The Graduate, Athens GA And Cashing Us Ousside

Lobby = niiiice. We loved the idea of getting to try the Graduate Hotel in Athens, Georgia — it’s part of a small chain of niche hotels (nine now, with four more opening in the next couple of years) with retro decor serving college towns.

The only thing is that it’s truly a motel — the lobby is in a separate building, and the rooms surround with outside corridors.

…but the interiors are styled in such a way you just roll with it. Naugahide- or nauga-ish headboards, plaid accessories…

…some kind of paint-by-number portraiture exhibit on the television credenza…

…trying too hard on the chalkboard there, but the Crosley radio is nice…

as is the wannabe rotary touch-tone phone (Crosley also makes a sweet pink Princess phone this style).

Malin + Goetz amenities in the bathrooms.

I’m kinda smitten with their lobby in Oxford. We have season tickets to UAB (and the Saints, and we go to AL, AU, and other games) but I want to show the boys tailgating in the Grove so that might be a great opportunity to see the hotel in person.

We haven’t been to an Ole Miss home game since ’06 (Ole Miss has a special place in my heart because every time I visualize myself in grad school, it’s getting a MA in Southern Studies there) but here’s how the NYT put it:
In many tents, food is served on silver trays, drinks splash through fountains and chandeliers hang from the metal supports. Fur coats abound. Jackets, ties and cowboy boots are common.

Prominent chefs are hired to cater meals, and chicken is a favored entree. “You don’t want to be a chicken in northern Mississippi on game day,” said Tim Walsh, the executive director of alumni affairs.

We walked through the tailgating area at UAB for the first game, and I thought, Lawd. We need to show Legion Field how to tailgate (tailgating is, after all, a sukkah party with a solid roof). Look for us one weekend in November if things go the way I think they will.

BTW, I had a genius idea for our sukkah party invitations this year. I’ll send nice-nice ones to the neighbors and other friends, but for our-age-and-younger friends who love memes, I came up with this idea that I’ll fill in with more of the details later:

Goldie, 1971

Goldie 1971 sculpture in University of Alabama Woods Quad. The sculptor is Joe McCreary, and it was made in 2009 and purchased by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2010. Made of iron and steel, approx 23 feet long, four feet tall, five feet wide, and between three and four tons, the sculpture commemorates Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham.

Revolving Table Restaurants + Wayne White Art News (yes, those go together here)

Revolving table restaurants — the ones with the giant lazy susan in the middle on which large communal dishes are passed with the gentle push/pull of the mechanism to diners all seated ’round — are literally few and far between.

While we’ve visited time and time again Walnut Hills in Vicksburg (our last visit in late December:)

The food has been mostly bland and boring. I love most any greens any way — and I don’t mind at alllll if vegetables have been cooked for hours and hours until they are babyfood soft — but from the sides to the mains (incl the fried chicken) it was just not at all delicious. Not bad, but not great. And this goes through my head too: is it worth the calories? Nope.

On the table this day: catfish, rice & gravy, yam pone, purple hull peas, fried corn, fried okra, green beans, turnip greens, coleslaw, macaroni & cheese…

…chocolate pudding for dessert. It pains me to say this all wasn’t great because revolving tables is a thing that should go on forever. Forever, forever. We’ve met so many nice people this way…it’s hard not to get to know people you may otherwise never have any interaction with when you’re asking them to spin you those collards again. But it’s just not as fab as it used to be. Or as fab as I made it in my mind just because I love this whole concept.

Here’s my go at it — just a bite or two of everything so it doesn’t get crazy and there’s room if something’s really fab. But also: spending $22pp means this is just not a great value if you aren’t on the football team and feel like attacking the table. Annnnd it seems crazy wasteful, too.

Besides Walnut Hills in Vicksburg, there’s also the Dinner Bell in McComb, Mississippi (my fave of the two left in MS):

plus Bea’s in Chattanooga:

and finally, Buckner’s Family Restaurant in Jackson, Georgia, which is right off I-75, maybe 45 minutes S of Atlanta.

Not only was it good, the people there were super friendly and nice, and the place was really, really clean.

It’s hard for food to look wonderful on melamine plates in this lighting, but trust me — pretty great.

Back to Chattanooga for a sec: Wayne-O-Rama has been extended to September 30 (yes! See you there later this month!) and the Wayne White ‘Thrill After Thrill’ exhibit at the Hunter has been extended so it’s now closing December 31.

Timeout: The Young President Polk

Have to show this one. Running through some pics and found this one of Shugie late last year doing a school presentation as President James K. Polk, complete with a long jacket we took from his Abraham Lincoln costume and a wide ribbon we used as his…I don’t know…do you call that kind of necktie a cravat? Anyway. Presh.

Visiting the Amish Community of Ethridge, Tennessee

Pics from our latest visit to the Amish community around Ethridge, Tennessee:

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

There are no sales on Sunday, but you’re welcome on other days to drop by any of the homes that have signs outside advertising their wares — there’s no reason to feel as though you need to get on one of those buggy rides to visit the community, and the map that’s given out at the visitor’s center doesn’t have all of the homes listed on it. The best thing to do is just to take your time and drive casually along to see what interests. Here, I’ve gotten watermelon preserves, muscadine, and scuppernong jelly.

Amish: Watermelon Preserves, Muscadine Jelly, Scuppernong Jam

BTW, we’re going to be going muscadine picking sometime soon since this is the season. You can find u-pick farms at this site or if you know of a muscadine winery in your area, they may let you come do it at their own farm if you call/check first.

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

We’ve gotten to know several of the families here from visiting with them previous times. That’s to say we’re not swapping holiday cards, but most all of them are friendly and are happy to chat for a while if you like and they’re not too busy.

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

On one of our first visits to Ethridge several years ago, we purchased two of these fab rockers. The man who built them just wrote us a letter when they were ready to be picked up — no phones, no emails — and we have enjoyed them ever since. They cost a fraction of what they’re sold for at rustic furniture stores if you purchase them direct from the Amish makers (and it just feels good to do it, too).
One of our Amish rockers

I made this map of some of the better roads to travel on looking for things in the community, so feel free to use this as part of your guide. This part of the year is a great time to go because there’s an abundance of fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and baskets/quilts/etc.

Magnolia Market At The Silos

If you’ve spent more than five minutes on HGTV in the last two or three years, you likely know what’s going on here. On our way through Waco, Texas, we stopped at the Magnolia Market at the Silos.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

This cute little building is the new bakery:

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

…and inside the main building is the shop

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX


Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

There wasn’t anything I had to have (though I do like those galvanized cake stands) but Shug really-really wanted a tee — I will let them watch HGTV just to have something on in the background in hotels, soooooo he got a #DemoDay one.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

The best part of the whole visit, though, was spending time on their lawn. It’s artificial grass, but it’s like the most wonderful artificial grass in the whole world (I had to look: it’s DuPont Foreverlawn Select Synthetic). On the lawn are provided balls, cornhole, all kinds of things for fun. This is a great place to go just to exercise with the kids to get off the highway for a little while.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

We spent a long time. Here’s Shug and Shugie starting a cornhole game:

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

There are foodtrucks in the back if you have more of an appetite than just something small from the bakery, and all this covered seating is available. We sat with a woman who was a huge fan of the show and had driven multiple states just to shop here.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

The four of us shared a cookie, a cupcake, and most of a cinnamon roll. They were all really good.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Shug at Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Shugie and Me at Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Museums x2 in Augusta and Cafeteria Love

Augusta was fun! And rainy and museum-y and yummy.

Well, okay there was this one thing — something was going on in the city when we were there so the better hotels (Doubletree, Marriott, HGI…though it seems as though most of the hotels here are more budget-oriented) had limited availability and were much higher than they ordinarily should be. One new hotel called ECCO was in the top ten at TripAdvisor, and I thought it would be a great way for us to save a lot of money since there wasn’t a particularly interesting hotel to stay in anyway, and it obv had good ratings. It was completely meh, though we weren’t expecting anything other than meh. Totally didn’t matter because we had such a fab time in Augusta anyway.

Av was off to do some work in Augusta, so the boys and I decided to spend the day walking around and taking in a couple of museums. The first one was the Morris Museum of Art which was tucked inside an office building that also happened to be right on a riverwalk at the Savannah River.

This is not a big museum *but* it’s got some interesting pieces

So so so happy to see Nell Choate Jones‘ Georgia Red Clay

This is a really wonderful Nicola Marshall, ‘Young Girl with Cat’ from 1867. Not too many people can rock a middle-part with a widows peak, but this little girl sure is. She and kitty have been playing with her stocking. Love this one.

Nice Ida Kohlmeyer pieces

And this beyond-fab Jonathan Green ‘Daughters of the South’ — the museum is hanging an exhibit of his works from their permanent collection beginning October 4 going through January 28, 2018

Afterwards, we took in the the riverwalk and tucked ourselves into a little alcove when a short rainstorm started, then kept going to the Augusta Museum of History which was also really, really good (and included a special exhibit to favorite son James Brown). We spent well over an hour here.

Nice that they had such immersive environments, especially for kids. We enjoyed the train a lot.

Now for the best and last part of Augusta — lunch. Right across from where The Masters is played is a big, big, big church complex in what was probably a shopping center at one point.

In this same development is ‘Honey from the Rock Cafe’ — it’s rated #3 of 399 restaurants in Augusta. This place gets amazing reviews. Plus, how many places like this are there?

…actually one less than there was a year ago because Ernest Angley’s Cathedral Buffet closed in April.

Anyway. It’s set up as a cafeteria. Everyone is just crazy nice.

There are Bible verses on everything. On the wall, on table placards, on the food labels…

Everything is neat and clean and just so. Niki’s West has trained me to be completely alert, thinking ahead so I won’t get barked at through the line. I know exactly at what point I need to ask for collards and rutabagas and butter beans. Here, though, take your time and consider the options.

The boys got meat dishes but I was in for vegetables, like fried okra and sweet potato casserole and fried green tomatoes which, yeah, negated all those vitamins. It was like my Thanksgiving plate except I wasn’t beholden to take any turkey. It was all very, very good.

And those were some gooood FGTs, y’all.

Pretty-Pretty Lunch In Savannah

Cohen’s Retreat in Savannah has somehow managed to make the leap from quite literally ‘Cohen’s Old Man’s Retreat’ (it is what it is (or was) — a place where “men would not die old and lonely” thanks to the generosity of Percival Randolph Cohen) to *such* a pretty restaurant and event space today.

There was also a homewares shop on one end of the building that was Anthro-ish with Anthro-ish prices.

Our lunch was in this room, featuring a portrait of sweet Mr. Cohen

We were all really happy with everything we had — Av and the boys had sandwiches or salads

…and I had the tomato pie which I always love to see on a menu (and theirs was pretty good)

We’ll definitely return on our next visit to Savannah. While I’m looking forward to eating there again, I’m actually even more interested to see how/if they change up the interior.