Read on for a list of my whistle stops.
South Carolina is a relatively small state whether measured by acreage (40th) or the number of people living on it (23rd — and regarding that recent climb up the charts, let’s just say that a restaurant opening two blocks from my house is expected to make bank selling cheese steaks.)
As a result, there is just one major highway of significance here. Interstate 95 plows through the Pee Dee, but it’s Interstate 26 which strings together Greenville, Columbia and Charleston. South Carolinians travel it so frequently that I once put together a guide to the best independent restaurants within a few miles of every I-26 exit.
Because it backed up my contention that there is always memorable food within striking distance if you’re willing to do the work to find it, that story remains one of my all-time favorites. But the irony of the endeavor is I haven’t owned a car since 2002, although I’ve picked up plenty for reporting purposes: I’m on a Christmas gift-giving basis with the woman at my local Avis counter.
My preferred modes of travel are bike and bus, and sometimes when I get lucky, train. (And ferry boat, obviously, but I assume we’re all on the same page there.)
This summer, I got lucky.
Having caught the travel bug that was going around at vaccination sites, I opened my Amtrak app to check out the price of a pass. At the start of May, the program was still in pandemic suspension, but it made a triumphant return in June at the ridiculously low price of $299. (I swear I’m not shilling for Amtrak here: The promotion’s already over.)
Officially, my ticket is called a USA Rail Pass, but I plan to confine my explorations to our corner of the country. I’ll be travelling by train from July 5 through July 25, reacquainting myself with The Food Section’s region in advance of its fall launch. And I’d love to connect with The Food Section’s subscribers, as well as prospective subscribers and skeptics.
Summer may mean beaches and barbecues, but it also means busy schedules, particularly when folks have a lost year to recapture. I understand you may not be able to join us for any of the below meetups, at which I plan to buy a bottle of something celebratory and share it with whoever wants to talk about The Food Section and its coverage.
But please do come if you can. Considering forwarding the itinerary to a friend if you can’t.
I plan to spend time in each of the places listed, so if you have any suggestions for what I should eat; who I should meet or where I should go in these cities or towns (or any of the ones in between), please send them along: I’m pretty good at following directions. You can keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram accounts to see how well I do.
Hope to see you soon.
Where to find me
July 6 | RALEIGH | 5 p.m.-6 p.m.
Short Walk Wines, 123 E. Martin St.
July 8 | ATLANTA | 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Lucian Books and Wine, 3005 Peachtree Road NE
July 15 | NEW ORLEANS | 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Bacchanal Wine, 600 Poland Ave.
July 22 | NASHVILLE | 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
By the Bottle, 1603 Woodland St.
July 24 | CHARLOTTE | 4 p.m.-5 p.m.
Assorted Table Wine Shop, 224 E. 7th St.
Finally, thank you for your support. In this uncertain time of transition, it has been incredibly heartening to see The Food Section’s subscriber list grow.
This should be fun.
p.s. I last week published a story which was my final piece for The Post and Courier, but also a glimpse into the kind of work I plan to keep producing. I had the chance to dig into a 1936 overview of Black-owned restaurants in Charleston; the document had been languishing in the University of South Carolina archives since the feds pulled funding for the Negro Writers’ Project. If you’re not familiar with that effort, check it out.
Loved your final piece for The Post and Courier, Hanna! Excited to hear more about what you learn during your travels. Have a great trip!
7th St Public Market is such a good stop in Charlotte! Looking forward to The Food Section, but already loving these updates!