Continuing to choose the non-freeway routes, we drove from Chattanooga to Atlanta, taking this road and that through lovely forests and past isolated houses and small farms, noticing more stands of kudzu but nothing else of great note. Family Tradition - Yes!
In Hickory Flat, Georgia, about 25 miles north of Atlanta, we found the Family Tradition Restaurant. From the outside it looked like a steel building with a restaurant sign, but there were quite a few pickups out front, so we went in. There were three large dining rooms, sit anywhere you like, menus written up on whiteboards on the wall. You had your choice of five meats: catfish nuggets, chicken and dressing, meatloaf, fried chicken, and tunafish salad. Along with those were listed a bunch of sides: mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, fried okra, green beans, sweet potato casserole, steamed cabbage, black-eyed peas, cucumber salad and a few more. About six or seven waiters and waitresses were going back and forth pretty much continuously. In the middle of the room where we sat were three long banks, each consisting of three tables for six (three on a side). These were all filled up with large hungry working men. In fact, counting us there were only three women in the place. We were happy to find an empty booth. We tried the meatloaf and the fried chicken, along with cabbage and mashed and black-eyed peas and okra (all that for the two of us!) and liked everything so much we went back for Coca Cola pie and strawberry cobbler, which was steaming hot and wonderful! The Family Tradition is on Highway 140.
After lunch, we'd scarcely driven a few more miles when we spotted a strange looking stone house, surrounded by a stone and iron fence. We knew at once we'd found another personal vision and stopped to photograph it. There was a pickup truck parked in front, and the guy told us the house had been Bank wouldn't make a loan? built 27 years ago, by an owner-builder, that there wasn't a single piece of wood used to build it, and that the bank wouldn't give him a loan. "Not surprising," we replied, "bankers don't have any imagination!" The house is also on Highway 140, in Alpharetta.
Some days are just food-intensive. Our friends Sam and Linda live in Decatur, just outside Atlanta, where Sam teaches at the Georgia State University graduate school. After we had a chance to play with Betty the Cat, they treated us for dinner at a pleasant cafe near their home.
The distance between Atlanta and Macon is shorter than it looks on the map, because the Atlanta suburbs stretch out for miles and miles. Strip malls, car and car parts dealers, restaurants and cafes alternate with houses of all description, from tumble-down shacks to restored plantation homes and new MacMansions set back on impeccably mown lawns. Just as we thought we'd be in urban areas all morning, we entered National Forest land, where the road was bordered by forests and warning signs alerted us to lumber trucks (not on this Saturday morning, however). The tiny towns of Between and Social Circle were quiet on this holiday weekend.
At the outskirts of Macon, the red brick campus of Wesleyan College is waiting for the first students to walk along the paths, pulling their suitcases behind them. That, and the college football games on the giant TVs in our cafe at lunch remind us that Autumn is almost here.