Roadtrip- southern states- camping/ hiking help?
Replies: 48 - Last Post: Aug 22, 2012 7:11 AM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Aug 16, 2012 3:37 AM
15Notes on "Mexican food".... New Mexican food is somewhat different than the Tex-mex style you'll find in Texas and the Sonoran style you'll find in Arizona. New Mexican foods are heavily focused on the locally grown green chiles, and tend to be significantly hotter than what you'll find in other states. The base also tends to be corn tortillas rather than flour tortillas which are more common in Arizona and Texas (although you can get either flour or corn tortillas anywhere, the corn variety are more of a staple of the New Mexican style). Classic "New Mexican" dishes would include meat enchiladas made with blue corn tortillas, served flat (rather then rolled, as is more common elsewhere) with a fried egg and green chile, sopapillas (a kind of fried bread) stuffed with meat and chile, green chile pork stew, and posole (another type of stew). You'll constantly be asked "red or green" which means "do you want your meal smothered in green or red chile sauce".
Mexican foods you find in Arizona tend to be less spicy, more focused on flour tortillas and red chile sauces, and feature a wider variety of marinated meats (birria, barbacoa, carnitas, carne seca, carne asada, to name a few).
Anyway, in Silver City, go to the Jalisco Cafe. In Tucson try El Minuto (downtown), Tania's (in a sketchy neighborhood west of the freeway), Poco & mom's (a little dive in an unfashionable east-side suburban neighborhood), Taqueria Pico de Gallo (south Tucson), or the old standby el Nidito, which is touristy but fun (and good). For a more upscale take on the cuisine, try the Poca Cosa, which thoroughly unique, but completely awesome.
Aug 16, 2012 3:49 AM
Aug 16, 2012 4:30 AM
Since you can visit some good historical spots in xCharleston and xSavannah, my map routes your through the mountains (with a couple historical cities thrown in).
I didn't add it in my map, but you may consider detouring through xMontgomery instead, for some more recent history.
Same for Front Royal with xShenandoah, and Cheorkee with the Smokies.
If it comes down to it or something else, I'd (most likely) suggest skipping it.
WW II Museum.
Confederate Museum (small, but next to the WW II museum).
Wander the xFrench Quarter, and you'll find music without even trying.
Cafe Du Monde is the classic beignet stop.
Johnny's for po boys.
Again, it's hard to not find good food there. Just stop in whatever looks good.
In the true South (including eastern xTexas), the food to go for is barbecue (which is different from what we call "grilling" and much of the world refers to as "barbecue"). There are a large number of regional varieties, but for the basics: east [North] Carolina is vinegar and pepper based sauce, west [North] Carolina is generally the same but with tomato sauce added, xSouth Carolina has both of the above plus a mustard-based sauce, xAlabama has a mayo-based, and xTexas is a tomato base. xTexas focuses on beef, the others on pork, but you can often find each and chicken in all.
Aug 16, 2012 7:24 PM
18"Do you think its better to drive inland from Baltimore (down the Appalachians) or would going along the coast be worth seeing instead?"
No, go the mountain route. It's not even debatable. I think you will love some of the places I suggested (also, it's Whiteside Mountain, not Whiteface as I said) and I really hope you go there. If you skip them all and just focus on various towns, you'll be missing out on the main attraction. I also think you'll love the DeLorme maps I pointed out. You'll see why when you get them. Also, The Smokies are a bit out of your way. There are plenty of other places, such as the ones I mentioned, that are better. And there will be fewer people there.
I should tell you that Asheville is promoted on this site simply because it has an enclave of people with "progressive" politics. That may be yours as well, but I;m just telling you it is the only reason it is promoted. Unless your intention is to mingle with certain people because they have political views that you share, there is little reason for you to spend time there. I'm just explaining to you why it is promoted here, so you can make an informed decision. If that's what you want, fine. If it is not the only reason you would want to go there, there is really no other reason to go. The same holds true of Charlottesville. I went to school there, and there's little in the town outside Monticello and maybe walking the grounds of UVA that warrants a visit. The same holds true of Austin. Again, if that's what you like, fine, but just understand the reasons they are promoted here. It's purely politics and nothing else.
On the way to Charleston, definitely stop at the Francis Biedler Forest. It is far superior to the Congaree that was mentioned. It's not worth your time going there.
I would just beeline it straight to NO from Charleston. There is nothing along the way that warrants taking time away from either the mountains or Charleston/SC coast area.
Aug 16, 2012 9:03 PM
19Where in TX: Austin. I don't think a road trip to San Antonio is worth it, but it is your call. New Orleans to Austin will take you through Houston--it is worth stopping for lunch or dinner. This city knows how to chow.
Mexican food: #15 summed up the situation. What is called Mexican food generally isn't true Mexican food, but rather a regional variation. This can vary even by city. For example, in San Antonio they eat puffy tacos, which are like a hybrid of a soft taco and a crunchy one (as the Homesick Texan blog puts it "uncooked masa dough that is pressed and then thrown into the hot oil and as they cook, they bubble up like sopapillas"). In Austin, black beans play a prominent role, as does vegetarian takes on tex-mex classics. In Houston, we love everything covered in cheese and Ninfas on Navigation (or Mama Ninfa's) claims to be the place that invented fajitas as we know it (obviously not the meat itself, but the idea of seasoning lesser cuts, cooking it with onions, and serving it up with homemade tortillas, guac, cheese, and the like).
The Homesick Texan blog has helped many of us out when we found ourselves living out of state and needing to cook the tex-mex favorites that we could no longer get in restaurants :).
Aug 16, 2012 11:47 PM
20I should tell you that Asheville is promoted on this site simply because it has an enclave of people with "progressive" politics. ... The same holds true of Austin. Again, if that's what you like, fine, but just understand the reasons they are promoted here. It's purely politics and nothing else.
They are amazing skills, tomjinva - being able to get inside every other poster and determine their motivation or reasons for mentioning or recommending certain cities and towns. It seems to me the reality is that places are recommended on here mostly because of their physical beauty (both natural and man-made/historical), rather than the politics of their citizens. It might in fact also be true that places with progressive politics are places that have created a better urban landscape (or possibly, good urban landscapes attract certain types of people).
I do agree on one point however - often the attractiveness of a place is in fact about its local culture (including a wide range of restaurants or clubs or live music, or arts, or whatever), and possibly because of its educational achievements. The reality is of course that the average traveller might only have 2-3 nights in a place, so really the place only needs 2-3 good restaurants, and one nice bar, rather than dozens of them - they are surplus to requirements. And you will not get to meet all the hip groovy progressive people either.
But still - for a lot of reasons, it's better to visit San Francisco than Houston I suggest, and Santa Fe rather than Lubbock. It's to do with vibe, and a great deal else, but not politics.
Aug 17, 2012 4:08 AM
Ever heard of Biltmore? There's, um, nothing else like it this side of the Atlantic.
That alone is worth the price of admission for a day. Both Monticello and UVA are World Heritage Sites, you know.
I've always found Austin overrated, but at this point, its reputation as a music hot-spot has actually caused it to become a music hot-spot. It's the classic case of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Also, all three towns have lots of good restaurants, which makes them great places to overnight.
It's not about the politics. You'll notice that no one ever suggests that tourists go to Chapel Hill....
Aug 17, 2012 4:41 AM
22#18's rant about 'political motives' is more political than the reasons most of us would likely give you.
And since I was talking about it, not too far away in League City is a decent barbecue place.
Aug 17, 2012 7:12 AM
Aug 17, 2012 7:48 AM
24Heh, I actually just suggested on another thread involving some hikers that love good food that someone visit Chapel Hill (along with Durham) if they fly into Raleigh-Durham; guess I have a liberal agenda. Also, wouldn't everyone be telling people to come to Houston if we were just going off politics? Large liberal city in Texas with lesbian mayor? Yet, we don't, because for a tourist, Austin has much better outdoor recreation options.
Actually, I do think Asheville itself is a bit overblown, but it makes a great base for exploring W. North Carolina. I love the small conservative towns in the Western part of the state, but Asheville provides easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, has more things to do in the evenings or on rainy days, and is not too far from the national park. There are many fabulous hiking trails that begin within a 30-minute drive of Asheville.
Aug 17, 2012 4:09 PM
25Perhaps we need a new thread: "Over-rated must-see destinations in the USA because they are liberal, pinko, arty-farty, GLBT hang-outs!".
Aug 17, 2012 4:35 PM
26#25, I nominate xVermont. They even have a socialist senator!
Aug 17, 2012 5:09 PM
The Alamo, the mission trail, the riverwalk....that's a day well spent. Isn't it?
Aug 17, 2012 8:07 PM
28Mrpenney: If I had a short amount of time, I would rather spend it hiking and swimming in Austin. The Alamo has never done anything for me--very little of the original is there, and its overdeveloped surroundings make it hard to feel the historical context. The riverwalk is okay, but to me has always felt a bit cheesy. I live less than a 4 hours drive from it but never get the desire to go back. Just my opinion though.
Aug 17, 2012 9:32 PM
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