Southeast Trip 2016 – Preview

me sitting on a rock on a hiking trail overlooking the treetops in a valley on the Fiery Gizzard Trail

After the smashing success of West Coast Trip 2015, the group of travel companions decided to make a week-long, multi-city trip an annual occurrence!  Over a nice winter supper at one our favorite Italian restaurants, we discussed our ideas for the upcoming year’s trip.  Some options on the table for 2016 were New Orleans/Austin, Phoenix/Albuquerque, Denver/Salt Lake City, and Asheville/Nashville.  After some debate, we settled on the Asheville/Nashville option – Southeast Trip 2016 was born!

Once that decision was made and dates and flights were settled upon, we decided to stick a halfway point stop in there, and thus Chattanooga was added to the itinerary as well.  We were set for early October, flying into Charlotte within minutes of each other (Rachel, Hilary, and I from Rochester and Alena from San Diego), and from there renting a car to drive to Asheville for 2 days, then to Chattanooga for a day, followed by a hike day en route to Nashville for 3 more days.

I’ve never really been a big hiker, so that part of the research process was new for me.  I was surprised at how many hiking trail options there are in what is really not that big an area.  The hikes ended up being a couple of my favorite parts of the trip, and inspired me to check out hikes in my own area (and again, I was surprised at how many options there are).  I love my urban exploring, but working in a nature break or two may very well become a regular thing on #steintineraries!

It was also very interesting to plan for Chattanooga, a city that I knew literally nothing about.  We picked it purely for its location as a halfway point, and I had fun learning about the city’s history and neighborhoods as the baseline for my research.  Not that I thought Chattanooga was a slouch of a city, but just the fact that within a couple of days of research I was excited to explore a city that I previously knew nothing at all about confirmed my belief that every city has a story, and places worth checking out!

Anyway, with the logistics squared away, it was time to get started on the #steintinerary!  The focus for this trip was on Asheville’s craft beer scene, scenic hikes, southern BBQ, biscuits, and Nashville’s hot chicken and live music scene.  I had been to Nashville a few times before so I had a good idea of the spots I wanted to show the rest of the crew, but there’s always more research to be done.  It was also fun looking into Asheville’s breweries, autumn hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and everything else!

Recaps of each leg of the trip coming soon…

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