Biltmore Estates. 1 Approach Rd Asheville NC 28803. 800-411-3812. This 250 room French Renaissance Chateau built in 1895 by George W Vanderbilt is the largest private home in the United States. The estate is 8,000 acres, it houses priceless collections of antiques, painting, books, tapestries and furnishings. The admission includes a self guided tours including upstairs & downstairs of the house, the servants quarters, the Winery, the gardens and grounds. Take I-40 West 110 miles to exit 50B. Open every day. 110 miles, 1 1/2 hours away. www.biltmore.com.
Blue Ridge Parkway. Ranked as one of "America's Most Scenic Drive" by leading travel writers. This is more than a scenic highway, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a spectacular route to fascinating worlds of vacation fun and excitement. "This All-American Road" offers 350 miles of hiking trails. These footpaths will take you through diverse settings, from crystal clear mountain streams to spectacular waterfalls, through lush forests and across broad meadows. You can get to the parkway on I-40 west or I-77 north. www.blueridgeparkway.org.
Carowinds. 14523 Carowinds Blvd. Charlotte NC 28273. 704-588-2600. A 122 acre combination amusement and water park located on the border of North & South Carolina near Charlotte, offers something new each year. New for 2013 is Dinosaurs Alive! Families will absolutely love the all-new Dinosaurs Alive! at Carowinds. This attraction features nearly 30 animatronic dinosaurs in a spectacular outdoor forest setting. Park visitors will truly be able to step back in time to periods between 245 million and 65 million years ago in Dinosaurs Alive! It's a fun and education experience for guests of all ages. Take i-77 south to Carowinds, a 50 minute drive. www.carowinds.com
The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. 119 Knob Road-Lakeside Park Mooresville NC 28117. Founded in 1994 The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is a foundation dedicated to the enhancement of the rich heritage of all forms of motorsports. The museum features over 35 cares dedicated to all type of auto racing. As a privately funded organization the proceeds from the operation of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame are donated annually to organizations such as the Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) and the Stocks for Tots which provides hundreds of new toys for children in December. NCARHOF Chairman Don Miller was the first recipient of the NASCAR Humanitarian Award for his charitable efforts. Take I-77 south to exit 36, 20 minutes away. Closed on Sunday. 1 hour away. Visit www.ncarhof.com or call 704-663-5331 for more information.
Nascar Hall of Fame. 501 S College Street Charlotte NC 28202. 704-654-4400. Opened May 2010 in uptown Charlotte, the 150,000 sq. ft. NASCAR Hall Of Fame is an interactive entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high tech venue designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-race fans alike, includes artifacts, interactive exhibits, 275 person states of the art theater. www.nascarhall.com.
Charlotte Motor Speedway. 5555 Concord Parkway South Concord NC 28027. 800-455-FANS. With the large majority of NASCAR teams with in 30 miles of Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina this is truly the heart of NASCAR country. Since 1960 this famous 1.5 mile quad-oval has hosted some legendary races. The World 600, now known as the Coca-Cola 600, on Memorial Day weekend has been a track staple since the speedway opened. Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the best places on the NASCAR circuit to watch a race. 45 minutes away. www.charlottemotorspeedway.com
Queens Landing. 1459 River Highway Mooresville NC 28117. 704-663-2628. Queens Landing is located on Lake Norman and offers year-round entertainment. There are two cruise boats, The Catawba Queen, which offers daily lunch and sightseeing cruises and buffet cruises, and The Lady of the Lake which has nightly dinner cruises. Both boats are available for private charters. Also at Queens Landing is Jokers, Dueling Piano Bar, Jacks Lakeside Grill and an amusement park with Putt Putt Golf and bumper boats. Take I-40 west to I-77 south to exit 36, 30 minutes away. www.queenslanding.com.
Childress Vineyard. 1000 Childress Vineyards Rd. Lexington NC 27292. 336-236-WINE. Named one of the Top 25 Tasting Rooms in America by Wine Enthusiast magazine (May 2008). The winery is open daily for tours, tastings, lunch and Sunday brunch at the Bistro. Also enjoy the picnic area and walking tours. Free music every Saturday and Sunday from the first weekend in May through the end of October, weather permitting. Take 64 east till you come to the Vineyard, 30 minutes away. www.childressvineyards.com.
Murray's Mill. 1489 Murray's Mill Rd Catawba NC 28609.828-241-4299. A ten-minute hop, skip and jump from I-40, the Murray's Mill Historic District, in the rolling country side of eastern Catawba county, nestles just as it was a century ago along the banks of Balls Creek. A placid pond slips over a mill dam, and the 28' waterwheel of this National Register Historic Site makes its slow way round. Preserved intact are the 1913 mill itself, the 1890's Wheat house, used as an exhibit gallery, the 1913 John Murray house furnished to the period, and numerous outbuildings. Saturdays 9-4, Sunday 1:30-4:30. Take I-40 west to the Murray Mill signs on I-40. 30 minutes.