Something I noticed about our Southern trip, something that I have never in my life experienced before while traveling, was how surprised people were that we were going to the south, that this was our final destination. It started before our trip, people would question where we were going. If I said with a huge smile on my face that we were going to the South, the reply may be, “you mean the South of France?” It continued throughout our trip, locals were in disbelief that we weren’t visiting family or something, that we chose to be there. And it was the only place we wanted to be.
Our summer southern sojourn surpassed our highest expectations. Because of this, there were no specific trip highlights. Every day was spectacular. We saw a lot in our three-week window. In total, we drove 2,720 miles and spent 76 hours in our rented Ford Explorer. At the age of three, our daughter has now been to twenty out of our fifty US states, and visited sixteen out of sixty three US National Parks.
Southern hospitality is an honest concept that we will greatly miss. It will be especially noticeable at restaurants, where the kindness of servers compares to a pre-pandemic era. We didn’t just go on vacation, so did our tastebuds. I chose to altar my eating habits to conform to what food was readily available, going from a vegetarian who eats seafood on rare occasion to a full blown pescatarian, but there is no better place to do it. Lousiana is the nation’s second largest seafood supplier. Between the three of us we devoured ribs, blackened catfish, fried chicken, hushpuppies, corn fritters, snowballs stuffed with ice cream, baked potatoes, bread pudding, po’ boys, spicy shrimp, brisket, praline, coleslaw, crawfish etoufee, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, green beans, beignets, and gumbo. Maybe this should have been my response to one of the dozen or more times an eyebrow was raised by our travels to the South.