Holiday Time

Only in the South: Celebrate the Arrival of 2020 with Unique New Year's Eve Drops (December 2019)

Log on to Cyber Monday Deals (December 2019)

Southern Hospitality Traveler's Favorite Things About October (October 2019)

Honor the Red, White and Blue in the South with Independence Day Celebrations (July 2019)

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Celebrating Mardi Gras 2019 (February 2019)

Pickle, Pelican or Peach: The Many Unique Ways the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2018)

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with the 29th Annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest (November 2018)

17 Celebrations Honoring the Red, White and Blue (June 2018)

Celebrate Mom this Mother's Day with Getaways and Experiences (May 2018)

"Throw me Somethin' Mister!" Celebrating Mardi Gras 2018 (January 2018)

Beach Ball, Fleur-De-Lis, MoonPie: Unique New Year's Eve Drops in the South (December 2017)

25 Festive Events to Keep that Holiday Feeling Through the New Year (December 2017)

Awe-Inspiring Gingerbread Displays at Various Hotels and Resorts Around the South (December 2017)

Fun and Fireworks: 14 Events Celebrating Independence Day (June 2017)

Celebrate 2017 Mardi Gras in the South (February 2017)

Three Festive Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy Before the Holidays (December 2016)

30 Ways to Get Your "Jingle" On in the South (December 2016)

Five Ways to Experience the Holidays "Louisiana-Style" (December 2016)

"Brighten Up" Your Holidays with These Holiday Light Displays (November 2016)

Red, White, Blue and You: Fourth of July Celebrations in the South (July 2016)

Drops, Celebrations and More: Memorable Ways to Welcome in 2016 (December 2015)

Spark Your Holiday Spirit with the Many Events Happening Around the South (December 2015)

Six Places to Celebrate the Holiday Season (December 2015)

So Many Ways to Kick Off the Holiday Season in the South (November 2015)

14 Dazzling Holiday Light Displays Throughout the South to Enjoy Now (November 2015)

Celebrate the Holidays in Minden and North Louisiana with the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights (November 2015)

New Twist on an Old Favorite: Amping Up the Grilled Cheese (April 2015)

Celebrate National Soup Month Anytime with Recipes from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels (January 2015)

Move Over Ball Drop - This is How the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2014)

Ways to Get Your Holiday On in the South (December 2014)

Liven Up Your Thanksgiving Meal with Some Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Style Comfort Foods (November 2014)

Warm Up the Days and the Nights with These Chili Recipes (October 2014)

Creating the Perfect Cheeseburger with Crawford Ker on National Cheeseburger Day (September 2014)

Celebrate National Martini Day with these Recipes (June 2014)

It's Great to be King...Celebrating Mardi Season with King Cake Creations (February 2014)

Celebrate Your Valentine with a Getaway (February 2014)

A MoonPie, Pickle, Red Stick and More...Welcoming in the New Year in the South (December 2013)

Celebrate the Holidays with a New Orleans' Reveillon Dinner (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide...Packages and Escapes (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Books (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Food and Beverage (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Made in the South (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences in the South (December 2013)

End Your Holiday Meal on a Sweet Note courtesy of Chef Sara Thomas (November 2013)

From Their Table to Yours: Holiday Recipes from The Carolina Inn (November 2013)

Firing Up the Grill: Tips and Recipes for a Successful and Tasty Grilling Season (May 2013)

Breakfast for Mom, Southern-Style (May 2013)

Mom-Worthy Hotels in the South (May 2013)

Talkin' Mardi Gras, Shreveport, La. Style (February 2013)

Southern Style: 13 Things You Must Do in 2013 (January 2013)

Holiday Joy: Tips for Creating the Perfect Gingerbread House (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Secret is in the Sauce at Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Make It Memorable and Give the Gift of an Experience (December 2012)

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

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Chef's Table at Emeril's Delmonico (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Simply Ballastone Cookbook (November 2012)

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

Seeing Various Shades of Green: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in the South (March 2012)

It’s Mardi Gras Time in the South (February 2012)

Celebrate Elvis Presley’s Birthday in the South (January 2012)

A MoonPie, a Pickle, a Horseshoe and More: Ringing in the New Year Southern-Style (December 2011)

Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans-Style with a Reveillon Dinner (December 2011)

"Treat" Yourself this Holiday Season with (November 2011)

Holiday Fun in the South After Thanksgiving (November 2011)

Holiday Fun at Gaylord Opryland (November 2011)

Tours and Treats Along Virginia’s Inn to Inn Cookie Trail and Tour (November 2011)

Celebrating Milestones in the South (August 2010)

5 Activities that Add a "Sizzle" to Your Summer Vacation (June 2010)

Forget Gifts, Give Experiences This Mother’s Day (April 2010)

Celebrating Mardi Gras 2010 (February 2010)

Published: April 2015
New Twist on an Old Favorite: Amping Up the Grilled Cheese  

The American grilled cheese has come a long way from its meager beginnings as an open-faced sandwich with melted shredded cheese on top.

Today this comfort food has turned into a culinary experience as chefs continue to experiment with bread types, artisanal cheese, meats and more.

Check out these recipes culled from chefs with Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®  that offer a new tasty twist on an old favorite.

Manchego Cheese, Local Harvest Arugula, Figs Marmalade on Cuban Bread
prepared by Chef Guido Estremera
Costa d'Este Beach Resort, Vero Beach, Fla.



  • 16 ounces sliced manchego cheese

  • 4 ounces figs marmalade

  • 2 ounces locally harvested arugula

  • 2 loaves of Cuban bread

  • 1 cup whole butter, cut into cubes


Divide in half and lay out Cuban bread. Divide the manchego slices evenly. Spread the fig marmalade evenly and top with the local harvest arugula.

In a non-stick pan, or on a flat griddle, melt half of the butter. Lay each sandwich in the hot melted butter, cooking until golden and crispy.

Add the remaining butter to the pan and flip the sandwiches into the freshly melted butter. Cook until golden and crispy.

If necessary, place the sandwiches in a 350 degree oven to further melt the cheese.

Smoked Pork Meltdown on Chattanooga Sourdough
prepared by Chef Adam Roe

The Chattanoogan Hotel
, Chattanooga, Tenn.


Ingredients (yields six):

  • 1 dozen 3/4 inch slices Chattanooga Sourdough*

  • 12 ounces softened butter

  • 24 ounces smoked pork shoulder (pulled)

  • 6 ounces BBQ sauce

  • 1 small bunch green onion

  • 12 - 2 ounce slices provolone cheese

*Niedlov's Breadwork


Warm pork in skillet with BBQ sauce, set aside. Apply one (1) ounce butter to each side of bread. Place bread, butter side down, on griddle on medium heat.

Place one slice of cheese on each slice of bread and allow to melt while bread turns golden brown and crisp. Fold chopped green onion into pork and put four (4) ounces of mixture into six (6) slices of bread.

Top with remaining sourdough, cut in half, and serve hot with your favorite chips and an extra napkin!

Parmesan-Crusted Five Cheese on Sour Dough
prepared by Chef Lonny Huot
Villas of Grand Cypress, Orlando, Fla.



  • 1 ounce softened  butter

  • 2 each slices of sour dough bread

  • 1 ounce Parmesan and Panko bread crumb mix

  • 2 slices smoked Gouda cheese

  • 1 ounce pepper jack cheese (grated)

  • 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese (grated)

  • 2 slices American cheese

  • 3 strips Lake Meadow’s Farm pepper bacon

  • 2 slices tomato


Butter one side of each bread slice, and then press into the bread crumb mix.  Place in buttered flattop with the breadcrumb side down.

Place two (2) slices of American on one side, two (2) sliced of Gouda on the other and then divided the cheddar/Monterey on both. Add cooked pepper bacon.

Warm the tomatoes gently then add to the open sandwich. Close and cook until crust is golden brown and cheeses are melted.

Remove, sliced in half and serve with pickled peppers and pickle spear.

*Note: Goes great with tomato basil bisque or other creative soups.

Country Ham, Sharp Cheddar, West Virginia Golden Apple on Sourdough Bread
prepared by Chef Tim White
Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WVa.



  • 16 ounces sliced sharp cheddar cheese

  • 6 ounces thin sliced country ham

  • 4 Golden Delicious apple, sliced thin

  • 16 slices sourdough bread

  • 1 cup whole butter, cut into cubes


Lay out sourdough bread. On all slices, divide the cheddar slices evenly. On half of the slices, divide the apple slices and country ham evenly. Top each with the 2 (two) cheese only slices of bread.

In a non stick pan, or on a flat griddle, melt half the butter chunk. Lay each sandwich in the hot melted butter, cook until golden and crispy. Add the remaining butter to the pan and flip the sandwiches into the freshly melted butter. Cook until golden and crispy.

If necessary, place the sandwiches in a 350 degree oven to further melt the cheese. Remove from the pan, cut each into quarters, stack and pick.

Recipes and photos are courtesy of the properties listed above and  Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®