The impending days of winter, having peeked their way into my life as early as mid-October here in Paris, are making me reminisce about those hot, summer, road trip days in the southern American states. This is a continuation on my New Orleans set. NOLA was the first destination of a 13-day journey through the American South. Here is the rest of the trip. The photo above is a shot I took from inside the car, probably somewhere in Virginia.
From NOLA, we made a pitstop at Oak Alley Plantation, and took a tour of the beautiful Southern mansion and its luscious oak trees.
From Oak Alley, we made our way towards Birmingham, Alabama. I didn't take any physical photos of Birmingham, but I recommend Alabama to anyone passing through the south. This Deep South state is packed with beautiful cities, friendly people, and breathtaking nature spots. Our next destination was Memphis, Tennessee. We decided to stop at a hiking area on our way to Tennessee called Little River Canyon. After getting lost on the Alabama backroads and calling Larry the Park Ranger three different times, we finally found the area and it was well worth the struggle.
One of the highlights of the road trip was finding a swimming hole during the peak of a 97-degree afternoon. We didn't really think to prepare for a hike, so we were in pants and Birkenstocks. Yes, pants. I don't remember wearing shorts this past summer, because I'm probably crazy. It was so hot that we just decided to strip and cool off in the water. Best. Decision. Ever.
Here are some shots of the road to make up for the fact that I didn't take any photos of Memphis or Nashville, our stops after Alabama. Memphis was a stop because we had to go see Graceland and Elvis, and Nashville, because we had heard so many great things about the Music City. Tennessee was a very interesting experience for us...and I'll leave it at that... (think unexpected free dinner dates and an eccentric Airbnb host...).
After Nashville was Asheville, North Carolina, another absolutely cool city that I didn't document. However, between Nashville and Asheville was our most anticipated destination- the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you are planning a trip to anywhere in the south or even remotely close to this mountain range, GO HERE!!!! It is SO breathtaking that it was a shame we could only see the mountains for an afternoon. If I could, I would spend a whole week just camping out here in the mountains. We experienced the Smoky Mountains in a misty post-rainstorm atmosphere. We threw in some Fleet Foxes and the day was complete.
But I'm serious, experience the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Oh, and post-Asheville was Raleigh, North Carolina, where we had the BEST BARBECUE at The Pit. No photos, because I am terrible at documenting fun things like the best baby-back barbecue ribs you will ever experience in your life(and don't forget to get two orders of the seasonal skillet cornbread–one for the table, one for the road). It was an unforgettable trip, and the first real road trip of many to come. I'll end it with our "Earthy Road Trip" playlist that was on repeat for most of our being on the road. I think we spent a little over 60 hours driving to and from destinations. Our playlist was a lot of Andrew Bird, Fleet Foxes, and Gregory Alan Isakov. Basically, just a whole bunch of earthy, acoustic goodness. ENJOY!!
And some fantastic eats to try out if y'all are ever in the area:
- The Rum House New Orleans, LA
Get the B Brisket roti, or any roti. Also, don't do outdoor seating if it's above 90 degrees. And don't order a beer while you're dehydrated and in said outdoor seating. Heatstroke is a real thing, people (I am clearly speaking from experience).
- Dat Dog New Orleans, LA
Hot doge heaven. Embrace your bliss and order yourself an alligator sausage. Ask for the suggested toppings.
- El Barrio Birmingham, AL
Do not leave without trying the guacamole with PEACHES and mint. Yes, peaches.
- The Loving Pie Company Nashville, TN
CINNAMON ROLL TOPPED APPLE PIE. Usually on Saturdays. Avoid the lavender-infused lemon meringue pie at all costs. Gourmet patisserie vibes, but more of a LUSH floral soap reality.
- Salsa Asheville, NC
Order a Pom-Pom-Pom. I can't even describe to you what it is. But trust me, you will not regret it.
- The Pit Raleigh, NC
Like I said, baby-back ribs, sweet potato fries, and as much of the cornbread your mouth can handle.
- ...Waffle House ANYWHERE BELOW THE NJ STATE LINE
Do yourself a favor and get the All-Star Special.