Top Five Things to Do in the American South
The Sonnet of the South: The Top Five Things to Do in the American South
I stand before big, blue legends--the Blue Ridge Mountains. They seem to ebb and flow into the horizon like a mammoth ocean frozen in time. However, with the coming of the autumn months, the cool blue shade is set ablaze in auburns and golds. The shades deepen or lighten from tree to tree, creating flaming cascades that contend with the bright fall sun. Though silent, the air seems alive with wildness and wonder. My Southern bred best friend, the reason for my seeing such beauty, approaches me from behind and asks, “Are you glad you came?” I breathe in the mountainscape curious at such a question. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
From Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind to Faulkner’s gothic “A Rose for Emily,” there is a certain mystic charm within the South that has captured the hearts of individuals young and old. Though often mislabeled as nothing more than backwood boons, the South is a rich and diverse landscape. This beloved Dixieland extends to many of the southeastern and south-central states of America and has a population of roughly 114.6 million. With such a vast expanse of geography, the possibilities of adventure and exploration are endless. Nevertheless, among this treasure trove of history and art, there are a few gems that simply cannot go unnoticed.
Trolley Tour in Washington, D.C.
As the pale, concrete giants of the Monument and Capitol peek from the buzzing city, Washington’s hum is one of self-importance as it stands proudly upon a vast history among a historic people. Last year, D.C. received a record-breaking 19.3 million tourists to explore this honeycomb of history. However, with so many museums and galleries, it can be difficult to fit in the entirety of D.C.’s landmarks and attractions into a one- or two-day schedule. It is precisely for this reason that the Old Town Trolley Tours are such a prize.
For over thirty years, the Old Town Trolley Tour Company has expanded in its variety of day and night tours. From a trolley seat, patrons are able to explore the city like urban-dwellers, learning the vast history of Washington from their friendly, often humorous guide. The trolley also participates in a variety of stops, where individuals can hop on and off to take more specified tours as well as go out to eat or shop. The trolley is an indispensable tool to function through the havoc of the city without getting lost in downtown disorder.
Music Tour in Nashville, Tennessee
As a harlequin of neon colors radiate from the city, Nashville is a city of sound and celebration. Since the nineteenth century, the city has been riddled with a music mania that it has never fully recovered from. Legendary country music stars like Johnny Cash meandered along the streets, and their footsteps are eagerly retraced now by millions of tourists. With so many music venues and museums, it is best to find a tour guide to help keep you from being swept away by the lyrical beauty of the sweet sonnet of the South.
The Nashville Music Attraction Tour takes you through the top four attractions of the city. Not only will you visit the iconic Country Music Hall of Fame and Johnny Cash Museum, the tour will take you to the Ryman Auditorium, the location of the famous Grand Ole Opry for over 30 years, as well as the well-known RCA Studio B, the historic recording house where Elvis recorded more than 250 songs. However, this tour not only explores the mecca of music but of shopping and dining as well. The Music Attraction Tour takes stops at the Hard Rock Cafe, where you can dance and dine, and the Opry Mills Mall, the largest shopping center in the city. Receiving a five-star rating from Viator, the Nashville Music Attraction Tour is definitely worth the price.
Drunk History Tour in New Orleans, Louisiana
A city that never sleeps--New Orleans is the southern counterpart of New York City. This town has thrown a centuries old party that attracts both citizens and strangers. With a strong horn section and even stronger liquor, there will always be a party awaiting you in New Orleans. In this spirit, it is only right to pick a tour that matches its Cajun crazy and mardis gras mania, such as the Drunk History Tour.
The Drunk History Tour both informs and intoxicates its patrons as you set off on a two-hour walking tour from landmark to landmark and bar to bar. With a friendly tour guide, you will learn about the French Quarter of New Orleans, exploring historic sites like St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, and landmarks key to the Louisiana Trade. However, you can sip in between your steps as neighborhood bars will provide to-go drinks for the tour group. The tour will also venture into the dark past of New Orleans, touring through a haunted house as well as many of the sights where famous voodoo ceremonies took place. This tour will easily provide an in-depth look into the famous Big Easy.
Champagne Celebration Sunset Cruise in Key West, Florida
Though the South is a place of sweat and slog, many often forget that within its borders is tropical splendour that very much diverts its plantation-riddled neighbors. One of the many crumbs that fell from this Floridian slice of heaven, Key West is an island at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys. Though a refuge of relaxation, Key West is interlaced with quite a history, being vacation homes to the famous Ernest Hemingway and Harry S. Truman. It is only natural to want a tour that embodies the surf and sun of the sunshine state.
The Champagne Celebration Sunset Cruise easily does this, being one of the many cruises that takes advantage of the natural beauty of Key West. With a bubbling glass of champagne in your hand, you will get to soak in the world-famous sunset of Florida. The tour functions in small groups to create a more intimate experience as well. Besides champagnes like Moët and Chandon served, the cruise offers cheese buffet that includes delicious seafood and dip. Though a bit pricey for only a two-hour trip, you get to experience the magic of Key West.
Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of the many historical landmarks often forgotten by most. Shenandoah National Park provides an affordable expedition into a natural world of epic proportions. Because of the sheer expanse of this park, the Shenandoah National Park offers many outdoor activities, such as hiking the legendary Appalachian Trail and horseback riding and dining at Skyland. However, for those with a limited schedule and desire to explore the entirety of the national park, Skyline Drive is the way to go.
Ride the sky in your own car and take in 105 miles of absolutely sublime landscapes. There are 75 scenic stops, where you are able to temporarily park your car to gaze at the true beauty of nature. However, while you are gazing, be sure to keep your eyes on the road as many have noted deer, black bear, and wild turkey often traversing along the same road as you. Skyline Drive offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to immerse yourself in the beauty of southern nature.
With so many places to venture and people to meet, the South is simply a sonnet of beauty and adventure.