The Daily Dish Goes Below the Mason-Dixon Line

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  12.18.09 | 3:11 PM ET

Over at the Dish, guest blogger Conor Friedersdorf asked readers for some advice on achieving “immersion” during a road trip in the South—and they responded with a slew of tips and recommendations. Selections are posted here and here, and my favorite email is below:

If you’re looking for somewhere to see how Southern the South is, you’re looking for a stereotype, which is exactly what we need to move past…

I’m not a born Southerner… but I did spend some time working there and got to rub shoulders with people every day. Did I see the southern stereotypes fulfilled pretty much every day? Yes, I did. I heard the accents, I ate the grits, I was called “darlin.” But it was much more than that. Was there some place to go there that would provide the kind of “local color” you’re looking for? Probably, there’s usually something to that effect in every small Southern town. But that’s exactly the kind of thing I’d tell you to avoid. If you want to immerse yourself, just immerse yourself. Go to a town at random, or go to several. Stop on the highway whenever you feel like it. What drives me so crazy is that people who haven’t been to the South continue to avoid it, which just keeps the status quo.

I’m sure you’ll receive loads of email telling you to try this barbecue joint or that small-town museum. I don’t really care where you go. Just go.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

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