Five Places Every Southern Girl Should Travel -at Least Once

      There is nothing quite like home sweet home.  While Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz clicked her ruby slippers to make her way back to Kansas, this Southern girl clicks her wide variety of flats, boots, or sandals (depending on the season)  to find my way back home.  My home is my refuge, and it is one of my favorite places to be. However, I believe that every Southern girl should travel to these five beautiful and different destinations at least once in their lifetime. 

     When I was about twelve, my parents loaded up our RV with my two sisters and me, and we took off to tame the wild, wild West.  We took in a lot of our beautiful country that summer; but one place we visited, the Grand Canyon, left an impression on this country girl that I will remember forever.  I was young, but when I saw that beautiful canyon carved out by the Colorado River, I believe I had some sort of a religious experience.  I have travelled back to this National Park two more times since, and I still have that feeling wash over me.  The only thing better than the first two times I went was my third trip I got to watch my own kid’s expressions as they viewed this marvel. This place should be on your DON’T miss list.

     Our next mandatory place of travel is New York City.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I know that one may feel like a fish out of water, but this big city is something else.  When you are there visiting, please don’t pass up the opportunity to go to The Empire State Building. I felt like Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle.  Also, it is imperative that you take the boat over to the Statue of Liberty.  I realize that she was a gift from France and that may offend some, but I have always believed this Lady Liberty to be somewhat of a Southern girl.  She stands tall, represents freedom and truth, and makes people feel welcome when they arrive.  Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like your Southern grandmothers? 

     I may get laughed at for my next pick, but I think it is a wonderful, confusing adventure everyone should take, Paris, France.  It was great in Paris, as long as I didn’t have to open my mouth to speak.  I am an educated country girl, but as soon as I would say, “je ne parle pas francais,” grand laughter would erupt.  Let’s face it, you can take the country girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country accent out of the girl. I would have it no other way, but it was a challenge.  Thankfully now, you can just goggle voice search, and it will show someone what question you may need answered.  I just think that being able to eyeball the Eiffel Tower, walk down the streets lite in pink, and take a boat ride on the River Seine are just awesome experiences.

     Next, I am going to travel closer to my South Carolina home.  The South is packed with beautiful, interesting cities that people should explore.  One such city is Memphis, Tennessee.  Please, splurge a little, and stay at The Peabody. As my grandmother would say, “If you do something, do it right.”  It is beautiful and friendly.  I think that their iconic “duck parade” is a site, and I was fascinated at the people who would come to watch them.  If you are anywhere in the neighborhood, you need to go to Graceland while there whether you are an Elvis fan or not.  Fascinating, truly, fascinating.  I loved the fact that from the parlor of the home to the cars and Lisa Marie airplane, there are no fat pictures of Elvis.  I thought that was quite a trick, and I am saying this with envy in my heart.

         Lastly, I am going to end with one of America’s treasures, Old Faithful, in Yellowstone National Park in Teton County, Wyoming.  Yellowstone National Park is a beauty in her own right.  However, Old Faithful is like a fireworks show on the Fourth of July.  It just seals the moment.  Now, you will have to exercise patience.  This natural wonder only likes to show herself every forty- five minutes or so, but she is as predictable as watermelon and boiled peanuts in summertime.  And, like those afore mentioned summertime staples, she never disappoints. 

     So, pack your bags with only what you need (yeah, right), and visit one of these magnificent places.  Please, soak all of it in while you are there enjoying every moment, but remember, home is only a click or two away.  And, this country girl must always return to her little slice of heaven- HOME.

Hello, Dolly


  Stand back ladies and gentlemen and spread out the purple carpet, the Queen of Country Music, Dolly Parton, has made her way to the Today Show.  It was epic.  With a smile as big as her………. hairdo (I bet you thought I was going to say something else.) Dolly strut her stuff live at Rockefeller Center.  The Tennessee native performed some of her old favorites and introduced a new single,” Blue Smoke.”  Of course this song told the tale of love gone wrong. This is Dolly’s latest album which happens to be her forty-seventh.

     This lady has done it all and been very successful doing it.  She is an actress, author, owns an amusement park, has a rockin’ place down in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and oh yeah, she sings.  And boy, does she sing.  To borrow a phrase from another country legend, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly “was country, when country wasn’t cool.”  Can you even allow your imagination to go there? No, don’t even try to wrap your head around it.  It’s tragic, and a very dark period in our country and music.  Let’s move on.

     I have been a big fan of Dolly’s for a long time.  She is just a great gal, and I am proud that she is a Southern, country girl from the farmlands of Tennessee.  Her daddy was a tobacco farmer, and there were twelve children in her family. And, we thought the Duggars with their 19 Kids and Counting were the only ones who pushed that envelope. Dolly married in 1966, and she and her husband are still together. How awesome is that! She told Savannah Guthrie that the secret to their successful marriage was that “she was gone a lot.”  There is nothing better than a girl who shots straight.

     So, I hope you did what you had to do- Told your boss that you were more than likely going to be sick the morning of May 13th or channeled your best Forrest Gump and climbed those Smokey Mountains, swam the Atlantic Ocean, or hiked from California to New York.  If those options didn’t work, you could have been like me and set your DVR for the Today Show. That lady was certainly worth the wait.