Mayoral Musts: Southern mayors share their favorite out-of-office hangouts

Endless outdoor adventures and a cafe with famous fried chicken wings

Jennifer Roberts

Charlotte, North Carolina

“I drive forty-five minutes to Crowders Mountain in Gaston County. My husband and I try to do that every weekend. We take our dog, Suzie, and she loves it. Some days it’s really crowded, and some days we get it to ourselves. It has a beautiful view of Charlotte’s skyline from the top.”

Crowders Mountain State Park,

Stephen K. Benjamin

Columbia, South Carolina

“I have children, so Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is an amazing place. I actually enjoy the botanical gardens most. It’s a beautiful, lush, green environment. Many of the plants are unique to South Carolina, but we bring in beautiful flora from around the world. It seems to me, we’ve taken for granted the beautiful Southern environment that God’s given us. Riverbanks is a point of personal pride as mayor.”

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden,

William A. Bell

Birmingham, Alabama

“One of my all-time favorite places is Green Acres Cafe. They have the best fried chicken wings in the world. I’m sure one day I’ll have to go to the emergency room because I’ve bitten my fingers. I like going there because it gives me the chance to be with the community—and not necessarily as the mayor.”

Green Acres Cafe,

Megan Barry

Nashville, Tennessee

“We have a beautiful city cemetery. It’s open dawn to dusk, so I usually try to go early on Saturday or Sunday morning when it’s quiet. The gravestones go all the way back to the early 1800s. Funnily enough, a lot of our mayors are buried there. Who knew that when I ran for office, one of the benefits was that I get a plot there? No one told me that. I get to pick my spot. ”

Nashville City Cemetery,

Tony Yarber

Jackson, Mississippi

“If you’re in the South, you like to fish and hunt. I like to fish. You can find me on the Ross Barnett Reservoir doing some fishing. It’s very special to me: My wife and I used to go there when we were kids. We met when we were thirteen years old. When we got to driving age, there was a spot we’d go out to and sit on the rocks and talk. It’s also where I went fishing as a child, with my daddy and my uncles. It has a real connection to my past and childhood.”

Ross Barnett Reservoir,