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Monday, March 10, 2014

Top 5 Favorite Spring Drives, Asheville to Great Smoky Mountains

It actually hit 55 degrees in Boston on Saturday. After the hellish winter of arctic temperatures and far too much snow, that’s a miracle. Even better now that we have one more hour of daylight now that Daylight Savings Time is underway. Needless to say, most of America is ready to say goodbye to Polar Vortex and hello to Spring Fever. The five phenomenal drives I describe this week should get you in the mood.

 
The 80-mile stretch of roadway between Asheville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a joy anytime of year, but it’s hard to top springtime when fragrant mountain laurel and colorful rhododendrons line the route. Get into the spring spirit by roaming the magnificent grounds of the Biltmore estate in Asheville. From beginning to late spring, the gardens come to life with the tulip bloom followed by multi-colored azaleas, rhododendrons, and roses in the resplendent rose garden. Spend the night at the historic Grove Park Inn, which turns 101 in 2014. 
 
Then it’s time to hit the High Country, where the drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway reaches its highest elevation at 6,047 feet, surrounded by row after row of ridges like the flanks of Mount Pisgah and Cold Mountain, the setting for the best-selling novel. There are numerous opportunities to stretch your legs and stroll to lonely mountain streams and waterfalls. Once in the Great Smoky Mountains, realize there are more than 1,600 kinds of flowering plants within the boundaries of the park, forming the best natural greenhouse in America. A good place to stop and smell the flowers is the self-guided Harwood Cove Nature Trail that begins at the Chimneys Picnic Area.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/10/14 at 10:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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