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  • Writer's pictureMartha Vignati

My Favorite Drive In North Carolina

It’s the summer of the road trip.

While some this year’s grandest travel plans may be on pause, not all vacation hope is lost. As countries and states ease restrictions and hotels, national parks, and other attractions cautiously begin to reopen, the allure of the open road is strong. A recent survey by MMGY Global found that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, 68 percent of U.S. consumers feel safest in their cars; and in our own Instagram flash poll last month, 87 percent of those who responded said they want to take a road trip this summer. No matter where you live, there’s likely a scenic drive nearby, be it a forest-lined highway or a sunny, shore-hugging route. Leave the logistics to your Virtuoso travel advisor, and your itinerary can include chic (socially distanced) overnights at hotels, foolproof directions, and expert insight on the best roadside seafood shacks, uncrowded parks, and more. Here, a few ideas that will have you ready to load up the car:

North Carolina and Virginia: Blue Ridge Parkway

Stretching 469 miles between Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway cuts through the Appalachian Highlands, showcasing waterfall-dotted hiking trails, family-run wineries and breweries, and bluegrass jam sessions along the way.    Don’t Miss: The Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain for some of the parkway’s best photo ops, the High Country (Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk) for small-town exploration, and Virginia’s Grayson Highlands State Park for horseback riding. “Two of my favorite stops are Asheville’s Folk Art Center and Mount Mitchell State Park,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Yolanda Robertson. “At 6,683 feet, Mount Mitchell is the highest point in North Carolina. You can see to Virginia and Tennessee from the top.” Overnight: Off Mile Marker 178 in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, the 51-room

Primland Resort

( features lodge-style accommodations, private cottages, and treehouse retreats overlooking the mountains. (Plus yoga, stargazing, golf, and many other outdoor activities.) Pro Tip: “Keep towels, extra clothes, and shoes for everyone handy, as many of the roadside trails have creeks and rivers for wading,” Robertson says. “And download driving directions; some areas are remote and it can be challenging to get a cell signal.”

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