One option is to head north from Charlotte on I77 and get off at Exit 100 (Hwy 89). You could head south on 89 and visit Mt Airy, NC which is a great example of small town North Carolina. From Mt Airy, you can head north on Hwy 89 to Galax, Va which prides itself in being the World's Capital of Old Time Mountain Music (Mt Airy, NC also makes a similar claim!). If that kind of music appeals to you, there are music venues there that specialize in it. The Blue Ridge Music Center (on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Galax) is worth a stop if it is open.
From Galax, you can head north on the Blue Ridge Parkway towards Roanoke. The scenery there is unbeatable in any season, though sections are closed in snow and ice (You didn't mention when you are travelling). Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed places on the Parkway. One fun 'detour' is to Floyd, Va - another great mountain town that is home to the Floyd Country Store. There is music there on Friday nights - people come from all over the region to listen and dance (you can view it on YouTube).
There is plenty more to see between Charlotte and Roanoke. We travel that area frequently and have still not seen everything. I just wanted to toss out some ideas so you can do some more research.Edited: 30 October 2012, 21:33
Thank you so much, that is very helpful. We are traveling in two weeks time. We would like to stay in a country Bed & Breakfast - would recommend any towns or B& B's in particular? Thanks once again.
The Fiddler's Roost Cabins (www.fiddlersroostcabins.com) in Galax are right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. They're in a lovely setting - very serene. If the weather is cooperative and you have the inclination, you can walk the trails nearby at the Blue Ridge Music Center. Close to the town of Galax for dinner.Edited: 31 October 2012, 04:29
Just remembered that you will be passing through both the North Carolina and Virginia wine growing regions. If that interests you, both states have websites that map out the various wineries and what they offer. Many of them have lovely views and restaurants, with B&Bs nearby. Touring the wine-growing regions is very popular. Since I'm not a drinker, I can't offer any personal recommendations. Sorry. Enjoy planning your trip!
Thank you for all your great ideas - the walks and wine ideas sound really interesting - we have very good vineyards here in NZ, so will do some googling and see where we end up! Thanks once again, cheers.
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