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May 20, 2009 08:22 AM

trip to tn. from nj.

Hi. My friends and I are making a trip from New Jersey to Tennessee to attend the Bonnaroo music festival. We refuse to eat at fast food places in rest stops, so we were wondering if some of our Southern friends can recommend some nice places to eat or just some nice towns to browse for food. Apparently we will be spending the most time on 78 West, 81 South, and 40 West.

This is our first time driving below Delaware so we are extremely oblivious to the area we are traveling through. If someone can make our 14 hour, 877 mile trip more enjoyable, we would be eternally grateful.

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  1. In Strasbourg, VA is a fun, very local type place called the Hi Neighbor restaurant. Its not mind-blowing food by any means (just a small store fornt in downtown) but it beats the chains. Also, In Chilhowie, VA is the Town House Grill. I've never been, but apparently it is lfat out one of the best festaurants in the country. You might also want to do a search on here for the towns you'll be passing through, I'm sure you'll find lots of suggestions.

    1. I did a similar trip recently. In Harrisonburg, VA, there's the Little Grill Collective, which is kind of cool and hippie-ish. I had a very tasty lunch there and it has vegetarian and meat dishes. Much better than the chains you'll pass on the way. There are also lots of non-chain options in Lexington, VA, which is a nice town in which to take a walk.

      The Town House in Chilhowie is very innovative and wonderful. If your car is full of foodies who want a truly upscale dinner in the middle of nowhere, then plan on making an overnight stop somewhere near there.

      1. Where exactly are you getting on to I-40? What's the closest city?

        1. Right off I-81 Exit 17 in Abingdon VA is a bakery The Wildflour. Coffee, tea ,great breads, cinnamon rolls, pastries etc. They also do lunch ( sandwiches, soups and wraps and dinners ( but I've only looked at the menu, haven't eaten then)

          1. Abingdon VA has several places. Just get of the interstate and go to downtown, not very far at all. Knoxville, Tn has good choices. You will be on 40 and then through Knoxville either on I 40 or I 640. For inexpensive but quite good barbecue, try Buddy's (a local small chain with several locations) Also Puleo's has locations at Strawberry Plains coming into Knoxville, Cedar Bluff off I 40 going through Knoxville-southern and Italian menu-excellent fried green tomatoes with stone ground grits and tasso gravy. A great lunch place is Wrights Cafeteria (take Western Ave exit off I 640 Go R, Take first L then R at light onto Middlebrook, go about 15 miles and Wrights is on the left. Small, nondescript but fried chicken, home made rolls, great pies!