Nine Places to Nab a Traditional Southern New Year’s Day Meal

On New Year’s Day, you’ll find people throughout the South eating greens, black-eyed peas, pork and cornbread. Serving up these hearty foods on January 1 has been a generations-long tradition for many a southern native, but do you know why we eat them or where to find them in Georgia if you don’t want to cook another holiday meal?

Photo: Steve Gordon/Taste of Southern

Photo: Steve Gordon/Taste of Southern

Black-eyed Peas

My favorite story about black-eyed peas goes all the way back to the Civil War. The tale goes that Union soldiers ate up all the Southern crops except for black-eyed peas. The hearty legumes provided much-needed sustenance for the survivors during Reconstruction thus, they became a symbol of luck. Some folks even cook a dime with them and whoever gets the dime is said to have extra good luck that year.

Greens

Greens are said to symbolize money or prosperity and true Southerners say you gotta eat a lot! Some even say you have to keep eating them all day, but I’ll leave that up to you! Any green will do, but the most common choices are collard, turnip or mustard greens.

Cornbread

Golden cornbread is often added to the Southern New Year’s meal. As a well-known phrase goes, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.” But I say you just can’t have black-eyed peas and greens without cornbread.

Pork

Beyond just being so dang yummy, pork is said to be a symbol of prosperity because pigs root forward. In contrast, eating chicken or turkey on New Year’s Day is considered bad luck because they scratch backward.

Where to Eat in Georgia

These four dishes, eaten on New Year’s Day, are designed to bring you and you loved ones prosperity throughout the year. So where do you go if you want to guarantee good luck in 2016? Below are nine places around Georgia that are open and ready to serve up luck and prosperity on January 1, 2016.

The Blue Willow Inn

Historic Heartland– Social Circle, GA

No one is allowed to leave The Blue Willow Inn hungry after feasting on a variety of Southern salads, meats, vegetables, breads, and desserts. Their New Year’s buffet will have all the traditional fixin’s along with prime rib, seafood, and all the Southern desserts you know and love.

Blue Willow Inn Photo: Lamar/Flickr

Blue Willow Inn Photo: Lamar/Flickr

 

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Atlanta Metro– Atlanta, GA

Mary Mac’s boasts many awards and accolades, but most recently the 70-year-old establishment was named the Best Atlanta Soul Food Restaurant by our very own Family Explorer, Lesli Peterson. They fill up fast on holidays so come early to enjoy all the traditional New Year’s Day dishes.

 

The Smith House

Northeast Georgia Mountains–  Dahlonega, GA

The AJC once called the food at The Smith House “revelatory.” You can have your own revelation on New Year’s Day with the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat, family style dining experience starting at 3:30pm. They are located just one block from Dahlonega’s historic downtown square.

the smith house dahlonega georgia

 

Southern Soul BBQ

The Coast– St. Simons Island, GA

We named Southern Soul BBQ one of the best barbecue joints in the state, and for very good reasons. The popular restaurant offers plenty of ‘que along with the traditional collard greens, Hoppin’ John, and cornbread. Pick up a sampler of hot sauces to take home before taking a walk on the nearby beach to burn off all those delicious calories.

 

The Country Kitchen

Presidential Pathways– Pine Mountain, GA

Tucked inside Callaway Gardens, the picture windows at The Country Kitchen reveal a breathtaking ridge top view that pairs perfectly with the down-home Southern dinner served up on New Year’s Day. While you’re there keep the holiday spirit going and experience the famous Fantasy of Lights display, which goes through January 2.

 

Smok’n Pig BBQ

Plantation Trace– Valdosta, GA

The Smok’n Pig is a place steeped in southern tradition and old time Bar-B-Q. They offer freshly prepared country cookin’ just like grandpa used to do back in the day. So relax, sit back and enjoy a New Year’s Day barbecue feast with the entire family.

 

Goolsby’s

Classic South– Evans, GA

This welcoming cafeteria-style restaurant offers up all the traditional Southern meats and side you can think of, including fresh, fried-to-order fish. As one Yelp reviewer put it, “The staff is friendly, the portions are big, and the ribs were fantastically tender and flavorful. Their collard greens are pretty much the best you can get anywhere.”

 

goolsbys-restaurant-evans-ga

 

Partridge Restaurant

Historic High Country– Rome, GA

The Partridge Restaurant has been a major part of Rome’s downtown experience since 1933. Order up a family-style meal by circling your choices of classic southern dishes, then wait in anticipation with a tall glass of refreshing sweet tea. Don’t miss the cornbread, which comes to the table in its own cast-iron skillet.

Photo: Melissa C./Yelp

Photo: Melissa C./Yelp

 

Ole Times Country Buffet

Magnolia Midlands– Dublin, GA

Take a break from the kitchen and treat your family to a true Southern buffet restaurant. Ole Times Country Buffet’s all-you-can-eat offerings will leave even the pickiest eater in your family satisfied on New Year’s Day. Look for the unique pig decorations scattered throughout the restaurant.

Photo: Facebook

Photo: Facebook

Is your favorite place missing from the list? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!

3 Hauntingly Beautiful Georgia Cemeteries

Georgia Cemeteries: Myrtle Hill Cemetery

Myrtle Hill Cemetery. Photo by Sue Rodman, Field Trips with Sue.

As Halloween creeps up on the calendar, our thoughts turn to the spooky. This time of year is perfect for visiting one of Georgia’s many hauntingly beautiful cemeteries. Most are more historic than scary, but there is something about being in a cemetery at Halloween that adds a bit of gooseflesh to the experience. Here are three Georgia cemeteries worth a visit any time of year.

Linwood Cemetery, Columbus: Best known as the burial site of John Pemberton, the founder of Coca-Cola. Linwood offers guided brochures for download and tours on request. Each October, the Historic Linwood Foundation hosts a special guided tour as a fundraiser for the organization.

Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome: Myrtle Hill Cemetery sits on top of Myrtle hill at the confluence of the Etowah, Oostanaula and Coosa rivers, and offers one of the best views of downtown Rome, Ga., as well as the Appalachian foothills and Etowah Valley. The cemetery offers a mobile tour that includes text, audio, video and historical photos. The mobile tour is free and can be downloaded to your smartphone.

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Ga.: Bonaventure Cemetery was made famous in the movie (and book) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but if you are looking for the bird girl statue from the book cover, it has been moved to the Telfair Museum. What you will find is the gravesite of songwriter Johnny Mercer, who wrote Moon River. Visit on the second Sunday of each month for free walking tours from the Bonaventure Historical Society. On other days, stop by the Visitors Center for a copy of the Historical Society Guide which gives a history of the property and residents.

For more fall fun, visit the Field Trips with Sue Fall Guide.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

Click here to order Sue’s book, 100+ Things to Do in Atlanta.

Click here to follow Sue on Facebook.

Click here to follow Sue on Twitter.

Click here to follow Sue on Pinterest.

Click here to follow Sue on Google+

Click here to follow Sue on Instagram.

Weekend Family Fun in Rome, Georgia

Family Fun in Rome, GeorgiaRome, Georgia is amass with family friendly activities. Spend time on the trails or walk back in time. Head to the ballgame or cool off in a natural spring. We couldn’t cover everything in a weekend, but here’s how to whet your appetite in this Northwest Georgia town.

Day 1

Walk the Historic “Between the Rivers” district. Tour Myrtle Hill Cemetery and take the free Tree Tour. More than 35 different tree species are rooted here, many of which are rare or non-native. See the Capitoline Wolf, the Town Green Interactive Fountain, the Clocktower and Rome Area History Museum. The museum offers free admission, and visitors can climb to the top of clock tower March – October, the first Saturday of each month from 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch on Broad Street in Downtown Rome. Enjoy lunch at Harvest Moon Café, then head next door to Honeymoon Café for a special treat. Gelato, cupcakes and pastries fill the air with heavenly aromas. Kids can watch a cakemaker designing a special treat through the looking glass while enjoying a baby gelato cone or mini cupcake.

There are plenty of clever local shops on Broad Street, so take your time enjoying them.

Visit Chieftains/Major Ridge HomeBe humbled as you tour this National Trail of Tears Certified Historic Site, dating back to 1796. It was once the home of Major Ridge, a prominent leader in the Cherokee Nation.

Eat at Brewhouse Music & Grill. Enjoy brews, burgers and live music in a family-friendly American pub setting.

Rome Braves Baseball. From April – September you’ll want to grab tickets to a Rome Braves Baseball game. The Rome Braves are a Class A Affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

Labyrinth in Rome, Georgia

Rome Labyrinth

Day 2

Tour Oak Hill & the Martha Berry Museum . See a short film about Berry College then tour the Martha Berry Museum with artifacts such as the first diploma ever given by the school and Martha Berry’s personal typewriter. Follow that with a tour of the Oak Hill Home, Aunt Martha’s cottage and the award winning gardens.

Explore Berry College. Berry College is the world’s largest college campus, covering 26,000 acres. Kids love seeing the wildlife roam freely throughout the campus. Explore over 40 miles of trails, walk the grounds of Ford Castle, see the second largest working overshot waterwheel in the world, watch the swans at Swan Lake, hike to the house of dreams, visit the original settlement at Possum Trot and view the world famous Berry Eagles.

Lunch at Martha’s Skillet. The menu changes daily, but it’s always southern country cooking at Martha’s Skillet.

Cool off at Cave Spring. The town is named for the cave and natural mineral spring in the center of town. Bring an empty jug to fill with mineral water. Enjoy a cave tour, then swim in the spring fed Rolater Lake.

If you’re looking for more family fun ideas, check out 8 Free Things To Do In Rome, Ga on 365 Atlanta Family.

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Minor League Baseball in Georgia with Kids

Minor League Baseball in Georgia with KidsOur family recently went on vacation in Augusta, and while we were there, we attended an Augusta GreenJackets game. It was my first minor league game and a first-ever baseball game for the boys. It was fabulous! Here are five reasons why a minor league baseball game is must-do experience with kids.

1. Close to the action. Georgia’s minor league stadiums offer close-to-the-action seating. When kids can see the players well and actually feel the power of the ball meeting the bat, they are hooked. If you ask me, this is the best reason to start them at a minor league game.

2. Affordability. Tickets to minor league games are extremely affordable, and in many places like Augusta, parking is also free. If you join the Kids’ Club (see below) there are often opportunities for kids to attend for free.

3. Kids Club. Kids Clubs vary in cost from free in Augusta to $30, and their benefits vary. The Sand Gnats Kids Club includes an autograph session with the players, The Rome Braves offer includes box-level tickets. Each team’s program is vastly different, so be sure to look at each one.

Augusta GreenJackets

4. Special Events. My boys loved meeting Auggie, the GreenJackets’ mascot. He was very accessible and easy to get a photo with. Besides mascot days, other special events around the state include Splash day, Fireworks, Boy and Girl Scout Days, Family Nights, Kids Eat Free nights and more. Check Explore Georgia’s blog post on 2015 Summer Baseball Promotions and each team’s programming for details.

5. Play Areas. If your little one gets ants in his pants then you can always head to the play area. We enjoyed watching the last inning of the GreenJackets game as the boys played on the playground. Other fields include inflatables, and other play areas. If you think the kids need a little more freedom than a stadium seat offers, several places like Gwinnett and Rome offer berms for picnic-style seating.

So, where are the minor league fields?? There are four in Georgia: Augusta, Rome, Lawrenceville and Savannah. You can read more about our Augusta experience at 365AtlantaFamily.

 

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Surprising Georgia Suburbs: Cave Spring

Cave Spring exudes water, passion and preservation.

Help yourself to a drink of delectable water flowing from this cave, and take a tour inside. Photo courtesy J. C. Boehm, Tumlin House.

Photo courtesy J. C. Boehm, Tumlin House.

Take a pitcher to Cave Spring to capture the pure and delicious water in this northwest Georgia community. There are no chemicals in the 1.2 million gallons flowing every day from deep underground — just a dash of fluoride and a bit of required chlorinate. “99.9 percent pure,” Cave Spring Mayor Rob Ware says, of his community next door to Rome. To get to the source:

  • Meander through 29-acre Rolater Park, cross a little stream with ducks of many-colored heads.
  • Venture into the limestone cave with rocky passageways. Self-guided tours are available for $1.00 in the spring and fall, or by appointment.
  • Squat outside the cave entrance to fill as many containers as you like. Paper cups are available, but I recommend taking a substantial vessel. This water tastes too good for just a sip. It is worthy of my Waterford.
Comfortable sleeping, fine conversation, sumptuous meals and historic connections abound in the Tumlin House, a bed and breakfast inn in Cave Spring. Photo by G. W. Tibbetts.

Photo by G. W. Tibbetts.

The water is reason enough to visit this suburb of Rome, and so is sleeping over. Two historic inns are real options.I chose the two-story Victorian Tumlin House where the great-great niece of the original owner is today’s proprietor. I like real-live history connections, and Nancy Boehm (pronounced “bome,” spelled like the artisans of porcelain birds but not related) has a house full of them. Nancy knows lots of family stories in Cave Spring, going back to her Aunt Julia Dickerson receiving this house as a wedding gift from her father in 1896 when she married Albert Tumlin. Albert’s hat hangs in the parlor.

IMG_3623_2

Photo by G. W. Tibbetts

Passionate people live here,  caring deeply about their town of 1,200 neighbors. Enduring spirits do too: the Cherokee.Local historians three years ago discovered a two-story log building belonging to the Cherokee Vann family, built in 1810. That means before the Trail of Tears, and before Cave Spring was claimed by white settlers. Quite something, this two-story house and also the substantial Cherokee family home of Major and Schoya Ridge in nearby Rome. How was the log home protected so long? It was covered up by the Green Hotel, built all around the Cherokee building.

There is plenty of evidence of what happens in this tiny town when preservation people fuel their passion. Start in Rolater Park, the same place you get the water. Hearn Academy is the name to know, the private school established in 1839 to be “a permanent school of high order.” It seems that worked until 1922 when public schools were flourishing in Georgia. This exquisitely restored building was a boys’ dormitory; today it’s an inn.

Follow the Explore Georgia Blog for more Surprising Suburb adventures.

Christine 12. 2007 4Christine Tibbetts claimed Georgia as her home state in 1972.  She covers Georgia destinations, and the world, always offering prompts for exceptional experiences and opportunities to muse. Tibbetts earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous gold, silver and merit awards from North American Travel Journalists Association writing competitions. Follow her at www.TibbettsTravel.com