You've got all your gifts unwrapped, your stomach filled with ham and jellies, and now you're ready to make the trek east for a slice of Aggie heaven. If you're driving to the Chick-fil-A bowl this year, we've looked up a few restaurants and pit stops to make your adventure even more enjoyable.
Road trips to away games can be one of the greatest experiences in your life. That is unless you screw up from the jump and don't prepare accordingly. Are you sure there's going to be a koozie around when your tightly clenched beer is a bit too chilly? What are you going to listen to when the excitement of being with the people around you wears off before you hit Beaumont? We have some ideas for you.
Whether you're heading to Atlanta from Dallas, Houston or College Station; here's a list of restaurants you'll encounter along the way.
Breaux Bridge, LA
Crawfish, Alligator & Shrimp
Ocean Springs, MS
For those who live life to the fullest, here's a number of interesting attractions not too far off the interstates you'll be travelling.
Minie Ball Pregnancy - Vicksburg, MS
As the tale goes, a confederate soldier lost the ultimate roshambo game when a minie ball (bullet) was fired through his manhood. To make matters worse, the bullet ricocheted into a woman close to him, and she was immediately impregnated. Since he was the father, and his crotch now resembled a funnel cake, he decided to marry the girl. The bullet and it's story reside in the Vicksburg Old Courthouse Museum. You can also visit their KKK collection. #SEC #SEC
Birmingham, AL. The "Pittsburgh of the South" as someone once called it with a wry chuckle, is home to the biggest cast iron statue in the world, both with and without the assless chaps. Originally commissioned by the Commercial Club of Birmingham to promote the city at the 1904 world fair, the god Vulcan was left for dead on the side of the railroad tracks due to lack of funding, and was reborn over the years. Better see it now, as I'm sure we'll find out it is to be replaced by a giant Nick Saban Jello Mold once the contract is FOIA'd.
World's Biggest Office Chair - Anniston, AL
If a giant man of steel wasn't impressive enough, you should see his chair. Anniston, Alabama which is just 66 miles from Birmingham, is home to the World's Largest Office Chair. The 31-foot tall monolith was created as an advertisement piece for Miller's Office Furniture, and has served as an inspirational warning to some of Alabama's most obese citizens. Act fast. At 32 years old, you'd think that this chair would be firm in it's commitment to Alabama, but current rumors indicate that an offer to add casters to the legs from the University of Texas has made a move to Austin all but a "Done Deal".
Whether you're flying or driving, you're going to be spending your weekend in one of America's most cursed sports towns. The city, which was burned to the ground after the Civil War, was resurrected from the ashes and exists today as one of the most culturally diverse places in America. Whether you're looking for Southern charm, Delta Blues, or Northern wryness, you'll be able to find it all in Atlanta.
If you're reading this, it's obvious that you already have one activity planned, and that's Beating the Hell Outta Duke. Regardless, you're in Atlanta on New Year's Eve, so here's some places to check out around the city.
Yell Practice - Atlanta Edition
It wouldn't be an away game without a Midnight Yell. It's time to get the folks in Georgia acquainted with the practice, and I'm sure they'll do a hell of a lot better than fan favorite Arkansas did. On 12/30 there's going to be a pre-yell practice (pre-drinking) at Hudson Grille Downtown, and Midnight Yell will take place in C1 hall of the Georgia World Congress Center.
New York has the ball, Fayettevill drops a hog, Houston keeps trying to perfect the Tesla Coil dance - we used to call this Gloworama... GLOWORAMA... Do you know how hard it should be to get buy-in on a name that stupid? But I digress - and Atlanta, following suit with many cities around the country by dropping large iconic symbols, drops a 800 pound peach. It's near the stadium, and definitely where you''ll want to head for some live music, shows, family games, and I'm sure all the peach flavored alcohol you can throw $20s at.
Truth be told, if you haven't found a place to sleep by now you're probably SOL. Here's some places you can give a try to though.
If you have the means, you definitely should be staying at the Omni Hotel, located just a few blocks away from the Georgia Dome . Most Aggies fall under the classification of Fox News fan, so you'll really appreciate the CNN Studio Tour where you could possibly fulfill Jeremy Clarkson's dream of punching Piers Morgan. This hotel has all of the amenities necessary for you to completely avoid experiencing a new city.
The word on the street is that your best chance for hooking up with someone in Atlanta is at Andrews Entertainment District. Andrews Entertainment District has eight different bars, some DJ's, and all of the normal crap you'd find in a place where people with two kids like me don't go. If you use some targeted pick-up lines you should find yourself with a place to sleep for the night, but if not, there's always.....
I'll bet when you dreamed of your first car you thought about a v-8, pipes, maybe even some rims if you could just catch a few more hours bagging groceries. You know what you probably didn't think of that you should have? Living space. Your friends will all laugh at your '01 Crown Vic with the cop lamp on it until they're out in the cold, and you're stretching out on 71" of prime cloth or leather optional seating. True road warriors always need a backup plan.
Try it: "In Jars"
Try it: Shrimp and Oysters
Try it: Chicken and Waffles
Try it: Pimm's Cup
Try it: (dive bar)
Try it: Sweetwater 420
I've been to Atlanta a handful of times, but nothing is as good as native advice. We hunted down SBNation College Football Editor and Atlantan Jason Kirk to get some insight on Atlanta. He did not offer a couch to crash on, so please don't ask.
With Texas A&M just joining the SEC, we haven't yet had the chance to visit the Georgia Dome in any fan capacity. What kind of expectations should we have for the soon-to-be-replaced-by-a-stargate stadium?
Be prepared to climb over wreckage and 2004 NFC South championship memorabilia, as the facility has experienced incredible decay in the dozens of months since its construction.
Bring a rifle, a lantern, rations, and a tranquilizer gun. And your wits. You never know when a dusty column will come shattering down around you. One of the end zones has an okay bar setup. Try to seize control of it.
Travel in packs at night or during rush hour. Some say the ghosts of the ancient age (1995 or so) can be heard howling in the upper deck. Those are actually Alabama fans still celebrating the 2009 SEC Championship Game. It's inconceivable that any humans could survive the conditions inside the decrepit building, but Tuscaloosans thrive on barbecue nachos.
If the Georgia Dome does happen to be leveled while you're inside it, remain seated. A new stadium will be constructed around you shortly. But get out of that one in a hurry, because it will also be coming down soon. That's how we do things.
We've been advised by others to try and avoid downtown Atlanta. What are your thoughts on the best areas to stay in? Any lodging recommendations to go with that?
Just stay at a Waffle House. Or setting up near the north and east ends of the MARTA lines should give you reasonable options and easy access to everything. Well, not everything, because our city makes no sense. But many things.
Little Five Points is kind of the Austin of Atlanta, in that it has lots of weird, young people and stuff to do.
Any places in town that you would highly recommend avoiding?
Aggies in Buckhead sounds like a pretty good sitcom. Don't go to Buckhead. It's also kind of the Austin of Atlanta, in that it has many people who would like you to know they're rich.
Also don't go to the crime parts.
We all know Georgia is famous for peaches and peanut farmers, but where is the best place to grab BBQ in Atlanta?
First, we have more Peachtree streets than we actually have peaches. South Carolina is the real peach state.
As for barbecue, the best in the city is Heirloom Market, though it's a challenge to get into, as the county's still wrangling with the place over whether it can allow dine-in orders or not. So Atlanta. Most would call it a fusion-y place, as it's traditional Southern barbecue with Asian touches, but it's not exactly Asian barbecue. It also shares a facility with a liquor store.
Fox Bros is the most popular (it's excellent), Daddy D'z is the current cool-kids pick (also excellent and close to the Dome), and Fat Matt's is the most famous (it's good, no matter what the hipsters tell you). Community is the most overrated, IMO.
Many Aggies are beer snobs. Do you have a recommendation for some of the best bars with a variety of drinks on tap?
As the world's most boring bar-recommender, I'm just gonna tell you to go to Taco Mac. They're easy to find, and they have a lot of beer. Brick Store Pub, The Earl, Cypress Street Pint & Plate, and the Sweetwater brewery are also great.
As someone who has heard of the Allman Brothers, and a Nelly aficionado, I'm well aware of "Hotlanta". Is this moniker currently frowned upon locally?
Nothing could ever make you look more like a yankee from the year 1991 than using that word in the city of Atlanta.
Are there any attractions you'd recommend seeing, or places that shouldn't be missed while in town?
The Clermont is the obvious. It stars naked people who don't get to be naked anywhere else, and that's a beautiful thing. Also we have an aquarium bigger than Chattanooga's. Eat it, Chattanooga.
For the sake of conversation, let's say that I enjoy Pepsi, the Kyle Field beverage of the next generation, more than Coke products. What is my best chance of finding Pepsi on tap in the totalitarian Coca-Cola controlled republic of Atlanta?
You're gonna have to go to, like, Pizza Hut.
Follow-up: Is the World of Coca-Cola worth visiting, and do you know how many polar bears they have on staff?
All local polar bears are employed by Big Boi and tasked with monitoring temperature levels in the Dungeon Family's compound. I'd skip the World of Coke unless recoiling at sugar water engineered specifically for the tastebuds on the other side of the world seems worth $16 a person.