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COUNTRY, SOUTH CAROLINA We’re Way More than Horses!


Romantic Weekend Retreats

Resorts that are Putting on the Southern Charm

Find all you need to keep that flame of romance burning bright, right here in the southern region!

10 Cruising the Coastlines


A Quest for the Best in Golf Courses & Resorts

One course sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the other in the fresh air of the Alleghany Mountains. Which one would you take on?

A Gulf Coast Getaway Follow us as we cruise the coastlines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida!

20 paradise outdoors Exploring the Region’s Wild Side These parks put the wild in wilderness!

36 Heritage & Culture The Forgotten History of the South Explore the region’s secrets, from a not-so-quiet plantation that got overshadowed by a famous artist, to a thriving African village that manages to stay under the radar even today.

44 Beachin’ It al Park, n o i t a N oah Shenand irginia V

Spring Break Cities From enjoying the waves of Miami Beach, to attending a Louisiana jazz festival, the Spring Break vacation options are both thrilling and endless!

Where do you want to be? Don’t take the same old journey. Be somewhere genuine. Be somewhere amazing. Be changed.

800.828.4244 ¡ Call for your complimentary Getaway Guide

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spring in the springs

Whether you’re looking to explore underwater caves, or you’re more inclined to take a ride on one of nature’s mountainside rollercoasters, these natural waters will be the highlight of your season.

61 Affordable Rejuvenation

The Best Of

Wellness Resorts that won’t Break the Bank These resorts should be at the top of your list when thinking of your next rejuvenation vacation. The best part? They’re affordable!

Arkansas - Texas - Louisiana - Mississippi - Tennessee - Kentucky Alabama - Florida - Georgia - South Carolina - Virginia - West Virginia From boardwalks and beach resorts, to caverns, horse parks, and haunted prisons, we bring you the best of our southern states.

66 Cinco de Mayo, Southern Style! 3 Takes on the Famous Cinco de Mayo Staple: The Margarita Celebrate the holiday with a southern twist. Sweet tea and Georgia peaches included!

in Texas s t e n n o b Blue

69 a search for soul food This time, we’re going for the “road less traveled by,” and keeping our eyes peeled for unique spins on our favorite dishes.


Events & Conventions 2018’s Spring and Summer Agenda Whether your travels are for business, pleasure, or a little bit of both, make sure you check out these top southern convention centers.


Exploring the Tar Heel State Saddle up and get ready for a ride, first through mountains and finally into the big central cities, as we go exploring in the Tar Heel State.

Experience it all

David-Jacobs Publishing Group, LLC 14497 N. Dale Mabry Hwy Suite 135 Tampa, FL 33618 (813) 898-2808 EXECUTIVE STAFF JOSHUA WATTAM Chief Executive officer ELIZABETH DIRKS President & Chief Marketing officer TIMOTHY WATTAM Vice President of operations SAM WATTAM Vice President of advertising SENIOR STAFF WRITER ABIGAIL THERRIEN SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER SOLINE JELLERSON CREATIVE Flair Design Studio NEWSSTAND CONSULTANT Ferruggia Newsstand Services, LLC TOM FERRUGGIA DISTRIBUTION Curtis Circulation NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES DEPARTMENT KATHERINE MILLER National Sales Director JENNIFER HARPST National Sales Director AUDREY WATTAM National Sales Manager WILLIAM PREVATT National Sales Manager ZACHARY PENDLEY National Sales Executive TIFFANY CAMPBELL National Sales Executive

Get Digital Save when you purchase a one year subscription.

f o s t h g i l h g i h e h t f o e m o r f On n a i r B . . . e f e i l e s s e y n n m Te

“... The Billy Graham Library was very inspirational and encouraging. It was on my bucket list.” Bring your group to Charlotte, N.C., and discover what God can do through an ordinary life surrendered to Him. Walk in the shoes of a farm boy who became pastor to presidents and shared God’s love with millions. Admission is free, and exhibits are state-of-the-art. The experience is unforgettable. “Come and see what God has done.” —Psalm 66:5, ESV

A ministry of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

©2017 BGEA

Monday to Saturday, 9:30–5:00 • • 704-401-3200 Reservations required for groups of 10 or more; email or call 704-401-3270. • 4330 Westmont Drive • Charlotte, North Carolina

, e m o c l e W

David-Jacobs Publishing Group and the Travel South team are ecstatic to present to you this spring issue of Travel South Magazine. In this issue, you will find stimulating content that covers everything from springtime outdoor paradises, to unforgettable vacations in the Tar Heel State. Check out the best seasonal attractions in the southern region, set up your next tee time at an award-winning golf course, browse through upcoming events and conventions, or brush up on your southern heritage and cultural history. Cinco de Mayo celebrators will be happy to try our southern takes on the classic Margarita. Those that have been yearning to visit the Gulf Coast will find the prettiest shorelines to roam. The hearts of romantics will flutter at the amazing amenities provided by some of the best Inns in the region. Take this season and dive into an entirely new meaning of a “spring vacation.” Head to the natural springs of the south, where you’ll be able to enjoy activities that range from thrilling cave dives, to family-friendly tubing down a natural lazy river. Our Spring in the Springs feature will leave you mesmerized and ready to plan! Whatever you’re hoping to find, our goal is to bring that to light. We hope that every page fills you with awe, wonder, and interest. We strive to bring you the inspiration you need to better plan your upcoming adventures, whether they’re a week with the kids in familyfriendly destinations, or a weekend retreat with the guys or the girls for some muchneeded relaxation. Travel South is your guide to all that this region has to offer! Happy Travels,

Your Travel South Team

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Home Town Appeal!

Cruising the


The spring season is the perfect time for a Gulf Coast getaway, as the waters are churning and getting warmer, and the spring breakers are coming out to play. Events will be popping up left and right, so make sure you pack your favorite swimwear. Get ready to sip cocktails from brightlycolored straws and stroll the sandy shorelines of the Gulf. Does life get any better?! Follow us as we cruise the coastlines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.



TEXAS Galveston, Texas is a major player in the north end of our Gulf Coast road trip. This Texas gem is a beach town known for its pristine stretches of shoreline that can accommodate any traveler, from those who seek constant activity, to those who prefer something more secluded. Galveston Island is home to more than 30 miles of the sandy bliss, to be exact. The open sky, lengthy pier, and preserved dunes are going to be enough to make you want to buy a beach home and retire early. Rent some chairs and an umbrella and soak up the sun, or head down to the cute little shops and attractions, where you can browse the local art galleries, grab a quick bite to eat, and pick up a souvenir for the road. East 12 | Spring 2018 | Travel South

Beach is where the party’s at, so if you’re in the mood for a festival or a live band, head that way. Admission to East Beach is between $10-$12 during peak seasons in spring and summer, and it is one of the only areas in Galveston Island where alcohol is permitted on the beach. Restrooms and shower facilities make staying here for the day convenient and comfortable. For a world-class fishing experience and something less mainstream, you will want to make your way to Grand Isle, Louisiana, the next state in our Gulf Coast adventure. Grand Isle is quaint and quiet and not for partygoers, but for those who are looking to enjoy the Gulf Coast’s natural beauty.

Campsites, RV parks, trails, and lookouts are in abundance here, so bring your camera and your fishing gear, and set up shop along the beach. Grand Isle is actually the only inhabited barrier island in the state of Louisiana, making it a unique stop for all. Nearby state parks allow for uninterrupted walks in the preserved coastal habitats, and the seafood here is easily accessible and overwhelmingly delicious. Louisiana itself is known for its Cajun cuisine, so expect that influence in the restaurants here. Grand Isle prides itself on being a “Sporstman’s Paradise,” so ice your beer and cast your line. You'll want to stay a while.

“EAST BEACH IS WHERE THE PARTY’S AT, So If You’Re IN The mood foR a feSTIVaL oR a LIVe BaNd, head ThaT waY.”




















Biloxi, Mississippi is our next exit. Biloxi is one of the oldest communities in the entire country, being that it was settled in the late 1600s. The white sands of Biloxi Beach are soft and comforting, and the weather is mild. But Biloxi isn’t just a “beach town.” The city is a great for tourists, as it has all of the best attractions. Biloxi offers “24-hour nonstop casino resorts,” as well as deep-sea fishing excursions, so there is truly something for everyone.




FLORIDA The water is warm and shallow, and the skies are usually always clear, so a walk along this beach is something not to be missed. The vibrant city is also home to some of the best golf courses in the state, so if you’re looking for a southern vacation spot along the Gulf Coast that includes coastlines, casinos, and courses, Biloxi is your city.

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in [Alabama] anymore.” That’s right, we’ve reached Emerald… The Emerald Coast! Although some other places like to embrace the unofficial name for this gorgeous shoreline, the beauty really begins here. It’s time to soak up the sun in beautiful Destin, Florida, where we’ll end our little road trip.

If you’re ready to get out of the casinos and golf courses and back on the road, we’re heading to Gulf Shores, Alabama next. This gorgeous city is really beginning to blossom as a beach attraction. Gulf Shores has 32 miles of shoreline to explore, with all the best resorts dotting the coast. Deep-sea fishing here is a whole new ballgame, folks, so book your so book your charter now!

The Emerald Coast is three hours east of New Orleans, and boasts some of the prettiest green waters you will ever see. Destin is the perfect place to enjoy everything the coast has to offer. We hope you still have your fishing gear, because Destin is commonly known as “the world’s luckiest fishing village.” With the waters being the perfect temperature and churning and swirling about, marine life, including plenty of yummy and catchable fish, are abundant.

If the beaches aren’t enough for you, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is nearby, as well as a waterpark (Waterville USA), and a few casinos in case you didn’t quite get all of the gambling completely out of your system in Biloxi. If you’re finished with the slots and walked away with some extra spending money, the specialty boutiques and shops that line the city streets are must-visits for fashionistas, trendsetters, and also those who may be simply looking for a souvenir. Gulf Shores has more than enough to do during your entire Gulf Coast Vacation, but we have one more stop left. Let’s go!

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With world-class golf courses, award-winning resorts, and the fluffy white sand that they all sit atop of, Destin is a prime location for an unforgettable Gulf Coast vacation. Both family-friendly, and a place for couples to get away year-round, this beautiful beach town will continue to shoot Cupid’s arrow – and won’t miss – at all who visit it. Whatever you choose to do with your Gulf Coast getaway is your business. As for us, we’re hitting the beach!

D I S T I N C T LY N O R F O L K . Your weekend getaway is a lot closer than you think. With 144 miles of waterfront, a vibrant arts district, mouth-watering dining hotspots and more, Norfolk is the perfect place to unwind. No wonder Norfolk was named America’s Favorite City for 2018! Plan your Norfolk getaway today at


Great Guns. Explore the nautical, naval & natural wonders of our waters. Featuring the Battleship Wisconsin

Downtown Norfolk Waterfront | (757) 664-1000


eed. Love. It’s all you n It’s the purest feeling and one that is sometimes forgotten during hard times or even in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In Mexico Beach, Florida, we invite you to come rediscover love with your family and friends. Explore dazzling white-sand beaches and watch brilliant sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. Plan a family bike ride to the pier or host a picnic and sandcastlebuilding contest. Cook a delicious meal in your charming vacation rental as you catch up on all the things you missed about being together. This is a place where you can relax and unplug as you remember what you loved about the beach when you were young and share it with the next generation. Honoring old traditions and creating new ones is the way of life here. Families and friends gather to watch fireworks every Fourth of July, cheer each other on in world-class fishing tournaments, spend sunny days swimming and kayaking, and spend nights to remember at local eateries or in the comfort of their home away from home. Whether you’re craving a family reunion, a girls’ getaway, a retreat with friends, a fishing adventure, or a romantic weekend, it’s time to take a break from “having to” and spend some time “getting to” do things with those you love. There’s something for everyone along the Unforgettable Coast of Northwest Florida, with community events year-round, no traffic or crowds, unique shops and restaurants, and friendly locals who can’t wait to share their town with you. Are you ready to fall back in love with spending time together? Discover a place to remember when you book your next vacation in Mexico Beach! Learn more at


Discover more at

Sarasota, FL Located between Fort Myers and Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota County is a rising destination in the Southwest United States. Featuring 35 miles of pristine beaches, arts and culture, nature retreats and fabulous dining options, this area is a darling destination for tours and is easy to access from Interstate 75. See The Ringling. This State Art Museum of Florida is located on 66 acres of beautiful bay-front property. Or, head downtown to Selby Gardens, a botanical oasis of thousands of plants and trees. Head over Ringling Causeway and meet our sealife at Mote Aquarium, or visit Save Our Seabirds next door for an educational experience of the different birds that call

Florida home. Be sure to visit Sarasota Jungle Gardens, home to a flock of free roaming flamingos, and Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, a large-animal rescue and permanent home for dozens of exotic animals. Large groups are easily accommodated at several of our restaurants. Dine lunch at Der Dutchman, a popular restaurant known for its pan-fried chicken, mashed potatoes and delicious pies, located in the heart of Pinecraft, Sarasota’s Amish community. Savor supper with tapas, sangria and fabulous Cuban cuisine at Columbia Restaurant on St. Armands Circle. There are more than 12 restaurants in the destination for large

groups amid Sarasota County’s robust dining scene. The Visit Sarasota County Motorcoach Incentive program provides groups new to the area with resources to enhance their experience. Benefits to the program include $10 room rebates per room for the first night, up to $500 in value and $15 room rebates per room for the second night, up to $750 in value. We will also personally meet and greet, provide a 24/7 customer liaison, secure hotel room blocks and provide welcome bags. Contact Kelli Funkhouser to learn more at, or 941.955.0991 ext. 122.

“Savor supper with tapas, sangria and fabulous Cuban cuisine at Columbia Restaurant on St. Armands Circle.”


B E A C H E S , C U LT U R E , A R T S , D I N I N G , S H O P P I N G

Orlando Tampa

Discover yourself in Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast where satin-soft sand


beaches meet the acoustic acclaims of our performing arts. By day, relax on our beaches and explore our world-class museums. By night, revel in the sights and sounds of our cultural treasures ranging from our Orchestra to Ballet and everything in between. L O N G B O AT K E Y | S T. A R M A N D S | L I D O K E Y | S I E S TA K E Y | C A S E Y K E Y | V E N I C E | M A N A S O TA K E Y | E N G L E W O O D | N O R T H P O R T


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Shenand oah Nation al Par k Virgin ia Shenandoah may be popular in the fall, but the springtime allows for weather just as mild, and the beauty of everything in full bloom, making this time of year perfect for outdoor lovers. The park has over 10 waterfalls to hike to, and backcountry camping is welcome in most of the park, so if you’re looking for a wilder side to Virginia, take a trip into seclusion here. With over 500 miles of hiking trails, you will find yourself more than pleased with the scenery and the terrain. Thrill seekers will love the mountain ranges that the park provides, including a section of the famous Appalachian Trail!



The Skyline Drive is perhaps the most popular feature within the park, so make sure you take a drive and explore this area. You will be nestled into the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which provide some of the best views in the country. The unmatched beauty, coupled with the breathtaking views, will show you just how grand the park is. There is nothing more captivating to an outdoor enthusiast than the beauty and mystery of wide open spaces. Looking for a place to stay during your trip? Try camping under the night sky. There are options available for campgrounds with amenities, as well as backcountry experiences, depending on your skill level. For a camping trip on the wild side, submerse yourself into the backcountry, where you will get to build a campfire from down wood within the park, making the experience even more authentic. Skyland is an option for those who are less inclined to spend the night in the deep wilderness. Skyland, the highest point of the Skyline Drive, offers lodging and amenities for those who aren’t quite ready to leave. Whether you’re looking for a quaint cabin in seclusion, a premium suite with a fireplace, or a nice patch of dirt in the woods, planning a trip to Shenandoah is a no-brainer.

k ational Par N h a o d n a n She

Crate r o f Diamon d s State Par k Arkan s a s Crater of Diamonds State Park is a unique attraction, in that it is the world’s only diamond-bearing site that is accessible to the public. The park is just over 900 acres, and is mainly a field where diamonds have been continuously discovered since the early 1900s. The park is known for being the very first site outside of South Africa where people found diamonds in their natural source. In the 1950s, Howard Millar and his wife took over what was left of the original attraction after World War II, when the gov-

ernment had taken over the site. They opened the Crater of Diamonds attraction in 1952. Then, in 1956, a visitor uncovered the “Star of Arkansas,” which was a rare diamond that weighed just over 15 carats. The Crater of Diamonds attraction wasn’t the only diamond mining attraction on site, so rivalries pushed one another out over time, until in 1972, the area became a state park. The Crater of Diamonds State Park gives a whole new meaning to Arkansas’ nickname, the Natural State.


The colors of diamonds found in the park range from white, to brown, to yellow. But diamonds aren’t the only precious stones to be found. You may also run across stones like amethyst, garnet, agate, jasper, quartz, and other minerals. Park staff will provide free identification and certification of all diamonds that are found in the area. If you are wild about geology or are a rock collector, then this park is for you. Rent a set of mining tools and get to digging!



Crater of Diamonds State Park fully functions as any other state park would, even though it is far from the norm. Enjoy one of the many campsites for an overnight stay, and be sure to check out the gift shop, grab a bite to eat in the restaurant, if you are traveling during the warmer months, bring a bathing suit for the Diamond Springs Water Park.

Big Bend Nat ional Park Texa s Big Bend National Park is just over 800,000 acres in area and is located in West Texas, where some parts border Mexico. There are over 1,000 different types of plants, and well over 500 different species of animals to enjoy while in the park. There are 450 bird species alone, which is more than you’ll find in any other National Park in the United States. Take notice of the unique geological features, such as volcanic rock sheets and even dinosaur bone findings. The Big Bend itself is named for the enormous curve that the Rio Grande makes in the southwest Texas region. It is vast, wild, and wildly mesmerizing, and there are plenty of things to do during your visit, from horseback riding and mountain climbing, to biking, hiking, jeep touring, and camping. Historic districts within the park allow you to view old artifacts from United States Army camps that were housed here, and even adobe buildings from the era. If you just can’t get enough of the natural beauty, spend the night in Big Bend and make sure you’re awake during sunrise, when the Milky Way spans over the sky. Because the park is so wide and spans over 1,000 miles, the stars are more brilliant than in most places in the country. Water pools and springs throughout the park showcase its diverse landscape, as many of the rock formations and mountains in Big Bend are over 75 million years old. If you’re looking for true awe and wonder, Big Bend National Park is the place to be, especially during the spring season, when everything is in bloom. Birds will be flying and chirping about, and you may even spot a black bear and her cubs. Whatever you set your eyes on here will be truly unforgettable.

al Park n o i t a N d Big Ben

There are endless miles of adventure waiting for you, so pack your bags and explore some of the best outdoor paradises that the South has to offer. These parks put the wild in wilderness!





Come and explore all that Glen Rose has to offer. We are the “Dinosaur Capital” of Texas and the “Bluegrass Capital of Texas.” There are so many things to see and do here that you just might have to make a long trip or several trips. You will be welcomed with open arms any time you come and visit us. When it comes to dinosaurs, you definitely need to visit Dinosaur Valley State Park. Not only is it a beautiful state park with rivers, hiking, carriage rides, camping, and events, but it also has actual dinosaur footprints of two different dinosaurs that lived in the area.

Right next to the Park is Dinosaur World, with over 150 life-sized dinosaurs to wander through and see just how big these creatures were. Just down the road is the Creation Evidence Museum and it has a 25-foot replica of Noah’s Ark, an actual working replica of the Gutenberg Press, Dinosaur prints, Native American and Israeli artifacts, and a biosphere. Somervell County is also home to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. It was ranked #2 in the nation as the best Wildlife Safari Park. You can drive through or take a guided tour. You can also stay there in the Lodge or the Safari Camp. Our Historic downtown area has over thirty buildings on the National Historic Registry. Glen Rose is a small town with quaint charm. Our unique shops and restaurants are Mom and Pop establishments that you don’t want to miss. There are antique shops, boutiques, old fashioned soda shops, and so much more that make our Courthouse Square a great place to spend time. Our 36-hole golf course is ranked among the top ten in the State of Texas. It is time to come and Explore Glen Rose.







Start your adventure at






(800) 551-9546

RoNaLd E. McNaIr MeMoRiAl AnD LiFe HiStOrY CeNtEr

PEE DEE COUNTRY, SC Welcome to Pee Dee Country! This seven county region, named for the original Native American Pee Dee Indians who inhabited it long ago and subsequently the Pee Dee Rivers, still offers the natural wonders that attracted the Native Americans and early settlers. A sparkling gem of nature’s best, Pee Dee Country has a unique combination of scenic parks and natural areas, as well as a history spanning both Revolutionary and Civil War times, reflected in its wonderfully preserved historic homes, plantations, and buildings. Here is the ideal place to experience the heritage of the agrarian lifestyle of the old South and its relaxed way of life. Both cotton and tobacco played an important role in the early

growth of the region, and the South Carolina Cotton Trail was developed to showcase the era. The Cotton Trail takes visitors on a revealing tour through three Pee Dee counties and you’ll find visitor information centers for the trail in Bennettsville, Hartsville, and Bishopville. The South Carolina

Mullins and depicts farm life and the growing fascinating museums displaying local artifacts. Pee Dee Country offers three beautiful state parks and natural areas and many local parks, as well as four scenic rivers. The area also has more

PeE DeE CoUnTrY OfFeRs ThReE BeAuTiFuL StAtE PaRkS AnD NaTuRaL ArEaS AnD MaNy LoCaL PaRkS, As WeLl As FoUR ScEnIc RiVeRs. Cotton Museum is located in Bishopville and has preserved the legacy of the cotton culture in South Carolina and a way of life long gone but still reflected in the present. The South Carolina Tobacco Museum is located in the historic train depot in

than 30 exciting and affordable golf courses! It’s no wonder that outdoor activities are popular here! Come chip, putt, paddle, cycle, race, raft kayak, hike, fish and just have fun! Come stay and play with us, and discover a place like no other!



The Great Pee Dee and the Little Pee Dee rivers are just two of the many waterways to explore and discover in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. These pristine and historic waterways offer adventure and an appreciation of nature that can be enjoyed by all.

Darlington | Dillon | Florence Lee | Marion | Marlboro Williamsburg

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National Fishing Celebrity


Savannah, TN self-proclaimed catfish capitol of the world! ╤••••••••••••••• Celebrating 75 years of the National Catfish Derby!

“The Best Fishing Spot in the USA”

(800) 552-FUNN Travel South | Spring 2018 | 29

You remember that feeling, don’t you? The first time you stood on a mountain in North Carolina and looked out over the horizon. That indescribable feeling of being more alive, more engaged, more awake. The mountains are romance for your soul. And who couldn’t use a little more of that? Burnsville, North Carolina is a charming small town about 40 minutes northeast of Asheville on I-26 (Exit 9, NC Hwy 19). Burnsville is home of Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain East of the Mississippi River. In fact, five of the 10 highest peaks in the entire Eastern U.S. are located in Yancey County.


Situated between Mt. Mitchell, Grandfather, and the Roan – all legendary mountains in North Carolina – Burnsville is right in the sweet spot. It’s why so many travelers exploring the region between Asheville and Boone or Blowing Rock spend time here. It’s a beautiful setting in the perfect location. The town of Burnsville is built around a large, grassy Town Square with a statue of its namesake, Otway Burns, in the center. Main Street has restaurants, pubs, shops, art galleries, clothing stores and lodging. Every year, the town hosts the Burnsville Metric Bike Race in April, Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair in August, and Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in September. Travelers come here for many reasons. They like to hike the backcountry, ride bikes and motorcycles, fish, camp, and explore the mountains. They like to buy antiques and crafts, and discover roadside restaurants and local artists. And they like to look far into the universe at the newly-opened Bare Dark Sky Observatory.


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Burnsville and Yancey County are home to big mountains, clear rivers, a thriving arts community and friendly people. Open all four seasons. Highest mountains, small town charm. For more information (and more beautiful pictures!), visit

Just 40 minutes from Asheville

Highest Mountains • Small Town Charm

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Madison County, Virginia Ride or bike the small country roads, even participate in Tour de Madison in May, or take advantage of the equestrian trails. Hike a couple of Shenandoah National Park’s most popular hikes on Old Rag Mountain or White Oak Canyon Falls or enjoy a stroll at Hoover Ridge.


Madison County is an outdoor paradise! It is both peaceful and adventurous.

Taste Virginia’s first historic farm brewery at Bald Top Brewing, sitting outside enjoying the views and listening to music, or experience America’s Favorite Tasting Room at Early Mountain Vineyards, or one of the other wineries such as DuCard, Prince Michel or Revalation and enjoy the gorgeous views they all offer. Like many others, you may decide to have your wedding in Madison. Taste the delectable food at The Bavarian Chef, Bonanno’s Madison Inn, MAD Local, Pie in the Sky, Giovanna’s, or Yoder’s Country Market to name a few. Shop at Plow and Hearth outlet, Southern Grace, MAD Arts, She She on Main, The Market on Main, or E. A. Clore Sons, Inc. fine furniture! Go to a Music festival at Graves Mountain Lodge, Wool and Wine Festival, Taste of the Mountains, or Hops and Homestead Festival at Bald Top.


Stay in a B&B, cabin, house, lodge, RV, or even a luxurious yurt! President Herbert Hoover built his summer retreat, Camp Hoover, at the source of the Rapidan River. Fish the same river that presidents and dignitaries fished, or explore one of the many rivers and streams throughout Madison County. Your outdoor paradise awaits in Madison County, VA. 540-948-4455

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MADISON COUNTY VIRGINIA Come to Madison for the hiking, history, artisans, scenery, the fishing, the Taste of the Mountains, Music and Apple Harvest Festivals, the brewery, wineries, or your destination wedding! Stay in a B&B, cabin, camper, RV, lodge, vacation rental house, tent or even a yurt!

We have it all away from it all. MADISONVA.COM


BeRkElEy CoUnTy, Wv Leave behind your everyday worries and escape to Berkeley County, WV, where small town meets big adventure. Berkeley County offers the ultimate outdoor experience, from our rugged hiking paths to the scenic nature paths, public parks, fishing streams and nature preserves. Lose yourself in the area’s lush scenery along the numerous hiking, walking and biking trails, from delicate West Virginia wildflowers to awe-inspiring waterfalls and incredible rock formations.

Whether you want your outdoor adventure to span days or hours, you’ll never grow bored of the area’s extensive nature trails, catering to everyone from amateurs to hiking experts. Adventurers can explore the 23,000acre Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area that contains extensive hiking, camping, fishing and boating opportunities. The Route 9 walking and biking trail stretches between Martinsburg and the Charles Town/Ranson area and offers users wide open views and diverse terrain from flat land to sloping hills.

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Don’t forget to pack your lure and fishing rod beside your hiking boots and bike helmet. Sleepy Creek Lake, a 205-acre impoundment, provides trophy bass, crappie and northern pike, and it allows night fishing with permission. You can also fish from any of the public access streams flowing throughout the county. If observing nature is more your style, Berkeley County has two nature preserves that house wide variety of bird and plants. Stauffer’s Marsh Nature Preserve, in Back Creek Valley, and the Yankauer Nature Preserve each

offer easy walking trails to allow visitors to observe the different plant species and trees that inhabit the reserves. Change your view from the office window to the beautiful scenery of Berkeley County, WV. Plan your custom vacation and outdoor adventures through the Martinsburg-Berkeley County CVB’s website, or the CVB’s free app “Visit Martinsburg, WV.” The Martinsburg-Berkeley County CVB can be reached at 304-264-8801.

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F O r G O T T E N




S O u T H

The history of the South has a dark past, and usually always leads us in a certain direction. So, we choose remembrance and preservation. We choose to learn and to grow, and to appreciate the history lessons. However, occasionally things get lost, places become forgotten, cultures that were once so prominent, now seem miles away. Explore the region’s secrets, from a not-so-quiet plantation that got overshadowed by a famous artist, to a thriving African village that manages to stay under the radar even today.

AUDUBON STATE HISTORIC SITE - ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA John James Audubon is an artist, naturalist, and ornithologist who is most famous for his drawings, paintings, and close studies of North American birds. In 1821, Audubon arrived at the Oakley Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, where he offered to tutor a young girl by the name of Eliza Pirrie, in exchange for the freedom to roam the plantation’s land. He was in search of interesting scenery, natural beauty, and of course, birds, all of which he would begin to study and paint. Audubon ended up spend-

ing quite some time in the state, and Louisiana is the place in which most of his pictures were drawn from and completed in. The original Oakley Plantation and its grounds are open to the public and known as the Audubon State Historic Site. The site offers guided tours of the “Big House” and visitors may walk amongst themselves through the gardens and the grounds, as well as the more sinister areas, such as the slave cabins. The site holds many different events throughout the year, including the Louisiana Native Guard on May 5 th.

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e istoric Sit H e t a t S n Audubo Visitors will have a chance to view the era from the point of view of an officer, as well as the enlisted men, and the Free Men of Color. This event will include a weapon demonstration, and a program on how camp life was for the troops. The Audubon State Historic Site may not be too popular amongst mainstream historic tourist destinations, but it is nevertheless one of importance.

YORUBA VILLAGE - SHELDON, SOUTH CAROLINA The Yoruba Village, located in South Carolina, is less about the forgotten history of the South, and more about how the forgotten history of the Yoruba culture of West Africa made its way to the United States. So, while it technically remains a southern historical destination, it isn’t quite the same history we have come to know and expect. Refreshing or unusual? We’ll let you be the judge. Africans of the Palmetto State have found a way to keep their cultures and traditions alive, even by means of bringing an African village to a place where slavery used to be just as common and normal as it is having a cellphone glued to our hand today. The Yoruba culture is one of Africa’s oldest and most prominent cultures, and is found predominantly in southwestern Nigeria. Because of the historical slave trade, many members of these villages and tribes within the Yoruba culture were ripped from everything they knew, and placed into a world where their traditions no longer existed. Since the Oyotunji African Village was founded in 1970, these expatriates have been working to keep the culture alive and well within U.S. borders. For over 45 years, the Oyotunji African Village has thrived and stays consistent with practices and preservations to better educate visitors, and to keep the descendants of the culture well-versed in their own history. The village was founded by a Detroit native named Walter Eugene. Walter became His Royal Highness Obo Ofuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi I, and was the first African American to join the Orisa-Vodun African priesthood. His training and his background afforded him the leadership skills it took to build the kingdom that Oyotunji is today. This is not a park, nor is it a historic site, or a museum. Instead, it is a real, thriving African village that just so happens to be in South Carolina. If you were to walk into this kingdom today, not knowing what country you were in, you would grow to believe that you had somehow arrived in Africa itself. The village allows visitors to completely submerge themselves in the culture and the customs. The people here want to teach their way of life to others, and want others to become familiar with the Yoruba culture. The village is open seven days a week for anyone that would like to stop by. Very few places are restricted, so upon entering, you will be able to walk through the markets, view the shrines and the worship centers, peek in at schoolhouses, and join in during festivities. A full list of annual festivals, as well as tour information and other products and services are accessible by visiting


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Hampton, Virginia

Vibrant seaside Hampton lures visitors with its family-friendly offerings, appealing to all ages and interests. An ideal way to explore Hampton is to purchase a Sea to Stars Ticket, which includes admission to the Virginia Air & Space Center’s exhibits and 3-D Digital IMAX®, Hampton History Museum, historic Hampton Carousel and a cruise aboard the Miss Hampton II. On November 1, 2011, President Obama proclaimed Fort Monroe a national monument after nearly 180 years of a federal military presence at the moat encircled stone fortification. Fort Monroe is also the arrival site of the first Africans in English North America in 1619. The Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe showcases 19th and 20th century artifacts, as well as the cell where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned. In downtown Hampton, discover harbor tours, charter fishing vessels, and the Virginia Air & Space Center. The center boasts over 100 hands-on exhibits, including suspended aircraft and flight simulators. At the Hampton History Museum, visitors learn how Captain John Smith, Blackbeard the pirate, Booker T. Washington, and America’s first astronauts, The Mercury Seven, have all played parts in creating a distinctive Hampton timeline displayed in 10 galleries. The tour aboard the Miss Hampton II winds visitors down the Hampton River to Fort Wool, where the vessel docks and passengers explore the island before continuing to Naval Station Norfolk. Hampton University Museum is the oldest African American museum in the U.S. and contains more than 9,000 works of art. The museum and university celebrate their 150th anniversary in 2018. Hampton’s location on the Chesapeake Bay makes it the perfect place to take advantage of beautiful bayfront beaches, including Buckroe, Outlook, Grandview, and more.

At you'll find destination information that unlocks the treasures of this maritime trove. For a free Hampton visitor guide, call 800-800-2202.

Old Point Comfort Lighthouse at Fort Monroe National Monument


P E OP LE H A V E H E RE FO R O V E R 40 0 Y E A R S .



New Albany, Mississippi, USA Today’s “America's Best Southern Small Town,” is home to a historic downtown, the longest bike trail in the state, and wideopen spaces. Conveniently located on I-22, New Albany is a great destination for a day trip or weekend getaway. The Union County Heritage Museum features an interpretive timeline of life in the area from prehistoric fossils through the modern age, including details about the Chickasaws, the first European settlers, the Civil War, Reconstruction and New Albany’s most famous son, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author, William Faulkner. An outdoor space offers many interpretive 42 | Spring 2018 | Travel South

events that explain the way of life of settlers and is also home to the awardwinning Faulkner Garden, which features plants indigenous to the area. Listed on the National Register, New Albany’s flourishing downtown area includes specialty shops, eateries, farmers’ market, and antique stores. Beginning on Bankhead Street, and continuing 44 miles to Houston, Mississippi, is the trailhead for The Tanglefoot Trail®, the longest Rails to Trails conversion. It is a paved, ten-foot wide biking and hiking trail that is laid through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. Just off of Main Street is the

Park Along the River, which features an arboretum, playground, picnic areas, pavilion, The Riverview Stage, and paved walking paths. Pedestrians can cross over the footbridge to the Tallahatchie Trail for a one-mile walk through Freedom Park to the BNA Sportsplex. Ingomar Mounds ceremonial and burial complex has been one of great interest since first being excavated in 1885 by the Smithsonian Institution. Items including bones, pottery, arrowheads, beads, glass and silver, support that the complex was used for centuries. The complex is free and open to the public.

Beachin’ it

SpringBreak Cities How do you normally like to spend your spring break vacation? Do you settle for the norm every year? Do you try something new? If you are looking for the top-rated cities to spend your free week in, then look no further. These towns have what it takes to bring you the ultimate spring break. From enjoying the waves of Miami Beach, to attending a Louisiana jazz festival, the options are both thrilling and endless.


- MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA Miami Beach has been ranked as one of the top Spring Break travel destinations for years. With so many events happening during the season, along with the breathtaking beaches and the unmatchable nightlife, it isn’t shocking that Miami Beach would be top choice for most spring breakers. Miami Beach is a melting pot of cultures and styles. Everyone, from retirees to hipsters, and everything in between are known to have called Miami home for at least a little while. Tourists are just the same – everyone stops in to see what all the fuss is about, and they end up understanding exactly why it is a top vacation destination.

Every year, from March to April, experience Spring Break Miami, a 5-week event that offers up some of the wildest contests, mixers, and access to pretty much every party, everywhere. Pool parties, beach parties, clubs, and college events are all a part of the Miami Beach mix for spring breakers. If your inner party animal has long since settled down, that’s okay, Miami Beach is completely versatile. Grab homemade ice cream or gelato and relax in a beach chair on the sand. Have a gourmet lunch with friends and people watch in a seaside bar. Join in for a night of fun with a live band along Hollywood Beach. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Miami Beach is the number one spring break city to find it in.

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46 | Spring 2018 | Travel South

- SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TEXAS South Padre Island is gorgeous. With calm waves and white sand, it is an utterly relaxing atmosphere. But once a year, the town gets a new name: Spring Break Island. Co-eds from all over flock to the island to dance their spring break away to top hits mixed by DJs, and frolic in the rays of the soon-to-be summer sun. But drinking and dancing will hardly scratch the surface of what there is to do here. Go ziplining or kiteboarding. Participate in an obstacle course and challenge your physical strength. Hang out at the beachfront waterpark. Go jet skiing or parasailing. Take a party cruise. The possibilities are endless, and South Padre really goes all out for their visitors during this time of year.

Most of these activities are familyfriendly, so if you are traveling with younger children, they can take part in the festivities safely, too. Spend a day dolphin watching, or rent a boat and go deep-sea fishing. Take a windsurfing class and master the wind and the waves. Whatever you are in the mood for, one thing is certain: it is all about the coast!

- NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA Tired of the same old sand and sun routine? Head to New Orleans for a jazztastic spring break vacation. Most people have already made their way to the famed city for Mardi Gras. Now that the smoke has cleared and the last of the beads have been cleaned up, it is the perfect time to plan a spring break vacation here. Enjoy the funkier side of spring break with ghost tours, authentic gumbo, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival! Commonly known as Jazz Fest, this event will take place from April 27th to May 6th at the Fair Grounds Race Course. This year marks the 49th festival, and each year, big names in music come out to show love and support, and of course, perform. This year's lineup includes Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, & Jimmy Buffet. There are plenty of activities at the festival to keep everyone busy, with things like arts & crafts, cultural exchange booths, a folklife village, heritage marketplaces, and plenty to eat and drink along the way. Jazz Fest offers an express shuttle, and local hotels will also be accommodating visitors, so be sure to ask about transportation when you book your stay. Tickets to the festival are around $80 per adult, and single-day tickets are sold by the weekend. If Jazz Fest isn't for you, it won't matter. There is so much to do in New Orleans on a regular day. Explore the French Quarter, taste every po’ boy you can get your hands on, and chat with the locals over a cocktail. Whatever way you choose to spend your time in New Orleans, one thing is for sure: it won’t be a waste.

Whether you are planning for the ultimate Miami Beach spring break bash, or you are dreaming of a relaxing week of nothing but a good book and your toes in the sand, there is never a dull moment in any of these cities. Grab your flip flops and your free spirit and head out – it’s spring break!

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Enjoy our watery-playground. PENDER COUNTY, NC Find your treasured vacation destination at Pender County's beaches, Topsail Beach and Surf City, North Carolina.

Our award-winning beaches offer 26 miles of Atlantic coastline to soak up the sun. Topsail Beach is recognized as one of the top five beaches in the nation. Enjoy our watery-playground. Catch a wave on a surfboard. Search for seashells. Drop a line and fish from the Jolly Roger Pier or the Surf City Ocean Pier. Take an adventure down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway on a cruise aboard the Belle of Topsail or the Tiki Queen. Experience the Intracoastal Waterway on a paddleboard, a Jet Ski, kayak, or fishing charter.

We are home to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, where sick and injured sea turtles are nursed back to health. See Sick Bay, where endangered sea turtles are treated, and Turtle Bay where loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, and green sea turtles are introduced to visitors. If history is what you treasure, visit the Missiles and More Museum, where rocket and missile technology was developed in a top secret program called Operation Bumblebee. Or travel inland to Moores Creek National Battlefield, Southeast North Carolina’s only National Park, the site of the first Patriots’ victory in the Revolutionary War.

We’re the Seafood Capital of the Carolinas, so be sure to savor our locally owned and operated restaurants. Our restaurants feature tantalizing Southern meals. Take home a treasure from one of our locally owned and family operated boutiques and shops. Find your treasure along one of Pender County’s beaches. For more information, visit our website at or call us for a free visitor guide, 910-2591278.

Find your






The Unforgettable Coast


Discover more at


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in America Lafayette is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country, an area known as the “Happiest City in America” by the Wall Street Journal’s and it’s no mystery why. Their distinctive blend of food, music, and culture has people from all over heading down south with a smile on their face. Festivals No matter what time of year you visit Lafayette, they will have something for you to celebrate. That’s in large part because the region is teeming with celebratory events year round, from the largest outdoor francophone festival in the world, Festival International (April 25-29), to the fall’s Festival Acadiens et Creoles October 11-14), and of course Mardi Gras (March 5, 2019). One thing unique to Lafayette is the free concert series that take place in the fall and spring. Kick off your

weekend early on Thursday with Rhythms on the River, a free evening concert held in River Ranch’s Town Square. Bach Lunch, a free popular lunchtime music series that takes place on Fridays in Downtown Lafayette, couples local food with music for all ages. The fun continues into the evening with Downtown Alive!, another local favorite concert series offering free music from regional artists of all genres. Food Lafayette has the Cajun & Creole flavors you crave, along with the freshest in Louisiana seafood, and always a little something unexpected. Homegrown chefs are putting an inventive spin on time-honored recipes with the freshest local ingredients. But don’t take their word for it. Lafayette has received many awards for their cuisine including being named the “Tastiest Town of the South” by Southern Living magazine, “Best Food Town” by Rand McNally and a “Top 10 Foodie City” by


Lafayette is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country, an area known for its swampland dotted with moss draped cypress trees teeming with wildlife. With plenty of outdoor adventures it’s no wonder people are heading down south with a smile on their face. Plan your escape to the Happiest City in America.

S T A Y L A F AY E T T E Experience nature in the Happiest City in America.

L A F AY E T T E T R AV E L . C O M / Outdoor

800 346 1958

One staple to the area’s unique cuisine is the smoked pork and rice delicacy known as boudin. While the ingredients are basic, the variations of how to cook boudin are endless, which is why you need to take a trip down the Boudin Trail. Stretching across the metro area, there are a dozen restaurants cooking boudin every which way you can imagine, and some you can’t. Outdoor Lafayette also happens to be situated on the Mississippi Flyway and the Atchafalaya Loop of America’s Wetland Birding Trail. Nature watchers and photographers have access to some of the best birding sites in North America, including Spanish Lake. At last count, birders have spotted 240 species in its expansive shoreline and bottomland hardwood forest. If paddling is your passion Lafayette is the perfect starting point to explore their rivers, swamps and bayous. The newest addition to Lafayette’s paddle trail is the creation of a three-day overnight paddle trip called the Vermilion Voyage that takes you down the Vermilion River just before the Gulf of Mexico.

“THERE’S NO OTHER PLACE WHERE YOU CAN EXPERIENCE MULTIPLE TYPES OF FRESH AND SALTWATER FISHING ALL WITHIN A SHORT DRIVE OF LAFAYETTE.” At just over 50 miles, this paddle adventure takes you through two parishes and multiple cities along the way. There’s no other place where you can experience multiple types of fresh and saltwater fishing all within a short drive of Lafayette. Cast your line from the shore of some of the most peaceful fishing spots along the banks of Lake Martin or the

Atchafalaya Basin. Paddle or launch your boat near the Gulf of Mexico to discover the abundant species of fish, crabs, and shrimp that can all be caught and cooked in a day. Whether your passion is for their rich cultural history, the bustling culinary scene, or distinctive blend of Cajun and Zydeco music, you can be sure you will leave beaming from ear to ear.


In n o t f i l eC




Romantic weekends are sometimes just what the doctor ordered, especially during the beautiful spring months. Check out these properties that pride themselves on providing classy southern charm, and spectacular amenities. From quaint riverside inns, to lavishly-designed 5-star resorts, you will find all you need here in the southern region to stoke the fire and keep that romantic flame burning bright. They say that “Virginia is for lovers.” We certainly believe this to be true after seeing the Clifton Inn in Charlottesville. Tucked away at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range, the Clifton Inn beckons all who pass by to come in and stay a while. The coziness of the property, along with the unforgettable service, make for a truly romantic stay with your sweetie. Guest suites are sleek and stylish, and each room comes complete with a gorgeous view of the gardens and surrounding forest. Tall ceilings, claw foot tubs, comfy fourposter beds, and waterfall pools are all we needed to hear about to be sold. Enjoy an award-winning gourmet menu, featuring mouthwatering dishes like seared sea scallops with caramelized cauliflower, chorizo, and an almond froth. Top your night off with a glass of champagne as you share bites from the vanilla bean crème brûlée, served with the juiciest of mixed berries. An exclusive first-time guest package will ensure that you return every year. The package starts at $400 and includes a onenight stay with a full breakfast for two, as well as access to an upgraded suite and a 2-course dinner with your choice of a bottle of house wine.

“ The Cloister at Sea Island has been dubbed as ‘legendary, elegant, and so much fun.’ One glance will easily get you in the mood for some Sea Island luxury.“ Next on our list is The Cloister at Sea Island in Georgia. As one of the four experiences at the resort, and earning a Forbes 5-Star reputation, The Cloister at Sea Island is an accommodation that should be on your romance bucket list. Dubbed as “legendary, elegant, and so much fun." One glance will easily get you in the mood for some Sea Island luxury. Enormous pillars, intimate lighting, lavish staircases, impeccable views, award-winning meals, and exceptional service are all things to be ex-

pected when staying at The Cloister. The Sea Island Resort offers an exclusive romance package that includes a two-night stay at the Cloister, along with a complimentary suite upgrade, and a bottle of sparkling wine to greet you. You will enjoy breakfast in bed daily via room service, and receive a 90-minute couple’s massage, as well as a very romantic rose petal turndown on the evening of your choice. Special anniversary rates are also offered.

The Cloister at Sea


Third on our list is the River Inn of Harbor Town, located just outside downtown Memphis. “The charm of the Old South meets the intimate style of Europe and the rich history of Mud Island,” says the Inn, which is exactly what we have been craving. Join other guests for a night of drinks and light conversation on the rooftop terrace, where you will take in timeless views of the Memphis skyline. Rooms with a riverside view make for an unparalleled romantic getaway. As you make your way through the Inn, vintage wood floors, warm décor, and woodburning fireplaces ooze elegance and charm. As a smaller property, the quaint and cozy feel is for those who are seeking a quiet nook on the brim of a major city. Far enough to enjoy peace and quiet, but close enough to soak up the culture, the River Inn of Harbor Town is just the place you want to be

if you’re looking for the best of both worlds. Exceptional room service, gourmet complimentary breakfasts, luxurious linens, and wine with chocolate truffles at turn-down are all featured amenities of the Inn. Take a quiet stroll around Harbor Town with your sweetheart and stop in at Miss Cordelia’s market, or enjoy a fine dining experience at the award-winning Paulette’s Restaurant. Try the grilled pork tenderloin, topped with apple chips and a Port wine reduction, with butternut squash and brie risotto on the side. With these experiences at your fingertips, the River Inn at Harbor Town is the epitome of old world southern charm. Explore an enormous waterfront resort, or tuck yourself quietly away in a cozy inn. Whatever your romance desires are, these southern getaway favorites are sure to please.

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If you’re looking for the ultimate romantic escape, book your getaway now at the Henderson Park Inn. According to Condé Nast Johansens, “the Inn overlooks more than a mile of the most pristine and secluded white sandy beaches, and has the most gorgeous views in all of Destin. This is definitely the most romantic luxury boutique hotel on the Emerald Coast.” As the only beachfront hotel in Destin, Florida, it’s easy to see why the Henderson Park Inn has become a nationally recognized destination for honeymoons, anniversaries, and couples getaways. The Inn’s setting is spectacular, situated directly on the beach, allowing each room a vista of the Gulf of Mexico and the pristine white beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast. Guests can take advantage of the location of Henderson Park Inn, next to the beachside State Preserve, by lounging on complimentary beach chairs with umbrellas, enjoying a picnic on the beach with a gourmet boxed lunch (also complimentary), or bicycling down Scenic 98. At this adultsonly property, the beach exudes a more private, quiet ambience on the busy Emerald Coast. As the only all-inclusive hotel in the region, the Inn has earned the reputation as one of the finest lodgings in the area. Guestrooms are elegant private sanctuaries and evoke a feeling of relaxation and serenity. Special amenities include wine, grapes and flowers upon arrival, all which make an overnight stay quite a treat. All this - and the Inn is right on the beach. After a peaceful night sleeping to the sound of the waves, guests are treated to a breakfast like no other at on-site “BeachWalk” restaurant, the most awarded and only fine-dining experience directly on the Gulf. For dining in the evening (the only meal not in-

cluded in the cost of the stay), the restaurant features a more intimate casual atmosphere with dining available inside with a cozy fireplace and magnificent views of the coast or outside on the verandas of the Inn overlooking the turquoise waters of the Gulf. They even offer a “Toes in the Sand Dining” experience for the ultimate romantic evening! Looking for more activities than relaxing at the beach, the Inn’s guests have access to all the amenities next door at the Inn’s sister property, The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort. Home to two beautiful swimming pools, couples will love spending time at the Adults Only Pool, which features a luxury cabana with poolside beverage service. Guests who want to keep up with their workout routine can take advantage of The Henderson’s excellent fitness center. In addition to the standard weights and machines, the fitness center offers a variety of daily classes to enjoy, with everything from yoga to indoor cycling. For the ultimate in relaxation, Henderson Park Inn guests can book spa services including couples massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, mineral scrubs, and more. Few resorts offer more than a mile of the world’s most beautiful, secluded beaches and the ultimate romantic experience. The guest book says it all. The comments from honeymooners and couples celebrating anniversaries and other special events are glowing. Henderson Park knows romance and provides such a relaxing atmosphere that everything else just seems to disappear. Whatever you left behind, when visiting the Inn, it’s sure to be forgotten in this romantic atmosphere. For more information, visit

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A Quest for the


One course sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the other in the fresh air of the Alleghany Mountains. Which view is your preference? Which course would you take on? Could you master both? Here are two of the best regional golf courses and their resorts, and either choice will be a hole-in-one.

Island h a w a i The K ort Golf Res

The Kiawah Island Golf Resort The Kiawah Island Golf Resort is located on the South Carolina coast, just south of Charleston. Book your stay in The Sanctuary for unprecedented service. Upon arrival, you will find giant, old oaks that line the entrance, similar to that of a historic plantation, although the resort only opened in 2004. Landscape artists, along with the architect, Cooper Carry of Atlanta, used the “world’s largest mechanical spade” to transport all of the 50-foothigh oak trees to the property, giving it that old-world southern feel. The inside of the waterfront mansion houses luxurious southern architecture and accents, such as the antique floorboards that are meant to creak. A priceless amenity is having the ocean just a few steps outside your door, but other amenities include a food and beverage service for guests spending their day on the beach, indoor and outdoor swimming pools with an “adults only” option, guest beach chairs and umbrellas, and the use of a Mercedes-Benz during their stay. The Ocean Course is where you’ll really want to be, though. Announced as the 2021 PGA Championship host, the Ocean Course is quite popular among avid golfers. The 2021 lineup is not the first for the Ocean Course, as the property hosted the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA Championships. The Ocean Course is only the 4th course in history “to have hosted each of the PGA of America’s Championships.” This course is particularly challenging, because the strength of the surrounding winds can change the direction of a ball from one round to the next. The designer, Pete Dye, took the wind into account when designing this course, and knew what type of effect the gusts would have on players. His design is meant to challenge and motivate any golfer that steps foot on the green.

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The Omni Homestead Resort & Cascades Golf Course Where else can you get this caliber of southern hospitality and excellent service, along with two award-winning 18-hole golf courses, and countless other amenities? The Omni Homestead spreads over 2,000 acres of land, and has been a premier destination for more than 20 of our United States Presidents. To play here is a privilege. To stay here is the best vacation you’ll ever have. Two major hot springs run through the property, so it comes to no surprise that the location is Hot Springs, Virginia. There is a waterpark on site, complete with a lazy river for the kids, and a full-service spa for those hoping to get pampered. But we’re here for the acclaimed Cascades course. The Cascades is known as one of the finest and most breathtaking mountain courses in the entire country. With the Alleghany Mountains as the backdrop, each round will be more blissful than the last. The course was designed by architect William Flynn, who played with the idea of setting holes over various terrain to make the course both appealing to the eye and challenging to the player. The Cascades has been voted as a top contender for the best courses in America by several sources, including Golfweek Magazine. The Cascades is in its peak season from March to November, when the weather is the best. The resort offers private golf lessons, and even a birthday golf special, which includes a complimentary round on your special day. Set up your tee time or book your stay now for the best rates! These two amazing resorts and courses are the best of the best. If you haven’t played on either course, you’re missing the experience of a lifetime. Bring your buddies, or the entire family, as the resorts have something for everyone to enjoy.

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The Omni Homestead spreads over 2,000 acres of land

AFFORDABLE Rejuvenation Carillon Wellness Resort

WELLNESS RESORTS THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK There aren’t too many people who don’t enjoy the thought of being pampered. The problem lies within the price. Most of us don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a high-end retreat. There are plenty of daily activities that could double as wellness alternatives for a cheap fix, but why not spring for something a little extra this time around? The spring season is a beautiful time for getting outdoors, taking a yoga class in the park, or relaxing in a rooftop jacuzzi. No matter what your wellness preferences are, these resorts should be at the top of your list when thinking of your next rejuvenation vacation. The best part? They are affordable!

Kiawah Ocean Course

Cypress Bend Resort MANY, LA

Many, Louisiana, is known as “The Heart of Toledo Bend Lake Country.” Toledo Bend Lake is a beautiful spot if you are a lover of the outdoors. The lake has some of the best fishing in the country, so if your version of a wellness resort is one that is on a lakefront, make your way to the Cypress Bend Resort.

most for your money, and usually include several treatments, like a facial, massage, and a wrap. Enjoy your time in the fitness center, swimming pool, jacuzzi, or sauna. The resort has plenty of nature trails that are perfect for a leisure walk or an invigorating hike, so take time out for yourself to walk the paths and take in the sights and sounds of Louisiana’s tranquil forests.

The Spa at Cypress Bend provides exceptional services that are only available by appointment, so make sure you book your treatments ahead of time. You can enjoy a classic 50-

minute Swedish massage for only $100. Weekly and seasonal specials are available at the spa, so check with guest services for the best rates. Signature packages will get you the

Cypress Bend is both gorgeous and affordable, with nearly 100 different guest rooms and over a dozen two-bedroom golf suites. For $100-$200 a night, you can experience the beauty of Toledo Bend Lake while you golf, fish, or relax in the spa.


Lake Aus

Carillon Wellness Resort MIAMI BEACH, FL

The Carillon Wellness Resort is a place of pure luxury, and the exact opposite, in terms of location, of the Cypress Bend Resort. If you’re more apt to culture, nightlife, and an island feel, then the location of the Carillon Wellness Resort is for you. The resort sits in the North Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach, Florida. Deep blue waters surround you, and every window has a spectacular view, so soak up the sun and enjoy the luxurious feel of the resort.

You won’t even need to leave the property if you choose not to, as the resort has plenty of food and drink options, over 200 different fitness classes per week, and an extensive variety of spa treatments, including one of the most impressive hydrotherapy circuits in the United States. Cuisine at the resort is delicious and healthy, so you’ll never feel overwhelmed during your stay, but rather always refreshed and rejuvenated. Enjoy organic juices and new American contemporary cuisine.

Take a climb on the indoor rock wall, or soak in the adults-only pool. If you would like to bring your fur babies along for the ride, the Carillon will welcome them with open arms. Pets are allowed in certain suites, and you can even secure a dogwalker! There are specials listed on the Carillon’s website year round, so check out the upcoming packages and choose one that best fits your style. They have everything from a Refresh Package to A Week of Wellness. Rates are very affordable for the quality of treatment you’ll receive – between $1,000-$2,000 per person, per week – and the packages are inclusive. We may not take enough time out during the year to take care of our basic needs, never mind pamper or splurge on ourselves. By the time we’re in true need of a vacation, we end up looking around and realizing that our time and money have all gone to other things. So, this season, plan for an affordable trip that will leave both you and your wallet stressfree. It’s your turn to get special treatment!

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n a l É u a e t Châ WINERY & RESORT

Château Élan Winery & Resort, with its 32 acres of vines, is located at 100 Tour De France in Braselton, Georgia, just 40 minutes north of Atlanta, and remains North Georgia’s premier and most-awarded winery on the east coast. On the 3,500-acre estate sits a 16th century-styled French château with a tasting bar, a AAA Four Diamond Inn and conference center, a 35,000square-foot European spa mansion, 63 holes of championship golf, tennis center, six distinctive dining outlets and more. Celebrated as Atlanta’s only spa destination experience for both women and men, the European-style Spa has 14 newly-renovated luxurious overnight guest suites and is nestled inside a 35,000-square-foot mansion overlooking a sparkling lake,

canopied forest of trees, emerald green lawns and flowering shrubs. The Spa’s interior is equally beguiling with a peaceful ambiance, elegant furnishings and all the amenities to promote utmost serenity and relaxation.

“Atlanta’s only spa for destination experience both women and men." Few golf resorts possess the beauty and variety offered by Château Élan’s 63 holes of championship golf. From the rolling Georgia hills of the Woodlands, to the serene valley lakes on the Château, each course is unique in character and design. Combined with unparalleled customer

service, the environment at Château Élan will lend for a truly memorable golf experience for any enthusiast. Decide between six restaurants to enjoy a cultural array of dishes and ingredients, from regional Southern and All-American to Mediterranean, Classic French, Irish, and healthful Spa Cuisine. The ambiance and settings range from casual to intimate fine dining. The Resort also offers cooking classes in a beautiful Viking cooking studio with new menus weekly. Château Élan is a proud member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts group. For more information call 678-425-0900, visit online at or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see exclusive events.

Escape to the place... ...where European Luxury meets Southern Hospitality.

Château Élan Winery & Resort, with its 32 acres of vines, is located just north of Atlanta and remains North Georgia’s premier winery and the most-awarded on the East Coast. On the 3,500-acre estate sits a 16th century-styled French château with a fullservice winery and tasting bar, a AAA Four Diamond Inn and conference center, a 35,000-sq ft European spa mansion, 63 holes of championship golf, tennis center, six distinctive dining outlets and more. Château Élan is a proud member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts group. 675-425-0900

100 Rue Charlemagne Dr, Braselton, GA 30517

Cinco de Mayo Southern Style!


Cinco de Mayo has become a frontrunner in America’s holiday celebrations. There are countless parties, live bands, festivals – and of course, the iconic Margarita – that take center stage every year on the 5th of May. But why? Not that we need a valid excuse to celebrate with good drinks, but what exactly is the history behind the Margarita itself, and when did it infiltrate the long-celebrated holiday to become a central, if not the most vital staple? Many people have come forward to claim the title of inventor of this famous drink, but none of them have been able to secure their status. In fact, the most concrete piece of early Margarita evidence that we have is the world’s first frozen Margarita

machine ever made, which is housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. It was invented by Mariano Martinez in 1971, but still, long after the Margarita had already appeared on every halfway decent restaurant menu. If the early history of the Margarita stays forever a mystery, would any of our hopes and dreams be truly shattered? Of course not. Just pour us another round, either frozen or on the rocks, and we’ll toast to the unknown. Whether you like your Margaritas classic, or with some crazy flavor infusions, there’s a version of this drink for everyone, and 3 of our top favorites for a Southern Cinco de Mayo celebration are right here, and yours for the taking.



Sweet Tea Margaritas We associate sweet tea with the South the same way we associate Margaritas with Cinco de Mayo, so if we’re here in this loveable region, why not infuse the two and create our very own Southerner-Friendly Sweet Tea Margarita. INGREDIENTS 1 Cup Sour Mix 2 Cups traditional Sweet Tea ½ Cup Tequila ¼ Cup Triple Sec (optional) 1 Lemon, wedged 1 Lime, sliced into thin circles (for garnish) Salt or Sugar (to rim glasses)

Combine Sour Mix, Sweet Tea, Tequila, and Triple Sec together in a pitcher. Stir well. Chill for 2 hours. Pour a small amount of sugar or salt (personal preference) into a bowl. To Serve, take one lemon wedge and run it all the way around the rim of the glass, then immediately dunk the glass into the bowl of sugar or salt. Fill the glass with ice and pour in the Sweet Tea Margarita mixture. Garnish with a lime circle.

make it extra special and whip up a batch of your own homemade sweet tea

Alabama Sky Margaritas Alabama has had its fair share of shout-outs in music history, from Sweet Home Alabama, “where the skies are so blue,” according to Lynyrd Skynyrd – to, fittingly, Alabama’s Alabama Sky. Whether you’re looking to rock out or chill out this holiday, you’ll want to do so while sipping our next favorite, the Alabama Sky Margarita. INGREDIENTS 2 Cups Sour Mix 1 ¼ Cups Blue Curaçao ½ Cup Tequila 1 Lemon, wedged 1 Lime, sliced into thin circles (for garnish) Blue sugar crystal sprinkles or sanding sugar (to rim glasses)


Combine Sour Mix, Blue Curaçao, and Tequila together in a pitcher. Stir well. Chill for 2 hours. Pour out blue sugar crystal sprinkles or blue sanding sugar into a bowl. To serve, take one lemon wedge and run it all the way around the rim of the glass, then immediately dunk the glass into the bowl of sugar. Fill glass with ice and pour in the Alabama Sky Margarita mixture. Garnish with a lime circle.

Margarita! The FEELING BLUE? try this Blue e you think e blue lagoon color will mak

intens if you are not. that you are on vacation even

Georgia Peach Frozen Margaritas This drink is not for the faint of heart. We couldn’t not include at least a splash of SoCo to pay homage to the traditional Georgia Peach cocktail, so party-goers beware. The drink will transform into a Margarita before your very eyes with the substitution of Sour Mix for orange juice. Sip while wearing a wide-brimmed hat. INGREDIENTS 1 ½ Cups Sour Mix 1 Cup frozen peaches ½ Cup Peach Vodka ½ Cup of Peach Schnapps Splash of Southern Comfort 1 Fresh Peach, sliced but not peeled (for garnish) Fresh Raspberries, rinsed (for garnish) Red sugar crystal sprinkles or sanding sugar (to rim glasses)

In a blender, combine the Sour Mix, frozen peaches, vodka, a splash (define “splash” with personal preference) of Southern Comfort, and the schnapps. Blend until smooth. Add ice as needed to reach desired consistency. Serve immediately in a sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with fresh raspberries and peach slices.

raspberry garnish brings an extra pop of color


Roasted chicken with a "country captain" sauce, prepared by the chef Mashama Bailey






CLASSIC SOUTHERN CREATIONS WITH A MODERN TWIST If you are southern, you know the drill when it comes to kitchen staples and go-to meals. If you have ever visited the region before, then you’re well aware of the roadside diners and acclaimed restaurants that serve up the best comfort and soul food around. If there is one thing people visit the South for, it is to try the food. This time, we’re going for the “road less traveled by,” and keeping our eyes peeled for unique spins on our favorite dishes. From food trucks to rehabbed bus terminals, casual street tacos to a Sunday Supper tasting menu, we’re searching for those classic southern creations that have been given a modern twist.

Our first stop is in a city by the name of Peachtree Corners, in Georgia. In this delightful town, you’ll find a prized modern soul food possession: The Blaxican Restaurant & Food Truck. The owners will admit that their restaurant’s name does “have some initial shock value,” but is overall, the best word that could be used to describe their take on soul food. Being of African American and Mexican descent, their meals at home were always incorporating a bit of both. When they realized that they were sitting on a fusion gold mine, they just had to share it with the rest of the world, and so the Blaxican Food Truck was born. The restaurant location is a fairly new opening, so make sure you come out and show your support to their newfound location and semi-permanent home. When you arrive, you’ll notice a casual atmosphere dotted with smiles and Tshirts that read “Que Pasa, Ya’ll,” followed by, “La Comida for your Soul.” Feel free to purchase a shirt on your way out. What should you order? In terms of deciding, you won’t have to look it over much, as the menu is short and sweet, but most recommend the Savory Steak Tacos, the Mexy Mac and Cheese, and the Collard Green Quesadilla.

The tacos are filled with marinated angus beef that is grilled along with onions and peppers, smothered in a hickory sauce, and topped with lettuce, pico, and sour cream. We’re thinking of a word that rhymes with “Mexy” and fits the description of the Blaxican’s mac and cheese dish. This homestyle southern comfort classic is given a new spin with the addition of de-seeded jalapenos. De-seeding the peppers allows for the authentic flavor to seep in, without the spiciness being an overkill. Just enough kick, with gooey cheese, and perfectly-cooked pasta is something no sane foodie would ever turn down. The Collard Green Quesadilla just sounds like fun. These fresh collards are simmered and softened to a delightful texture in a smoked turkey broth, which gives the greens their iconic soul food flavor. There’s nothing better than this traditional veggie, but when you slap them in a quesadilla, smother them in cheesy goodness, and grill the entire thing to perfection, you may as well be defying the laws of gravity. It is just that insane and just that good. The quesadilla is served with a side of their coveted Mexsoul sauce for dipping. For a napkin-in-the-lap atmosphere, head to The Grey in Historic Downton Savannah. The Grey was once a 1938 Greyhound Bus terminal, that has now been fully restored into a sleek and modern home for comfort food classics. Following her vision, Chef Mashama Bailey offers her customers a food and wine experience unlike any other in the region. With ties as far north as Queens, and as far south as Waynesboro, it’s no wonder why she has so much to offer, both in style and in gastronomical terms.


Pickled oysters with lardo, serrano peppers, and chicken a skin, prepared by Chef Masham


With balance and skill, Chef Mashama brings to the table what she herself would like to eat. By adding timeless classics to the menu, that she transforms into a modern and chic meal, Chef Mashama has given us all the best of both worlds. The Chef sticks to her guns when it comes to fresh, regional ingredients like vegetables, seafood, and meats, so guests are greeted with a plate full of nothing but the best each time they enter, which is an integral part of her cooking style. CHEF MASHAMA BAILEY

You can color within the lines by ordering familiar dishes, like the smoked pork shoulder with turnip greens and navy beans, or you can spread your foodie wings and fly to culinary heaven by ordering a chicken liver mousse on toast, with peach preserves. A fan-favorite is the country pasta, served with house-cured pork belly, fresh black pepper, and parmesan. Not sure about the seasonal menu? Join The Grey for Sunday Supper, a fixed menu that caters to certain themes throughout each month, which essentially provides a different Sunday meal every time. Soul food, southern food, comfort classics – whatever you want to call it, it’s damn good. When searching for new ways to enjoy these culinary masterpieces that shaped the foodie industry of the South, we didn’t have much faith that something as delicious as traditional greens, or mac and cheese, could be altered in a positive way. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right? Wrong. We’ve never been more thrilled at the sight of new creations in the comfort food world. Chow chow Mashama Bailey's recipe from The Grey in Savannah

The us M ic City Center

Events & Conventions 2018’S SPRING AND SUMMER AGENDA With the United States economy proving to be robust to say the least for 2018, this year looks promising. Travel, growth, trades, property investments, and overall wealth are expected to remain steady, if not increase towards the latter part of the year. With that being said, events, trade shows, expos, and the convention centers that host them all, will be blossoming this spring and summer. So, whether your travels are for business, pleasure, or a little bit of both, make sure you check out these top southern convention centers and expos on the agenda, where the venues are rated first-class, and the valuable content will be worth every minute of your trip.

- events APRIL

• Smart Growth America • Southern Women’s Show


• Fan Fest • Nashville Fashion Focus

The Music City Center

Our first stop is Nashville, Tennessee. Each area has a brand, and if we’re mentioning top convention centers of the South, it won’t be hard to guess what Nashville’s brand is all about. The inspiration of the history, musical culture, record labels, and surrounding travel promotions make the Nashville CVC a one-of-a-kind corporation.


• Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Annual Meeting • Electronic Security Expo

In 2003, Nashville set a record to grow their travel industry from 3 billion to 5 billion dollars. Today, they are now a 6billion-dollar industry. This stems from key meetings and travel markets that partner up with the area, from trade shows and sponsorships, to conventional travel costs and general leisure experiences. Nashville attracts just over 14 million visitors every year. The Music City Center is the area’s hub for both travelers and exhibitors alike. If you’re looking for a competitive place to host your next event, Nashville’s Music City Center has 350,000 square feet to play around with.

The Miami Beach Convention Center

Next on the list is Miami Beach, Florida, where plenty is happening all year round and a brand of travel to this area is spiced with luxury and vibrancy. The Miami Beach Convention Center is in close proximity to the beloved shoreline, so its tropical location makes it an ideal host for any type of event. All in favor of an expo with a view, raise your hand! It is a little farther away from the airport and there aren’t any forms of public transportation other than the city buses, so it will require some outside transportation if you plan on leaving the APRIL center, but the surrounding amenities make up for it. The • Home Design and convention center attracts nearly 600,000 visitors each Remodeling Show year. Big things are happening in 2018 for the center, as • Jeweler’s International Showcase it is undergoing a 615-million-dollar renovation – We said • Emerge Americas this year would be a good one! – that is set to upgrade the facility in exciting ways. JUNE • Le Miami

- events -

JULY • Swimwear Show Travel South | Spring 2018 | 73

Not to be confused with the Bulldogs, another top dog is the Georgia International Convention Center, located in College Park. The Atlanta area is known for dabbling in so many of the latest and most innovative trends, so we’re thrilled any time an event is happening here. It is the state’s second largest convention center, and the newest, as it opened in 2009. With some of the best regional cuisine around, as well as plenty of downtown Atlanta attractions, this convention center is an affordable and an accommodating host.

With a central location to major airports, bus terminals, and subway stops, the Georgia International Convention Center is a breeze to get to and from wherever you need to go. Whether you’re attending a show or planning your next event, this is one impressive property.

- events MARCH • Franchise Expo • 2018 Transportation Career Expo • Skills USA

APRIL Georgia International Convention Center

• 21st Annual World Natural Hair Healthy Lifestyle Event

SEPTEMBER • Steel Summit 2018

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center

Dallas is last, but certainly not least, on this year’s agenda. As with the rest of our top picks, Dallas offers plenty of accommodations, including a wide variety of nightlife and day excursions. There are more than enough hotels to choose from, and the cuisine is exceptional. If you consider yourself a fan of steak, be sure to grab a bite of authentic Texas beef, or some BBQ Brisket. Don’t be fooled by the cattle industry, though. Dallas has made its mark on the culinary map as a highly coveted foodie destination, with everything from classic cuisine to sleek creations. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is known for hosting very large events in its 2 million square feet of space. Popular annuals include the NFL Fan Experience, Dallas Safari Club, Mary Kay’s Annual Seminar, and MegaFest. There is 1 million square feet of exhibit space alone. Meeting rooms, ballrooms, dressing rooms, conference rooms, and an arena sets this center apart from most. The center also offers free shuttle buses to downtown Dallas, Uptown, the Art District, The West End, and more, so an adventure on your free time is never too far away.

- events MAY • National Rifle Association

JUNE • Southern Baptist National Convention • EuropaExpo

This year’s venue list is only a taste of what the southern region has to offer the travel industry. Whether you already happen to be attending one of these events, or would like more information on them as either an exhibitor or an attendee, please visit their websites accordingly. 2018’s agenda is far from full, but promising and enthusiastic. Be sure to check with surrounding hotels and resorts for accommodations, and start planning your next event now!

SEPTEMBER • Society of Petroleum Engineers Travel South | Spring 2018 | 75

PuTnAm CoUnTy,

West Virgina Located within 30 minutes of West Virginia’s two biggest cities, Valley Park in Hurricane, West Virginia, has long attracted visitors to its Waves of Fun pool, generous walking trails and seasonal activities and events. But with a 15 million dollar renovation that includes a new conference center, a new regulation-sized soccer field, and new baseball/softball fields, Valley Park is set to become a premiere event and sports tournament destination for the region. The grand re-opening of Valley Park in May of 2018 will allow others to see the final product of this project’s ingenuity and effort. There is no greater feeling than building a park that impacts our community in a profound way.

Visitors to the park can enjoy small town charm with a warm welcome in the area’s growing local food scene and boutique shops. Or guests can be in downtown Charleston or Huntington within minutes to access even more arts, culture, and historic attractions. “Putnam County’s convenient location in the heart of West Virginia’s Metro Valley gives visitors the opportunity to experience the best of West Virginia’s two largest cities while getting away and relaxing in an area full of small town charm,” explains Kelli Dailey, Putnam County CVB Executive Director. “These upgrades to Valley Park make what was already a centerpiece in our community even more of a jewel that we can’t wait for people to enjoy.” Additional planned upgrades to Valley Park include an 18-hole disc golf course, an expanded green space for community events, an all-inclusive playground, a playground obstacle course and 40-yard dash with interactive timing features, and new tennis courts. The conference center can

seat over 1,000 guests in conference-style seating and more than 400 at tables. The space may be divided into thirds for breakout sessions and features high quality sound and visual technology. The Valley Park Conference Center will

be a centerpiece in the county. Our goal is to host large conferences, banquets, weddings, and receptions. It will be the perfect place to host your event. Our venues offer large and small spaces that give you the flexibility to create your ideal atmosphere.

Easy planning at a new facility, in the heart of WV. Opening May 2018, the Conference Center at Valley Park accommodates over 1,000 guests in conference-style seating, or over 400 around tables. Plan your event or conference in our clean, spacious facility. Learn more at (304) 562-0518 or at


Tar Heel State

s Mountain y k o m S Great Park National Saddle up and get ready for a ride, first through mountains and finally into the big central cities, as we go exploring in the Tar Heel State! For some of the best views in the state, make your way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited one in the United States, with roughly 10 million visitors each year. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits on the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, which is a part of Blue Ridge, and both extend as a division of the greater Appalachian Mountains. In the center of the park, you’ll find the border that separates North Carolina and Tennessee. The park’s area is over 500,000 acres, and is home to a wide variety of wildlife. The vast differences in elevation throughout the mountain ranges make for great diversity among the park’s inhabitants. Because the park has both a subtropical lowland climate, and old growth forests with steep slopes and cooler temperatures, animal sightings can range from a black bear to a bat, depending on where you’re at in the park. Other species include bobcats, raccoons, foxes, otters, skunks, white-tailed deer, coyotes, woodchucks, and many more. Park officials estimate that there may be more than 50,000 undocumented species within the park’s boundaries. There are plenty of woods to explore within the park, as it is home to more than 100 different types of trees and well over 5,000 plant species. Towns that surround the park house museums, landmarks, handcrafted souvenirs, events, lodging, park tours, and a variety of other adventures, so be sure to check out the many attractions in the area. Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee are the two closest cities on the border, and they welcome visitors year-round.

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rolina North Ca Art of Museum

The park also has an array of historical landmarks and sites to visit, as well as natural wonders, like caves, waterfalls, and ravines. Historical attractions include Cades Cove, among others, which displays original buildings like log cabins, churches, and even barns.

Glory Road is a ramp that simulates different racetracks, and is now in its 3rd generation. It is receiving a makeover with 18 brand new iconic cars and exciting tracks. Make time for the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Glory Road the next time you’re in Charlotte.

If you would rather hear the roaring of engines over the chirping of birds, head to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte. The hall opened in 2010, and has since been booming, both with interactive exhibits and amazing reviews alike.

Another top attraction in the Tar Heel State is the North Carolina Zoo. The zoo’s exhibits are designed to look like natural habitats, so not only do the animals feel at home, but the visitors feel truly submersed into the wildlife. There are nearly 2,000 different animals and well over 50,000 plant species within the zoo.

The hall of fame includes “artifacts, hands-on exhibits, a 278-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop, and a NASCAR Productions-operated broadcast studio.” According to the hall’s website, “the goal of the facility is to honor NASCAR icons and create an enduring tribute to the drivers, crew members, team owners and others that have impacted the sport in the past, present and future.” Honor is exactly what comes to mind as you view Glory Road.

The zoo showcases several different attractions, like the African exhibits that house elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, rhinos, chimpanzees, and more. The North American exhibits host polar bears, falcons, seals, beavers, turtles, cougars, black bears, wolves, and more. The North Carolina Zoo is a great place to take the kids, so if you are traveling with any little ones, make sure they get to meet all of these exotic animals. There are interactive exhibits and shows, where they will learn, both visually and hands-on!

Raleigh is especially kind to foodies. Various food trucks, high-end eateries, and down-home local diners dot the town like bright stars in a big southern sky. With the farm-to-table cooking style becoming so popular, it is no wonder why Raleigh is the perfect place to test out your skills if you’re a chef. Take chef Ashley Christensen, for example. Christensen is the owner of Poole’s Diner, and has made quite a name for herself, both in the Raleigh area, and in the overall industry. From appearing on hit shows, like the Food Network’s popular Iron Chef America and MSNBC’s Your Business, to opening five establishments in addition to Poole’s, Christensen has everyone buzzing about her talents. Poole’s Diner is the one diner in Raleigh that natives and tourists won’t stop talking about, where the handwritten menu is located on the wall via chalkboard. Poole’s used to be an old pie shop from the 1940s, that also became a luncheonette. The chef stayed true to the former owner’s space, and Poole’s rebirth came in 2007. Everything here is made from scratch with seasonal ingredients, and most consider it to be gourmet southern cuisine. Suggestion: order the Macaroni au gratin!

For those with a big city appetite, you will want to head straight for Raleigh. Raleigh is gorgeous, and full of vibrant history. The city is home to the North Carolina Museum of Art, which displays tens of galleries and special, seasonal exhibits. The city of Raleigh is a well-balanced combination of classic southern charm and life amid hustle and bustle.

Whether you’re in the state for a sporting event, the beautiful mountains, or the yummy foodie scene, North Carolina is without a doubt one of the most interesting states in the region, and the country. Once they get a whiff of the fresh air – and maybe Poole’s Macaroni – even the wariest of travelers will stop what they’re doing, take a moment to tip their hats back, and partake in a “hey, ya’ll!” with the Tar Heel State. Travel South | Spring 2018 | 81



Johnston County, affectionately known as JoCo to those in the know, is just 30 minutes east of Raleigh – far enough away from the urban areas to offer visitors the charm of farm life and small-town living! The county seat, Smithfield, is home to many cultural sites and a thriving downtown offering gems like the Ava Gardner Museum. By far, the biggest draw to JoCo is outlet shopping at the Carolina Premium Outlets located at Exit 95 on I-95, offering name brand stores like Coach, Nine West, Nike, and Polo at discounted prices. After shopping, take in a musical comedy show at the American Music Jubilee Theatre, located in the neighboring Selma Antiques Shopping District. In southern part of the county, Benson is home to Broadslab Distillery, offering tours and tastings of moonshine crafted by master distiller and owner Jeremy Norris.

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Broadslab is part of the JoCo Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail, a self-guided craft beverage trail covering 5 locations in the county. Also along the trail are regionally celebrated craft breweries, Deep River Brewing and Double Barley Brewing, as well as award-winning Hinnant Family Vineyards and Gregory Vineyards. To learn about our farming heritage, you can visit the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly. Long known as an agricultural center, our farmers continue to thrive with many working farms in the area welcoming visitors. Explore the NC Civil War Trail that begins at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site east of Four Oaks and ends in Clayton, which boasts a vibrant downtown with local restaurants, shops, and even a cocktail lounge.

For hiking and recreation, try Clemmons State Forest or Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center. There is much to see and do in the county, we invite you to explore our website and get to know JoCo!


As we continue to swing for the fences, we know that any advancement can have a life-changing impact.

Whatever it takes. Stand up for the 16 million people living with cancer in the U.S. and Canada. Visit

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North Tour Roxboro/Person County,

Carolina Person County Tourism Development Authority LOVES to tell people where to go! Promotion of activities, such as festivals and special events, is a main priority of the Tourism Authority. Our lakes, Hyco and Mayo, offer many boating, skiing, and fishing activities, as well as tournaments, and have walking/hiking trails and bird blinds for the outdoor enthusiast. Bring your own tent or RV or rent one of the many cabins and houses that are available on the lakes. A community house at Hyco Lake makes it a perfect place for groups to gather all year round. An amphitheatre at Mayo is a major attraction for concerts and outdoor movies for everyone to come and enjoy. Our area offers a variety of music venues – whether you like classical sounds, jazz, rock, country or bluegrass. The Main Street Pavilion at the Merritt Commons facility in Historic Uptown Roxboro provides an amphitheatre venue for spring/summer concerts, as well as being one of the focal points during the annual PERSONALITY Festival. In addition, Willow Oak Music Park hosts nationallyknown bluegrass entertainers for a four-day musical event twice a year. There are a variety of restaurants in the area serving all types of foods, and for the shoppers among you, you’ll find specialty ladies boutiques, antique shops and interesting gift shops along the Boulevard and in Uptown Roxboro. The Person County Museum of History with its campus of 6 buildings houses an eclectic display of Person County's History. You don’t have to be from Person County to find a memory as you stroll the grounds or take a tour of the Museum. Palace Pointe Complex continues to be a big draw for all families. You can see a movie (choice of 7 screens), bowl, play pool, roller skate, be amazed and entertained in the video/arcade gallery and enjoy dinner at the diner or have your own private party in one of the special party rooms – all under one roof! You must be sure to save time to take the wine tasting tour of one of North Carolina's newest wineries, Rock of Ages Winery in the Hurdle Mills community of Person County.

The area is a hub that allows you to discover other adventures within a 30 mile radius. Nearby, the Virginia International Motorsport Country Club affords you the opportunity to see the best of the best sports cars racing around a scenic course while you lounge under a large elm tree. You can attend baseball games of the Durham (NC) Bulls or the Danville (VA) Braves. Outlet shopping is a short drive away, and live theatre tour productions can be enjoyed in the area also. You can stay busy – or you can find a special place for relaxing – here in Person County. For more information, please visit our website Please download our free app, Explore Roxboro, where you can keep up with all the current events as well as places to sleep, dine, or shop. Call us at 336.597.2689. Our mailing address is: Person County TDA, P. O. Box 1792, Roxboro NC 27573.

FRANKLIN, NORTH CAROLINA Franklin was voted the “Best Small Outdoor Town” for 2015 & 2016 by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. Miles of trails, scenic drives, waterfalls, fly fishing, and more – Franklin, NC is truly Mother Nature’s playground. Looking for EXCITING ADVENTURES? Get to know your “Mountain-side” in Franklin, NC!

Hike along the Appalachian or Bartram trails to the tops of the Nantahala Mountains, where you can see for miles and miles in all directions. Soar high above the trees with a ziplining experience. Challenge your fly fishing skills in our cold mountain rivers or visit a trout farm, where you’re guaranteed to catch your dinner. Immerse yourself in the rapids on a kayak or raft and feel the thrill of the rivers. Take a scenic drive or hit the trails on your mountain bike, and feel the anticipation of the beauty that awaits you around the next curve. Known historically as the “Gem Capitol of the

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World,” test your skills at gem mining at any one of the ten gem mines that are open to the public in our area. Enjoy the cold refreshing taste of locally crafted beer at one of our two local breweries. Walk our historic Main Street, where you can find three museums and experience life as it once was, while visiting unique shops and dining all within walking distance. Franklin should be your first stop for collecting memories and experiences that you and your loved ones will cherish for generations. You’ll run out of daylight before you run out of things to do!

Nantahala, North Carolina Tucked away in the Nantahala Mountains, the Nantahala Community is centrally located to all of the great vacation activity areas of Western North Carolina. Nantahala Lake sits at 3,012 feet in elevation, the second highest lake east of the Rocky Mountains. The pristine waters of Nantahala Lake are surrounded by 29 miles of shoreline, most of which is National Forest land, creating one of the most pristine bodies of water in the region. The 1,600acre lake offers activities to visitors, such as swimming, kayaking, boating, fishing, and a perfect place to escape for a quiet day of relaxation. For those seeking a more thrilling experience, the Nantahala River offers whitewater rafting and kayaking, or the perfect place for you to cast a line, in hopes of catching the perfect trout in one of our many natural streams. Take a hike in the nearby Joyce Kilmer Forest or Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or follow the National Scenic Byway, Wayah Road, over to Franklin, NC, and experience one of their ten active gem mines. On the way, take a drive up to Wayah Bald Lookout Tower, and get a mile-high view in every direction. Four states are visible from the old stone tower which was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corp to serve as a fire tower for the Nantahala National Forest. The world renowned Appalachian Trail also passes through Nantahala, which is accessible from Wayah Road southeast of Nantahala Lake, as well as at Wesser Bald in Tellico Gap. The Bartram Trail, a national recreation trail, travels across the Nantahala National Forest from Nantahala Gorge, east and south into Georgia. Nantahala, “Land of the Noon Day Sun,” offers endless opportunities to disconnect from the distractions of everyday life and reconnect with the beauty that is Nantahala Lake & the Nantahala Community. Visit us online at and start planning your next vacation now!



These southern gems boast crystal clear water, warm, relaxing temperatures, and fun to be had for all.

How many times have you packed the family up in the car to take them to some sort of water adventure that ended up being more expensive, and less fun than you thought it would be? Save yourself the trouble this season, and plan your next vacation around a natural waterpark. These southern gems boast crystal clear water, warm, relaxing temperatures, and fun to be had for all. A spring is a natural condition in which water flows to the earth’s surface from an aquifer. As a part of the hydrosphere, a spring is essentially a filtration system that allows water to travel through the earth like drainage pipes. When water emerges from the surface over time, it will create a pool, thus bringing us a natural spring.

Natural springs are usually full of crystal-clear water, deep caverns and underwater cave systems, and a diverse ecosystem, with many different species of wildlife that call the environment home. Florida is the world capital of these natural wonders we call springs. There are well over 1,000 different freshwater springs in the state, and because they are used like a drain, they consistently pump out more than 8 billion gallons of water every single day. These beautiful springs have recreational perks, with some of the best outdoor activities in the region being available nearly all year round. Visitors will enjoy the wide variety of things to do, from paddling, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing, to cave diving, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, camping, swimming, and more. One of the most popular Florida springs is the Blue Spring State Park. Just over half a million visitors make their way to Blue Springs each year for some fun in the sun. One of the best things about Blue Springs is the abundance of manatees. There are hundreds of these loveable sea creatures that flock to this spring during the winter, and stay through the springtime. Boat tours are available for those who don’t have equipment, or simply just want to sit back and relax while enjoying the views. Canoe rentals and tubing rentals are available nearby, but many of the visitors are here just for the swimming and snorkeling.

“NaTuRaL SpRiNgS ArE UsUaLlY FuLl Of CrYsTaL-ClEaR WaTeR, DeEp CaVeRnS AnD UnDeRwAtEr CaVe SyStEmS, AnD A DiVeRsE EcOsYsTeM, WiTh MaNy DiFfErEnT SpEcIeS Of WiLdLiFe ThAt CaLl ThE EnViRoNmEnT HoMe.”

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State Park g n i r p S e Blu Blue Spring is the largest spring that feeds the St. Johns River, and the spring discharges nearly 200 million gallons of water per day. It is like being able to go to a community pool, only it is ten times more pretty, and naturally ten times more sanitary. Beginning in the springtime and running through to mid-November, visitors will experience clear waters that maintain a constant 73-degree temperature.

Blue Springs is quite deep within its cave systems, where divers have dared to venture 90 feet down into the shaft. Once divers are down that far, the cave system will open into somewhat of an underwater ballroom, but the pressure is too much after reaching that room, so it is recommended that you stop there. Divers in the Blue Springs are not allowed to dive alone; everyone must have a partner. Another popular spring destination is the De Leon Springs State Park, where nearly 300,000 tourists come every year for a chance to capture the beauty of the surroundings. This spring is labeled as the site of the myth that we all know as the Fountain of Youth. Low-hanging Spanish moss, thick trees, and blue water make this

a serene paradise for all who enter, so it is easy to get lost in the fable. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to take a dip and increase your odds, right? There is a vent in the spring that causes it to bubble, making the water itself even more interesting. The wildlife here is thriving as well, and the skies are open and blue, so take a boat tour or dive into the water and relax during your spring vacation. The kids will enjoy all the nature trails, and the activities at Spring Garden Lake. With a sheltered swimming area that is bright and airy, visitors of all ages will be able to enjoy the springs comfortably. This is a familyfriendly spring for sure, so bring the entire crowd for a weekend of uninterrupted fun and relaxation.

River Cullasaja

“GeNeRaLlY SpEaKiNg, A SpRiNg, As StAtEd, Is A NaTuRaL DrAiNaGe SyStEm, Or PaRt ThErEoF.”

DIVE IN Generally speaking, a spring, as stated, is a natural drainage system, or part thereof. So, while Florida may be the most popular state in the country, and the most popular area in the world for natural springs, North Carolina is known similarly for it’s swimming holes. A swimming hole is, in essence, like a spring. Only, instead of gaining filtration from aquifers and underwater cave systems, the swimming holes rely on their filtration at higher elevations. The water literally flows through the rocks and the mountainsides, making these swimming holes

or “mini springs” a place to go for some of the cleanest water in the world.

The spring season brings with it some warmer weather, especially in late spring to early summer, so that is when you will want to head to one of these natural beauties. One of the most popular and most accessible swimming holes in the area is Bust Your Butt Falls in Highlands. Clearly, its name gives you fair warning, so watch your step, as the rocks are as slippery as a slide with soap bubbles. The nat-

ural pool can be seen from the road, and often times during peak months you’ll be able to drive by with your windows down only to hear the shrieking and hollering of happy children as they plummet down the rocks and into the cool water. The water flows from the mountains to the Cullasaja River, and a short hike will bring you to Bridal Veil Falls, a popular photography site. Bridal Veil Falls is also the only waterfall in the entire state of North Carolina that you can drive beneath.

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a ng State P Blue Spri


Another popular natural pool, or mini spring, is Sliding Rock, which is very similar in nature to Bust You Butt Falls. The pool itself is only 7 feet deep, but the water stays fairly cold, so wear a T-shirt and shorts when you slide down. You’ll want the extra clothing for skin protection as well, even though the rock is as smooth as glass. The real fun to be had is in watching others go flying down this natural waterslide, only to come running right back up for more. You can also rent a tube and float on down, so the area of Sliding Rock becomes a waterslide and a natural Lazy River all in one. Whether you’re looking to explore underwater caves and the natural plumbing of the lower elevation, or you’re more inclined to take a ride on one of nature’s mountainside rollercoasters, these natural waters will be the highlight of your season. Best of all? They are cheap! Admission to these areas ranges from $5 to $15, depending on the season and your rentals. A springtime vacation in the springs couldn’t get any better!

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Travel South Magazine is the go-to media source for all things food & travel within the region. From family-friendly outdoor activities and daytrips, to awardwinning resorts and headline-worthy social events, Travel South makes the most of every season.

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essee Memphis, Tenn

Best of The

Arkansas | Texas | Louisiana | Mississippi | Tennessee | Kentucky Alabama | Florida | Georgia | South Carolina | Virginia | West Virginia

From boardwalks and beach resorts, to caverns, horse parks, and haunted prisons, we bring you the best of our southern states. Play games with the kids and enjoy aquariums and zoos, visit the home of the LSU mascot, Mike the Tiger, or visit the birthplace of Kermit the Frog. Whatever you’re in search of, you’ll find it in the South!



Arkansas has a highly-developed, rich history that is underappreciated and underexplored.

With things like the Fort Smith National Historic Site and The Gangster Museum of America, Arkansas is certainly a top contender on our travel lists this season. The Fort Smith area was incorporated into the United States during the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, and was named after General Thomas Adam Smith, who was originally part of the survey crew who scouted the area for

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a military post site. Eventually, the peace Treaty of Fort Smith was negotiated and recognized in 1822, and a settlement formed thereafter. Visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site today for in-depth historical analysis and a tour of the land. The former courthouse from the settlement now serves as the Visitor Center, where tourists can view one exhilarating exhibit after another, including a time

piece on the infamous Bonnie and Clyde crime duo, who were killed shortly after leaving that exact area. Speaking of infamous criminals, head to Hot Springs, where you’ll be delighted to enter The Gangster Museum of America. Step back in time into the 20s and 30s, even the 40s, where you will experience day-to-day life for both local and country-wide famous criminals alike. From bootlegging and gambling, to crimes of passion and gang life, the audio tapes alone are enough to keep you going. Stare into photographs, play in the antique casino, and listen carefully as your tour guide tells you these criminals’ dirty secrets.

nal Fort Smith NSatitioe Historic

Step into the Capone Gallery or the Outlaw Gallery, and you won’t be able to get enough of this place. Learn about Charles “Lucky” Luciano and the New York Connection, or pour all your focus into the PowerBrokers, where thermal water turned the area into the biggest resort to house illegal gambling in the country. The Gangster Museum of America will pleasantly surprise you.

" Charles "Lucky no a Luci

NoRtH LiTtLe RoCk, Ar

A Destination FoR AlL SeAsOnS

North Little Rock, Arkansas, is at the intersection of natural beauty and city life, activity and relaxation. The city is accessible by major highways and Clinton National Airport but offers views that take your mind miles away from civilization. SPRING Learn how to kayak on the Arkansas River with Rock Town River Outfitters. The farmers market offers soap, fresh bread and local honey. Downtown art galleries and restaurants participate in Argenta ArtWalk every third Friday. SUMMER Catch a minor league baseball game at Dickey-Stephens Park or cool off at Arkansas’s largest waterpark, Wild River Country. Pick your own strawberries, shop local goods or try a canning class at Faulkner Lake Orchard.

t ke

The f arm e rs ma r

FALL Before you visit, check for an updated list of can’t-miss fall events, such as Festival of Wines, Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival, ACANSA Arts Festival and Arkansas Times Whole Hog Roast.

WINTER Dine, catch a movie, and shop at Central Arkansas’ largest indoor shopping center, McCain Mall. Stop by local art galleries for seasonal sales and try a beginnerfriendly painting class at Barry Thomas Studio or Painting with a Twist.

YEAR-ROUND History - The Old Mill, the last standing structure from Gone with the Wind, is a beautiful 1930s replica of an 1800s gristmill. At the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, tour a real, World War II submarine and see a tugboat that was in Pearl Harbor during the 1941 attack.

Live Entertainment - Verizon Arena brings in big-name acts, such as Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, and Tim McGraw. The Joint Comedy Theater hosts comedy improv groups, local musicians and original comedies written and performed by former SNL writers.

Outdoors - The Arkansas River Trail is a 15-mile scenic loop for cyclists and pedestrians along and across the Arkansas River. To plan your trip to North Little Rock, contact the North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau at (501)758-1424 or visit

“FrOm ScEnIc SiNgLeTrAcK TrAiLs To BrAnD NaMe ShOpPiNg To FoOdIe SpLeNdOrS, It’S AlL PoSsIbLe In RoGeRs.”

NeW MeEtS NoStAlGiC in Northwest Arkansas RoGeRs, ArKaNsAs You might be drawn to Rogers, Arkansas for its gorgeous natural scenery, but as you’ll find, its gourmet restaurants, rich arts and culture scene, and bustling shopping will make you want to stick around. Northwest Arkansas is rich with attractions, no matter your interests — and the best part is: the heart and soul of small-town America are alive and well here, even though it’s one of the fastest-growing places in the nation. Explore the brick-lined streets of Historic Downtown Rogers, where farmto-table restaurants, independent boutiques and friendly shopkeepers await. Go treasure hunting at one-ofa-kind antique shops, or browse

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handmade quilts, jewelry and décor at bustling arts and crafts fairs. This is also the ultimate destination for brand name shopping in the region. Stock up on designer labels at the open-air Pinnacle Hills Promenade or at the indoor Northwest Arkansas Mall. For arts and culture, explore a collection of work by American artists, inpaintings, cluding 19th-century outdoor sculptures surrounded by nature trails, and even a Usonian home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at nearby Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In Historic Downtown Rogers, visit local artists’ studios and photography galleries. At night, watch dance performances and theatrical productions at the

Arkansas Arts Academy, catch a hit Broadway musical at Victory Theater, presented by Arkansas Public Theatre, or stop into a restaurant or bar offering live music. History buffs will love uncovering the local stories at Rogers Historical Museum. And for the outdoor enthusiast, take your pick from well-maintained parks, water fun on Beaver Lake, and hiking and biking on a latticework of more than 200 miles of hard and soft-surface trails across the breathtaking Ozarks Mountain Country. From scenic singletrack trails to brand name shopping to foodie splendors, it’s all possible in Rogers.

With its charming historic downtown district lined with shops and boutiques, gourmet restaurants helmed by talented local chefs and the great outdoors beckoning for backcountry adventures, there’s a lot to love in Rogers. 1-800-364-1240 •

If you’re looking for an amazing, scenic location for mountain biking, look no further than Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Lake Leatherwood is located within the city limits of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and is owned and managed by the city. You would never know it was in the city, as it is separated from the city by a mountain ridge. Much of the park could be considered wilderness. The 1,610-acre park offers over 25 miles of biking trails surrounding a spring-fed lake. Leatherwood has a lot of short, tough climbs, ridgeline flow, technical rock drops, and great lake views, and boasts the only true natural feature downhill in Northwest Arkansas. The biking is excellent, with trails that go from easy to advanced, with over 400 feet of elevation gain from the lowest trail to the highest. The trails feature many rocky ledges, steep slopes, extended grades, creek crossings and varied terrains that make most trails challenging for both foot and bike traffic. The park also provides for many other recreational opportunities. It has cabins, camping and RV sites, boating, a kayak

and canoe launch, fishing, a shower house, a boat dock/marina, a swim beach, BBQ pavilion, and a playground. Just a couple of miles away, historic Eureka Springs is an awesome place to hang out after your ride. Experience the beauty and charm of this Victorian Village, with over 100 unique shops & galleries, Eureka Springs is a shopper’s paradise. Award-winning restaurants can satisfy anyone’s appetite for everything from down home southern food to romantic, candlelit dinners, savory Czech-German dishes, authentic Italian cuisine and spicy East Indian fare. You’ll find Mediterranean, Chinese, Irish, Mexican, Cajun, and Thai as well. Relax at one of the numerous spas around the city or visit a 500-acre wildlife refuge for abused, abandoned, and neglected big cats. Take a 2-hour zipline tour through an Ozark Mountain forest, ride a steam train, or explore an area cavern. It’s time to unplug and escape to Eureka Springs, Arkansas.


Take an exhilarating ride down one of our epic bike trails through the majestic Ozark mountains, or enjoy a day of spas and shopping or just exploring the winding streets of our picturesque Victorian Village. Whether you’re looking for a short getaway or the ultimate escape from it all, Eureka Springs is the place for you!

Visit us online to see why so many make their extraordinary escape to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Check the 2018 calendar of events for new, special downhill Mountain Bike and Enduro races, some of the most aggressive world class trails west of the Mississippi.


WesT From the grandeur of Big River Crossing & Big River Trail to the charm of our historic district, West Memphis has more to explore.


Memphis A r k a n s a s

West Memphis is a city of 28,000 in the heart of Arkansas's Delta Region. The first settlers of the area were Native American mound builders who inhabited eastern Arkansas prior to the arrival of early European explorers such as Spanish explorer Hernando Desoto. Later, the lumber industry played a pivotal role in the development of the city.

Be sure to browse the area's shopping mall, gift shops, and specialty shops before sitting down to some Southern hospitality in one of the city's great restaurants. You will find a cuisine to suit your taste including some of the greatest barbecue around.

The countryside surrounding the West Memphis area offers a beautiful outdoor setting with excellent fishing, hunting and other water recreation activities on old river lakes and bayous. RV visitors love to camp along the shores of the Mississippi River.

Top off your afternoon or evening with fun and high stakes entertainment at Southland Park Gaming and Racing. You will also find the West Memphis calendar filled with festivals, theater productions and special events.

Enjoy the benefits of West Memphis hometown hospitality with the excitement of big city attractions. West Memphis is just across the Mississippi River from the stimulating attractions of Memphis including Beale Street, Mud Island, Mississippi Riverboat Rides, Graceland and much more.

While in the Memphis area, enjoy your stay in West Memphis where fine hotels offer moderate prices. The West Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau will help you with your planning needs.

“EnJoY ThE BeNeFiTs Of WeSt MeMpHiS HoMeToWn HoSpItAlItY WiTh ThE ExCiTeMeNt Of BiG CiTy AtTrAcTiOnS.”

texas longhorns



The state may bring to mind longhorns, miles of farmland, cowboys, and giant cuts of perfectly-cooked meat, but beyond the stereotypical atmosphere is one where adults and children, friends and family, can have fun together while obtaining the true meaning as to why “everything is bigger in Texas.�

son Ladybird JohCnen ter er ow fl Wild Bubba GumpSh rimp

Consider the Kemah Boardwalk for starters. Situated along Galveston Bay in the Houston area, the Kemah Boardwalk has something for everyone to enjoy. Buy a bracelet and take a ride on one of the many carnival attractions that the 35-acre atmosphere houses. Overlook the bay on the 65-foot-tall Ferris wheel, or take your best shot in the games section. Collect tickets and tokens in the arcade, where you’ll surely work up an appetite, and then head on over to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Aquarium Restaurant. The restaurant is happy to serve up some of your favorite seafood classics, all while looking at a great view of the 50,000gallon aquarium. If you’re in the mood for something else, you can try the Saltgrass Steakhouse, the Bayside Grill, or the Cadillac Bar. One of the best sights to see in Texas in the spring are Bluebonnets in bloom. Take a road trip along the Texas highways and spot some wild growing Bluebonnets for yourself, or head to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin for spectacular flora displays. With nearly 300 acres to explore, there’s no reason not spend an entire day getting lost in the meadows of the state’s designated flower. Over 800 different species of plants, both flowering and non-flowering, have been planted in the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, and some of them even grow here naturally. The buildings that you’ll notice around the property were sculpted to reflect the architectural styles of the region, and some of the structures even harvest rainwater into a storage system for the plants. Adult admission is around $10, and many events happen throughout the year here, so be sure to visit for more information. This year, the center will be hosting its first-ever Boots & Blooms event, which will be celebrating the blossoming Bluebonnets with country music, fantastic displays, live oaks, and so much more.

Cadillac Bar

“Springtime brings with it an abundance of nature, art, and fresh homegrown food.”

VISIT Mckinney, TX

Any time of year is perfect for making McKinney, Texas, your destination for down home fun in a quaint, historic town. Springtime brings with it an abundance of nature, art, and fresh homegrown food. At the heart of this vibrant city is a picturesque authentic Texas downtown square featuring roughly 120 mom-and-pop businesses. Among these, visitors will find more than 20 eateries, a boutique hotel, wineries and oodles of specialty shops filled with eclectic merchandise and tasty treats. in other areas of this city that sits just 30 miles north of Dallas are lush rolling hills, plenty of nature areas, and even a croatian-inspired village, all awaiting the curious traveler.

May brings other fun events including Bike the Bricks, which brings hundreds of cyclists to historic downtown Mckinney for a high-speed closed-circuit race offering considerable prize money. Then, celebrate your patriotism at the July 4th hometown parade and fireworks display. Fall brings roughly 50,000 guests to the downtown square for the hugely-popular Mckinney Oktoberfest. This three-day late September festival offers plenty of craft beer, wine, German food, games, dancing, music and a carnival. Also that month, Dinosaurs Live starts its annual six-month stay on the nature trails of the Heard natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary.

The city’s signature Spring event, Arts in Bloom, kicks off the warmer weather season with a celebration of art, wine, and music that fills the downtown square the second weekend in April. This three-day festival features 150 juried artists, a tent full of wineries offering tastings, and loads of local and regional musical artists providing live entertainment.

Mckinney rings in the holiday season with Home for the Holidays over Thanksgiving weekend. December follows with a tour of decorated historic homes and a nighttime parade of lights.

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More information on Mckinney events and attractions is available at or by calling 888-649-8499.




ExploRe enjoy

Denison, TeXaS



Denison is one of the few Texas cities to feature multiple craft beverage venues including Homestead Winery, Ivanhoe Ale Brewery and Ironroot Republic Distillery. Ironroot Republic’s Hubris proudly won the 2017 Best American Corn Whiskey Award.

Visitors won’t want to miss the Eisenhower Birthplace State Historical Site, home of where the 34th U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in 1890. The visitor center celebrates “Ike” with memorabilia and exhibits highlighting his service as president and war hero.

Tourists to Texoma can enjoy a relaxing night at one of Denison’s many hotels and experience a great meal at one of its dining establishments that have favorite dishes for the entire family’s appetite. Lake Texoma boasts plenty of recreational opportunities such as largemouth bass fishing, water sports and dinner cruises. Campout under the stars at Eisenhower State Park or take advantage of the popular marina services of nearby Grandpappy Marina, Eisenhower Marina & Yacht Club, Highport Marina, and Tanglewood Resort. Don’t leave before you drive across the iconic Denison Dam and the historic Carpenter’s Bluff Bridge over the Red River. For additional information go to

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Almost-weekly events include music, festivals, concerts and parades. Stroll along Main Street to experience “small town big art” and tour many art destinations including Mary Karam’s Art Gallery, Sparrows Gallery and 413 Maker’s. You will find wonderful and unique retail along the way from antiques to classic cars to fashion and home furnishings.

Visit Seguin, TeXaS Get crackin’ and plan your visit to Seguin, Texas. While the city of just more than 30,000 people might be best known for being home of the world’s largest pecan, it has a lot more to offer visitors. From its founding in 1838 by 33 Texas Rangers, Seguin’s legacy keeps growing with new attractions and the preserved historic downtown district linking visitors to the days of old. Visitors today can shoot down the lazy Guadalupe River on inner tubes. Recreationists can also flock to Max Starcke Park to kayak on the four-mile Lake Seguin Paddling Trail, take on the surf at the Max Starke Park Wave Pool or sink a knee-knocking three footer at the

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18-hole championship golf course along the river beneath the pecan trees. Nothing is gentle about the ZDT Amusement Park, an indoor-outdoor thrill ride extravaganza covering the gamut of adrenaline rushes. Check out the custom-made Switchback roller coaster. The world’s first wooden shuttle roller coaster, Switchback, snakes through the historical buildings before reaching the Grand Spike, a section of angled track at 87 degrees—a record! Seguin’s downtown historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is filled with significant buildings. See a

variety of building styles from across several eras as well as some unique shopping with a visit to downtown. The Pape Pecan House and Nutcracker Museum displays more than 8,000 nutcrackers, the largest collection in the world! Not surprisingly, Seguin is also home to the World’s Largest Pecan, well two of them. The original sits on the Courthouse lawn, Seguin built an even larger pecan that can be found at the Texas Agricultural Education and Heritage Center along with the Pecan Museum. Pick your weekend, and start planning your visit to Seguin. For more information, visit



There are plenty of things to do in Louisiana besides setting your eyes on the hustle and bustle of New Orleans. If you’ve never been to the iconic city, by all means please visit as soon as possible, but if you’re looking for something different, try visiting Baton Rouge.

the old capital

downtown Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Zoo

Magpie Cafe Baton Rouge

For one, Baton Rouge is home to immense history, such as being home to the Old Louisiana State Capitol, as well as the Louisiana State Capitol that is used today. The Old Capitol is now a history museum where visitors are still welcome on a daily basis, while the new Capitol is the actual seat for the state government. The LSU Tiger Stadium is also here, along with the Mike the Tiger Habitat, an enclosure for the beloved mascot that has been described as being “a zoo, but for just one animal.” Mike the Tiger is often seen walking about the property or playing the water during this time of year. A recent renovation of his enclosure totaled nearly 1 million dollars. If you’re into college football, the University, the stadium, and Mike’s enclosure

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should be at the top of your list. Hoping to see more animals than a single tiger? Head to the Baton Rouge Zoo, where you will be able to snap hundreds of photos of exotic animals like elephants, cheetahs, gold lion tamarins, flying foxes, jaguars, bears, turtles, and more. Adult admission is around $10 and well worth every penny. Downtown Baton Rouge brings a wide variety of cuisine, artisan culture, attractions, and breathtaking views of the riverside city to visitors, so be sure to pick a hotel, even if only for a night, and cruise the downtown streets for an unforgettable visit. From planning a night to take on an escape room, or visiting a theater for a live show, there won’t be a moment wasted in this Louisiana gem.

birth place of Kermit the Frog



There are many things we know and love about Mississippi, including Vicksburg and the gulf shores, but did you know that Mississippi is the birth place of Kermit the Frog? JIM Henson

Mammy’s Cupboard

Jim Henson Exhibit

Puppeteer Jim Henson grew up in the swamplands of Leland, Mississippi, which is now home to a permanent exhibit for the icon and his creator. Born in 1936, Henson spent his childhood like many of us, playing outdoors. His inspiration for Kermit came to him long after, but it was those early days that sparked his beloved dream. When Leland officially recognized itself as the birthplace, there was a celebration in which the town was given three of the original Muppet figures to display: Dr. Teeth, Chester the Rat, and The Swedish Chef. The puppets, of course, had to be given back after the celebration came to an end, but later one, Henson’s wife donated the original Kermit the Frog puppet to the town’s exhibit. Today, you can go visit the birthplace of this iconic character, view a plaque created in his honor, and even

the original ppet pu Kermit the Frog

Leland Mississippi

take pictures with the giant stuffed frog himself. Another obscure tourist attraction that is worth a look is Mammy’s Cupboard. Mammy’s is known for being a “politically incorrect” building that still serves up lunch and desserts today. The building itself is a large red brick structure in the shape of a hoop skirt, with a single door in the center of the brick. Atop the brick sits a sculpture of the torso and head of a maid holding a serving tray, and if that isn’t enough to raise an eyebrow, the fact that her skin color used to be 3-4 shades darker, will. The building was built in 1940, but after the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s, Mammy’s started to get some unwanted attention, so it was decided that her skin tone be lightened. Now in full “swing” with a gift shop and all, Mammy’s is one piece of history you won’t want to miss.

“WiTh OvEr 2,400 SlOtS, 69 TaBlE GaMeS, AnD 14 PoKeR TaBlEs, PeArL RiVeR ReSoRt OfFeRs A 24/7 GaMiNg ExPeRiEnCe.”


ay away ! the d

With over 2,400 slots, 69 table games, and 14 poker tables, Pearl River Resort offers a 24/7 gaming experience like no other. Silver Star features a 90,000square-foot casino floor equipped with a variety of slot machines, including reel and video slots and high-denomination slots, and table games devoted to craps, blackjack, roulette, and mini baccarat. Also featured is the Pearl River Bingo Room where guests can play a variety of bingo games and compete against players from all over the country for a chance to win huge progressive jackpots on top of the regular prize board. Golden Moon features a revitalized 70,000 square foot gaming floor which offers a variety of exciting gaming options, an elevated poker room, a stunning one-of-a-kind video wall, and center bar.

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Pearl River Resort has all you need in one place for the perfect getaway. Located in east central Mississippi, Pearl River Resort is home to Golden Moon Hotel & Casino and Silver Star Hotel & Casino. As one of the premier gaming and entertainment destinations in the Southeast, these two exceptional casinos offer a wealth of fun and excitement for visitors from all walks of life. When it comes to accommodating visitors for every occasion, Pearl River Resort provides a comprehensive range of facilities and services in a comfortable Southern setting.

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Enjoy a relaxing stay at Pearl River Resort! With nearly 600 guest rooms, including 112 suites and 32 VIP suites, Golden Moon offers timeless and comfortable accommodations in a marvel of modern architecture. Silver Star features more than 500 beautifully appointed rooms. Guests are only offered the very best in accommodations with all the expected amenities from a world-class hotel. Our friendly staff is on hand to make each guest’s stay both memorable and pleasurable.

golf experience for our guests. The award-winning golf club features two championship par-72 courses, the Azaleas and the Oaks. Each course covers 7,000 yards from the championship tees and offers five different sets of tees to accommodate every level of play. Combined, the courses encompass more than 700 acres over five miles of meandering spring-fed streams - an exquisite setting that accentuates the beauty of the courses while adding to the difficulty of play.

In addition to gaming and hotels, Pearl River Resort offers a wide variety of excellent amenities. Guests can enjoy European spa facilities, dining, shopping, hot promotions, and live entertainment. The Resort recently opened a deluxe resort-style pool and lounge named Infinity Pool at Golden Moon. This updated amenity features an indoor pool & hot tub, outdoor infinity pool with zero entry chairs, a bar with large screen TVs, slot machines, Big Ass® brand fans, three private cabanas, daybeds, high-end green turf, LED lighting, and a staging area for live entertainment and special events.

During the summer season, visit the Resort’s awardwinning water park! A trip to Geyser Falls Water Theme Park is like taking a journey to the Caribbean without the airfare. Guests can relax in a beautiful cabana, indulge in delectable treats at the My Tie Café and the Beach Club Restaurant, and enjoy Geyser Falls’ 17 amazing water rides and attractions. One major attraction is Clearwater Key, which features white sand beaches with beautiful glistening water in a lush, exotic atmosphere.

Also featured is Dancing Rabbit Golf Club with two championship golf courses and Geyser Falls Water Theme Park. One of the Southeast’s most acclaimed golf clubs, Dancing Rabbit Golf Club offers an exciting

Whether you are a local engaging in hometown fun or traveling from out of state for a weekend getaway, Pearl River Resort has all you need for the ultimate Resort experience. For more information on Pearl River Resort, call 1.866.447.3275 or visit



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The Spa at Silver Star

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Geyser Falls Waterpark

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Follow us! Pearl River Resort • Choctaw, MS near Philadelphia • 1.866.44PEARL(1.866.447.3275) • A development of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians


Inside + Out For some, the discovery starts with the finest shopping in Mississippi. Boutiques, galleries and stores are located along the Ridgeland Retail Trail from one end of the city to the other. Stroll the brick streets of the Renaissance at Colony Square, a true lifestyle center featuring fountains and high-end shops. A few miles away in Olde Towne, the Jackson Street District is bustling with specialty shops, restaurants, spas and bike stores. The renowned Mississippi Craft Center features treasures from over 400 artisans and is located just off the Natchez Trace Parkway. With the perfect purchase in hand, it’s on to outdoor fun. Ridgeland is well-known as a cyclist's paradise. Serious cyclers and casual cruisers share the Natchez Trace Parkway and Ridgeland’s Multi-Use Path.

RIDGELAND, MS A slate of biking events, including the Natchez Trace Century Ride and the Ridgeland Tandem Rally, are available throughout the cycling season. Adrenaline junkies will thrill to Ridgeland’s BMX and mountain biking. Somehow, all that high performance fun is even better knowing that southern hospitality, fine food and crisp sheets await at the end of the day! Ridgeland has also been named the state’s best waterfront destination. The Ross Barnett Reservoir (called the Rez) has more than 105 miles of shoreline bounded on the north by the Natchez Trace and 33,000 acres that invite boating, sailing, fishing, swimming and water sports. Camping on the shore offers an inside + out water adventure. The Rez is also Ridgeland’s hot spot for events including the famous Dragon Boat Regatta that attracts more than 60 teams from across the region. Adventurous, artistic, hospitable, delicious, desirable. This is truly a destination that is naturally stylish and an unexpected delight. Ridgeland isn’t just a place to see; it’s a place to experience… INSIDE+OUT.

The Birthplace of Elvis Presley TUPELO, MS Located in the foothills of Northeast Mississippi, Tupelo is the epicenter of America’s music, where, in 1935, the world’s greatest entertainer was born in a two-room shotgun shack.

The gospel tunes he sang in his boyhood church, the soulful blues that he heard coming from the juke joints in the Shakerag district, and the country music that he listened to on the radio from his front porch, enabled Elvis Presley to blend the sounds and deliver what we all know as Rock ‘N’ Roll, to the masses. Visitors can immerse themselves in America’s musical heritage, by beginning their journey in a town called Tupelo. The Tupelo Visitors Center is the perfect starting point for any trip to the city where anything is possible. From interactive exhibits that highlight the city’s top attractions and a collective

timeline of Tupelo’s rich history, to displays focused on Elvis’ childhood in Tupelo as told like never before, the Tupelo Visitors Center will fully prepare visitors for exploring this unique, southern town. Travelers to Tupelo can experience the first part of Elvis’ incredible story by visiting the birthplace where he took his first breath, the church where he sang his first song, and the hardware store where he strummed his first guitar. A statue commemorating his 1956 Homecoming concert stands in Tupelo’s Fairpark District, and a driving tour highlighting 11 significant places in Elvis’ childhood is

also part of the visitor experience. Getting to Tupelo is as much a part of the experience as spending time in the city where anything is possible. The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway over 10,000 years ago. Reaching from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, this national scenic byway is headquartered in Tupelo and still invites guests to find their own adventure, whether on two wheels or four. With quality accommodations, over 160 restaurants, three distinct shopping districts, and exciting events throughout the year, imagine what you can do here!

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CoLuMbUs, Ms Columbus, Mississippi, with its rich historical heritage, is the perfect destination for anyone who appreciates classic Southern architecture, food, and hospitality. There’s a magical time each day when the sun sets over the Tombigbee River. The soft light dances on the water, inviting anyone who’s strolling along the beautiful Riverwalk that begins in Columbus’ historic downtown to pause and savor the moment. In fact, savoring the moment is what we do best here in Columbus. This is a place where slowing down is rewarded with a cold mint julep or an architectural tour of centuries-old homes. Our revitalized downtown area is alive with charming shops and Southern food hotspots. Catfish Alley harks back to an African-American hub at the turn of the 20th century, while Mississippi University for Women has been an important destination for education since 1884. And right here at the Riverwalk, we love to celebrate with special events from races to festivals to concerts. Nope, there’s no need to rush through Columbus—unless, of course, you’re aboard one of the supersonic jet trainers at Columbus Air Force Base, in which case, you might be moving at more than 800 miles per hour! We invite you to explore this place we call home, to savor your own special moments and make some new memories with us, especially during our 78th Annual Columbus Spring Pilgrimage April 5-14, 2018. The award-winning event has been widely recognized as one of the best and most authentic home tours in the South. Showcasing more than 650 historic properties within three National Register Historic Districts, the 2018 Pilgrimage embraces and celebrates all of Columbus’ history as it serves up a feast of irresistible cultural flavors.

Go to for a complete list of attractions and events, and see why Columbus is “The City That Has It All!”



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country music hall of fame



Tennessee is often considered to be the birthplace of several genres of music, so if your love of music is just as great as your love of history, a trip to this state is for you.

Start off by visiting places like Memphis and Nashville to get your musical fix. Nashville is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as the Grand Ole Opry, dubbed the “country's most famous stage.” The Opry's radio broadcast is the longest running radio

broadcast in American history, and widely known as “The Show that Made Country Music Famous.” Keep an eye out for the roots of Rock & Roll, arguably found in Memphis. There are well over 100 iconic names in music

that all come from the state in general, and Memphis is one city that showcases a bit of history on them all. Take a step back in time while you visit one of the city’s many museums, such as the Rock n’ Soul Museum, Stax Museum, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and the Blues Hall of Fame. The Blues Hall of Fame alone notes more than 400 names that all brought something to the blues industry, whether it be in full albums, nearly-lost singles, or literature itself. Once inside, look for unforgettable items, such as the dress of Koko Taylor, Eddy Clearwater’s Indian Headdress, Otis Spann’s piano, and so much more.

The Stax Museum is actually the original site of Stax Records, which went bankrupt and closed up in the mid-1970s. The area, widely known for its soul music, was dubbed Soulsville USA, and that was the nickname Stax Records gave their studio. This, in large part, was to counteract Motown Records, who called themselves Hitsville USA. These museums are only a taste of what the area has to oer when it comes to history, so be sure to take a drive down a few streets and stop in at a diner for a bite, chat with the locals, and keep an open ear for any secret spots worth checking out. It’s all about the legends!

Roane County, TeNnEsSeE Located in the heart of East Tennessee, Roane County features the best in lake living, live music & life-changing history. Home to Watts Bar Lake, this 39,000-acre recreational paradise is a favorite for water sports and fishing alike. With low-traffic, water levels fluctuating only five feet between seasons, and three unique tributaries making up the waterway, a multitude of activities can be enjoyed yearround. Off the water, there are 17,000 acres of public parks and wildlife areas that include 60 miles of paved or marked trails, 10 lakeside parks, 5 campgrounds, 5 golf courses, 2 disc golf courses, a splash pad and an observatory.

Visit us t oda


History buffs enjoy the chance to explore Fort Southwest Point (Tennessee’s only pioneer-era fort standing on its original location), walk the cobblestone streets of Cornstalk Heights Historic District, the first planned community, to view hundreds of grand Victorian homes and learn how Roane County played a role in WWII’s Manhattan Project that changed the world forever.

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After a full day of activity, there are many opportunities to kick back and relax with live music and local food. Enjoy bluegrass music at Bradbury Community Club or instrumental classics by the Babahatchie Community Band. Many intimate venues offer a laid-back vibe to enjoy local musicians most weekends. In addition, area restaurants offer a taste of whatever you’re craving, from southern biscuits and gravy to local craft beer.

Festivals here are filled with toe-tapping music, delicious fare and a hometown spirit like no other. In the Spring, Roane is home to the Thunder Road Festival and Tennessee Medieval Faire while summer and fall focus in on Gizmo Jam, the Fruit Cobbler Festival, Smokin’ the Water July 4th Festival, and the October Sky Festival. Every winter you can celebrate the season with the Fort’s Colonial Christmas Tour and Christmas home tours.

Soak Up The Lake Life on Tennessee’s Watts Bar Lake

Get the Free Guide! 1-800-FUN-IN-TN




Roane County, TN


| 1-800-FUN

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Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Polk County is rich in natural beauty and steeped in cultural heritage.

Recreation opportunities are abundant here, as three Tennessee rivers weave ever so gracefully through the land. Old-fashioned Southern hospitality can be found everywhere in Polk County, on the streets of our small towns, in restaurants and shops, at the lake and on the trails. The Ap-

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palachian spirit is ever present. This breathtaking area provides something for everyone, no matter the season. If you seek high adventure or the solitude of nature, the opportunities are unlimited. Polk County, Tennessee is the home of the Ocoee River, so you can challenge yourself against the rapids on

the #1 whitewater rafting river in the eastern United States. Or take a milder, family-friendly float trip down the scenic Hiwassee River Blueway! Also the Gateway to the Cherokee National Forest, Polk County is a favorite for hunters and fishermen, as well as campers, hikers, families, mountain bikers and photographers.

Train lovers and kids of all ages will enjoy the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure, a trip that will take you to the top of the famous “Hiwassee Loop” where the tracks cross over themselves as they corkscrew up a mountain. History buffs will delight in museums, historic sites, Civil War history and Cherokee heritage. Antique hunters and collectors will be right at home in our shops and galleries. Our Appalachian southern music and art will nourish your soul. Whether you choose to stay in a cabin, inn, bed & breakfast, or campground you will experience true Southern Hospitality, and leave feeling like family, with memories you replay again and again.

McMinnville, TN

visitors to McMinnville, Tennessee discover the unexpected: Big city amenities with small town convenience. captivated by our beauty, New York Times bestselling author, Sadhguru, chose McMinnville as his Western home. nestled among 1,400 acres of pristine mountainside, isha is home to the largest meditation hall in the Western Hemisphere. Monthly free yoga days also include cooking classes, guided meditations, and hikes to four waterfalls and two breathtaking bluff overlooks.

With 100 miles of winding river, leisure kayakers and avid anglers come to play. As the “Home of Southern Musky,” the collins River is primed for catching Musky on the fly. For true adventurers, Rock island State Park is a playground for Olympic class kayaking amidst waterfalls and stunning rock bluffs. One of the most highly regarded music venues in the US exists 333 feet underground in cumberland caverns each month with cumberland caverns live. impeccable acoustics juxtaposed with cave formations, underneath a massive antique chandelier make an unforgettable musical experience. Just a short drive from nashville or chattanooga, the options are endless in Warren county. visit and see for yourself.

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Springtime, particularly the first Saturday in May, is buzzing about in the state of Kentucky.

There is one main event that everyone here has been waiting for: The Kentucky Derby. Since 1875, Churchill Downs has been a legendary racetrack known for everything from the Twin Spires to the classic Mint Julep. The Kentucky Derby is the first race, and usually dubbed the most important of the Triple Crown, where it is fol-

lowed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes races. The winning purse of the Kentucky Derby is 2 million dollars. The crowds are massive, as the race annually draws in nearly 200,000 people. Crowned as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” the race is known for being “the longest continually held sporting event in the United States.”

If you can’t make it to Kentucky for the Derby, head to the Kentucky Derby Museum, where “Every Day is Derby Day.” The Kentucky Derby Museum is constantly planning events to keep both visitors and locals satisfied. Interactive exhibits, lunches, historic walking tours, guided tours, media experiences, and up-close interactions and meetings with horses are all only a part of what the museum has to offer. Adult admission is around $15. Plan your visit to the museum to experience a behind-the-scenes look at the races, as well as a more in-depth lesson of how the Kentucky Derby came to be.

kentucky Derby Museum

kentucky Horsepark

Another great way to soak up the legacy that Kentucky has to offer is by visiting the Kentucky Horse Park. Horses have been living on these grounds for more than 200 years, and after a lengthy family history of breeding thoroughbreds, the park became what it is today: “the world’s only park dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse.” Enjoy things here like rides, lessons, museums, barn tours, walking tours, breed shows, jumping shows, memorials, statues, and more. There are also plenty of restaurants and refreshments located throughout the park, so if you’ve worked up an appetite, you won’t have to go far!

n o i t a n i t : s y De cover Dis GrAnD RiVeRs, Ky Kentucky may be best known for Bourbon, Bluegrass, and horses, but head west and you will be amazed to discover a Kentucky region of vast lakes and unspoiled natural vistas. Travel with us to Grand Rivers and discover why this tiny village is a must-see destination for outdoor aficionados. - GET OUTSIDE Sparkling waters and quiet green forests make the best playgrounds. Grand Rivers sits between the shores of Kentucky Lake to the west and Lake Barkley to the east. The two lakes come within one mile of each other here and then extend south with a combined 3,000 miles of shoreline to explore. Grand Rivers is also the north entrance to the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. A look at the numbers reveal Land Between the Lakes boasts 1,400 campsites, 444 miles of scenic roads, 260 miles of hiking trails, 200 wildlife watering holes, 190 acres of wildlife refuges, 106 miles of horse trails, 100 miles of off-road vehicle trails, 70 miles of mountain bike trails, 26 boat ramps, and 5 environmental educational facilities. - WATER-WAY OF LIFE With resort marinas on both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, Grand Rivers offers unlimited water recreation. The marinas of Green Turtle Bay and Lighthouse Landing serve as gateways to the lakes for thousands of visitors seeking to enjoy boating and watersports. Both resorts offer waterfront lodging. If your family enjoys a variety of amenities, consider Green Turtle Bay on Barkley Lake. They offer 80 vacation rental condos with one to four bedrooms, three restaurants, two outdoor pools, an indoor pool and full spa, beach, pontoon boat rentals and more. Located on Kentucky Lake, Lighthouse Landing Resort and Marina is a place to refresh your mind and spirit. They feature awe-inspiring lake views, one to three-bedroom vacation rental cottages, a beach area, 200 open boat slips, and an American Sailing Associated Sailing School.

Accommodations in Grand Rivers also include the budget-friendly Grand Rivers Inn found in the center of town, and the Rose of the Lake Bed and Breakfast with a peek-aboo lake view. - THE HEART OF THE VILLAGE Connecting the two lakes you will find the heart of Grand Rivers, an old-fashion Main Street area like one that you remember from another time. What you will not find here: homogeneous big box stores, relentless traffic, stop lights, franchised restaurants, or fast-food and lodging chains. What you will find here: a walkable blend of old Rivertown wood buildings with front porches and benches for the husbands, unique retail therapy inside for the wives, kids in line for ice cream cones, and a walking trail leading to gorgeous lake views

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and spectacular sunsets. The village center is made complete with the award-winning Patti’s 1880s Settlement and Restaurant and the Badgett Playhouse Theater. Take one look at their glowing online reviews and both will quickly go on your must-visit list. - A CHRISTMAS VILLAGE TOO Each summer Grand Rivers comes into its own, so you may be surprised to learn that Christmastime is also a popular time of year to visit. Imagine a magical small-town Christmas with over 750,000 festive lights and displays, Badgett Playhouse Musical Christmas productions, a visit with Santa, memorable family meals at Patti's Restaurant, and cozy lodging beside the lakes. The Festival of Lights event dates are the first Friday in November through the first week of January. No matter when you choose to visit, the tiny village of Grand Rivers will make you feel welcome in a big way. Visit their website to make your Grand Rivers plans;

Dauphin Island



Alabama has some of the most notable characteristics, and we do love character! For an interesting trip, head to Mobile. Mobile is known for its rich history, friendly faces, team spirit, and great food.

Dauphin Island

Mobile Carnival Museum

Mobile Alabama

“Similar in nature to New Orleans, you’ll notice plenty of shotgun houses and vibrant colors, and maybe even an old pair of beads from a lingering Mardi Gras party on the streets of Mobile.” Similar in nature to New Orleans, you’ll notice plenty of shotgun houses and vibrant colors, and maybe even an old pair of beads from a lingering Mardi Gras party on the streets of Mobile. This city is where you’ll find people simply living, or living simply – however you choose to see it. You will find yourself in the midst of a live band playing in the park, or browsing through an artist’s display on a street corner. With so many annual events, cookouts, festivals, and markets around, there’s always something in Mobile to keep even the most seasoned of travelers occupied. Mobile Bay is home to a speck of land known as Dauphin Island, which is a popular springtime destination. Unique shops line the streets, seafood is sold by the pound, and the pier is always booming with life. Cross the bridge and

you will feel as though you may be in some sort of “Mayberry,” as the island is still living vibrantly in the 50s. The vintage architecture will use up an entire roll of your film, and you will definitely want to take your time in all of the funky little shops. Check out fun places like the Mobile Carnival Museum, where you can “discover the birthplace of Mardi Gras,” Mobile style. The costumes and audiovisuals of the parades and balls will certainly keep your entire crew occupied. For the history buffs of a different color, visit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, which is home to one of the most iconic Naval battleships that served in World War II. You can explore everything from the tanks and artillery, to the aircraft pavilion, the park memorials, and of course, walking tours of the battleship itself.

RaIsE A GlAsS WiTh GoOd FrIeNdS In ThE AlLeY EnTeRtAiNmEnT DiStRiCt.

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Throughout history, Montgomery, Alabama has faced our nation’s greatest challenges. From the Civil War to Civil Rights, what happened here sparks the most vital discussions of today. And we’re not only talking about the past. This city is experiencing a revitalization informed by the lessons of the past, that celebrates the possibility of community in a uniquely southern way. Here, you’ll join hands and voices with visitors from around the world while singing along to “This Little Light of Mine” at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. transformed from a charismatic preacher to a respected leader of the movement. Walk through the hallowed halls of the Dexter Parsonage, where the King family lived during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. You’ll get to know one of our most courageous locals at the Rosa Parks Museum and Library, and walk in the footsteps of the brave foot soldiers on the Selma to Montgomery March Trail. Learn about those who paid the ultimate price for equality and take a pledge to support equal rights on the Wall of Tolerance at the Civil Rights Museum and Memorial.

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Starting this spring, you can be one of the first to take part in a remarkable, first-of-its-kind experience that will spark the next great American conversation. The Equal Justice Initiative’s Memorial to Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum in Montgomery will be America’s first national memorial dedicated to victims of racial terror lynching and a new museum dedicated to slavery and its legacy. Modeled on important projects used to overcome difficult histories of human rights abuses in other countries, the sites are designed to promote a more hopeful commitment to racial equality and just treatment of all people. Learn more about the project at Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue bore witness to the birth of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement and is decorated with sites associated with both events and many in between. This most historic of America’s short streets is experiencing a vibrant revitalization. New restaurants offering the best of local southern cuisine and quirky unexpected delights, local makers and merchants offering unique shopping, and comfy coffee shops are ready to welcome you.

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Nightlife and family entertainment alike are only steps away in our walkable downtown. Check out a Montgomery Biscuits game and a gourmet hot dog at Riverwalk stadium or take a lazy ride down the Alabama River at Riverfront Park. Bring your top team and test your problem-solving skills at Escapology, a premium escape game and virtual reality arcade. Raise a glass with good friends at one of the many bars and restaurants in the Alley Entertainment district. Just minutes from downtown, in the exquisite Blount Cultural Park, discover the Alabama Shakespeare Festival – a fully professional, year-round theatre performing the works of Shakespeare, American Classics, Broadway musicals and brand new Southern works. Next door, explore the permanent collection and special exhibits at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and enjoy a breath of fresh air in their brand-new Sculpture Garden opening this summer. From our compelling history to our exciting future, there’s no better place to join America’s conversation than in Montgomery, and there’s no better time than now. To plan your visit go to

Montgomery, Alabama AMERICA’S CONVERSATION IS HERE. Montgomery has faced our nation’s greatest challenges. From the Civil War to Civil Rights, what happened here sparks the most vital discussions of today. JOIN THE CONVERSATION • Rosa Parks Library and Museum • Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church & Parsonage Museum • Civil Rights Memorial and Center • Freedom Rides Museum • Opening in 2018: The Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration And that’s not all! Discover our exciting culinary scene, a rapidly revitalizing downtown, world class arts and entertainment, and the award-winning Riverwalk Stadium, home to Montgomery Biscuits AA baseball.

VISIT MONTGOMERY | 800.240.9452 Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau

florida beaches

The Venetian Pool

lake Wales



The Sunshine State is all about fun in the sun, especially during the spring and summer months. Enjoy a dip in the waters of this beautiful state, from rivers, bays, and surrounding oceans, to naturally-filtered swimming pools? – Yes, we meant to say that.

Head to the world’s largest freshwater swimming pool, located in Coral Gables. The Venetian Pool is unlike any other water feature anywhere. The pool is emptied and refilled every single day. The pool is able to be conservatively drained and refilled every day due to the natural aquifers. The local aquifers filter the pool water once it is drained back into them, thus allowing the refilling system to pull clean water from the same natural source repeatedly.

Along with the natural aquifer, there are also grotto caves that are connected to the pool, and they’re just begging to be explored. This peaceful place gives off that cool, Mediterranean vibe, without having to spend a fortune to get it. If you’ve ever visited Lake Wales, you may have heard of Spook Hill. If not, now’s your chance to visit the wacky site. Legend has it that many years ago, an Indian Chief battled a terrify-

ing alligator that plagued the land. The fight was one to be remembered, and so great that both opponents died atop the hill. Now the real question today is, which spirit is haunting the hill and why does gravity seem to not exist here? Case in point, drive there, put your car in neutral, and watch it roll backwards, uphill. It was first noticed when soldiers were trying to get over, and saw their horses struggling to walk downhill. While it may be noted as a simple but peculiar optical illusion, it is still a sight that many scratch their heads over, again and again. Small road trips like these are encouraged by Florida natives, as it will get you exploring the less commercialized side of the sunshine state.

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Disconnect to reconnect

in Martin County, where seemingly endless Atlantic beaches span nearly 22 miles along the coast and include individual access strips that allow for more private spots to enjoy the surf and sand or larger, guard-protected areas like Stuart Beach, Hobe Sound Beach and Jensen Beach. There are also numerous beaches along the Indian River Lagoon to explore, such as the beach at Indian RiverSide Park.

InDiAn RiVeRsIdE PaRk

In Martin County, you’ll find every kind of family activity to tickle your fancy, from rodeos to high-end shopping, art galleries and one-of-a-kind museums to eco-friendly sea turtle adventures and world-class fishing. Building restrictions have limited structures to four stories, preserving breathtaking views throughout the county. The natural beauty and attractions here offer up a treasure trove of activities—minus the crowds of our popular next-door neighbors. The easy-to-get-to-area encompasses the communities of Port Salerno, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Indiantown, Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound and Hutchinson Island, offering over 77 parks ready for exploration, unlimited outdoor adventure, golf and a region overflowing with culture to welcome visitors. Located just off A1A and accessible by a plethora of scenic avenues, Martin County is 45 minutes from Palm Beach International Airport, an hour from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, 90 minutes from Miami International Airport and two hours from Orlando International Airport.

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A road trip worth pulling over for. When it comes to road trips, getting there is half the fun, and the scenic routes in Martin County, Florida offer plenty to look at along the way. Picture canopies of shady trees welcoming you, bright tropical colors, scenic vistas, beautiful sand beaches brimming with photo-ops, and the most bio-diverse ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere. So go ahead and stretch your legs a bit. You’ll be glad you did.

Plan your trip at

Naturally Quaint

The word fresh takes on new meaning with most Martin County restaurants utilizing locally-sourced produce and freshly caught fish, served alongside ingredients from several local and organic farms, to please one and all. As the sun sets, relax at one of Martin County’s host of lodging options, from the newly-opened Hutchinson Shores Resort and Spa to brand name hotels to oneof-a-kind bed and breakfasts. Make plans to visit during a Season for the Arts, which runs from January through March and includes the award-winning ArtsFest. Travel South | Spring 2018 | 153

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the Aquarium



Atlanta is Georgia’s state capital, and is home to some of the most amazing attractions in the country, along with world-renowned eateries and award-winning displays, from botanical gardens to aquariums and zoos.

In fact, the largest aquarium in the world is located in Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium is home to over 500 different species from around the globe. The aquarium specializes in both freshwater, and marine tanks, and the facility pumps more than 10 million gallons of these waters daily. Enjoy live

shows at the aquarium, such as the dolphin show, where you’ll get to see these amazing creatures closely interact with their trainers and even the audience. Those with a SCUBA diving certification can participate in dive programs offered at the aquarium. Immerse your-

self in a coral reef habitat, or snorkel and dive with sharks! The underwater tunnel offers a full 360-degree view of marine life, where brightly-colored fish can be seen swimming all around you. The Ocean Voyager tunnel is another great walk-through area, where you will experience the larger underwater variety, such as manta rays, whale sharks, hammerheads, and more. The World of the Coca-Cola is another must-see Georgia attraction. The popular soft drink was “accidentally” created by the late chemist, Dr. John Pemberton, who was trying to cure headaches in 1886 by making a syrup that people could pleasantly ingest.

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atlanta Georgia

the world of Coca-Cola

Upon mixing the syrup with carbonation and a bit of water, the mixture ended up turning into what we know today as Coca-Cola. The World of Coca-Cola lets you experience a variety of history, art, and interactive exhibits, as you make your way through the facility. Explore the Coca-Cola Theater, where a rotation of films play short segments for visitors. The Vault of the Secret Formula lets you view the very vault that the formula is protected and held in.

The Pop Culture Gallery houses a variety of bottle and can designs, along with original paintings and concepts that developed throughout the famous drink’s history.

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The King and Prince BEACH & GOLF RESORT RECIPIENT OF 7 CONSECUTIVE TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATES OF EXCELLENCE The oceanfront King and Prince resort offers a rejuvenating island escape – whether you prefer an adventure-filled vacation or a relaxing getaway. Located at the ocean’s edge of St. Simons island, georgia, the resort is surrounded by natural tropical beauty, and filled with rich history and island charm. For over 80 years, this tranquil haven has combined gracious Southern hospitality and modern amenities.

The King and Prince has earned seven consecutive Tripadvisor certificates of excellence. St. Simons island has been graciously praised as one of the best islands and beach towns in the country from publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Southern Living Magazine, USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, golf outing, or an extended family vacation, you can choose from a variety of accommodations. guest rooms offer one king or two queen beds in various settings and views. Two and three-bedroom seaside villas, as well

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as one to five bedroom beach cottages, are popular choices with families or groups of friends who enjoy the convenience of a kitchen and living/dining area, along with private bedrooms and bathrooms. echO, the only oceanfront restaurant and bar on St. Simons island, serves Southern coastal cuisine, craft brews, and an extensive wine list. guests enjoy indoor and outdoor oceanfront seating - from breakfast at sunrise to dinner and drinks at sunset and moonrise - as well as live music on select evenings.

Five oceanfront swimming pools are surrounded by beautifully landscaped decks with ample lounge seating. Other on-site amenities include massage therapies, tennis, an exercise room, and children’s activities (seasonal). Complimentary guest parking, concierge services, and Wi-Fi are also included, and The King and Prince does not charge a resort fee. The King and Prince Golf Course is located just a short drive from the resort on the north end of the island. Vast salt marshes and ancient live oaks offer majestic, scenic beauty and its greens offer an outstanding quality of play. has ranked the course the number one golf experience in Georgia, and among the top 50 courses in the United States. The resort is only minutes away from the historic Pier Village shops, restaurants and recreational activities – including shrimp boat and deep-sea fishing charters, trolley tours and bike rides of the historic landmarks on the island and more. Call or go online today to plan your experience at St. Simons’ only oceanfront resort!


Our sunny days and river rays aren’t the only reasons we’re metro Atlanta’s bright spot. With easy access to the hottest shopping areas and foodie favorites, Sandy Springs puts you this close to all you love about the city vibes, with just the right amount of neighborhood charm.

One of his most famous songs, “Statesboro Blues,” has been a staple for blues bands for decades and has been covered by artists such as The Allman Brothers Band and Taj Mahal. Come for the music but you will get even more. There is a wide variety of food available from local food vendors - the local arts council has a booth with blues and music related art for sale, not to mention lots of camaraderie and people-watching. The laid back vibe of the festival creates a great atmosphere to mix and mingle, get up and dance, or just sit back and sip an ice cold beer while enjoying some fantastic music. The 2018 lineup includes Samantha Fish, Kenny Neal, the Brothers Landreth and more. Tickets will be on sale March 1st. Prices for tickets are $30 advance and $40 the day of. Children 12 and under are FREE. Gates open at 11:00 a.m., with music beginning at noon. While there, learn a little more about McTell. You can visit his gravesite on Happy Valley Road adjoining Jones Grove Baptist Church. Pay a visit to the McDuffie Museum to see Blind Willie’s original tombstone, or watch a documentary about him. See McTell’s 12-String Strut, a public art project of oversized Stella guitars painted by local artists.


Visit the festival website at For more info about Thomson, visit


BLUES FESTIVAL With great music lineups year after year, the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival will have you singing a happy tune.

staged in the same grassy field it debuted. This year’s event is May 5, 2018.

Recognized as a top event by Southeast Tourism Society and the Wall Street Journal, the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival debuted 25 years ago and is still going strong,

The festival is named for Blind Willie McTell, one of the alltime greats of country blues guitar, who was born just south of Thomson, Georgia, in McDuffie County.

A Slice of Southern Heaven!

#VisitThomsonGA • Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival • Historic Downtown with Shopping & Dining •Local History Museum • Art Gallery • Antique Shops

149 Main St., Thomson, GA 30824

ThE OrIgInAl


History abounds in Covington, Georgia. Covington retains its classic southern appeal. We have one of the most picturesque and historic areas in Georgia. Downtown is thriving with quaint boutiques and many great restaurants. Towns have their “ghost” with stories. Covington has many stories. Covington Ghost Tours offers a historical ghost tour. You walk the beautiful streets and hear stories associated with each location. You will hear the history of the location. Guests love this!

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Covington isn’t new to filming. Our film roots run deep. So deep, we trademarked the name “Hollywood of the South.” It started in 1954 with A Man Called Peter, starring Richard Todd and Jean Peters. Productions became sparse but this changed, due to the popular television show, In the Heat of the Night. Covington became Sparta, Mississippi. Soon, more movies were coming and continued. Movies can be a short fling. Television series come to town, stay, spend money and create jobs year after year. The popular series, The Vampire Diaries just finished up 8 seasons but Covington will forever be

Of ThE SoUtH

Mystic Falls. Fans from all over make their way here to see the real “backlot” and visit all the actual locations. They can book a three-hour guided tour with Mystic Falls Tours or use our self-guided map. In the Heat of the Night fans can take a self- guided tour. We have a very detailed brochure with key locations within the downtown area. In the Heat of the Night fans still come to visit all the time. You can call Covington the city with many names: Hazzard County, Sparta, or Mystic Falls. But at the end of the day we are the beautiful town of Covington, Georgia, a great place to visit. We have something for everyone.


Thrill-seekers, music lovers, outdoorsy types, foodies — no matter what your idea of a great time is, Cobb is Atlanta’s sweet spot. From world-class fine dining to class II rapids on the Chattahoochee, there’s something for everyone. For sports fans: Ready to do the tomahawk chop? Cheer on the Braves in their new Cobb home, SunTrust Park, a modern ballpark with a fan experience like no other. The fun doesn’t stop at home runs, either. Root for the Atlanta Blaze professional lacrosse team or KSU college football!

For foodies: From old-school classics like the Old Vinings Inn to award-winning farm-to-table at Marietta’s Spring, foodies have no shortage of options for a memorable meal in Cobb. The same goes for beer lovers, with craft breweries like Burnt Hickory, Red Hare, and Southern Sky making some of the South’s best suds. For culture lovers: There’s nothing quite like catching a concert at the Coca-Cola Roxy or the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. History buffs, look no further than Marietta’s Gone with the Wind Museum, historic downtown Powder Springs, or Kennesaw’s Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. For adventurers: Looking for a breath of fresh air? You’ll find that, and sweeping panoramic views, atop Kennesaw

Mountain, the highest point in the metro area. If cycling is more your speed, the Silver Comet Trail is paved, scenic, and flat. Soak up some sun as you float your way down the Hooch. And if it’s adrenaline you’re after, look no further than Six Flags over Georgia, where iconic roller coasters like the Scream Machine give riders the thrill of a lifetime. For anyone who wants to unwind: When it comes to a more leisurely pace, Cobb County’s charming, historic small towns have it covered. Window-shop your way through quaint downtown Acworth, or take a stroll around the Marietta Square. Green-thumbs will enjoy Kennesaw’s Smith-Gilbert Gardens. Each of Cobb’s communities has its own character and its own vibe. And they can’t wait to welcome you.

Cobb is Atlanta’s sweet spot for thrill-seekers, beach bums, sports fanatics, connoisseurs of culture, and the epicurious. Our communities are diverse, each with their own unique vibe, providing something for everyone. Be at the center of it all - start planning your adventure.









Experience the welcoming atmosphere that makes this city feel so personal, and discover the natural connection that is Acworth! ACWORTH IS 35 MILES NORTHWEST OF ATLANTA, MINUTES OFF I-75 FROM EXIT 277.


FOLLOW US #visitacworth

You’re Welcome in Acworth, GA Acworth is a small town with a big heart — and a whole lot going on. Less than an hour away from Atlanta, Acworth is close enough to be convenient, but feels miles away from fast-paced city life. Here are just a few reasons why it’s the perfect place to stop by: Small-town charm. You’ll never meet a stranger in Acworth, where neighbors always give visitors a warm welcome. Enjoy this friendly and safe community, all in a picturesque and historic setting with Civil War-era architecture. Sophisticated dining. From Creole to comfort food and fine dining to family-friendly, Acworth has an array of diverse, delicious restaurants. And don’t forget the bars: historic downtown’s open container district means you can grab a cocktail or go-cup of wine to sip while you wander down Main Street before dinner.

Eclectic shopping. On the hunt for something special, or even just window-shopping? Acworth’s one-of-akind boutiques and art galleries make it easy (and fun) to shop local, whether you’re searching for an antique treasure, a vinyl record, or a new outfit. Fun for the whole family. Parks, playgrounds, walking trails, a water slide — Acworth has plenty of fun to go around for kids and grown-ups alike. Don’t miss Cauble Park’s 25 acres of greenspace, picnic areas, and two playgrounds on the shores of Lake Acworth, or Dallas Landing Park’s inflatable waterslide on Lake Allatoona. And with a calendar chock-full of all-ages community events (like the annual Fourth of July concert and fireworks show), there’s almost always something for your family to celebrate. Not one, but two beautiful lakes. You don’t have to drive all the way to the coast for your next beach day. Peaceful, quiet Lake Acworth and its white sand beach is the perfect place for a relaxing afternoon with your family by the water — or on the water, for kayakers and paddle boarders. Looking for more adrenaline? Nearby, Lake Allatoona is a hotspot for power boating and water-skiing.

Rabun County, GeOrGiA

The culinary experience continues to make unique communities a magnetic attraction for curious travelers. It’s no wonder the Georgia Legislature declared Rabun County the “Farm-to-Table Capital of Georgia” in 2015.

only continue the time-honored and now legal manufacturing of moonshine, but are also introducing new moonshine flavors and smooth small batch rye whiskies and bourbons which reflect local terroir.

Today, Rabun County enjoys award-winning wineries such as Stonewall Creek Vineyards, Georgia’s Regent’s Award winner as the number one wine from Georgiagrown grapes in 2017. Nearby Tiger Mountain Vineyards, won the same award for 2016. Two new distilleries, The R.M. Rose Company and Moonrise Distillery, not

Rabun County dubbed the “Farm-to-Table Capital of Georgia.” Farmer’s Markets abound with more than 50 small farmers and producers contributing to the Saturday morning Clayton Farmer’s Market with goat cheese, wild

crafted herbs and mushrooms, fresh eggs, artisanal breads, honeys, preserves and fresh seasonal produce. Osage Market is open seven days a week, April through October, and the interest of visitors is obvious via the array of out-of-county and out-of-state license plates. The array of restaurant offerings continues to grow each season. Jamie Allred, chef-owner of Fortify Kitchen and Bar and Fortify Pi, brings his family recipes to new heights through his association with local farmers. On Wednesdays during the season, the dinner menu features a specific offering from a local farm with the farmer present to inform and answer questions from diners.

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“The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia has an amazing teaching kitchen offering everything from food preservation, farm-to-table wine dinners, and a variety of healthy eating classes for kids.”

Go ats Roof Ni t r o the Ic on

eam Cr Visitors interested in cooking classes have varied choices. Beechwood Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Clayton, Georgia, offers custom hands-on classes tailored to the participants. The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, has an amazing teaching kitchen offering everything from food

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preservation, farm-to-table wine dinners, and a variety of healthy eating classes for kids.


Lake Rabun Hotel, features a similar presentation known as Featured Farmer Thursdays during the growing season. A visit to The Farmhouse at Waterfall Club, offers the passionate renderings of Chef Vincent Scafitti.

Foodies will love the Grow Cook Eat farm-to-table tours offered once a month from April through October by the Tourism Development Authority Participants will be shuttled to farms, restaurants, vineyards or distilleries, and an agri-tourism business. Schedules are posted on the website.

educational Camp at Timpson Creek Farms. Timpson Creek Farm is a Certified Organic vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower operation. Director Darby Weaver will whet your appetite with handson planting and growing, help you decide your best potential for your situation, and encourage you to gather with other wannabe independent growers while feeding you a feast of the freshest organic produce you can imagine,

If you have ever considered moving to the country and trying your hand at growing your own produce, or actually producing on a larger scale, try out a weekend

With so many facets for approaching fresh farm-to-table delights, it is no wonder Rabun County is “The Farm-to-Table Capital of Georgia.”


Natural CHOICE

The sun is warm, streams and creeks are rushing through the valleys and critters are popping out all over the place. The glorious strawberry heralds another Spring and Summer of growing and eating. Come visit us this year and find out just how fresh, fresh can be.

Visit our web site today for more information


Georgia’s Official Farm-To-Table Capital




A Real Georgia Gem! Just north of Atlanta, Cartersville, Georgia mixes small town charm with sophisticated finds. On one end of the downtown business district is a farm supply store and on the other is the Smithsonian Affiliate Booth Western Art Museum, housing the nation’s largest collection of Western American art. Between the two are cool shops, chefowned restaurants, the world’s first Coca-Cola wall sign, and The Bartow History Museum, portraying the Appalachian foothills experience since the 1800s. The renowned Etowah Indian Mounds is a significant National Historic Landmark, which was a mecca for native peoples from 900 to 1,500 A.D. Historic diversity abounds from the Victorian elegance of Rose Lawn Museum – home of evangelist Sam Jones, for whom Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium was built – to poignant Civil War sites at Kingston, Cassville, Adairsville and Allatoona Pass Battlefield. Georgia’s first state park for African Americans – George Washington Carver Park on Lake Allatoona – is a landmark in the

state’s Civil Rights heritage. At nearby Euharlee, experience an authentic 19th century farming village with a covered bridge built in 1886. The Tellus Science Museum, also a Smithsonian Affiliate, is worth a visit by itself. A quirky find is Old Car City USA, where acres of rusting classics, a Styrofoam cup art gallery and Elvis’ last car create a one-of-a-kind experience. Travel sports families flock annually to LakePoint Sporting Community, featuring world-class athletic facilities and public wakeboarding at Terminus Wake Park. Year-round, enjoy kayaking and fishing on the Etowah River, hiking some of the region’s best trails at Pine Mountain and Red Top Mountain State Park, or shooting at Barnsley Resort’s Springbank Plantation. The historic resort also features fine dining, golf, horseback riding and a spa. The magical gardens for which the resort is named have bloomed for more than 160 years – don’t let another day go by without finding yourself there.

Blairsville Union, GEORGIA With lots of outdoor fun, delightful attractions, festivals held throughout the year, and four distinct seasons whose colors bring a pastel spring, verdant green summer, blazing autumn, and white winter to Blairsville. located deep in the heart of the Chattahoochee national Forest amidst north Georgia’s Blue ridge Mountains, visitors find hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more! eight waterfalls, including the twin cascades at Helton Creek Falls, and warm weather water sports on pristine lake Winfield scott and nottely lake, are favorites of guests and locals, not to mention the 20-acre lake and swimming beach at one of Georgia’s most beloved summer getaways, vogel state Park.

Blairsville also has plenty of attractions on land: The old Courthouse Museum, with its 1899 romanesque revival-style courthouse, internationally renowned Margarita Morgan Miniature Collection and native american artifacts, and the historical Walasi-Yi Center atop Blood Mountain, which is the only place where the 2,175-milelong appalachian Trail passes through a man-made structure, and home of the “museum of old soles.” Blairsville has lots of artisan galleries, arts-and-crafts shopping, quirky antique and general stores, a mill where you can buy stone-ground grits, two alpaca farms where you can shop for one-of-a-kind jewelry – and alpacas – plus two spas. enjoy a land of pure enchantment at sleepy Hollow, and a charmer of a restaurant 174 | Spring 2018 | Travel South

scene that includes coffee bars, scratch-cooking cafés and the place all the locals know: The sawmill Place, home of the mouth watering 32-ingredient Morning Glory muffin. This family-friendly burg hosts nearly two dozen festivals and events each year, including favorites such as the Blairsville scottish Festival and Highland Games in June and the annual sorghum Festival at Meeks Park in october. and there are deluxe cabin accommodations with room for everyone – not to mention hot tubs, fireplaces, board games, and even game rooms – tucked all over the county and with stunning views of woods and water. visit for all the fun!

Towns COunty - Half.qxp_Layout 1 1/26/18 4:02 PM Page 1

Lake Chatuge




Brasstown Valley Resort

Lake Chatuge is a TVA lake with 132 miles of shoreline, perfect for boating, fishing, skiing, swimming, picnicking in secluded coves and camping.

Hiawassee & Young Harris, GA

1-800-984-1543 |



Just 40 miles north of Atlanta, Dawsonville is home to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, stunning scenery and unique attractions. For motorsports enthusiasts, you’ll want to visit the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame where you can learn about Georgia’s auto-racing giants, such as NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bill Elliott. You can fulfill your need for speed at Atlanta Motorsports Park, a multipurpose motorsports facility offering exhilarating karting. See how the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery makes handcrafted corn whiskey using traditional recipes handed down from Appalachian moonshiners. Do you have a passion for art? View the Southeast’s largest folk art gallery at Around Back at Rocky’s Place or view three galleries of exhibits at the Bowen Center for the Arts. Looking to spend time on the water? The Etowah River, Amicalola River, and Lake Lanier offer a multitude of fun activities throughout the year. Visit Outside World Outfitters for paddling lessons and guided trips. Enjoy free guided bird walks through Dawson Forest, a birdwatcher’s paradise with Wild Birds Unlimited. Amicalola Falls State Park is home to the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, towering 729 feet. The

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park’s Adventure Lodge activities include ziplining, archery, guided hikes and more. If you love to hike, Len Foote Hike Inn is a sustainably designed ecotourism inn located near the peak of Frosty Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The lodge is only accessible through hiking trails. Trying to improve your aim? Etowah Valley Sporting Clays offers a unique clay shooting range for all experience levels. Is shopping your forte? North Georgia Premium Outlets is an outdoor Georgian-style village where you can shop more than 140 designer and name-brand outlet stores with savings of 25% - 65% off every day. With something for everyone, come create your own adventure in Dawsonville.

Dawson County Office of Tourism Development and Welcome Center 44 Commerce Drive, Dawsonville, GA 30534 | | (877) 302-9271


If you’re not vacationing with the wildlife, you’re hanging with the wrong crowd. Nature centers let you get up close and personal with interesting creatures. Ranger-led events include everything from moonlit hikes to kayaking trips, looking for hawks, owls, bats, deer, raccoons and even alligators. Mixing entertainment with education, Georgia’s State Historic Sites offer everything from presidential homes to picturesque plantations. Walk in the footsteps of Revolutionary War soldiers. Climb to the top of an ancient Indian mound. Check out President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s hand-controlled roadster. You can even see coins from our nation’s first gold rush.


ADVENTURE From the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains to the vast Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites have getaways for every type of traveler. Along the way, you can explore waterfalls and lakes, salt marshes and streams, canyons and caves. Plus, with a wide range of lodging, quick getaways and longer vacations can be found no matter the season.

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Plenty of adventure awaits in the Peach State. Kayaking, hiking, biking, fishing, boating, geocaching and archery are a few ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Georgia’s State Parks also boast eight golf courses that offer challenging play at affordable rates.

When the sun goes down, your adventure continues. Georgia’s State Parks have accommodations for all budgets and tastes. Choose from fully equipped cabins with rocking-chair porches, furnished “glamping” yurts, hotel-style lodges and modern campgrounds with hot showers. Newbie campers can even try our First Time Camper’s Program with loaner tents and expert advice. For more information on Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites, visit or call 800-864-7275. Follow us on Facebook or sign up for enewsletters to keep up with the latest discounts and news. We even have gift cards that will make your favorite outdoor enthusiast smile when planning their next getaway.

Room with a View Book your private cabin, yurt or campsite today in Georgia’s State Parks!









Book your adventure at Gift cards available online and at your favorite state park.


Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach boardwalk


SOUTH CAROLINA Warmer weather in South Carolina? Head straight for Myrtle Beach, and don’t look back.

You will undoubtedly find yourself on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade, which is exactly where you want to be. The Boardwalk & Promenade opened in 2010 after construction and a cost of over 6 million dollars. Running essentially from 2nd Avenue to 14th Avenue, there are two piers, named accordingly, with plenty to do while making your way from point A to point B.

the scenery, take a stroll, or sit a while on one of the benches. The northern section, however, has a raised wooden deck and is the site for Myrtle Beach’s Hot Summer Nights, which starts in June. Here is where live music will play several nights a week, along with other popular attractions, like a carnival, street performers, fireworks, games, and of course, plenty of places to grab a drink or a bite to eat.

The southern section of the promenade is described as a “meandering oceanfront park,” where visitors and natives alike are encouraged to enjoy

The northern end has a carnival vibe, where the fun never seems to stop, at least during these months. A full schedule of events will be available for

visitors soon, so be sure to do your research if you’re hoping for a certain band, or other information. Don’t forget to ride the Skywheel, a 187-foot Ferris Wheel that is located on the north end, and is often spotted for miles. This attraction is fairly new as well, as it opened in 2011, and is now a landmark for the area. With high surf season coming around, there is no better time to grab a paddleboard or surfboard, and hit the waves. If you aren’t quite sure how to get started, or simply haven’t mastered the sport yet, there are plenty of local companies and shops that will give you a lesson. Don’t have board? You don’t need one! Just bring your ambition and your willingness to learn, and these surfing instructors will get you all set up with the best equipment for your lesson.

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THOROUGHBRED COUNTRY {south carolina} history from every american era is evident throughout this region known as thoroughbred country. learn about colonial times through demonstrations in pottery, frontier trading and blacksmithing. Explore civil War battle sites and historic plantation homes. Visit small, quaint towns where you will find museums rich with history and festivals that display local culture. While history abounds, thoroughbred country is also a place of natural beauty. notice the spanish moss gracing enormous live oak trees. Ponder over the unusual elliptical phenomenon known as a carolina Bay. hike through an urban forest or let the elegance of a local garden carry you to another time. cool off with a drink from the healing springs, whose waters are believed to have curative powers.

Experience four beautiful counties in western South Carolina, where yesterday is preserved for today. AIKEN aiken county is known throughout the world as an equestrian training center claiming national champions. champions include: Palace Malice, 2013 Belmont stakes winner; Pleasant colony, 1981 Kentucky Derby winner; summer squall, 1990 Preakness winner; sea hero, 1993 Kentucky Derby winner; and Kelso, horse of the Year for 5 consecutive years in the 1960s. aiken county is also a place of history and natural beauty. hitchcock Woods, one of the largest urban forests in the united states, and hopelands Gardens,

are two places to visit for anyone who appreciates the beauty of preserved land. hunting, fishing, golfing and shopping are also available. Whatever brings you here, enjoy! ALLENDALE From the moss-laden oaks along the savannah river to the fields of white cotton and ripe peaches, allendale county is proud of a rich culture filled with history and southern tradition. Formed from parts of Barnwell and hampton counties in 1919, allendale is the youngest county in south carolina.


Take in the beauty as you ride miles of equestrian trails with your horse. Notice the low lying cypress swamp areas where alligators, turtles and other species choose to dwell. After a day spent outdoors, reflect on your experiences around a campfire. Stop at a roadside stand to enjoy some of the fresh local produce, and don’t forget to sample our southern BBQ and good old-fashioned home cooking while you’re in town. Take your trip through Allendale County slowly to enjoy the easy pace of the South.

sun-drenched coast or a lonely barn in a rural landscape. The Gallery is the southeastern distributor for original paintings by Jim Harrison also featuring bronzes, etchings and a variety of limited and unlimited edition reproductions from Harrison’s more than 50-year career as an artist.

BAMBERG The cool, black waters of the Edisto River provide the backdrop for Bamberg County’s history and charm. Join local residents for hunting, fishing or canoeing excursions.

Bamberg County has been visited by some notables, including General Sherman. On his march to Columbia, Sherman’s Army was met at Rivers Bridge by a small band of Confederate Soldiers who tried to stall his progress. Rivers Bridge State Historic Site shows the scars from that battle in the form of battle breastworks. Bamberg County features many cultural festivals. Be sure to plan your visit during one of these highlighted weekends.

Visitors to the Jim Harrison Gallery in the rural crossroads town on Denmark, SC, are in for a special experience. In Harrison’s art, place matters, whether that is the

BARNWELL Southerners have long been known to cherish tradition and local history, as well as times of having fun. Folks in Barnwell

are no exception. Legends surround several of the attractions here. The Healing Springs story dates back to the 1700s when Indians believed in the secret healing powers of the springs. Many natives of the area still claim the waters are a cure-all for “what ails ya.” The unique vertical sundial in Barnwell was a legendary monument for its donor who, ironically since he loved monuments, was laid to rest without anything marking his grave. The wonderful climate and natural beauty of the area brought Mennonite settlers from western states. They now share with visitors their crafts and great cooking ability, along with insight into their religious practices. Diverse cultures, legendary sites and history weave the fabric of this county! For more information, visit the Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina website:

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Alexandria, Virginia

museam of nd la Chincoteague Is

Dixie Caverns FORT Mon roe

volution the AmericanseRe Mu um



The state of Virginia is quite versatile, with its mountain ranges, coastlines, and virtually everything in between.

Whether you’re looking for a theme park, a beach, or a mountain biking trail, Virginia has you covered. Modest weather throughout the spring season allows for a great trip outdoors, so if you are jumping up and down for some one-on-one time with nature, head to the state for lovers.

were actually wasting resources. These trails are important to those who consistently use them, as they’ve been transformed into something both historical and beautiful. You can enjoy one or more of the hundreds of trails in the state, for biking, hiking, climbing, and more.

A lot of Virginia’s trails come from the Rails-to-Trails Act, where Congress passed the bill that would allow these areas to make use of old, abandoned railroad trails that were not only doing absolutely nothing for the area, but

Another wonderful, natural thing to explore in Virginia are the many caverns that call the state home. These caverns has been discovered, preserved, and turned into top attraction sites for exploration. Take the Dixie Caverns for

example. A dog was the first to find this place back in the 1920s, and three years later, it was open to the public. New passageways have been uncovered, and lighting has been installed to help those who dare to climb down into these types of natural creations. Enter the gift shop with rocks and minerals from the cavern on your way out, where you will be able to take a unique souvenir home with you to remember the beauty by. Virginia is also rich with history, and has plenty of museums and sites for visitors, such as the Museum of Chincoteague Island, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, the African American Heritage Trail, Fort Monroe, the Trail to Freedom, Pocahontas Island, and so much more. For a full list of things to do, visit

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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA Where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet, Virginia Beach promises visitors a unique chance to “Live the Life.” With pristine natural wonders, freshly caught seafood, just-picked local ingredients, a vibrant downtown district and three distinct beach experiences at the Oceanfront, Sandbridge or Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach provides appeal for all visitors, while consistently ranking it among the country’s best beach destinations.

The iconic three-mile boardwalk, perfect for jogging or biking, is only part of what makes the oceanfront resort area so irresistible. The Resort Beach is where Virginia Beach reveals its outgoing nature, with a park-like atmosphere that goes on for miles, lined with hotels, restaurants, beach playgrounds, souvenir shops, attractions and more. When strolling down the boardwalk, be sure to visit Grommet Island, the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, the Old Coast Guard Station and King Neptune, a 34-foottall cast bronze statue of the mythological sea god – an ideal spot for a selfie. Local restaurants range from coastal cosmopolitan to crab-andoyster shacks. The area also features a fishing pier, an active inlet and plenty of opportunities for biking, boating, kayaking, parasailing and paddle boarding. Tucked within the eclectic neighborhoods near 18th Street lies the emerging ViBe Creative District, an enclave of art galleries, museums, shops and restaurants that showcase some of our most talented artisans. For beach-goers looking for kinder, gentler waves, refuge can be found along the scenic Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Beach provides ideal waters for splashing and swimming in the surf, where visitors will find paddle boarding, kayaking, sand-castle building, volleyball and more. The area is home to a marina and multiple dockside seafood restaurants that offer incredible sunset views over the Lynnhaven Inlet.

Visitors can catch not only the sunset but also the sunrise from the same shore, thanks to the beach’s ideal location. The Chesapeake Bay Beach also carries Virginia Beach history within the Cape Henry Lighthouse and First Landing State Park. The Sandbridge area – nestled up against the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge – provides sheer serenity for a more secluded environment. In lieu of hotels, visitors can stay in breathtaking ocean-view rental homes or condominiums to truly experience an island-like environment in which to unwind. Those craving even more of the outdoors can explore trails, marshes and the open waters of False Cape State Park and the Back Bay by taking biking or kayaking excursions or surfing and paddleboarding lessons from local outfitters. From March through September, stop at Pungo’s 8,000 acres of farmland to browse the 16 You-Pick farms, farmer’s markets and roadside stands for fresh, sustainable, local produce. For those who long to lace up their running shoes, paddle through the ocean’s waves or sleep under the stars, nature’s gifts await in Virginia Beach.

Although Virginia Beach has long beckoned sunbathers and sandcastlebuilders, the resort city is also a wonderland for sports enthusiasts and those desiring more physical adventures, something that has consistently made the coastal city one of America’s fittest. From kayaking with dolphins and hiking to zip-lining and skydiving, Virginia Beach provides that heart-thumping rush sports enthusiasts crave. Our location on the southern tip of the Chesapeake Bay provides our coastal community with a seafood-centric culinary culture, which boasts a wide array of unique and delectable fare. With the famously rich waters of the bay, hundreds of inlets snaking through the city and miles of farmland, Virginia Beach is the place to go for seafood and locally harvested ingredients. Whether you crave a day on the beach, delicious dining, or unforgettable adventure, Virginia Beach has something for every appetite. Check out to plan your next adventure! Travel South | Spring 2018 | 187

Martinsville-Henry County, va

Philpott Lake Celebrates 65 Years! 2018 marks the 65th anniversary of Philpott Lake, located in Virginia’s Henry, Patrick, and Franklin counties. Philpott Dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1948-1953 to control flooding in the area and created beautiful Philpott Lake, which is now a recreational hotspot in Southern Virginia. Nestled among the rolling foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge, Philpott Lake is a scenic wonderland. The lake covers 3,000 acres with 100 miles of shoreline.

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The lake has eight campgrounds, six beach areas, and nine boat launches. Every year hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy boating, fishing, camping and hiking at Philpott. The lake offers pleasure boaters and paddlers a variety of places to explore including hidden waterfalls, scenic rock outcrops and three islands. Deer Island, the largest of the three, offers nightly camp site rentals that are only accessible via boat. Locals and visitors alike enjoy fishing the reservoir for walleye, smallmouth

bass, carp and largemouth bass. Philpott has played host to several regional and national fishing championships like the FLW College Fishing Tournament and the Fishers of Men Tournament. Throughout boating season, you can usually find a small group fishing tournament to join and take home the prize - bragging rights! In 2014, the Philpott Marina officially opened and now offers fisherman and boaters the convenience of not having to leave the lake to refuel or grab extra supplies.

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Philpott Lake is also home to one of the most gorgeous spots in Southern Virginia: the overlook at the lake’s visitor center and recreation area. The overlook offers a stunning view of the lake and shoreline year-round and is especially beautiful in the fall. So whether you enjoy camping, fishing, or the simple beauty of nature, Philpott Lake is your year-round location for all things outdoors.

“AMERICA’S Coolest Hometown.”

That's a bold statement. But that's Marion, Virginia! the great outdoors. live music. Bluegrass and Americana. nightlife. locally owned shops. Unique eateries. An art school. And a live nationwide television show. that's marion, Virginia! nestled in the heart of southwest Virginia, marion is the quintessential small town, but not one frozen in time. Historic buildings host a vibrant local “foodie” and growing night life scene. Unique shops line this Certified Virginia main street Community.

All local, all authentic - all delicious! Catch a rising star or a regional tunesmith picking on one of the many stages inside while you dine. then shop 'til your heart's content.

most folks know marion as the home of Song of the Mountains, the official television series of Virginia. the nationally-syndicated bluegrass and Americana music program is taped before a live audience every month at the historic lincoln theatre. Just steps away, the companion General Francis marion Hotel, in all of its restored Art Deco glory, is the premiere boutique lodging in the region.

learn to paint, to letterpress, to build a guitar or to play a banjo at the wayne C. Henderson school of Appalachian Arts. Hike to the top of molly's Knob, or kayak on a glimmering 108-acre lake surrounded by mountaintops reaching for the sky. Ride the “Back of the Dragon.” tap your toes to your favorite bluegrass band, or pull a tap for a craft beer. Camp in a cabin, room at a B&B, or slumber back in time at our downtown hotel. And don't miss the parades, the special events, the huge festivals all summer long!

marion's main street offers an easy stroll to a variety of restaurants, diners, bistros and eateries, something for most every taste.

Fill your shopping bags. Bring your appetite. Feed your soul. All in America's Coolest Hometown - marion, Virginia!




Each spring, the Virginia Arts Festival presents unforgettable performances throughout beautiful, historic Coastal Virginia. Here are just a few reasons to plan your Festival getaway: Mark your calendar for the Bernstein Celebration—three brilliant concerts in three cities, April 13, 14 and May 12, each celebrating the genius of the great American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. You’ll hear thrilling performances of his greatest works for the concert hall and Broadway (West Side Story, Candide, On the Town and more), performed by Broadway stars, great classical music soloists, and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Funhouse Fest is the place to be in June. This two-day outdoor music festival in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg is curated by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Hornsby, who headlines a line-up of award-winning artists in unforgettable jams. Between irresistible music sets, sample regional craft beers and foodie fare—plus, around the corner and down the street, you’ll find centuries of history to explore!

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Direct from Britain, the acclaimed Birmingham Royal Ballet performs Romeo and Juliet, April 20-22. Lavishly costumed dancers and opulent sets delight the eyes, with the heartbreakingly beautiful score performed live by full orchestra. Exclusive North American engagement—get your tickets now!

A signature event of the Virginia Arts Festival each year is the Virginia International Tattoo, an awe-inspiring spectacle featuring hundreds of performers from 8 nations. The largest display of music and might in the United States, the Tattoo offers an astounding display of military bands, majestic massed pipes and drums, show stopping drill team maneuvers, colorful and elegant dancers, and much more. Four performances, April 26-29 in Norfolk’s Scope Arena—with free pre-show activities to enjoy each day. Plus dozens more performances! For details, video, tickets, and great weekend getaway ideas, visit








3 Concerts in 3 Cities! APRIL 13, NEWPORT NEWS

This program funded by the City of Newport News and the Newport News Arts Commission.

Co-Presented with the City of Williamsburg and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Supported by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance and funded in part by the Williasmburg Area Arts Commission and the City of Williamsburg.


This program funded in part by the Sandler Center Foundation and the citizens of Virginia Beach through a grant from the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission.


Babcock State Pa rk

ia West Virginry Penitentia

Penitentiary g raveyard



Like all of our southern states, West Virginia makes for an interesting, fun-filled visit, with that extra character and charm we love so much.

However, unrelated to the stereotypical charm one has perhaps grown accustomed to, this West Virginia stop could be considered anything but charming.

with Gothic concepts, so the sheer look of the building is haunting enough, but knowing that is was a former prison might make it worse for some visitors.

Peculiarly voted as a top tourist destination, the West Virginia Penitentiary is in full swing during spring with visitors from all over that are wanting to take a tour and catch a glimpse of the massive and daunting structure, and maybe even a ghost or two. Located in Moundsville, the structure was built

From April through to November, you can secure your spot in a tour that will walk you through the building, constructed in the 1800s. The prison opened its doors in 1876, and in 1995, the final prisoner left. Between those years, more than 1,000 executions took place, along with numerous riots,

escapes, fires, and beatings. The cells are 5 feet by 7 feet and the word “claustrophobic” is an understatement, even when you’re standing in the middle of one. Stay out of the north end if you’re not up for a fright, as the north end is where the executions by means of hanging or electrocution, took place. The West Virginia Penitentiary offers everything from group tours during the day, to overnight private paranormal tours. Take a shot at the 60-minute escape room within the prison, or roam the halls all by yourself on Thriller Thursdays. It all depends on the level of spookiness you are trying to achieve, and what you would like to walk away with, but nevertheless, this attraction is a favorite amongst tourists traveling to the Mountain State.

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Mercer County, WV, is nestled deep in the heart of scenic Appalachia. From our rich coal history to our challenging off-road trails, we have a unique heritage to share. ATV expeditions, baseball rivalries and outdoor adventures. Traverse more than 700 miles of wilderness terrain on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system - one of the largest off-road systems in the country. You can even rent ATVs or go with a guide.

RiDe YoUr AtV On ThE PoCaHoNtAs TrAiLhEaD. It HaS RoUtEs FoR EvErY DrIvEr AnD LeVeL.

Start your journey in Mercer County, home of the Pocahontas trailhead. It has routes for every driver and level. There are plenty of places to roll your ATV on up for cozy accommodations - everything from a treehouse to cozy cabins. Plus, you’re close to Bramwell, so you can end your day of rugged muddin’ by exploring Millionaire Row. The historic town is famous for Victorian mansions built in the early 1900s. They’re open for tours in the spring and at Christmas. The Corner Shop in Bramwell makes mouth-watering burgers and fries. You can’t leave without dessert made from the old-fashioned ice cream soda foundation! If you are looking for something to do at night, the Railyard, in Bluefield, has live music to go with their craft beer and awesome menu. Crystal chandeliers, an airy verandah and a masculine billiards room - 20th century touches make the Bluefield Inn one of our top B&Bs. You don’t have to spend the night to appreciate its charms, though. Restaurant 2109 has gourmet meals like roast pork loin, baked trout, rustic apple tart and honey walnut bread pudding. Looking for a restful retreat to relax? Walk along a sparkling stream. Along the way, you’ll spot the Bluestone River, pale sandstone cliffs and southern West Virginia’s largest waterfall: Brush Creek Falls. Brush Creek Preserve is particularly appealing in spring, when wildlife is stirring. Our county is an adventure waiting to happen. Get out and explore!




MERCER COUNTY IS LOOKING FOR EXPLORERS. Enhance “your story” on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook with a visit to Mercer County to truly live your story in the mountains of West Virginia. Home of the Hatfield McCoy ATV Trail, Mercer County is the perfect outdoor playground to live your story, love your story and then share your story. 800-221-3206


In Huntington, West Virginia, you can: Nuzzle up to a kissing llama. Celebrate Appalachian Heritage in a variety of historic museums. Tour a handblown glass factory. Ride a wooden coaster at a 100 year-old amusement park. Catch a show, have a great meal, and visit unique shops. Here you can soothe your soul and liberate your spirit in this Appalachian town, nestled along the magnificent Ohio River. Huntington is “Where Heritage Comes Alive!” Huntington, the western gateway to West Virginia, has a rich history of river and rail. It was founded by railroad tycoon Collis P. Huntington and is known for having the largest inland port in the United States. Today, it is a diverse city with wide appeal, recently named a Certified Arts Community.

Numerous museums are located here, including the Huntington Museum of Art, J. Taylor Auto Museum, Touma Medical Museum, Museum of Radio and Technology, Marshall University Special Collections Museum, and Heritage Farm Museum, which is the only Smithsonian Affiliate in West Virginia. The only amusement park in the state is also located here. Camden Park is a throwback to fun days on the midway and is home to one of the few remaining wooden coasters in the country. The city also boasts the largest indoor mall in the state and one of the few remaining glass factories, Blenko Glass. Ritter Park, one of the city’s many parks, is home to an award-winning Rose Garden. Huntington is also home to Marshall University. The film “We Are Marshall” was filmed here and relates the tragic story of the MU football team, killed in a plane crash in 1970. Visitors can view the Memorial Fountain on campus that stands as a reminder of the resilient University and community that had to rebuild their lives afterward. For more information, visit Come see us!

America’s Best Community.

Your Next Destination. The winner of the America’s Best Communities competition, the Greater Huntington area offers something for everyone! Treat your taste buds at one of our unique local eateries, experience our popular festivals, see how beautiful glass is created at Blenko Glass, or enjoy an evening in downtown Huntington!


To see a full list of attractions and events go to and plan your trip today!


Front Royal Virginia Adventure

is just over the ridge. 126 E. Race St. Martinsburg, WV 25401 304.264.8801 800.4WVA.FUN • Front Royal-Warren County Visitors Center • 540-635-5788

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Travel South Spring 2018  

Travel South Spring 2018