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SOUTHEAST S U M M E R 201 8

GEORGIA Savor tastes of Paris in heart of Atlanta

NORTH CAROLINA Enjoy Asheville’s Biltmore Estate

Southern Charm Historic towns, cultural cuisine & scenic shores

The Washout, Folly Beach, Charleston, S.C.

SOUTH CAROLINA Charleston – No. 1 travel spot

TENNESSEE Trek distillery trail from Memphis to Nashville


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SOUTHEAST

CONTENTS PEEK INTO THE PAST From mansions to markets, tour historic Charleston, S.C., attractions

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SOUTHEAST REGION

42 kentucky north carolina

FEATURES

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BILTMORE ESTATE Spend three days touring North Carolina’s 19th-century oasis

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C’EST MAGNIFIQUE Atlanta offers an authentic taste of Parisian culture and cuisine

tennessee south carolina georgia

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DIRECTOR

Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com MANAGING EDITOR

Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com Tybee Island, Ga. PROVIDED BY VISIT TYBEE

EDITORS

UP FRONT

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ISSUE EDITOR

Tracy Scott Forson

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INN JOY Experience the charm and comfort of a bed-and-breakfast

Amy Sinatra Ayres Sara Schwartz Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER

Gina Toole Saunders DESIGNERS

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Amira Martin Miranda Pellicano Lisa M. Zilka

LISTEN UP Be entertained and educated by eclectic travel podcasts

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

TEE TIME With nine stellar courses, Pinehurst Resort is above par

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THE REGION

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SOUTH CAROLINA Tourists flock to Charleston’s restaurants for Southern fare

Once an aging mill town, Greenville is bustling once again

NORTH CAROLINA Charlotte’s breweries serve savory suds that satisfy

Lizzy Alfs, Lois Alter Mark, Regina Bediako, Larry Blieberg, Jayne Cannon, Steve DiMeglio, Jessie Dowd, Gary Garth, Anna B. Mitchell, Lauren Monitz, Nancy Monson, Kai Oliver-Kurtin, Jenn Rice, Cheryl Rodewig

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Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com

TENNESSEE Whiskey Trail features distilleries from Nashville to Memphis

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KENTUCKY State’s camping options reflect Americans’ outdoors affinity

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NATIONAL PARKS Take a drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway

GEORGIA Three island beaches offer secluded getaways

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USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are the trademarks of Gannett Co. Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Editorial and publication headquarters are at 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108, and at (703) 854-3400. For accuracy questions, call or send an e-mail to accuracy@usatoday.com.

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UP FRONT | TRAVEL

NORTH CAROLINA

Andon-Reid Inn Bed and Breakfast This mountain hamlet offers single-night stays for travelers passing through, but its beautiful views will likely bring you back for more. ▶ 92 Daisy Ave., Waynesville; 828-452-3089; andonreidinn.com

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE ESTABLISHMENTS

SOUTHERN COMFORT

Kick back and stay awhile at these beautiful bed-and-breakfasts By Lauren Monitz and Tracy Scott Forson

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F CHAIN HOTELS FAIL to offer the Southern charm you’re looking for, there are several establishments south of the Mason-Dixon Line that offer the legendary hospitality you desire. Here are a few noteworthy bed-and-breakfasts in the region:

GEORGIA

KENTUCKY

Foley House Inn Originally built in 1896 and deemed the oldest bedand-breakfast in Savannah, this 19-room venue — located in the city’s historic district — is said to be haunted. The inn is a favorite spot on Savannah’s ghost tours. ▶ 14 West Hull St., Savannah; 800-647-3708; foleyinn.com

Burlington’s Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn Down comforters, steam showers, luxury linens, freshly baked cookies and plush robes make your stay at this rural Kentucky locale, housed in buildings built in the 1800s, extra cozy. ▶ 5825 N. Jefferson St., Burlington; 859-689-5096; burligrave.com

SOUTH CAROLINA Cuthbert House Inn Located on South Carolina’s Intracoastal Waterway, this antebellum mansion boasts traditional Southern hospitality, which includes daily social gatherings on the veranda. ▶ 1203 Bay St., Beaufort; 843-521-1315; cuthberthouseinn. com

TENNESSEE Berry Springs Lodge A beautiful mountain hideaway, this site allows guests to fish in the bass or catfish ponds, ride bikes, play horseshoes, canoe, hike or simply take in the views. ▶ 2149 Seaton Springs Rd., Sevierville; 865-908-7935; berrysprings.com

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UP FRONT | TRAVEL

FIRST-CLASS

PODCASTS Tune in to travel treats

By Regina Bediako F YOU’RE TRAVELING, YOU’RE probably waiting — for the next mode of transportation, for your luggage or for a tour to start. Put that idle time to use by immersing yourself in the world of podcasts. We’ve rounded up five top-notch, travel-related audio experiences that will help you squeeze even more value out of your next adventure.

I ZERO TO TRAVEL

DUOLINGO PODCAST

SOUNDS LIKE AMERICA

BETTY IN THE SKY WITH A SUITCASE!

Since its inception in 2013, Jason Moore’s Zero to Travel (zerototravel.com) has been consistently ranked among the best of the best. Moore, who hosts and produces the show weekly, treks all over the world digging up insightful stories and lifesaving hacks that he shares in cheerful asides and in-depth guest interviews.

Is your high-school Spanish a little rusty? After a few episodes of the Duolingo Podcast (podcast.duolingo. com), you might just be muy fluent again. The innovative team behind the popular digital language learning platform has produced a series of true, fascinating first-person stories from across Latin America. Spanish is the primary langauge for most of the episodes.

Sounds Like America (stitcher.com/podcast/audible/sounds-like-america) features live stand-up and offers travel wisdom with a healthy helping of one-liners from Aisha Tyler, Roy Wood Jr. and other comedians. The two seasons of good-natured ribbing from locals who have lived in areas like Chicago, California’s Bay Area and the Midwest, will have you laughing out loud.

The godmother of travel podcasters, Betty Thesky, has 30 years of experience in the air and 13 on the microphone. She curates a charming collection of kooky vignettes, as well as travel tips and secrets from the flight deck, on Betty in the Sky (betty.libsyn.com). Listen for dispatches from her latest far-flung destinations, like Uganda and Laos, and stories from her pilots and fellow flight attendant pals.

DETOUR Detour (detour.com) is actually an app, not a podcast, but this audio experience is too cool not to include. Boldfaced names like the Radiolab team and Academy Awardnominated director Ken Burns narrate walking adventures in 19 cities around the world. It’s free to listen to the first 10 minutes of the roughly hourlong tours, and $7.99 for full access to each one.

OUR PLAYLIST

How to Become a Car Camping Superstar, 43 minutes

En el camino, 16 minutes

On the Road With Reggie Watts, 20 minutes

Gorilla Glow, 54 minutes

Downtown: The Bottleneck of Georgia, 63 minutes GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE PODCASTS

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UP FRONT | RECREATION

PUTTING AT PINEHURST Historic North Carolina resort is golf heaven on Earth

By Steve DiMeglio

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OME TO NINE TOP-FLIGHT courses, North Carolina’s Pinehurst golf resort is the largest in the U.S. and likely on every golfer’s bucket list. It has served as host to more single golf championships than any other site in America, with events including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, Tour Championship and U.S. Women’s Open. Opened in 1895, the resort’s chronological narrative spans from the Rockefellers to Oprah Winfrey, from Teddy Roosevelt to Gerald Ford, from Harry Vardon to Tiger Woods. However, you don’t have to compete in a championship or be a celebrity to enjoy all Pinehurst Resort has to offer — in fact, you don’t even have to golf. The sport isn’t the only PINEHURST attraction RESORT drawing tourists ▶ 80 Carolina to the resort Vista Dr., from across Pinehurst; the globe. Just 855-235-8507; a short walk pinehurst.com from the main clubhouse, the Village of Pinehurst epitomizes a Norman Rockwell painting, a place where cars give way to golf carts. Accommodations and dining of all tastes can be found along with an award-winning spa. There are numerous recreational activities such as tennis, lawn bowling and boating. “There is more than golf in Pinehurst. Just look at our downtown,” says Nancy Fiorillo, Village of Pinehurst mayor. “We have a lot of activities. A lot of shopping, a lot of restaurants, the village square, concerts. We try as a village council to make sure that we set the table for business. ... We are partners with Pinehurst Resort, and neither one of us would be as successful as we are without the other. We work together in every way. And it’s not just Pinehurst, it’s CO N T I N U E D

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Expect a challenge on Pinehurst’s course No. 2. PROVIDED BY PINEHURST RESORT

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UP FRONT | RECREATION

THE DIVINE NINE

Pinehurst has a golf course for you

No 1

Created in 1898, this original 18-hole course, offering 81 acres of turf and 24 acres of freeway, set the bar high for the eight that followed. Featuring 40 sand bunkers, this green was designed by legendary course architect Donald Ross.

No 2

Considered an architectural masterpiece, few courses compare to the famed Pinehurst No. 2. Originally designed by Ross and opened in 1907, this 196acre course has hosted several championships, including U.S. Open and PGA competitions.

The Village at Pinehurst features shops, restaurants and historic homes. PROVIDED BY PINEHURST RESORT

the whole area. We have to preserve our history, and yet we have to embrace the future.” Which is just what Pinehurst has done. The area, including Southern Pines and Aberdeen, has grown tremendously because of nearby Fort Bragg and the allure of golf. Visitors can choose from a host of village eateries, including Dugans Pub, Maxie’s Grill & Tap Room and the Drum & Quill Public House. There are also art galleries, including Tom Stewart’s Old Sport & Gallery, a coffee shop and a used bookstore in the old post office. A must stop in the village is the Tufts Archives in a wing of the Given Memorial Library. History comes alive with rows of displays and walls covered with golf flags from courses and tournaments. There’s an original Tufts soda machine along with hundreds of old photographs, postcards, books, magazines, maps and an assortment of advertising notices that silently speak to Pinehurst’s record. There also are more than 300 original field sketches and course layouts drawn by course architect Donald Ross. “Almost in a Disney-type way, we realize that every step of our guest’s journey leads to a complete package,” says Tom Pashley, Pinehurst Resort president. Altogether, Pinehurst is tough to beat, from sunrise to sunset. “At the end of the day, we know we are someplace special,” says Ben Bridgers, director of golf for Pinehurst, speaking for all those employed by the resort. “It’s Pinehurst. We’re not here just to take home a paycheck. We’re here to make an experience for people.”

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GO GREEN Pinehurst isn’t your only Southeastern golfing option: South Carolina’s Kiawah Island Golf Resort has one of the country’s best golf hotels and one of the most difficult courses. The deluxe resort’s amenities cater to couples, groups and families. ▶ kiawahresort.com If your goal is improving your game, plan a trip to Sea Island in Georgia. The oceanfront resort is known for its gracious setting and top-flight team of golf instructors. ▶ seaisland.com/ golf

No 6

This course hosted a PGA Tour qualifier in 1979, the same year it was introduced at the resort. With 57 sand bunkers, it boasts a “more rugged, undulating track that demands bigger drives and more aggressive approaches,” according to the resort.

No 7

There is plenty of elevation on No. 7., designed in 1986 by Rees Jones. There’s also 3 acres of waste area and 75 sand bunkers for the golfer who enjoys a challenge.

No 8

No 3

This Centennial Course, opened in 1996 in celebration of Pinehurst’s 100th anniversary, is designed to be one with nature. It’s reminiscent of the resort’s famed No. 2 course, but not a replication.

No 4

This Jack Nicklaus course, designed in 1988, features several lakes and stream beds that give it a distinct look. “The idea has been to preserve and build upon the great golfing tradition,” Nicklaus says.

With only 5,155 yards, course No. 3 is the shortest at the resort, but still manages to reflect Ross’ creativity, offering 30 sand bunkers and plenty of knolls and ridges to challenge novices and professionals alike.

Originally designed in 1919, course No. 4 is currently under renovation. Gil Hanse’s design is scheduled to be unveiled later this year and will include exposed sand, native wire grass and wider fairways.

No 5

With 6.15 acres of lakes, this course is home to the Cathedral Hole, near a pond and encircled by ancient pines that resemble a pipe organ.

No 9

+ The Cradle

Golfers age 17 and under play free with adults on this ninehole short course that is mostly fairways and turf. Opened in 2017, it’s the newest addition to the Pinehurst legacy.

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SOUTH CAROLINA

Historical SIGNIFICANCE

Step back into time at 10 must-see Charleston, S.C., buildings By Lois Alter Mark

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HE LOVELY BUILDINGS IN Charleston, S.C., are filled with architectural details that conjure images of sipping sweet tea on a piazza on a sultry summer afternoon. But there is much more to these buildings — many from the Antebellum era, many designated as National Historic Landmarks — than what you see on the outside. Each holds a rich history.

Charleston, S.C., historic homes along the Battery seawall SEAN PAVONE PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

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Considered the last existing slave auction gallery in South Carolina, the Old Slave Mart Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is sacred ground. It’s where the enslaved were actually bought and sold, and spending time there is a profound experience. Listen to an interview with a former slave, read in-depth information that is powerful and horrifying and talk to the staff members — many of whose family roots can be traced back to slaves.

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The first building in the country designed exclusively for theatrical performances, the Dock Street Theatre is considered “America’s first theater.” Although it was destroyed by fire in 1740 and was turned into a hotel for many years, it was restored for its original purpose by the city of Charleston in the 1930s. Charleston Stage, the theater company in residence, presents 120 performances each season.

BRUCE SMITH

CHARLESTON CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

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The Charleston City Market is one of the oldest public markets in the country. It houses dozens of booths and shops featuring the works of local artisans, including sweetgrass basket weavers who keep the 18th-century tradition alive. In 1788, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and South Carolina legislator, agreed to give the land to the city of Charleston, providing that it remain in use as a public market for perpetuity. The original buildings were erected in 1804, and today, Charleston City Market is considered the cultural heart of the city.

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Charleston’s first historic house museum, the Heyward-Washington House was built in 1772 for Thomas Heyward Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and was opened to the public in 1930. The city of Charleston rented the Georgian-style double house for President George Washington during his weeklong visit in 1791 — hence, its name. This National Historic Landmark features the only public 1740s kitchen building in Charleston, formal gardens featuring plants commonly seen in the late 18th century and historic Charleston-made furniture.

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The elegant 24,000-square-foot, four-story Wentworth Mansion was originally built as a private residence in 1886. The building retains some of its original architectural features, including custom-built louvered window treatments with original Victorian hardware installed in 1886 and a rooftop cupola with panoramic views of Charleston. The carriage house has been converted into the award-winning Circa 1886 restaurant, and the stable is now a spa.

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SOUTH CAROLINA

WARREN LIEB

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (or Holy Congregation House of God) is the second-oldest synagogue in the nation and the oldest in continuous use. This National Historic Landmark was founded in 1749 as a Sephardic Orthodox congregation. In 1840, when the temple was rebuilt after the 1838 Charleston fire, the congregation installed an organ — believed to be the first time a synagogue introduced instrumental music into its worship. The synagogue’s colonnaded temple is renowned as one of the country’s finest examples of Greek Revival architecture.

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Boone Hall Plantation was founded in 1681 and was opened to the public in 1956. Take advantage of all the educational opportunities that are included in the price of admission: a coach tour around the entire 738 acres, a tour of the Georgian-designed mansion, a presentation that offers a sobering look at eight original slave quarters and the live “Exploring the Gullah Culture” presentation, which introduces visitors to the culture created by enslaved Africans.

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CHARLESTON CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Built in 1713, South Carolina’s oldest public building stored loose cannon powder for nearly a century. Today The Powder Magazine is a National Historic Landmark. In what is believed to have been the city’s first preservation project, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina bought the building in 1902, restored it and opened it as a museum dedicated to early Charleston history.

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The John Rutledge House Inn is proof that Southern hospitality is alive and well. A National Historic Landmark, the house was built in 1763 by John Rutledge, a chief justice of the United States and the first governor of South Carolina, for his bride. Drafts of the Constitution were written within its walls. The inn’s 19 rooms, some as large as 900 square feet with 12-foot-high ceilings, pay homage to the colonial era with classic décor.

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A National Historic Landmark, Middleton Place is home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens and several generations of the Middleton family, including Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. You can stay at the intimate and secluded inn, which blends history with modern luxury, then step back in time at the Plantation Stableyards, where costumed artisans demonstrate weaving, blacksmithing and other activities of a self-sustaining 18th-century plantation.

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SOUTH CAROLINA | CHARLESTON

CHARLESTON CHOW Get a taste of the South

By Kai Oliver-Kurtin LONG WITH THE CHARM of its cobblestoned streets and culture steeped in American history, food is another reason Charleston, S.C., ranked No. 1 on Travel + Leisure’s 2017 Top 15 U.S. Cities list. “Foodies can schedule their whole day around meals,” according to the magazine. With about 35 people moving to the city daily, and tourism bringing 6 million visitors annually to the area, restaurants are reaping the rewards of their presence in the culinary town, which offers everything from Southern barbecue to seafood bisque. “If you’re in the hospitality business, it’s amazing,” says Brooks Reitz, principal at Neighbourhood hospitality design and concept development firm. “It means increased traffic to our restaurants, so we can pay our people more and afford better talent.” In recent years, Reitz has seen countless out-of-town chefs and restaurant operators move to the area, some having more success than others. He says the secret is to become a part of the community first, do appropriate outreach and then humbly join the culinary establishment. Perhaps no chef knows that better than Sean Brock, often considered the face of Charleston’s restaurant scene. He oversees popular local eateries Husk Restaurant, McCrady’s, McCrady’s Tavern and Minero. When given the opportunity to brag about his successful dining lineup, Brock, an eminent voice on low country cuisine, instead raves about other local mom and pop restaurants that he calls “the temples of low country cooking” — places like Martha Lou’s Kitchen. “My hope is that their cooking rises above all, and they have lines out the door,” Brock says. “That flavor is what we’re all chasing — the soul and comfort of that food and how it makes you feel.” Here are some Charleston eateries to try:

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PHOTOS BY PETER FRANK EDWARDS

Leon’s Fine Poultry and Oyster Shop is a successful venture from the Neighbourhood hospitality design and concept firm that opened in 2014. The restaurant is named after the owner of the body shop that once occupied the space, and the ambiance pays homage to that industrial history with memorabilia, concrete floors and functioning garage doors. You can keep it light with an order of fried Brussels sprouts or order an entire fried chicken. ▶ leonsoystershop.com

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SOUTH CAROLINA | CHARLESTON

THE WATCH: ROOFTOP KITCHEN & SPIRITS

The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits, inside The Restoration hotel, serves deviled eggs and hushpuppies, often precursors to a typical Southern meal. The restaurant’s shrimp and grits, a quintessential Charleston dish, is made with Geechie Boy Mill grits produced in nearby Edisto Island. ▶ therestorationhotel.com/the-watch

MCCRADY’S

With just 22 seats, McCrady’s is chef Sean Brock’s tasting menu-only restaurant. An open kitchen adds to the upscale, intimate dining experience. Charleston “ice cream” with Carolina gold rice, shrimp bouillon, toasted benne seeds and garden herbs is a course often served on the tasting menu. ▶ mccradysrestaurant.com/home-page

HUSK RESTAURANT

With acclaimed chef Sean Brock at the helm, Husk Restaurant opened in 2010, garnering national buzz for its classic Southern cuisine. Husk serves low country delicacies such as Southern fried chicken skins with shishito peppers, crispy shiitake mushrooms and black garlic mayonnaise and fire-roasted white stone oysters with fresh cheese, nasturtium butter, squash blossoms and spring garlic. ▶ huskrestaurant.com

MARTHA LOU’S KITCHEN

Martha Lou’s Kitchen is a mom and pop shop serving up traditional Southern food since 1983. Martha Lou’s serves fried chicken, chitterlings, baked macaroni, lima beans, okra soup, cornbread and collard greens. Transport to historic Charleston inside Martha Lou’s. ▶ marthalouskitchen.com

JWKPEC PHOTOGRAPHY

FIG (FOOD IS GOOD)

Owner and chef of FIG (Food Is Good) restaurant Mike Lata is known for his commitment to local farmers and fishermen, and has contributed to the success of the city’s culinary scene. FIG’s menu changes seasonally and is based on the availability of local ingredients, so expect something new with each visit. ▶ eatatfig.com

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Carolina barbecue, featured here from Home Team BBQ, is a staple throughout the low country region, typically made with pork and either a mustard or ketchup-based barbecue sauce. Embracing experimentation, Home Team combines traditional processes with the slow-cooked flavor that makes barbecue an American favorite. ▶ hometeambbq.com

ANDREW CEBULKA

Victoria Williams, chef at Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, is a South Carolina native, well acquainted with the local cuisine, which includes fried green tomatoes, okra and pimento cheese — all available on the menu. Amen Street also serves she-crab soup, crab cakes, roasted beet salad and a lobster and shrimp roll. ▶ amenstreet.com

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SOUTH CAROLINA | GREENVILLE

Greenville, S.C., downtown cityscape on the Reedy River SEAN PAVONE/GETTY IMAGES

DOWNTOWN REBOUND Explore Greenville’s oasis of Southern charm

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By Larry Blieberg, Jayne Cannon and Anna B. Mitchell

WO DECADES AGO, MANY cities declared their downtowns dead, victims of suburban sprawl, online retailers and regional shopping malls. But some shopping districts have made remarkable rebounds. “They have what I call the X-factor of urbanism. Very cool, historic and filled with interesting shops and restaurants, surrounded with walkable neighborhoods,” says Robert Gibbs, an urban planner who has worked with 300 cities and teaches at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Greenville, S.C., is one of those cities. The once low-profile area has transformed

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itself with a downtown park and the planting of thousands of trees over the decades. Greenville’s downtown area, including Main Street, boasts more than 120 independent restaurants in a 10-mile stretch, and has become one of the best dining cities in the South. Plus, Greenville scored a home run with the addition of a minor league baseball stadium in 2006, Fluor Field at the West End. “In 2011 nobody knew about us,” says Chris Stone, president of VisitGreenvilleSC, who was part of an effort to change that. Greenville is now the third most-visited county in South Carolina, where one of the top five employment industries is tourism, according to state figures. The state parks, recreation and tourism department

describes it as a $21 billion industry with $13 billion in tourist expenditures statewide. Also, a little more than 10 percent of the state’s workforce is employed in the tourism industry. The city attracts a sizable chunk of South Carolina’s tourism expenditures — nearly $1.2 billion in 2016, up from $1.14 billion the year before. Jonathan Brashier, general manager of the Aloft hotel in downtown Greenville, says the four major areas he is seeing tourists come from are Ohio, Boston, New York and Chicago: “They’ve come here to see what it’s all about, and they aren’t disappointed.” CO N T I N U E D

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SOUTH CAROLINA | GREENVILLE

GETTY IMAGES

IF YOU GO:

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(Above) Trails through beautiful landscapes, featuring greenery and cascading waterfalls, are a draw for the city’s residents and visitors.

Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown RiverPlace ▶ 171 Riverplace; 864-271-8700; hamptoninnandsuites greenville.com Westin Poinsett ▶ 120 S. Main St.; 864-421-9700; westinpoinsettgreenville.com

(Left) Greenville’s Main Street offers areas for pedestrians to rest after long days of shopping, dining and sightseeing.

Falls Park on the Reedy ▶ fallspark.com

(Right) A Segway rider heads down Main Street in downtown Greenville. JAYNE CANNON/THE TENNESSEAN

In a countywide market with about 9,000 hotel rooms, Greenville has on average more than 6,500 guests staying every day, according to VisitGreenvilleSC. That’s 1,000 more people daily compared with 2011. “It never feels like that, but that’s where it is,” says Stone. Officially, there are 30 cities and towns in the United States called Greenville. To distinguish itself, the city in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of upstate South Carolina refers to itself as “Yeah, THAT Greenville.” And THAT Greenville is a great choice for a long weekend trip. Start your visit to the Main Street area with a hotel — the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown RiverPlace or the Westin Poinsett, among others. Within walking distance of both hotels, you’ll find shops, restaurants, parks and museums. The street with wide sidewalks and plentiful benches is a leisure tourist’s dream. Nature lovers will fall for Falls Park on the Reedy. Opened in 2004, it’s a peaceful oasis, a flight of stone steps away from the

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MYKAL MCELDOWNEY/THE GREENVILLE NEWS

bustle of Main Street. Walk 32 acres of meandering trails, admire the gardens or traverse the 345-foot-long Liberty Bridge, a single-suspension structure that curves over the Reedy River. If you get tired or just want to soak in the natural beauty, benches and low stone walls abound. Back on Main Street, you’ll find the Peace Center, Greenville’s jewel of a performing arts center. The 2,100-seat concert hall is the home to a number of local companies, including the Carolina Ballet and the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. The Peace Center also offers a Broadway series and an eclectic mix of performances, some in its more intimate 400-seat venue and its outdoor amphitheater on the Reedy River. Steps away from the Peace Center is a variety of restaurants. You can find sandwich shops, pizza parlors, craft breweries and international cuisine. But in Greenville, Southern cuisine rules, and there’s no better place to partake than Soby’s New South Cuisine. The restaurant opened in 1997 in a 100-year-old building that had

been a shoe shop, bicycle shop, grocery store and cotton exchange. The building was refurbished, but owners kept much of the original materials that give the space loads of Southern charm. But the food is the star of the show, with specialties like shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese fondue putting a new twist on classic dishes. Main Street is a paradise for window shoppers. Make sure to stop at Mast General Store, a small regional chain whose outpost in Greenville housed a dry goods store in the 1890s. Mast has a little something for everyone — goods for hikers and campers, clothing for men and women, as well as vintage games and candies. If you want to see a little more of the landscape, rent a bike from Reedy Rides and explore local trails. A favorite is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 21-mile greenway between Greenville and Travelers Rest, a quaint city in Greenville County. A must-stop (even if you want to drive there) in Travelers Rest is The Café at Williams Hardware, which is right on the trail.

REEDY RIDES

Reedy Rides ▶ 12 W. McBee; 864-419-2944; reedyrides.com Peace Center ▶ 300 S. Main St.; 864-4673000; peacecenter.org Soby’s New South Cuisine ▶ 207 S. Main St.; 864-232-7007; sobys.com Mast General Store ▶ 111 N. Main St.; 864-235-1883; mastgeneralstore.com The Café at Williams Hardware ▶ 13 S. Main St., Travelers Rest; 864-834-7888; cafeatwilliamshardware.com

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NORTH CAROLINA

EXPERIENCE

Biltmore Spend three days at this historic mansion By Nancy Monson

THE BILTMORE ESTATE 1 Lodge St.; 800-411-3812; biltmore.com

PROVIDED BY THE BILTMORE COMPANY

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day

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STROLL THE GROUNDS

Frederick Law Olmsted PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE BILTMORE COMPANY (3); GETTY IMAGES

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ITH ITS PANORAMIC VIEWS of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore Estate looms large, both figuratively and literally. This Asheville, N.C., attraction is a must-see for any traveler. You can visit the estate, located just minutes from the downtown area, for the day ($50 and up for adults, $25 and up for children ages 6-10) or, better yet, stay at one of the on-site hotels: the luxurious The Inn on Biltmore Estate or the more casual and affordable Village Hotel. Meals are convenient, too, given that there are six sit-down restaurants on the grounds, as well as a grab-and-go smokehouse, café, bakery, creameries and more to please your palate.

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Of all the attractions on the estate, the big draw is Biltmore House. Built in 1895, it’s a grand French Renaissance mountain chateau and America’s largest privately owned home (with 250 rooms) that was once the residence of George and Edith Vanderbilt and their daughter, Cornelia. The home still belongs to the family. During a self-guided visit (included in the price of admission), you’ll see peerless art by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Napoleon’s chess set, ornate tapestries from the 16th century and jaw-dropping architecture. Special add-on historical tours of the house are also available, according to Marissa Jamison, Biltmore’s public relations manager. “There are upstairs/downstairs guided tours that

take you behind the scenes of daily life at Biltmore when the Vanderbilts lived here — a sort of American Downton Abbey,” she says. There’s also a rooftop tour that offers incredible views of the estate and nearby mountains, and you can sign kids up for a special audio tour. Alternatively, you can take the Legacy of the Land motor coach excursion to explore the estate’s expansive 8,000 acres. If you decide to stay longer than just the day, Biltmore won’t disappoint. There are so many things to do on the estate that some people buy an annual pass ($174) to return as often as they wish. For those interested in a weekend getaway, here’s how to spend three days at Biltmore:

A day at the Biltmore offers wonderful lessons and delights for people who love to garden and those who merely enjoy the blooms. The formal gardens, spanning 80-plus acres, were designed by renowned landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, the man behind New York City’s Central Park, and were meant for leisurely walks. “Every spring and summer, guests on the estate get to experience Olmsted’s vision, which was also his last professional project, as preserved and maintained by Biltmore’s current team of expert gardeners,” says spokeswoman Marissa Jamison. There are separate rose, azalea, shrub and Italian gardens, a pond and boathouse, statuary, a conservatory featuring palms, ferns and orchids and several easyto-difficult walking trails. Come with questions for Biltmore’s horticultural experts located at stations on the grounds.

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TAKE A SPA DAY

Spa treatment room at the Biltmore Inn

Savor theSERENITY

Biltmore Estate’s spa is only open to guests staying at the Inn, but the nearby The Spa at Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn is available for day passes (call ahead for availability), and it’s a water lover’s paradise that will stun you with its beauty. The 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa features two therapeutic waterfall pools, a lap pool, underwater music, separate men’s and women’s areas and three fireside lounges. ▶ 290 Macon Ave.; 800-438-5800; omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park/spa

Waterfall pool at The Spa at Omni Grove Park Inn

Fire pit at The Spa at Omni Grove Park Inn

The estate is home to a small boutique spa available to guests of the Inn at Biltmore. “Asheville is a holistic, healing mecca, and we try to give our guests a five-star experience,” says Christina Stratton, founding partner of the spa. She recommends the Signature Estate Experience ($295), a 110-minute treatment that includes a gentle full-body exfoliation and warm botanical body wrap, an aromatherapy scalp treatment and a custom massage that feels like a “symphony is playing on your back,” she says. Another decadent service is the 110-minute Rose Petal Facial ($295), which uses extracts from handharvested rose petals to revitalize and pamper your skin, and includes exfoliation, a botanical masque and a microcurrent lifting treatment. Patrons can also opt for the Biltmore Beauty Package ($265), a 150-minute indulgence consisting of a balancing botanical facial and a signature manicure and pedicure.

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

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VISIT THE WINERY

PROVIDED BY THE BILTMORE COMPANY; CHIHULY STUDIOS

Garden of Glass DALE CHIHULY COMES TO THE BILTMORE

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isiting Biltmore Estate this year comes with an extra-special treat: an exhibit of the colored glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly, who creates ambitious, site-specific installations of his large-scale works that live among flowers, trees, lawns and fountains. The exhibit will be at Biltmore from May 17 to Oct. 7, and you can visit it with an estate day pass. If you would like to see “Chihuly Nights at Biltmore,” on Thursday to Sunday evenings, you’ll need a separate evening pass (running about $65 if purchased in advance, biltmore.com/chihuly).

Biltmore produces more than 20 different varieties of red, white and rosé wines, and is the most visited winery in the U.S. “Our philosophy is not to specialize in just one type of wine, but many, and to appeal to the novice as well as the experienced wine aficionado,” says Jamison. A complimentary wine tasting is included with admission to the estate, and you can purchase tours of the winery, including one that focuses on sparkling wines (champagne), or a Vine to Wine tour that takes you into the estate’s vineyard. The winery is located in Antler Hill Village, a lively, casual area full of shops and restaurants as well as opportunities for outdoor activities such as biking or boating. A village green features live music on weekend evenings, and the farmyard is a favorite spot for families, says Jamison, throwing them back to the Vanderbilts’ time, complete with animals, a blacksmith, crafters and a historic barn.

— Nancy Monson

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NORTH CAROLINA | CHARLOTTE

PLENTIFUL PINTS Charlotte’s breweries offer a variety of flavors to savor By Jenn Rice DECADE AGO, THE brewery scene in Charlotte, N.C., was nonexistent. Fast forward to 2018, and you’ll find a roster of 40-plus breweries in the area, with more than half in the city proper. As one of North Carolina’s most populous cities, it makes perfect sense for the beer scene to rival other cities around the country. Visitors are adding brewery tours to Charlotte itineraries, and beer fanatics are marking the Queen City as a top destination. Quality beer is coming out of the city and people are taking notice. Breweries host events throughout the year to promote the remarkable beer scene, and North Carolina Beer Month, celebrated with festivals, tastings and other events in April is also a big draw.

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PROVIDED BY BIRDSONG BREWING COMPANY

Birdsong Brewing Co. specializes in highquality craft beer that’s often lower in alcohol content. Birdsong’s best-selling beers include Higher Ground and Paradise City Session IPA, and locals recommend Jalapeño Pale Ale. What started as an experiment, adding fresh jalapeños to Free Will Pale Ale, quickly elevated into a cult favorite. Not to worry — seeds are removed from the peppers to quench the intense heat. Each Thursday, known as THURsty THURsday, a new beer is released. Request a free tour online. ▶ birdsongbrewing.com

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NORTH CAROLINA | CHARLOTTE

200+

The number of craft breweries in North Carolina SOURCE: Brewers Association

JENN RICE

Referred to as simply OMB by locals, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery was Charlotte’s first local brewery when it opened in 2009. OMB adheres to the strict German Beer Purity Law of only using hops, malt, yeast and water to create award-winning Germanstyle beers. OMB features a happening

Brauhaus with tempting German fare (think pretzels, currywurst and sausages) and an expansive Biergarten. A few standout brews include Copper, Southside Weiss, and of course, seasonal Mecktoberfest. Order a flight and enjoy free tours each weekend. ▶ oldemeckbrew.com

NODA BREWING COMPANY

PHOTOS BY JENN RICE

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With a name like Ass Clown Brewing Company, expect the unexpected. In Cornelius, N.C., a 15-minute drive from Charlotte, the brewery features a 31-tap system and wildly unique beers that will “whack out your taste buds,” says owner Matt Glidden, who didn’t want the name of the brewery to be taken too seriously. Pull up a barstool and order a flight (or two). The most popular year-round selections include the exceptionally sour Starfruit Tart, Ass Clown IPA and Black Orange Citrus IPA. Take a piece of the quirkiness with you in the form of a souvenir T-shirt or pint glass. ▶ assclownbrewing.com

Touted by some as Charlotte’s most creative brewery, NoDa Brewing Company is known for award-winning small batch beers, barrel-aged brews, sour beers and West Coast-style IPAs. It’s original location on NoDa (for North Davidson Street) is temporarily closed, while the new location, which opened in 2015 on North Tryon Street, features a 60-barrel production system, a taproom, free brewery tours, a gorgeous outdoor area, food trucks, live music and more. Local favorites include Coco Loco Porter (with sinfully sweet notes of coconut and chocolate), Jam Session Pale Ale and Ramble on Red. And check out their weekly Nodable releases of new flavors. ▶ nodabrewing.com

BEERS AND BUNS

Nothing pairs better with beer than a delicious hot dog, and JJ’s Red Hots (jjsredhots.com), with three locations in the Charlotte, N.C., area, is the place to go for craft dogs and seasonal beer on tap. For the sixth year, JJ’s — described by its owners as a hot dog joint, not a restaurant — paired with local breweries in April during North Carolina Beer Month. Patrons can select a designer dog and complement its flavor with the appropriate suds. The 2018 Brew Dog Series brought many new creative tastes to the plate. Legion Brewing Company’s Juicy Jay Dog featured andouille sausage covered in mango habanero chutney, cevichestyle jicama slaw and cotija cheese. The Unknown Brewing Co. created the L.A. Lights turkey dog, topped with avocado, sprouts, bacon and light honey mustard. Sycamore Brewing’s Hawaiian Hospitality offers pork sausage, pulled pork, bacon, cabbage slaw and pineapple chutney. JJ’s menu also includes sausages, chicken, veggie hot dogs, salads and, of course, its signature Red Hot dog topped with hot relish, onions, mustard and a pickle spear. —Tracy Scott Forson

PROVIDED BY JJ’S RED HOTS

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GEORGIA

FROM PARIS

TO ATLANTA WITH LOVE

Find joie de vivre at these off-the-beaten-path locales By Cheryl Rodewig

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he Deep South might not be the first place you’d expect to find authentic French flair, but if you know where to look, Atlanta’s not so far from Paris. It will require more than visiting just one street or a single neighborhood steeped in culture, but if you’re willing to explore, Georgia’s capital city hides a wealth of ways to experience French chic — art, food, fashion and that something people call je ne sais quoi.

GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY AMÉLIE’S FRENCH BAKERY & CAFÉ

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French-inspired décor

AMÉLIE’S FRENCH BAKERY & CAFÉ

Turkey and bacon sandwich

PROVIDED BY AMÉLIE’S FRENCH BAKERY & CAFÉ

Popular with locals as a place to linger over a café crème, Amélie’s (ameliesfrenchbakery.com/atlanta) has a bohemian vibe that would be right at home on the Seine’s Left Bank. Caricatured on the brick exterior, Napoleon and Mona Lisa enjoy a few flaky croissants. Indoors, tricolor flags and Eiffel Towers proliferate alongside silhouettes of Marie Antoinette. For a hearty meal, choose from cheese-laden tartines, soups and quiche. But perhaps the greater pleasure is the simpler one: a fresh baguette paired with a foam-topped café noisette (the French version of an espresso macchiato). Whichever you choose, don’t leave without a pastry, preferably a macaron. They make more than 500 of these crisp, flavorful cookies each week in colors that span the rainbow. Try the bites of sugared air in raspberry, lemon, caramel, pistachio and more.

Macarons

THÉÂTRE DU RÊVE

Le Petit Prince

Stungun

Parlez-vous théâtre? This is a question Théâtre du Rêve (theatredureve.com) has been asking audiences in Atlanta for the past two decades, and the answer is always oui. Drama is the primary language you need to enjoy an evening with this “theater of the dream,” the only professional French theater troupe in the U.S. Their shows strike a bilingual balance. A few blend French and English. Others have a version for each language, while some are purely en français with English supertitles. Let yourself be carried along by the cadence. Even if you don’t speak French, emotions and intonation tell the story. That’s true whether it’s a classic by Molière or an adaptation of Le Petit Prince.

CHRIS BURK (2); JEFF SHIPMAN

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GEORGIA

PARIS ON PONCE Atlanta’s own corner of Montmartre, Paris on Ponce (parisonponce.com) sells bric-a-brac in every style: vintage handbags, antique furniture and ephemera. You’ll find a paisley skirt as easily as a porcelain teapot, a chalkboard sign scrawled with “Dirty South” hanging beside wisps of French poetry. And it’s difficult to miss the 18-foot Marie Antoinette, her well-coiffed head suspended above the rest of her, a nod to the queen’s final encounter with Madame Guillotine. Near the back of the warehouse, Le Maison Rouge, reminiscent of a very red, very 1920s Moulin Rouge, hosts special events year-round. The best is in July, when Paris on Ponce succumbs to revelry for one wild Bastille Day fete, loaded with opera, burlesque, costumes and libations.

A stylish, yet tragic Marie Antoinette

PHOTOS BY CHERYL RODEWIG

Pop graffiti mural by Jo Di Bona ALEXANDRE DURAND

FRANCE-ATLANTA Held each fall, France-Atlanta (franceatlanta.org) is a francophile’s dream — a monthlong celebration with art and industry events across the metro area. “We bring the most innovative and creative French work in all artistic disciplines — such as contemporary dance, cinema, music, architecture and visual arts — to Atlanta,” says

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Alexandre Durand, cultural attache to the city’s French consulate, which helps organize the event. “Culture isn’t contained inside a museum, theater or library. It’s everywhere.” As part of the 2017 event, French artist Jo Di Bona created a 140-foot mural in his pop graffiti style. The 2018 welcome reception is

scheduled for Oct. 16. If you’re not in Atlanta during the festival, Durand suggests checking with the consulate about other events going on throughout the year (atlanta.consulfrance.org). His current recommendation? Haute couture by designer Pierre Cardin at the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film (scadfash.org) through Sept. 30.

1966 Pierre Cardin cocktail dresses PIERRE CARDIN ARCHIVES

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GEORGIA

Bon Appétit

“IT’S ABOUT THE LOVE.” — chef Benedicte Cooper, Café Alsace

Eiffel Tower décor PHOTOS BY CHERYL RODEWIG

CAFÉ ALSACE A swirl of crème fraiche and Emmenthal cheese offsets bacon and caramelized onions on faintly charred flatbread. That’s flammkuchen (or German pizza), one of the popular Alsatian specialties at Café Alsace in Decatur (cafealsace.net), just outside the Atlanta city limits. “When I moved here 20 years ago, all the French restaurants were upscale with white tablecloths and a pianist — that’s dramatic,” says chef Benedicte Cooper. “So I decided to do something more casual and friendly and comfortable. It’s about the love.” The café perfectly captures the distinctive cuisine of this northeastern region of France that’s traded hands, French to German and back again, more than a few times. Along with staples such as pâté and boeuf bourguignon, Cooper makes food that reminds her of home: spaetzle, sauerkraut with sausage and potatoes, or a salty, satisfying pretzel sandwich called a mauricette. The menu shares a small disclaimer: They won’t rush you through your meal, so let them know if you’re in a hurry.

Mauricette au Jambon

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f you’re looking for good food and wine, Atlanta has cafés, bistros and brasseries to satisfy the most discerning gourmand, even a Parisian. “There is the food and the atmosphere ... this controlled mess that is typically French,” explains Alexandre Durand, cultural attache to the French consulate, who hails from Paris. These restaurants pair your meal with a memorable experience:

8 Anis Café & Bistro: Clustered with flower pots and curios, this quaint eatery in Buckhead specializes in Provençal food, especially pleasant when served alfresco. anisbistro.com Atmosphère: Take advantage of an affordable prix fixe lunch or splurge on a wine tasting in this charming cottage, walking distance from the BeltLine trail. atmospherebistro.com

Sculpture by French artist Bruno Catalano CHERYL RODEWIG; GETTY IMAGES

BESHARAT GALLERY You won’t find chalkboard signs at Besharat Gallery (besharatgallery.com). It’s difficult to imagine a place with more confident, casual sophistication — and what could be more French? Set in an 1885 former industrial building, the gallery is styled after a European salon, with stacked art on textured walls and has a second location just south of Paris. Contemporary artists from around the world exhibit here, including several from France, such as painter Jean Arcelin and sculptor Mauro Corda. The best time to visit is the second Friday of the month during the free Castleberry Hill Art Stroll, when Besharat Gallery opens its doors to passers-by. Don’t miss the sculpture garden on the lower level.

Bistro Niko: This Buckhead eatery boasts an impressive wine list and a patio where you can engage in another authentic Parisian activity: people-watching. buckheadrestaurants.com/ restaurant/bistro-niko Café Vendôme: A traditional boulangerie with handmade eclairs, brioche, croque monsieurs and more, this café is famous for its baguettes, which locals and expats alike clamor for. cafevendome. com Douceur de France: With a French chef at the helm, this restaurant sells soups, sandwiches and more at both of its locations north of Atlanta, though you may have trouble looking beyond the pastry case. douceurdefrance.com Le Bilboquet: Dine in at this posh bistro, but save some cash for shopping; it’s just steps away from French brands like Dior, Diptyque, Hermès and L’Occitane. lebilboquetatlanta.com Petite Violette: Opened in 1974, Atlanta’s original fine French restaurant delivers flawless cuisine, from coq au vin to crème brûlée, in an elegant setting. petitevioletterestaurant.com — Cheryl Rodewig

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GEORGIA | BEACHES

SUN, SAND, SEA Explore Georgia’s best beach islands

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EORGIA’S HARD-PACKED CLAY GROWS the state’s famous peaches and makes up its beautiful beaches. This trio of islands has all the sun, sand, sea and Southern hospitality you’re looking for.

PROVIDED BY VISIT TYBEE

TYBEE ISLAND

Over the past 500 years, Tybee Island has been ruled by Spain, England, France, the Confederacy and even a band of pirates. Like most beaches in Georgia, Tybee has plenty of dunes, sea oats and hard-packed, gray-toned sand. Biking and kayaking are popular island activities. Dolphin and alligator tours and fishing excursions are also available. Tybee Island is also a great spot for watching egrets, herons, osprey and endangered loggerhead turtles. Just 30 minutes from Savannah, the area attracts families as well as couples on weekend excursions. History lovers can explore a Civil War fort and the circa-1773, 178-stair Tybee Island Lighthouse (one of the nation’s oldest and tallest). ▶ visittybee.com

JOHN HANCOCK PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

JEKYLL ISLAND

PROVIDED BY GOLDEN ISLES CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

ST. SIMONS ISLAND

Part of the charm of St. Simons Island is driving toward the Sea Island Golf Club, where you can see the famed Avenue of the Oaks, a long strand of 100-year-old live trees dripping with Spanish moss. The ocean around the island remains calm, making it a good option for small children. Visit the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum — a working lighthouse built in 1872. Then, play a round of golf at Sea Island Golf Club, home to the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic. Watching the sun set over the St. Simons harbor from the deck of a boat is the perfect way to end a long beach or golf day. ▶ explorestsimonsisland.com

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Once home to a private club where members of the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Pulitzer families gathered, Jekyll Island is now a state park with 10 miles of beach. Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach, dotted with magnificent tree limbs that have washed ashore, is a hot spot for taking photographs. Glory Beach, where parts of the 1989 Oscar-winning film Glory, starring Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington were filmed, is a prime location for viewing resting and nesting birds. Great Dunes Beach, described as the most family-friendly of Jekyll’s shores, offers picnic pavilions, volleyball courts and welcomes pets. Enjoy a meal at nearby eateries while watching the dolphins at St. Andrews Beach, which is accessible to those with disabilities. ▶ jekyllisland.com

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GEORGIA | WINERIES

TOAST OF THE TOWN Athens Wine Weekend provides sips and scholarships

By Jessie Dowd

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NIFF, SWIRL, SIP, SPIT repeat — that was the theme of Athens Wine Weekend, where oenophiles gathered to experience varietals spanning the globe. Georgia wineries, including Habersham Winery and Château Élan; and local distributors, such as Georgia Crown and Eagle Rock, were among those providing libations to the more than 1,600 attendees at this year’s event, held in early February at The Classic Center in Athens, Ga. A balanced mix of local Athenians and out-of-town visitors enjoyed multiple

10TH ANNIVERSARY Mark your calendars for Athens Wine Weekend 2019, Feb. 1-3. ▶ classiccenter.com/312/ Athens-Wine-Weekend

events over three days— kicked off with the “A Little Surprise” amuse-bouche dinner on Feb. 2, followed by the Grand Tasting, educational seminars and a gourmet dinner Feb. 3, and ending with a Sparkling Wine Sunday brunch Feb. 4. Celebrating its ninth year, the wine-fueled fest is presented by The Classic Center Cultural Foundation.

Athens Wine Weekend serves as the organization’s signature fundraising event for the year. The 2018 silent auction raised more than $18,000 for scholarships, and the overall event raised more than $22,000 for northeast Georgia students interested in culinary, visual and performing arts. “Over the years, (Athens Wine Weekend) has brought leisure guests to the city, as well as become a part of what makes Athens a cultural mecca,” says Elizabeth Austin, director of marketing and cultural foundation for The Classic Center. “We are so proud of the growth and support from wine enthusiasts that have made this event what it is today.”

VISIT GEORGIA WINE COUNTRY In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city of Dahlonega is home to North Georgia wine country. Distinctive wineries and tasting rooms offer an array of experiences. Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery This small, family farm winery is styled after an old-fashioned barn with the “loft” area housing the tasting room. ▶ cavendercreekvineyards.com Frogtown Cellars Picturesque porches and decks offer sweeping views of Frogtown Cellars’ 3-acre lake and surrounding mountains. ▶ frogtown.us Habersham Vineyard & Winery Opened in 1983, Habersham Winery is one of the oldest and largest in Georgia. Tastings hosted daily. ▶ habershamwinery.com Kaya Vineyard and Winery Take in panoramic mountain views from the tasting room or the covered deck while sipping wines made exclusively from estate-grown grapes. ▶ kayavineyards.com Montaluce Winery & Restaurant Authentic Italian architecture makes you feel like you’re in Tuscany. Grab lunch at the on-site restaurant, Le Vigne, or order a charcuterie board to nibble on in the tasting room or on the veranda. ▶ montaluce.com Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery Enjoy the view of Three Sisters Mountain, laid-back vibes and casual, welcoming ambience. ▶ threesistersvineyards.com Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery Have a delectable meal in the restaurant (brunch is a favorite) and sample wine in the tasting room. ▶ wolfmountainvineyards.com — Jessie Dowd

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery is a premiere wine and food destination.

GETTY IMAGES

PROVIDED BY WOLF MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS AND WINERY

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TENNESSEE | WHISKEY TRAIL

STATE OF CHEER Tennessee officially has its own whiskey trail By Lizzy Alfs

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ACK DANIEL’S MASTER DISTILLER Jeff Arnett hopes the first-ofits-kind Tennessee Whiskey Trail will be a game changer for state tourism and will draw travelers for the sole purpose of experiencing more than two dozen distinct distilleries. “This opportunity of doing a trail, at least from Jack Daniel’s standpoint, I would consider us to be potentially one of the big lures on the line, but every stop on the line is worth stopping in,” Arnett said at a launch event last year. “We’re hoping that it attracts more people to the state of Tennessee.” In many ways, the Tennessee Whiskey Trail is modeled after what Kentucky has already successfully done for bourbon — but on a larger scale. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, launched by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association in 1999, invites visitors to high-profile distilleries including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve on a 10-stop tour. The trail has welcomed nearly 2.5 million visitors CO N T I N U E D

Leiper’s Fork Distillery is a stop on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, which launched last June. LARRY MCCORMACK/THE TENNESSEAN

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TENNESSEE | WHISKEY TRAIL

Barrels abound at Chattanooga Whiskey Company in Tennessee. LACY ATKINS/THE TENNESSEAN

TENNESSEE WHISKEY TRAIL Inspired by similar bourbon tours in Kentucky, this Tennessee rendition includes more than 25 distilleries and a passport book to keep track of your journey. ▶ tnwhiskeytrail.com

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from all 50 states and 25 countries in the last five years, according to its website. In Tennessee, it’s no secret the whiskey industry is having a moment. There are now 30-plus distilleries in the state after laws were relaxed in 2009, opening the door for craft spirit makers. In 2017, whiskeys exported from Tennessee were valued at $665 million, ranking as one of the state’s top exports. The Tennessee Distillers Guild formed in 2014 and capitalized on that booming industry with an organized marketing tool to showcase the state’s spirits makers. Kris Tatum, the group’s president, hopes visits to the Tennessee Whiskey Trail eventually exceed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and elevate the entire region’s tourism industry. “It’s not only important for our industry, the distilling industry, there are so many offshoots of our industry that we touch: tourism, economic development, rural development, agriculture, hospitality and restaurants,” Tatum says. “We just feel we can bring all that together and with our focus being Tennessee products, we think we

can raise that Tennessee pride.” The distillery tour, with more than 25 stops, will show Tennesseans and visitors alike all the state has to offer, from blues music in Memphis and honky-tonks in Nashville to the foothills in Chattanooga and the Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg. People can complete the tour on their own time and in any order they prefer. Distilleries on the tour range from big players such as Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel to newer spiritsmakers including Nashville Craft and Chattanooga Whiskey Co. Visitors can collect stamps at each distillery and keep a record in a free passport that’s available at locations along the trail, or you can download the app to access it digitally. Those who collect all stamps will receive a gift to mark their achievement. The Tennessee Whiskey Trail offers a 10-day itinerary on its website for serious whiskey enthusiasts who want to visit all the distilleries during one trip. It also includes sightseeing and restaurant recommendations along the way, starting in Nashville and ending in Memphis.

“Let’s say you go to Nashville and come in on a Thursday night, I can go over and see Nelson’s, Corsair and Nashville Craft all in one evening,” says Tatum, naming stops on the trail. “Then I can have a great dinner at Merchants or a fantastic steak at Jimmy Kelly’s. “The best for me is to integrate the restaurants and hospitality and stay at a cool boutique hotel,” he adds. April Weller Cantrell, marketing director at the new Leiper’s Fork Distillery, hopes the trail brings increased traffic and brand awareness to the maker of high-end premium whiskeys in Williamson County. She says it can also showcase the variety of spirits produced in the state, from classic Tennessee whiskey and moonshine to vodka and gin. The 45-minute tours at Leiper’s cost $10 and visitors learn the history of Tennessee whiskey making, see production from beginning to end and spend time in the tasting room/retail center in a cabin from the 1800s. “I grew up in Kentucky,” Weller Cantrell says. “So, I’m well aware of what the trails can do and how beneficial they are to tourism and promoting your product.”

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KENTUCKY | CAMPING

PETRI JAUHIAINEN/GETTY IMAGES

OUTDOOR ADORATION Kentucky parks reflect nation’s love of camping

By Gary Garth

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N A QUIET, WEEKDAY afternoon, about half the campsites at Hillman Ferry Campground are filled. That’s 374 sites scattered along nearly 900 acres of rolling, timbered, postcard-pretty Kentucky Lake/ Tennessee River shoreline. During the 2017 Independence Day weekend, every site was occupied with retirees, young children and every age group in between. Accommodations vary, too. A handful of tents dot the landscape among the trees, but most of the filled campsites are anchored by travel trailers and RVs,

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including a few school bus-size units. Some feature portable satellite dishes. The quiet hum of air-conditioning units provides the background noise. “It is like a small city here,” says Jason Osborne, assistant manager for Hillman Ferry, one of four fully developed U. S. Forest Service campgrounds inside the 170,000-acre Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, a popular camping, boating and hiking destination that spills across the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Hillman Ferry is also one of thousands of federal-owned/managed campgrounds across the country. Thousands more are operated by national and state parks and

other municipalities. Many offer creature comfort-level amenities. Others provide campers the bare-bone necessities of chemical toilets or a fire ring. Privately run campgrounds also abound. According to the 2016 American Camper Report, which was prepared by the Outdoor Foundation with help from Coleman Company, 40 million Americans went camping in 2015. That’s 14 percent of the U.S. population. “For me, I just love being in the campground and seeing all the campfires, hearing the sound of children playing, starCO N T I N U E D

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KENTUCKY | CAMPING

NATURAL REMEDIES Here are just a few ways camping can benefit you:

Getting to know nature Camping gives you an opportunity to commune with the elements. Allow a butterfly to rest on your shoulder. Take a dip in a pond. Observe wildlife. Stargaze, or just enjoy the fresh air.

Columbus-Belmont State Park ▶ 350 Park Rd., Columbus, Ky.; 270-677-2327; parks.ky.gov/parks/ recreationparks/ columbus-belmont/

Hiking up your health Being outdoors usually includes a lot of physical activity, from pitching a tent to navigating rocky, windy and unpaved terrain. Plus, studies have shown that walking outside can decrease depression. PHOTOS BY GARY GARTH

ing at the stars and, if I’m lucky, perhaps hearing the sound of wildlife,” says Boyd Smith, who heads to the woods every time he gets the chance. “I just love it.” Smith became addicted to nights under the stars as a boy in Mississippi camping with his twin brother. “Many times our tent was vacant because we would rather be lying on our makeshift sleeping bags looking up at the stars than be in a small tent filled with the heat of summer,” he adds. These days, Smith has abandoned his tent for the more comfortable confines of a travel trailer, that, when parked in a full-facility campsite, is complete with air conditioning, water, electric and sewer. “Most people today are in a recreational vehicle, travel trailer or other hard-sided unit,” says Osborne. “During the holidays, it’s probably 70 percent to 80 percent RVs and hard-sided units and the rest tents. But during the slower times, it’s more like 90/10 RVs and campers and tents.” Like many full-facility campgrounds, Hillman Ferry includes a camp store, boat ramps, laundry facilities, showers, restrooms and hiking trails. Most of

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the property’s campsites provide Hillman Ferry Campground power, water and ▶ 820 Hillman Ferry Rd., sewer hookups Grand Rivers, Ky.; — all the conve270-924-2181; niences of home under a starlit sky. landbetweenthelakes.us/ And camping is seendo/camping/hillmanrelatively inexpenferry-campground/ sive. Campsites typically range from $10 to $40 per night. November. It’s a beautiful spot with a “We provide a lot of amenities,” Osborne beautiful view of the Mississippi River, and says. “We have basketball courts and it’s quiet. We’re kind of secluded here. “We volleyball courts and playgrounds and get people from all over the United States different (nature) programs. But one of the and from other countries, too,” she adds. biggest things is the security we provide. “But we have a lot of repeat visitors.” People can bring their kids inside this Sisters Glenda Lankford and Anne campground and provide them with a very Paschall have camped here often with their safe environment.” families. They enjoy the river view while Cindy Lynch also strives to keep her their husbands relax. “It’s so peaceful,” campers at Columbus-Belmont State Park Paschall says. “And the view is wonderful.” in Kentucky feeling safe. “Our campground “We’re planning on doing this a lot,” adds isn’t very big, but camping is very popular,” Lankford. says Lynch, manager of the quaint, hisWith 40 million fellow campers, they toric destination established in 1934. “We won’t be alone. typically have heavy occupancy through

Detaching from the digital Camping is the perfect time to take a break from social media, game apps and other digital distractions. Unplug and enjoy other ways of entertaining yourself, such as reading a good book or drawing.

Creating quality time With the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, it can be difficult to connect with family and friends, but camping offers a great opportunity to bond with the important people in your life and create lasting memories.

SOURCE: NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

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NATIONAL PARKS

ROAD TRIP

The Blue Ridge Parkway was the most visited national park location in 2017, welcoming more than 16 million travelers. Take this scenic 469-mile route that connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

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