Southern charm and Civil War sites
Country music, Civil War battlefields, and antebellum mansions: just a few hallmarks of a road trip through the South. Driving this route, which is home to some of the country’s most compelling history, feels like a living history lesson with a really great soundtrack.
San Antonio, TX
In case you forgot: Head to Texas’s most visited historical site to remember the Alamo. Almost two centuries ago, the one-time Franciscan mission fell under siege by thousands of Mexican troops, while Texan volunteer soldiers held them off for almost two weeks. Today, the site is a symbol of Texas’s resistance to oppression. Take a battlefield tour to understand the Alamo’s role in Texas independence and walk in the footsteps of the famous soldiers who died there.
New Orleans, LA
Journey from Texas to the land of crawfish and birthplace of jazz. Stroll the French Quarter and duck into the St. Louis Cathedral with its triple steeples presiding over Jackson Square, where a statue of General Andrew Jackson atop his horse sits. For a more modern piece of history, visit the Lower Ninth Ward to see the still-lingering effects of devastating Hurricane Katrina.
Almost 25,000 lives were lost in the Civil War’s Shiloh battle, constituting nearly a quarter of the soldiers who fought in the two-day battle. Both the Shiloh and nearby Corinth battlefields are within the Shiloh National Military Park, as well as a moving national cemetery where predominantly unknown Civil War soldiers are buried.
Head for the heart of country music to get a real patriotic high. Besides hitting up some honky-tonks, check out The Hermitage, where Andrew Jackson lived, and Belle Meade Plantation, an 1853 Greek-Revival mansion complete with a winery (our favorite way to do history). And, you can’t visit Music City without paying homage to its contributions to our nation’s musical heritage. Check out the Grand Ole Opry, where generations have met on the stage for almost a century.
The site of one of the United State’s three oldest public universities, the University of Georgia was the nation’s first chartered state college. Two dozen of the historical sites on the Civil War Heartland Leaders Trail are also found here, from the world’s only double-barreled cannon to several antebellum homes in all their gracious glory.
Packed to the brim with both history and charm, Savannah’s Historic District is one of the nation’s largest historic landmarks. Hop on an Old Town Trolley Tour to see the sights, then dine in the colonial mansion The Olde Pink House for some down-home cooking in an elevated atmosphere.
From one charm-filled city to another, Charleston is also the site of Fort Sumter, the first battle in the Civil War. Boat back to the mainland after getting a tour of the fort and check out Boone Hall Plantation, where a natural corridor is formed by moss-draped live oak trees, epitomizing southern heritage. Visit the Black History in America exhibit for a sobering look at life in the slave cabins.