Nopoint beckons like the open up road. So we"ve mapped out a South-wide road pilgrimage, armed via a bucket list of crucial experiences. Strap in and also join us as we go from the Lownation to the Upnation in the initially of this six-component series.

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As much as the cross-country road pilgrimage has actually end up being an American rite of passage, we think it's high time it acquired a Southern twist. So we set out to chart an iconic path across the area. Knowing complete well that any attempt to lay dvery own a definitive path would, by necessity, leave off even more spots than it might incorporate, we opted rather for an experiential method. We'd dip our toes in a Smoky Mountain stream and a Hill Counattempt swimming hole. We'd visit a literary landnote, hit up juke joints, and also gobble boiled peanuts out of a file sack. We'd follow a gravel road—and also a stranger's advice. Wbelow each of those, and also others, would certainly take place would certainly be less vital than that they would certainly. So join us for the next 6 issues on our expedition from Charleston to Austin. Then gas up your tank and blaze your very own trail. And don't forget to sfinish us a postcard from the road!

We couldn't have actually asked for a more poetic begin for our journey than the authorize on Highway 171 welcoming us to "the Edge of America," the tagline embraced by the laid-earlier area of Folly Beach on a 7-mile barrier island south of Charleston. And as we drive deeper into the coastal landscape—bright green swaths of marsh it'd be simple to mistake for fields—the moniker doesn't feel prefer much of an exaggeration. It's even even more apt when Tim, my Texas-born, Virginia-raised driving buddy (and beau), and I are standing on the wide, windy beach at The Washout, a popular surf spot that gets its gusts (and also gusto) from the steamroller effects of Hurricane Hugo, which leveled the chunk of houses behind it in 1989. We wanted the Atlantic, and we acquired it in all its implacable glory. We think about renting a surfboard at family-owned McKevlin's (, but fearing that a wipeout on day one can put a damper on the pilgrimage, we resolve for a wade in the surf, then steer ourselves to Rita's Seaside Grille (, a family-friendly hangout that serves favorites favor a pimiento-bacon burger and blackened tuna nachos.

Hence fortified, we make the 20-minute trek right into Charleston to drop off our bags at Zero George Street Hotel (; rooms from $359), an 18-room boutique hotel in the Ansonborough neighborhood, which is spread throughout 5 1804 buildings stitched through moss-edged brick pathmeans and also palmetto-shaded courtyards. It's choose a microcosm of the city itself—lush, beauticompletely aged, and written of dispaprice formats that work-related seamlessly together. Eager to check out the town on foot, we forgo the abundant walking-tour options, as practically eextremely 3rd framework has actually a plaque explaining its age and definition (here, a Revolutionary War hero's home; tbelow, a cotton merchant's manse). And while the Georgian, Italianate, and Victorian edifices make us swoon, it's the fraapprove clouds of star jasmine, draping doorframes favor shaggy manes and climbing toward the rooftops, that sheight us in our tracks time and also aget. Eventually, we wander right into the 200-plus-year-old historical Charleston City Market (, which reopened in 2011 after a $6 million renovation, and linger over jewelry fashioned from antique flatware and also handmade sweetgrass baskets. As the sun starts to dip, we cruise past the thronged sidewalks of Upper King Street for something even more off the bconsumed path: chef Bob Carter's Rutledge Cab Co. (, set in a converted 1950s gas station in the residential Wagener Terrace neighborhood. The large wrapabout patio conveniently fills with locals feasting on reimagined standbys (a quirky charcuterie platter via deviled ham rillettes and fried bologna) and also standout sandwiches (roasted lamb via Havarti and also pickled cabbage). For nightcaps, we pop in for an expertly made craft cocktail at The Gin Joint ( and then make our way about the edge to the roadhouse-y The Griffon ( Its beer selection is solid—in your area brewed Holy City Pluff Mud Porter; Westbrook Gozu, a sour-salty gose beer via yuzu juice—and also the decor is intentionally slapdash, through every surchallenge plastered via dollar bills. It's the sort of place where your server could be persuaded to carry out a swarm via you come cshedding time, in a dive-bar salute to Southern hospitality.

It's so hard to say goodbye to our room at Zero George—those heart-pine floors! the marble bath!—yet the road calls. Our initially sheight is in North Charleston at Mixson Market (, a cafe/gift shop within an eco-friendly planned community anchored by a members-just pool and racquet club. The staff sets up lounge chairs by the pool as we wait for our breakfast tacos—delicious (yet messy) assemblperiods of Sriracha-spiked fried egg, Cotija cheese, and also griddled arugula on toasted corn tortillas—and shop for snacks and souvenirs.

Afterward, we head to Greenville to check out its revitalized downtown and also a food scene that's rapid ending up being one of the South's a lot of vibrant. The landscape alters so gradually—the low-lying seaside ordinary composes nearly half of the state prior to creeping up to the Piedmont plateau—that we badepend realize we've climbed from sea level to 1,000 feet over the three-hour drive. In tvery own, we inspect in at the Park House Bed and Breakfast (; rooms from $169), a five-room inn in a renovated 1911 residence on a leafy stretch just north of downtown. From tbelow, we hoof it to Key Street, which gleams via new building and spruced-up public spaces, consisting of the 14-acre Falls Park, developed about the Reedy River. Happy to be extending our legs, we cover most of Key Street's mile-lengthy turf, from the north end—where Joe Fenten uses day-to-day tastings of his small-batch moonshines at Dark Corner Distillery (—all the way down to Fluor Field (, house to the Red Sox farm team the Greenville Drive. The stadium is modeled after Fenmethod, complete with a hands-on scoreboard and also a scaled-dvery own version of the Environment-friendly Monster. We obtain tickets for the lawn, wbelow we spread out a blanket and scarf dvery own warm dogs and pretzels while watching costumed relay races and air-guitar competitions that are sometimes interrupted by innings of actual baseround. (The fiercest competition is one of the youngsters lined up along the left-area wall, waiting for foul balls. Tim looks only a little jealous that he's too old to join in.) By the finish of the game, lying on our backs on the grass watching the fireworks, we feel prefer we've hit a home run.

After the stadium empties, we head towards our second show of the night—dinner. We pass Mediterranean-motivated The Lazy Goat ( and Nose Dive gastropub ( for Aaron Manter's The Owl (at press time, The Owl is closed, via plans to re-open in August., a marvel of inventive food preparation (foie gras via Riesling gel, apricot conserve, and also granola crumble). As the bartender mixes up a round of Sun Shines (pineapple, crème de violette, and Dark Corner moonshine), we realize why this location has actually end up being a favorite of Greenville's off-duty cooks and also attitude-allergic gourmands. And because component of what makes Manter's innovations so one-of-a-kind are the raw materials, we spend the dessert course hatching a plan to acquire our hands on some of that farm-fresh develop the next day.

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It's early on morning in downtvery own Greenville, and an alfresco yoga session is going on in NOMA Square. Farther dvery own Key Street, a farmers' sector has unfurled (a Saturday staple all summer), however we want to obtain to the resource. So after breakfast among the hungry masses at Tupelo Honey Cafe (, we set out to survey the region's bounty. We drive north towards the mountains and hit Perdue Fruit Farm (864/979-8378) on the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway, wbelow we watch as folks make preserves and linger to listen in on the crop talk and local gossip up near the respond to. Then, veering eastern, previous disintegrating farmhouses and also antiques stores with names favor Copper Kettle, we make our way to Fisher's Pick-Your-Own Orchard (, one of several state-certified roadside stands where you deserve to harvest your very own fruit. It's still a tiny early on in the year for peaches, however we've been told that South Carolina's are the finest, so we follow the orchard's hand-attracted, color-coded map to the 'Flavorich' and also 'Sunbrite' swaths, the earliest ripening arrays on this plot. Swapping tips through a grandfather-and-grandkid duo under the trees' low, heavy branches, we fill a basket with enough fruit to feed us for the remainder of the trip—however don't also wait to obtain earlier in the automobile prior to biting right into the initially one.