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Old 04-16-2018, 07:00 PM   #1
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ISO Restaurant & Sightseeing Recommendations

WAHOO!!!

DH and I have decided that we will be driving across the country
from Arizona to Virginia.
The In-laws (DH's fam) are all gathering this Summer for a week and we've made the huge commitment to join them.
I say this because it's, what, about 2100 miles, EACH WAY!!!
And of course, the gasoline prices are starting to rise, I just hope that they don't get too high during our travel month.

We like to make a few stops and do/see stuff along our long journeys; not just make a bee-line from point A to point B and back again---where's the fun in that. (If anyone has read my blog of late, I shared our Great Western Adventure---fun!)

So ...
I'm looking for any recommendations for good eats and/or attractions at or very near to our stops in:

Fort Smith Arkansas
Cookeville Tennessee
Louisville Kentucky
Savannah Tennessee (we're stopping at Shiloh N.P.)

We prefer not to go to "chain" type restaurants, we like Mom & Pop local joints; we're not fancy-kinda folks.

We're history buffs, so that's a plus.

We'll be at each locale 1-2 nights, depending on what there is to see and do.

This is starting to sound like a really fun road trip!

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Old 04-16-2018, 07:06 PM   #2
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BBQ.....can't help you there, but I would go for that
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:43 PM   #3
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Where exactly are you going in Virginia? We're here in the southeastern corner at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Is there a chance we could meet up?
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:01 PM   #4
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I've actually spent a lot of time in Ft. Smith, and I was going to send you to one of my favorite places, Neumeier's Rib Room, but it looks like they are no longer in business.

Let me check with some of my friends who live there and get back to you.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaneohegirlinaz View Post
...So ...
I'm looking for any recommendations for good eats and/or attractions at or very near to our stops in:

Fort Smith Arkansas
Cookeville Tennessee
Louisville Kentucky
Savannah Tennessee (we're stopping at Shiloh N.P.)...
I hope this isn't your actual route - it's got a bit of back-tracking there.
If you will be passing through or near Knoxville TN, stop in to see the "Golden Girls" Family Restaurant in Clinton TN. We ate at the restaurant when we did the eclipse thing and really enjoyed the food. Authentic, down-home southern cooking, if that's OK with you.

About an hour SE of Louisville is Bardstown, KY. Home to a number of Bourbon distilleries. We did the tour at Willetts. Not too far from there is another southern cooking establishment, Mammy's Kitchen. Himself had some sort of KY Hot Brown platter. I thought he was going to burst! He kept saying "one more bite" until there were none left. I don't remember exactly what I had, but it was delicious too.


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...we've made the huge commitment to join them.
I say this because it's, what, about 2100 miles, EACH WAY!!!...
Oh. Big. Deal. You're retired, so you can take an extra day here or there if you need to - and you can fit it into your budget. We did "Cleveland to MA to Cleveland to Tempe to MA" in two weeks when we moved from OH but had to get back to take our son to college and get back to MA for Himself to get to work. 5800 miles in two weeks. We lived. We felt dead for a few days, but we lived.

Have fun. Drive safe. And you must post your dinner every night. Got it?
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:03 AM   #6
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I think you should travel part of your trip along the old Route 66. Although it may be quite nostalgic- touristy now-a-days. I like truck stops, diners and small town cafes when traveling. (It's usually only a few hundred miles these days for us, but we need to stop anyway to keep our strength up. LOL)

By all means eat real Texas bbq, so you can compare with both Tenn and Ky bbq.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:32 AM   #7
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Where exactly are you going in Virginia? We're here in the southeastern corner at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Is there a chance we could meet up?
GG, being able to meet with you and yours would be wonderful, but we are headed to Western VA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
I've actually spent a lot of time in Ft. Smith, and I was going to send you to one of my favorite places, Neumeier's Rib Room, but it looks like they are no longer in business.

Let me check with some of my friends who live there and get back to you.
Steve, that would be great if your friends could point us towards a lovely meal and possibly sights to see too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
I hope this isn't your actual route - it's got a bit of back-tracking there.
If you will be passing through or near Knoxville TN, stop in to see the "Golden Girls" Family Restaurant in Clinton TN. We ate at the restaurant when we did the eclipse thing and really enjoyed the food. Authentic, down-home southern cooking, if that's OK with you.

About an hour SE of Louisville is Bardstown, KY. Home to a number of Bourbon distilleries. We did the tour at Willetts. Not too far from there is another southern cooking establishment, Mammy's Kitchen. Himself had some sort of KY Hot Brown platter. I thought he was going to burst! He kept saying "one more bite" until there were none left. I don't remember exactly what I had, but it was delicious too.



Oh. Big. Deal. You're retired, so you can take an extra day here or there if you need to - and you can fit it into your budget. We did "Cleveland to MA to Cleveland to Tempe to MA" in two weeks when we moved from OH but had to get back to take our son to college and get back to MA for Himself to get to work. 5800 miles in two weeks. We lived. We felt dead for a few days, but we lived.

Have fun. Drive safe. And you must post your dinner every night. Got it?
CG, we hadn't really planned on taking this road trip, as we have other irons in the fire so to speak. As to long road trips, check, so far our little Honda C-RV has over 100,000 in less then 5 years That reminds me, gotta get the car checked over before hand.


And guys, thanks for these recommendations, BBQ is tops on our list.
We've had TX, Carolina and KS-Q before but not TN nor KY. These are States that, I, myself have not been to and I'm really stoked.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:44 AM   #8
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GG, being able to meet with you and yours would be wonderful, but we are headed to Western VA
...
And guys, thanks for these recommendations, BBQ is tops on our list.
We've had TX, Carolina and KS-Q before but not TN nor KY. These are States that, I, myself have not been to and I'm really stoked.
Darn. Well, depending on where out there you'll be, Natural Bridge is a great place to visit. It's a bridge of rock over a stream that's pretty famous in Virginia. It was surveyed by George Washington. Thomas Jefferson owned property near there. There are also caverns in the same area you can go inside. It's kinda near Blacksburg.

Nashville is about an hour west of Cookeville. If you have any interest in country music, it would be a fun place to visit.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:58 AM   #9
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I've actually spent a lot of time in Ft. Smith, and I was going to send you to one of my favorite places, Neumeier's Rib Room, but it looks like they are no longer in business.

Let me check with some of my friends who live there and get back to you.
One of my friends says Neumeier's Rib Room in Ft. Smith is still open. In his words, it's "the best in town."

Neumeier's Rib Room : The Best Damn BBQ in Fort Smith, AR!

I haven't been there for a long time, but it's not a fancy place. Just good food. My friend also recommended Taliano's for Italian, R. Landry's for Cajun, 21 West End for a variety, Rolando's for Spanish, and Emmy's for German. All in the old downtown area.

As far as things to see, there are a few little museums and so on. TripAdvisor usually has some good recommendations, too. My personal suggestion would be to take a side trip to Ozark National Forest, which is just northeast of Ft. Smith. Lots of beautiful scenery around the area.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:16 PM   #10
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I'm not familiar with any of those areas you noted, kgirl, but your trip sounds like a wonderful experience! I LOVE road trips....!

I'm with ya on the mom and pop local restaurants - why go somewhere that you can go to in your home state...?

Are you going to be packing coolers with on-the-road eats like you did last time?
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:52 PM   #11
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Yes, Cheryl, I'll pack up some grub for along the way.
At the least, our first night on the road, I make sure that I bring along a meal that can be re-heated and enjoyed in our hotel/motel room.
And then there's sandwich makings for along the way.

Whisk, we've driven along Route 66 in different portions across the US, we always enjoy it. I'm trying to remember this one section we took and it was so cool! I'd bet it comes to me as I fall asleep tonight

CG, I promise to post what we eat!
DH's Brother is planning a big Pig Roast, that ought to be interesting.

Steve, I pulled up that Rib Room, MMM!

And I forgot, CG, I'll look to see if we go past these restaurants, but I have them noted.

This is starting to sound more and more fun!
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:54 PM   #12
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I forgot to mention that we will be going to Louisville Kentucky too!
I've planned on going to the Brown Hotel and having a cocktail in the lobby,
but a Hot Brown is not our cup of tea.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:31 PM   #13
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As a Kentucky resident, I highly recommend traveling to the Lexington area, which is fraught with all manner of lovely horsie stuff. It's a beautiful area, especially this time of the year...or, actually, any time of the year.

You might find The Castle an interesting site. It's near Lexington by way of Versailles. Has an interesting history and, if it's not accessible to you on your visit, it's still a fascinating place.

Lots of history in this area.

If you have the opportunity to dine in Louisville, you might like to try the The Oak Room at the Seelbach Hilton. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

The whole place is straight out of a movie set.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:12 PM   #14
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I've done a lot of driving trips in Arkansas, as in, driving fast cars on twisty roads. The Talimena National Scenic Byway is very nice to drive, even at sub-three-digit speeds. It is very pretty.

Many of our drives were based in Hot Springs, which is a great place. I always stay at the historic Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa. It has old world charm, and as "resorts" go, it is cheap. They also have a great spa, where you can get a complete spa treatment for cheap, too, with hot spring water right out of the ground. Hot springs has nice parks and hiking trails, too, and water fountains are around the town where you can fill up your plastic bottles with natural spring water for free. Very interesting place.

McClard's BBQ is well known in the area. The BBQ is rib-centric, IMO, but they are also known for their tamales, of all things. Not authentic tamales, but pretty good. Definitely "mom and pop" atmosphere.

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Old 04-18-2018, 12:58 AM   #15
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...we are headed to Western VA...
Well, in that case...

You said you are history buffs? GG recommending Natural Bridge reminded me of a few other sites in that area.

Depending on whereabouts in western VA you are, I strongly, lovingly, recommend "Poplar Forest". It's Thomas Jefferson's retreat house, kind of like a mini Monticello. We happened upon it early in its restoration. We've visited several times, admiring the progress in the work they are doing. It provides a very personal look at our third president. Also in the same general area are Lynchburg and, a bit further east, Appomattox Court House. We thought we'd just swing by and see one building at Appomattox. Nope, they have a village and very knowledgeable guides. If you go there, plan on spending several hours.

Wherever you end up visiting, I wish I was going along!
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:42 AM   #16
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Thank you all, I've adding everything to our running list; we have alot of planning ahead of us... and as I said, we've got other irons in the fire
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:04 PM   #17
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Well, in that case...

You said you are history buffs? GG recommending Natural Bridge reminded me of a few other sites in that area.

Depending on whereabouts in western VA you are, I strongly, lovingly, recommend "Poplar Forest". It's Thomas Jefferson's retreat house, kind of like a mini Monticello. We happened upon it early in its restoration. We've visited several times, admiring the progress in the work they are doing. It provides a very personal look at our third president. Also in the same general area are Lynchburg and, a bit further east, Appomattox Court House. We thought we'd just swing by and see one building at Appomattox. Nope, they have a village and very knowledgeable guides. If you go there, plan on spending several hours.

Wherever you end up visiting, I wish I was going along!
Tons of history throughout Virginia! The western part of the state is a big big place! There's a really cool frontier farm culture museum in Staunton, which is also a big arts center: Frontier Culture Museum - Bringing the Past to Life

There's a fantastic Shakespearean theater in Staunton called the Blackfriar's Playhouse, where part of the audience is actually on the stage and is part of the play. It's so much fun: American Shakespeare Center

Not to mention the gorgeous scenery of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the mountains.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:07 PM   #18
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Tons of history throughout Virginia!...Not to mention the gorgeous scenery of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the mountains.
I know! We've probably spent more vacation hours in VA than any other state. And driven the spine of the Blue Ridge a number of times. When we took my parents to Williamsburg, we spent a night at the "Hotel Strasburg". They had thundermugs under the beds. Mom turned and looked at me and said "they have real facilities, don't they?? " We actually had a shared bath between our bedrooms. We've also eaten at the Wayside Inn in Middletown, VA several times.

K-Girl, you can add those two restaurants/hotels to your ever-growing list! Keep in mind that we haven't personally been there for a number of years.

I bet you're sorry you asked us for suggestions!
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:40 PM   #19
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As a matter of fact CG, I was just thinking how glad I was that I asked not just for restaurant suggestions.
DH said, "why are you asking a food forum about sightseeing information?" Well, I know that you folks live all over the place, have traveled, have done a lot of stuff... same as us.

And yes, our list is growing.
Thank you guys so much, and please, keep them coming.

We weren't going to go to this family shindig, but thought long and hard about (mostly DH's two sister played, each, their guilt card on him, sucker! they get him every single time!)
We had other plans, but I suppose they can always change and be re-arranged.
Come to find out that there's going to be a family photo to be taken during this gathering; more so he's all "I feel bad, we've got to go now."
I'm not sure how many of us there will be, I'm thinking it's 25
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:25 PM   #20
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DH thinks foodies don't travel? We love to travel and find out about new and different foods!

So where is the big gathering? And in what part of western Virginia will you be?
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