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The Magical Mystery Tour


Sunrise over the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina

Sunrise over the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina

Several months ago I suggested to my assistant Amy that she set up a mystery trip for me. I instructed her to contact a public relations company or tourism board for somewhere in the world and set up a trip where I would have no idea where I was going.

So, set up the trip she did and all I knew is that on March 29th I was going to start in Charleston, South Carolina and go somewhere by car. Instructions were to be given to me by Amy via Twitter.

Given what is in driving distance of Charleston I figured I would be going to South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee or Georgia.

I ended up driving up Interstate 26 to Western North Carolina and the Smoky Mountains National Park. There I stayed in the small town of Bryson City and spent Friday visiting the park.

I’ve been to Great Smoky Mountains National Park before, but it was a brief trip I took back 2009 and I was only on the Tennessee side of the park. The Tennessee side is much more touristy due to its proximity to larger cities. The North Carolina side is much quieter and more peaceful.

I’m also guessing that western North Carolina is going to gain some popularity as it was the location where The Hunger Games was filmed.

This morning I was instructed to go to Asheville which is an hour away from Bryson City. Today I’ll be visiting Biltmore, the largest residential home in the United States and at one time, the largest in the world. It was built by George Washington Vanderbuilt II in the last 19th Century and measured over 135,000 square feet (12,500 m2

Tomorrow I’ll have one final drive to Charlotte before getting on a flight to San Francisco.

This was a fun exercise and something I’d like to do again. This was a pretty short trip and next time I’d like to do something maybe a bit longer or maybe something where I have to go to an airport without knowing what destination I’ll be visiting.

  • 7 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. Annie says:

    Hi Gary,

    We hope you enjoyed your stay in our Charleston Overlook Vacation Home while visiting Bryson City. Come back anytime.


  2. Izy Berry says:

    Sounds like a fun trip – think it’d be even more fun if you went to an airport and took a random trip :-)

  3. Fun idea! I just have to think of which of my friends I trust enough to plan a trip for me :-)

  4. It does sound like a fun idea, very care-free, and from the photo it looks as though it was worth it :)

  5. Gaelyn says:

    This sounds like a fun idea. I could see a little longer trip too.

  6. Jan Ross says:

    I’m headed to Savannah in May for the Tall Ships Challenge and will be stopping in Ashveille at the Grove Park Inn. I’ll be interested to hear about Asheville and the Biltmore!

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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