Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe

I've always thought it would be fun to visit this site from the movie filmed in Juliette, Georgia. And there is still a lively sweet presence to the place. The film set was a restoration of a real town and grocery situated at a train stop which was no longer in use. I learned that we see the place in its true condition at the start of the film "Fried Green Tomatoes." 

The movie set was then opened as a real cafe, which is in full swing today, and is a popular spot for the movie fans like me.

The place has much of the same character as that in the movie.

Groups of families, tourists, and ladies like these settle down to the tasty fare and happy atmosphere.

Folks still gather on the porch to talk.

The old buildings remain. Some are now very modest shops trying to make the most of the stream of regular visitors here. A captive audience, so to speak. But the movie tie-ins and souvenirs that I expected to see are not around except for the DVD of the film and a few drawings. I wanted pictures of Ruth and Idgie! A book about the making of the movie. Or at least a postcard from the Whistle Stop Cafe! (There are Cafe t-Shirts for sale...) Am I just being a curmudgeon?

I hope not, because I really did enjoy the spirit of the place itself. And the cafe is very well run and lives up to the reputation. The train still runs thrillingly close by, and whistles as it comes barreling through.

I was charmed by the jars for drinks.

The furnishings from the movie are still here, including the benches and counter. (Made for the movie set.)

The lighting and interiors are mostly original to the old building from before the film crew came in.

The set was more spare and simple and reminiscent of the thirties than it now is. 

Bars now cover the windows, but the old cafe signage is there.

A few framed photos of the beloved characters from the filming hang on the walls.

The place was full and busy the entire length of our visit.

We tried everything on the menu! (Well almost.) Really.

The appetizer has sweet potato "twigs" that are more like sticks, and we could only eat a few tasty bites. The chicken bits are moist and delicious. Exceptional onion rings with a distinctive flavor. (Our favorite.)

And of course the fried green tomatoes! I expect that the tomatoes are deep fried as a practical matter because of the large crowds to feed. They were served hot! But I think we want to try the pan fried variety with bacon drippings from a recipe we spied in one of the shops.

The salad with chicken was excellent.

The barbecue was wonderful! And the okra was as good as I have ever had. YUM!!!

Homemade ice cream with warm pecan pie! Fantastic!!!

We spent time wandering at will. This is one of the perspectives from the film. Picture it with vintage cars and covered over with muddy streets.

Big George made barbecue at this grill in the story,

And this is where Ruth brings Smokey Lonesome a blanket for the night.

We had the quiet back lot to ourselves for a long while. We wandered in the cool shade for a time appreciating our own thoughts. My husband confessed to me later that he felt an emotional twinge when he remembered the line where Smokey had a single possession when he died. A picture of Ruth. So I guess it's true (as is stated in the movie) that everyone loved her! But it's quite alright. I felt a few warm fuzzies myself recalling favorite scenes and characters portrayed here. The whole of the story actually. The friendships, kindness, the humor, Evelyn, Idgie, Mrs. Threadgoode, the simpler time, the sound of a train, near or far, day or night, the cozy cafe, and yes, of course, Ruth. . . .

A visit to the Whistle Stop Cafe now gets a big and satisfying check mark placed next to it, and marks the furthest point of our travels to the south.

Thanks so much for traveling with me!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Touring An 1840's Greek Revival House

 William Faulkner wrote, "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." You get a good sense of that idea here at his grand former home, Rowan Oak.

For all the acclaim of his works, Faulkner is not an easy read. But writers hold a certain mystique and fascination for other writers, and we have visited quite a few homes of writers over the years.

I realize that a post like this feeds a very small stream of the Cabin & Cottage readership. But aside from the writer's pilgrimage, I just love peeking into old homes! Especially when they are preserved for all time from the long distant era of the occupant's life, as is this one. It certainly gave me a feel for the earlier south. And this lovely gem is open to the public year round in Oxford Mississippi.

I admit to a smaller appreciation of the formal rooms downstairs, even with the bookcases full of Faulkner's own collection of books and all of the antiques, paintings, portraits, and belongings. The living and dining rooms don't inspire me quite like the more personal spaces. But the kitchen remains as it was in the thirties, and I love that there are many phone numbers written right on the walls as far as you can reach next to the phone in the corner down here.

The place is full of memorabilia and displays like this landing on the upper floor.

I loved this little space opposite, overlooking the front entrance, and seeing the views through the old wavy glass. 

The spaces are lighter and brighter up here. Not what I would expect from such an old house. And the pretty old wallpapers are still intact.

Rooms of gracious old southern living.

The grounds are no less captivating.

Easy to imagine other lives unfolding in the daily past of this grand old house.

Faulkner's childhood Mammy Callie's quarters are on the property. She lived here until she died. And her life was the one on whom many fictional characters were based in Faulkner's tales of the old south.

The graceful old outbuildings and barns are preserved as they were.

I loved this picturesque old barn and its features in back.

Saying "so-long" along the cedar lined walkway of Rowan Oak, The William Faulkner House.

 Pretty dreamy.

"How often I have lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home."

--William Faulkner

I hope all is as lovely where you are!


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