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Help with SouthEast US Road Trip (VA NC SC GA) [moved from Not about Food board]

I’m looking for help in planning a road trip to the South East from New York City with my girlfriend, between December 21 and 29 roundtrip. Yes, I know that we’ll be travelling during an off-season week when many things will likely be closed.

We’d like to keep things cheap. Above all, we love food and will be seeking the best local grub around (that we don't get up in NY). In addition to restaurants, I’d love recommendations for other food-related sites, such as distilleries, old school grain mills, unique farmers markets, dairy farms, and whatever other exceptional food-related sources exist in the area. We also appreciate all other facets of culture as well as nature and scenic back roads (though we’re driving an old Hyundai Elantra, so no bad unpaved paths…I’ve learned my lesson), so any other suggestions on interesting things would be great.

We’re also looking for recommendations for cheap lodgings along the way; but if they’ve got a little bit more character than a Motel 6, that would be awesome. Since we’ll be doing a lot of driving, there’s no real need to sleep within big towns/cities if something better (and cheaper) is a bit outside. We’re also open to camping if it won’t be too cold.

The trip, so far, is fairly flexible. The only seemingly set dates would be Dec 24 and 25 in Atlanta, only because I expect most other places to be mostly shut down then. The first day, we will probably go via Pennsylvania to I-81 and make it as far as Roanoke/Lynchburg VA area to settle for the night. The next day or two, we’ll probably hang around Greensboro/Winston-Salem/Charlotte area. I’ve mainly settled on this area because of the reputed BBQ. Then it’s off to ATL, either through Columbia SC (worth visiting?), Greenville SC or some back roads. Is Athens GA worth a stop along the way?

After a couple of days in Atlanta (any neighborhoods that are more likely to lively on the 24th/25th?), it’s off to Savannah GA along I-75/I-16 for a day or so. Then we’re thinking of taking the coastal road to Charleston SC, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington NC before heading to Raleigh/Durham for the night and more BBQ.

I have no idea where to go on the way up through Virginia. Is Richmond worth a stop, or is it better to hit Virginia Beach (and Smithfield for ham)?

This is just a rough sketch. We’ve never been to this area before so we’re open to changing things around quite a bit and would love all your suggestions. I will make sure to report back in detail.

Thanks!

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  1. The problem with Smithfield is that it's not easy to continue north from there without either 1) driving out of your way back to an interstate or 2) crossing the James River on a car ferry. Having said that, though, I was going to suggest Williamsburg which is basically where you end up when you cross the river from Smithfield. There is a nice Christmas market in Colonial Williamsburg (boxwood wreaths and Colonial garden things, not so much food). There are also several good restaurants in W'burg. I actually like the colonial taverns...some people find them too touristy, but there are good modern restaurants in W'burg too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: maryelizabeth

      Yes! W'burg! It's an awesome little town. if you want good, cheap eats, you have to go to The Cheese Shop! It's in the town square, just off Duke of Glouster Street. They have the best sandwiches in the world! Get a bottle of wine and have a nice picnic on the green somewhere. W'burg is also beautiful around xmas. Definitely worth a visit!

      1. re: eightlegeddj

        This is ridiculous hyperbole. The Cheese Shop has fine sandwiches, but nothing particularly special and nowhere near what could be classified as "the best sandwiches in the world." Maybe they have the best sandwiches in that part of Williamsburg, maybe. I've said so on other threads, but the best sandwiches to be found in Williamsburg are a few miles from the Colonial area, at Carmine's.

    2. off 81 in harrisburg there's the glass lounge (4745 n front st) where i had a most excellent burger on a trip up to your neck of the woods this summer. fries were just so-so.

      camping-wise, if you drive king's hwy (hwy 17) up the ga/sc/nc coast, huntington beach state park is a really nice park; it's near litchfield/murrell's inlet, a bit south of myrtle beach (don't confuse w/ hunting island sp - heard it's nice, but can't vouch for it personally). myrtle beach sp is closer to myrtle beach (a decent walk up the beach, if you're so inclined), but it's not as nice as huntington, although it might be a tad cheaper. obviously, call any of these to be sure they're open that time of year. if you do drive 17, i recommend sticking to the business route as this will take you through many of the little touristy burgs along the coast; i love the tacky tourist stops from mid last century. at that time of year, you should run into little of the traffic that would preclude such a drive during the tourist season. for pure kitsch factor, many of the towns are worth seeing. also, you might luck out with a seafood shack or bbq hut along the way.

      fyi, you might get a better repsonse if you post the various legs of your trip on their corresponding boards.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mark

        Take a look at the North Carolina BBQ Trail http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_map..., It list some of the older BBQ joints that are still cooking with wood. Some of the better ones to try are Skylight Inn, B's, Parkers, Allen & Son (only the one in Chapel Hill), A& M Grill, & Lexington.

        Every one has there ATF, but any of the above would provide you with a good taste of NC BBQ.

        1. re: chazzer

          I second Lexington BBQ, it is half way between Winston Salem and Charlotte. Lexington itself is with in 8 miles of the Interstate I-85 which you will be traveling southbound. "Lexington BBQ #1" has great bbq in my opinion.

          Lexington BBQ #1
          10 US Highway 29 70 S
          Lexington, NC 27295
          (336) 249-9814

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK1vXs...

      2. Mapleview Farms in Orange County, NC - northwest of Chapel Hill, NC would be worth a visit since you listed dairy farms. Check out their website for more info and directions - as well as weekly specials for the December calendar. Their ice cream is fantastic!

        http://www.mapleviewfarm.com/

        1. On the trip between Charleston and Myrtle Beach you'll have to stop twice. Once at Jack's Cosmic Dogs right outside Mt. Pleasant and the second time at See Wees in Awendaw.

          In Murrells Inlet, south of MB, eat at Prossers BBQ. All you can eat buffet with home made mac and cheese, fried chicken, local fried oysters and shrimp, on site pulled pork, etc.

          1. If you're in Raleigh, check out The Pit:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/463949

            If in Charlotte, check out Price's Chicken Coop and the Penguin Diner. If you're looking for farmer's markets, check out the Tailgate Market, near Price's: http://charlottetailgatemarket.com/de...

            1. Sounds like fun but I stringly urge you to get a good map. Greensboro/Winston-Salem/Charlotte is not an area. Those cities aren't very close to one another. I'll tell you this; the coastal areas of those states are very different culturally and food-wise to their western regions. The difference between beach town and mountain town is dramatic down here. So your first decision may be whether you stick to I-95 and hug the coast or take a trip thru the mountains which could get dicey some winters but since we're in the midst of a somewhat scary drought, you shouldn't have a problem.

              12 Replies
              1. re: southernitalian

                Thanks for the tip. We've got a GPS, so hopefully we'll be able to get lost when we want to and find our way again when we're ready. I'm hoping to hit the mountains on the way down and the coast on the way back up. Is Winston-Salem considered to be in the mountain area, or do we need to head more West towards Asheville (and is it worth it)? I'm looking forward to the diversity.

                1. re: Joe MacBu

                  W-S is not mountains, it is piedmont. Yes, Asheville & mountains are very worth it!
                  In Old Salem visit Winkler Bakery. Their Moravian sugar bread & cookies are very cherished in NC!
                  http://www.oldsalem.org/index.php?id=158

                  1. re: meatn3

                    You seem like the person to ask this. I was thinking of picking up "Backroad Buffets & Country Cafes: A Southern Guide to Meat-And-Threes & Down-Home Dining." Are you familiar with the book? If so, would it still be applicable to my trip, 9 years after being published?

                    1. re: Joe MacBu

                      I purchased it several years ago. It is a bit of a mixed bag. Some old time listings, others are more recent budget no-frill lunch sort of places. In NC, the Asheville listing for Moose Cafe & the Chapel Hill for Mama Dips are both places where local opinion is generally mixed. The listings for Durham & Lumberton (Bullock's BBQ & Fullers) are both good choices. (I would drive an hour out of my way for Fullers!) There are some nice local color sort of stories & if you are not familiar with southern fare this book is descriptive enough to help you develop a craving or two as you drive. Listings are by state & town, with a state map at the front of each chapter, but you'll need a highway map to see which locality is handy to your route. If you have extra $ & enjoy books, go for it. It will be handy to have if you are getting hungry & want to see if there is something with possibilities nearby. If there is a more recent edition of Roadfood, Goodfood it would be a good resource. The Sterns have never steered me wrong!
                      Once you have a firmer route in mind I think Chowhound & Roadfood.com will probably yield the best bets. Meat & threes are getting harder to find. Often hitting a small towns biz district around noon will yield the best results, especially if the town has an old blue highway running through it.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        wow, thanks for the mention of Fuller's. Have never heard of the place before, and now I know exactly where to stop for dinner on my long drive back from FL to the Triangle in a few weeks - I was scratching my head on where to stop since I'd be around Lumberton come dinnertime...and Cracker Barrel and K&W would be sorry ways to end my vacation.

                        1. re: mikeh

                          I've only been there for lunch, but the buffet rocks. The BBQ is not bad either!

                          1. re: meatn3

                            fuller's buffet is fab! the fresh veggies are plentiful and in great variety. get the deviled crab (in the crab shell). that's the best thing for meat/fish items. try them first, and see that you probably would rather eat them than dessert. agree that the chopped pork bbq on the buffet isn't bad, either.

                            desserts are "not so much" -- lots of jello type stuff. one cake item is good, but imo not great. the experience is fun, too: locals and tourists. mostly a good cross section of the community. pretty reasonably priced, too. i think it was around $10.

                            down in the low country, get some boiled peanuts if you can. see this thread, and my comments therein:
                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/430248

                        2. re: meatn3

                          Here is a Triangle posting for meat & 3's:
                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/468398

                          1. re: meatn3

                            Thanks for the cross-reference to my thread. Personally, when I have mobility away from work (e.g. weekends), my favorite country-cooking places in the Triangle area are actually two "made-from-scratch" southern buffets:

                            Joyce and Family, Fuquay-Varina, NC
                            http://www.joyceandfamilyrestaurant.com/

                            The Old Place, Bear Creek, NC
                            http://www.old-place.com/

                            Someone on Chowhound once put it aptly - Pam's Farmhouse is what your grandma would make for Thursday lunch; Joyce's and The Old Place is what she'd make for Sunday lunch.

                          2. re: meatn3

                            My coworkers are partial to Sandpiper's in Fayetteville. I haven't been there in a few years but the deviled crab and BBQ were both very good. At the time, I preferred it to Fuller's in Lumberton.

                            1. re: jmkizer

                              Thanks for the tip! Adding it to my list of 'must try' places.

                        3. re: meatn3

                          I agree that if you are going to be around Winston-Salem, Old Salem is neat and worth a visit.

                    2. For Roanoke:
                      Homeplace Restaurant (family-style down-home country cooking):
                      http://filebox.vt.edu/users/kdesrosi/...

                      Savannah:
                      The New South Cafe:
                      http://www.thenewsouthcafe.com/

                      Charleston-Myrtle Beach road:
                      SeeWee Restaurant (best she-crab soup in the country)
                      http://www.seeweerestaurant.com/

                      Wilmington, NC:
                      Catch Restaurant (best gourmet, yet inexpensive, seafood I've had in NC)
                      http://www.catchwilmingtonnc.com/

                      Raleigh area, NC
                      Carrboro Farmers Market (Saturdays - one of the best farmers markets in the country - will be open through Dec. 22 and then again on January 5)
                      http://www.carrborofarmersmarket.com/

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mikeh

                        the New South Cafe has closed, but rumor has it that the whole thing has been moved into the Mighty Eighth Airforce Museum, over by the airport.

                      2. Athens is absolutely worth a stop. I just moved away from there myself after living there for 4 years. My first suggestion is not cheap, but has a 24 buck prix fixe if you make it in by 6, the Five and Ten. It is a fantastic and inspiring place. Hugh, the chef, was just up for a James Beard this year and his food always displays fantastic southern traditions and local ingredients. If you're there on sunday, brunch is affordable.

                        If you two are the drinking type, head downtown to the Globe, which is a great and old athens establishment. I believe it was actually voted the best bar in America by Esquire magazine just this year. They also have nice pub food, fish and chips and the twin pines burgers are worth trying.

                        1. I would suggest Charlottesville for your first night rather than Lynchburg or Roanoke, and then spend the second night in Greenville (from NYC to Washington DC, 66 west to 29 south to 85 south). Great eats in both spots and cheaper options.
                          For neighborhoods in Atlanta on those days, I would try Virginia-Highlands or Little Five. The smaller areas might have more places that are open.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: rcburli

                            Speaking of Charlottesville, is the Shenandoah Park worth a stop or a drive through?

                            1. re: Joe MacBu

                              Shenandoah National Park/Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful area. It's best when the leaves change in September/October, but wonderful every time of year. Of course, if the weather is bad you want to avoid most mountains.

                              I agree with rcburli. Lynchburg and Roanoke are not good chow towns. Charlottesville has more to offer.

                              1. re: mojoeater

                                roanoke just got a nice food write=up in the virginia living magazine.
                                http://www.virginialiving.com/magazine/

                                years ago, we had great brazilian food there!

                                what is recommended in c-ville?

                                btw, making time is not possible on blue ridge parkway....(yes i know that is not the point of the parkway....but in op's context, it is relevant....)

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Virginia Living is renowned for promoting their advertisers, so I wouldn't give their editorial too much stock. I will admit, however, that my knowledge of Roanoke is dated.

                                  C-ville has great mid and fine dining restaurants, as well as an odd ability to generate very good gourmet fast food. Bel Air Market Exxon on 250 West bakes their own bread and makes incredible sandwiches from Boar's Head meats, plus their soups and sides are terrific. They also have a branch on 29 North near Forest Lakes & off Avon Street in Mill Creek. Bodo's Bagels is amazing and cheap - 3 locations. Sticks Kebob Shop is delicious and quick: http://www.stickskebobshop.com.

                                  If you want more sit-down places, some of us here have recommendations.

                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                    boar's head inn has a good brunch....
                                    and the article didn't strike me that way.....plus, the prior issue had a good food story on infused oils....i'm going to subscribe

                                2. re: mojoeater

                                  I disagree with Lynchburg not being a good chow town. I have lived both here and in Charlottesville. There is no question that Charlottesville has MORE good restaurants, but there are chow worthy places in Lynchburg too. Thankfully, the restaurant situation here continues to improve with time. Still not as many places I would like, but plenty of good options for someone driving through.

                              2. re: rcburli

                                Speaking of places likely to be open on Christmas and Christmas Eve, I would head to Buford Highway and check out some of the Asian restuarants out there. They might be more likely to be open on Christmas Day. Two Buford Highway places that have been recommended are Canton House (for dim sum) and Little Szechuan. If you search this board, you can find a lot more.
                                Also, if you're interested in barbecue, the area around Lexington, NC (between Charlotte and Winston-Salem) is a center for western NC style barbecue. The NY Times did an article about touring wineries and barbecue eateries in the area that was pretty informative. Here's a link to the article:

                                http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/10/13/...

                              3. In Atlanta check out the Dekalb Farmers Market - it is a huge international market & has a delicious bargain of a hot bar/salad bar. The quality, variety, price & shear size is astounding. They are closed 12/25.
                                http://www.dekalbfarmersmarket.com/

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: meatn3

                                  I wholeheartedly agree with meatn3 regarding the Dekalb Farmers Mkt.....It's an expedition unto itself. You can even have a fairly decent lunch there at a reasonable price when the "shopping" totally wears you out. It is truely "international" in the truest and best sense. Just be wary at the checkout. They have some strange rules about "one person" per grocery cart, and what payment methods are accepted. You'll clearly see the "rules" posted above the cashiers in the check-out area. This may have changed since my last visit, but I doubt it.

                                2. Wow. These are all great suggestions. They're exactly what I'm looking for. Please keep them coming though since I still have a couple of weeks left to plan.

                                  Thanks!

                                  1. Don't bet on the GPS if you get off the main highways. I live in east TN and smaller state and county roads are not on the GPS. Tried to take my NY son in law to a winery last Christmas and we never found it.

                                    1. One more from the vicinity of Charleston, SC:

                                      The Fat Hen (Charleston locals might remember the chef/owner as the former chef of 39 Rue de Jean - absolute bang-for-your-buck considering the quality at his new place)
                                      http://www.thefathen.com/

                                      1. If you do vist the Winston-Salem/Lexington, NC area, you might want to check out some of the Yadkin Valley wineries. While none of it might be considered great, some of it is very good, and definitely worth drinking, and the tastings and tours are very fun.

                                        A Google search will turn up many wineries, but this site is a good place to start:

                                        www.yadkinwines.com

                                        1. i think your driving itinerary is very ambitious. lots of mileage per day.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            what i meant is, review your itinerary to see if you have too many miles to drive each day where you won't have time to enjoy anything, e.g., savannah to charleston to raleigh/durham in how many days? maybe i missed anything good in raleigh/durham when i went through a while back (but, i didn't have chow, then!)

                                          2. If you find yourself in the vicinity of Greenville, NC, one of the best "meat-and-three" places I've found in North Carolina is Bum's in nearby Ayden. Best collard greens I've ever had - and I know folks who've liked it so much that they've taken quarts of the stuff back to NYC and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I know a lot of people go there for the bbq, but their fried chicken is also the best I've had in NC, not to mention amazing rutabagas and yes, even green beans. All the veggies there taste like they're fresh off the farm - can't beat that. I reviewed the place in this thread:

                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/456920

                                            and a photo to whet your appetite: http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/80...

                                            1. If you are in Greensboro I would recommend Haybles Hearth (on Spring Garden Street) or Smith Street Diner ( http://www.triaddiner.com/view_rest.p... ) Smith St. has great breakfast, with the most tremendous southern biscuits I have ever seen). It is downtown and has good coffee too. I wouldn't go to Virginia Beach. I have only been there once, but I won't be back again. Disgusting!

                                              1. On I-81 in Staunton, Va you have Wright's Dairy Rite. In Roanoke you have the Texas Tavern, Roanoke Weiner Stand and the best BBQ in Roanoke is Pit Boss. www.choppedonion.com

                                                1. The suggestions already give, regarding places I know about, are all good. I would like to add a few more.

                                                  Fresh Air BBQ in Jackson, GA dates to 1929. They had to pave the floor a few years ago. An Atlanta radio station named them BEST BBQ in GA about 50 years ago - and Fresh Air still quotes that on their t-shirts. Basically, they serve chopped pork sandwiches and brunswick stew. They are located a couple of miles south of Jackson on the highway to Macon. Fresh Air family members also now operate locations in Bogart, Athens and Macon - but Jackson has charm that is missing in the others.

                                                  East-West Bistro in Athens - across the street from the UGA campus is very good. If you can be there during off hours, perhaps the owner-chef (Lamar) can fix something off menu for you. He is very personable and very knowledgeable. We have enjoyed menu items, but reports are that he really shines when he isn't preparing for the masses.

                                                  Check out East-West Bistro and other Atlanta area places on AtlantaCuisine.com

                                                  Tasty China in Marietta (nw suburb of Atlanta on I-75) is touted by many as the best, or at least one of the very best, Szechuan restaurants in the United States. On top of that, the prices are very reasonable. We had dinner there last Christmas Eve. It was one of the few places open. Most Chinese are not Christian was the explanation - and we need to eat.

                                                  Doug's Place in Emerson, GA is a meat and three just northwest of metro Atlanta. As you enter Bartow County, take the Emerson exit west and it is only about a mile to Doug's Place. I am not sure about their hours around Christmas.

                                                  Sam & Dave's BBQ has two locations in Marietta. They are generally considered to be the best bbq in metro Atlanta. They are especially noted for their brisket - served without sauce. Both sweet sauce and Carolina style sauce are available. All sides are homemade and generally get very good reviews.

                                                  Buford Highway has many excellent international places to eat. So Kong Dong and 88 Tofu House are two of my favorites. Check Chowhound and AtlantaCuisine for additional input.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Milt

                                                    I can't believe I forgot to mention Midway Meal House, 5150 Atlanta Highway, Alpharetta, GA for - in their words "Good Home Cooking". We love the place, even though it is a half hour from our home. Two weeks ago, for Sunday lunch, we had Fried Chicken $6.90, Pork Roast w/Gravy $6.90, Chicken Livers $7.25 - with each dinner including cornbread or rolls and two vegetables from a very extensive list. As I recall, I had pickled beets and fried okra, my wife had green beans and squash casserole, and our daughter chose apple sauce and mac & cheese. Even if my memory has failed me - the list of vegetables available covers many options and tastes. We had Apple Cobbler and Blackberry Cobbler $1.95 each with ice cream $.50 additional each. Our iced tea was $1.50 each. They are open seven days per weeks (not sure about Christmas schedule), closing early on Sunday (2pm). The food is always good and the quantities ample.

                                                  2. It would be a crime to go from Winston Salem to Atlanta any way other than throught Asheville. Take 40 west to Asheville, the views will be spectacular. Eat at Salsa's in Asheville and any number of other good restaurants. Then take 26 south to Hwy 25 to Greenville, see the cool downtown, food is not much to speak of, but you can get something OK. From Greenville you can pick up 85 and it's an easy 2 hour drive (less if you drive fast) to Atlanta.

                                                    Or you could take I-26 all the way to I- 85 in Spartanburg, bypassing Greenville. On the way, you could detour through Saluda NC, a quaint town w/ a good bakery called Wildflour, and/or Tryon NC, a horse-oriented community with a famous country/southern cooking place called Caro-Mi.l I'm not that much into it, but the Sterns loved it.

                                                    One other possible way to get to Atlanta from Asheville would be to go through Highlands NC, which is a very wealthy mountain town where Atlantans build summer homes. Great views and decent food intersect there as well.

                                                    Sounds like fun, please post back for more specifics as you narrow your plans.

                                                    1. Sadly, I've had to postpone this trip. Hopefully it'll happen sometime in early spring.

                                                      Thanks for all the tips. I'm still excited to check out these places and will refer back to this thread if folks want to continue adding recommendations.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                        Best to everyone for the holidays! We look forward to your trip, too, Joe! ;-)

                                                      2. When you make your way to Raleigh there are two places you can't afford to miss. The first is right off I-95 on I-40 (exit 319), about 20 minutes from downtown. Stephenson's is the best bbq in the state- hands down. The next must-stop is Big Ed's, which is actually "downtown" Raleigh. I grew up in Durham and have been all over the state and southeast. Big Ed's is slightly touristy but the food and atmosphere are worth it. Stephenson's is simply the best of both. Off the beaten path and THE BEST bbq I've had in the south.

                                                        1. As a Virginian, I would recommend skipping Richmond. It is probably my least favorite part of the state. Virginia Beach is nicer, they have done a lot of rennovations the last few years. I would suggest stopping in the Northern Virginia area. You can go from the Appalachian Trail to D.C. in 30-40 minutes. Bear's Den in Clarke County is a great hiking area with a spectacular view. They also have a cheap hostle you can stay at! Just down the road in Leesburg you will find some awesome places to eat and unique shops. The Hamburg Doner is the smallest & greatest German place you'll ever visit! The kitchen is called the Mighty Midget! Across the street is Fireworks Pizza. You'll pay a little more, but their organic local ingredients & awesome beer selection are worth it. About 30 minutes north in Frederick, MD you will find the Flying Dog/Wild Goose Brewery. The tour/sample bar is open from 1-5 every Saturday. Buy a $5 souvenir pint glass & enjoy unlimited refills! There are also a lot of wineries around Leesburg/Bluemont/Purceville. If you're up for driving to Kent Island, Maryland on the bay, you'll have to visit the Jetty. My sister & her husband had an awesome laid back reception there! Blue crabs and beer are always best when you're on a dock over the water. Enjoy!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: dustymuffin

                                                            depends on what you want. i love richmond for living but i would agree it isn't the most necessary vacation destination. the mountains are better. i love the northern neck personally - check out williamsburg and then head up to the tides inn and then up to NOVA.

                                                          2. If you pass through Charlotte and are looking for a meat and three I would recommend the following, some with mixed local reviews, but it depends on what your up for.

                                                            Nicer sit down atmosphere:

                                                            Mert's Heart & Soul
                                                            ( More of a Soul Food place than Meat & Three, but aren't they pretty much the same)
                                                            214 N College St
                                                            Charlotte, NC 28202
                                                            (704) 342-4222
                                                            Uptown/Downtown Charlotte
                                                            http://www.mertsuptown.com/

                                                            Dish
                                                            1220 Thomas Ave
                                                            Charlotte, NC 28205
                                                            (704) 344-0343
                                                            ( More of a Southern Fare then actually a Meat & Three, they don't have Fried Chicken
                                                            )In a cool eclectic little neighborhood Plaza/Midwood
                                                            http://www.eatatdish.com/
                                                            Closed Sundays

                                                            ___________________________________________________________

                                                            Less atmosphere more cafeteria style:

                                                            Down to the Bone Soul Food
                                                            7945 N Tryon St
                                                            Charlotte, NC 28262
                                                            (704) 548-1616
                                                            Close to I-85 in the University area of Charlotte
                                                            (Soul Food/Southern
                                                            )http://downtothebonesoulfood.com/
                                                            Closed Mondays

                                                            There are some more, but I like to call these fairly safe bets.

                                                            1. Why give advice to a man that made this trip a year ago??

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: RVAwino

                                                                Actually, I was unable to make the trip last year. So it is still on my to do list and I welcome any new advice. Hopefully, it will also serve as a reference for others passing through these areas. An advice to one is an advice to potentially thousands reading these boards.

                                                                1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                                  Yes, I am taking this trip in a few months and there is valuable information here!

                                                                  I plan to take the trip from NYC > Atlanta, stopping for a night. Any recommendations for good places to stop (while still making good time)? i'm thinking somewhere in NC? Look forward to eating bbq, fried chicken, whatever comes our way! Any burger joints or fast food type places I shouldn't miss (that is, local eateries, not McDs, etc).

                                                                  1. re: Linda

                                                                    Not sure if this is the type of food you are looking for, but about 30 minutes out of your way, right off I-81, is Town House located in Chilhowie, Virginia. It is without doubt one of the best progressive restaurants in the country. http://townhouseblog.blogspot.com/

                                                                    At 5 hours from Atlanta, it would make for a perfect place to stop. You could stay at the Francis Marion Hotel in Marion, Virginia.

                                                              2. Take the backroads of Va along Rt 17 (from 95 south outside DC all the way to Charleston). Very rural, very scenic and lots of great bbq stops in SC. For great seafood in VA stop at www.sandpiperreef.net for a taste of Chesapeake Bay seafood...fantastic crabcakes and fried oysters. Quaint little town www.visitmathews.com