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1. Barbecue

Okay, barbecue isn’t the most portable food, but if there’s a will, there’s a way. Completely freeze fresh meat, wrap in gel packs or dry ice, and then pack in an insulated container, which is perfect for car or plane travel. (Check with your airline regarding specific regulations.) Slow-smoked pork makes for a perfect quintessential Southern thank-you gift for your host, and it beckons your taste buds home whether you’re near or far.

2. Moravian cookies

History and confection converge on the cobblestone streets of Old Salem, where more than a million pounds of these sweet treats are baked each year. Super-thin and crispy, tradition has never tasted better than these cookies, with their delicate notes of ginger, clove, and molasses. Beyond the basic spice wafers, more adventurous flavors include Meyer lemon, key lime, espresso, and blood orange. The cookie does double-duty in a savory setting, and can be used as a crust for fish or lamb.

3. Cheerwine

We’d say wine of any and all varieties could be called “cheerwine,” but there’s no substitute for the one and only with the capital C. Called the “Nectar of North Carolina,” it has been named the official soft drink of the National Barbecue Association, and who can argue with that? Use the Cheerwine Finder to see if it’s sold at your destination, or have it shipped to make sure it’s waiting behind the concierge desk upon your arrival.

4. Any book by Clyde Edgerton

The rural South rings true and clear in Edgerton’s works, where religion, bluegrass, and humor make frequent appearances. Throw in a struggle of some sort and a need for reconciliation, both backbones of Southern literature, and these pages may just transport you home. (Our recommendation: The Night Train, for Edgerton’s fresh take on music as a metaphor for life. And speaking of music…)

5. An Avett Brothers playlist

The Avett Brothers’s repertoire is North Carolina embodied, so much so that you can close your eyes and hear the Old North State. A mixture of bluegrass and rock, cello and drums, the band’s music is real, raw, and honest. Their live tracks are spontaneous and fun, made even richer by the audience’s engagement. Scott and Seth – We and Love and You.

6. Treasures from a beach walk

Scotch bonnet, sand dollar, or shark’s tooth, shells and such serve as little pieces of home wherever you go. For those lucky enough to live at the beach, it’s also highly likely that you’ll find rogue grains of sand in any bag you take. This sediment might be a nuisance, but we smile when we find it anyway.

7. Spirit wear

Nothing says home like a home team. Whether you bleed Wolfpack red or Carolina blue — or any shade in between — wrapping up in a cozy sweatshirt from your alma mater is a surefire way to feel, well, right at home.

8. Texas Pete

The name says Texas but the flavors and heritage are all supremely, superbly North Carolina. Tabasco’s not quite right, and neither is Sriracha; if you’ve grown up dousing your barbecue, fries, and eggs with this native sauce, a travel-size bottle of Texas Pete should hold you over until your return. A little taste of heaven, right in your pocket.

9. Photos

Far be it from us to encourage you to pull your phone out for One. More. Thing, but photos can transport us to where we want to be. Whether it’s the fall foliage of Asheville or the crashing surf at Wrightsville Beach, the Ocracoke lighthouse or a Grandfather Mountain trail, we’re thankful we can (somewhat) combat homesickness with just the swipe of a finger.

10. Snacks. Specifically, Lance crackers.

What did a 1910s-era Charlotte food broker do when he got stuck with 500 pounds of raw peanuts? Sell them, of course. Philip Lance’s ingenuity launched a snack revolution, and we are all the better for it. Despite the Great Depression, Lance prospered, introducing its classic Toastchee crackers, which are affectionately referred to as “Nabs” around here, in 1938. With more than 100 years of snacking to Lance’s credit, we’re pretty proud of their success. And chances are, we’ve got a pack within easy reach at all times.


Presented by The Omni Homestead Resort

Experience the Southern hospitality and elegant charm that have made The Omni Homestead Resort a premier destination for 22 U.S. presidents dating back to the 18th century. With more than 2,000 acres of timeless comforts and modern amenities all under one roof, our Hot Springs, Virginia accommodations are the perfect getaway for business and leisure traveling.

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Jennifer Glatt is the managing editor for UNCW Magazine.