A&A Heading Northeast With Key Stops Along The Way | RV Living
End of Week #96
Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach SC > Santee State Park, Santee SC > Springwood RV Park, Greenville SC
Miles traveled since last week's post = 299 miles
Total miles traveled to date = 13,110 with trailer
We are making our way northeast, checking out as much of the east coast of the country as possible. April is just around the corner, and we will be traveling through the entire month. We have already been on the road a little over 2 weeks, upon leaving our last monthly stay in Florida, and it feels like we really have already experienced a lot of 'out east' adventures. (And a lot of severe weather warnings too!)
With that being said, there are still a handful of key stops we will be making during the month of April - places I am extremely excited to see, and that include some National Parks, state parks, and even another National Seashore!
A&A Heading Northeast With Key Stops Along The Way
Planned & Tentative Route
We have already started to cover some serious ground in our route north, right now we are in upstate South Carolina, and we will be heading to North Carolina by the end of the week. Roughly the first half of our route had already been planned & booked for awhile now, from the days when we were preparing to head towards the Outer Banks for the summer. Some of those key places we have already visited too - such as St. Mary's, GA, Savannah, GA, and Myrtle Beach, SC.
As we continue to move northeast, we now have just about ALL of our stops booked - through to almost the end of April. It really is only our last few locations that are not completely solidified yet - however as I always say, and as it keeps happening throughout our travels - things can ALWAYS change. The more you plan, the more things decide they want to change on you...
Here is a look at the rest of our planned (tentative route) with each stop:
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
Earlier this week we made our first National Park stop along our route north, marking our 23rd National Park total, and our 2nd one in 2021. Congaree National Park is located about 40 miles northwest from Santee State Park, in Hopkins, South Carolina. Congaree is a 26,276-acre park that preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the entire United States.
Due to a lot of recent extreme rainfalls, much of the park was actually flooded and trails and boardwalks were under water. We still were able to walk around a bit and take in views of Watson Lake, and the large growth of trees in this swamp region, but we came to a lot of dead ends. While walking around the portion of the boardwalk that was open we did see a few smaller snakes swimming in the water!
All in all, the area in the park that you can explore is quite small compared to the total acreage of the entire park. To really explore more you would do so by canoe or kayak!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
The ancient mountains of the east, in fact they are apart of the oldest mountains in the entire US. The Great Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, that border Tennessee and North Carolina. They also form part of the Blue Ridge Mountain line as well. These grand Appalachian Mountains once used to tower as high as the mountains do in the Rockies, however since they are so old - over time, they have started to erode away. I feel like the Great Smokies have a lot of mystery and mystical energy about them - through their rich history, the biodiversity of plants and animals that live here, and the folklore stories tied to them.
We will be staying in Cherokee, NC, at the base of the Smokies, at a Yogi Bear park. We stayed in two other Yogi Bear parks while we were in Texas, and received a really great deal on our stay here - so it only made sense. A lot of people that visit the Smokies stay on the other side, in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, Tennessee, however this would be out of route for us to get to with the trailer - but still within distance to visit while we are in Cherokee. We also plan to visit nearby Asheville, NC, while we are staying in Cherokee.
Adam and I will be arriving to the Smokies this Friday, April 2nd and will be there for 6 nights - so through the upcoming Easter holiday weekend. This will be the longest stay we have left in our trek north. I sure am excited to get back to the mountains after all this time, and can't wait to go on some hiking adventures. Thankfully, as of now, our weather forecast looks great during our stay - minus the day we get there. This Friday we are looking at a HIGH temperature of about 45 degrees!
Hart-T-Tree Farms, North Carolina
Remember those Fraser firs we sold in South Florida for the holidays last year? Well now we get to stop by the farm in which those trees are grown! Located on the border of upstate North Carolina and south Virginia, is Hart-T-Tree Farms. We have been graciously invited by the owners to stop in for a visit, and we are so excited to check things out for ourselves.
Not to mention they have RV hookups available for us to use while we are there! We can't wait to visit with Kathy, and help out in any way we can during our stay. I think it will be extremely beneficial for us to have visited the place these trees are grown when we get to our second season of selling later this year.
New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
Have you heard the news, that New River Gorge is the newest National Park added to the National Park system in January 2020? This area of the Appalachian Mountains, located in West Virginia, is the 63rd recognized National Park in the US. The New River Gorge bridge is a known landmark out east and this is a popular area for white water rafting. The river here flows northward through deep canyons, and is one of the oldest rivers on the entire continent of North America!
We will be staying about 30 miles south of the park, in a state park called Little Beaver. I am very excited to explore this newly protected beauty and see more of what the mountains out east have to offer! No, we won't be doing any white water rafting while we are there... we did that once, years ago, in Colorado, and although it was exhilarating.. I'm not entirely sure it's for me!
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
This beautiful mountain range extends along the Blue Ridge mountain line, located in Virginia. What is called the "Skyline Drive" runs the entire length of Shenandoah National Park, and is a vast network of hiking trails, and it houses a long distance section of the greater Appalachian Trail. This park has a whole lot of forest, but it is also full of wetlands, waterfalls, and rocky peaks. It's kind of neat to think that this vast National Park and mountain range are located only about 75 miles away from Washington D.C..
While we are here we will more than likely be staying at a Boondocker's Welcome host location in Amissville, Virginia. I currently have this reserved, however have still been looking and searching for any other better options. Amissville is within a good distance to the park and opportunities to hike, however our location will only have water hookup - no electric - and I'm just not yet sure what the temperatures will be like while we are there. We do have our generator to use, if needed, so there are still some things to ponder with this location - but that doesn't change the fact that we will be exploring as much as we can of these mountains.
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
Along the coast of Maryland and Virginia, are two barrier islands called Assateague and Chincoteague. The horses here are wild, and the wind and the waves recreate this area daily. Each year, in the middle of the summer, wild horses are round up from Assateague Island and sold in a pony penning day on Chincoteague island. Years ago, my mom and I were out east for a family wedding and we were able to go to these islands and watch the famous pony penning day that I first heard about from a book I read in school.
I think it's really cool that we will have the opportunity to return back to an area I have visited once before, when I was about 10 years old, and come face to face again with wild horses that call the US home. While we are here we will be staying at a Boondocker's Welcome host in Salisbury, Maryland, and will only be about 45 minutes from the Assateague Island National Seashore.
Boston (& Salem), Massachusetts
One of Adam's biggest dreams out east has been to visit Boston, Massachusetts, and to enjoy a nice seafood meal while we are there. Luckily, it sounds like we will be able to make this dream come true in the final leg of our trip north to upstate New York. We have enough time in our schedule to allow for a bit of a detour even further east, to Massachusetts, allowing us to visit Boston, and hopefully Salem too!
While we are in this area we will likely stay at an RV park around Foxborough, however this has not yet been finalized. There are not a ton of RV options this time of year, but we will find something to make it work. If we have enough time during our stay, we may even drive south to explore a bit of Providence, Rhode Island - as who knows when we will be back up in this region again!
The tentative part of the route
In between Maryland and Boston we will have two other stops - one at another Boondocker's Welcome host location around the middle of New Jersey. The other stop is not yet finalized, as I had ideally wanted to stay around New Haven, Connecticut - however you'd be surprised how limited RV camping is in that state. Most of the options I have found in the upper east are state parks that do not open until the middle of May, when we will already be established at our workamping job in upstate New York, or they are very expensive RV resorts that I just can't justify for our visit.
Depending on the circumstances and where exactly we find to stay in between New Jersey and Boston, we MAY take a day to venture into New York City, just to essentially visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I have already checked into those tours and they are open and available, you just have to book ahead online. This is still very tentative and depending on our vibe of the area, our vibe of the state of the world at that time (even with it just being a few weeks away), and just how we feel in general whenever we get to where we will be. I have been looking at a county park on the Hudson River, just north of NYC that might end up being our best location to stay - as long as they are accepting new reservations.
Additionally, after we would leave the Boston area, we will likely stop one more time on our way to Fort Ann, NY. I have been looking at several Boondocker's Welcome host locations in the eastern part of New Hampshire that would make a great place to stop. This is still mountainous range out here, but stopping halfway to the workamping campground will make for an easier day of travel the day we are to arrive in Fort Ann. Plus it will help us see and cross off another state in our eastern travels. Just like all of the northeast, state parks will not yet be open while we are in this area, so BW becomes our best bet!
As we have been back on the road for a few weeks now, and have about another month of travels to go, I feel it is a good point in time to talk more about what it is like (and has been like) traveling with our 2 Bengal cats - Roscoe and Rahja. It is never a dull moment with either of them, and aside from all the health issues we have had lately, it is also always some sort of experience being on the road with the two of them too!
I have recently become affiliated with Amazon, through the set up of my own storefront page. Here I am able to list and link all of the items I have purchased through Amazon and would recommend for various needs. I have lists set up for fulltime RVing, camping in general, traveling with cats, health and wellness, and even curly hair! Plus, as an added bonus, I will make a small commission on any items purchased through my link.
If you want to check out more of my storefront page, here is the link: Spark Fire Swan's Amazon
I will continue to add items as time goes on, as we are always finding something new on there that becomes quite useful to our lifestyle or for our feline friends. As a rule of thumb, I only ever link things we have actually purchased, kept, and use on a frequent basis!