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Let the Concierge be Your Guide for Adventure in Gulf County, Florida (April 2017)

Discover Farmview Market in Madison, Georgia (October 2016)

Postcard from Natchitoches, Louisiana (October 2016)

Discover the Essence of the Florida Panhandle at State Parks (October 2016)

Experience Fayetteville, North Carolina (October 2016)

Nine Fun Ways to Enjoy Fall Foliage in Georgia (October 2016)

Postcard from Lexington, Kentucky (September 2016)

Get Out and Explore: Six States, 16 State Parks (September 2016)

Checking In...The Henderson in Destin, Florida (September 2016)

What to Do in Blowing Rock, North Carolina (September 2016)

Postcard from Baton Rouge, Louisiana (June 2016)

From Alligators to Whale Sharks: 10 Aquariums in the South to Explore (May 2016)

Postcard from LaGrange, Georgia (April 2016)

Nine Experiences to Enjoy in Bowling Green, Kentucky (March 2016)

Postcard from Middleburg, Virginia (February 2016)

Go, See, Do: Six Getaway-Worthy Southern Destinations (January 2016)

16 Things to Do in the South in 2016 (January 2016)

Rider or Not, There are Many Reasons to Visit Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson (October 2015)

The Great Georgia Escape: Discovering (and Enjoying) Big Canoe (September 2015)

Quick Glimpse into Birmingham, Alabama's Growing Culinary Scene (August 2015)

Discover the Vast Musical Side of the South with the Americana Music Triangle (June 2015)

Take Grilling to the Next Level with Grillocracy.com (June 2015)

True Cajun Experience Found at Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose's Bed and Breakfast (May 2015)

Experience Acre in Auburn, Alabama (May 2015)

Experience the Mississippi Delta with These Four Destinations (January 2015)

Four Days, Three Destinations: Exploring Columbia County and Augusta, Ga., and Aiken, S.C. (January 2015)

Finding the Perfect Southern Destination for Your Next Getaway (January 2015)

So Many Fun Ways to Spend Your Holiday Gift Cash in the South (December 2014)

Behind the Scenes: The Personal Collection (and Memories) at the Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square (December 2014)

Spending a Day or Weekend in Bardstown, Kentucky (September 2014)

"Celebrate" Your Getaway to The Pearl on Rosemary Beach (September 2014)

College Football Hall of Fame Debuts in Atlanta (August 2014)

Discover Alabama's Varied Culinary Side during Alabama Restaurant Week (August 2014)

Get Out and Enjoy Scallop Season (and Scallops) on St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County, Florida (August 2014)

Bringing the Past and Present Together in Rock Hill, S.C. with "75 Years, Still One Gear" (July 2014)

Four Reasons to Plan a Getaway to Sunny Isles Beach, Florida (July 2014)

So Many Ways in the South to Make This Summer One to Remember (June 2014)

Amp Up Your Doughnut Making (and Eating) Experience with Sublime Doughnuts' Kamal Grant's Cookbook (May 2014)

Streamsong Resort: A Golfing Resort Beyond the Ordinary in Florida (April 2014)

In the Kitchen with Chef Douglas Olsen (March 2014)

Celebrating Farmers and Farm Life with the Farm Star Living Website and App (March 2014)

In the Kitchen with Chef Sam Lodovico, The Resort at Glade Springs (February 2014)

Checking Out Charleston's Culinary Scene with Charleston Culinary Tours (February 2014)

Discovering Downtown Birmingham, Ala. with Alabama Road Trips (January 2014)

Season Two of "Emeril's Florida" Highlights Culinary Gems of South Walton (January 2014)

Chatting with Barbecue Champion and Restaurateur Melissa Cookston (November 2013)

"Cast Iron Chef" Competition to Heat Up the 3rd annual Brooks County Skillet Festival (October 2013)

Crowd Pleasing Recipes to Amp Up Tailgating (September 2013)

Discovering Georgia's Lake Oconee Area (July 2013)

Honoring the Man in Black: Johnny Cash Museum (June 2013)

Experience Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island (June 2013)

Build Your Own Memorable Experience in Columbus, Georgia (May 2013)

South Walton’s Art Culture: People Behind the Creations (May 2013)

Louisville, Kentucky Beyond the Derby (May 2013)

City Insider: Mark Wyant, owner, The Saint Hotel in New Orleans (February 2013)

Dining Out at Osteria Tulia (January 2013)

Discover Florida's Charm with Emeril's Florida (January 2013)

Taste Nostalgia (and Fun) with Pure Sodaworks (December 2012)

Find Serenity (and More) at Red Horse Inn (December 2012)

In Tall Cotton: Chef Cory Bahr and Restaurant Cotton (November 2012)

Under the Grand Chapiteau with Cirque du Soleil’s Totem (November 2012)

Feelin’ Presidential: Presidential Sites Throughout the South (October 2012)

Eight Cool Southern College Towns (September 2012)

Mark Your Calendar... Fabulous Southern Fall Music Festivals (September 2012)

In the Kitchen with Chef Eric Fulkerson (August 2012)

Visiting The Inn at Magnolia Oaks (August 2012)

Journey to New Orleans Plantation Country (August 2012)

Turn Your Vacation into an Experience at the Plantation on Crystal River (July 2012)

Dazzle Your Summer with Fata Morgana (July 2012)

Coming Home to Hightower Creek Vineyards (July 2012)

Exploring I-95 in the South with Barbara Barnes, Author of What’s Great About I-95: Maine to Florida (July 2012)

Timeless Experiences Await You at High Hampton Inn (June 2012)

Discover Cummins Falls, Tennessee's Newest State Park (June 2012)

See Savannah on a Segway Tour (June 2012)

Newest Addition to Biloxi, Mississippi - Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant (May 2012)

Coming Home: Chef David Guas set for New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (May 2012)

Experience Southern Sweetness with South Carolina's Firefly Distillery (May 2012)

The Running of the 71st Iroquois Steeplechase (May 2012)

100 Years and Counting: Riding the African Queen (May 2012)

Get Into the Wild with Safari Wilderness Ranch (May 2012)

Discover Another Side of Spartanburg with the Underground Guide to Spartanburg (April 2012)

Get Out and Explore National Parks During National Park Week (April 2012)

Glide Through Downtown Memphis on the Segway Experience of Memphis Tour (April 2012)

Congratulations to Our "Adventure Time Getaway" Winner (April 2012)

The Tennessee Aquarium, 20 Years Later and Still Going Strong (March 2012)

Fashion Weeks Show Off Stylish South (March 2012)

What to do When You’re Not Breathing Baseball During Spring Training in Florida (March 2012)

Tables are Set for Restaurant Weeks in the South (January 2012)

Congratulations to our Couples Comedy Getaway Winner (December 2011)

Discovering South Florida’s Three Distinctively Different Kimpton Hotels (November 2011)

Congratulations to our Back To Nature Getaway Winner (November 2011)

“Fall” for the Outdoors and More in Wilmington, North Carolina (October 2011)

Festivals, Football, Foliage and Fun: The Many Reasons Fall is Great in the South (October 2011)

The New Must-Do’s in Raleigh, North Carolina (September 2011)

Culinary Delights and Cultural Gems Await You Along SW Alabama's Culinary Trail (September 2011)

Exploring Seaside with the Seaside Walking Tour (September 2011)

Ending the Summer with a Bang: Labor Day Weekend Fun in the South (September 2011)

Celebrating Food and Music at The Shed in Ocean Springs, Miss. (August 2011)

Extend Your Summer with an Outdoor Concert (August 2011)

Discover Southern Charm and Hospitality at Fairview Inn in Jackson, Mississippi (August 2011)

Living History (and More) Awaits You at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill (August 2011)

Exploring New Orleans’ Culinary Scene During COOLinary (August 2011)

Celebrate Hampton Bear and Teddy Bears at High Hampton Inn (July 2011)

Fireworks, Parades and More: 25 Ways to Have a “Blast” This 4th of July Weekend in the South (July 2011)

Simply Southern...James Madison Inn in Madison, Ga. (June 2011)

Fun and Free (or Inexpensive) Ways to Celebrate Dad this Father's Day (June 2011)

Congratulations to Our Simply Delightful Getaway Winner (June 2011)

Discovering One of Florida’s Surprises: Paddling the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (April 2011)

Rediscovering old Florida at the Florida House Inn (March 2011)

Sip and Taste at the 26th annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival (March 2011)

Congratulations to our "Savannah's Best" Getaway Winner (March 2011)

Let’s Play Ball! Spring Training in Florida (February 2011)

Getting Back to Nature: Touring Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (February 2011)

Spotting Winter Wildlife (and Possibly Whales) in Virginia Beach, Virginia (January 2011)

Congratulations to our “Let’s Just Go” Getaway Winner (January 2011)

Finding “Treasures” on Jekyll Island, Georgia (January 2011)

Yo, Ho Ho: Exploring the Life of Pirates at the Pirate and Treasure Museum (January 2011)

It’s All About Experiences This Year in the South (January 2011)

Holidays are Hot at Hotels Across the South (December 2010)

It’s Nice on Ice–Where to Go Ice Skating in the South This Holiday Season (December 2010)

Congratulations to our Private Island Getaway Winner (December 2010)

Celebrating the Holiday Season in Williamsburg Virginia (December 2010)

Discovering Nu Wray Inn in Burnsville North Carolina (December 2010)

Thanksgiving Day Chef Competition at Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation (November 2010)

Many Reasons to Celebrate the Holiday Season at Gaylord Opryland (November 2010)

Discover the Birdhouse Trail in Monroeville Alabama (November 2010)

Congratulations to Our Casino Giveaway Winner (November 2010)

Get Out This Saturday for VISIT FLORIDA’s Great Beach Walk (November 2010)

Nathan Beaver set to Return to Perform in Madison Georgia (November 2010)

Fall for Fishing Along North Carolina’s Coast (October 2010)

Savor the Flavor in Polk County, Florida One Bite at a Time (October 2010)

Congratulations to Our Beach Giveaway Winner! (September 2010)

Discovering Mississippi's Culinary Trail (August 2010)

Going Coastal…Now is the Perfect Time to Visit the Florida Panhandle (August 2010)

Ways You Can Support the Recovery Effort in the Gulf (June 2010)

Get Out and Go to Alabama’s Gulf Coast (June 2010)

Soak in the Sun (and Fun) Along Florida's West Coast Beaches (June 2010)

It's New - The Titanic Museum Attraction (June 2010)

Celebrate Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country in 2010 (June 2010)

Tell Orlando (and the World) Why the City Makes You Smile (June 2010)

Fun Awaits You Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast (June 2010)

Staying Current on the Oil Spill in the Gulf (May 2010)

Where to Go for the Latest on the Nashville Floods (May 2010)

Keeping Current with the Oil Spill (May 2010)

Published: July 2012
Exploring I-95 in the South with Barbara Barnes, Author of What’s Great About I-95: Maine to Florida  

When is an interstate more than an interstate?

When it’s I-95.

Did you know that I-95  is the nation’s longest north-south interstate. It runs 1,920 miles from Maine to Florida, and crosses 15 states — the most of any interstate. I-95 sees about 565 million long-distance trips (greater 100 miles) annually.

And all of this time, you probably looked upon it as just a road. It’s anything but; and according to Barbara Barnes, author of What’s Great About I-95: Maine to Florida, travel along I-95 can be both fun and educational, as long as you know where to look.

Even in the South. So if you are up for some exploring, Barnes recommends 10 little-known gems to visit that are within a couple miles of the interstate.

1. The Civil War Life – The Soldier’s Museum, Exit 126 in Virginia. Barnes says the museum is so close to I-95, you can see it from the road. As for the museum itself, it tells the story of the War of Northern Aggression from the perspective of both sides, including the soldiers, slaves and civilians.

2. Tobacco Farm Life Museum, less than two miles east of Exit 107 in North Carolina. Local families, proud of their flue-cured tobacco heritage, started a museum that’s more like a walk through a historical tobacco community that demonstrates their slow Southern lifestyle. If you go, you’ll come away knowing the hard but happy life of a Depression era tobacco farm, she says.

3. Ava Gardner Museum, Exit 95 in North Carolina. Mid-1900’s glamour girl Ava Gardner started life here in rural North Carolina and ended up on the big screen and in the arms of Frank Sinatra and Clark Gable. As their website states, this museum chronicles her life from “Crabtown Girl to Tinseltown Legend.”

4. Swamp Fox mural tour, between Exits 108 and 135 in South Carolina. More than a dozen building-sized murals scattered throughout Clarendon County tell the story of a local hero, the Swamp Fox (aka Francis Marion) who, against all odds, out-witted British forces during the Revolutionary War.

5. As I-95 crosses over the scenic Great Pee Dee River near MP 175 in South Carolina, try humming Way Down Upon the Swanee River. When Steven Foster wrote that song in 1851, he first used Mississippi’s Yazoo River in the lyrics but it didn’t have the right sound. He changed it to Way Down Upon the Pee Dee River but that was rejected too. He finally settled on Suwannee River, but misspelled it in the written version.

6. The interchange at Exit 109 in Georgia is named for Christmas Moultrie, a slave born on Christmas Day 1863 on the Mulberry Plantation, which grazes I-95 near here. When slavery was abolished, Christmas became an accomplished market hunter, a hunter with the cunning and determination to make a living tracking and selling birds and game.

7. Butler Island, Exit 49 in Georgia, may have changed the course of the Civil War. Proprietor and slave-owner Pierce Butler made the mistake to taking his anti-slavery wife to his plantation on Butler Island, which can be seen from I-95. She kept a diary of the atrocities, published it after their divorce and, once the British Parliament read it, they refused to fund the Confederacy. Take Exit 49 in Darien to visit the ruins (although there’s not much more to see than a plaque).

8. Gamble Place, Exit 256 in Florida. Disney isn’t the only act in town. The Gamble family (of Procter and Gamble fame) was inspired by Disney’s 1937 full-length movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. They built their take on Snow White’s ‘village’ near James Gamble’s rustic Florida Cracker-style hunting lodge and an old citrus packing house. It’s located only 1.5 miles from I-95.

9. From I-95, gaze east into the dense forest where Trapper Nelson, a New Jersey transplant, lived off the land in the mid-20th century. His lifestyle attracted the attention of more civilized folk: movie stars and heiresses braved the swampy wilds of his domain to watch him wrestle gators and play with snakes. Visit his camp, preserved on an island in Jonathan Dickinson State Park, as part of the Loxahatchee River Tours.

10. Near MP 59 in Florida, try to spot The Rosemary Scrub Natural Area, a 14-acre strip of land miraculously saved from development by the interstate. You heard right – the interstate, which severed an access road where a strip mall had been proposed. Without access, the plot of land became useless to developers and eventually was preserved in its natural state.

For 25 years, Barbara Barnes dreamed of writing a manual to clue interstate travelers in to the interesting facts and stories found along the route. Inspired by her father’s entertaining tales during family road trips as a child, Barnes looked to her experience as a travel agency owner, school board director and layout designer to turn her dream into a reality.

Currently the publisher and owner of Opal Publishing Company, the parent company of Interesting Interstates, Barnes has published What’s Great About I-95: Maine to Florida, a unique guide to the fascinating things that lie along this busy interstate. The book is available for purchase through Interesting Interstates, all major online booksellers and select bookstores primarily along the eastern seaboard.

photo credit: courtesy of Opal Publishing Company/Interesting Interstates

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