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High Country Herb 02-25-2013 10:59 AM

I Want to See the South
My wife and I would like to see the South.

Unfortunately, this will be a car trip, (unless someone wants to contribute a loaner bike). We plan to use air miles for travel from California, then rent the cheapest car we can get for about 2 weeks of driving around, on a very low budget. A rough route might include Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Greensboro, Knoxville, Nashville, Huntsville, Birmingham, and Atlanta. Depending on time, we may have to skip one leg of that rectangle. The trip would be in late July - early August.

I have been to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida tourist areas, but would like to experience the old culture of the Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee. I don't need to see the sanitized modern culture, as I can read about that in Garden and Gun magazine, and can't afford it anyway.

We would like to eat BBQ (especially if it is at some town function), listen to bluegrass (especially an informal jam), and attend church at an Assemblies of God church. We currently attend church at an AG church in California, but it is very conservative and low key. Something more charismatic (don't care if it is black or white congregation) would be inspirational frankly. A swamp buggy race, truck pull (I'm on a pit crew for a Pro-Modified), or drag race (I'm also on a pit crew for a Nitro Funny Car) would be a blast. I could even check a rifle/shotgun on the airplane for a hunt of some sort. We want to experience what most Californians might consider backwards or redneck, and embrace it instead. I need a break from the fruits and nuts of California. Get the idea?

So does anyone have suggestions of events, places to see, places to eat? Let the suggestions fly!

Disco Stu 02-25-2013 11:21 AM

you can always stop by and see Al Green and the Full Gospel Tabernacle

Dirtysouth 02-25-2013 11:33 AM

I would definitely recommend visiting Charleston, SC. A lot of history and stuff to see and do there. The two restraunts that stand I would recommend are Hymans for seafood, and Pugans Porch for the southern charm. Bring a camera, and comfortable shoes.

Wlfman 02-25-2013 12:15 PM

If you come thru Columbia Sc area give me a shout and I'll take you to for some really good BBQ.

patmo 02-25-2013 01:51 PM

2nd on visit to Charleston.....beautiful downtown area. For a real historical perspective of a Ghost Walk, tons of fun and really very informative, super restaurants all over. Savanah is very similar, but IMO not as nice as Charleston, although still a fun city to visit.

Now.....further west.....if you want a real "southern" experience you need to come over to Franklin, Tn. Specifically, for the downtown Bluegrass Fest the weekend of July 27-28. On a budget you say? Well the festival, and all the entertainment is FREE. Well, you will have to pay for any of the food you buy from the venders, but you can bring a cooler and a couple of chairs and just sit out on the town square for free. That is what we always do.

20 miles north of Franklin lies a city you might have heard of.....Nashville! I highly reccomend some time spent at the country music hall of fame and a stop in any of the clubs along Broadway for some good beer and entertainment. What's more southern than country music? ( hey I am NOT a country music fan, but I did enjoy the museum, and found the bluegrass Fest lots of fun as well).
Of course, there are several places around here that also have great rock and jazz as well.

There are also some really cool small towns around here to visit....Lieper's Fork, Bell Buckle, and others that hold their own festivals and events throughout the year.

Did I mention BBQ? Heck, can't go in any direction and not go by a BBQ place or two. Haven't tried them all, but haven't found a really bad one yet either. Martins in Nolensville is probably my favorite around here, but there are plenty of good ones throughout the south for sure.

If you come this way, please let me know. I might be able to help out with housing and a bike to use while here.

Rob578 02-25-2013 02:27 PM

I grew up in the South, so here's my suggestion.

If you want truly good barbecue you have to go to eastern NC, Wilson NC would be the place to start, but barbecue is all they have nothing else there. Area hasn't changed much in the last 40 years. They did finally take down the big billboard on I-95 that said " Welcome to Klan Country"

I lived in SC 22 years, they don't have a clue what good BBQ is.

This would be my route.
Fly into Raleigh NC
Head West to Boone NC then South down the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville NC
If you really want to see Atlanta/Birmingham keep going South but I would turn East and head to Savannah
Then turn north to Charleston
Follow Hyw 17 North you'll hit Mrytle Beach, Wilmington and all the little beach towns
If you have time go to the Outer Banks
Head west back to Raleigh making sure you stop at every barbecue joint in eastern nc

Plan a couple extra days in Asheville and the Smokies, Charleston (stay on Folly Beach) and at one of the NC beaches or Outer Banks

You'll run the full gamut of the South
The Southern Mtn culture
geechie in Savannah
The Lowcounty in Charleston
The fishing/maritime on the Coast
The old Eastern NC farming

I've almost talked myself into going

The Opa 02-25-2013 02:48 PM

Here's a link with a lot of SC bluegrass info. There is a local (Spartanburg, SC) festival, but I see it is in May. Plenty of other action though. If you drive through the area on a Saturday tune to 88.7 ; 11;00 AM - 7:00 PM, all bluegrass. The area would be roughly Greenville, SC to Charlotte, NC to Asheville, NC with lots of overlap; depending on what hollow you might be in :wink:
If you want real redneck, try Gaffney, SC (Cherokee Speedway) on a Saturday night.
or many others :lol3

knybanjo 02-25-2013 02:51 PM

Late July-early August?!?!? :huh

HPTuner 02-25-2013 06:36 PM


Originally Posted by knybanjo (Post 20808922)

That's what I was thinking! You will discover the true meaning of the word "humidity"! But I do like Rob578's route. Happy touring whichever way you go...& let us know what you think of it!

5punksdad 02-25-2013 06:40 PM


Originally Posted by High Country Herb (Post 20807117)
I would like to see the South.

Thats what Ulysses S. Grant said...........:rofl

High Country Herb 02-25-2013 06:48 PM


Originally Posted by knybanjo (Post 20808922)

You gotta have the humidity for the genuine experience!

You guys are great! I'm already feeling the hospitality, and I'm not even there yet. I'm making a list of all these suggestions by state, then I'll make a plan that includes just enough to avoid rushing through. I hope to meet up with some of you along the way. Now I'm off to research some of these websites.

Please keep the suggestions coming!

augiedog 02-25-2013 07:08 PM

southern trip
central nc around the lexington area is the BBQ capitol of the south. about 40 miles northwest is a place called pilot mountian where almost every sunday a group of locals get together and play music. musicians from the sorunding area take turns playing together. its in the state park of the same name.

mikem9 02-25-2013 08:05 PM


Originally Posted by augiedog (Post 20811040)
central nc around the lexington area is the BBQ capitol of the south.

Ha! Which state or area has the best barbecue has been long debated by Southerners. It's part of the fun. BTW Augiedog's route plan is a good one. Here's a pretty good list of good barbecue in Georgia:

If you are in Atlanta - I suggest visiting the Varsity Restaurant. Atlanta Landmark. I'd recommend two Chili slaw dogs and an order of onion rings, with an orange drink or Coca-Cola. There are proven health benefits to this meal, but I'd stay out of traffic on the highway for at least a couple of hours after eating there! :)

In addition to Charleston, definitely suggest visiting Savannah.

As others have said, it's going to be ridiculously hot. That time of year, I try to head to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the mountains of North Carolina to escape the heat. I'd suggest visiting some of those areas. Also, some of the mountain lakes and rivers. Rafting down the rivers is a popular pastime.

When you are in the lowlands, I'd bring some quick drying loose materials, like they make for fishing.

The coastal areas and beaches are nice. They get some breeze in the summer. NC/SC/Georgia beach areas all have areas that will give you a flavor of the old South. Some of the out islands still have old Geechee sp? and Gullah African cultures which are pretty cool. The Beaufort SC area is a nice area to add to the list. Between Charleston and Savannah. Also, the have access to some Gullah Islands. Good article here:

Have you considered seeing some dirt track stock car racing? - The roots of Nascar. Here is a popular place North of Atlanta:

I hear you can hunt wild hogs all year in some places - not sure of the rules. I know a group of people that hunt them with dogs and they jump on the wild hogs and kill them with knives. I think jumping on a scared or mad wild hog with nothing but a knife would be quite a southern experience.

Hope you have a great time!

t-bills 02-26-2013 03:39 AM

May I suggest the cornbread festival:
The festival is in South Pittsburg, TN. This is about 40 minutes from The famous Rock House Holiness Church known for snake handling. Nothing says welcome to the south like letting rattlesnakes determine whether or not you are a true believer.

Rob578 02-26-2013 04:44 AM

"I hear you can hunt wild hogs all year in some places - not sure of the rules. I know a group of people that hunt them with dogs and they jump on the wild hogs and kill them with knives. I think jumping on a scared or mad wild hog with nothing but a knife would be quite a southern experience."

Not many rules at all, I think in SC you may even be able to blast them at night. Bring your AR for that. The smaller ones make excellent BBQ

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