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Aadithya Prem

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Sleep Cheap: 5 one-of-a-kind Southern stays for budgeting travelers

The Crash Pad

The Crash Pad

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Slumber in style after exploring Chattanooga’s wild side. At outdoorsy-meets-urban hostel the Crash Pad, affordable accommodations cater to travelers of all privacy preferences. Choose from single beds in shared “Super Bunk” rooms, private rooms, or spacious, two-person “Chatt Rooms.” In the morning, guests gather in the communal kitchen, where a fully stocked cabinet yields hearty breakfasts. Be sure to take advantage of the Crash Pad’s community connections, too; the hostel offers discounts to local favorites such as the Flying Squirrel Bar, burger joint Urban Stack, and more. crashpadchattanooga.com

Sweet Peas Hostel

Sweet Peas Hostel

Asheville, North Carolina

Right above Lexington Avenue Brewery, Sweet Peas Hostel is seated in the heart of downtown Asheville, within walking distance of shopping, dining, and art mecca the Grove Arcade. Reserve a bunk bed, or for added privacy, choose a spacious suite or an individual “pod,” which has a curtain so sleepers can get a little R&R. You’ll need the peace and quiet, too: Asheville boasts nine local breweries, countless hiking trails, multiple mid-sized music venues, and of course, America’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate. sweetpeashostel.com

 

NotSo Hostel

NotSo Hostel

Charleston, South Carolina

NotSo Hostel is just so Charleston. At the main location, a renovated, 150-year-old abode boasts two porches, complete with rocking chairs and a hammock so guests can lounge in the Lowcountry heat. Dorm accommodations here keep things social, but privacy seekers should check out the annex location, just a few blocks away. There, choose from individually styled accommodations such as the Kendall Room, which has a private porch and entrance. Take advantage of the hostel’s community partners; some Spring Street mainstays offer discounts to guests. notsohostel.com

 

Posh South Beach


Posh South Beach

Miami, Florida

Posh South Beach plays up Miami’s partying side. Offering nightly complimentary drinks at the nearby Whitelaw Hotel, the hostel is close to the city’s hottest clubs, such as Liv or Nikki Beach, and a short walk from the beach. Lounge by the pool, or simply recover in one of the three stylish dormitories set up in a renovated loft. The stay includes special discounts to popular Miami attractions such as Miami Seaquarium or Jungle Island as well as free shuttle service to and from Miami Airport. poshsouthbeach.com

 

Auberge Nola

Auberge NOLA

New Orleans, Louisiana

Within walking distance of more than thirty restaurants and bars, Auberge NOLA is ideal for travelers who want to see as much of the city as possible. Located in the Lower Garden District, the hostel offers bunk beds in three dorms as well as private rooms; guests can also book an exclusive four-person apartment. Recharge after a night of revelry on Bourbon Street, or catch a streetcar, which runs 24/7, to famous cemeteries, the French Quarter, or Audubon Park, home to the zoo. aubergenola.com

 

From Our Family to Yours

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From stuffed bellies to glad tidings, holidays in the South are filled with warm welcomes and good memories. We asked members of our Southbound family to share their favorite Southern holiday traditions and travels—festive decorations at Biltmore Estate, classic New Orleans cuisine, Atlanta’s annual Peach Drop, and much more—to celebrate the spirit of the season.

What holiday tradition represents the South to you and why?

Hoppin’ Johns and collard greens on New Year’s Day. Before I moved to Georgia, I had never even heard of these traditions. Now I eat extra helpings to make up for years of lost luck.”

—Allison Entrekin, Executive Editor

“Growing up in New Orleans with a large family was such a treat every Thanksgiving since food and New Orleans go hand in hand. My mother would have several turkeys, spreads of food covering an entire table, and a large Doberge cake from the famous Gambino’s Bakery. We would all gather around the huge oak tree in front of the house for a family picture after our meal.”

—Laura Jacobson Turner, Senior Account Executive

“I grew up with a distinctly Southern holiday playlist. When December rolled around, Mama would stack her Elvis Christmas albums on the spindle of the record player, and we’d spend the season listening to “Merry Christmas, Baby” and the King’s covers of classics from “Blue Christmas” (Mama’s favorite) to “Winter Wonderland.” Daddy’s favorite album was Christmas with Jimmie Rodgers, and I can’t tell you how many times we played “Up on the Housetop.” Later, Alabama’s “Christmas in Dixie” would be added to the rotation, along with Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas.” So for me, a Southern Christmas begins with the soundtrack.”

—Kevin Benefield, Editor-in-Chief

“I love the Candlelight Christmas Tour of Biltmore and the gingerbread house competition at the Grove Park Inn. They’re fun for all ages.”

—Jon Brasher, Associate Publisher

Do you and your family have any special holiday traditions?

“Thanksgiving in South Georgia will always mean my grandmother Maxie’s dressing. The early shift in the kitchen belongs to the person willing to pitch in by chopping multiple loaves of white bread into tiny cubes to be mixed into her recipe, which is still not written down, but lives in her head. A few hours later, the golden, fragrant dressing emerges from the oven and steals the show, often upstaging even the roasted turkey. It’s the ultimate comfort food, just served at this time of year—making it that much more special.”

—Jennifer Green, Senior Editor

“My favorite holiday tradition is my family’s annual Hanukkah party. It’s a chance to bring our friends and family together to light the candles and celebrate the holiday season. Every year there is tons of food. Latkes and briskets are a given. My mom has perfected the brisket. (It is so good it tastes like bacon, which makes you an idol to any Jew—just ask them!) We hold a dreidel tournament. The winner walks away with all the Hershey’s gold nuggets and bragging rights until the following year. And let’s not forget the gingerbread house building contest—Hanukkah style. You won’t find anything but blue frosting here!”

—Lauren Kuzminsky, Sales and Client Services Coordinator

“Moving from South India to the South, my family brought with us the tradition of hanging a huge star made of paper outside our house from Thanksgiving to the New Year. My mom says it commemorates the North Star. Coming from the tropical part of India, Christmas pines were new to us! So we took special pride in decorating our Christmas tree. There is still a fresh and renewed excitement about decorating our tree every year, no matter how long we have been in the United States.”

—Aadithya Prem, Editorial Assistant

Do you and your family ever travel during the holidays?

“I haven’t lived in the same city as my family for a few years now, so I always travel to see them. They live in Charlotte. When I was living in Missouri, that was a 15-hour drive, but I would usually stop halfway, in Knoxville, to stay with my aunt and uncle. One year, when I was driving home for Christmas, they were traveling, but they told me to stop anyway. Just swing by the house, they said. When I got there, they had left me a box of date pinwheel cookies, my favorite family recipe. That was it. Their thoughtfulness meant a lot to me. It made the rest of the drive so much more bearable.”

—Beth Castle, Associate Editor

“We never, ever travel during the holidays. The very idea is beyond foreign to my family. In fact, I’d say that Mama, Daddy, and my sister, Susan, regard folks who leave home during Christmas with a mix of bewilderment and downright hostility. So far as my people are concerned, there’s no place like home for the holidays. (That said, Mama and Susan have visited Biltmore on day trips very early in December to check out the legendary decorations.)”

—Kevin Benefield, Editor-in-Chief

“With some of our cul-de-sac neighbors, we would make the long journey up to Lake Lanier for their Magical Nights of Lights, and its acres of dancing, glowing sculptures. After driving through, our carpool would stop at the gift shop area and roast s’mores around the bonfires while the sounds of Christmas carols piped in from the storefronts nearby. It was a good way to get in the holiday spirit and get out of town, even if that town was only two counties away.”

—Mark Ziemer, Senior Art Director

Ten Ways to Celebrate Halloween in the South

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From scream-worthy to family-friendly, the South’s Halloween celebrations offer a wealth of ways to get your fright on.

Raleigh Zombie Walk 2016
Raleigh, North Carolina

On Saturday, hordes of zombies take over North Carolina’s capital during the Raleigh Zombie Walk 2016. Join the masses, and help turn designated victims—martyrs marked with red tape—into members of the walking dead. Celebrate your conquests at the London Bridge Pub’s after party.

Dracula: Ballet with a Bite
Columbia, South Carolina

Based on the novel by Bram Stoker, this annual ballet revives Count Dracula’s reign of terror Thursday through Saturday at Koger Center for the Arts, Watch the Transylvania tale on stage, or join the Count at a fundraising gala for the Columbia City Ballet after Friday’s show. If you go to Saturday’s performance, dress up; the costume contest is to die for.

Radio 105.7’s Saints & Sinners Ball
Atlanta, Georgia

Angels and devils, Jekylls and Hydes, prepare to put your best costumed foot forward. On Saturday, Radio 105.7 serves up its annual Halloween bash at Park Tavern. Monster mash the night away while enjoying themed drinks and live music from Foals, Bear Hands, and Kiev.

Wild Rumpus Parade & Spectacle
Athens, Georgia

Celebrate the day of the dead all weekend long. The revelry starts Thursday with the Wild Rumpus Halloween Kick off Party at Creature Comforts Brewery. Friday brings a family-friendly Monster Mash at the Foundry, and Saturday, an evening parade through downtown Athens. After the parade, head to the Georgia Theatre for an 18-plus after party. Order your tickets for all events online.

Salemtown Halloween Block Party
Nashville, Tennessee

The big draw of this Saturday event is the costume contests: Literally everyone—parents, kids, pets—can compete. Food trucks, face painting, live music, and nearly limitless trick-or-treating (‘til the candy runs out) make this block party fun for the whole family.

Nightmare on the Beach: Dia de los Muertos
Miami, Florida

Proceeds from this Saturday event go to Little Lighthouse Foundation, which supports children and families in South Florida facing medical, educational, and financial hardships. Tickets include a premium open bar (Think Patron, Ultimat vodka, and Pyrat rum.) and samples from South Florida’s best restaurants and caterers. Over 21 only, please.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween
Orlando, Florida

On Thursday, don your favorite costume to trick-or-treat with Mickey and at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. The after-dark event offers a decidedly happy haunting, with plenty of sweets and fun for all ages. Close the evening with a spectacular fireworks show.

Boo at the Zoo
Birmingham, Alabama

Halloween weekend finishes out Birmingham Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo, a makeshift theme park of spooky attractions. This year the event features larger-than-life Bug-A-BOO exhibits—a.k.a. animatronic bugs. Slip down the Spider Slide, ride on the Eerie Express Train, or set your heart racing on ghost rollers. Show off your costume while trick-or-treating, then head to the Monster Mash dance party to sweat off some that candy.

Terror on the Coast
Gulfport, Mississippi

Hardcore Halloweeners, get ready to experience horror movie magic. This gruesome haunted house stages a slaughterhouse and autopsy room, complete with Academy Award–winning props. Enter if you dare.

Halloween New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
This four-day celebration benefits Project Lazarus, a healthcare home that supports people living with HIV/AIDS. The party starts Thursday with the Lazarus Ball, a black-tie event with a silent auction at Il Mercato. Friday brings a neon dance party at Civic Theatre, and Saturday, a live DJ at Contemporary Arts Center. Spend Sunday cruising on the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen, which serves up a floating brunch dance party.

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