Planning a road trip through entire region, where to stay/eat?
My wife and I will be doing a road trip, starting in Florida, and hoping to go through North/South Carolina, Memphis, New Orleans, maybe more.
A major part of this trip is focused on home-style cooking, southern food, regional specialities, bbq...things we can't get in Toronto.
However I want to balance it with not JUST food, but unique sights and activities to keep it rounded (and keep my wife interested).
I'm having a tough time deciding between staying a few days in the bigger cities, or stopping off for shorter stays in smaller towns. Friends recommended me to go to Charleston for sure, however looking at some reviews on this board, the restaurants look good but doesn't seem to be what I'm looking for. The kinds of restaurants I'm seeing in Charleston are the kind of stuff we eat in Toronto and I want to concentrate on less refined, home cooking, local food.
Also...georgia...I know absolutely nothing about the region. Atlanta or smaller towns recommended?
Final question for now...North Carolina, is it a must to visit North Carolina in addition to SC? Because just looking at the map, seems like I could avoid some backtracking if I just hit up SC. However, I won't be back in this area for a long time, so I dont' want to miss out on some good bbq, local foods, and sights I won't get anywhere else.
You're asking an almost impossibly broad question. First, this site is only about food, discussions of places to stay, sights to see, etc. will be deleted by the mods. Second, Memphis and New Orleans are on other boards...this one covers GA, NC and SC.
I would say visiting NC is a necessity, but I'm an NC native so I'm biased. I would also encourage you visit Charleston...lots of southern food to be found there. My suggestion would be to do a thorough search on here...some places I'd recommend you focus on are Savannah, Athens, Charleston, Bluffton, Durham, Asheville, Lexington (NC).
Here's a link to NC BBQ Society map of NC BBQ joints, visiting all or some of them would make a fun and tasty adventure:
Here's a listing from Our State magazine of 100 things to eat in each of NC's 100 counties:
Here's a link to the food blog of the NC Folklife Institute that is well worth reading through:
Some specific places in NC to check out are:
Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC (bbq)
Allen and Son, near Hillsborough, NC (bbq)
Lexington #1 in Lexington, NC (bbq)
Fuller's in Lumberton, NC (huge southern-style buffet)
Price's Chicken Coop in Charlotte (outstanding fried chicken)
Keaton's in Cleveland, NC (unique bbq chicken)
Georgia - go to Savannah. I've never found the perfect restaurant there, but the place is very charming. And yeah, I'd go to Charleston too, and the food there is great. Wondering what it is that makes you think the food there isn't very different from Toronto. The coconute cake at Peninsula Grill is something I still dream about; brunch at Hominy Grill is definitely not something you'll find north of the border (and I'm sure locals can add a lot and suggest possibly less touristy places).
In NC you'd be wise to try both kinds of bbq - the eastern and western versions. Might as well stop in the very happening Durham for the first, and maybe make your way across the state to try the second, with a goal in mind of stopping for a night in Asheville.
How long were you planning for the trip? You need to post in the boards for New Orleans, Central South, and Kentucky-Tennessee.
NC is much different than SC, and there is much great food off the beaten track in AL and MS of the type you seem to be looking for.. The barbecue styles vary considerably -- SC is an outlier with it's mustard-based sauce -- as do other styles of cooking. And there is the huge distinction between pan fried and deep fried and corn meal vs. flour for okra and fried green tomatoes. There are a lot of small Mexican places in NC, and it sounds like you really don't want to miss the MS hot tamale trail.
There's a lot to eat and a lot to see. You really should make this this at least 2 trips.
Stay - and eat - at the Grand in Fairhope, Alabama (outside of Mobile, AL). The food was terrific.
Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa
One Grand Boulevard, P.O. Box 639 Point Clear Alabama 36564 USA
Now -- yes! You *must* come to N.C. There are so many wonderful foodie towns: Asheville and Chapel Hill/Durham especially