Happening Now

14 Food Trails Worthy of Packing an Extra Pair of Comfortable Pants (March 2019)

Exploring Algiers Point, New Orleans' Second Oldest Neighborhood (January 2019)

Postcard from Bristol Tennessee/Virginia (January 2019)

21 "Spirited" Stays Throughout The South (October 2018)

Checking In for the Night: Nine Bed-and-Breakfasts Throughout the South (October 2018)

Rhythm is Deep during Cumberland Caverns Live at Cumberland Caverns (September 2018)

Postcard from Panama City, Florida (August 2018)

Take a Tour of The Lewis Ranch (July 2018)

Reservations, Please! New and Upcoming Properties in the South (July 2018)

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Four Very Different Museum in One Place on the Mississippi State University Campus (July 2018)

Explore Revolutionary War Sites in the South (July 2018)

So Cool, It's Hot: Southern Summer Bucket List (June 2018)

"It's Ours!" Tennessee Town Reclaims Long Island Iced Tea (June 2018)

In a Travel Slump? Find Some Getaway Inspiration with These Four Destinations (June 2018)

Remember and Honor: Seven Military Museums to Visit Year Round (May 2018)

Postcard from Tupelo, Mississippi (May 2018)

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Seven Museums (and a Bonus) Not to Miss in New Orleans' French Quarter (May 2018)

Relax, Recharge and Refresh at Coldwater Gardens in Milton, Florida (April 2018)

Let's Go! Reconnect and Create Memories at These Seven Family Fun Destinations (March 2018)

So Many Reasons to Visit Nashville, Tennessee (February 2018)

Gowns, Costumes and History: 11 Museums (and a Bonus) That Highlight Mardi Gras (January 2018)

Take a Retro U.S. Road Trip with "Addicted to Americana" (January 2018)

Experience Valhalla Resort Hotel in Helen, Georgia (December 2017)

Shop Local: Nine Places to Find Distinctive Gifts (November 2017)

Pose, Snap, Post at Any of These Top Seven Instagrammable Georgia State Parks and Historic Site Locations (November 2017)

A Quick Peek Inside the Omni Hotel at The Battery Atlanta (November 2017)

It's Coming! Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange, Georgia to Open at the end of May 2018 (October 2017)

Take the Scenic Route: Three Drives not to Miss in the South (October 2017)

Postcard from Winston-Salem, North Carolina (September 2017)

Go, See, Do, Stay: Exploring Three Destinations in the Ozark Mountains (August 2017)

Edgar Degas and the Degas House in New Orleans (August 2017)

Find Unique Experiences in the South (and America) with "100 Things to Do in America Before You Die" (July 2017)

Dive in Gulf County, Florida with Daly's Watersports' "Discover Scuba Diving" (June 2017)

Unpacking the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama (June 2017)

Get Out(side) and Explore Seven of North Alabama's Natural Attractions (May 2017)

10 Things Not to Miss When Visiting Dollywood (May 2017)

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

Maybe you were gifted with some cash this holiday, or you have some left over after purchasing everyone’s gifts. Regardless of the reason, part of you is ready to spend it but not just on anything. You want to treat yourself (and possibly others) to something fun and memorable.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

Classes, Lessons, Workshops

  • Learn the art of storytelling, try your hand at woodcarving or explore folklore through song at John C. Campbell Folk SchoolIraChaffinCarouselCarvingSchoolBirminghamAla

    in Brasstown, N.C. For something a little out of the ordinary, how about carving your own life-size carousel horse’s head and neck. Led by instructor Ira Chaffin, of Ira Chaffin Carousel Carving School in Birmingham, Ala., lessons are conducted there as well.

  • Want to learn a skill that you can use at home? Homestead Atlanta offers workshops that cover everything from blacksmithing to beekeeping to mead-making and more.

  • If it’s beer you are interested in, check out beginner’s home brewing classes offered by Texas Brewing, Inc., in Haltom City, Texas, Craft Brewed in Nashville, or BX Beer Depot in Lake Worth, Fla.

  • For fans of the grape, consider taking a winemaking class at Grapes and Grains in Greenville, S.C., Southern Brewing & Winemaking in Tampa Fla., or Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Va.

  • Wow everyone with your newly-learned cooking skills after taking a cooking class. Check out the different ones offered through places like Sur la Table (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia) and Publix Aprons Cooking School (Georgia and Florida). In addition to the usual fare, Southern Seasons (South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia) presents niche classes like canine cuisine, a coffee primer as well as a hot tea primer Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, Miss.and vegan dishes. E’s Kitchen in Lafayette, La., provides both cooking and technique classes. Over in Greenwood, Miss., Viking Cooking School offers a class on southern specialties inspired by the movie “The Help.” The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, Miss., provides a lunch and learn series on the weekdays as well as other culinary classes on the weekend. From Gulf seafood to wild game, the Kitchen Culinary School at Wind Creek in Atmore, Ala., offers a class for every culinary taste. SoGourmet Pensacola (Fla.) provides lunch classes, and dinner and wine classes. There are also cooking demonstrations on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and wine tasting classes on Fridays, which can be a great way to kick off a weekend.

  • Love the ‘cue? Why not invest in the North Carolina Barbecue Society (NCBS) BBQ Boot Camp, held in different regions of the state. Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) has barbecue classes throughout the country, with a handful in the south. Dead End BBQ, with location in Maryville and Knoxville, Tenn., offers a class with a local pitmaster at both restaurants.

  • Space Camp isn’t only for kids. Adults can also enjoy the experience with either a three or four day camp at U.S. Rocket & Space Center in Huntsville, Ala.

  • It’s six days of instruction (and camaraderie) at Oyster Fly Rods in Blue Ridge, Ga., as Bill Oyster Oyster Fly Rods in Blue Ridge, Ga.and staff guides you as you create you own bamboo fly rod. All the necessary materials are provided, and everything on your rod is customized by you.

  • If you are a creative type who enjoys working with their hands, check out the different workshops at Alabama Chanin in Florence, Ala. Select among the one-hour classes, one-day classes or the more intensive classic studio weekend.

Experiences and Tours

  • Take a behind-the-scenes, guided tour of Makers Mark distillery on the After Dark Experience. The tour includes a specialized bourbon tasting inside a warehouse, Makers Mark-inspired cocktails and more.

  • Join Rock Candy Tours and learn about Macon, Ga.’s rich music heritage and the role it played in establishing some of the south’s legendary artist.

  • Led by the wife of one of the Swampers (the group who created the Muscle Shoals Sound), the Swampette Trolley Tours highlights such places as the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, FAME Studios and more within the Shoals (Alabama) area.

  • Celebrate the inaugural year of the Frontstretch Fest at Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, N.C., and tfrontstretchfesthe Downtown Farmers’ Market in Nashville, Tenn. The event features artisanal food and drinks, hand-rolled cigars, live music, interactive entertainment and much more. “Bourbon Bend” and “Craft Beer Boulevard” will offer tastings and classes from local and national distilleries and breweries alongside “Cuisine Corner,” which will be showcasing the best local chefs and food trucks. Frontstretch Fest will kick off as the official infield gathering of the 64th annual Stoneybrook Steeplechase and then will serve as the world’s largest Derby viewing party at the Nashville Farmers’ Market.

  • Explore downtown Pensacola, Fla., on a guided bicycle or Segway tour with Emerald Coast Tours. They also offer a walking pub tour downtown as well.

  • If you love bluegrass music, then you’ll want to makes plans to be at the 10th annual Bluegrass Music Kick-Off in Lebanon, Ky. From jam sessions to performances and more, it’s “bluegrass all the time.”

  • Take a train ride with Mountain Rail Adventures, departing from bother Elkins and Durbin, West Virginia. Options include an all-day excursion, overnight camping or dinner trains.

  • Enjoy Galveston Island, Texas’ Mardi Gras in a new way by being a part of a viewing party. At the first annual A&M Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Party benefitting the George P. Mitchell Society of Texas A&M University at Galveston, admission includes a Cajun-themed buffet, open bar, live music and a premier view of the Momus Grand Night Parade as it passes in front of the hotel. You can watch the parade from the ballroom balcony or at street level in a gated viewing area.

  • If you love the beach and love music, then you’ll definitely want to attend the 6th annual 30A Songwriters Festival 30Athis year. Enjoy the three-day weekend of performances at various venues in South Walton (Fla.)

  • Spend a weekend with Pat Conroy, Cassandra King and Ron Rash at Old Edwards Inn in Highland, N.C. during Words, Wine and Friends. Slated for January 30 - February 1, the package includes two nights in an upgraded suite, private author-hosted dinners on Friday and Saturday by Southern chef Johannes Klapdohr, readings and panel discussions with authors, and more.


  • Need an escape? Check out the various packages offered by Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, located in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

  • The Winter Getaway package at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, Fla., features up to $100 in resort credits when you stay three nights or longer. The package also includes coupon book with over $250 in savings at Resort outlets.

  • From Winter Break Escape to the Historic District and Resort Sampler, the Charleston (S.C.) Golf Guide provides numerous packages for the golf lover. You can even build your own lodging and golf package, or golf only package.

Fun Stuff

  • Treat yourself to something unique, pretty and shiny from Gawdy Bobbles in Blue Ridge, Ga. And guys, there are items here for you as well. And if you aren’t in a jewelry mood, check out their line of Canoe bags.

  • Wayward_Chocolate BoxesIndulge without guilt with dark chocolate ganache pieces from Wayward Chocolat of Austin,   Texas. Available two-count, four-count, eight-count, 15-count and 30-count boxes, ingredients include semi-sweet dark chocolate, organic cream, crème d’cacao and wild organic rose hip and wild berry powder, sourced from the largest organic plot in the world located in the Alaska wilderness. Also available is a dark chocolate ganache spread and sauce.

  • Try a rare salt, or discover the perfect spice or glen at The Spice Lab, based in Pompano Beach, Fla.

  • Add a little whimsy to your decor with a South Carolina Face Jug from Paw Print Pottery at   the Little Red Barn in Barnwell, S.C.

  • Artisan truffles, house-made marshmallows by the bag and caramels - oh my! These are items you can discover and Pizzellesenjoy at Pizzelle’s Confections in Huntsville, Ala.

  • Stand apart from the crowd with a little something from Dalys 1895 in Houston, Texas. Choose from bags to  money clips to bow ties and more.

  • Send a gift basket to yourself from Caviar and Bananas in Charleston, S.C. Possibilities  include the Southern Staples with such products as Blackberry Farms Smoked Onion Jam and Wondermade Bourbon Marshmallows, or the Locavore which focuses on Charleston products like Charleston Plantation Tea Sachets and Callie’s Cheese Crisps.

  • You’ll won’t go back to regular salt once you’ve tried J.Q. Dickinson salt. Based in Malden, WVa., the small batch gourmet salt is produced by the seventh-generation salt making family.

  • If you love coffee, that is good coffee, check out Buona Caffe artisan roast coffees. Based in Augusta, Ga., they offer varieties of medium roast, dark roast and blends.

  • Caps, tee-shirts, belts, cufflinks and more, there are many ways to show your state pride with something from State Traditions.

  • tupelotreeAdd some Tupelo Honey, cultivated in Wewa, Fla., in Gulf County, to your biscuits, fruit salad, in your tea or enjoy it by itself.





photos courtesy of personal collection, Frontstretch Fest and Bohlsen Group, Wayward Chocolate, and Pizzelles