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Old 02-22-2013, 11:02 AM
1 posts, read 621 times
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Looking for the best and easiest day hikes and great bike trails...We are a couple of die hard Seniors...over our mid 70's....Life is to short to miss the good things....We have all summer to get back to the NW from TX.....Will be traveling in a little 24 ft. self contained rig...Help is always needed...
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:18 PM
Location: SoCal & Mid-TN
2,325 posts, read 2,326,245 times
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Unless you have another reason to go to Nashville, I'd drop it and add Chattanooga. Nashville isn't in the mountains at all, while Chattanooga is at the tail end of the Appalachians - take I-75 down from the Knoxville/GSMNP area. It's a lovely drive. Here is some info:

East Tennessee Region - Tennessee Vacation

I'm from Nashville, just FYI.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:03 PM
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,620 posts, read 2,575,744 times
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Originally Posted by ML North View Post
I'm looking for travel and entertainment suggestions. Awesome bars or restaurants? Must see towns? The route doesn't need to be the quickest or the shortest, and I'm definitely willing to go out of the way for things. I like breweries and distilleries (already did the bourbon trail), cool scenery, and anything unusual. Thanks!
I'm a huge fan of the area around Great Smoky Mountain Nat'l. Park (Cherokee, NC; Gatlinburg, TN). Last year, we did our road trip of the NC portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). I really liked that area as well. We made our home base in Blowing Rock, NC and took three days to explore the different sections of the BRP. We ended up using highways/interstates to get on the different portions, as it was quicker than taking the parkway itself. Boone, NC is a nice little college town, and a great pizza place is Capone's Pizza and Bar. This place is small though, so be warned. Blowing Rock and Boone are just five miles apart, and a good place to eat and get a drink in Blowing Rock would be Six Pence Pub. Just FYI, wife and I are picky eaters, basic pizza, burgers, and chicken folks. We also aren't drinkers, but the bar at Six Pence Pub was packed, and they stay open late as well. Lots of folks were having a good time (we ate at a table in the bar area). There are numerous other bars and restaurants in the area. If you find yourself on the BRP north of Boone/Blowing Rock, close to the Northwest Trading Post, a place to eat just off the BRP is Rodie's Parkway Restaurant, W. Jefferson NC. Nothing fancy, just a small little building, but good food at a good price.

If you will be in Asheville, there are some awesome places along the BRP to visit. Take the Great Smoky Mtn. Expy (US 74/23) and get on the parkway about five miles southwest of Hazelwood, NC. Drive toward Cherokee and stop off at Waterrock Knob Visitor's Center area. Then back track and drive to the highest point on the parkway. From there, you can drive about an hour back to Ashville on the parkway, or drive back to the interstate and take that back. North of Asheville is the main BRP visitor's center, the Folk Art Center, Craggy Gardens, and Mt. Mitchell State Park.

Once you are done with Asheville, you can take I-40 west and get off at TN exit 443, which is part of the Foothills Parkway scenic by-way (it's only six miles long). You could take this into Gatlinburg, or a back road to Sevierville (check Google maps). If you go to Gatlinburg, you can visit Great Smoky Mtn. National Park. (NOTE: Normally, I would suggest someone leaving Asheville to take US 74/23 to the BRP. Check out the highpoint, retrace your path back and continue on to Cherokee, NC, stopping at Waterrock Knob. Once in Cherokee, take Newfound Gap Rd/US 441 through Great Smoky Mtn. National Park, then either stay in Gatlinburg area, or continue on to I-40 north of Sevierville to the next destination. However, a recent rock slide in the area washed away a portion of this road, and it may not be open to through traffic until the summer months).

There are numerous places to eat in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area, but they are very touristy as well. A huge selection of hotels and cabins can be rented. There are some breweries and distilleries in Gatlinburg, maybe Piegeon Forge and Sevierville. After this area, I can't tell you much except I've heard great things about the Daniel Boone Nat'l. Forest in eastern KY. This is more outdoors focused though. I know there are definitely some breweries in Louisville and across the river in Indiana as well. Search for travel info for Louisville and Southern Indiana (New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Clarksville, IN).

I also second the suggestion to drop Nashville and check out Chattanooga. They had a really nice downtown area when we went back about seven or so years ago.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:55 PM
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
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A word of advice; While on your vacation if you hear someone say "" you sure got a pretty mouth "" you might need to leave that particular area as rapidly as possible.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:41 PM
797 posts, read 1,200,500 times
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Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
If you are looking for Appalachia, why Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, or Nashville? Don't get me wrong, they are all good cities but they are out of character.

If yo9u are looking for the more obscure, look for the "Off the Beaten Track" series of travel books. They always have some great ideas.
worth repeating !
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:38 PM
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Man, your doing it all wrong. To get the true Appalachia experience, you need to get off the highways and hit the back roads. See all of the small towns in the hills and the hollers, get back deep in those mountains. Eat at some of the great little small town mom and pop restaurants. Some of the best food you'll ever taste. Those southerner's really know how to cook. Immerse yourself in the local culture. Go to a church service. Talk to people. Attend local events in town. This is the best and true way to really experience the Appalachia area. It's a whole different world and not in a bad way either. I've always been fascinated with Appalachian country and it's people. It's a beautiful part of the country and the people are some the nicest people you will ever meet. Unfortunately, they are still misunderstood and widely mocked by outsiders, and it's truly a shame. Hopefully, one of these days, the common misconception many people associate with the area will change.
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