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A southbound New Englander

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My girlfriend and myself, both lifelong Bostonians, will be flying into Atlanta and driving south to Albany for a wedding in late March. As you can imagine, driving through rural Georgia is not an opportunity that arises often for us. I was hoping someone would be kind enough to offer a couple suggestions to blow our Yankee minds somewhere along the drive. We're looking for that real Southern experience everyone's always going on about. I know this covers a ridiculously large area, but any help would truly be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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  1. in atlanta Empire State south is very good southern food--soif you stay overnight on way home that might work.Try looking into urbanspoon.com for cities along the way to see what pops up. You might also post on tripadvisor com and post in georgia forum---remembre how Albany is pronounved here its "al benny" a o as opposed to all bany.good luck

    1. We haven't done much in the I-75 corridor besides blaze through as fast as possible in either direction. We did stop at a meat and three in Griffin on the square that was good. Sorry, but I don't have the name.

      It isn't the direct route, but there are some good places if you go by way of Columbus. Rose Hill Seafood is only open a few days a week (and it's been a long time since I ate there), but it is really good. I also really enjoy Macon Road BBQ there.

      South of Columbus, if I have the directions right in my head, you'll drive through Fort Benning and it's fields of armor along US 280. You can also detour by Providence Canyon, a wacky, erosion-caused expanse of red (and white) clay. I believe you can route yourself to pass White Oak Pastures, GA's largest grass-fed beef and free-range chicken producer.

      There's also the Bulloch House in Warm Springs- known for fried chicken.

      1. i thoughtyoud be taking 85, but if youre going down 75 the Swanson House in Perry is excellent spot--ben there forevere,family run, good old time southern menu

        1. Thanks you guys for your suggestions. I'll be looking into all of these before we head down.

          It does look like 75 is our fastest option, but we're definitely willing to detour.

          And if you guys want a quick laugh at just how not from the South we are, I just encountered the term "meat and three" for the first time in this thread.

          Thanks again!

          1 Reply
          1. re: NateMayhem

            LOL! And don't forget, you'll need to perfect your "y'all" by the time you get down here. ;)

          2. Old Clinton BBQ on the Gray Hwy just east of Macon. Some of the best bbq & brunswick stew in GA. oldclintonbbq.com.
            A few minutes away is the Rose Hill Cemetary, where Duane Allman & Berry Oakley of the Allman Bros. rest.

            1. I would take a short detour to the Fresh-Air Barbecue in Jackson. They have opened other locations but this is the original (it opened in 1929!) and apparently the best.

              1. I second Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson (my hometown) and Empire State South in Atlanta if you eat in the city. Another excellent spot along the way is Buckner's in/near Jackson (it's also just off of I-75, exit 198 or so). They do "down home" sort of cooking and have phenomenal fried chicken and peach cobbler and great side dishes as well. Be aware that the restaurant is family style with big common tables that seat 6 to 8 people, so if your group is only two large you will almost certainly end up eating with strangers. You don't pick what to order -- you're served every dish they have that day in bowls on a lazy Susan that spins around in the center of the table, and the server comes by periodically and refills the bowls. Cash only with ATM on-site.

                1. An Atlanta institution is Mary Mac's on Ponce de Leon Ave. in Atlanta. begun in 1946 - they serve wonderful southern dishes.

                  1. Empire State South is Hugh Acheson's place,very southern and innovative.Collunnade {sp}in Atlanta,very southern with great fried chicken.Buckners good food,and lots of it.Old Clinton BBQ,in Gray,Ga better than Fresh Air and closer to 75.

                    1. Old South BBQ in Gray is quite good, but does not have the old South charm (feel) of Fresh Air BBQ in Jackson. Either is a worthwhile stop.

                      1. nah,old clinton in grey much better,same ambience,or lack of

                        1. stop in macon at a place call nuway hot dogs!!! they are one of the oldest chains in georgia, really good. they where on oprah's show once. they are awesome!!!!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: aschoolnerd

                            Nuway is a great visit. It is on a block long street across from the Bibb County Courthouse. The menu is mainly hot dogs and burgers. It is 80-90 years old and has an interesting history. The range of customers is as wide as you can imagine.

                            1. re: Milt

                              Oprah may have stopped at Nuway on the same trip, but her point in Macon was to go H and H, where you'll get the southern experience you are looking for.
                              http://mamalouise.com/

                              It's in downtown Macon, whereas Nu-Way is very close to a 475 exit.

                          2. been to nu-way and H&H many times.Neither really very good,nor worth a stop off interstate

                            1. If you want a real Southern experience, head to Louise's in Griffin. It's a meat & three that the locals go to, not a gussied up 'Southern' tourist spot.
                              At Louise's, the plates are divided, the fried chicken is to die for, and the ambience is pure rural Georgian. Around the corner is a big place called 'The Sock Shop'. It's a big outlet store leftover from the days when Georgia was a huge textile manufacturing center. The clothes aren't made there anymore, but the bargains are plentiful and worth the trip.

                              1. Any report back on where you ate?