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Would this be too early in season?

Cardiff
posts: 413
reviews: 79
Would this be too early in season?

We are looking to visit North and South Carolina in 2013 - think we have a plan coming together.

We thought we'd do part of the Blueridge Parkway from Boone maybe as far down as Cherokee, then head towards Charleston and then up to the Outer Banks.

Looks like we may have to go into the U.S. via Atlanta - not our first choice but economically its a better option.

Firstly would we be better off getting an internal flight into Charlotte and then hiring a car? I guess the most important question is in the heading of the post - looks like it would be starting a three week trip in the last week of March. Will things be up and running at this time of year - don't want to get to places and restaurants etc., not open.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Chapel Hill, North...
posts: 2,005
reviews: 13
1. Re: Would this be too early in season?

As for the timing last week of March can be very changeable. It could be great. It could be a snow storm. We were there in Boone this past year in late March, early April and it was fine (mid 60sF-18C). We got to see a lot of ephemeral wild flowers and hiked partway up Grandfather Mountain. A couple of years ago (maybe 2010) we had snow on the kids' spring break in Boone in mid-April.

Some of the Blue Ridge Parkway facilities will be closed that early in the season, but the town of Boone and the town of Blowing Rock and Asheville, of course, are year round. There are plenty of restaurants and hotels open all year. Check this link for Blue Ridge Parkway facility opening times www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/hours.htm . If you could come later in the year the parkway would be prettier and you'd see more flowers and the trees would have leaves, etc, but March/April can be very nice. You just never know. If there's bad weather they will close the parkway. It's not an essential road and they don't treat it or plow it.

As far flying into Atlanta and then catching another flight to Charlotte, not sure what to advise. You could do that. It's about a 3.5 hr drive from Atlanta to Asheville. You might also look into flying into Greensboro/Winston-Salem (Piedmont Triad Airport, airport code GSO). It's just under 2 hrs from the GSO Airport to Boone. Alternately, you could look into flying into Greenville SC (GSP) or Asheville (AVL).

Cardiff
posts: 413
reviews: 79
2. Re: Would this be too early in season?

Thanks panchopup for taking the time to reply.

Weighing up your answer it may be better for us to leave this trip for another time - we're coming a long way from Wales and we'd want to see things at their best. Who can tell what the weather is going to do - it's been a little crazy this past year.

Unfortunately that's around the only time we'd be able to make it 2012 - just have to be patient and put on the list of to do's.

Thanks again,

Valleygirl

Chapel Hill, North...
posts: 2,005
reviews: 13
3. Re: Would this be too early in season?

March is really unpredictable weather wise in all of NC. Generally it's a very nice month and outside of the mts we start to see green on the trees in March and many flowers, but you just can't guarantee good weather. I was googling just now and came across news articles about the snow we had in late April last year in the mountains (wcnc.com/news/…). I had forgotten about that. We were up in the mts about April 1 and it was very nice, but we weren't there in late April. In the middle of the state (the piedmont) where I live we can have 85ºF/30ºC in March, or more typically it would be in the 60sF/70sF (16-23C).

If you really want to pick a peak time to come to the mts I would say either May/June/July for wildflowers and rhododendron or mid-late October for the fall leaves. Lots of other people like to see the flowers and fall foliage, though, so expect more crowds then. These links might be helpful:

http://www.nps.gov/blri/faqs.htm

virtualblueridge.com/parkway/…bloom.asp

http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/v.php?pg=77

romanticasheville.com/fall_2011_photos.htm

But come whenever you can!

The mountains are great in the summer, but Charleston would be really hot. Outer Banks would be in peak season in the summer and great for beach and water, but the beach is nice any time of year IMO. Charleston is probably at it's peak in March/April/early May. The azaleas would probably be in bloom and the temps would be very nice to warm/almost hot, but nowhere near as hot and humid as in the summer. Ask on the Charleston forum about when they think the best time to visit is. Maybe you could start your trip in Charleston in March and end it in the mts in April.

Edited: 3:55 pm, July 28, 2012
Atlanta
posts: 450
4. Re: Would this be too early in season?

I agree start your trip in Charleston. The flowering plants will be beautiful there. In mid-April in the mountains the Dog woods and redbud trees will be in full bloom. The wildflowers will be good too.

Drive from Atlanta to Charleston then drive to Asheville.

Cardiff
posts: 413
reviews: 79
5. Re: Would this be too early in season?

Thank you both for your replies - that might be a good idea to start in Charleston. I'll take a look a the links that you gave panchopup and I'll checkout the wunderground website - that gives a lot of past data on weather. We don't want it hot as we like to do a lot of walking - would just like to get away from some wet and dreary days in Wales for a few weeks.

Thanks again, I'll get on to the Charleston pages and take a look.

Charlotte, NC
posts: 7,067
reviews: 158
6. Re: Would this be too early in season?

Sign up for US Airways specials - if you are considering flying direct from London. This year (2012) there were some incredibly low fares to Charlotte. I had several visitors from the UK. Charlotte makes a nice "loop" - going west to Ashville, then 'Charleston & back to Charlotte. (Or the other way around..)

Charlotte in March - see Wicked

www.charlottesgotalot.com/default.asp…

Nascar Hall of Fame, Bechtler museum, etc. Spend at least 1 night here...

Car rental - cheapest through priceline, IMO.

Weather: weather-warehouse.com/WeatherHistory/PastWea…

March - April events in 2012 (will be similar in 2013)

…world-guides.com/charlotte_events.html

Chapel Hill, North...
posts: 2,005
reviews: 13
7. Re: Would this be too early in season?

I think summer would not be good for you, coming from the UK. It's been incredibly hot here in NC this summer with weeks of 100+ temps (35-40+C) and high humidity. I'm afraid visitors from the UK would just roast!

I say, go for your March/April trip and do Charleston first and hope for the best weather-wise. Often it can be absolutely beautiful weather in April in the mountains. Check out www.youtube.com/watch…

Cardiff
posts: 413
reviews: 79
8. Re: Would this be too early in season?

Thanks everyone for all the replies. Hope all your guests from U.K. enjoyed their visits to Charlotte, Sophie. We're trying to go from our local airport and avoid London if possilbe but we're open to anything really.

Sounds as though the plan would be to visit the coast first and then up into the mountains. We love the small towns of America and meeting local people on the journey makes the holiday for us. We may get mixed weather but hey we don't do 100 degree sun too well!!!

Will do more research on the TA website and hopefully come up with a good plan.

Thanks again,

Valleygirl

9. Re: Would this be too early in season?

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