Subject: What's great about the Great Smokies?
Hi All!

In addition to our plans to go abroad this year, we are hoping to spend a week or so down in the Great Smokies, one of the East Coast areas still on our to-visit list. When I think of Tennessee and North Carolina, I'm tempted to wonder about 1940s pickup trucks, chewing tobacco, guys (girls?)named Billy Bob, and lots of folks with Good Sam stickers on the backs of their RVS. Even so, there must be a reason why people make the trip. So we're thinking of driving down I-81 (from Connecticut), beginning on the Tennessee side, probably bedding down near Townsend (I've heard Gatlinburg is eminently avoidable), then moving over to Asheville, NC for the remainder of our visit. Driving tours, hikes, and just enjoying the great outdoors are toward the top of our list along with pleasant (though not necessarily fancy) meals and some quiet time appreciating the scenery. That much said, I look forward to suggestions about what's to see, where to eat, and what not to bother with.

Regards, Russell from Connecticut