Some of the country’s most famous scenic drives paired with race track experiences, historic hotels, and delicious food… This might be the perfect road trip.
Do you love scenic drives? (Of course you do) Do you love turning hot laps on the track? (Of course you do) Do you love small town main streets, historic hotels, and delicious food? (Of course you do) Well, we have the trip of a lifetime for you… Rally North America’s first-ever “Drives” event, a 4 day bonanza for the automotive enthusiast.
Rally North America has been a trusted organizer of “rally” style events for several years now, but they wanted to offer a slightly different format for their “Drives” series…
Their inaugural “Drives” event (Drives: Route 11) this coming September 24th-27th will start at Summit Motorsports Park in West Virginia and snake through some of the most stunning scenery east of the Mississippi before reaching the final destination of Virginia International Raceway a few days later. In the middle you’ll experience twists, turns, beautiful vistas, exhilarating track times, and food to die for.
The scenic drives
It’s really quite amazing one trip can combine so many well-known scenic routes. You’ll start on Route 11 and take it through charming small towns and pristine countryside before connecting with Skyline Drive.
One of the most famous drives in America, Skyline Drive cuts through the heart of Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and is particularly impressive in the fall months (Lucky for anyone on this trip!).
If you think Skyline Drive is great, wait till you hit the next scenic on the route: the legendary Blue Ridge Parkway. The gateway between Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway is so phenomenal it’s consistently the most visited “unit” of our entire National Park System.
Finally, you’ll finish on a road sure to keep your hands glued to the wheel. The “Back of the Dragon,” is a 32-mile stretch of road packed with over 300 twists and turns. If you’re a fan of the “Tail of the Dragon,” you’ll love the Back of the Dragon which is just as twisty but nearly 3 times longer.
The race tracks
For those who love putting themselves and their machines to the test, Drives Route 11 offers plenty of opportunities. The experience starts at famed Summit Point Motorsports Park, a track known for sports car racing (even Paul Newman logged laps here in his Datsun 510). Here you’ll get briefed for the next few days of fun and then hit the track for a professionally-led 4 lap session.
Your next time on a track switches from road course to a half-mile banked oval as you tackle Shenandoah Speedway. You’ll have 5 laps to start but can turn even more laps once everyone has their laps in. Just keep in mind, your car will need its brakes the rest of the trip so hold a little something back.
With a road course and oval under your belt, Drives Route 11 changes it up again and takes you to the strip. Your 3rd track session puts you on Motor Mile’s 1/8-mile drag strip for as many passes as your heart desires.
Finally, you’ll end the experience at Virginia International Raceway where you’ll have a 15-minute paced session on their full course. After the paced sessions, you can head back out for 3 hot laps if you’re brave enough.
If the scenic byways and opportunities for track time hasn’t convinced you to reserve your spot, the places you’ll be dining and sleeping should push you over the edge. Rally North America has worked hard to ensure each evening has a memorable meal paired with a unique and luxurious hotel.
You’ll dine and sleep at the George Washington Hotel by Wyndham, a 4-star hotel originally built in 1924 to service the B&O train line. It’s been updated with today’s best amenities but still retains the richness of the 1920s.
Your next meal and hotel is equally historic as you relax at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton, VA. Marked by its massive neon sign, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel is Colonial Revival masterpiece, and once inside, its one-of-a-kind 1924 Wurlitzer organ will transport you back to the Roaring Twenties.
Night three’s dinner and lodging is again at a place with plenty of history. The Jackson Park Inn was once a 1920s grocery warehouse, but today it’s exposed timbers, plank wood floors, and aged brick make it a memorable place for dinner and relaxation.
And if you’re looking to stick around Virginia International Raceway after the final track session, you can grab a room at their lodge at a discounted rate and enjoy the Oak Tree Spa or hit the VIR Kart Track for some laps in their hair-raising 50 MPH karts.
We’ve actually participated in a few of Rally North America’s “rally” style events, and they’re excellent, so we have no problem highly recommending their very first “Drives” event.
For starters, the price tag of $2290.00 is without a doubt a bargain compared to other trips like this, and if you register before March 31st, 2017, you’ll get another 10% off.
We’re also huge fans of this trip’s format. You get the best of everything… great drives, great on-track experiences, excellent food and lodging, and great camaraderie.
For more information on Rally North America’s “Drives: Route 11”, visit the Rally North America website.
Cover photo: Jim Dollar/Flickr