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The Blue Ridge Parkway:
The Ultimate Driving Trip

13 Days/12 Nights

Click here to see the Destination Distinctive Accommodations
for this trip!


Blue Ridge Parkway

Ever dream of cruising along one of America’s most beautiful roads, getting gracious greetings at some very unique lodging properties, discovering historic towns just off the roadway and meandering in no particular hurry? Sound appealing? A trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway, an All America Road National Scenic Byway, takes you from Shenandoah National Park in upper Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.

It is an opportunity to slow down, take a breath and enjoy incomparable and endless views. While traveling over hill and dale, your eyes are always reaching out for the next vista. Soon you can extend your vision to the farthest Appalachian Mountain ridge lost somewhere in the expansive blue mountain haze. As a driving adventure, the Blue Ridge Parkway tops the list of scenic beauty for many. The experience is further enhanced by the historic attractions along its borders.

Our “Ultimate Driving Experience” transverses the Parkway from top to bottom and puts you, not only in the drivers seat, but also in reach of very interesting places that make your trip most engaging. We’ve also worked in the story of the Parkway at the many official Visitors Centers along the way. No matter when you choose to travel, the Parkway is one of the few roads where every season is spectacular in its own right. In spring, the flowers are out, and leaves are budding on the trees. Summer boasts a lush strong green. In fall, Mother Nature puts on her best dress and delivers a roadway shrouded in blazing color. In winter, the reds and golds give rise to snow covered mountains, after which the myriad of greens return again. Sometimes, in silence, a newly fallen snow appears like magic. This road can become part of your own personal history. Enjoy it; it’s one of a kind.


Day 1: Washington, DC to Winchester, Virginia

Enjoy your time in historic Winchester, the oldest English settlement west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known as the “top of Virginia,” Winchester derived power from its proximity to the Washington region, as well as its position as the gateway to the Shenandoah Valley. The city changed hands 71 times during the Civil War because both sides regarded it as such a strategic treasure. Historic structures in Winchester date from the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the Civil War.

Overnight: Winchester, Virginia


Day 2: Explore Winchester Area

You’ll have a day to visit Winchester’s true historic treasures. The incredibly well-preserved Abram’s Delight dates from 1754. Once a massive 7,000 acre farm, Belle Grove Plantation was the seat of power of a First Family of Virginia that include the sister of President James Madison. Savor the incredible views across the Valley. The Glen Burnie House Museum has been complemented with the new Museum of the Shenandoah Valley designed by Michael Graves.

Overnight: Winchester, Virginia


Day 3: Winchester to Charlottesville via the Skyline Drive

There will be an opportunity to drive the Skyline Drive that traverses Shenandoah National Park today on your way between Winchester and Charlottesville. Along the way consider visiting Luray Caverns, the latest cave in the East, the Belle Boyd House, the home of the famous Confederate spy and Staunton. Downtown Staunton is just finishing up a marvelous renaissance and restoration, with shops, restaurants and five historic districts. Check into the Omni Charlottesville at the end of the hot and happening Downtown Mall.

Overnight: Charlottesville, Virginia


Day 4: Explore Charlottesville Area

You’ll be introduced to all the President’s men today when you tour Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of James Monroe and Montpelier, the home of James Madison. Together they governed the United States for 25 years. Enjoy a period lunch at Michie Tavern and top off your day tasting Virginia wines at Barboursville Vineyards and Restaurant.

Overnight: Charlottesville, Virginia


Day 5: Charlottesville to Roanoke

Get ready for rugged cliffs, gorgeous vistas, and wonderful mountain scenery on the official start of the Blue Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway which today will take you as far as Roanoke. Be sure to leave time to tour historic Lexington where time stopped in the Civil War. The historic restoration is so good you can almost see hoop skirts emerging from well detailed homes and flowing down the street. You’ll find Roanoke, which was once a gritty railroad town, complete with a Farmers Market and Center in the Square.

Overnight: Roanoke, Virginia


Day 6: Roanoke to far Southern Virginia

You can visit another seat of power of a First Family of Virginia at Smithfield Plantation on your way between Roanoke and Southern Virginia. The prominent Preston’s, in residence prior to the American Revolution are more recently known as the founders of the Preston and Olin Institute that is currently known as Virginia Tech. Savor the quiet and pristine natural beauty of far Southern Virginia at your accommodations this evening.

Accommodation: Meadows of Dan, Virginia


Day 7: Southern Virginia to Boone, North Carolina

All of a sudden, you’ll notice the Blue Ridge Parkway change as you enter North Carolina. The mountains are higher, the vistas are further and the flowers are usually out in generous bloom. This is considered by some to be the most beautiful drive on the Parkway. Enjoy the authentic country culture in Boone at the end of the day where the Mast General Store has been holding court for more than 100 years. If you can’t get it there, it doesn’t exist.

Overnight: Boone, North Carolina


Day 8: Explore Boone Area

You can go back in time to the 19th century at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, a restored vestige of the Gilded Age and even further back in time at Grandfather Mountain which arose 740 million years ago when two of the earth’s plates slammed together. 4,000 acres of wilderness are now preserved by the Nature Conservancy. Within the nearby virgin forest, water plunges 411 feet from Upper Whitewater Falls and another 400 feet from Lower Whitewater Falls at Linville Falls.

Overnight: Boone, North Carolina


Day 9: Boone to Asheville, North Carolina

Just 100 miles down the Parkway will feel like worlds away in Asheville, a very sophisticated little mountain city with great culture. The Southern Highland Guild has pulled together the work of 900 artists and craftsmen from nine southeastern states. The Jura Mountains looked so much like Switzerland that the area is referred to as Little Switzerland by the resident Swiss. The drive up Mount Mitchell takes you up nearly to the peak, the highest point in the East.

Overnight: Asheville, North Carolina


Day 10: Explore Asheville Area

There’s no other house in America like the Biltmore Estate. At 250 rooms, its the biggest in the land. Plan to spend the day touring the house, the grounds, the winery, historic barn and other areas. At the end of the day, taste the wines of the authentic French winemaker imported from France and do a little shopping at Historic Biltmore village.

Overnight: Asheville, North Carolina


Day 11: Asheville to the Great Smoky Mountains

Today’s journey is about the drive. You’ll be deep in the mountains surrounded by natural beauty as you begin to make your way into the Great Smokies. Take the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad to get even deeper into the backcountry that cannot be reached by car.

Overnight: Bryson City, North Carolina


Day 12: Explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Do not miss the opportunity today to drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cades Cove and on the Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway. The Great Smokies are America’s most visited National Park. On your drive, you will see why.

Overnight: Bryson City, North Carolina


Day 13
We wish you a safe and pleasant journey home, taking memories of all the spectacular scenery with you.

 
   


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