Seekaing destination in Southeast USAlllsll

Old Mar 22nd, 2021, 10:52 AM
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Seekaing destination in Southeast USAlllsll

Hi, I live in Pennsylvania. I am hoping to visit somewhere in the south, possibly this summer. Considering Tennessee, Biloxi MS, Charleston SC, or maybe even Louisiana (would love to do a swampboat tour).

I like art museums, historic homes (to tour), looking for southern friendliness : like I wanna eat at diners where the waitress still calls you 'honey' or 'darlin'. Sorry if that sounds silly but I want to experience southern hospitality, so to speak. I want to fly there and possibly stay in a nearby town or suburban area. Please give me some suggestions. Thanks.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2021, 12:35 PM
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Instead of flying, I would suggest taking the Amtrak Capitol Limited out of Pittsburgh at just before midnight on a Friday night. It arrives in Chicago about 8:30AM CT. You have about 11 hours in Chicago on Saturday to see the city. At 8PM you board the "City of New Orleans" train to Memphis TN. The Arcade Diner is right across Main St. from the train station. It was a diner that Elvis ate at a few times. You might even be able to sit in a booth that Elvis sat in. There is a Civil Rights museum at the motel where MLK Jr. was shot. You can also go on a tour of the famous SUN recording studio. There is/was a tour bus that takes you from the studio down to Graceland. The CONO arrives in Memphis about 6:30AM from Chicago. Spend at least 2 days in Memphis before taking the CONO south to New Orleans. The NOL train station is also part of the same building as the bus station. They are both next door to the Mercedes Benz stadium. There are a multitude of great places to eat in New Orleans. Be sure to have a begniet at the Cafe du Monde just off Jackson Square.
It is your choice as to how to leave New Orleans, you could fly home to PA or you could go back home on the CONO and the Capitol Limited OR you could go on the Amtrak Crescent and stop in Birmingham Alabama for a night or 2. The Crescent route goes through Atlanta to Washington DC. Depending on where you live in PA, you can go from WAS to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2021, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tomfuller View Post
Instead of flying, I would suggest taking the Amtrak Capitol Limited out of Pittsburgh at just before midnight on a Friday night. It arrives in Chicago about 8:30AM CT. You have about 11 hours in Chicago on Saturday to see the city. At 8PM you board the "City of New Orleans" train to Memphis TN. The Arcade Diner is right across Main St. from the train station. It was a diner that Elvis ate at a few times. You might even be able to sit in a booth that Elvis sat in. There is a Civil Rights museum at the motel where MLK Jr. was shot. You can also go on a tour of the famous SUN recording studio. There is/was a tour bus that takes you from the studio down to Graceland. The CONO arrives in Memphis about 6:30AM from Chicago. Spend at least 2 days in Memphis before taking the CONO south to New Orleans. The NOL train station is also part of the same building as the bus station. They are both next door to the Mercedes Benz stadium. There are a multitude of great places to eat in New Orleans. Be sure to have a begniet at the Cafe du Monde just off Jackson Square.
It is your choice as to how to leave New Orleans, you could fly home to PA or you could go back home on the CONO and the Capitol Limited OR you could go on the Amtrak Crescent and stop in Birmingham Alabama for a night or 2. The Crescent route goes through Atlanta to Washington DC. Depending on where you live in PA, you can go from WAS to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.
Thanks for your reply. I would be flying out of Philadelphia. Physically, I'm not up for a long-distance train trip, but I am sure it would be very scenic. and enjoyable.

I may just spend time in New Orleans and do 2 day trips to places outside of the city. I'm still weighing my options.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2021, 03:49 PM
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Coming from Philadelphia, fly to Atlanta. Spend a day in Atlanta and then get on the Crescent from there about 8:30AM. Birmingham AL is a little over 4 hours. Spend a night in Birmingham and then take the next Crescent from Birmingham to New Orleans arriving about 8:30PM. After seeing New Orleans you can decide if you want to take the City of New Orleans north to Memphis. You could fly home from Memphis. Believe me. You don't want to go to Biloxi MS.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2021, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tomfuller View Post
Coming from Philadelphia, fly to Atlanta. Spend a day in Atlanta and then get on the Crescent from there about 8:30AM. Birmingham AL is a little over 4 hours. Spend a night in Birmingham and then take the next Crescent from Birmingham to New Orleans arriving about 8:30PM. After seeing New Orleans you can decide if you want to take the City of New Orleans north to Memphis. You could fly home from Memphis. Believe me. You don't want to go to Biloxi MS.
Thanks tomfuller for your reply. Just curious, why do you recommend against Biloxi? Is it a boring place to visit? Would Jackson, MS be good instead?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2021, 06:19 AM
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Biloxi has been devastated by at least 3 huricanes in the past 15 years. The pier is gone. It is a sad sight. Jackson is much better than the coastal areas.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2021, 12:22 PM
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Fly to Charleston and do Charleston and Savannah.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2021, 07:56 PM
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I recommend Charleston and Savannah as well

givman152, I totally endorse Gretchen's suggestion about Charleston and Savannah. If you want to go to only one place and just use it as a base for a week or so, I would probably choose Charleston, although I think the Georgia coast south of Savannah has more to offer than the South Carolina coast does. Charleston has generally better air connections through Southwest.

In my book, the only reasonable response to the oft-asked question, "Should I choose to see Savannah or Charleston?" is "No. You should see both." Yes, they have a lot of similarities, but these are good similarities that aren't in huge supply anywhere else -- beautifully preserved 19th century buildings; lengthy and vivid histories; spectacular scenery and vegetation; and lots of places of interest around them. Charleston has some of the best food in the country because it's chock full of culinary schools, but Savannah has many fine restaurants as well. Both are full of wonderful, interesting accommodations.

Charleston is a great town for walking: check out one of the many walking tours that are offered. My favorite place to stay there is the Meeting Street Inn, which is very centrally located. In terms of attractions, Fort Sumter is historic, and it's nice to see the city from the harbor, but the fort itself isn't picturesque. There's a World War II or 1950's aircraft carrier moored as a museum in the Couper River. The Ashley River Road that leads to Middleton Gardens and Drayton Hall is quite lovely. Middleton Gardens has beautiful gardens by the river, but only a small survival of the house; Drayton Hall has no gardens and the house itself has been left unrestored. Georgetown, further up the coast to the north, is another historic and picturesque colonial town.

I'll insert a link below to an album I posted on Flickr that shows the houses and gardens along the Ashley River Road.

https://flic.kr/s/aHskDsE6Cu

My "Don't Miss" attraction for Charleston, though, is actually in North Charleston, where the Civil War Confederate submarine CSS Hunley, pulled out of the Atlantic a few years back, can be seen in a rejuvenating bath that's slowly extracting the salt from its iron hull. An on-site museum tells the story of this pioneering warship -- the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel in combat.

If you can drive south to Savannah (which I think is around 80-100 miles), I recommend taking US 17. See the picturesque ruins of the Old Sheldon Church (burned by Yankee cavalry in 1864, but a popular wedding venue to this day), hit the outlet shops on the road to Hilton Head, and visit Beaufort to see its old houses (a good place to stay overnight: good hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants). It's another great walking town.

Savannah can repay a stay of several days. Savannah's squares (20 survive from the colonial plan) have no equal anywhere in the U.S., and the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) gives it an artsy vibe and helps make that city less tradition-bound than Charleston. There are various historic homes in town, the Telfair Academy of Art, the Savannah College of Art & Design shop, a maritime museum along Factor's Walk, the massive 19th century brick fortress of Fort Pulaski (taken by the North with huge cannon early in the Civil War: it dwarfs Fort Sumter), and a really tall lighthouse on Tybee Island. Not too far out of town is Wormsloe Historic Site, the location of an early colonial settler’s plantation, which has one of the most amazing avenues of live oaks you will ever see. Elizabeth's on 37th is one of the better restaurants there.

There is lots of interest south of Savannah, between there and so-called the "Golden Isles" of St. Simons, Sea Island, and Jekyll (about 80 miles below Savannah). Sapelo Island (between Savannah and Brunswick) and Cumberland Island (between Brunswick and Jacksonville) are unspoiled barrier islands that are worth a visit, but that sounds like its probably outside the scope of what you're looking to do.

In terms of guidebooks, I highly recommend the Moon Guide to Savannah and Charleston, which also covers the surrounding areas. It's very comprehensive, and will help you get the maximum out of your visit.

If you'd like to do some history reading about the area, I suggest "Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War," by Jacqueline Jones; "The Children of Pride," edited by Robert Manson Myers, a remarkable and moving series of letters among members of a Georgia plantation family who lived along the coast south of Savannah during the years before, during and after the Civil War; Frances Ann Kemble's "Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation in 1838-39"; William McFeely's "Sapelo's People," about the African-American community on that island; or Melissa Fay Greene's "Praying for Sheetrock," about the coming of change to McIntosh County along the Georgia coast between Brunswick and Savannah in the 1960's and 1970's. And, of course, there's the legendary and massively-selling Savannah book of some years back, John Berendt's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 06:58 PM
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Watch the episode of Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix) that starts in Memphis and travels south through Mississippi. Plenty of diners and southern hospitality. For swampboat tours, you'll need to go to southern Louisiana, South Carolina, or southern Florida. I've done a swamp tour out of Ft. Lauderdale. The best art museums are in Atlanta, but it's full of transplants from other places, and has lost a lot of the southern charm. Nashville has the Frist Museum, Memphis has the Brooks Museum of Art, and there's an outstanding museum of WWII in New Orleans. Pretty much everything in Tennessee is open, although a few restaurants are still doing only takeout. I have to warn you that the summer is NOT the time to be in Mississippi or Louisiana. You won't believe the heat and humity! Spring and Fall are much better times to visit. If you must come in the summer, go to the mountains- Chattanooga, Asheville- much better weather.
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Old Apr 11th, 2021, 02:15 AM
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Southern "hospitality" is expressed in many ways and is generally IMO a friendly feeling. It isn't (any longer) being invited into a home for a family supper.
People in neighborhoods tend to say "hey" to one another.
But in reading Paul Theroux's Deep South, perhaps attending a Sunday church service would be the way to experience southern hospitality of friendliness. That was where he found folks saying "you come back now".
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Old Apr 11th, 2021, 04:36 AM
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We have swamp boat tours in central Fl but not much southern hospitality. Feed Phil's show on the Delta was very good but no thanks. Savannah would check off some of the boxes.
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