Tree Hugger??? Tallahassee is YOUR town.
The city of Tallahassee has a long standing love affair with her old and stately oak trees. We've seen the horrors of what happened in south and central Florida, as developers stripped the land clean and then threw up condominiums.
The city of Tallahassee has done everything in its collective political power to preserve our old oak trees. Surprisingly, it's been pretty easy, as the citizens generally are all on board with the idea of a green and leafy Tallahassee.
In the accompanying picture, you see a street scene in one of our older neighborhoods, over near Myers Park. This area is considered a historic district, but it's not a bunch of monuments. It's a neighborhood, with families living in the lovely historic homes. Just look at those huge oak branches over the road.
Bradley's Country Store, established in 1927
About 12 miles out of Tallahassee lies Bradley's Country Store, home of Bradley's Country sausage. The fine folks at Bradley's (ie the Bradley family) have made great sausage for almost 80 years. I've eaten my weight in their specialty over the years. Bradley's also offers a first rate butcher-shop service for country-style meats. Fine country ham, pork chops, ribs and such can be had at Bradley's.
Lots of people drive out to Bradleys to buy sausage for their out of town friends when they visit. It's so tasty that people pack it in ice and take it home.
The Bradleys are good people, too. For years, they've partnered with all sorts of civic groups, providing their sausage dogs at a very reasonable price for fund-raising. As a band parent, I've cooked a million of them. :)
And last but not least, the Bradleys host two big Tallahassee events each year. In the fall, the store and lands around it play host to Bradley's Old Fashioned Day. There's craft sales, historical demonstations and, of course, a great opportunity to get some good country food.
In the spring, Bradley's hosts the Tallahassee Renaissance Fair. Knights of old and such. Seems like a weird thing to happen at a country store, but it's very popular.
Get yourself a Bradley's sausage on your next visit to Tallahassee. If your Tallahassee host really loves you, maybe he or she will drive you all the way out to the store. : )
To find Bradley's FROM TALLAHASSEE, go about 12 miles "out of town" on Centerville Road, starting at Cap Circle NE. Bradleys' is well marked, on the right side of the road.
To find Bradley's FROM MICCOSUKEE, go "towards" town (Tallahassee) on Mocassin Gap Rd. (Mocassin Gap Road in Miccosukee and Centerville Road in Tallahassee are actually the same road) About 6 miles towardsTallahassee, Bradley's will be on the left.
More tasty Tex-Mex in Tallahassee
Tallahassee has several good INDEPENDENT Mexican eateries. My favorites tend to be small operations, the sort of places that are family owned and operated.
The Old Mexico Grill and Cantina is another such place. The food is tasty and fresh, the service friendly and the prices reasonable. What more could you ask for when you've got a powerful hankering for a chimichanga? As for drinks, they have nice cold Mexican beer and some good margaritas.
The food is all pretty good. Most recently, I had a nice combo fajita plate featuring both beef and shrimp. Very well done and as always, almost more than I could eat.
Chimichangas are always a good choice, as are the combo plates.
$4 per car, or $1 per person, whichever is more.
You have two choices when it comes to Maclay Gardens. You can (A) see the gardens and Maclay House or (B) go on the trails. Whichever you choose, they are both lovely. The gardens are most spectacular in late March, early April when the azaleas and camilias are in full bloom. The gardens is pretty much a labyrinth of flowers and foliage if you decide to venture off the brick driveway up to the Maclay House. You can get a free tour of the house and have a picnic in the green in front by the lake. You can also go to the walled garden and reflecting pool, a very beautiful thing to behold. It's a popular place for weddings and formal events. The trails are mainly used by people exercising, but it's nice to get a breath of REAL fresh air every once in a while. Maclay Gardens embodies Tallahassee's identity with Springtime.
Tallahassee VT Meetings
"Doug48 makes another Tallahassee appearance"
Doug48 is one of the nicest guys on VT. I recently had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time, courtesy of my VT friendship with JudyinPA. We had a Tallahassee meeting, and Judy invited Doug, who was a friend of hers. It turns out that Doug owns some property here in Tallahassee...not far from where I live actually...and is a frequent visitor to our town. During our first meeting (with JudyinPA and Vela Candela in January of 2008, see below), Doug and I talked about a new place in Tallahassee (Ray's Steel City Saloon) and decided that we'd get together there the next time Doug was in town with some time to spare. (Ray's has over 100 beers on their menu, and Doug is a beer-loving guy)
We were able to get to Ray's in early April of 2008, when Doug joined me, my wife and daughter for a nice meal. We had a great time, and got to know Doug a whole lot better, swapping stories and tales of life, travel and just "stuff". We seem to have a lot in common, and since Doug does own property here in town, I'm thinking and hoping that our VT meetings will become a regular thing.
Doug is a great guy and a terrific friend. Can't wait until our next night of beer goggling, Doug. And again, a special thanks to JudyinPA for sharing "her" VT pal Doug with us.
"Tallahassee VT get-together, Jan 6, 2008"
Early in 2008, we had a nice little VT meeting locally here in Tallahassee. Vela_Candela (Juliana) and I (the most active Tallahassee VTers) welcomed JudyinPA (Judy) and her husband Steve, and Doug48 (Doug) to Tallahassee. Also joining the group was Juliana's fiancee, Will.
We chose one of the best restaurants in Tallahassee for our meeting, Chez Pierre. The service was wonderful as always, and the whole get-together was just terrific.
This is the sort of extra that makes VT so interesting. Sure, among all the members, there are some jerks, people you don't want to know. But, there are so many interesting people on VT who share common interests. And, it's all so nice to meet new people "through" our other VT friends. JudyinPA had been good friends with Doug48, and was responsible for Doug attending. It turned out that Doug had a lot in common with Bonnie and I, and that he also has land IN Tallahassee. I'm sure that we'll get together with Doug for drinks from time to time in the future.
Thanks so much to everyone who took part in our little Tallahassee VT meeting. I'm still laughing about some of the silliness we came up with in our discussions. So many great stories, adventures to share. And at the end, we went around the table and chose our "favorite country visited".
""Picture" meeting up with Vela_Candela"
There aren't many active members here in Tallahassee. But one of them is Juliana (vela_candela on VT), a talented and interesting lady that I met on VT a couple of years ago. We've been friends ever since, but had never actually met, even though we live in the same town.
In 2006, Juliana had an exhibition of her photographs out at Florida State University's Oglesby Union, and she invited me to attend her closing reception. So with my wife Bonnie and daughter Sara in tow, we went out to meet "Vela Candela" and enjoy her photographs.
*****April 2008 update....
Juliana has just recently gotten married to Will, her wonderful fiancee. Our family wishes the very best to this sweet and lovely lady and her new hubby. They're moving to the Big Apple, so that'll be just one more reason to get back to NYC one of these days.
"Hosting Florida999 in Tallahassee"
Most of my VT meetings have been on "visiting" turf... I've met friends during MY travels. So, my meeting in June of 2007 with Silke (Florida999) and her family in Tallahassee was a little different twist on a VT meeting.
I started it all out by giving Silke terrible directions to our planned rendezvous spot, a local Mexican restaurant. I'd gotten confused as to the correct name of the place we going to eat. However, we sorted it all out and finally found our collective ways to Los Compadres, a nice little local place on the north side of Tallahassee. Besides the VTers (Silke and myself), we both brought along "la familia". Silke was accompanied by her husband Alan, who being a 1991 Florida State graduate was INSTANTLY in my good graces. Go Seminoles! Silke also brought along daughter Nona (age 15) and son Colin (age 9). Colin's supposedl reputation as a "Dennis the Menace" (per his mom) completely failed to play out. Silke had promised me that he's spill at least something during our meal. Nona is an impressive young lady, and we sure hope that her future maps out in one of the many paths she still is considering. Silke, I think you're going to have a tough time convincing her to stick with the family "engineering" tradition. She's got the acting bug AND there's that "I'm terrible at math" thing. Speaking from experience, you'd probably best be ready for multiple major changes when she hits college. :)
The Chamlis family was represented at this VT meeting by me, my wife Bonnie and my daughter Sara. Son Jeff was busy working as a band camp counselor and was unavailable for lunch duty. :) I felt like Sara and Silke's kids got on quite well. I do know that Nona and Sara share a love of horses and animals.
Silke, it was a pleasure meeting you and your family. I really did take a liking to Alan, and I felt like he enjoyed himself, too. Sharing travel experiences, kid stories and days of college past were a great way to spend a Saturday lunch. I also very much appreciate and thank you again for your kindness in buying lunch. It was a wonderful early birthday present. I especially enjoyed hearing how much disregard you have for that (these days) ubiquitous creature, the "University of Florida Gator". Again, Go Seminoles, and we'll say "how about them Central Florida Knights", too.
One of these days, we will absolutely get down to Orlando, and we'll all go to that Mongolian BBQ place that you rave about. It sounds great. And with your relatives having just establishing a homestead over in Killearn, I suspect that you'll be back through Tallahassee from time to time. I'll hope we can get together again.