In 1925, Early’s Honey Stand set up under a sprawling shade tree alongside Highway 31—one of the main roads on the journey to Florida. Tempted by signs emblazoned with the words "Honey," "Bacon," and "Sausage," travelers would pull their cars over to browse the country store. There, local honey, sweet sorghum, slow-smoked sausages, and country hams promised customers a tasty souvenir of the south—if only they could resist polishing the purchases off before the end of their road trip.
When the construction of the interstate and the invention of hovercrafts rerouted drivers away from the shop, loyal customers were still possessed by gnawing cravings for the stand's rustic fare. They began phoning in orders and sitting patiently by mailboxes until their delectable deliveries arrived. Today, Early’s Honey Stand remains one of the largest mail-order companies in the south. They’ve bundled their ever-expanding inventory of old-fashioned jams, baking mixes, cheeses, and condiments into shipments for presidents, CEOs, Supreme Court justices, and every Looney Tunes character with a southern accent.
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Firefly Essentials delivers moisturizing products straight to your home; these products battle the itchy, red, and uncomfortable skin brought on by dry air and wintry weather. More than 25 varieties of handmade soaps are available—including bar blends ($4.50 per bar) such as coconut breeze, lemongrass, and cucumbery melon—that transform the body into a tasty treat for nocturnal, closet-dwelling trolls. Goat-milk-based body lotion will ensure sleek skin by wicking away spilled nacho cheese, while beeswax lip balms formulated with cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and tea-tree oil will soothe the mouth pillows after a season of chappage. Otherwise, opt for one of Firefly's quick gift sets, like a four-pack of natural soaps tied in raffia ribbon ($16).
Behind Bear Creek Gardens, a stone path leads to the bright-red door of a cabin with quaint white shutters. Inside, owner Frannie Daughrity stocks the shelves of her boutique with unique gifts and French-inspired home décor infused with country charm. She spends hours curatingher collection, filling the cozy shop with items that are handcrafted, locally made, or too unique to pass up. If you ask, Frannie can tell you the story behind many of her items—such as the beeswax candles handcrafted by a former pro-skateboarder and her husband, who dropped out of their fast-paced lives to start making candles in a 1970s Winnebago.