I’m looking for help in planning a road trip to the South East from New York City with my girlfriend, between December 21 and 29 roundtrip. Yes, I know that we’ll be travelling during an off-season week when many things will likely be closed.
We’d like to keep things cheap. Above all, we love food and will be seeking the best local grub around (that we don't get up in NY). In addition to restaurants, I’d love recommendations for other food-related sites, such as distilleries, old school grain mills, unique farmers markets, dairy farms, and whatever other exceptional food-related sources exist in the area. We also appreciate all other facets of culture as well as nature and scenic back roads (though we’re driving an old Hyundai Elantra, so no bad unpaved paths…I’ve learned my lesson), so any other suggestions on interesting things would be great.
We’re also looking for recommendations for cheap lodgings along the way; but if they’ve got a little bit more character than a Motel 6, that would be awesome. Since we’ll be doing a lot of driving, there’s no real need to sleep within big towns/cities if something better (and cheaper) is a bit outside. We’re also open to camping if it won’t be too cold.
The trip, so far, is fairly flexible. The only seemingly set dates would be Dec 24 and 25 in Atlanta, only because I expect most other places to be mostly shut down then. The first day, we will probably go via Pennsylvania to I-81 and make it as far as Roanoke/Lynchburg VA area to settle for the night. The next day or two, we’ll probably hang around Greensboro/Winston-Salem/Charlotte area. I’ve mainly settled on this area because of the reputed BBQ. Then it’s off to ATL, either through Columbia SC (worth visiting?), Greenville SC or some back roads. Is Athens GA worth a stop along the way?
After a couple of days in Atlanta (any neighborhoods that are more likely to lively on the 24th/25th?), it’s off to Savannah GA along I-75/I-16 for a day or so. Then we’re thinking of taking the coastal road to Charleston SC, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington NC before heading to Raleigh/Durham for the night and more BBQ.
I have no idea where to go on the way up through Virginia. Is Richmond worth a stop, or is it better to hit Virginia Beach (and Smithfield for ham)?
This is just a rough sketch. We’ve never been to this area before so we’re open to changing things around quite a bit and would love all your suggestions. I will make sure to report back in detail.