As I Like It!

Winter Travel Suggestions



JANUARY 30, 2017




As most of you know, I have an arrangement with Clista that allows me to fully participate in College Football from August 14 to the National Championship game in early January. I am excused from any weekend activity that interferes with the TV schedule, and, I’m also excused from my chores that fall on the weekends.

Clista feeds the office cats and cleans the kitchen after dinner, both of which I normally do. We eat lunch and dinner on TV trays, and she always serves me my traditional four White Castle cheeseburgers for Saturday lunch. Clista has about as much interest in football as I have in needlework, so she entertains herself all fall.

This arrangement comes to a screeching halt after the final game is played. For the balance of the year, it is my responsibility to come up with weekend activities that we both enjoy, but are designed with Clista’s interests in mind. We might do something as simple as a day trip to Atlanta, Columbus, or Montgomery, to visiting one of the many historical sites that are near us.

A couple of these weekends each year will involve a long weekend overnight trip to some Southern locale further away. I’m in the process of planning where we will go in 2017, and I thought I’d share my decision process with you. Like everyone, we have favorite places such as Mobile, New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston and at least one of these will be on our itinerary.

The fact that we live in the Deep South means that we are within an easy driving distance of a wide variety of possibilities, so let’s take a look at a few. Since both Clista and I are of a certain age, we have developed a list of criteria that such a trip must fit.

  1. Our destination must be within 600 miles of Opelika. We will want to leave home on Thursday and drive no more than 10 hours before stopping for the night. The drive time includes lunch and bio-breaks. In light of my policy of sticking to the interstates when possible and setting the cruise control at 62 in the right-hand lane, this means that even if we leave by 8:00 a.m., we can only go 400 miles or so before dark. Neither of us sees well enough to drive in the dark, so we try to check into a motel at dusk.
  2. Any hotel or motel along the way, or within our destination, must be full service—at least a Hampton Suites or Marriott Garden. It is mandatory that I avoid any property managed by the Patel family. Don’t even think about a B&B, let alone a campsite.
  3. Any destination or stop on the way must have a dining location with table service, china plates, and metal utensils, and, NO LOUD MUSIC!
  4. There must be a breakfast alternative to Waffle House. Let me say now that I happen to love Waffle House—Clista, not so much. It’s her time of year, and she rules.
  5. We must leave for home no later than Monday morning, again allowing for an overnight stay along the way.

If I stick a pin in Opelika and trace a 600-mile radius around it, we can look at destinations that include most of Florida, west to East Texas, and a northern arc that includes most of the Southern Mid-West and the South Atlantic area. That gives me a lot of the United States to include. Here are some of the destinations I’m considering.

  1. The Cumberland Island area of Southern Georgia (261 miles)
  2. The Outer Banks of North Carolina (600 miles).
  3. St. Genevieve, Missouri (555 miles)
  4. Mountain View, Arkansas (499 miles)
  5. South Louisiana (481 miles)

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be researching all five of these locations, looking for natural points of interest, historic sites, and good places to eat. If you live in, or, are familiar with one or more of these locations, feel free to share your thoughts and comments. I’ll keep you posted.

Categories: As I Like It!

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9 replies »

  1. They’re all good choices. I don’t know much about St Genevieve but I did spend a long weekend there once at a bed and breakfast with what has since become an ex-spouse. Neither of those would be good recommendations. It should be noted, however, that St. Louis is only 62.8 incremental miles further and we have a world class botanical garden and a world class zoo. Something to think about.

    Steve Muench

    (314) 353-0061


  2. Tom-you might want to check The Glenn restaurant in Charleston, MO, out in the country between charleston and East Prairie, the Mississippi River Dorena (MO) and Hickman (KY) Ferry, Dixie Gun (black powder) Works in Union City, and the Civil War Museum in the Cairo, IL Customs House. Unfortunately this museum is run by volunteers with (I think) hours of 10-12 and 1-3 Tues-Thur. It is outstanding. Have you been to the Shack Up Inn, a converted cotton gin just outside of Clarksville, MS? Kentucky and Missouri are the only conus states not connected by a road or bridge.

  3. Tom,

    Re the Shack Up Inn, I’m sure Joe meant to say Clarksdale, which is on HW 61 between Memphis and Cleveland.
    Google the Inn for endless details……….


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