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Which towns for a road trip in the South-East?

Which towns for a road trip in the South-East?

Nov 16th, 2001, 04:08 AM
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Which towns for a road trip in the South-East?

I am planning an early-December road trip through Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and possibly South Carolina. I haven't ever been to these states before (I'm Australian) and would like tips on which cities and towns would be best to see. Small or large, I don't mind - I'm just looking for variety and for great ideas from people who have been there.
Nov 16th, 2001, 04:54 AM
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Well, that's a pretty tall order and there are lots of different things to see and do in each.

Mississippi -- Oxford is where the University is and is a historical town. Down at the Gulf, there are beaches. There is also riverboat gambling. You might also drive the Natchez Trace and see many antebellum homes.

Tennessee -- I'm fond of Memphis, where you can see Sun Studios (Elvis's record label), the Peabody Hotel (where ducks play in the marble fountain all day and parade on the red carpet to their home on the roof), Beale Street (birthplace of the Blues), and eat wonderful barbecue (everyone has their opinion on which place is best). Don't miss the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was killed. You can also just laze around and watch the mighty Mississippi river from the bluffs.

Tennessee also has Nashville, where lots of country music is performed and recorded, the Grand Ole Opry (ditto), and is just an all-around nice city to visit.

Lastly, the mountains in the eastern part of Tennessee are beautiful and Chattanooga has a nice aquarium.

Georgia -- Atlanta has many attractions, including Olympic Park, major league football and baseball, a museum to Martin Luther King and his church, Stone Mountain (with a relief sculpture of civil war heroes), the Cyclorama (a 360 degree painting of the civil war), many civil war battle sites, and good food. I like Atlanta, but I think it's beauty is in its neighborhoods, not its tourist sites, personally.

Not to be missed in Georgia is Savannah -- an old Southern city that was not destroyed in the civil war. Beautiful homes, gardens and a riverfront.

South Carolina has Charleston, which is similar to Savannah, but different. I've never been there, so will leave its description to others.

Enjoy your trip!
Nov 16th, 2001, 05:03 AM
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Hi, Jane! I second Lisa's suggestions. I'm from Atlanta, and agree that the best thing about this city are its neighborhoods. Drive around some of the backstreets of Buckhead and marvel at the huge houses and trees - get a good map and look for streets like Blackland, Northside Drive, Habersham, Powers Ferry and West Paces Ferry. Also, the neighborhoods around Emory and the Virginia-Highlands neighborhoods are great to explore. Any guidebook to Atlanta will give you good ideas, although I personally like Frommer's Atlanta.

If you want to see some true rural Georgia mountain towns, head north from Atlanta to Blue Ridge. There are a ton of little shops and the Blue Ridge Mt. Railway here - great for an afternoon. Then you can head back south and visit Amicalola Falls, which is a tall, delicate waterfall that you can see from the top (great view of the mts.) and hike up to the bottom.

Savannah is also an absolute must-see. Make sure you drive out to Tybee Island, right outside of town, and visit the beach. It is beautiful! I also like Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis although haven't spent more than a day or two in each.

Have a great trip!!!
Nov 16th, 2001, 05:25 AM
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In South Carolina, be sure to visit Charleston first, then visit Savannah if you have the time.
Nov 16th, 2001, 06:06 AM
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I agree with Arabella about Charleston SC. If you have time, visit Savannah too. But between the two, Charleston gets my vote for a visit. The historic Battery section overlooks the harbour and has lots of great architecture. A visit to Fort Sumter and Patriot's Point (where you can tour WWII-era ships) would be fun too. You should do a search of this site for lots of information about Charleston.

Have a great time!
Nov 16th, 2001, 06:22 AM
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Huntsville, Alabama is the home of the original Space Camp. The U.S. Space and Rocket Museum is larger and better than the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in D.C. Part of the attraction here is the tour of the Marshall Space Flight Center. Oh, by the way, Space Camp is running a special right now.

Just north into middle Tennessee is the Jack Daniels Distillery. It makes for an interesting tour. Just for the record, it is in a "dry" county. Special arrangements have been made to be able to purchase collectible decanters on site, however. If any of you ever have the opportunity to participate in a private tour and bar-be-cue, JUMP ON IT!
Nov 16th, 2001, 07:27 AM
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The following might take you all over the map; pick and choose as you determine your route. MS) Tupelo, if Elvis fan, to see his humble birthplace. Also ride along the Natchez Trace Parkway for a unspoiled view of this part of the world. Tupelo works out as a good point to/from Memphis, if you want to explore Elvis' life AL)a) "Redneck Riviera" Orange Beach area -Travel on US 98 to Lulu's Sunset Grill. This restaurant is owned by Jimmy Buffet's sister, but don't confuse it with Margaritaville. Nice sense of community esprit de corps here. b) Birmingham has some decent restaurants, such as Highlands Bar & Grill - it's been awhile, but the Highlands area was a nicely-situated areas for shops, etc. c) my favorite AL hideway (if you're a naturalist) is Buck's Pocket State Park-just above Lake Guntersville. Drop back down to Gadsden, and take Hwy 411 over to Cave Springs, GA, a charming small town with antiques; eat at Cave Springs Trading Post, good homemade bread- nice lunch destination. You can head on to the hustle-bustle of Atlanta from here. These are just some out of the way ideas; others will point to the larger areas. Safe travels, and thanks for your interest in the South, my homeplace.
Nov 16th, 2001, 07:29 AM
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The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are beautiful, great hiking. Memphis, Atlanta and Charleston (SC) are worth seeing.
Nov 16th, 2001, 07:42 AM
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OMG -- I can't believe I forgot to mention Graceland in Memphis. This is Elvis's home and it is truly not to be missed if you are in town (along with the plane, museum, etc.)

Everybody take it down on one knee with me!
Nov 16th, 2001, 08:45 AM
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Nov 16th, 2001, 09:23 AM
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think about chattanooga. within a few square miles, you've got a great aquarium, a thriving arts community, a "battlefield" historic park, a traditionally kitschy roadside attraction in the famously seen "Rock City," a cable car ride up the side of a mountain and the train terminal that inspired the song "chattanooga choo-choo" (which has become a hotel -- you can actually stay in a train car room). within an hour's drive, you can also walk into a cave, climb onto a boat and cruise across an underground lake. it's all very 1950s America, a little bit tacky and a lot of fun.
Nov 16th, 2001, 09:49 AM
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Everyone -- this is great! Your ideas are fantastic and I can see the trip coming together right before my eyes. I'm going to keep checking back so if you have anything else to add, please do!
thanks very much
(I posted the original message...)
Nov 16th, 2001, 10:31 AM
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I visited the Civil Rights museum in Birmingham AL this year for the first time and found it very moving. Being a northerner and a bit too young to have experienced the heyday of the civil rights movement, I learned alot. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.
Nov 16th, 2001, 10:35 AM
southern cornponegal
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I second (third?) Charleston as a great destination. Plus, head up north on I-78 a few miles for some great shopping at Northwoods Mall--they've got a JC Penny's!
Nov 16th, 2001, 10:57 AM
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The mountains in the east part of Tennessee, and Memphis for sure!
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