My gfriend and I are driving down to New Orleans from New York next week for law school at Tulane, and we would love some advice from folks who have made the trip. We are planning on taking the most direct route, shooting down I-81S. We are going to try to make it to Knoxville the first day and then spend a day in the Smoky Mountains, but I was wondering if folks could recommend places to stop for the night if we don't make it all the way to Knoxville. Also would be interested in places to spend the second night. Birmingham? Memphis?
We're interested in cultural sites, good food, good hotels, etc. Also- we're an interracial couple and although I realize that the you can't really generalize about regions- from my experience more rural area across the country tend to be less comfortable with us.