Holiday Time

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8 Reasons to Visit Louisiana’s Holiday Trail of Lights this Season (December 2012)

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Treat Your Mom to One of These Eight Southern Destinations (May 2012)

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Published: May 2012
Treat Your Mom to One of These Eight Southern Destinations  

Why limit honoring mom to only one day when you can turn it into a weekend (or longer.) Give your mom the gift of travel, good for use anytime she needs a getaway.

Need some ideas on where to take your mom? Consider these eight destinations.

Greenwood, Miss.

As the saying goes, “good things come in small packages,” and that holds true with small towns as well. Located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, Greenwood has many things to do, see and experience. If you can't get to everything in one weekend, then you have a good excuse to come back.

Do: Learn some new techniques and show off new recipes at home when you treat your mom (and yourself) to cooking classes at The Viking Cooking School. Enjoy the movie, The Help?About 95 percent of the filmed was shot on location in Greenwood. Don't miss out on exploring the site along the self-guided tour.

Eat: A visit to Greenwood isn't complete without having at least one (or two) meals at Delta Bistro. Overseen by Chef Taylor Bowen Ricketts (James Beard Awards“Best Chef -South” 2011 semi-finalist nominee), the first thing you notice about the restaurant before you reach the front door is the chef's garden. As for the menu, it features something for every palate. Take the experience up a notch by reserving the chef's table to watch all of the kitchen action.

Stay: Spoil your mom at The Alluvian Hotel. Nestle in for the night in one of the boutique hotel’s 45 rooms and five suites. If timeallows, schedule a spa treatment at their spa. Appeal to mom's quirky side and overnight at The Tallahatchie Flats, six authentic tenant houses with tin roofs.

Mentone, Ala.

Situated atop Lookout Mountain, Mentone is a prime destination where you and your mom can reconnect and recharge. Whether you both enjoy exploring the natural surroundings or the quaint town, one thing is for certain, you won't get tired of being in Mentone.

Do: Get outdoors! Experience the allure of DeSoto State Park and/or Little River Canyon when you hike along any of the numerous trails. You can take in the sights at a slower pace when you and your mom set out to discover all Mentone has to offer. Places that should be on your 'must-see' list include Miracle Pottery & Art Gallery and Artisans LTD, both located near Mentone; and Mentone Log Cabin Village in town.

Eat: The funky ambiance at Wildflower Cafe & Country Store partners perfectly with their food. Enjoy either brunch or lunch here Mondays – Saturdays, or dinner Thursdays- Saturdays. Save room for one of their homemade desserts – a slice triple carrot cake, anyone?

Stay: Step back in time when you step on Mentone Springs Hotel's wraparound porches. Accommodations include four bedrooms with European-style shared bathrooms, and five suites with private bathrooms. Cozy up at Mountain Laurel Inn Bed and Breakfast. A true nature escape, the property is located at the base of DeSoto Falls.You and your mom can take in the views or wander the grounds.

Marietta, Ga.

Marietta may be only 18 miles northwest of Atlanta, but it’s a world away from the hustle of the city. It is a delightful destination for you and your mom to visit.

Do: Browse the exhibits at Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square , and view such items like the original book, movie memorabilia and costumes, including the bengaline gown worn by Vivien Leigh. Do the “Square” by meandering your way in and out of the many boutique shops. Like to take a tour? Hop on the trolley to learn more about Marietta's rich history. There are ghost tours as well.

Eat: Dine at Chicken and the Egg to enjoy such fare as Georgia Shrimp Po Boy, Seared Sea Scallops and other dishes. Be sure to save room for dessert, because you don't want to miss out on dark chocolate ice cream, praline bread pudding and more.

Stay: Snuggle in at the Hilton/Atlanta Marietta Hotel and Conference Center, located two miles from the historic square. For something a little more intimate, consider the Stanley House Mansion with their five rooms.

Knoxville, Tenn.

There's never a dull moment in East Tennessee's destination, Knoxville. Spend a weekend here, and you and your mom can discover what makes the city special.

Do: Park your car and wander through downtown Knoxville. Be sure to stop in Mast General Store on Gay Street for some pennycandy or a moon pie, among other items. Discover boutiques and eateries in the Market Square District. Have free time around noon? Why not take in a free music performance at WDVX Blue Plate Special at the Knoxville Visitors Center, and afterward buzz through the Visitor’s Center gift shop for a special souvenir. Before dinner, head over to Old City District and sample wines from BlueSlip Winery. The city's first winery is also the state's first urban winery. Styles to taste include red, white and fruit.

Eat: Savor the dishes at The Crown and Goose. Chose among traditional British fare (Shepard's Pie), Small plates (Pan Seared Crab Cake), Proper Suppers (Stuffed Ashley Farms Chicken ) and more. If you like seafood, definitely order the freshly shucked oysters. When it comes to desserts, why not go for it all and order the Royal Sampler.

Stay: Make it easy on you and your mom by staying downtown. Spend the night at Hilton Knoxville, home to downtown's only Starbucks as well as other amenities. For something a little different, consider Maplehurst Inn, an 18thcentury mansion. The inn features 13 rooms on four floors, each with their private bathrooms.



Anderson, S.C.

Located in the northwest corner of South Carolina (“The Upstate”), Anderson is situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the shores of Lake Hartwell. The town is a great home-base for exploring the surrounding area. However, before you set out, you do want to spend some time discovering Anderson.

Do: Discover life in Anderson County with “Small Town Life”self-guided driving tour. Pick up a brochure at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and set out to view historic sites and the countryside. For the adventurous, take in the area from above a hot air balloon ride. Offered through Skyscapes of America, the three-hour flight, with one hour in the air, departs in the morning. Be sure to bring your camera. The surrounding area is filled with all sorts of gems. Head over Split Creek Farm in nearby Pendleton, and pick up some fresh goat cheese or other goat milk based products.If it's a beautiful day, why not pick some berries at Happy Berry Farms in Six Mile.

Eat: Enjoy lunch (or dinner) at Sullivan's Metropolitan Grill in downtown Anderson. Start out with their Sweet Potato Cheese Chips and then select your main course. Will all of the options available, you can't go wrong with any dish.

Stay: Relax at the boutique Bleckley Inn in downtown Anderson. The 14-rooms are tucked inside a restored historic building, complete with original heart pine flooring.

St. Augustine, Fla.

Let the nation's oldest city dazzle you and your mom during a getaway. You both will realize there is something new to discover on nearly every corner of St. Augustine.

Do: The best way to enjoy a city is through a tour and City Walks offers two good ones that shouldn't be missed. Savory Faire introduces you to St. Augustine's rich culinary offerings, while the newer Tour de Chocolate focuses on chocolate. Don't miss the Old Town Trolley Tour, complete with guides telling about the history of the city as the trolley transports you to different sites.

Eat: Indulge your senses at the cozy Bistro de Leon. Headed up by Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard, let him introduce you to cuisine with a French-flair. Enjoy a bowl of Original Lyon Soup for an appetizer, followed by either a seafood, meat or poultry entree. Be sure to finish your meal so you can enjoy a dessert or two.

Stay: Much like St.Augustine itself, the accommodations are one-of-a-kind. Consider weekending at one of the five Inns of Elegance, each with its own special story and ambiance that is only found here. Another option is the historic Casa Monica Hotel, featuring 138 guest rooms and suites.

Bardstown, Ky.

Known as the Bourbon Capital of the world, Bardstown also has the honor of being Kentucky's second oldest city. Spend a weekend here and find out why it's been called one of “The 100 Best Small Towns in America.”

Do: Learn about the intricacies of bourbon with the master - Colonel Michael Masters at the Chapeze House. Explore Bardstown by foot with either self-guided Walking Attractions self-guided tour or the Historic Attractions Walking tour. Make your way over the My Old Kentucky Home State Park and walk the grounds.

Eat: Head to the family-owned Circa Restaurant for either lunch or dinner. Within an intimate setting, the creative dishes are prepared by father and daughter chefs.

Stay: Experience true southern hospitality with a stay at Rosemark Haven. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property offers seven rooms in the main house and a separate guest house (Federal House) with two bedrooms. The four-room Red Rose Inn, located within walking distance of downtown, is another property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Loudoun County, Va.

Turn you and your mom's getaway into a culinary and winery escape when you visit Loudoun County, Va. Home to five wine clusters featuring 28 wineries and tasting rooms, a distillery and a microbrewery; as well as nine destination restaurants, everyone will find something to enjoy.

Do: Get lost in the countryside and explore the wineries. Sip and taste from such places as Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg and 8 chains north in Waterford. While out and about, you need to make your way to the old-fashion Philomont General Store (in Philomont) for a quick sandwich and a souvenir or two.

Eat: You can't go wrong with a meal at any of the nine destination restaurants. For example, enjoy lunch at The Red Fox Inn and Tavern (be sure to sample their Virginia Peanut Soup) in Middleburg, followed by dinner at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, which serves seasonal fare.

Stay: Make home base Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg. The property has 296 rooms, including 14 suites. Scheduled enough free time on the itinerary to enjoy a spa treatment at Spa Minérale. You can opt to stay in one of the quaint towns, like Middleburg at the eight-room Middleburg Country Inn. The property is conveniently located within walking distance of the town's shops and restaurants.

photo credit personal collection

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