Ah, springtime in Crackerstan! As we recover from the flood of goober politicians and their moronic policies polluting our state legislatures, while ignoring the pending tsunami of awful political media designed to make Gomer Pyle’s chest swell, there really is no better place than the Deep South for springtime frolics. We’re prettier than the rest, so let’s get on with our fun, sun, and glory. Here are my suggestions to help remind the world of our beauty and our elegance. And yes, we do have a little bit left.
1.) The Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, SC. May 23 – June 8. You’ve stumbled into as much Old Euro elegance, grace and glamour as you’re going to get within our mostly Moon Pie walls with this one. Gorgeous people, gorgeous events, beautiful city, beaches, fabulous weather created just to show-off your best sundresses and sandals, even with its notoriously haughty and dull Charlestonians. And heck, even those people are on their best behavior during Spoleto. Just go.
2.) The Carolina Cup. A steeplechase race. Camden, SC. March 29. This one’s just genuine Old South. The ponies and understated 100% cotton finery give it away. And where else can you see adorable little college students hurling their cookies into the grass whilst wearing their Sunday best? (Other than on every southern college campus, of course.) Forget the SC colleges mass-partying on the infield though, and take in the horses and the serious equestrian scene around the paddock area. Southerners do horse stuff almost as well as rich Saudis. (You’ll even spot a few of those there too, but they’ll be wearing their Aiken-inspired southernwear as camouflage, and their womenfolk won’t be all covered up.) If you want a true Garden and Gun culture-feel of the South, you’ll find it at the Carolina Cup. Drink when you see an aspic on a tailgate eaten by a startlingly handsome young buck in a seersucker suit. You will, if you can stay sober for just a minute or so. Some of the gents are so comely they could give even Ralph Lauren’s male model, Nacho, a run for his horse-people money. Besides, it’s no secret now, not since that Appalachian Trail business, that South Carolinians and Argentinians have been mingling for generations. It’s a polo thing. Don’t forget your Croakies, menfolk. Even if rain is predicted this year.
3.) Intown neighborhoods – Atlanta. Now until late May. If the traffic and the freeways and the Braves moving to bland, kinda ugly Cobb County have just worn you down, a calming Sunday afternoon drive through Atlanta’s oldest intown neighborhoods such as Ansley Park, Peachtree Battle, Brookwood Hills, even the more gaudy nouveau riche Buckhead enclaves like Blackland Road, will perk your spirits right up with their display of floral riches and lush, leafy tree canopies. Picture pretty lawns galore, and until some piece of shit ’95 Toyota Corolla wrapped together with Bungee cords and fishing line lunges into you, you can close your eyes and think you’re on the prettiest boulevard in France. Tom Wolfe describes it well in A Man In Full. Springtime as tonic.
4.) Lakes, rivers, and water-skiing. Anywhere South. Friends-with-boats are a good thing. Make some. Borrow some if you have to.
5.) The fields and valleys of Western North Carolina. Just go driving up there until you find them. You will. Take someone you’ve been hoping for with you, if you need to fall in love somewhere special. You will.