Monday, August 08, 2011

How to go from Etowah, TN to Etowah, TN in about six hours.

This is one family road trip that we're going to remember for a long time. My family decided that we needed a day trip getaway. We chose to take a driving tour loop from Etowah, TN to Etowah, TN via the Cherohala Skyway and Hwy. 129. Check this map link to see our full route.

Etowah, TN historic district photo
Our Etowah to Etowah road trip took us about six hours. Next time, we'll spread it out over a few days. Don't get me wrong though. It was a great road trip. The problem is that I could spend forever at the overlooks and be a very happy person.

Our trip began at the Etowah Chamber of Commerce. If you need information on the Cherohola (in the Cherokee National Forest) or Tennessee Overhill (next trip) they probably have it. Chamber staff can fill in any gaps of information and make suggestions. I can't imagine a better stopping point.

L&N Depot in Etowah, TN
Etowah is a good beginning point for the trip. It's called the 'Gateway to the Cherokee Forest'. Not only is the proximity to the forest helpful but the town can be a destination itself. Almost everything you need is on Hwy. 411. Plus, almost everything is within walking distance to each other.

There is a Red Roof Inn and bed and breakfast locations, campgrounds, RV parks and other lodging is available nearby. Etwoah has several eateries. At least two of these are in the historic district. There is an older theater and L&N Depot that houses the Chamber of Commerce. Can you say photo op?

Bargain Barn in Etowah, TN historic district
Visitors are drawn to Etowah for the antique shopping and bargain marts. Be aware though, most of the shops take cash only. The merchandise can be packed in so be prepared to have fun sifting through it. You never know what bargains you will find.

Don't worry if you don't have cash. There is a BB&T bank and ATM at the north end of the Etowah historic district. I'm sure there are some at gas or grocery stores but I didn't think to check.

Speaking of gas, if you are going to drive this loop from Etowah to Etowah be sure to fill up before leaving town. You might want to grab a picnic too. The next gas stop will be about half an hour away in Tellico Plains.

There are a number of gas stations in Etowah on Hwy. 411. We picked one and then headed over to the Bi-Lo grocery store for picnic items and extra camera batteries. Like most chain groceries Bi-Lo wants you to sign up for their rewards program to get the discounts. I grumbled but did it anyway. It only took a minute and we wound up saving about 20%. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all?

After picking up the supplies we were ready to begin our trip in earnest. Our route was easy to find. All we did was follow the signs to the Cherokee National Forest and head to Tellico, Plains. The entrance to the Cherohala Skyway is near the Tellico Plains Visitors Center. (Next...