Must-See Southern Pit Stops

Rob Howard
by Jenny Everett, Mike Grudowski, Hanna Raskin and and Steve Russell - June/July 2012

32 of our readers' favorite places to pull over and grab a snack, fill the trunk, or just shake off the dust

View Garden & Gun's Must-See Southern Pit Stops in a larger map


Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA
The very embodiment of Southern gothic, Bonaventure Cemetery has long had stories to tell and secrets to keep. Columns of 250-year-old live oaks loom over the sandy lanes of this Victorian city of the dead, populated by eerily captivating statuary and monuments, including the graves of Savannahian luminaries such as the poet Conrad Aiken and the songwriter Johnny Mercer. Like them, you’ll almost certainly stay longer than you planned. 912-651-6843

Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, KY
You could be forgiven for thinking of Cave Hill as a leafy park and sculpture garden that just so happens to have more than 120,000 people buried in it. After all, the cemetery itself offers themed tours tailored for bird-watchers, Civil War enthusiasts, and art lovers. Even quick visits typically include an obligatory stop at the grave of Colonel Sanders.

Grave of Stonewall Jackson’s Arm, Locust Grove, VA
In the spring of 1863, near Chancellorsville, Virginia, doctors amputated the left arm of Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, wounded by musket balls errantly fired by his own soldiers. The next morning Jackson’s chaplain came upon the limb outside the surgical tent, deemed it worthy of a dignified burial, and laid it in the family cemetery behind Ellwood, his brother’s nearby plantation home. After Jackson died a week later, most of him got buried many miles away in Lexington. But a gravestone marks the vicinity of his arm’s final resting place—now overseen by the National Park Service and open to visitors—with a ghoulishly deadpan inscription: “Arm of Stonewall Jackson, May 3, 1863.”


Brazos Drive-In Theatre, Granbury, TX  
You have to like a community that designates both its 1886 opera house and its 1952 drive-in as historic landmarks. On a Texas summer night, you’ll choose the drive-in, and for the second feature, you’ll choose to sit on the matching metal lawn chairs lined up just outside the snack bar.

Hull’s Drive-In Movie Theatre, Lexington, VA  
When their beloved drive-in, which had brought Hollywood to a grassy clearing outside town for almost fifty years, closed in 1999, heartbroken locals formed the Hull’s Angels nonprofit to reopen it. Now the nation’s first community-owned drive-in packs ’em in for double features every weekend. That’s not just butter on your popcorn—it’s community pride.

Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre, Lakeland, FL  
This twin-screen 1948 icon just might have the most impressive art deco–ish entrance gate of any drive-in still in existence, and the festival of neon continues inside. If you want your dazzled eyes to lead you back to the right car in the dark, consider wearing sunglasses to the glowing concession stand.

Junk for the Trunk

Main Street, Hazel, KY
This former railroad town of just 440 residents has found new life in old stuff, with more than a dozen well-curated antiques stores lining its quaint Main Street. All that rummaging is thirsty work, so take a break at the old-fashioned soda fountain tucked inside Charlie’s Antique Mall.

Mr. Bill’s Antiques & Collectibles, Mobile, AL  
Shopping for antique Tiffany stemware? This probably isn’t your first destination. But if your taste runs more to vintage anvils, gas pumps, iron beds, and bear traps, Mr. Bill’s sprawling, jam-packed four-building complex is the place. 251-645-9517

The Old Schoolhouse Antique Mall, Washington, LA
No one-room schoolhouse here. This two-story former school and gymnasium
offers 40,000 square feet of dealer space, overflowing with antiques that run the gamut from fine English furniture to rare coins. And if you happen to break a lamp, just blame it on the ghosts rumored to be looking for a bargain. Friday–Sunday, 337-826-3580