Driving South

Next Friday we’re driving south to visit family who recently relocated from Michigan to Alabama. We’ve been planning this trip for months despite not knowing how I would feel at week 29. But if the past two weeks have been any indication, I think I can handle it. We just need to confirm that there’s enough room in the Subaru for a cooler full of snacks and my Snoogle.

We’re also planning to break up the trip with several stops along the way, which I think will help tremendously. (I don’t think my body could handle sitting in the car for 12 hours.) And this is where we need your help! Our rough itinerary is as follows:

  • Pennsylvania to Lake Anna, VA.
  • Lake Anna to Knoxville, TN.
  • Knoxville to Huntsville, AL.
  • Huntsville to Asheville, NC.
  • Asheville to Pennsylvania.

Neither of us have been Knoxville or Asheville, so we’re looking for restaurant recommendations and must-see sites. (Now I know that one obvious response is the Biltmore. But, unfortunately, we won’t have enough time to do that site justice, so we shall just have to return another time!)

We’ll be in Knoxville for dinner one night and breakfast the next day. Can you recommend a good BBQ joint? Or a quintessential Southern breakfast spot? Any hip neighborhoods we should check out while we’re there?

As for Asheville, I’ve heard it’s a great little town. Again, where should we eat? Where should we stay? Where should we (window) shop?

We’re also planning to stop in Harrisonburg — Nick’s old college stomping grounds — for lunch as we pass through on our way home. Roanoke is another possible lunch spot for another day. Suggestions for either?

Thanks, y’all!

16 thoughts on “Driving South

  1. Sadly, I don’t have recommendations for either one. But check out design sponge. I know they have a city guide for Asheville (and maybe Knoxville too!).

    As for good ol’ Harrisonburg, my natural recommendation for lunch is Dave’s (I love a Taverna burger!) but if you’re looking for something quick and delicious, Cinnamon Bear has some of my favorite sandwiches on this planet. I also know of a FABULOUS bbq joint. It’s not in downtown Hburg, but it’s worth the 15 min drive into the country. It is so good!! It’s called Bar-B-Q Ranch and it’s just a fun little mom and pop bbq place. Here’s their info on yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/bar-b-q-ranch-harrisonburg And of course you have to go have some Kline’s!!

    Have fun!! I can’t wait to hear about it 🙂

  2. I can’t remember how Nick felt about Calhoun’s (now just called Cally’s), but it was recently sold to a chain based in Richmond, so this could be y’alls last chance to go before they close! Pennybacker’s is another local place downtown that serves tater tots with all their sandwiches…or Jack Brown’s which has AMAZING burgers and fried oreos…plus they’re local & owned by JMU alums. And now I’m hungry 🙂 (Dave’s and Cinnamon Bear are both good options though!)

  3. Emily – make sure you wear compression socks for such a long car ride. Your OB may have told you that already, but it will help prevent swelling.

  4. I second Sunny Point — and I’m forwarding you an email my sister wrote me for another friend of mine who was going to Asheville and wanted food recs. (She lived there for a few years and is actually going to visit friends this weekend) I’ll ask her about shopping too. There’s lots of good stuff to see there. Yaaaay roadtrip!

  5. I have been to Knoxville twice (and will be back in September) since my little sis lives there. I very very strongly recommend The Tomatoe Head (www.thetomatohead.com) for dinner. They rely on fresh and regional produce, vegetables and herbs and I love it. I recommend their Caesar Salad and Hummous & Organic Blue Chips. I really think you would like that place. Besides it’s located on Market Square in Old City, which is a really cute and unique neighborhood with small shops. That is a must-see. Also I recommend Magpies Bakery (www.magpiescakes.com) for cupcakes and a shot of local milk. It’s a really small shop, but the cupcakes are to die for! And if you get the chance to check out The Sunsphere (you can go up for free) do so. It’s random, but I really enjoyed that.

    By the way, I love giving you recommendations for a trip in the US. How fun! I hope you enjoy your trip to see Nick’s family!!!

  6. Oooh, so fun! Y’all are going to love Asheville– I took a few trips there with my college boyfriend when we were at CofC, and it’s such a cool town. I don’t remember any specific restaurants we ate at– just that they were ALL good!

  7. If you can, you should try to stay in a B&B in Asheville. There are tons and they are all so quaint! I’ve stayed at Hill House, which is lovely… but there are tons! I’ve heard great things about the Black Walnut B&B… As for eats, I would suggest Tupelo Honey for dinner – amazing, homey Southern fare. The fried chicken is to die for. Early Girl Eatery is great for breakfast. Have fun! Wish I had plans to visit Lake Anna (or Asheville!) soon!

  8. I’m a Knoxville native now living in Birmingham, and there are several restaurants we ALWAYS go to every time we visit home. My absolute favorite is the Tomato Head. It’s truly one of the most unique places I’ve eaten, and their pesto is to die for. I like the Tuscan Chicken sandwich or the pizza with sundried tomatoes and pesto. All the artwork on their menus and tshirts is done by Yeehaw Letterpress, which is right around the corner on Gay Street and another quintessential Knoxville landmark. For great sushi, you can’t beat Nama. I’ve never had any anywhere that I’ve liked more. Their presentation and creativity with rolls is amazing, and sometimes they have half-price happy hour roll specials. Their Bahama Mama roll is sooo delicious. Barleys, which is in the Old City part of downtown, has an incredible selection of beers on tap, and their food is great too. It was always a meetup place for our friends because they have $2 drafts I think on Mondays or Tuesdays, can’t remember. The Crown and Goose (also in the Old City) is an amazing Irish pub-style place. The atmosphere is fantastic.

    If you want something a little more old school, Long’s Drugstore is a longstanding staple and serves up old-fashioned hamburgers and milkshakes. And it’s CHEAP, which is always good. 🙂 As far as BBQ places go, all my favorites are here in Alabama, but Sweet P’s has been featured on the Food Network more than once. Just be aware that it’s kind of in the ghetto and there’s only a little bit of outdoor seating. 🙂

    Hope this helps a little! Y’all have fun on your adventure!

  9. I’ve only been to Knoxville once but I’d definitely second The Tomato Head.

    In Asheville if you like beer Bier Garden is a good stop, and Early Girl Eatery is a great restaurant with a lot of vegetarian options that are delicious. There’s also a place my husband had eggs benedict once and raved on and on about it, I’ll let you know if he remembers the name of the place. I want to say it was only for Sunday brunch or something.

    Oh, and I’m in Birmingham (and you should def come down a little further, so much amazing food here!), so let me know when you come this way, I’d love to actually meet up 🙂

  10. My brother, sister-in-law and baby nephew live in Knoxville and I’ve visited many times. I second the commenter above who recommended Barley’s for pizza and beer. I also like Sunspot…good vegetarian and brunch food. It’s near the UT campus and has a laid-back hippie vibe. For BBQ, I’ve had Dead End and M&M Catering, although it was carryout from both. M&M is only a walk-up window, but I believe Dead End has a pretty cool eat-in atmosphere. As for other things to do…definitely a walk around Market Square. There are cute shops and outdoor restaurants. McKay Used Books is a huge warehouse full of used books, games, movies, music, etc. There are also a ton of trails and greenways if you just want to take in a scenic walk. Looking forward to hearing where you end up!

  11. It’s very spendy, but the Grove Park Inn is worth checking out. Cool old resort. Beautiful setting. Worth going up to check out the view for sure. We had dinner there once with Heather’s mom and grandparents. . . they probably have a nice breakfast or brunch if you’re not looking to spend too much. http://www.groveparkinn.com

  12. My husband and I have been to Asheville several times. It’s such a great foodie town! Our favorite place in Asheville hands down is the Market Place. All of their food is locally sourced (within 100 miles) and very creative. We would up ordering 5 or 6 appetizers instead of an entrée since we couldn’t decide what to order and everything we had was delicious. http://www.marketplace-restaurant.com/food We also had a really good brunch at Sunny Pointe Café http://www.sunnypointcafe.com. Ashville is known for their breweries so Nick can enjoy tons of craft-brews. Here’s a little info: http://www.exploreasheville.com/foodtopia/food-adventures/asheville-breweries/index.aspx. And for a sweet treat, we’ve really liked French Broad Chocolate Lounge and Chocolate Fetish. I like Chocolate Fetish slightly more since they have really unique flavor combinations for their truffles. Have a great trip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *