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Bug Off: Field-Tested Ways to Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

Here in the South, the joy of entertaining guests outdoors can be undermined when less-welcome ones arrive—mosquitoes and other pests. We asked some of the South’s best event designers, who produce weddings and other soirees outside all summer long, how they battle bugs. From organic sprays and …

Mosquitoes

Small-Town Escapes

Less than ninety minutes from a major metro area, but a world away, these ten towns—long on creativity, charm, and old-fashioned hospitality—make for an easy weekend away or an ideal place to put down roots.

1. St. Francisville, Louisiana

2. Bluffton, South Carolina

3. Franklin, Tennessee

4. Round Top,

South Carolina

First Listen: Orthophonic Joy

In 1927, a producer from the Victor Talking Machine Company arrived in Bristol, Tennessee, and recorded seventy-six songs that would help launch a genre. As Ralph Peer’s recordings of such local talents as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family traveled over the airwaves, they spread previously …

Dolly Parton

Small-Town Escapes: Middleburg, VA

Population: 751
Drive Time:
Sixty-five minutes west of Washington, D.C.

So appealing is an address in Middleburg, Virginia, the ne plus ultra of American equestrianism, that the town has 2,000 post office boxes and only 751 residents. Founded in 1787, three years before Washington, D.C., in the lush …

Paul Newman

Small-Town Escapes: Ellijay, GA

Population: 1,637
Drive Time:
Seventy-five minutes north of Atlanta; seventy-five minutes southeast of Chattanooga

North Georgia has had a problem for decades: Too many outsiders still assume every little town above Atlanta was the inspiration for Deliverance, with banjo-wielding locals concocting …

Appalachian Trail

Small-Town Escapes: Water Valley, MS

Population: 3,350
Drive Time:
Twenty-five minutes south of Oxford; eighty minutes southeast of Memphis

Water Valley, situated in the North Mississippii hills south of Oxford, has attracted loads of academics and artists in recent years—and the newcomers fit in just fine. “Professors are friends with …

Oxford

Small-Town Escapes: Winter Park, FL

Population: 29,203
Drive Time:
Fifteen minutes northeast of downtown Orlando; ninety minutes northeast of Tampa

Long before greater Orlando was invaded by gloved mice and boy wizards—before Jurassic Park and Seuss Landing and all the rest—there was Winter Park. Founded in the 1880s by well-heeled …

Park Avenue

Small-Town Escapes: Chestertown, MD

Population: 5,277
Drive Time:
Ninety minutes northeast of Washington, D.C.; eighty minutes southeast of Baltimore

George Washington slept here—several times. Jefferson, Madison, and Patrick Henry passed through. In the 1700s, as schooners and sloops built in these parts sailed down the Chester River …

Historic District

Small-Town Escapes: Davidson, NC

Population: 11,750
Drive Time:
Thirty minutes north of Charlotte

With all of the red brick, white columns, and picturesque historic homes, Davidson can seem like some bucolic dream of Southern small-town life. But the home of Davidson College, and nearly 12,000 residents, is worldly beyond the town’s …

Small-Town Escapes: Round Top, TX

Population: 93
Drive Time:
Eighty minutes east of Austin; ninety minutes west of Houston

For almost fifty years, the tiny hamlet of Round Top, halfway between Austin and Houston, has been a magnet for antiques collectors and flea-market pickers. That’s what first drew British-born designer Rachel …

Antiques

Discover Perfect Southern Garden Roses

Trialing a rose is a bit like judging wine. It’s both fun and rigorous, with criteria for aroma, appearance, and overall robustness. And passion runs deep for both wine connoisseurs and rose lovers. Whether you love planting roses, sniffing them, or just admiring them while sipping a glass of wine …

Gardening

Lessons in Biscuit-Making from a Seasoned Baker

For the past few years, I’ve subscribed to a straightforward biscuit-making method, learned from a pastry chef friend. (Sorry, Grandma!) First, I put a stick of butter in the coldest corner of the freezer. When I wake up the next morning, I grate that frozen butter into a bowl of White Lily …

Biscuits

Drinks: Rocking On

In 1948, the country crooner Tex Ritter released “Rock and Rye,” his love song to a once-ubiquitous backcountry blend. “When you’re feeling kind of low and you think you’ll die, / Don’t count sheep to go to sleep, just drink some Rock and Rye,” he sings, his voice growing garbled, the music …

Drinking

Ask G&G: A Seersucker Style Guide

Q. Is there a way to wear seersucker without looking like a lawyer in Mobile?

I can’t say how the Gulf Coast Bar Association created the negative impression, or why, but you’re doing yourself a great midsummer disservice by allowing that presumed style devil to chase you from a fantastically able …

Seersucker

Fork in the Road: The Other Cuban Sammy

Ten years back I wrote a book, Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story. Research required a deep dive into the library stacks and a mad dash across the country. (The book is out of print, but used copies can, I’m sad to say, be purchased online for a penny plus shipping.) To that dash, I track my …

El Rey

Toast the Preakness with a Black-Eyed Susan

Despite the mint julep’s high profile, the Derby isn’t the only Triple Crown race with its own cocktail. The Preakness has a signature libation, too. And at Baltimore’s annual post-run Winners Circle Wind Down, the Black Eyed Susans taste a little different. That’s because Woodberry Kitchen

Horse Racing (U.S.)

Anatomy of a Classic: Blueberry Cobbler

Southern cooks like Virginia Willis fight a great battle in a world that tends to define our region’s cuisine as mac and cheese, biscuits, and fried chicken. Throughout her career, the Georgia-bred chef and cooking instructor has argued that succotash, stewed okra, and a perfect tomato sandwich are …

Recipes

G&G Interview: Abigail Spencer

Abigail Spencer is in the midst of her coming-out party. Following a steady ascent launched by a game-changing stint on Mad Men a few seasons back, this summer the Florida-bred actress will appear in two of the most talked-about shows on television. Rectify, the Sundance Channel’s acclaimed Southern …

The Interview

Back Porch Session: American Aquarium

We caught up with the Raleigh, North Carolina, band for a special live performance during SXSW

Watch the video »

Aquariums

Alton Brown's Favorite Southern Road Eats

If you are hitting the road this summer and looking for recommendations on where to eat, Alton Brown has a few suggestions. The Atlanta-based bestselling author, James Beard Award winner, and television personality travels (and eats) for a living. His traveling variety show, Alton Brown Live! The

Alton Brown

The New Soul Playlist

Small-Town Escapes: Franklin, TN

Population: 68,886
Drive Time:
Thirty minutes southwest of Nashville

Founded in 1799, Franklin was the seat of Tennessee’s wealthiest county until the Civil War. By the 1970s, it was hovering on life support. Yet, even in its decline, there was a beauty to the old place. Everywhere you turned there …

Civil War

Small-Town Escapes: Bluffton, SC

Population: 13,606
Drive Time:
Thirty minutes northeast of Savannah

There’s something about Old Town Bluffton, a drowsy village on the banks of the May River between Savannah and Hilton Head Island: something ageless and authentic and maybe a little haunted. There’s a hint of Mark Twain’s Hannibal in …

Mark Twain

A Master Class in Floral Design

Maybe you’re a spring bride and want to do your own flowers for your big day. Or perhaps you’re thinking about ditching a corporate gig and making a career in the floral business. Or maybe you just like puttering in the garden shed. Whatever your motivation, floral designers Heather Barrie of …

Floral Design

Small-Town Escapes: St. Francisville, LA

Population: 1,746
Drive Time:
Forty minutes northwest of Baton Rouge

Perched on a thin bluff along the Mississippi, St. Francisville is nicknamed “the town two miles long and two yards wide.” Deep in central Louisiana’s plantation country—there are more than 150 historic structures scattered …

Baton Rouge

The New Heavies

Leon Bridges
Soul’s Young Prince

Leon Bridges has such a silky-smooth voice that after posting one song online, the twenty-five-year-old had record execs salivating and became the subject of a ferocious bidding war. A showcase at the Stone Fox, a Nashville club, attracted scores of bigwigs from …

Music (Australia)

Before and After: Forlorn Cabin to Elegant Hunt Camp

Houses with soul and history rank high on our list of reasons to love living in the South. And it’s always heartening to see a property in need of a revival loved back to life in a way that feels authentic to the place where it sits.

Starting with this post, we’ll be sharing before and after photos …

Haskell

Soul Shaking

Brittany Howard is exhausted. Wearing a tight, brightly patterned dress and burgundy Doc Martens, and sporting a new bouffant faux-mohawk along with a large tattoo of the state of Alabama on her right arm, the Alabama Shakes lead singer lets her head hang while she and her bandmates trudge up an …

Blues Music

Today in Southern History: The Civil War's Final Skirmish

A fact you might not have learned in history class: Although General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox a month before, in May 1865, Union Colonel Theodore H. Barrett launched an expedition to confront reported Confederate outposts in Texas. Even lesser known? That expedition caused a …

Civil War

Openings: Brennan's is Back

When I was a kid in the 1960s and early ​’70s, there were—in my family at least—four essential New Orleans restaurants. (Five if you count Felix’s, the oyster bar to which my father still has a stubborn allegiance.) Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, and Galatoire’s were the venerable French Quarter bastions of …

New Orleans