Day one – Saturday June 11th    332 miles / approximately 5 hoursscreen20shot202016-02-0520at206-45-0720pm
A convenient centralized meeting location for those from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey has been chosen just outside of the New York City congestion area in Lebanon, New Jersey.

Participants will gather at the Spinning Wheel Diner conveniently located off of Interstate 78 just east of Interstate 287. We will depart at 10am, so come earlier if you want breakfast. From this location, it is about a 5 hour drive to our first night’s stay in Staunton Virgina.

This day’s drive will be entirely via interstates I78 & I81 in order to get to the scenic driving roads as quickly as possible. The city of Staunton is home to the historic 1924 Stonewall Jackson Hotel, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, The American Shakespeare Center, a small auto museum and several wonderful restaurants and cafes.

Some Booking options –  June 11th 2016
Stonewall Jackson Hotel
24 S Market St, Staunton, VA 24401 – (540) 885-4848
Rooms from $175.00  ($161 with AAA/AARP) Johnson Express Inn
268 N Central Ave, Staunton, VA 24401 – (540) 886-5330
Rooms from $76.00  ($68.00 AAA/AARP)

Day Two – Sunday June 12 –  264 miles / approximately 6 hours.screen20shot202016-02-0520at206-56-2220pm
This day begins the scenic part of the trip and is almost entirely via the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. This well-maintained roadway offers a relaxed pace driving experience with stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. Dozens of scenic overlooks are strategically placed along the parkway where you can take a break, enjoy the views and photograph your Alfa with a stunning backdrop. For lunch you can stop at one of the many picnic area stops or head over to the Bent Mountain Bistro just off blue-ridge-parkway-646of the parkway.  Our stop for the night is just a few hundred feet off the parkway in Laurel Springs, North Carolina.  Freeborn’s Eatery and Lodge is a well reviewed motel and restaurant frequented by Motorcyclists riding the parkway.  On Sundays there its a party atmosphere with live music, great food, drinks and lots of motorcycle riders that runs until 6pm. A few hundred feet from Freeborn’s is Station’s Inn Bar & Grill; a renovated two-story seventeen room, 1950s motor resort with bar and restaurant.

Booking options – June 12th
Freeborn’s Eatery & Lodge
14300 NC-18, Laurel Springs, NC 28644 – (336) 359-8008
Cottages and rooms available from $60-$90
Sunday hours 11am – 6pm
Best to call for booking as their website does not work for Sunday bookings
since they close at 6pm. They have plenty of rooms.

Station’s Inn Bar & Grill
14355 NC-18, Laurel Springs, NC 28644 – (336) 359-2888
Rooms from $44.35
Sunday hours: Closes around 6pm

Day Three – Monday June 13th  – 143 miles / approximately 3.5 hours.screen20shot202016-02-0520at207-29-3920pm
The day starts as it ended – with the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway driving southward. After a couple of hours on the parkway, at the village of Little Switzerland, our route forks away from the Blue Ridge Parkway and winds along North Carolina’s last alternate route; 226A, also known as “Diamondback”. Sweeping curves, amazing scenery and cool mountain breezes make Diamondback one of the greatest mountain roadways.  Loaded with switchbacks looping almost 360 degrees, runs of s-curves climb and twist sharply as they snake through the lush 226a-signgreen forest and shear drop-offs. This 12 mile stretch is a sports car drivers dream road.

Lasting only four hours, this day’s drive affords us some much needed time to explore the overnight stop; the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina.  Asheville is known for its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence and the vast 19th-century Biltmore estate, displaying artwork by masters like Renoir. Its Downtown Art District is filled with galleries and museums, and in the nearby and very funky River Arts District, where artist’s studios are housed in former factory buildings.  Cafes, restaurants and dozens of craft breweries abound and are all a short walking distance from the centrally located hotels.

Some Booking options – June 13th.
Downtown Inn & Suites
120 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 – (828) 254-9661
Rooms from $95.00

Renaissance Asheville
31 Woodfin St, Asheville, NC 28801 – (828) 252-8211
Rooms from $189 ($170 AAA)

Day Four – Tuesday June 14th – 370 miles / approximately 7 hoursscreen20shot202016-02-0620at208-17-5820pm
From Asheville the route heads west via I40 for a short time until the interstate turns north. At this point the journey continues on the Great Smokey Mountain Expressway as it winds along the Tuckasegee River where we enter the Nantahala National Forest.  Route 28 follows and then passes the impressive 500 foot high Fontana Dam. A few miles beyond, Sign_Metal_Cherohala-2Tthe route crosses the end of the fabled Tail of the Dragon” roadway, featuring 318 curves packed into only 11 miles. This slalom-like roadway has eaten up hundreds of tires and motorcyclists alike and is often quite crowded with two-wheeled maniacs with go-pro cameras mounted on their helmets. Our route avoids this challenging roadway and continues west to heights of over five thousand feet via the beautiful vistas and sweeping curves of the Cherohala Skyway.  At the end of the skyway is the town of Tellico Plains, TN – a nice stop for lunch at the Tellico Grains Bakery. From there, its North to I40 west to the AROC convention hotel; the Nashville Airport Marriott.

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