Places to see, people to go... wait... is that right?
September 18, 2009 2:03 PM   Subscribe

RoadTripFilter (again): D/FW to Southern MD. Anything unmissable inbetween?

I'll be moving up to southern Maryland from north Texas in a couple of weeks' time, and I was wondering if the collective had any "must see" places or good (fun and/or scenic) roads they could recommend?

I have some flexibility in routing and timing, and am considering anywhere between 3-6 days on the road.

I'll be driving alone in a pretty reliable car, so fun roads (with those "curve" things in them that you don't find in Texas) and scenic drive suggestions are welcome.
posted by Nice Guy Mike to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
To the south of the direct route, Lookout Mountain near the TN/GA border was pretty.

Closer to the route but still south, the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, TN hold tours and sells souvenir bottles (in a dry county with special permission).

A bit to the north is Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, which is the longest cave system in the world.

And if you go through Memphis, Mud Island has a hydraulic scale model of the lower Mississippi River.
posted by soelo at 2:16 PM on September 18, 2009

I stopped in Knoxville, TN and loved it. I highly recommend the Tomato Head and Preservation Pub. The ride between Nashville and Knoxville was pretty lovely as well.
posted by youcancallmeal at 3:38 PM on September 18, 2009

By all means, take the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's beautiful. There are also some fun places along the route (Asheville, NC comes to mind).
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:57 PM on September 18, 2009

I'm more nature-oriented, so I'll focus on that end more. I can't say much about some of the area you're traveling through, but I can say if you go through Memphis, you could stop in Shelby Park, or even better (though a little farther off the slab) Meeman-Shelby State Park, an Mississippi alluvial floodplain forest park which is pretty great. From Memphis you can get on Highway 70 to cross the state, though you may drop down Highway 20 from Jackson to stop in Hohenwald, Tn and see the elephant sanctuary there. It used to be the thrift store capital of the state, for some reason, but I don't know if it still is. It was nuts. Nashville has a ton of stuff, including the full-scale Parthenon replica in Centennial Park, Percy and Edwin Warner Parks (now including the Hill Tract, an old-growth remnant), the Bluebird Cafe, and umm... hell. Lots of stuff. Get back on 70 and stop right off the road at Ozone Falls, or if you want you can go down from Nashville and head up the Cumberland Plateau to Fall Creek Falls or Savage Gulf, both amazing parks. Knoxville is largely ugly, but does have some great parts. Stop off in Book Eddy, a great used bookstore near town, and pick up a book before heading into the Old City or maybe Old Gray Cemetary, which I always liked.

Now, you can head into the Smokies, which I could write a book about. I'd say go towards Maryville and Sevierville and then bypass Gatlinburg as much as possible, unless you're into gaudy mountain tourist kitsch. If you're going that way, go into the Greenbrier section of the park and go on Ramsey's Cascades. Or if you've gone to Savage Gulf, head to Tellico Plains and take the Cherolah Skyway over to Joyce Kilmer memorial forest, which you'll never forget.
Either way, you'll want to go to the eastern end of the Smokies and go into Cataloochee valley and see the elks and the big-ass valley that's all park as far as you can see. Go to Asheville (I've stopped linking because this is gettin ridiculous) and stay, it's a great little town with galleries and good restaurants and the Grove Park Inn and the Biltmore Estate and from there take the Blue Ridge Parkway and go by Linville Gorge and maybe breeze into Boone and go up into Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley and for christ's sake, somebody take it from here...
posted by Red Loop at 6:21 PM on September 18, 2009

If you're interested in Civil War history, Vicksburg would be worth a visit. Gettysburg gets more attention, but the fall of Vicksburg was arguably of more strategic importance to winning the war.
posted by joaquim at 10:44 PM on September 18, 2009

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