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  1. #1

    Default English couple here, looking to perfect Deep South route

    Really hoping you can help 2 Brits who, in my case, are in love with Carson McCullers, Steinbeck and southern literature.

    We have booked a flight from London to Atlanta, arriving 5th Sept. We leave New Orleans 19th Sept back to London. Dang, I know it's hurricane season, and I wonder if we should have booked to Charlotte, not ATL, but anyway too late. Can you kindly help with a route?

    When all is said and done, in our 14 days, I guess we would like try and cover
    - 3 full days in mountains/ national parks
    - 3 full days in NOLA
    - 2 days in A.N.other city for museums
    - 1-2 days relaxing in a beach location, hence Pensacola
    - Plus some time just stopping off at picturesque small towns

    ... and within that we'd like to see/do
    * History or museums, particularly on Civil Rights or the Civil War. Your history is so different to ours.
    * Sample authentic Southern food
    * Do some outdoors activities e.g rafting, river ride, hike, lake swim
    * Feel the Blues! We're not huge Country & Western fans though.
    * Potter around small 'genteel' towns and chat to the locals
    * Have some beach time. England's beaches are good for umm 1 day in August so we really crave this!
    * See weird and wonderful roadside America, E.g I remember once going to the Idaho potato chip museum, or Mitchell Corn Palace when in the NW states.

    I apologise for what may come across as an overly or offensively romanticized view of the South. And I'm a hypocrite because I sigh when Americans come to London and ask where the castles are (there aren't any) and if we know Kate Middleton (no)!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default History is Everywhere Down There

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I won't say that the South holds a grudge, but they do tend to be good at remembering the people, places and events where 'injustices' have been done to them. Just north of Atlanta is Chattanooga, but more importantly to the south are two sites from completely different eras: FDR's Little White House in Warm Springs, GA and Andersonville.

    For an 'extra' town with museums and such, let me suggest the Montgomery/Selma AL area with tons of Civil Rights History as well as some antebellum plantations and homes, and the first capital of Alabama which is currently being archaeologically restored.

    For a beach location, I'd actually skip Pensacola (unless you have an interest in Naval Air forces) and head for the natural setting of Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Mobile/Biloxi area.

    As to the best spots to find food and conversation, I have had great success simply driving into relatively small cities and towns (around 3,000 to 10,000 population) and then wandering the streets and engaging people. As to restaurants, towns of this size tend to be large enough to have several local restaurants (competition) but not large enough to attract the national chains, so that the restaurants depend on repeat business rather than just one-time customers drawn to a familiar logo. The locals will be proud enough of there own favorite to not only recommend it, but will often suggest the local delicacy (sometimes not even on the menu). Your accent and the natural charm of Southerners will do the rest.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Thanks for the chuckle.

    Quote Originally Posted by SandT View Post
    I apologise for what may come across as an overly or offensively romanticized view of the South. And I'm a hypocrite because I sigh when Americans come to London and ask where the castles are (there aren't any) and if we know Kate Middleton (no)!
    Just like when they come here and expect to see kangaroos hopping through central Melbourne and Sydney. (Though in Canberra, there is a chance.)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Clarksdale, Mississippi

    One of the places I always recommend is the Shack Up Inn",in Clarksdale Mississippi. Here is a field report from one of our members.


  5. #5

    Default Asheville to NOLA in 11 days...which way?

    We're travelling from London to Asheville, staying in a cabin in the mountains for 3 nights but need advice on where to go after that. We have to arrive in New Orleans to fly home 11 days later.
    Should we head northwest and see Nashville et al, or head south east and go for charleston?

    We'd like to see small sleepy towns with typical southern character as well as some of the larger towns for their civil rights/ war museums (but maybe new Orleans would fulfil that?). We're also hoping for a couple of days on the gulf coast. Any route suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California



    If this were me, I'd open a big USA map and see what interests me. With 11 days, you could take a round-about route from Asheville to NO and really have a great time.

    Some ideas to check out: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN), Dollywood, Nashville (the country music capital of the world), Vicksburg MS (civil war battlefield), Selma and Montgomery AL (sites of civil rights marches), Memphis TN (Elvis Presley home), and more. Gulf Coast is pretty large so you may have to narrow it down -- Biloxi and Gulfport are pretty popular.

    It all boils down to what you consider "must sees". Once you flag some things on the map, we can help you with the details of routes and overnights, and more.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Stringing Pearls

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You're already 90% of the way to a great RoadTrip: You've got the time and you've got a clear idea of the kinds of sites and activities you want. Now to just help you fill in a few details. Given the amount of time you have and your stated goals, I think you should head east first for Charleston. On the way you might want to visit Cowpens National Battlefield (Revolutionary rather than Civil War), and enjoy one of our lesser known national parks. Besides being a great town to just walk around in, Charleston has historic connections to the Revolutionary War, Civil War. and WWII. Savannah should also be on your itinerary for a city that just oozes southern charm. You could then work your way across southern Georgia with some stops including Andersonville and FDR's Little White House. Then continue on into Alabama where the Civil Rights movement is amply represented in Tuskegee, Montgomery, Selma, and other locations. You could then drop down to the Gulf coast around Mobile and follow that into New Orleans. As far as finding "towns with typical southern character", they are of course everywhere. You just have to get off the main motorways and follow the smaller roads with typical southern character instead.


  8. #8

    Default SBryson City, NC to Charleston, SC - what to see on the way?

    I'm almost done planning a 2 week road trip from Asheville to New Orleans, via Charleston...from London UK!

    The only thing I'm missing on the itinerary is:

    1. Any cute, sleepy, typical Southern small towns that we can visit for a lunch stop or short detour, between Bryson City and Charleston?
    We've heard that the Interstate drive is pretty boring, and want to use this day to see typical Southern life. Or if you can recommend a route then please do.

    2. As per the above, this time between Savannah and Panama City, FL?

    I.e something to break up the long drives. Interested in possibly going peach picking, a hot springs, wandering pretty town squares, or any quirky 'roadside America' ideas.


    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about this trip in the same thread
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 07-30-2012 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Merged 3 Threads together

  9. #9

    Default A few ideas

    Hello SandT,

    It's not clear what your specific plans have worked out to be: You've noted Asheville then Bryson City as western NC destinations, not that they're far from one another or mutually exclusive in terms of seeing each in a single trip. Anyway, in keeping with your literary, civil rights, small town, outdoorsy interests, I offer the following:

    Just southwest of Asheville, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, lies a viewpoint for Cold Mountain, the inspiration for Charles Frazier's novel. Access is available on foot, but it's reportedly an arduous hike.

    At and below Asheville, segments of the French Broad River are paddled via rafts, kayaks, and canoes. A very nice and somewhat thrilling segment takes out in Hot Springs, NC following put-in between Asheville and Hot Springs. There is in fact a hot spring in Hot Springs, and its waters are piped into a complex of private outdoor jacuzzis which are rented out by the hour. To the best of my knowledge, Hot Springs, NC is the location of the only hot spring in the entire Southeastern and Southern part of the US. Yes, there are warm springs in GA and VA, and perhaps other locales, but for truly hot springs, it's western NC.

    A wonderful paddle can be had on the Nantahala River with the take-out right at the Nantahala Outdoor Center world headquarters at Wesser, NC. I recommend the inflatable kayaks, called duckies or funyaks. The Nantahala is a great place for an inflatable kayak.

    Traveling from Bryson City to Charleston, I'd stick to the main roads, including I-26, until getting out of the mountains which will be more or less at the NC-SC state line. Back road travel in the mountains can be very slow and rather frustrating. Once clear of the hills, a look at an SC highway map will reveal any number of paved state and Federal highways more or less paralleling I-26.

    For a nice small-town stopover on that day's trip, consider Newberry, SC. It's far enough from Columbia to retain a largely rural character, it's the county seat, and there is a small college, Newberry College, right there in town. With a population of 10,000 or so, there should be a variety of shops and diners catering to the courthouse and general lunchtime customers. I passed through there long, long ago, and I recall it was a fairly nice place.

    Between Savannah and Panama City, there are any number of small GA towns you can consider stopping at. I would certainly prefer a cross-country route to the Interstate route to Jacksonville, then across FL on I-10. To the best of my knowledge, the peach growing part of GA is further upstate, but I can't say with certainty.

    Your trip dates in September are in the heart of college football season. You may be interested in checking the schedules for some of the smaller colleges and universities you'll be passing by on Saturdays. Going to a small-college football game would represent a slice of Americana difficult to duplicate elsewhere. Of particular note would be South Carolina State University, a historically black university in Orangeburg, right on your way to Charleston. The competition is sure to be spirited and the marching band is over the top.

    Have fun planning and taking your Southern-fried RoadTrip!


  10. #10


    [I would certainly prefer a cross-country route to the Interstate route to Jacksonville, then across FL on I-10.

    Thanks for your gracious reply. I'm not sure I understood the above bit though. Did you mean you'd prefer the cross country, small roads route, then change to the Interstage at Jacksonville?

    So excited now!

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