A- Antique Store
An antique store in downtown Savannah, Georgia that my Couchsurfing Host told me I should check out ended up being one of my favorite stops in the city. I couldn’t afford anything, but I had a really great time exploring all the rooms of this 4-story store.
I was eating dinner with my Couchsurfing Host and her friends in Mobile, Alabama when the word “bushwhacker” kept coming up. I finally asked what that was and, no lie, all of them stopped what they were saying and stared at me, open-mouthed… So, Caroline and I got out of our pajamas, got ready and went out for a Bushwhacker! For all of you who, like me, hadn’t heard of this before, it is like a milkshake with rum in it! (Apparently, some come with coffee grounds or other flavors as well).
C- Castillo de San Marcos
Castillo de San Marcos is the Spanish Fort that was built in St. Augustine, Florida (the oldest continuously European-settled city in the US). This fort is now a National Monument.
D- Davis’s Home
In Montgomery, Alabama I got to tour the First White House of the Confederacy where President Jefferson Davis lived with his family for only a few months until the Confederate capital was moved to Richmond, VA.
Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is genuinely something to be seen. This beautiful home, constructed in the late 19th century, is like a French chateau sitting in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The home is incredible, along with the the vast grounds.
F-Fog at Chimney Rock
My impromptu stop at Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina, towards the end of my first week on the road, was a defining moment of my trip for me. I felt really in control of my trip and my life, really inspired by North Carolina and so happy to hiking- even through the intense fog.
Forrest Gump followed me on this trip to several locations… I saw where his shrimp boat was docked in the movie, where he sat on the park bench, and I got to climb on the tree that was so special to Forrest and Jenny in the movie in Beaufort, South Carolina. It’s kind-of cool to feel like you’re part of a movie that you’ve seen and loved or even been inspired by.
It is no secret, that I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan; I just cannot help myself! So, when I was at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida with my aunt, it only made sense that I spent over $250 on Harry Potter-themed candies! (Seriously, I question my sanity the more I talk about this.)
Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina is one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever seen… Hands down! I think it looks a bit like a fairy tale cottage on a really grand scale. Being someone who’s all about budget travel (aside from the above-mentioned freakout in Honeydukes) I’ve decided that I would be willing to splurge on this because really, really want to stay at the Grove Park Inn. F. Scott Fitzgerald lived and wrote here for two years… Clearly, it’s inspiring.
J- Jackson Square
When in New Orleans, Louisiana it is basically impossible to not somehow find your way to Jackson Square- unless you completely avoid the French Quarter. This is such a beautiful and iconic part of the Quarter, and I enjoyed it ever single time I passed by, sat in it or really stopped to take in my surroundings.
For this example I really could use King two ways- B.B. King and “The King”! Both B.B. and Elvis recorded music at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee and have both left a lasting impression on their music genres. I’m so thankful to Sam Phillips for recording these music legends.
While I saw a few different lighthouses, the one in Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina made the most lasting impression on me because I got to climb the 167 stairs to the top and look out over the beach. It was pretty incredible!
Metalmorphosis was probably my favorite thing in Charlotte, North Carolina. When I got there, neither of my Couchsurfing hosts had even heard of this work of art, and by the time we found out what it was and where it was, it turned into a bit of an adventure to find it! My new friend Irene, my hosts’ two children, and I made our way there to see this beautiful artwork!
I don’t mean Niagara Falls, but Frozen Niagara inside Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky! Tyler and I chose this tour because it’s supposed to be the prettiest of the tours, and it was definitely beautiful!
O- Our Lady Guadalupe
Stacey and I took a Cemetery Tour in New Orleans, Louisiana and on the way we stopped in at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, which was pretty beautiful. It had some beautiful stained glass and is definitely worth visiting.
I was pretty excited to see a pirate flag inside of the Tybee Island History Museum in Tybee Island, Georgia. It was just fun to see such an interesting and iconic piece of history that pretty much anyone could recognize. So cool!
I know, I know more Harry Potter, but it was seriously so amazing to see all of these things that I’ve read about since I was a little girl brought to life at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida! I love, love, loved every moment of it! The Quidditch gear was a ton of fun because the bludgers were shaking inside the case, just like you would imagine they would!
R- Rosa Parks
There were so many truly interesting parts of Montgomery, Alabama, but the moment that I found most moving, was standing where Rosa Parks stood to catch the bus. This was such a momentous step for equal rights that still resonates with Americans today.
Films are often a great source of inspiration for me on many different realms, and one film that I have always found especially moving and inspiring is Big Fish which was filmed in many different locations in and around Montgomery, Alabama. I made a spontaneous trip up the Alabama River to see the movie set of the town of Spectre.
T- Third and Lindsley
Now, I’m not a huge country music fan… Actually, I’m not particularly a fan at all, but I felt like while I was in Nashville, Tennessee I had to get the experience. Tyler did a great job at choosing which show to go to, and we went to The Time Jumpers show! I’m not gonna lie… it actually was pretty cool! (Plus, that’s Vince Gill on the guitar!)
U- Underwater Shot
Swimming with manatees was actually a pretty late addition to this trip, but I am so glad that I came across the option in Crystal River, Florida! Even though it kinda creeped me out at first, this was definitely a childhood dream come true. Manatees were already one of my two favorite animals, and this experience only amplified that love!
V- Voodoo Queen
When Stacey and I signed up for our tour of the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana, we had no idea how much history we would learn about the people buried there. We got to see the grave of the voodoo queen, Marie Laveau.
W- WW2 Memorial
There were a lot of really interesting things to stumble across in Savannah, Georgia, but the thing that really stuck out to me, was the WW2. I thought the image of the world being split in two was really beautiful and I will always remember it.
X- X-Marks the Spot
This one is kinda cheating, but I couldn’t come up with anything that I did that genuinely started with an X, but Liz, Lina and I did explore the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor’s Center in Asheville, North Carolina while we drove (what was open) the Parkway.
I couldn’t not mention the amazing foods that I ingested all over the Southeast! One of my particular favorites was The Pancake Pantry in Nashville, Tennessee! It was some of the best breakfast I’ve ever had!
Z- Zelda Fitzgerald
I went to the only F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in the entire world! It’s in a home of theirs in Montgomery, Alabama and has some really amazing first editions of Scott’s, portraits and the second largest collection of Zelda’s paintings! It was great!
As you can see, this trip was pretty amazing! It was exactly what I needed post-graduation. It ended up being even more than I bargained for… I made some genuine, special, incredible friends, gained great experiences, and I found my new home in the beautiful and inspiring Asheville, North Carolina! Travel is such a beautiful thing. It genuinely changes lives, brings confidence, allows you to meet new people and try new things! Thanks for following along on this amazing journey!
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