TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006

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mayor al
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2006/09/12 20:43:39 (permalink)

TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006

TRIP REPORT AND PHOTOS BEGINS ABOUT HALFWAY DOWN THE PAGE !!


OK, The Itinerary is taking shape for our return to the North Georgia area and then over to Columbus and Ft Benning,GA for a visit at the end of the month. While many of the stops are planned, we have some holes to fill and will welcome your suggestions. Here's the outline.

DAY 1- Louisville to Cherokee,NC via Lexington, Knoxville, Newport TN. We plan a lunch with Paul at Carver's Apple Ochard & Restaurant near Newport. (Not the Pigeon Forge Apple Barn). Dinner in the Cherokee, NC area is open????

DAY 2- Cherokee, NC to Dillard,GA via a round-a-bout drive with route undecided. Dinner at the Dillard House and staying in Dillard that night. Tour of SC and NC is open. We have done the Smokey N P several times. Lunch location is open.

DAY 3- Dillard to Atlanta(Marietta)- Lunch in Helen,GA, then Dinner with the One-Irons in Marietta and a tour of the rail museum there.

DAY 4- Marietta to Columbus,GA (Ft Benning) Lunch and dinner locations needed for Columbus area. Janet's son is new to Ft Benning and we are hauling some of his storage stuff down to him. he doesn't know much about the area, yet. Staying the night in Columbus.

DAY 5- Columbus, GA to Louisville, via Birmingham and Decatur AL and Nashville (I-65). Lunch planned for Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur dinner open at this time.

Thats the plan. We welcome input for the missing meals and the day tour from Cherokee to Dillard.We would prefer to keep away from the National Park and the crowds in the Gatlinburg area. Maybe the Beacon Drive-In in S C for lunch??
#1

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    skylar0ne
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/13 00:31:39 (permalink)
    Al, sadly enough, the chow situation around Cherokee is pretty grim. We used to go up there and play the slots a lot before it got so hard for me to travel, and we never found anything memorable to eat. But they've built a new hotel at the casino, and they've been hawking it on tv. The food they show looks pretty good. For Cherokee, that may be your best bet. If you don't want to try that, I suggest you leave town to eat. Unless they've opened something good in the last few years, there's nothing there but chains. Anyway, good luck-hope you enjoy your trip. The NC mountains are beautiful.
    #2
    V960
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/13 09:59:15 (permalink)
    Al,
    For you I pulled out the atlas. A word of warning...Newport is the meanest place on the planet. My parents are buried there, there are streets named for my family there and I still step lightly. In Newport if they feel slighted they do not hit you, they kill you.

    A good thing is the something something parkway just eastside of Newport on 40...it is only about seven or eight miles long and is awesome for its views. Many years ago NC and TN competed for the contract for the Blue Ridge Parkway, both states put is demos of what they could do...NC won so the Parkway is in NC but TN maintains its demo section.

    Cherokee is a wasteland for food. There is a place on the river just across from the Tribal center that has a decent buffet. The Holiday Inn (hard to believe) has pretty good food also. Bryson City is your best bet. After you cross the bridge there is a hole in the wall beside the river that is pretty good. Don't eat the fry bread...nasty on a plate.

    The Cherokee area, especially around Maggie Valley, will have road side stands selling bushels of tomatoes for next to nothing this time of year. Get them green and can them when you get home. Copper Kettle in Maggie Valley used to be a good place to eat

    The Nantahala Outdoor Center has a pretty good lunch place. Food is good and the scenery is wonderful..."land of the noon day sun" Get it to go and watch the folks raft the river.

    If you do the Beacon in Spartanburg make sure to get the onion rings. Try splitting a Chili Cheese a plenty...enough food for four teenage boys.

    The Dillard house has great food, you will enjoy ALL of it. Lower than that I don't go there often enough to give any recommendations.





    #3
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/13 11:40:15 (permalink)
    An old friend of mine was stationed in Columbus GA until recently.

    He recommended both Country's BBQ (http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=2091) although he preferred the location in Macon and also 13th Street BBQ

    He did not much like the scrambled dog

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_dog_variations
    http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~tod/dinglewood.html

    that Columbus is known for
    #4
    V960
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/13 12:35:26 (permalink)
    At exit 407 (pretty sure, Seiverville exit anyway) off 40 is Smokey Mountain Knife Works...largest knife store in the WORLD. This about thirty miles east of Knoxville. About five minutes off 40 but a three story log building that is a wonderment. Bring your knives w/ you as they only charge $1 to sharpen one. Downstairs for kitchen knives and sharpening, upstairs for other knives and third floor for display.

    Same exit...the Lodge cast iron outlet (on your right beside the Russell Stover outlet) is ok but the one in South Pittsburg, TN is light years better. Worth stopping but the prices are just ok not great. Make sure to look in the back for specials...I got sets of cast iron grills for Webers for five bucks each last year. Weber charges sixty bucks.

    If you have the time Davy Crockett's museumn is about ten miles up 81 after it splits w/ 40. Almost a sure thing you will be THE visitors of the day. Exit 12 or 15...not sure.

    #5
    Southern Fried
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/13 14:31:44 (permalink)
    Football will not be a problem that weekend as Awbarn plays Steve Spurrier & Co. in South Carolina in a Thursday night game on ESPN.

    Ezell's Catfish Cabin in Columbus is a very good with great hushpuppies.

    http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/entertainment/dining/15289004.htm
    #6
    pcdiva
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/13 22:48:18 (permalink)
    Maybe I can meet up with you in Columbus if you let me know which meal you will be eating where. It's only about 80 miles from my new (old) home. I checked out reviews of Ezell's and Country's and they both sounded good to me. If you and Janet would like company, I'd love to see you again.

    I used to love the fried chicken from Top Hat. It was nice and spicy and I always had to have a bite of chicken then a bite of white bread. Since I haven't been to Columbus in at least 15 years, things have probably changed quite a bit. Top Hat is still in business, but I always rememeber them as carry out only, not a sit down place. Any current Columbus residents know? Should I even venture over there or will I be disappointed?

    My favorite Columbus eatery has been gone for years since the owner passed away. It was a little Italian restaurant my best friend's Aunt ran in a refurbished house near Columbus College.

    Alice
    #7
    xannie_01
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/14 14:15:29 (permalink)
    i heard the dogs were already packing.
    #8
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/14 14:58:49 (permalink)
    The dogs are packin?

    Probably because the ground hogs have machine guns

    #9
    xannie_01
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/14 16:29:33 (permalink)
    Mr.Mayor,
    i hope you have an outfit for demi
    #10
    pcdiva
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/18 16:51:07 (permalink)
    I understand completely. Family is very important, and you & Jan need to spend quality time with her son. Next time for sure! We still want a mini review of wherever you pick to eat, though. Both places you mentioned sounded yummy, so we Roadfooders need to know if they live up to the Mayor's standards! Even if you don't get any of your fabulous pictures, just drop us a line to let us know if we should spend our cash!
    #11
    Southern Fried
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/19 11:53:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    An old friend of mine was stationed in Columbus GA until recently.

    He recommended both Country's BBQ (http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=2091) although he preferred the location in Macon and also 13th Street BBQ


    There is no Country’s in Macon. My guess is that he was referring to the Country’s on Mercury Drive in Columbus. This is the original location and many people prefer this traditional location.
    #12
    Southern Fried
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/19 15:59:10 (permalink)
    The last time I ate at Ezell’s, our waitress was exceptionally friendly and helpful. However, I don’t go to Columbus very often. But Ezell’s is one of my favorite places for catfish in Georgia and I have never had any problems there.

    These reviews match my experience at Ezell's.

    http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=13903026&stx=&csz=Kingston+GA
    #13
    V960
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/19 16:54:01 (permalink)
    I just checked out the location of Carver's and the Foothills Parkway is basically the best way to get there. Their fried catfish is VERY good.
    #14
    Art Deco
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/09/26 14:53:09 (permalink)
    Have you made a decision on a Nashville stop yet?
    #15
    Pwingsx
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/02 15:52:23 (permalink)
    Yay, can't wait for pics and descriptions. Glad you guys are back.
    #16
    mayor al
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/02 18:56:14 (permalink)
    TRIP REPORT-
    KY-TN-NC-SC-GA-AL
    September 27—October 1


    We headed Southeast early the morning of the 27th. Loading up with $1.99 gas at the Flying J east of Louisville,



    and then headed south on I-75 at Lexington, KY. We decided to avoid Knoxville and most of I-40 by getting off of I-75 at Corbin, KY (The Col. Sanders Town) and Following US 25 thru eastern Kentucky.

    Here is a BBQ place we passed by. It reminded me of the Airport, Haircare, and Tire Center used so often in the Ron White Comedy routine. These guys have a combination business, but check out the restrictions they put on their customers.



    We wandered thru the Cumberland Gap National Park area and emerged at Cosby, TN to find that tour buses had surrounded the Carver’s Apple Orchard and Restaurant. We were disappointed at the huge crowds there and in Pigeon Forge, our alternate choice for lunch. Finally in a bit of desperation we stopped at Bennett’s Barbecue in Pigeon Forge. Not a bad choice, but not good enough for me to ever bother going back, either. No photos and no review. Skip this one if you are thinking of it. We had tried to go to the famous Apple Barn, but it was a minimum one and half hour wait and the tour buses had almost completely blocked the parking lot by that time. So we ate poor food, then headed east across the Great Smokies National Park (nice ride), to Cherokee, NC, our first night’s stop. Lucky for us the Motel was extra nice, and dogs were happy as could be. I’ll give the lodging and town a “B” Rating, while the food for the day was barely a “C-“. Janet wandered around some of the Cherokee tourist stops, including this one named for the Great Spirit of Tennessee “SUNDANCER”.


    Thursday Morning we followed US 19 over to Ashville, NC then down I-26 for lunch at the Beacon Drive-In. This was a good stop. We found the place to be everything that everyone has claimed it to be. The gentleman taking our orders was helpful, but I couldn’t understand a word he passed to the kitchen regarding our orders! If I had it to do again (maybe someday) I will try the Fried Chicken. As it was we settled for Bacon-Cheeseburgers, mine with “Plenty” (The Rings and fries combo). Then we added some ice cream for a treat.












    A stop for gas in rural South Carolina also got us the directions to a U-Pick Apple Orchard so we could stock up on a couple of bushels of fresh apples.



    We followed some beautiful country roads back into Georgia at Clayton, then turned north to get to Dillard in time to check in at the motel before going to the Dillard House to see if it was as good as we enjoyed the first visit a couple of months ago. It was!

    I shot a photo of the Dillard House from the site of the beautiful Prep School across the valley. It shows the lovely landscaping at the Dillard House and surrounding fields.







    Last time we were there the place was very busy, having just hosted the BBQ festival. This Thursday evening things were fairly calm. The place was only half-full, and the service was as good as ever.
    We enjoyed the full dinner, with the high points of the meal being the squash casserole and (for me) the creamed corn. A footnote to this report will include the recipe for the Squash Casserole. It is the best winter squash dish I have ever enjoyed. The Fried Chicken is outstanding, with a light-Panko-Like coating, anf the Beef was fork-tender!!


    Friday Morning found us sightseeing again as we headed Southwest from Dillard to Helen, GA. We stopped at a little BBQ stand in Helen to get a Sandwich to add to our picnic materials (courtesy of the previous night’s dinner at the Dillard House).


    Helen provides a bunch of nice picnic areas along the stream that runs thru the town. We had a nice time eating, then walking the pooches along the riverbank for a couple of hours.



    Then we loaded up and headed into Metro Atlanta to meet One-Iron and Debbie for dinner. Traffic was yuckie, but we got ourselves checked into our motel and met the “One-Irons” right on time. As you see the “Irons” enjoy a fine automobile for their ‘get-arounds’ It was easy to spot them in the traffic in Marietta!






    We visited a favorite spot of theirs in Kennesaw called the Trackside Grill. We were welcomed like family and really had a nice dining experience.

    First on the list was a sample of their Fried Green Tomatoes, A very tasty way to start the evening.


    Then going around the table, here is my Ribeye Steak with the garlic potato and some Onion Rings.


    Janet had some great Swordfish with Artichoke Hearts and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, over those same garlic potatoes.


    Larry did the Country-Fried Steak with Asparagus spears. Not your typical Truck-stop arrangement, but really good according to the One-Iron comments


    Debbie was the healthiest of all of us with a beautiful Green Salad.



    Following dinner we walked a short-block up to the Southern Rail Museum, home of “The General”, the famous locomotive from the Civil War epic “The Great Locomotive Chase” (and Disney Movie of the same name). In addition to the locomotive the museum houses several displays of Atlanta’s Civil War experiences in both photo-history and relics from that period. Debbie is a member of the Board of Director’s for the Museum, so we had an expert guide for our tour.



    After a great dinner and tour we said our ‘goodnights’ and returned to our motel to get some rest!

    Saturday morning the traffic was much easier to deal with, and navigating around Atlanta to get to Fort Benning was a ‘piece of cake’! We met with Eric, Janet’s son, and did some shopping and relaxed for a bit, before heading to “Ezells Catfish House” for a good dinner. Ezells started back in the 1930’s as a real old-fashioned Fish Camp on the river near Columbus GA. It moved into it’s ‘new location’ in the 1940’s and has been a staple in the community since.


    While they do offer both Whole Catfish and Calabash Shrimp on ‘AYCE’ dinners, we opted for the Shrimp and Catfish Fillet Plate with Janet choosing the Blackened Catfish. All in all the fish was very good and the HushPuppies were the best I have enjoyed for a long time. They contained lots of jalapeno bits and kennels of sweet corn in the cornmeal to add some new twists to the onion bits that are the center of the little dough-balls.







    After a good night’s rest (again) and a quickie breakfast that you don’t want to hear about, we departed Columbus mid-morning on Sunday and headed to Birmingham AL where we joined up with I-65 for the run North. We did stop in Decatur, AL to have a BBQ lunch at “Big Bob Gibson’s”. The combo plates of Brisket and Pork Shoulder (me) and Pork and Chicken (Janet) were good, and the side dishes were ok too. I added the photo of the BBQ Baked Potato that was delivered to a neighboring table to show how large it was. We were eating kinda light on Sunday, with a lot of miles to cover, so the Potato was not on our list of “have to have’s”.






    We passed thru Nashville at about 4 pm, without stopping and arrived home just at Sunset (7:30PM). The trip was just over 1500 miles, but expenses were down a bit due to the $1.99 gas we found in several places. It was great to see the One-Irons in their home grounds, and spending a day or two with Janet’s son was a good thing to do also. All in All, it was a very nice ‘Long-Week-End’ trip. I hope you enjoy the photo-reports. I look forward to the day that I have something faster than "Dial-Up" net service. This has taken a long time to assemble and post.


    #17
    acornlover
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/02 20:50:40 (permalink)
    Mr Mayor,
    A fine report and here I am eating old spaghetti....sigh

    KB
    #18
    Sundancer7
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/02 20:53:19 (permalink)
    As usual Al, you are the best photojournalist.

    You pics are the best and the description is very good.

    Paul E. Smith
    knoxville, TN
    #19
    Bushie
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/02 22:19:01 (permalink)
    #20
    ann peeples
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/02 22:40:27 (permalink)
    That is drool worthy food if I have ever seen it......Thanks!!!!!
    #21
    MikeS.
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/03 01:28:10 (permalink)
    Nice!

    MikeS.
    #22
    SassyGritsAL
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/03 11:17:49 (permalink)
    Great pics and great food. The onion rings from Beacon Drive-In looked wonderful. Wish I had a cheesburger and onion rings now. Keep eatin and drivin, and delivering great reports.
    #23
    aleswench
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/03 11:44:01 (permalink)
    Awesome! Glad you and the family are back safe and sound, and that you had a great trip! It's almost lunchtime, and the report and your pics have made me ravenous!! Sue
    #24
    Pwingsx
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/03 15:49:08 (permalink)
    Great trip, great pics!

    I busted out laughing when I saw the business sign that said Birp Recycling. Bwahahahahaha
    #25
    pcdiva
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/03 16:39:00 (permalink)
    Thanks for the report! As always, you deliver the most wonderful pictures and write ups of the places we should see and maybe more importantly, avoid! Glad you got some cheap fuel! Love to Janet and pooches!

    Alice
    #26
    Oneiron339
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/03 16:44:21 (permalink)
    The pictures make me hungry again. Glad we got together and the rest of your trip went as planned.
    #27
    mayor al
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/03 17:04:40 (permalink)
    One Iron,
    I just finished your Photo CD. It will get out in the mail tomorrow. 220 Megs of photos.
    Thanks to you and to Debbie for a really nice evening! We are looking forward to Texas in February.
    #28
    Oneiron339
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/04 07:22:54 (permalink)
    You Bet! I may even get Debbie to try the brisket in TX since there may not be any salads within 50 miles.
    #29
    Sundancer7
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    RE: TRIP REPORT- NC-GA-AL September 2006 2006/10/04 08:10:34 (permalink)
    Oneiron: Great looking prowler but who is the good looking chic beside the car???

    Jusk kidding

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #30
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