In July 2010 we did a road trip of the lower east US. This was a part of the US that I hadn't seen before so it was fun to see all the historical places and the beautifull Appalachian mountains. As always in the US the distances are rather great, not as bad as our west but we still clocked 3400 miles for the trip.
We started up the coast and visted the chain of historical east coast towns; St Augustine, Savannah and Charleston. Pretty well preserved and charming towns that are very walking friendly. We had the trips best dinner trying the chef's choice 6 course dinner to live music at the Charleston Grill.
Turning inland after a stop over in Wilmington we headed for charming Charlottesville in the hills. Great downtown mall with good restaurants, bars and fun little shops. The large student population sure gives the place a good vibe. Visited the nearby Jefferson and Monroe homes and some of the pretty decent wineries up in the hills.
From Charlottesville we headed south on the blue ridge parkway along the mountains for hiking and sightseeing. Great views from the ridge and I sure hope I can come back in fall sometime to see the colors and the more open vistas that time of year.
Stopped by in funky Ashville for a few days and eplored the town and the nearby impressive Biltmore estate before heading through the Smokey Mountains park over to Knoxville. Found some good resources on the Smokies at SmokyMountains.com
Made a stop in Nashville to see a live country show at the venerable Grand Ole Opry before heading west to Memphis for a tour of Elvis Presley's Graceland. Turisty, busy and somewhat tacky but still fun and fascinating to see the place.
From Memphis we drove south for a pretty long leg down to New Orleans. Wanted to see the big easy before it's maybe to late. We stayed in he charming but also very touristy french quarters and walked the town sightseeing, eating and drinking. Managed to get an evening of some old school jazz at the Preservation Hall which was the highlight for me. Sure brought back memories of young when my father used to play those same songs on the piano.
Heading east from New Orleans it was more or less a straight drive back home with a stop in Tallahassee and the Wakulla Spring south of that town and a sleepover in Orlando and a final dinner at the excellent Ceviche retaurant in downtown Orlando.