Where We’re Going in 2016

Here’s where you’ll find the G&G editors outside the office in the next twelve months

“I visited Bermuda for the first time this year, and the trip was too quick. I was blown away by the amazing and friendly locals, the sheer beauty of the place, and the sweeping ocean views from wherever you stood. After Bermuda, I’d like to get back to Stuttgart, Arkansas, with my brothers for a duck hunt in the timber. That still remains one of my most memorable hunting experiences…watching flights of mallards pinwheel though the trees toward the hole—all morning long. This time I plan to bring my Boykin spaniel along.”

David DiBenedetto, Editor in Chief

Peter Frank Edwards

“My closest college friends are scattered across the country in Charleston, Charlotte, New York City, and middle-of-nowhere, Indiana. This winter, we’re planning a short but packed group trip to Puerto Rico. We’ll squeeze in as much music, dancing, and outdoor adventuring as possible—especially kayaking on a bioluminescent bay and hiking in the El Yunque rain forest.”
—CJ Lotz, Research Editor

“I grew up in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with Mt. LeConte right outside my window. Which makes the fact that I’ve never been to the summit pretty embarrassing. Ever since reading Elizabeth Hutchison’s interview with LeConte Lodge manager Tim Line back in the fall, I’ve been itching to go. Haven’t managed to nab a reservation for an overnight stay at the Lodge yet (and there’s probably no hope at this point), so I’ll have to settle for a day-trip, hopefully late this spring. Until then, I’ll be following along on Facebook, where Lodge staffers post daily updates with really amazingly beautiful photos from the top of Tennessee. (And just as soon as I come down off the mountain, I’ll hobble over to the Donut Friar as fast as my wobbly legs will carry me. Two cinnamon-sugars, please.)
—Phillip Rhodes, Executive Managing Editor

Courtesy of LeConte Lodge

“I’m on a mission to do more trout fishing in 2016. I’m planning on a trip (or two) to Western North Carolina in the spring, and I’ve got a trip on the books to fish the Delaware River a little later in the year.”
—Dave Mezz, Deputy Editor

“In 2016, I am finally going to New Orleans Jazz Fest (April 22–May 1). I’ve wanted to go for almost twenty years, but the timing has never worked out. This year, there are no more excuses. The lineup for 2016 hasn’t been announced yet, but it really doesn’t matter. The ten-day festival is always a who’s who of music with the best mix of legends (last year Elton John was the headliner), new artists, and New Orleans’ finest.”
—Kim Alexander, Digital Director

Pableaux Johnson

“Southerners will do anything to get out of the cold…right? That’s why in February I’m heading to the Caribbean to swim with pigs! Truthfully, it’s been on my bucket list for years and some like-minded friends of mine pulled the trigger on a trip to the Exumas where aquatic pigs are known to inhabit the beaches and cool off in the water with tourists. In addition to paddling alongside the piggies, we plan on making island hopping, fishing, snorkeling, eating conch fritters, and drinking ice cold Kalik our top priorities.”
—Margaret Houston, Associate Photo Editor

“I already spend plenty of time with my family in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but next year I’d like to do even more eating and drinking in a state with plenty to offer. Fonta Flora in Morganton and Fullsteam in Durham are two of my favorite breweries in the country, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on tap at both in the months to come. Maybe I’ll finally catch Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill teaching a class at Southern Season, and if I’m lucky I’ll be able to visit some bucket-list restaurants: Highland Avenue in Hickory, Knife & Fork in Spruce Pine, and Local Provisions in Asheville, to name just a few on my radar. It could be a big year for the old pickup truck.”
—Jed Portman, Assistant Editor

Photo: Andrew Kornylak

Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner.

“This year my travel plans will include a classic Florida “Surf & Turf” adventure. I dreamt this one up after returning South some eight years ago. I’ve done it in pieces but have yet to fully link it all together. The plan goes roughly like this: First, we’ll dip into St Augustine for an overnight of good eats and cocktails. By morning we’re surfing the clear waters and mellow waves of Matanzes Inlet before jumping back in the car to hit up Kelly Slater’s home break in Cocoa Beach. After a couple days of surf, it’s time to change the pace of play—golf! In my mind, it’s got to be one of Florida’s classics like the TPC Sawgrass. Or, if time and energy permits, maybe I’ll try the Doral in Miami. My only fear of going that far south is that sport fishing off Islamorada begins to sound too damn alluring to be missed. In the words of Robert Earl Keen, “The road goes on forever and the party never ends…” Just open the sunroof and let the Sunshine State in.”
—Marshall McKinney, Art Director

“A trip to Yosemite this past fall has me on a big National Park kick—and the South has some truly great ones. Considering the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary on August 25, 2016, there’s no better time to visit. The Smoky Mountains are incomparable, and the Everglades (despite the prevalence of alligators and their other reptilian friends) remain on my must-visit list. But the Southern parks I’m eying this year are: the Dry Tortugas, which are situated about sixty-eight miles west of Key West—are only accessible by seaplane or boat—and offer some of the very best snorkeling in the region; and the Guadeloupe Mountains in West Texas—particularly the bright-white gypsum sand dunes in the park’s Salt Basin. Also, on the 2016 calendar is a girls trip to Sayulita, Mexico, a sleepy little surf town on the Pacific Coast north of Puerto Vallarta.”
—Elizabeth Hutchison, Assistant Editor

courtesy of National Park Service