The fall travel season is over for me (I made it!), and after 28 shows and nearly 18,000 miles on the ol’ Prius, it’s time to reflect on what was great about all that traveling. The best part was getting to see and meet everyone; the hosts, the kids, the staff, friends, family, and to share in their lives in meaningful ways. Thank you to everyone for being so accommodating and great!
But, it’s time for the Roadie Awards, I’ll be doing this after each travel season. What are the Roadies? After spending so much time on the road, in hotels, and different restaurants, I wanted to let you guys know which were the best. Time to find out!
Best Dinner: Coop’s Place, New Orleans – Jambalaya: I had never had real Jambalaya before this, and wow, it was awesome. Venison, sausage, rabbit, and chicken are the meats involved, with a great spicy kick.
Best BBQ: Central BBQ, Memphis – 1/2 Rack of Dry Rub Ribs: These were amazing, very tender, smoky, the rub was delicious. Also great sauce for dipping! Runner up: Fox Brothers BBQ, Atlanta, GA
Best Sides: 1. Ajax Diner, Oxford – Fried Okra: Best I’ve ever had, they only serve it at lunch though! 2. Fox Brothers BBQ, Atlanta – Fried Mac ’n Cheese: Sounds over the top, but tastes great. 3. Soda Shoppe, Davidson – Sweet Potato Fries: Make sure you get the syrup for dipping!
Best Sandwich: The French Pantry, Jacksonville – Turkey, Bacon, Swiss and Guac: So good and gigantic, doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed though, a difficult combo. Great desserts too. Only open M-F 11-2 pm, so get there early, and yes, it’s in the warehouse district
Best Breakfast: Paradise Cafe, Louisville – The Kentucky Scramble: Very good omelet, lots of cheese, tomatoes, and bacon, all from local KY farmers. The sides were great, with a loaf of bread posing as a biscuit, and home fries.
Best Place for Wi-Fi & Food: Panera Bread, all over – Free wifi, great food, healthy options. As you can see from the other Roadies, healthy food isn’t a priority.
Best Lodging: The Craddock-Terry Hotel, Lynchburg, VA – I splurged once on a hotel, and this was it. Huge room and bed, 12 ft ceilings, breakfast, starbucks coffee, on the river… awesome. Fun fact: Used to be the 5th largest shoe factory in the world. *Most Interesting Lodging: Sorin Hall at Notre Dame – Slept within view of the Golden Dome, thanks Browder!
Best View: Sunset over the lake at Taylorsville State Park, KY. Followed by camping out and being the only tent out there.
Best Drive: Nashville to Asheville on 1-40 east, before the rock slide. Great views of the Smokies
Best Run: French Quarter of New Orleans with Morgan & Dan
Best Way to Use Up Time Before a Show (Outside): Natural Bridge, VA – I was in awe, and alone on the cold, wet day. Allowed me to get a small feeling for what is like to come across it for the first time ever. (Inside): Square Books and Off Square Books, Oxford – I bought 10 books for less than $50 at Off Square, and both places are fantastic for relaxing, browsing, and getting your fill of Southern Lit history.
Best College Campus Experience: Clemson University – The complete weekend. Beautiful, top-notch weather the whole time. Dinner with staff on Friday, run around campus Saturday morning, brother, sister, cousins there, a great tailgate, stood on the hill, watched the team come down from Howard’s Rock, exciting game, Clemson wins, storm the field. Epic
There they are! Feel free to include your best of from this Fall, where else I should go next time, and what you think of the Awards! Any of these places can be found on Yelp.com if you enter the name and city. Enjoy!