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Dear Internet, Help Us Plan Our Retro Road Trip To Austin TX – Thanks!

Posted on: February 8, 2011


As we make plans for our retro road trip to Austin TX next month I can’t help but compare the process to what it used to be waaaay back in the 90’s when I took my first road trips out of the North East. Books, maps, guides and payphones have been replaced by the internet, GPS and social networking, and I think it makes the process even more fun!

Planning a Retro Roadtrip - Old SchoolI’ll still be referring to my books, but I also want to take advantage of the internet – where I can shout out “Does anyone know of a good place to eat in Jackson MS?” and perhaps I’ll get a local person who will give a recommendation that I might not have been able to find with the limited resources of days of yore.

That being said, anyone know of a good hotel/ motel /restaurant / vintage business / classic sign / old theater / cocktail lounge / drive in / dive bar / BBQ joint / ice cream stand / bakery / roller skating rink / diner / souvenir stand / tourist trap / roadside attraction that we should not miss on our journey?

How about a bologna factory?! We’re pretty much game for anything along our route!

Seltzer's Lebanon Bologna Palmyra PA 1996

Here is the plan so far:

We’ll be heading from PA to Austin via 81 /77 / 85 with a stop in Atlanta so Retro Roadhusband can play some gigs, and we can eat at The Varsity and Mary Mac’s Tea Room.

From Atlanta we’ll head through Birmingham AL and Jackson MS – neither of which state is represented on the Retro Roadmap! Whaddaya got?

We go south from Jackson, taking the coastal route west, with Baton Rouge LA and Houston TX being the biggest dots on the map before we head to Austin, where we’ll be for a few days for the SXSW music convention. (While we’ll be oh-so-close to New Orleans, I want to save that for its very own trip later this year)

Then when we leave Austin we’ll be hitting such high points as Graceland in Memphis, Hatch Show Prints in Nashville, Wigwam Village #2, The American Sign Museum and the home of Fiestaware, before we reluctantly swing east across PA to head home.

While we’ve got these pins in our map already please let us know if there are any places to eat, visit, photo, people we should meet, regional foods to eat, souvenirs to buy along the way. If we can cram it into this trip we’ll do it. And if we don’t get it all done, that means we need to take another trip!

I look forward to any suggestions that you have, and promise to share the trip with “y’all” while we’re on the road and when we return.

Thank You in advance,

Mod Betty & RetroRoadhusband

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  • You’ll be going through Spartanburg, SC on I-85, so you might try to fit in the Beacon for lunch:

    http://www.beacondrivein.com/

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  • rick

    Beth- You may be interested in stopping at Tim Hollis’s place near Birmingham- it’s very blog worthy. And do you know Greg Smith and Beth Dodd form the SCA? I’m sure they could hook you up…

    Also if you cans stop at the UCM Museum in Abita Springs- it’s well worth it!

    • Rick – I’ll be Googling that momentarily! I have not been introduced to Greg and Beth, but perhaps will shoot them an email. Great ideas all – thanks!

  • Joking11

    If you are heading through Nashville, I love Tootsies Orchid Lounge downtown. Great singers Leslie Craig and Daniel Eagle play every night (upstairs) but Monday and Wednesday. Gets *extremely* crowded weekend nights but fabulous entertainment.

    Also there is the Love Cafe, you may even run into a celebrity at either place.

    • Thanks very much for the Nashville tips! RetroRoadhusband is definitely interested in checking out some of the nightlife when we’re there, so this is great.

      • Mike

        Nashville Tip #II

        Elliston Place Soda Shop. It’s the real thing.

        Have a great trip, I’m envious!

  • Liz LeFever

    South of Memphis in Clarksdale, MS (birthplace of the blues)is the Shack Up Inn, where you stay in old sharecroppers shacks that are funkily decorated. very music-oriented, they even have guitars in the office you can borrow, very nice people. Abe’s BBQ in Clarksdale is really good. If you go near Louisville, you have to check put Lynn’s Paradise Cafe.

    • Liz- thanks so much for the tips- I’ve put the pins in the gigantic map and will see if we can reroute to check out the Shack Up- will let you know if we make it! We’ll be going through Louisville too – always good to have options- thanks!

  • While in Atlanta, try to get in and see the interior of the old Fox Theater. And if you venture up Marietta way, don’t miss the Big chicken:

    http://roadsidegeorgia.com/site/bigchicken.html

    • Lizzie- I’ll have to check with my pal Wendi who lives in ATL but I swear we went to a show there years ago (I’m thinking Matthew Sweet) – wasn’t that the theatre that Gone With The Wind had it’s debut in, or a similar story? I remember wanting to snap a photo of the marquee for sure.

      Thanks also for the official address for that big chicken! I’ve seen it in folks’ photos but never knew where it was ’til now. Added it to the map!

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