Spend my PTO: American South edition
November 27, 2017 12:06 PM   Subscribe

I have 5 days of use-it-or-lose-it paid time off that I need to spend before December 31st. Including a weekend on either side brings the total trip to 9 days. Help me decide where to go! I have friends in Washington, D.C. that I can visit for a couple of days to start with, but I was thinking I might take the opportunity to go on from there and see what I can see in the south or, really, in any direction but back north. I'd like to stay in the same general region, so places like Arizona and Oregon will have to wait for next time. I've added a few details after the jump.

Things to know:

-Traveling solo
-Preference for places that are not colder or snowier than New York City this time of year
-I'd like to find things to photograph with my big, slow large format camera, but I admit I'm usually not terribly excited by landscapes or nature photography. You can get a sense of my work here, though I'm down to get out of my comfort zone.
-Places with great barbecue go to the front of the line
-Weird local festivals and events are great too. I went to the Saugerties, NY Garlic Festival about a year ago and that was a lot of fun.
-I like a gentle day hike here and there
-Any MeFites who wanna hang, let's hang :D
posted by Grimp0teuthis to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you considered the Gulf beaches and the southern coast in general? Think about the Panhandle Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi coastal areas. They can be lovely in the winter, not crowded, and there are birds and wildlife to view. There may be warm sun, and there may be cold winter storms. Broad white sand beaches and the Gulf, coastal pines and oaks, seafood, friendly people, a different way of life.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:24 PM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

New Orleans. Absolutely no contest. Fills all of your criteria, and is amazing.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:30 PM on November 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: If you've never been, North Carolina's Outer Banks are awesome, have terrific NC BBQ, and could not be more photogenic. It's a long drive, but not too terrible. I went in late Dec every year for the better part of a decade. It's a beach-focused area so it's inexpensive and uncrowded in the winter. Lots of beach hiking possibilities, some local history, and boats are for hire to do tours and fishing in the ocean or coastal bays.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 12:32 PM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's the Possum Drop in Tallapoosa, GA on New Year's Eve.

Some good Southern travel guides organized by town on Garden & Gun magazine's website. Lots of BBQ coverage there too. Their Barbecue Bucket List.

Goop covers Atlanta, Charleston, Nashville and New Orleans
posted by Frank Grimes at 12:33 PM on November 27, 2017

Best answer: If you go to Washington, DC, be sure to check out the Great Falls/C&O canal area. Its just right outside the city and lovely easy hiking and biking. We did the usual DC things, museums and government buildings, but Great Falls was amazing.
posted by PJMoore at 12:47 PM on November 27, 2017

We went to New Orleans in late November one year and found it a very a great urban vacation.
posted by metahawk at 12:53 PM on November 27, 2017

Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. They are coastal fraternal twins and both feel very Southern. Visit Fort Sumter in Charleston and take a hop-on hop-off streetcar around Savannah. Stop at the beaches of Hilton Head where you can get some interesting photos.
posted by soelo at 12:53 PM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nashville, TN and Lexington, KY are within a few hours of one another, if you like bourbon, bluegrass, country music, horses and/or historical sites. Nashville has the most concentrated "downtown" area and live music every night, Lexington has bourbon distilleries and horses. Both have a mix of historical sites and hipster farm-to-fork eateries.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 2:00 PM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes to Nashville! There are some really pretty bridges on the Blue Ridge Parkway so if you're driving, take a look and see if you can hit some of them along the way (it's probably too slow to drive it the whole way but that might work too!).
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:40 PM on November 27, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! Lots to think about :)
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 7:47 AM on November 28, 2017

If you are not a DC native, there are literally thousands of things to do there, many of them free (or rather, already paid-for by you, the taxpayer). If you want to venture outside the beltway, there are Baltimore and historic Annapolis nearby. You could easily spend a week there, if you're not worried about outstaying your welcome.
posted by ubiquity at 8:34 AM on November 28, 2017

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