Friday, August 14, 2009

East Coast and Appalachian Trail road trip

Subject: Roadtrip Sept / Oct

Dear Jamie,

My husband & I are planning a roadtrip holiday in the USA with another couple end of Sept / start of Oct 2009. I was in the States on honeymoon last Sept and we did an amazing roadtrip in New England which we loved (planned with the help of Trailfinders and the Lonley Planet). We are from Dublin, Ireland. We will be hiring a car from DC.

We have 10 days to play with, we are starting our vacation by spending 3/4 nights in Washington DC, then we wish to travel for approx 10 nights and we definitely want to take in Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah Georgia for say 2 nights each before heading back to DC. We would also love to go back via the mountains. We would really like to stay a night or so in the mountains but would not be too keen on camping.
I think it might be an amalgamation of your routes 6 & 5?

I was hoping you could give advice on a good loop, we enjoy scenery, history and would like to see some civil war heritage and some Plantation heritage.

We have a midrange budget and would like to stay in B&B/ Historic Inns rather than motels. On the route at some stage my friends would like to play a round or 2 of golf.
I have read the helpful information on your website and feel we would like more authentic towns / stops on the coast as oppossed to places like Myrtle Beach which I feel would be too commercial. In New England we loved towns like Camden and Bar Harbour. So the States I guess we are interested in are North & South Carolina, Georgia, and back via Virginia.

We are unfamiliar with these states and are finding the amount of information on the internet overwhelming.

Any help would be gratefully received,
Many thanks

Ellen S


Dear Ellen S --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and sorry it took me so long to reply.

Your trip sounds very interesting -- a loop trip along the Atlantic coast and back up along the Appalachian Trail will be a blast, and late Sept / early Oct is just about the best time of year to be out there. (So long as you are lucky to avoid any hurricanes!) The "fall color" of the mountains is justly famous, and the coastal areas are usually still warm but without all the summer crowds -- good timing.

Both routes offer an abundance of characterful inns (in the USA, B&Bs are definitely upscale and much more comfortable than their UK/Irish equivalents -- I list a few in my book, and towns like Charleston and Savannah have some of the nicest inns in the country, along with an abundance of Civil War sights.)

Accommodations in the mountains are also very nice -- there are some rustic lodges in the National Parks (Smokey Mountains and Shenandoah), and many more along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a fantastic part of the trip.

If you really only want one night in the mountains, I'd suggest aiming for Asheville, North Carolina, which has a lot of charm and offers very easy access to glorious mountain scenery -- there are also some very nice hotels and restaurants (and golf courses!). And if you find you have more time, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia has some nice towns (like Lexington), and abundant Civil War heritage.

Please write me again when your plans start taking shape -- and in the meantime I hope you enjoy my website, and my book (which has a lot of info and ideas and photos which don't appear on the website).

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA the Book
** new edition out now **


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