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Making the transition from mountain time to beach time

Everyone kept telling me about the Salt Life. The ubiquitous decals were everywhere, promising a secret world of unbridled summer loafing and easygoingness. When I moved back to North Carolina for a job at a university in the middle of the state, I listened to my colleagues’ enthusiasm as they planned their annual two-week, intergenerational trips to Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Fort Fisher.

Author Terry McDonell reminisces about a winter retreat at Folly Beach

An author and editor escapes New York for a month of milder temps, bird spotting, and long walks along the South Carolina coast.

Puppy Love: A dog-friendly getaway in Savannah, Georgia

This year, our youngest child settled fully into college life, and I got an eight-week-old puppy. I claim these two facts are wholly unrelated, but Bruegel the Boston terrier will never leave my house for a dorm room, much less start dating a musician.

Enduring Appeal: Author Tori Whitaker returns to Bern’s Steak House

On that starry evening with a bright full moon, I wore a powder-blue outfit I’d made myself, a peasant-style skirt with a top that fell off my shoulders. John sported a suit and tie. As we pulled into Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, the lights and cars and overhang felt like a Hollywood red carpet scene to me. This was my first time to valet park.

Snapshots of Savannah: A heartsick writer discovers the self in selfie

It was early January in Orlando, and I’d just had my heart broken. I stood barefoot on my driveway in the wake of that miserable phone call, one in which a woman I was sleeping with told me that we’d only ever been friends, and tried to avoid an angry trail of fire ants.

A father and daughter consider the past—and the future—on a road trip through the Mississippi Delta

Drive north on Money Road out of Greenwood, Mississippi, and the town gives way in a hurry to cotton and corn, an occasional house set back from the road.

On fall fairs and longing in southeastern Louisiana

When I was a kid, one of the few salves for the end of the summer and the beginning of another long school year was the St. Tammany Parish Fair in Covington, Louisiana. There was always that sense of anticipation and excitement as the weather cooled and eased into fall, the days growing shorter, a feeling that things were changing.

Mississippi writer Mary Miller muses on her many returns to Ship Island

I first visited Ship Island as a child with my family, taking the hour-long ferry out of Gulfport. It is the only barrier island off the coast of Mississippi with ferry access, the only one you can get to if you don’t have your own boat.

Mystery and Beauty: Messages from Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach

I stumbled onto Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach for the first time nearly a decade ago. This was, not coincidentally, the same week that a spider wrote me a note.

Carolina in My Mind

An oyster-cloaked, oak-dense, and moss-draped island off the southernmost tip of South Carolina is soaked with myth, stories, and legends, along with a dash of Gullah black-magic curses meant to keep developers away.

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