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Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

Minneapolis...
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Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

We'll be in Asheville for four nights in August, and plan to spend one day as a BRP day trip. We would probably head out after breakfast, and would like to be back for dinner in Asheville. Our primary goal is to see as much of the beautiful Parkway as we can, and capture as many pictures as possible -- hiking, crafts, and visitor centers aren't necessarily high on our list of priorities.

My guess is that we probably need to pick either north or south, if we're only doing one day -- does that seem right?

If we head north, and we're stopping to see most of the worthwhile sights would we be likely to make it much farther than Blowing Rock?

Thanks!

Wisconsin
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1. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

Oh Bernie, I don't have much advice but I got a kick out of your screen name! We've traveled to the North Carolina Mountains three times, most recently this past April. We've been in the Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Hendersonville area and then Highlands/Cashiers.

We've only taken the BRP for short routes, but you do know it's a limited access road, correct? I hope you get some more info from the locals. In addition to here, I also used travel guides either online or at my library. Happy Travels, it's a beautiful area.

Asheville, North...
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2. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

There's no bad trip on the BRP. having said that.....

Since you're starting in Asheville, get up EARLY and drive south about 45 minutes to Mt. Pisgah and eat a great breakfast at the Pisgah Inn as you watch the rising sun warm the ridges to the east. Then continue South to Graveyard Fields and wander around that huge natural bowl, taking photos of the sea of bright pink leaves of blueberry bushes that will have been picked clean of their ripe fruit in July.. stop to take your boots off and cool your feet in one of the streams that meander through that bowl then head toward the waterfalls at the eastern end...more great photo ops. Then continue south, stopping for photo ops at the overlooks for Cold Mountain, Looking Glass Rock. By this point it will be abundantly clear whether your August afternoon will be hazy ( likely), filled with thunderheads and thunderstorms (almost as likely) or a (rare) cool and windy day which will provide clearer views. Then decide whether to continue south to Devils Courthouse and a section of the Parkway that runs along a ridge over 6000 feet above sea level, with a southerly view of ridgeline after ridgeline in succession , or turn off at Hwy 276 toward Brevard to see Looking Glass Falls.

Asheville
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3. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

Hi there,

The Asheville CVB here. I concur with the above recommendation. Head south and take the Parkway until it dead ends in Cherokee. The views are incredible in either direction, but south is my preference. Other neat spots not mentioned above are Black Balsam, Waterrock Knob and Sliding Rock (off of Hwy 276).

From Cherokee you can turn around and take the Parkway back or take Hwy 19 for a scenic ride into Maggie Valley - then take 74 to 40 and then back to Asheville.

Have fun!

Minneapolis...
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4. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

Thanks, Mangonboat and CVB.

My initial (though HIGHLY uninformed) instinct would have been to head north, so I'm glad I asked! This sounds like a terrific plan.

Hendersonville...
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5. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

Bernie, when you head North, you hit the "high country" area of WNC. Because the average overall elevation rises in this plateau area, you find that there are less deep valleys and high peaks because you so much higher up. If you head south, you will find that there are still the high peaks and also the low valleys and it makes for a much better photo op. Just my opinion and I was born and raised in these mountains at the foot of Mt. Pisgah along with all my ancestors. Good luck!

Minneapolis...
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6. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

Thanks, Tundra. Any suggestions for the Lake Lure/Chimney Rock area? We may stop there on our way back to Charlotte.

Wisconsin
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7. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

We were there about 7 years ago so I'm hoping others will chime in. We were at the Fairfield Lake Lure timeshare area. At that particular area we had a bit of a drive to stores, restaurants etc. If we went there again, I'd stay closer to Hendersonville or Chimney Rock. Also, if you haven't driven in the mountain areas, be aware it can be challenging. It's beautiful country, but if anyone's prone to motion sickness, take something in advance.

The Chimney Rock area is more developed with a beautiful park above the river. Make sure you take time to go up and see the view and walk or hike around. here is probably a fee, but it's worth it. The town itself has got some shops and restaurants there so it would be easy to spend a few hours.

If you check some of the older posts you may get more info. I remember others had asked about it in the last few months. It's definitely worth checking out the area. BTW, if anyone's interested, Dirty Dancing was filmed there. I was a fan so it was kind of neat to see some of the venues. Last of the Mohicans was filmed at Chimney Rock. We also took a side trip one day up to Hendersonville. We really enjoyed that. As you drive in the area, remember they're called the Smokies because of the naturally occuring blue haze. You may get a clear sunny day, but it can change quickly as you drive to different elevations or as the weather changes.

Edited: 10:45 am, June 24, 2012
Macon, Georgia
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8. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

Go south by all means. A lot higher elavation. More open vistas. The side roads of 215 and 276 must also be explored.

Waynesville, North...
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9. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

Heading south you may enjoy; Cherokee, Maggie Valley or Waynesville if inclement weather were to interrupt your day. Enjoy your trip to the wNC mountains

Harrisburg, Pa
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10. Re: Advice for BRP photo daytrip from AVL? Go north or south?

I'm coming from the North on my trip down 81. I have several options, but was thinking of hopping on the BRP around Blowing Rock, heading to Mt Mitchell and then to Asheville. The next day we will take the fast track to Dollywood. We will come back to Asheville via Cherokee and the southern BRP.

My question, is Mt Mitchell worth taking the detour coming off 81 to head to Blowing Rock etc or should I skip this part all together and rest up for our next day.