Cherokee culture, European settlements, revolutionary battlegrounds, heirloom recipes and antebellum architecture – the melting pot that is the South offers visitors gentile hospitality and a history as complex as its inhabitants.
Known for its uncompromising good manners, lilting accents, deep-rooted traditions, rich history and vibrant cultures, the South is a must-visit destination for foodies, history buffs and those with an eye for architecture. Staff at Alliance partner hotels and other in-the-know Southerners give their recommendations on what to see, what to do and what to eat to get a true taste of yesteryear and soak up some of that good ol’ Southern charm.
A veritable walk down America’s memory lane, Richmond is home to a culture and history rich with political significance. “History is everywhere in Richmond,” says Erin Bagnell with Richmond Region Tourism. “Here, more than 400 years of American history live on through magnificent architecture, monument lined cobblestone streets and world-class museums.”
Jennifer Crisp, public relations manager for The Jefferson Hotel, adds, “Not only are [Richmond’s] architectural gems being repurposed, they’re also lovingly preserved to maintain their historical integrity.”
“Richmond’s food culture is strongly connected to the city’s Southern roots, where authentically prepared, fresh ingredients are presented as a form of hospitality, comfort and community,” says Crisp. In addition to tasting the city’s pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes and peanut soup, Bagnell suggests a Real Richmond Food Tour for a taste of both history and local cuisine.
One-fourth of all American Civil War battles and 60 percent of their casualties occurred within a 75-mile radius of Richmond.
If You Had to Pick Just One...
Bagnell suggests attending St. John’s Church Foundation’s historical reenactment of the Second Virginia Convention of March 1775, during which Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death” speech.
5 Must-see Attractions
- Hollywood Cemetery, the final resting place of U.S. Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis
- Maymont Mansion: This 12,000-square-foot, 33-room home offers a glimpse into the Victorian era, complete with Tiffany stained-glass windows.
- The Virginia State Capitol Building, erected between 1785–1788 and designed by Thomas Jefferson
- The Old Stone House of 1750: Richmond’s oldest known structure has served as the Edgar Allan Poe Museum since 1922.
- Monument Avenue, the only street in America listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This article was originally featured in the Traveler magazine.