Mount Airy

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     My dad is a champion whistler. The family has encouraged him to compete in Louisburg's International Whistlers Competition, and we've no doubt he'd take it, but once he found out the complexities of the rules, he wasn't interested. I did not inherit the whistling gift from him. But like all good Southern lads, I could whistle at least two tunes - Sesame Street, and the intro to The Andy Griffith Show.      It was a sad day this past July 3rd, when we North Carolinians, Southerners, Americans, and good people everywhere lost Andy Griffith.  I felt it my duty to head to Mt. Airy -- known to the outside world as Mayberry -- to pay my respects to a legend. For the uninitiated, Mt. Airy is located in the shade of Pilot Mountain,...

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Middendorf’s Restaurant

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     Fresh seafood accented by a waterfront view is the best way to describe the dining experience at Middendorf’s Restaurant. Opened in 1934, this family restaurant has been a staple in Manchac for nearly 78 years. After Louis Middendorf lost his job in the 1929 stock market crash, he and his wife moved to live with her family in Manchac, LA. With a minimal amount of cash and a small loan, they opened a café in its current day location. When the interstate highways opened, business began booming. A mere thirty minutes outside of New Orleans, people from all over seemed to find their way to this thin-fried catfish capital of the south.      Fast forward to present day and this restaurant is still providing the homemade personal recipes of Louis’s wife. Delicious fried...

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Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery

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     Moonshine is often considered a taboo subject, especially in the mountains of East Tennessee. Having spent years making their whiskey illegally by only the light of the moon, moonshiners are slowly making their way out of hiding and into the open air. With the recent change of legislation, distilleries are making their presence known in the Smoky Mountain area and meeting the overwhelming demand for customer requests.      Located on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is pulling back the veil of the hidden art of whiskey making. As the first federally licensed distillery in East Tennessee history, Ole Smoky is giving visitors an up-close, taste-and-see approach to their processes.      In the late 1700’s, Scottish Irish settlers brought their knowledge of whiskey making to America. Living in an area of...

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Lulu’s Chocolate Bar

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     Lulu’s Chocolate Bar is a kitschy kind of a place in Savannah, where echoes of the Deep South ring loud and where today’s tourists encounter ever more fascinating sites and events to explore.      I discovered that Savannah in spring and summer is almost overwhelmed by visitors looking for a taste of the Old South in a city steeped in it. Finding a parking place on the city’s popular River Street is no longer possible. Instead, a multi-tiered parking garage provides a spot with a short hike. Not far away from River Street and Savannah’s most well known attractions is Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Here is one of Savannah’s most popular drinking holes and absolutely the best dessert spot any chocoholic will ever find. While River Street hosts the internationally known River...

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I-95 South

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     One of the curses of living on the eastern Seaboard and wanting to embark on a north-south road trip is the fact that you’ll probably have to use Interstate Highway 95 at some point. This stretch of road is great for travel between DC (where the South really starts, right?!) and northern Florida (south Jersey, as I call it) – in terms of convenience – but much of it has a tendency to be poorly paved, over traveled, and lacks visual stimulation. But if you keep your eyes open and your taste for kitsch piqued, you can spice up your trip a bit.      Since I find myself a resident of Virginia at present, we’ll start there. Once you escape the madding crowds (and traffic) of DC and northern VA, you’ll find yourself...

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