Road Trip of Rarities

Road Trip of Rarities: Western North Carolina is a roadtripper’s dream
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The key to our region’s appeal has to be its long list of diverse and tempting destinations, from scenic and historic, to quirky and cool, from Native American landmarks to rarefied ecological experiences atop Eastern America’s highest summits.

Linking all these distinctive destinations are roads of all sorts, from gravel-covered, seasonally-open backcountry motor tours, to ribbons of road so windy that bikers and auto enthusiasts cross them off bucket lists. To those inviting asphalt avenues, you can add North Carolina’s long list of officially sanctioned Scenic Byways. We’ve even got a “Road to Nowhere.”

And then, there’s the queen of all cruises, the Blue Ridge Parkway. The most visited unit of our National Park System is perhaps the best example of what “America’s best idea” has given folks who live nearby (like us), and those who come to visit from across the country or around the world.

Choose your roadside stops first, including some from the assortment below. Then, plot a path between them. Along the way, maybe on a road you never knew existed, you’ll discover why our backyard is a world-class wonder.

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Photographs by Zack Frank; courtesy of Mast General Store; Marc Parsons; courtesy of Dan'l Boone Inn; courtesy of Wheels through Time Museum; Andrew Cebulka; courtesy of No Taste Like Home; courtesy of Swain County Chamber of Commerce/Swain County TDA; courtesy of Omni Grove Park Inn; courtesy of Swain County Chamber of Commerce/Swain County TDA; Randy Johnson; Kathie Akins; courtesy of US Forest Service; courtesy of Revival Creatives; Nancy Gordon; courtesy of Library of Congress; courtesy of Forest Historical Society; courtesy of National Park Service; courtesY of Emerald Village; courtesy of; Luanne Allgood; courtesy of Mountain Gateway Museum; courtesy of Asheville Pinball Museum; courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation; courtesy of Epic Revalations; courtesy of ECBI; courtesy of The Katie Show Blog; courtesy of The Swag