North Carolina | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:01:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg North Carolina | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 Day Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park https://moon.com/2017/10/day-trip-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/ https://moon.com/2017/10/day-trip-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 17:42:41 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=60504 If all you have is one day to spend in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, don’t sweat it. You can still see a lot (and plan a return trip as soon as you can) on a day trip.

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If all you have is one day to spend in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, don’t sweat it. You can still see a lot (and plan a return trip as soon as you can) on a day trip.

Start the day in Gatlinburg with a stop at Sugarlands Visitor Center to pick up maps and find out about special events. Follow Little River Gorge Road west toward Cades Cove. You never move too fast on this curvy road, so slow down and take your time to soak up the views.

fields surround an unpaved road leading to the mountains in Cades Cove

Cades Cove is the picture of calm, rural beauty. Photo © Sean Pavone/123rf.

At Cades Cove, grab a map and a driving guide for the scenic 11-mile Cades Cove Loop, one of the most popular drives in the park (so you’ll find you’re not alone). Though there may be company—crowds even—this wide, verdant valley ringed by tall peaks is the very picture of calm, rural beauty. Stop for a walk to John Oliver Place, the Methodist or Primitive Baptist Church, or one of the many cabins that showcase the history of settlement here.

At the midpoint of Cades Cove Loop, stop for a hike to Abrams Falls, a pleasant 5-mile round-trip hike to a 20-foot waterfall. The entire hike should take 3 hours or less to complete, giving you plenty of time to complete the Cades Cove Loop before returning to grab lunch in Gatlinburg.

Abrams Falls tumbles into a creek surrounded by trees

Take a hike to Abrams Falls. Photo © Jim Vallee/iStock.

Newfound Gap Road connects Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to Cherokee, North Carolina. Follow Newfound Gap Road south up and over the Smokies. In 23 miles, you’ll reach the turnoff to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the park. If the weather is good, you’ll be able to see the observation tower at the summit as you drive up Newfound Gap. After the 8-mile drive to the parking area, make the short, steep hike to the top. If the summit is shrouded in clouds (and it may well be), continue south along the crest of the Smokies.

Stop at Newfound Gap to check out the Rockefeller Memorial, the place where president Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the park in 1940. As you continue east toward Cherokee, stop at any of the scenic overlooks along the way—you can’t go wrong.

The ramp to the viewing platform on Clingmans Dome

The ramp to the viewing platform on Clingmans Dome. Photo © Jason Frye.

You’ll draw close to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in North Carolina by the end of the day. Perfect timing, as every evening elk make an appearance in a field adjacent to the visitor center and the Mountain Farm Museum. While checking out the collection of historic structures at Mountain Farm, keep an eye out for elk; they will often cross right through the middle of this re-created farmstead on their way to dinner.

Spend your day trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park driving through peaceful valleys, taking in scenic mountain views, and visiting historic sites from Tennessee to North Carolina with this travel itinerary.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Smoky Mountain Trip Planner: One Week Itinerary https://moon.com/2017/05/smoky-mountain-trip-planner-one-week-itinerary/ https://moon.com/2017/05/smoky-mountain-trip-planner-one-week-itinerary/#respond Mon, 29 May 2017 17:24:59 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=55267 Many visitors are puzzled by what to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Most of the park is wild, and hiking trails rather than roads lead into every holler, corner, and cove. Here’s an idea on how to spend a week here, and to spend it well.

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Many visitors are puzzled by what to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Most of the park is wild, and hiking trails rather than roads lead into every holler, corner, and cove. You can get the ultimate Smoky Mountain Trip Planner by ordering a copy of my travel guide: Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

In the meantime, here’s an idea on how to spend a week here, and to spend it well.

Newfound Gap Road curves through vibrantly colored trees in the fall

Drive along Newfound Gap Road for access to many of the park’s best features. Photo © Rick Berk/iStock.

Day 1

Newfound Gap Road

Base yourself in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where you’ll have all manner of accommodation options and tempting entertainments easily at hand. Begin your exploration of Smoky at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, a mere two miles from Gatlinburg at the northern end of Newfound Gap Road.

Drive Newfound Gap Road south through the park. Hit the trail to Alum Cave Bluffs, a steep and strenuous five-mile hike that rewards you with a view many visitors never see.

As you come to the crest of the mountains on Newfound Gap Road, take the time to visit Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the park. From the viewing platform at the top (an easy walk), you’ll have an unparalleled view of the surrounding country. There’s a lovely hike to Andrews Bald nearby, a moderate 3.5-hour trek to a high mountain meadow that’s often ablaze with wildflowers.

Approaching Clingmans Dome on the trail from Andrews Bald

Approaching Clingmans Dome on the trail from Andrews Bald. Photo © Jason Frye.

Newfound Gap Road ends at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, North Carolina. Stop here to peruse the historic structures at the Mountain Farm Museum before returning to Gatlinburg for dinner with a show at the Dixie Stampede, a sort of Southern feast combined with a live-action play with horses, gunfire, and all sorts of excitement. Afterward, hit Sugarlands Distilling for a little moonshine to calm your nerves.

Day 2

Roaring Fork

In the morning, have breakfast at the Pancake Pantry, and then head for the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail for today’s hike. Depending on how adventurous you feel, this can be a half-day exploration of a waterfall or two, or a strenuous 14-mile trek to Mount LeConte and back.

Either way, start off by hiking to Rainbow Falls, an 80-foot waterfall on LeConte Creek. For a short hike, turn around and hoof it back to the trailhead. To reach the summit of Mount LeConte, continue on the trail but be ready for a long, hard day of it. Baskins Falls is a smaller waterfall—only 30 feet—but few people make the tough hike in to see it, so it’s a bit of a hidden gem.

Epic vista of forested hills from atop Mount Le Conte.

On the summit of Mount LeConte take a moment to soak in the view. Photo © Jason Frye.

Since you’ve earned your supper, go for some traditional, stick-to-your-ribs country cooking at Mama’s Farmhouse in Pigeon Forge.

Day 3

Cosby

Head east to Cosby for a night of camping at Cosby Campground, where you’ll have your choice of beautiful day hikes. Hen Wallow Falls and Albright Grove offer easy, wildflower-filled hikes. The trip to the stone fire tower at the top of Mount Cammerer is a long, tough day on the trail, but well worth it. If you’ve brought your fishing gear (and license), catch dinner in Cosby Creek.

Day 4

Cataloochee

In the morning, break camp and head north on Highway 32 for breakfast in Cosby at Janice’s Diner. From Cosby, follow Foothills Parkway east to I-40 and take the scenic route south to Mount Sterling Road, a drive of about an hour. Along Mount Sterling Road, roll down the windows, relax, and breathe deep—you’re almost at one of the most secluded areas of the park.

Bull Elk feeding on grass near a little white church in Cataloochee.

Bull Elk feeding on grass near a little white church in Cataloochee. Photo © Betty Shelton/123rf.

In Cataloochee, register at the campground (reserve a site in advance), set up your tent, and enjoy a picnic lunch before lacing up your boots and heading into the valley. Look for elk in the field across from Caldwell Place, or hike to Palmer Chapel, Little Cataloochee Church, or the Woody House. Anglers can wet a line in one of the nearby creeks and try to catch dinner.

Sunset signals time for chow and stargazing—there’s so little light pollution that the celestial show is breathtaking. Sit back and enjoy.

Day 5

Cades Cove

Today, we head west to Cades Cove, a mountain community that was one of the first places settled on the western side of the Smokies. The 11-mile Cades Cove Loop leads through the former settlement and a collection of homes and structures. Take a moderate hike to Abrams Falls, a 20-foot waterfall or follow the Rich Mountain Loop (it’s a big day hike). A scenic drive north along Rich Mountain Road winds over the mountains to Townsend, where you can easily circle your way back to Cades Cove. Pitch a tent in Cades Cove Campground (reserve in advance) for the night. Be sure to take a walk and admire the stars.

Day 6

Fontana Lake and Deep Creek

The next day, follow Parsons Branch Road south out of Cades Cove to its junction with Highway 129. You’ll skirt the southern edge of the park heading east, crossing the border into North Carolina at Deals Gap.

After Deals Gap, follow Highway 28 east along Cheoah Lake and past Twentymile to Fontana Village. To stretch your legs, turn north toward Fontana Dam, at the western end of Fontana Lake, and the trailhead for Shuckstack Mountain, a strenuous hike along the Appalachian Trail.

Floating vacation homes on Fontana Lake.

Floating vacation homes on Fontana Lake. Photo © Alex Grichenko/dreamstime.com.

Or stay on Highway 28 east all the way to Bryson City. Stop for lunch at the Cork & Bean Bistro before turning north for your overnight at the Deep Creek Campground. For a short hike, follow the trail to Juney Whank Falls, or head to The Road to Nowhere, an abandoned highway project that terminates with a tunnel through the mountain and hike alongside Fontana Lake.

After a long day, relax at the campground in Deep Creek, which offers a relaxing treat: tubing. Wash away the sweat and trail dust with a float trip and some splashing in the creek.

Day 7

Cherokee, NC

For your final day, head to Cherokee, the ancestral heart of the Cherokee Indians and home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The drive from Deep Creek is a short one, so you’ll have a full day to explore. Start by visiting the Museum of the Cherokee Indian where you’ll learn the Cherokee creation story, hear songs and legends, and discover the heartache of the Trail of Tears. Across the street at the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual browse the traditional arts and crafts made by Cherokee artisans and craftspeople, then head up the hill to the Oconaluftee Indian Village to see how the tribe lived in the 1700 and 1800s.

A log cabin at Panther Creek Cabins.

In Cherokee, stay at Panther Creek Cabins, just outside of downtown. Photo © Jason Frye.

Grab a belly-busting country buffet lunch at Granny’s Kitchen, then drive to Soco Falls for a short hike to stunning twin waterfalls. In the evening, head to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino where you can entertain yourself by dropping $20 on table games or slots before dining at one of the on-site restaurants. The casino has overnight accommodations or you can spend a quiet night at Panther Creek Cabins.

In the morning, it’s a 1.5-hour drive to the airport in Asheville and the flight home.

Not sure where to go in the Smokies? This Great Smoky Mountains National Park trip planner lays out suggestions for how to spend a week in the park, and spend it well.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Gateways to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina https://moon.com/2017/05/gateways-to-the-great-smoky-moutains-in-north-carolina/ https://moon.com/2017/05/gateways-to-the-great-smoky-moutains-in-north-carolina/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:51:23 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=56931 Plan your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina by getting to know the gateways towns and cities near the park's south side.

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A sense of otherworldliness and of magic rises up from these hills like the mist that evokes the Smoky Mountains.

Maybe it’s the way the land is folded and rumpled like a quilt at the foot of the bed, or perhaps it’s some element of Cherokee mythology come to life. After all, this is the ancestral home of the Cherokee people and the present home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians; it’s possible that something in these hills and hollows remains, imprinted from their collective memories. In towns like Cherokee, the magic is thick, but it’s also present in Bryson City, throughout the Nantahala National Forest, and along Maggie Valley, calling to visitors and enchanting them year after year.

A fly-fisher in the Tuckasegee River with fall foliage around.

Fly-fishing on the Tucksagee River. The river conveniently flows right through Bryson City. Photo © Shester171/Dreamstime.com.

The town of Cherokee sits on the Qualla Boundary at the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Make no mistake, this isn’t a reservation; it’s ancestral Cherokee land. They’re quite proud of the small group of forefathers who refused relocation and the travesty of the Trail of Tears, choosing instead to hide in these hills, wage a guerilla war, and ultimately win the right to set up a Cherokee government.

Other towns here abut the national park or are just a few miles away, and the Cherokee influence is felt everywhere you go. An altogether lovely place, the mountains are tall, the roads winding, and the streams downright picturesque. It’s a place people are proud to call home, whether their family has been here for 10 years or 10,000. If you’re looking to explore the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, here’s a look at the gateway towns and cities. For detailed info on each area including lodging, campsites, recreation and shops, see the “North Carolina Gateways” chapter of Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park travel guide.

Maggie Valley

Maggie Valley is a vacation town from the bygone era of long family road trips in wood-paneled station wagons. Coming down the mountain toward Maggie Valley you’ll pass an overlook that, on a morning when the mountains around Soco Gap are ringed by fog, is surely one of the most beautiful vistas in the state.

Sign in front of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian for an authentic perspective on the tribe and its culture. Photo © Jason Frye.

Cherokee and the Qualla Boundary

The town of Cherokee is a study in juxtapositions: the cultural traditions of the Cherokee people, the region’s natural beauty, a 24-hour casino, and community-wide preparation for the future. Cherokee is the seat of government of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, who have lived in these mountains for centuries. Today, their traditional arts and crafts, government, and cultural heritage are very much alive. The Qualla (“KWA-lah”) Boundary is not a reservation, but a large tract of land owned and governed by the Cherokee people. Institutions like the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual provide a solid base for the Eastern Band’s cultural life.

As you drive around, take a look at the road signs: Below each English road name is that same name in Cherokee, a beautiful script created by Sequoyah, a 19th-century Cherokee silversmith. This language, once nearly extinct, is taught to the community’s youth and there is a Cherokee language immersion school on the Qualla Boundary. However, this doesn’t mean the language is not in danger; few Cherokee people speak it fluently.

The main street in Cherokee is a classic cheesy tourist district where you’ll find “Indian” souvenirs—factory-made moccasins, plastic tomahawks, peace pipes, and faux bearskins. In a retro way, this part of Cherokee, with its predictable trinket shops and fudgeries, is charming; check out the garish 1950s motel signs with comic-book caricatures outlined in neon, blinking in the night.

Aside from its proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the biggest draw in town is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, one of the largest casino-hotels in the state and home to a world-class spa. The 24-hour entertainment opportunities attract visitors from far and wide, some of whom stay on the property the whole time, while others take a break from the slap of cards and the flash of slot machines to experience the natural and cultural wonders of Cherokee.

Take everything you see—the casino, the tacky tourist shops, and the stereotyping signs—with a grain of salt, as they don’t represent the true nature of the Cherokee people and their long history.

Bryson City and the Nantahala Forest

To look at the mountains here, you’d think that the defining feature in this part of North Carolina would be the surrounding peaks, but that is only half right. This is a land dominated by water. Smoke-thick fog crowds valleys in the predawn hours. The peaks stand ringed in clouds. Moss, ferns, and dense forests crowd the edges of rivers and streams. All of it—the mountains, the mist, the ferns, the fog—makes it feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale when you’re in the Nantahala Gorge. According to Cherokee stories, a formidable witch called Spearfinger lived here, as did a monstrous snake and even an inchworm so large it could span the gorge.

The Nantahala River runs through the narrow gorge, attracting white-water enthusiasts to the rapids. Nearby Bryson City is a river town whose proximity to the cataracts makes it a favorite haunt for rafters, kayakers, and other white-water thrill seekers. If you approach Bryson City from the north on US-19, you’re in for a strange sight: The banks of the Tuckasegee River are shored up with crushed cars.

A bridge crosses above a kayaker on the Nantahala River.

Recreation on the Nantahala River. Photo © Susan Leggett/123rf.

Robinsville and the Valley Towns

The whole southwestern corner of North Carolina is rich with Cherokee history and culture, and the Robbinsville area has some of the deepest roots of great significance to the Cherokee people. In little towns and crossroads a few miles outside Robbinsville, several hundred people known as the Snowbird community keep alive some of the oldest Cherokee ways. The Cherokee language is spoken here, and it’s a place where some of the Eastern Band’s most admired basket makers, potters, and other artists continue to make and teach their ancient arts. If you’re visiting and want to enjoy an adult beverage, you’d better bring your own, as Graham County is North Carolina’s one and only dry county.

Hayesville, Brasstown, and Murphy

Between Hayesville and Brasstown, you can get a really good sense of the art that has come out of this region over the years. These three small towns are along the Georgia border on US-64.

Asheville

Asheville’s proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (it’s a little more than an hour to the south and west) makes it a convenient travel hub. Use Asheville as a starting or ending point, or as a base of operations. The city also offers diverse dining and lodging options.


Excerpted From the First Edition of Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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5 Hikes that Beat the Crowds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park https://moon.com/2017/04/beat-the-crowds-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/ https://moon.com/2017/04/beat-the-crowds-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/#respond Wed, 12 Apr 2017 21:26:48 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=55517 Great Smoky Mountains National Park can attract large numbers of people, especially at certain times of the year or along popular trails. Beat the crowds by planning a wintertime hike, or explore these lesser-known regions of the park.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park can attract large numbers of people, especially at certain times of the year or along popular trails. Beat the crowds by planning a wintertime hike, or explore these lesser-known regions of the park.

a hiker stands near Abrams Creek

Abrams Creek Trail. Photo © Jason Frye.

Balsam Mountain Road

The road’s location off the Blue Ridge Parkway means people tend to forget this beautiful corner of the park. Head here in the fall to immerse yourself in foliage and be safe from the typical leaf-peeping traffic.

Mount Cammerer

This strenuous hike is avoided by many, but rewards with an unparalleled view. The few folks on this trail are here to be surrounded by the Smokies—and to dodge the crowds.

Lakeshore Trail

Start this trail from Fontana Dam to avoid trail traffic. You’ll see the dam and have a tough uphill right off the start, but the western end of the trail is a beautiful one.

Big Creek

An almost-forgotten campground and some awesome hikes in a corner of the park most casual visitors forget? That’s Big Creek. Camp here, backpack to Mount Sterling, or check out the suited-for-everyone Big Creek Trail.

Abrams Creek

This seasonal campground is rarely full; even if it is, several great hikes originate here. Hit the Rabbit and Abrams Creeks Loop or hike the easy (and wildflower-rich) Little Bottoms Trail.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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11 Restaurants That Will Transport Your Taste Buds https://moon.com/2016/08/11-restaurants-transport-your-taste-buds/ https://moon.com/2016/08/11-restaurants-transport-your-taste-buds/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:08:14 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=47080 Whether you're looking for steak, southern barbecue, or sushi, these delicious restaurants offer a food experience that will transport you.

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Whenever I travel, one of the first questions I ask is, “Where will I eat?”

Where will I eat? What will I eat? Is there a can’t-miss meal-of-a-lifetime nearby?

These are important questions, and everywhere I go I try to find some food experience that exemplifies the place. Sometimes it’s a simple meal, sometimes it’s something decadent, but whatever is on the plate or in the glass always embodies the spirit of where I am.

So on that note, here are a few of the best spots I’ve been lately; places the food and drink are so good that, when I close my eyes and think about that meal, I’m transported and transformed.

Southern Smoke bbq plate

Southern Smoke Barbecue dishes up some twists on traditional North Carolina ‘cue. Photo © Jason Frye.

New Orleans, LA

Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Fried chicken is a Southern staple and every cook worth their salt has a twist on a family recipe they claim is the tastiest you’ll ever try. But Willie Mae’s Scotch House in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans may just have them all beat. The breading is seasoned and perfectly crispy; the meat—white or dark—so juicy you want to cry; and the sides…oh, you’ll never have a better bite of fried okra or forkful of red beans and rice.

The restaurant sits out and away from the bustle of Bourbon Street and the tourist traffic of the French Quarter. The fare is simple—fried chicken and sides—but you’ll want to add this to your list of New Orleans must-eats (which should also include Toup’s Meatery, Compère Lapin and, of course, Café DuMonde).

Willie Maes

Willie Mae’s sits in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. Photo © Jason Frye.

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz

While I’m talking about New Orleans I may as well go ahead and point out the obvious: it’s hot. Now, you can cool off with a daiquiri; Lord knows there are plenty of those to go around in the Big Easy, but if you really want some refreshment, make your way to Hansen’s Sno-Bliz.

Hansen’s serves shaved ice doused with homemade syrups and creams and it’ll give you a break from the heat like nothing else on earth. This family (it’s now owned and operated by the granddaughter of the Sno-Bliz OGs) has been serving Sno-Bliz since 1936, so they’ve got it down to an art.

Head into this nondescript little shop and see if you can spot their James Beard Award while you choose between the four-dozen flavors and toppings. If you get lucky, like I did, you may just run into Top Chef favorite and New Orleans chef Nina Compton getting a treat of her own in line in front of you.

Mills River, NC, and Nellysford, VA

Bold Rock Cider

Hard cider is making a comeback, and in Henderson County, North Carolina, cideries are popping up at an incredible pace. Bold Rock Cider is the biggest, but others—like Flat Rock Ciderworks and Appalachian Ridge Artisan Ciders—are making the most of the apple bounty from the orchards around here. (On a side note, Henderson County produces the 7th most apples in the United States, so they have a lot to choose from.) They have an interesting approach at Bold Rock: they make two distinct ciders using only apples from around their cidery. That means at the North Carolina location you get apples from Henderson County, and in Virginia, you get a totally different cider using all Virginian apples, even though they’re from the same recipe.

Bold Rock Cider

Bold Rock Cider. Photo © Jason Frye.

North Carolina

M Sushi

Can food take you someplace you’ve never been? I think so. Because when I’m in Durham, NC, and I sit at M Sushi’s bar, listening to the sushi-wizards talk and tasting the rolls they produce as if by magic, it’s like I’m in Japan for the first and hundredth time. Super fresh fish, precise knifework, and an artist’s eye for detail make these rolls the best I’ve eaten. Don’t miss the uni. Or the o-toro. Or the ebi. Or any of it. Just go already and order the whole menu. You won’t regret it!

uni and M Sushi in NC

Do not miss the uni at M Sushi! Photo © Jason Frye.

Barbecue

I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way: I’m not sorry for what I’m about to say, but North Carolina has the best barbecue around. (Next time I’m in Texas or Memphis or South Carolina or wherever you are, offended and passionate barbecue fan, I’m happy to share a plate with you and discuss.) From one side of the state to the other, you find distinct styles and philosophies for this, the greatest and simplest of foods.

In Eastern North Carolina, Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ approach barbecue in the true Eastern North Carolina style: whole hog, chopped and seasoned with a peppery vinegar that unique to the region. One bite of a barbecue plate or sandwich and you’ll think twice about other sauces.

Southern Smoke dinner table

Dinner at Southern Smoke Barbecue. Photo © Jason Frye.

Moving a few miles west, Southern Smoke Barbecue dishes up some twists on traditional North Carolina ‘cue on Thursday and Friday (get there early and get in line; when they sell out, they close), but throughout the year Pitmaster Matthew Register’s South Supper Series draws inspiration from cuisines and barbecue styles across the southern U.S. to present the most elegant barbecue dinner you’ll find.

Lexington, NC, sits in the middle of the state, and is home to Lexington Barbecue (also called Lexington #1 and Honey Monk’s), serving some of the finest barbecue you’ll ever eat. Order a plate of “the brown”—that’s the bark, that outside portion of the shoulder where the smoke and seasoning meet—and be prepared for a whole new barbecue paradigm.

In the mountain town of Asheville, Elliott Moss has brought whole-hog barbecue to Western North Carolina, a land of shoulders and sweet sauce. His ‘cue is outstanding, but the sides are absolutely out of this world. And I hear he makes a mean chicken sandwich, one that’ll make you want to nominate him to be a Kentucky Colonel. Make your way to Buxton Hall to try it out.

Las Vegas, NV

Steaks

In a city as decadent as Las Vegas, there’s nothing for it but to eat the most decadent things you can find. Am I right?

Carne Vino steak

CarneVino may just change the way you think about steak. Photo © Jason Frye.

Head to CarneVino one night and CUT the next for two steak experiences that may make you cry. CarneVino, from Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, serves two dishes that are out of this world: Carne Cruda Alla Piemontese and a dry-aged bone-in ribeye they carve tableside. I don’t know which was better, the cruda—tartare—or that ribeye, but they changed the way I think about steak.

At CUT, Wolfgang Puck and crew take steak to the next level with a Wagyu steak tasting menu. With an array of American and Japanese Wagyu to choose from, you’ll find this steak is unlike anything you’ll ever eat. Prepared simply—a proprietary seasoning and a quick sear—or made like one perfect bite I had—Indian-spiced Japanese Wagyu short rib—it’s fork tender and luscious; absolute steak perfection.

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2-Week Itinerary for a Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip https://moon.com/2015/07/travel-itinerary-for-a-blue-ridge-parkway-road-trip/ https://moon.com/2015/07/travel-itinerary-for-a-blue-ridge-parkway-road-trip/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 17:00:00 +0000 http://moon.com?p=26871&preview_id=26871 The Blue Ridge Parkway hosts millions of visitors every year. In just two weeks, you can drive the 716 miles from Washington DC to Knoxville via one of the greatest scenic roads in the nation. You can also easily reverse this route by beginning in Knoxville and ending in DC.

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Tracing the ridges and hillsides of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway hosts millions of visitors every year, lured by the hum of tires on the road and the whisper of mountain winds through the trees. In just two weeks, you can drive the 716 miles from Washington DC to Knoxville via one of the greatest scenic roads in the nation. You can also easily reverse this route by beginning in Knoxville and ending in DC.

The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. Photo © dreamstime.com.

The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

Day 1: Arrive in Washington DC

Settle in to your hotel, then spend the rest of the day at museums of your choice. The museums of the Smithsonian Institution, including the National Air and Space Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and National Museum of Natural History are fascinating, as are the International Spy Museum and Phillips Collection. Try dinner at We the Pizza or Hill Country Barbecue before taking in a concert at 9:30 Club or the Black Cat or taking a nighttime bicycle tour of the Mall.

Day 2: Explore Washington DC

Pay your respects at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, then cross the river to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, or Arlington National Cemetery, or both. For dinner, head to The Oceanaire Seafood Room, which will transform the way you look at fish.

The Arlington National Cemetery. Photo © Jason Frye.

The Arlington National Cemetery. Photo © Jason Frye.

Day 3: Washington DC to Shenandoah National Park

(70 miles; 1.5 hours)

Head to the National Mall, a grand grassy avenue lined with the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the most iconic monuments—Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial—and, of course, views of the United States Capitol and White House. Have lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a DC institution, or one of the many ethnic restaurants like Rasika, or hit the road and dine in Front Royal, at the entrance to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park. Along Skyline, 75 overlooks in the park give a sense of the vast wilderness that once blanketed the countryside. Hike to Dark Hollow Falls, and spend the night inside the park at Skyland or Big Meadows Lodge.

Day 4: Shenandoah National Park to Waynesboro and Charlottesville

(160 miles; 4.5 hours)

Head outside the park to the spectacular Luray Caverns, one of the best cave systems in the nation. When you’re finished, drive down to Waynesboro, near the end of Skyline Drive and the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and check in at Iris Inn. Then take I-64 east for 24 miles to Charlottesville. Tour Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home, only a few miles from downtown, then walk the grounds of the University of Virginia, which was founded by Jefferson and bears his architectural mark. If you have time, a wine tour will take you to some of the region’s best wineries. Try dinner at C&O Restaurant or Peter Chang China Grill, or eat at The Green Leaf Grill in Waynesboro and prepare for the Parkway on the morrow.

Day 5: Waynesboro to Roanoke

(132 miles; 4 hours)

Have breakfast at Iris Inn, then start your journey south along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Make your first stop the Humpback Rocks (MP 5.9) and take the one-mile trail to the namesake rocks. Stop at the James River Visitor Center (MP 63.6), the lowest point on the Parkway, and stretch your legs on one of the short walks that detail the history of the river or the diverse plant life here.

At Milepost 86, detour off the Parkway for lunch in Bedford. You can spend the afternoon in Bedford, taking a docent-led tour of the National D-Day Memorial followed by fruit-picking at a nearby apple orchard, or head to the Peaks of Otter (MP 85.9) for a quick but strenuous hike to the peak of Sharp Top (2.5-3 hours). Afterwards, continue south to Roanoke.

Enter the city via the Mill Mountain Parkway at Milepost 120 and pass by the famous Roanoke Star, then rest up at one of the B&Bs in town before heading to Lucky for dinner.

Bedford's D-Day Memorial. Photo © Jason Frye.

Bedford’s D-Day Memorial. Photo © Jason Frye.

Day 6: Roanoke to Floyd

(56 miles; 1.5 hours)

It’s a short day today, so you have time to explore Roanoke. Have an egg sandwich at Texas Tavern, then wander over to the Market Square, where the farmers market will be in full swing any day of the week. Look in at the Taubman Museum of Art or shop at the downtown boutiques before heading for Floyd. Have lunch near Floyd at Chateau Morrisette, one of the oldest wineries in Virginia, before checking into Ambrosia Farm Bed & Breakfast. Time your visit to coincide with Floyd’s weekly Friday Night Jamboree, and have dinner at quirky Oddfellas Cantina.

Day 7: Floyd to Stone Mountain State Park

(85 miles; 2.5 hours)

The drive from Floyd to the North Carolina state line is one of the most beautiful on the Parkway. Stop at Mabry Mill (MP 176.1) for legendary buckwheat pancakes and a look at a working waterwheel-powered gristmill and sawmill. At Groundhog Mountain (MP 188.1), enjoy spectacular views from the observation tower. Learn how country and bluegrass music originated in these very hills at the Blue Ridge Music Center at the state line. Camp at Stone Mountain State Park, and squeeze in a quick hike to the top of the namesake bald granite dome. Head into nearby Elkin for dinner and drinks (just be back before the park is locked for the night).

Mabry Mill in autumn. Photo © Roanoke Valley CVB.

Mabry Mill in autumn. Photo © Roanoke Valley CVB.

Day 8: Stone Mountain To Blowing Rock

(75 miles; 2.5 hours)

North Carolina’s High Country is no joke. The mountains are steep, and the road grows aggressively curvy, making for unworldly views as you round corners with nothing but space and the Blue Ridge Mountains in front of you. Stretch your legs on the 30 miles of trails in Doughton Park (MP 238.5), which also has a picnic area, or hike the Cascade Falls Trail at E. B. Jeffress Park (MP 272). Stop at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park (MP 294.1) for a look at a turn-of-the-century manor house that’s home to the gift shop of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Blowing Rock is just a few miles away, and so are your accommodations as well as dinner at Bistro Roca.

Day 9: Blowing Rock to Asheville

(93 miles; 3 hours)

Before heading to Asheville, check out the Blowing Rock, where you’ll have sweeping views of peaks, including Grandfather Mountain. Back on the Parkway, prepare yourself for one of the road’s most striking stretches: the Linn Cove Viaduct (MP 304.4). Just past the viaduct, drive to the top of Grandfather Mountain and take the Mile High Swinging Bridge to one of its lower peaks for 360-degree views of the Blue Ridge. Have lunch here, then continue down the road. Just off the Parkway at Milepost 316.3 is the entrance to Linville Falls. This waterfall requires a short hike to see and a slightly longer one for postcard views, but it’s worth the effort. At Milepost 364.6, stop at Craggy Gardens to take in the summertime blooms of rhododendrons and flame azaleas, then continue to the Folk Art Center (MP 382), just outside Asheville.

In Asheville, spend the night in the mountains at the Sourwood Inn or downtown at the swank Aloft Asheville Downtown hotel. Dinner can be fancy or affordable; there’s no shortage of places to eat in this town. Spend a late night downtown checking out the breweries and bars and listening to a little music.

Day 10: Explore Asheville

Start the day in Asheville with breakfast at the Early Girl Eatery downtown, then head over to the Biltmore Estate. Tour the home, walk the gardens, take lunch in the former stable, then head to the estate’s winery and wine-tasting room (it’s the most visited one in the nation). Sample some wine and head back to your accommodations to freshen up before hitting town again for excellent food at The Admiral and interesting beers at the Thirsty Monk.

The Biltmore Estate. Dreamstime

The Biltmore Estate.

Day 11: Asheville to Cherokee

(137 miles; 4 hours)

The winding section of the Parkway between Asheville and the southern terminus in Cherokee is quite beautiful. Before you hit the road, down a giant biscuit at Biscuit Head. Continue down the Parkway and take in the view of Mount Pisgah (MP 408.6) and hike to Devil’s Courthouse (MP 422.4)—a short hike that’s not as fearsome as it sounds and has a view you won’t want to leave. Richland Balsam Overlook (MP 431.4) is the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so stop here and mark your trip with a selfie. Stop at the Waterrock Knob Visitor Center (MP 451.2) for a four-state view and panorama of the Great Smoky Mountains. At Milepost 461.9, you’ll reach Big Witch Overlook, the last overlook before the Parkway terminates at milepost 469.1. Take one last long look before heading into Cherokee for the night. Spend the night at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, where you can gamble, visit the spa, and grab a bite in one of the casino’s restaurants.

Day 12: Cherokee to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(43 miles; 1.5 hours)

Today you’ll drive Newfound Gap Road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Before you start your drive, visit the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual in Cherokee. Stop at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center for a park map and to check out Mountain Farm Museum. The twisting Newfound Gap Road is popular for motorcyclists and is stunning in fall; along the way you’ll likely see black bears and white-tailed deer. Stop along the way at any of the overlooks—in a landscape this stunning, there are no bad views. Before you leave the park, drive out to Cades Cove, a onetime mountain community, where you might spy bears lounging in the remnants of an apple orchard. Check into a hotel in Gatlinburg, then take a walk down the main drag of this tourist haven. Grab some moonshine at Sugarlands Distilling Company and dinner at Smoky Mountain Trout House.

Map of North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Day 13: Gatlinburg to Knoxville

(30 miles; 45 minutes)

Head straight from your Gatlinburg hotel to Dollywood, where mountain music, mountain crafts, mountain food, and mountain folks are interspersed with roller coasters. Spend half the day here, then head to Knoxville (45 minutes away) for lunch at Dead End BBQ before checking in to your downtown hotel. Walk the World’s Fair Park and climb to the top of the Sunsphere for the best view in town. Then, take in a concert at the historic Tennessee Theatre or stop in at the Knoxville Museum of Art and the East Tennessee History Center. Dinner at Stock & Barrel will put you in the heart of downtown, where you can explore to your heart’s content.

Day 14: Knoxville Back to Washington DC

(487 miles; 7 hours)

You’ll definitely want to make better travel time on the return drive to Washington DC. Take I-81 north through Tennessee and Virginia to I-66 east, which will carry you right into DC. This route is doable in a day, rather than two or three at Parkway speeds.

2-Week Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip.

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Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip: 5-Day Knoxville Loop https://moon.com/2015/06/blue-ridge-parkway-road-trip-5-day-knoxville-loop/ https://moon.com/2015/06/blue-ridge-parkway-road-trip-5-day-knoxville-loop/#respond Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:03:30 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=26720 With just five days, you can explore Knoxville, traipse into Dollywood, log some quality trail time, explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park, catch an amazing firefly display, ride a steam train...and drive a short, but beautiful, section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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With just five days, you can explore Knoxville, traipse into Dollywood, log some quality trail time, explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park, catch an amazing firefly display, ride a steam train…and drive a short, but beautiful, section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Day 1: Knoxville to Dollywood (43 miles; 1 hour)

Grab a tasty breakfast at Pete’s Coffee Shop in Knoxville, then head over to the Sunsphere for a selfie in front of the city’s golden-crowned monument. Get a feel for the people and culture of East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains at the East Tennessee History Center downtown, then hit the road, following US-441 south toward the mountain towns (and tourist meccas) of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Have lunch and check into a hotel in Gatlinburg, then backtrack to Pigeon Forge and spend the rest of the day at Dollywood.

The Sunsphere, a golden sphere structure in Knoxville, Tennessee.

World’s Fair Park Sunsphere in Knoxville. Photo © Melinda Fawver/123rf.

Day 2: Dollywood to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (44 miles; 2 hours)

Have breakfast at the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg, then follow US-441 south two miles into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stopping at the Sugarlands Visitor Center to pick up maps and park tips. Set up camp in the Elkmont Campground. Here, for a two-week window in the summer, one of only four colonies of synchronous fireflies in the United States puts on a dazzling show, so reserve your site early. Drive a loop around Cades Cove, which was once home to a mountain community. At the various buildings throughout the community, you can stop and hike, so pick up a map at the visitor center, select a couple of hikes, and hit the trail. Wildlife viewing is awesome here, with massive herds of deer and black bears playing in the boughs of apple trees. Good dinner options are located in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Day 3: Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Cherokee (47 miles; 1.5 hours)

After breakfast, begin your cross-park drive via Newfound Gap Road. You’ll find trailheads all along this twisting mountain road, but for a hike with impressive views, save yourself for Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in Tennessee and GSMNP. You’ll see signs for Clingmans Dome as Newfound Gap Road crests the Smokies. Head down this spur road to “climb” to the top (the summit is accessible via a walkway and concrete observation platform, not much of a climb) for jaw-dropping views. From here, a 1.75-mile trail leads to Andrews Bald, the highest such meadow in the park. In summer, the trail is bombarded with flame azalea and rhododendron.

The Clingman's Dome observation platform at dusk in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Clingman’s Dome observatory lookout in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo © Sean Pavone/123rf.

After hiking to Andrews Bald, get back to Newfound Gap Road and descend into North Carolina and the town of Cherokee. Browse the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, then stop in at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian across the street or Oconaluftee Indian Village just up the hill. Spend the night at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino or opt for a campground or nearby chain hotel.

Day 4: Cherokee to Bryson City and Cataloochee (69 miles; 2 hours)

Try your hand at the nickel slots on your way out of Harrah’s (you never know) before stopping at Granny’s Kitchen for a country breakfast buffet. Your next stop is the nearby town of Bryson City for a mountainside ride aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. You can pair your train ride with a little white-water rafting or zip-lining, or you can keep it tame and simply enjoy the scenery.

Backtrack to Cherokee and hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Today, you’ll traverse 25 miles of the Parkway, including some of the road’s most rugged mountains and impressive overlooks. After following the Parkway for a short ways, exit onto the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway (US-441) and head north toward Waynesville, where you can grab lunch before connecting with I-40 and making your way to the beautiful Cataloochee Campground on the North Carolina side of GSMNP. Cataloochee is another former mountain community, but this one has a few residents: elk. Cataloochee is a prime spot to see them. Be sure to bring in something to cook; it’s a bit of a drive back out for dinner.

An elk bull stands in the grass.

An elk in the Great Smoky Mountains. Elk were reintroduced in the Great Smoky Mountains from herds thriving along Kentucky’s eastern border.

Day 5: Cataloochee to Knoxville (96 miles; 2 hours)

If you missed the elk last night, get up early and watch the tree line at the edge of the fields. You’ll see them eating their way around the perimeter. Take a little time this morning to check out the haunting and picturesque old church and hike among the other structures in Cataloochee.

When it’s time to leave, I-40 will carry you right back into Knoxville in time to get lunch at Stock & Barrel, The Tomato Head, or any other restaurant on Knoxville’s Market Square.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip.

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Driving Tips for the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive https://moon.com/2015/06/driving-tips-for-the-blue-ridge-parkway-and-skyline-drive/ https://moon.com/2015/06/driving-tips-for-the-blue-ridge-parkway-and-skyline-drive/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:38:09 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=26717 If you plan on driving Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive, the trip is made a lot easier—and simpler!—if you know ahead of time about the mile-marker system, when and where you can fuel up, speed limits, and how to effectively pull-off a one-way trip in either your own vehicle or a rental.

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Both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are organized by mileposts. Markers, signs, and pillars note each mile, and waypoints include directions like “Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 52.6.” This system makes it easy to anticipate where the next sight, visitor center, or hike may be. On Skyline Drive, you’ll travel from mile 0 in Front Royal, Va., to mile 105.5 at Rockfish Gap, near Waynesboro, Va. At Rockfish Gap, the Blue Ridge Parkway begins with mile 0, then carries on down the mountain chain to Cherokee, N.C., and mile 469.

You’ll need to fuel up at the towns, cities, and waysides off the parkway.You can drive your own car the 740-mile length of the Skyline Drive-Blue Ridge Parkway-Great Smoky Mountains National Park route, or you can pick up a rental car at or near the airport or train station where you begin your journey. Do check that you will have a place to turn in the car at the other end if you plan on taking a one-way trip, and note that some companies levy hefty fees for this service.

A trio of motorcycles along an S-curve on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Motorcycles along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Brian Patterson/dreamstime.

Gasoline is available at only one place along Skyline Drive and nowhere on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ll need to fuel up at the towns, cities, and waysides off the parkway. Fuel availability is noted at the beginning of relevant chapters in Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip, but as a rule, you’ll find a gas station near any town or major route that crosses the Parkway.

The speed limit on the Parkway is 45 mph, though it slows to 35 or even 25 in certain areas. Along Skyline Drive, the speed limit is 35 mph. You’ll encounter a great deal of wildlife along the drive. At any faster than the speed limit, you pose a threat to animals and yourself, as you may not have adequate time to stop if you encounter an animal. The National Park Service can pull you over and issue tickets, so keep your speed appropriate to the traffic and weather. Traffic slows considerably during peak seasons. During autumn, you may never reach the speed limit.

Many locals choose to travel a segment of the Parkway then return home via Interstates to reduce travel time. If you fly into one of the travel hubs covered in Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip, you’ll likely travel one way, north or south, along the route and depart from an airport on the other end. Otherwise, you may do like the locals, traveling the Parkway one direction and a faster route on the return trip.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip.

The post Driving Tips for the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

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Discover the Blue Ridge Parkway https://moon.com/2015/06/discover-the-blue-ridge-parkway/ https://moon.com/2015/06/discover-the-blue-ridge-parkway/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2015 18:44:19 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=26715 Known as "America’s favorite scenic drive," Blue Ridge Parkway is more than just a drive. It's nature, serene and awesome by turns, it's cultured cities, hiking trails, quiet moments, and realizing that the road that led you here will take you home… but you’ll be different for having driven its miles.

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In the friendly little mountain town of Floyd, Friday nights mean three generations of locals including cloggers, mountain dancers, farmers, artists, and musicians blowing off workweek steam by playing, listening to, or dancing along with live bluegrass while imbibing a little ‘shine in the mountain tradition.

An American flag flies at the top of Chimney Rock overlooking Chimney Rock State Park in North Carolina.

Chimney Rock in North Carolina. Photo © Sean Pavone/dreamstime.

Every season here is gorgeous, from scarlet-leaf-filled fall to summer, when the heady scent of honeysuckle coaxes you out of your car.Floyd was my first stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 469-mile ridge-riding ribbon that runs from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But it certainly wasn’t my last. Every season here is gorgeous, from scarlet-leaf-filled fall to summer, when the heady scent of honeysuckle coaxes you out of your car. In winter, snow dusts the highest passes and the mountains grow a charming beard of icicles; spring is when wildflowers bloom and fawns peer out of the brush.

For these reasons, and at least 469 others—figure there’s at least one for every mile marker—the Blue Ridge Parkway is known as “America’s favorite scenic drive.” But it’s more than just a drive. It’s fields and balds filled to capacity with fireflies blinking in the summer twilight, mountains aflame with fall color as far as the eye can see, more wildflowers and spring peepers croaking than you could count in a lifetime, and the stillness of snow falling from a white winter sky to cover the blacktop highway. It’s cultured cities like Asheville and Roanoke, hiking trails to waterfalls, and sights that celebrate our national heritage, from Oconaluftee Indian Village to the National D-Day Memorial in small-town Bedford. It’s quiet moments on a mountainside overlook, gazing out over Virginia’s vast plains and the folded hills of North Carolina and realizing that the road that led you here will take you home…but you’ll be different for having driven its miles and drunk in its beauty.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip.

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Photo Gallery: Best Sights in North Carolina’s Outer Banks https://moon.com/2015/01/photo-gallery-best-sights-in-north-carolinas-outer-banks/ https://moon.com/2015/01/photo-gallery-best-sights-in-north-carolinas-outer-banks/#respond Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:38:33 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=16707 Traveling to North Carolina? Get inspired for your trip with these photos of popular sights in North Carolina's Outer Banks and Coastal Sounds regions.

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North Carolina Aquarium

Sharks and jellyfish and their aquatic kin show their true beauty in underwater habitats at the North Carolina Aquarium, while trails and boat tours lead to the watery world outdoors.


Ocracoke Island

On this remote island, you’ll find a historic village that is the home of one of America’s most unique local communities, as well as some serious water sports and walking opportunities.


Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground

Even if it weren’t the final resting place of the “Little Girl Buried in a Barrel of Rum,” this little churchyard would still be one of the prettiest and most interesting cemeteries in the South.


Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Here at the site of the Lost Colony, the mysterious first chapter of English settlement in the new World unfolded in the 1580s.


Tryon Palace

The splendid and, in its day, controversial seat of colonial government in North Carolina is reconstructed in New Bern’s historic district, a significant destination worthy of a whole day’s leisurely exploration.


[column size=”one-fourth”]cover_moon carolinas & georgia1e[/column]
[column size=”three-fourth” last=”true”]Hungry for more? Don’t forget to check out the Cape Lookout National Seashore—home to wild horses and turtle nests—or the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, which tells the lives of past generations of Down Easterners. The Great Dismal Swamp is a natural wonder straddling the Virginia-Carolina line, and the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge attracts migratory birds by the tens of thousands.

Find more trip ideas around the Carolinas and Georgia in Moon Carolinas and Georgia.[/column]

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