Blue Ridge Parkway
One of John Denver's famous songs starts, "Almost heaven, West Virginia; Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River; Life is old there, older than the trees; Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze."
You can experience it firsthand along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 469.1-mile (755-kilometer) stretch of winding highway that connects Skyline Drive in Virginia to U.S. 441 at Oconaluftee near Cherokee, N.C. Most drivers choose to visit in the fall, when the changing leaves light huge swaths of the route as if you're driving through tunnels of Patton's burning south.
Between June and October, be sure to stop by the Blue Ridge Music Center, where you can catch old-time bluegrass in its natural habitat.