Our road trip from Pennsylvania to Georgia actually only took two days. Our goal for the first night was Natural Bridge Virginia, I had found the historic Natural Bridge Hotel and knew I had to stop. So we stopped, stayed the night and on our second day from from Natural Bridge to Dahlonega Georgia. Well we actually drove a bit past that to visit family, but I won’t be advertising where that was.
Natural Bridge Virginia is a state park set up to highlight and protect the Natural Bridge rock formation. The rock formation was a religious site for Native Americans in the area, it was alluded to in Moby Dick, and allegedly George Washington did some surveying there as a young man in his early career years. We did not get to visit the bridge itself, we had places to get and family to visit. But the hotel located in the state park was stunning and I am so glad we chose this place to make our halfway stop. Both the hotel and the state park have undergone so recent changes. The park only recently changed hands to the Commonwealth of Virginia for its official state park status and the hotel only recently was bought by the Wyndam group and is still undergoing renovation. The lobby dining room and exterior were incredible and the rooms were extremely comfortable. Though they could use a bit more work sealing off some areas as there were a few beetles that had to kill before I could comfortably fall asleep. I am sure by now the issue has been taken care of given they had plans to continue to improve the hotel for several years past our visit.
We woke up to some gorgeous views the next morning, kind of wishing we had enough time to explore the area. But instead we had a deliciously large breakfast and headed back to the highway. After getting gas and more coffee of course.
We were trying to stick to the side roads as much as possible but we had a lot of ground to cover and the roads weren’t exactly going in the direction we needed efficiently. So we caved and got on the interstate. As an Oregon driver this was slightly terrifying. I drive so slow compared to folks on the east coast. And the toll free highway is both not in great shape and heavily traveled by long haul truckers. We stopped off in Asheville midday for coffee and a leg stretch. We also decided we needed to come back just to spend a week in Asheville. I loved the little coffee shop we stopped off at, I have of course forgotten the name. But they had this great mural explaining all the different kinds of coffee options. And the ceiling was plastered with old coffee bags, adorable.
A little more freeway driving until we could thankfully find a side highway that took us to Dahlonega. It was again a quick stop to have dinner with a family member and stretch our legs again before our final burst to our stop for the night. We walked around a bit checking out all the restaurant options and stores. Then settled on the Irish Pub for dinner as they had the largest menu options for a combination of diverse dietary needs. Another town that requires more than 2 hours of attention to properly appreciate. We will have to go back. But in a nutshell that was our lightening fast drive from Natural Bridge to Dahlonega.