Re: road and staying tips :)
I don't know about cabins and July is the high season for the mountains. As for driving from NYC, you can do this in about 11 hours (it is 700 miles) if you just drive down Interstate 81. This is not a bad route for scenery. It goes through Bethlehem PA and Harrisburg.
If you wanted to drive through more mountain scenery, drop off I-81 at Front Royal and take the Skyline Drive through the Shennadoah National Park, and from there take the Blue Ridge Parkway (about 400 miles) right down to the Great Smoky Mountain NP. My husband and I did this on our honeymoon.
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