Three Enchanting Southern Train TripsMay 26, 2023
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Hopping a train hasn’t always been associated with fun and comfort in the Southern imagination: Riding the rails brings to mind scavenged suppers and a kerchief tied to the end of a stick.
But there’s nothing hardscrabble about a quick track-based trip to a town that deserves a longer look than you’d get through a car window. Each of these Amtrak stops, an easy jaunt from a major metropolitan area, is worthy of an overnight outing. Here’s what to do, where to stay, and how to eat once you get there.
1. New Orleans to Hattiesburg, MS
After riding the Amtrak Crescent, you’ll find art everywhere in Hattiesburg. Along the newly unveiled Utility Box Trail, which intersects with sculpture-lined paths, stand dozens of boxes saluting everything from Hattiesburg’s musical heritage to Mexican dance. Pause at the palatial Saenger Theater, where you might hear one of the last original Robert Morton pipe organs playing. Bunk downtown or out in the sticks at Longleaf Piney Resort, with snazzy tiny houses on the Longleaf Trace, a forty-four-mile trail that links you by rentable bike to countryside and city. Don’t skip Rayner’s Seafood, which has served state-raised catfish since 1962; regulars swear by the golden-edged hush puppies.