The South is a region of the country that is considered off the beaten path as most travelers visiting the United States head to New York, Las Vegas or Los Angeles. However, I think this region of the country should be at the top of your list. The Southern US is a very distinctive region, and it is defined by its cuisine, landscape, accent, literature, music and, under-girding all of the above, history. Below are a few things you need to know before you travel to the southern states.
Leave the Diet at Home
When you travel to the South, come hungry. Southern Cooking is a cuisine category all on its own – it brings comfort like nothing else on earth. Southern cooking is also as diverse as the subregions that make up this region of the United States. Our tables are deeply laden with food, which goes back to our hospitable nature, and despite the rumors that we only eat butter and fried food, our meals have an abundance of vegetables. Our staple dishes include barbecue, fried chicken, grits, okra, corn, squash, mac-n-cheese, and desserts.
Go for a Drive
The best way to get around the South is by car. We do have Greyhound and Amtrak services, but car is best with the windows down and music playing. Take the back roads, many of our roads existed before the highway system and offers a prettier drive. Plus you get a more authentic feel of the south as you drive through some small towns.
Soak up the History
Southerners hold onto our history. We recognize the importance of our history and sharing it with the next generations. Make it a point to visit some of the historical sites and buildings.
Check Out a Variety of Landscapes
The Southern landscape is beautiful and diverse, and it cannot just be summed up with one image. You have to experience the South’s cities, like Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and Charleston, the beaches of the Gulf and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the plains of Alabama and Georgia, the bayous of Missississippi and Lousiana, and the mountains of northern Arkansas, Tenessee and North Carolina.
Jam to the Music
Your first instinct may be to think of the south as the place for country music. While we have a lot of musicians in that genre, the South is also home to Kings of Leon, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and more.
There’s a festival for everything.
We love our celebrations and have one for just about everything. Pecans. Hot Air Balloons. Brunch. Bacon and Mac-N-Cheese. Cherry Blossoms. Azealas. Art. Music. The list is endless, and you better believe everyone will be there.
Southerners are relentlessly friendly.
It is said that Southerners are the friendliest people in the country. Of course you are going to have people everywhere who are grumps, but overall Southerners are cheerful, talkative and helpful. We have mastered the art of hospitality. Additionally, Southerners pride themselves on their manners. So say “please” and “thank you” when traveling here and throw in a “ma’am” or a “sir” for good measure.
The South does have a distinctive accent that is unique to the region. But, did you know the accents change from state to state and even city to city? The main thing to remember when you visit The South is to slow down. We are laid back, and so are our accents thus the tempo of speech in the South isn’t nearly as fast as elsewhere in the US. Additionally, we also have some funny terms but the main one to know is “Y’all”.