Southern Travel Destinations


Southern Pit Stops for Thanksgiving Travel

Editors’ Picks: Southern Pit Stops for Thanksgiving Travel By Elizabeth HutchisonNovember 25, 2015 http://gardenandgun.com/blog/editors-picks-southern-pit-stops-thanksgiving-travel Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving prompts us to hit the highway. AAA anticipates nearly 47 million Americans will get behind the wheel this week—and considering the South’s deep-rooted appreciation for food and family, we’d be willing to wager that a sizeable chunk of that figure will be folks below the Mason-Dixon. At G&G, our editors are no exception. And when we need a break from traffic—to stretch our legs or our stomachs (because even the biggest meal of the year won’t keep a Southerner from exploring a good roadside food attraction)—you’ll find us at these stops. Illustrations by Ross MacDonald If you’re near… I-85, just south of Winston-Salem, NC “On my way to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, I always stop at Lexington Barbecue (just off I-85 on U.S. Route 52) in Lexington for a large, coarse-chopped platter, with extra brown. Lexington has some twenty barbecue joints, and I used to visit a different one each time. But none beat the flagship. If I’m on the road early, I’ll also stop at Hite’s in West Columbia, South Carolina, off of I-26 for a rectangle of tender, mustard-sauced rib meat, cut from a whole hog. There’s only so much of it, and it can sell out soon after the restaurant opens at 8:00 a.m.”—Jed Portman, Assistant Editor I-55, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA “The Smiths gather every Thanksgiving at our family camp in Amite, Louisiana, and my favorite pit stop is right off of I-55 on my drive up from New Orleans—Berry Town Produce in Ponchatoula. The original location, around the corner from my godchild’s house, is where I often stop for snacks like Cajun boiled peanuts or a piece of peanut butter fudge, but…

Scenic River Cruises

Scenic river cruises blend past with present Thursday, September 23, 2004 CINCINNATI, Ohio (AP) — Rivers were natural highways for early Americans. Now some of these storied waterways host overnight and multi-day cruises where recreational travelers can get a mix of the past and present, learn about history and enjoy scenery that changes with the season. These floating hotels — on rivers like the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi — range from a barge that gives a glimpse into the working aspect of America’s waterways, to ornate Victorian-style steam-driven paddlewheelers. And fall foliage cruises are among the industry’s most popular getaways. "River cruises offer some of the best amenities of the ocean cruises, but unlike the blue water cruises, you don’t lose sight of land or risk seasickness," said Lawrence Dessler, executive director of the Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance based in Bellevue, Washington "And unlike tours by motor coach or car, you don’t have to pack and unpack bags and travel from hotel to hotel. Your bedroom follows you." Eddie Conrad said he has been welcoming back repeat guests since soon after his RiverBarge Excursion Lines Inc. launched the River Explorer in 1998. "I tried to create a product that I felt I would enjoy and hoped that other people would," Conrad said. The comfortable and casual River Explorer, which is two barges joined together and pushed by the Miss Nari towboat, leisurely plies up and down rivers such as the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri on four- to 10-day trips year-round. Guests can raid the community refrigerator 24 hours a day, help themselves to books, videos and games or lounge on the Sky Deck. Lois Batchelder, who recently passed through Cincinnati on her 13th barge trip, also likes the casual dining. There’s no assigned seating, and formal attire isn’t required. "On…

Beautiful Beaufort

Beautiful Beaufort Low-key coastal town whose ambience says that it’s Deep South By Cassandra Sherrill JOURNAL REPORTER Friday, October 1, 2004 BEAUFORT, S.C. – Although it might not seem so today, Beaufort was once a party town. Plantation owners built homes here in the 18th and early 19th centuries so that they could spend the summer months socializing. Now, Beaufort is a charming, low-key waterfront town with antiques shops to browse and streets lined with towering oak trees and stately old homes. It sits amid the Sea Islands, a network of small islands separated by interlacing inlets, rivers, marshes and tidal creeks; there are more than 60 islands in Beaufort County. Although it is spelled the same as a town in North Carolina, this Beaufort is pronounced differently – "BYOO-fort." Since I arrived in town during a morning rainstorm, the chance to take a tour in a (covered) horse-drawn buggy was even more attractive than usual. Buster clip-clopped his way through the puddles in the residential streets of the historic district and I sat back, ignored the drips and soaked in the genteel ambience and the tour guide’s tales about the town’s history and the many movies that have been filmed here. The town got off to a rocky start when, only five years after its founding in 1710, the Yemassee Indians massacred almost all of its residents. The city was resettled, and afterward it had a relatively easy time of it despite the attention it received during wartime. It took only one shot (it killed a horse) for the British to take control of Beaufort during the American Revolution, since many residents held Tory sympathies. During the Civil War, when the Union army attacked the South Carolina coast in 1861, the plantation owners and their families fled in what…

Cypress Gardens

Gardens’ Gates Have Reopened By DAVE NICHOLSON Nov 27, 2004 WINTER HAVEN – As a picture-perfect day unfolded, the Bailey family, of Chicago, settled on a sunny hill to watch the water-ski show at the reborn Cypress Gardens Adventure Park. Tourists such as Greg and Julie Bailey and their 2 1/2-year- old son, Jack, may hold the key to the success of the park, which is trying to broaden its appeal to a new generation. “I really like the midway and all the rides for kids,” said Julie Bailey, 31, who had been to Cypress Gardens before because her parents, Harlan and Judy Bettenhausen, live in Lakeland. The Baileys, the Bettenhausens, relative Stephanie Bettenhausen and family friend Barb Dibbern were among people on hand Friday as Cypress Gardens reopened more than a year after closing amid declining attendance. Valdosta, Ga., businessman Kent Buescher has sunk more than $50 million into such features as new rides to appeal to more families while keeping alive Cypress Gardens – a decades-old, Southern-style tourist tradition. About 10,000 people walked through the turnstiles by noon. The park was expecting to reach its goal of 18,000 visitors by the time featured entertainer Kenny Rogers took the stage at 7 p.m. The crowd appeared to be a mixture of old fans and the younger people Cypress Gardens is trying to reach with its push to broaden its appeal. Veteran visitors Chuck and Gloria Heise, of Davenport, were delighted to be there for the first day. “We’re so happy to see it saved. It would have been a national loss” if the park had closed for good, said Chuck Heise, 69. Concessions seemed a bit pricey, but otherwise the day was wonderful, he said as the couple listened to a band perform country music. A few steps away,…

Georgia On Our Minds

Georgia on Our Minds: Savannah Offers an Array of Post-Winter Treats By Maureen Clarke February 15, 2005 Savannah, the city of genteel, beautifully preserved antebellum quads, is anything but square. Even its prettiest, most proper attributes come rigged with a deliciously seedy underbelly. It’s a city so lovely Sherman famously spared it on his devastating March to the Sea — though rumor has it his mercy had more to do with appeasing a local mistress. It’s a city whose mood is best suited to summer, when the Spanish moss hangs heaviest from tree limbs, local ladies murmur gossip behind their hand fans, and you can all but sense the ghosts sweating in their 19th-century mansions. For those who can’t take the heat, though, spring is a fine as time as any, when the magnolias are still in bloom, and the Savannah Music Festival (tel. 912/234-3378; www.savannahmusicfestival.org) takes over town, from March 18 to April 3. For 16 years, the Savannah Music Festival has been presenting one-time performances and world premieres of works by nationally renowned musicians, such as jazz saxophonist and Savannah native James Moody, or pianist Uri Caine, on this year’s roster. Concerts take place in 17 days, over the course of three weekends, in concert halls, churches and the city’s public squares. Savannah’s many walking tours are especially worthwhile, devoted to Civil War history, the city’s purported ghosts, and historic buildings. Historic Savannah Foundation, since its founding in 1955, has served as a national model for architectural preservation, and the Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens (www.savannahtourofhomes.org) is excellent, featuring a different landmark neighborhood every day, in the city Le Monde named the "most beautiful in North America." The house tours also coincide with the music festival, from March 31 to April 3. Train travel seems especially suited…

Charleston

Eating your way through Charleston Monday, February 07, 2005 By Beth Macy The Roanoke Times Abundant in food and history, Charleston offers tourists more than their fill of things to do, even in winter. In the past 12 months, we’ve traveled to Charleston, S.C., in two very different ways. The first, in celebration of a friend’s milestone birthday, involved a private plane, a stretch limousine with a driver named Omar and a multicourse meal featuring foods we loved but couldn’t quite pronounce. Needless to say, we were traveling on someone else’s dime. Last month, left to our own devices and checkbook, we took an off-season journey to the Holy City in considerably humbler style. Attempting to eke out one final road trip in our 112,000-mile minivan, we left Roanoke in the predawn – our kids home safe in their rightful place – that is, with the baby sitter. We were racing to beat a snowstorm that was crippling the Northeast and would later have one Charleston weatherman nervously declaring: "It’s 30 degrees outside and dangerous. Do not go outside unless you have to!" Where was Robin Reed when we needed him? Things could’ve been a lot worse, though, especially when we factored in the foggy, icy stretch of Interstate 77 near Fancy Gap, where the temperature was 21 – and our van heater, inexplicably, conked out. By the time we reached our mechanic on the cellphone, we were down the mountain, our heater moodily spitting bursts of tepid air. "I think you’ll make it OK," he said. "But whatever you do, don’t let anybody down there work on your car. If it dies, I’ll come down there and tow it back." Charleston may have nabbed the Most Mannerly City award, but you don’t have to go to the Deep South…

Music City USA

Music City USA By Craig Guillot SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In downtown Nashville, it’s just as common to see people walking with guitars as with briefcases. After all, music is one of this city’s top commodities, and it has been that way for more than half a century. Back in 1950, announcer David Cobb dubbed Nashville "Music City, U.S.A." on Red Foley’s NBC radio show. Far more than just an epicenter of country music, this city is a musical birthplace that stretches farther and wider than most people realize. On any given night, live music flows from the honky-tonk bars on Broadway. Tucked between Fourth and Fifth avenues, Honky Tonk Row is a tightly packed block of hole-in-the-wall joints where men and women with wide-brimmed cowboy hats and shiny boots play their hearts out in a haze of cigarette smoke and neon lights. People come here from all over the country to make and break musical careers. From the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium to the smoky stages of the clubs on Broadway and the sidewalks, musicians truly find what they’re made of when they get to Nashville. It is to country musicians as Los Angeles is to aspiring actors, perhaps reason enough why USA Network’s "Nashville Star," now in its third season, takes the Nashville dream to television. According to some estimates, thousands of people are trying to make music careers in Music City. They can be found just about everywhere — washing dishes in restaurants, smiling from posters plastered on the sides of downtown buildings, and peddling their albums on street corners and out of the back of their cars. Some will go on to become household names, while others will pack up and leave or eke out livings in low-paying jobs. Randy…

Atlanta On A Budget

Atlanta On A Budget by Atlanta Convention And Visitors Bureau Posted April 24, 2005 Atlanta is blessed with a mild climate year round, but the city heats up with free and affordable activities during the spring and summer. Visitors will be pleased to put their wallets away and enjoy an affordable vacation in this big city with Southern hospitality. Transportation MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid rail system, is the savvy transportation solution. Visitors arriving by plane catch the train in the baggage claim area at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The rail line stops in the major business and tourist areas of Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead. Trip time from the airport to downtown is just 20 minutes and at $1.75 per ride, MARTA is an affordable and fast way to see the sights. Shopping in Buckhead has never been more enjoyable with the addition of the free BUC shuttle system. Buckhead is known as the center for shopping in the Southeast, boasting high-end department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, specialty boutiques and a slew of antiquing options. The BUC provides free transportation to and from hotels, restaurants and shopping. Attractions Any visit to Atlanta should start at one of the same-day, half-price AtlanTIX booths. Located at Underground Atlanta and Lenox Square mall, the booths allow visitors to find half-price tickets to hundreds of greater Atlanta theater, dance and music performances and more than a dozen cultural attractions such as Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta Botanical Garden and the High Museum of Art. Take a walking tour of Atlanta’s neighborhoods and historic sites with the Atlanta Preservation Center. Guides provide an informative look into the history of the city through tours of historic Downtown, Sweet Auburn/Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District, Inman Park and Druid Hills, the well-known neighborhood featured in the popular movie…

Enchanting Lady

  Enchanting Lady Savannah oozes Southern charm, but beware of the ghosts after dark By Cassandra Sherrill JOURNAL REPORTER Savannah drips with Spanish moss. And in the summer, it drips with humidity – not that Savannah would ever admit to so gauche a thing. No, if anything, Savannah simply "feels the heat," like any proper Southern belle. Luckily, arching oak trees are everywhere, providing copious shade that makes the city’s many parks seem at least 10 degrees cooler than the sunny streets. The best way to see the city is on foot, with occasional stops at convenient benches to drink in the atmosphere, a method of touring that adds to Savannah’s languid drawl. Turn just about any corner in the large historic district – 2.5 square miles of genteel homes, parks and businesses – and you’ll find something charming or even quirky, such as downspouts shaped like funky dolphins or a gate fence decorated with iron oranges and lilies. This is a city bursting with ambience. Founded in 1733 on a bluff above the Savannah River, Savannah was the first planned city in the Colonies. Its founder, Gen. James Oglethorpe, designed it in a grid with streets running into 24 periodically placed squares. Today, 21 remain, And they are havens of relaxation. Most of them have something of interest in their centers, such as a statue, fountain or gazebo. Savannah retained its historic charm less from any deliberate attempt – at least until the mid-20th century – than from its economic fortunes. The city never became heavily industrialized, so buildings were seldom torn down in the name of progress, though it did lose many in three large fires. And after the cotton industry declined, many homes became rundown or derelict. The modern historic-preservation drive began in 1955 with seven Savannah…

Southern Hospitality

Southern hospitality, history and heart run deep through the region Where’s the chicken? Irene Lechowitzky August 15, 2004 A trip to the Deep South is more than the mere sum of its air mileage points: It’s a journey of the heart. There’s the tug on the heartstrings from the ghosts of the Civil War, there’s the heartbeat of the Delta blues, snatches of which are in the air everywhere, there’s the heartburn from eating too much, too often, because the food is so darn good. Before visiting, my sole experience of the South was through such works as "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and, of course, "Gone With the Wind." Then I found out that I could stay in pre-Civil War mansions that rivaled Tara – each lavishly furnished with period antiques and each with its own amazing history. First stop, Vicksburg, Miss., a city of charming, 19th-century mansions and Civil War battle sites. We had reservations at Cedar Grove Mansion Inn, an antebellum jewel on four acres of gardens overlooking the Mississippi River. Guests can stay in the mansion, in cottages or the carriage house. Our Confederate Suite in the carriage house had fine period antiques and opened onto a Tara-columned porch with white wicker furniture and twirling fans. The rooftop bar is a nice place to sip mint juleps while listening to the sounds of passing tugboats. Where’s the chicken? A craving for a plate piled high with Southern fried chicken drove us downstairs for dinner at Andre’s, the inn’s restaurant. Surely, the dish was a staple and would be easy to find. Despite the 1860s ambience, the fare was Southern California trendy, and we wound up eating – brace yourself – roasted free-range birds. "I’ll think about fried chicken tomorrow," I…

Simon Place

Simon Place offers unique trinkets and treasures by Carolynne Fitzpatrick Staff Writer Sep. 24, 2004 There’s a new treasure trove in town that wants to meet your trinket and collectible needs: Simon Place, run by Judy Simon, of Mount Airy. This store will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 25, and visitors can stop by to see Simon’s unique pieces, while nibbling on assorted goodies. Simon said her store’s motto is "antiques, collectibles and treasures you just can’t live without," and through her store visitors will see it’s true. Delicate glass plates and dishes adorn antique tables and other furniture. Old Mason jars, sparkling clean, line up inside an antique cupboard. Linens are hung, draped and displayed throughout the store. This cozy store is set up like your grandmother’s house, with plenty of room between and around displays of antiques, collectibles and trinkets. Simon Place offers guests a glimpse into the past. Simon herself has been an antique collector for many years and is happy to have a dream come true, like opening up her own antique store. Simon, who has lived in Mount Airy for about two and a half years, is currently employed by the federal government and is transitioning into retirement so she can run the store full-time. "I’ve always been buying things," she said, adding that she was happy to share the items with others. Simon Place will be a forum for her to market her antiques ­ and other items she’ll collect to sell. And her store will allow her to collect antiques for a purpose rather than just her entertainment, she said. Simon said she arrived at the idea of opening her store without really thinking about it. One day she and Ben Gue and Ricky Lawson, both of Ben Gue’s Gifts and…