Southern Bucket List for 2015
As January kicks off and we all think about those things we most want to accomplish in 2015, we decided to come up with our own “bucket list” here at Deep South. The 12 items below will give you a few ideas for Southern adventures in the year ahead and also a preview of what we plan to cover in our online pages. Whether you do one or all of them (definite prizes for readers who do all 12!), we encourage you to consider the South and its great writers, cities, food, gardens and landmarks in 2015.
1. Take a literary road trip.
Have a favorite Southern writer? There’s probably a landmark dedicated to him or her somewhere. Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Faulkner’s home at Rowan Oak or pay tribute at Flannery O’Connor’s gravesite. We’ll be launching a new series this year and offering up a literary road trip each month, plus sharing our own pilgrimages to Savannah, Georgia, and the Mississippi Delta for inspiration, so take advantage of cheap gas prices and hit the road.
2. Eat your veggies.
Everyone says they’re going to eat healthier at the beginning of the year. In the South, that’s actually an easy resolution to accomplish because vegetables are a staple in the Southern diet. We’ll be talking to chefs and vegetarian/vegan cookbook authors about ways to go green this year and providing plenty of recipes along the way.
3. Read Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Georgia author Carson McCullers‘ debut novel still holds up after so much time and is a wonderful depiction of small-town life. If you’ve never read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, this is the year to do it. And if you have read it before, then consider re-reading the novel or watching the 1968 film adaptation starring Alan Arkin.
Southerners have long been avid gardeners, whether known for their prized roses, camellias, tomatoes or herbs. If you don’t have a green thumb of your own, consider visiting one of the region’s many botanical gardens, garden estates or horticulture centers — the Birmingham Botanical Garden even has its own library — and learn more about what’s growing outside your door.
5. Read or write a poem.
April is National Poetry Month, and we’ll resume running a poem a day on April 1. Many readers follow along all month and discover an appreciation for poetry they didn’t know they had. The more poetry you read, the better you’ll get at understanding this short form of verse and you may even be ready to try and write a rhyme of your own.
6. Attend an event during the Eudora Welty Biennial.
Starting in April, Jackson, Mississippi’s inaugural Welty Biennial will pay tribute to hometown writer Eudora Welty through July 3. Events include art installations and exhibits, symphony concerts, a staged reading by Olympia Dukakis, a production of June Recital and lots more. The full schedule for the biennial hasn’t been released yet, but check here for updates.
7. Eat at a destination restaurant.
So many restaurants, so little time. The South’s chefs and their signature cuisine are constantly in the news and making “best of” lists. It can be hard to keep up, but whether you visit one of Chef Sean Brock’s restaurants in Charleston, John Currence’s Oxford establishments or Vivian Howard‘s Chef & the Farmer, we urge you to splurge and have at least one memorable meal in 2015.
8. Drink a glass of Southern-made wine.
News flash. There’s great wine being made in North Georgia, the Texas Hill Country, Virginia and North Carolina. Wine tasting experiences to rival that of Napa are also available in these Southern states, so get a glass and start sipping.
9. Visit a Southern lighthouse.
An experience that’s associated more with the Northeast or Canada can also be had in the South, as charming lighthouses abound on the Georgia and Carolina coast. Hike up to the top if you dare and take in sweeping views you won’t find at sea level.
10. Mix up a cocktail.
The craft cocktail revolution is here to stay, so you might as well get on board. Craft spirits, especially whiskey, are supposed to explode in 2015 so it’s a good thing the South has plenty of distillers hard at work. Purchase a bottle for the home bar, add a few drops of locally made bitters and start wowing guests with your creations.
This one is simple. These two grand dames of the South are a must-see for natives and tourists alike — and are only two hours apart by car.
12. Get outdoors & appreciate the region we call home.
After eating more veggies, the second most popular resolution is probably to get more exercise. With a range of terrain, the South has just about every outdoor experience you can think of, from hiking to mountain climbing, biking, ziplining, kayaking or just taking a leisurely walk on the beach.
We’ll be offering more details and ideas on accomplishing each of these resolutions as the year progresses. Like we said in the introduction, if you want to attempt all 12 just take pictures and keep ticket stubs along the way. You can Facebook, tweet or Instagram us with your adventures using the hashtag #DSBucketList, and those readers who complete the list will get a prize at the end of the year.