Kristin Luna

Tennessee-based journalist Kristin Luna started her career in New York City, working in-house at Newsweek, Time. Inc., and Conde Nast before adopting freelance status and eventually returning to the South. Kristin contributes regularly to a number of magazines, including Southern Living, Entrepreneur, Redbook, and Glamour, and has penned more than a dozen guidebooks for Frommer’s. In 2007, she launched her award-winning blog, Camels & Chocolate: Tales from a Travel Addict, and through it has partnered with various global brands. She also is the co-founder of KEEN Digital Summit, a digital media and tech networking conference taking place in Nashville each October.

recent posts

Wreck Diving in the Florida Keys

For the adventurous soul looking to get more out of Florida than a sinful South Beach retreat or a beach getaway to the Panhandle, the Keys are full of more extreme offerings—without going too far. While the reef diving is OK, it’s the 1,000 sunken ships off the shore of more than 800 islands that steal the underwater show. Just 60 miles from Miami in the Upper Keys, USS Spiegel Grove is a retired Navy ship that was purposely sunk in 2002 and landed on her side. [... more]

Majoring in Moonshine

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to advance your knowledge—your spirits knowledge, that is. Forget going back to grad school. Instead, consider getting that higher education fill via the daylong enthusiast workshops at Distilled Spirits Epicenter’s Moonshine University in Louisville, Kentucky, to learn everything you need to know about distilling. (It’s cheaper than a full–on degree and a whole lot more fun, I’d wager.) There are also shorter, two-hour classes for those who want a quick primer on bourbon or gin, and the five-day [... more]

Beachside Bliss in South Carolina

Kiawah Island Golf Resort—Charleston’s upscale vacation experience—may very well be one of those one-size-fits-all kinds of vacation. While the villas and condos feature family-friendly amenities such as multiple swimming pools, direct beach access, self-catering facilities, and nearby Lowcountry oyster roasts during the summer months, the resort’s Sanctuary Hotel also makes a great, intimate escape for couples, groups of friends, or even eco-travelers. (The barrier island is a hotbed for sea turtles, deer, and various species of birds, and I spied several species of wildlife from the balcony [... more]

Raise a Glass to Asheville

Portland and San Diego have long been destinations for local-brew fanatics. But one Southern city aims to replace them as BeerCity USA. In fact, it already has. Asheville, North Carolina, won that title in 2009 and has yet to relinquish it. And for good reason: The town’s burgeoning Ale Trail attracts visitors year-round with its 22 breweries and craft beer goodness. Soon there’ll be one more reason for beer fans to tour the trail. California-based Sierra Nevada chose Asheville as the home of its East Coast expansion and is in the midst of the [... more]

Trailing After Literary Legends

With the silver-screen remake of The Great Gatsby in 2013, a new generation has been introduced to one of America’s greatest writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald. But he’s only one of a handful of big-time 20th century authors who called the South home. Interested in classic lit? I challenge you to plan your next vacation along the Southern Literary Trail, which winds its way through Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. If you don’t have time to visit all of the sites, consider this suggested itinerary: Start your drive in [... more]

Bourbon’s Best-Kept Secret

While Jim Beam and Wild Turkey definitely represent some of the more well–known names along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the family-owned Willett Distillery (on the Trail’s Craft Tour) might just cook up the best bourbon around. In operation since 1937, the distillery produced the first batch of 30 barrels on St. Patrick’s Day of that year. A couple of years back, I was bumming along the trail with my husband and cousins on a holiday weekend when master distiller Drew Kulsveen saw that I had tweeted from [... more]

Southern Creation

There are few things I enjoy more than bourbon and chocolate. Scott Witherow, owner of Nashville’s Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co., combines the two for a decadent Bourbon Nib Brittle that is to die for. And for any true chocolate connoisseur, there’s no greater thrill than watching a chocolatier perfect his craft. Lucky for locals and those just passing through, Tennessee’s favorite artisan chocolate brand just debuted its new storefront and factory in East Nashville (open for tours Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the hour). [... more]

Frist Is First Rate

Nashville may be known for its music, but it’s on the brink of becoming a hotbed for artist activity as well. Spearheading the scene, Frist Center for the Visual Arts offers 24,000 square feet of gallery space in an opulent Art Deco building that once served as a post office. The Frist’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery includes 30 interactive stations, where visitors can create their own art. And because this is Nashville, there’s a bonus for music lovers: Every Thursday and Friday year-round from 6 to 8 p.m., [... more]

Scenes From “The Notebook”

These days, the South is a hotbed of filming activity, with many producers and location scouts finding unspoiled treasures for their silver screen needs. The Notebook, one of the most memorable movies of the past decade to take place in the South, was shot almost exclusively in the greater Charleston area. On a recent vacation, I spent a week out on Mount Pleasant and got the distinct feeling I had been there before, when in reality I hadn’t. I found out later that the dock extending from [... more]

Game On

The Goldberg brothers have long been the kings of Nashville’s food and drink empire: They started the local mixology movement with the opening of the Patterson House in 2009; in 2011, they launched Catbird Seat, which is still one of the hardest tables to book in the country; and their most recent enterprise has cemented Max and Ben’s throne. The 13,000-square-foot Pinewood Social, which opened in December 2013, is a cocktail bar and restaurant with a Crema coffee outpost and workstations with free Wi-Fi for those who [... more]