Liberal in some ways, NOT in others
As far as the south and the state of Florida goes, the city of Tallahassee is pretty liberal. We Republicans (I'm more conservative) call it "The Peoples' Republic of Tallahassee". Part of the reason is that Tallahassee is a "company town" for government, being the state capital. Government workers, and there are a bunch of them here, tend to support liberal initiatives that lead to...you guessed it...even bigger government and more government workers. So, Tallahassee isn't the same sort of town as, say.... Macon, Savannah, Charleston, Birmingham or any other southern city of any size.
But in some ways, we ARE still southerners. One of the bigger events of each year in Tallahassee is the annual "North Florida Gun and Knife Show". No kidding. They fill up our civic center with all sorts of firearms vendors and such, and gun lovers flock to buy, sell and trade. I've never actually been there myself... I do have a couple of guns, but they're small shotguns for keeping the local rattlesnakes at bay. I'm not in the market for an AK-47, which you could certainly find at the gun show.
So, if you're a gun person, the annual North Florida Gun and Knife Show would be just your caliber. ;) One of the best commercials that appears annually on our local TV stations is the one FOR the North Florida Gun and Knife Show. It starts with a pretty young girl named "Heather". She's wearing a midrift top and a pair of very tight blue jeans. She also has a pump shotgun and she cocks the thing and announces "I'm Heather and I'll be at the North Florida Gun and Knife Show. Sure as shootin', I'll see you there". Say it with a heavy southern accent, and you get the picture.
Florida State football, fall madness in Tallahasse
NOTE: BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE ATTACHED PHOTO. IT IS A PANORAMIC SHOT AND THE EFFECT WILL BE MUCH MORE IMPRESSIVE. : )
THE top sports draw in Tallahassee is undoubtably the Florida State University's football team. The team's nickname is the "Seminoles", in honor of (and with full support of) the local native American tribe.
The FSU Seminoles have been at or near the top of American college football for the last twenty years, winning national championships in 1993 and 1999.
If you'd like to spend a wild Saturday some fall in Tallahassee, come join the Seminole nation at Doak Campbell Stadium. Wear Seminole colors (garnet and gold) proudly.
And, if you want to fit in, be sure to harass anyone wearing the orange and blue colors of FSU's arch-rivals, the University of Florida Gators. They're the bad guys in this town. Bring some cold beer and a good set of vocal chords. If it's a day game, bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
Get ready to party and go nuts!
The old Carnegie Library/Springtime Tallahassee
In the tip above, and in my travelogues, I mention Tallahassee's huge annual springtime celebration. TLH bills itself as "the city where spring begins".
One very nice trend in TLH is that government and civic organizations are choosing to restore old historical building for their headquarters and such. Among such undertaking are our Old Union Bank building (the oldest bank in Florida, and now a small museum honoring civil rights), and our Chamber of Commerce, located in a circa 1830s mansion called simply "The Columns".
Just a block east of Monroe Street on Park Avenue is the old TLH Carnegie Library, which was founded as part of the Carnegie reading and library philantropy of the early 20th century. The library itself is long gone, having been closed before I was a teenager. However, the early 20th century building remained and was converted in the headquarters for the Springtime Tallahassee Committee. So, if TLH is really where spring begins, here is where we start it. :)
Inexpensive Cuban food
The Black Bean is a simple little Cuban Cucina in Tallahassee, a place for some great Latin fast food. There may be a "millione" of these places in Dade County/Miami, or even in Tampa.. but they're less prevalent in far-north-Florida Tallahassee. We don't have anywhere near the Cuban population that exists down south.
The dishes at Black Bean are simple, well-prepared, authentic and quite inexpensive. They proudly advertise that EVERY menu entree is BELOW $8.
The outside patio can be nice on a summer's night, after some of the traffic on the parkway dies down. For a nice local newspaper review of THE BLACK BEAN, go to http://www.tdo.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060127/ENT03/601270304/1020 Fried plantains are wonderful. Black beans and rice. Authentic Cuban sandwiches. All good stuff. (Bring your Prilosec or antacid of choice on the Cuban sandwich!) Arroz con Pollo, all of the standard Cuban wonders.
As for dessert, I am a huge Flan fan. :)
old city cemetery
the old city cemetery is located in downtown tallahassee on park ave between monroe street and the FSU campus. established in 1829 it is the oldest cemetery in tallahassee. the old city cemetery is the final resting place of a number of florida governors, prominate tallahassee citizens, and confederate and union civil war dead. the old city cemetery has an excellent collection of funerary art.