Yesterday morning, TALES FROM THE ROAD, the travel and culture blog for Southern Living magazine, received the Bronze Award from the Society of American Travel Writers. We were chosen out of 25 other such blogs for the honor during SATW's annual conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.
It's the first award for TALES, and in the spirit of awards, we'd like to celebrate in ways only Southerners would choose. After all, we Southerners know how to have a good time. Here's our best picks for an unabashed, deep-fried, roll-tide-roll victory lap:
10. We'll drape the blog in a Derby garland of roses. Roses are the official flower of Kentucky's great race, and Governors since Burgoo King won in '32 have been draping the 554-rose blanket across the winning horse's back. Hides the smell of hay, we guess.
9. We'll build a raft and float the Mighty Mississippi. Every true Southerner has contemplated their inner-Huckleberry. Problem is, no one wants to go to Minnesota this time of year. It's already snowing.
8. We'll take a BBQ road trip. Here's the plan: Catch a flight to El Paso and drive straight-shot through Tejas, Arkansas, Memphis, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, all day and night until we hit the Atlantic – only stopping for the greatest in smoked, hickoried, slathered, pulled, sweet deliciousness. Newcomer of the year: this place in Homewood, Alabama. Wow.
7. We'll finally get to meet Reese Witherspoon. Perhaps she can help us figure out how to properly celebrate an award. And maybe sing us a little June Carter Cash ditty. Watch her here.
6. We'll have a "Blessing of the Blog" ceremony. Prayer is nothing new to us. And we particularly love creative church sign word play. (What's missing from ch__ch? U R.) But, we find great Southern pride in anything that gets a special "Blessing" like shrimping season or fox hunting hounds. In Aiken, South Carolina, every Thanksgiving morn, hundreds gather in Hitchcock Woods for the running of the pups. Someone get us a bottle of Dom.
5. We'll get dunked. Keeping on the Big Guy theme, we were so inspired by our pal Val Luesse's October Southern Living story, "Baptism on Moon Lake" about a beautiful Mississippi spiritual tradition, we're calling the good reverend. We hope the water doesn't hurt our hard drives. Do yourself a favor and go read her piece today.
4. We'll splurge on the best hotel in New Orleans. It's called the Soniat House, and there's no better spot in the French Quarter. Tennessee Williams would swoon.
3. We'll buy a new suit. Or dress. Depends on our mood. And if we do, we're hollering at Atlanta's Sid Mashburn and Florence, Alabama's Natalie Chanin. Style masters of our Southern universe. (See below how pumped Sid is about our blog award.)
2. We'll say two words: The. Beach. Is there anytime we don't love putting our toes in the sand? I don't think so. If the Panhandle's 30-A is your fancy, TALES swears by the mid-October long weekend. The new white-washed, idyllic, ocean-spray It spot? Here.
Thanks SATW and to all you readers out there in the cyber-South, TALES is a pleasure to produce. We love our South. Keep reading and we'll keep writing.