.
posted by holgate at 9:46 AM on April 2, 2008


Adding my vote for spending some time in Asheville / at the Biltmore Estate! My husband and I went there for our honeymoon and loved it.

In Virginia, there's Natural Bridge (haven't been, but heard it's nice), and 4 miles from Natural Bridge, the Virginia Safari Park. I visited the Safari Park for the first time last Spring and had a blast. You get to feed the animals yourself, and you will likely see a variety of baby animals this time of year.

newmoistness recommended the Bearfence Mountain hike, which you should be aware is accessible via Skyline Drive (not part of the BRP) and within Shenandoah National Park, meaning you will need to pay an entrance fee ($15). That said, Skyline Drive does have some beautiful views and can be a very pleasant drive!

Of course, lots of good general info on the Blue Ridge Parkway website. Hope you have a great honeymoon!
posted by geeky at 10:48 AM on April 2, 2008


Have you checked out this thread?

Seconding Natural Bridge! It really is very impressive, and the town is fun if you like things a bit hokey (check out the wax museum).

If you want a short hike to stretch your legs, Humpback Rock has incredible views from the top. Steepish, but doable in an hour roundtrip, if memory serves. If it's a sunny day, though, you'll need to take a picnic with a couple beers and bask on the warm stones at the peak. Tradition.

Has no one mentioned Roanoke?? It's a fantastic town with an active arts scene.

Visit any of the caverns.

Do you like theater at all? Staunton is home to the Blackfriars Playhouse, a replica of Shakespeare's theater before the famous Globe. The troupe is always extremely talented and entertaining and it's a real treat to see Shakespeare performed so simply--the company's old motto was "We do it with the lights on."

Actually, all of Staunton is great if you're historically inclined. Woodrow Wilson's birthplace, a neat downtown to walk around in, and tons of Civil War battlefields nearby. Romantic abandoned railroad tracks to walk along, if you're into that. ;) It's an easy twenty minutes west of the northern end of the BRP, so might make a nice capstone day for the end of your trip. I grew up there; mefimail me if you want specific ideas.

Congratulations, and have a wonderful time!
posted by hippugeek at 9:54 PM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks to all - excellent information!
posted by raikkohamilonso at 10:12 PM on April 3, 2008


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