Old and new in downtown Tallahassee
Tallahassee is a very pleasant mix of old and new. Over the past thirty years, the downtown improvement folks have done a great job of eliminating old and decrepit building having NO aesthetic or perservation value, while maintaining and renovating some historical gems. And, they've allowed new buildings that are beautiful, functional and complimentary to the downtown ambience.
In fact, we actually have TWO capitol buildings. We have the old historic capitol and dome, beautifully renovated in the mid-1970s to a 1902 form. (Some folks tried to tear it down, but Secretary of State Bruce Smathers REFUSED to move his office from the old building, drawing enough support and attention to save the old capitol. Good move, Bruce.) And while the old capitol is beautiful and has a stylish southern grace, it was absolutely not adequate for modern state government needs. So right behind the old capitol, the state built a modern 22 story state capitol tower, with round-cupola rooved houses of legislature (senate and house of representative) on either side. The new capitol is stylish, and the 22nd floor observatory (where you can easily see the Gulf of Mexico, as well as many miles north into Georgia) has become a popular spot for weddings. There's a porn side to things, though. Many folks have noted that the ramrod straight and high capitol, flanked by the two round rooves for the senate and house are the "official state phallic symbol". And when you look at it all from Apalachee Parkway, it's hard to disagree. (should I have chosen my words more carefully in that last sentence?) Maybe Florida should proclaim Viagra the OFFICIAL state prescription. With those millions of old guys down south, it would make sense in so many ways. :)
But, give them credit. Although it's rare, in THIS instance, our city government seems to be functioning well. Trust me, that's RARE praise from me. Usually, they're as bad and ineffective as any politicians you may have in YOUR world. :) In the photo above, we see a restored historic building on the corner of College and Adams Streets, one block from the state capitol building(s). And in the background, one can see the downtown Doubletree Hotel and office complexes, all new buildings in central downtown.
Tally's a pretty bland town,...
Tally's a pretty bland town, but it does have it's bit of quirky culture here and there. Check out Railroad Square, an artist community home to a great art supply store (Reaver's), an awesome vintage clothing store (Paizely Sun), and a phat antique/unique furniture store (Funkshun Junkshun). It's located off of Railroad (Macomb turns into Railroad south of the Civic Center). Also interesting are the locally owned shops of Divas and Devils, Angelic Souls, and Quarter Moon, on Pensacola Street across from Vinyl Fever. Don't forget to visit What's the Point and Euphoria on Gaines street for all your body mod needs.
THE best chicken in a chicken-lovin' town
Tallahassee, like most of the south, LOVES fried chicken. Many places serve fried chicken, and its most recent incarnations, chicken wings and chicken fingers or tenders.
THE best chicken in Tallahassee comes from a relatively-new fast food chain, Zaxby's. Headquartered in Athens, Georgia, Zaxby's has now opened two restaurants in our city, with two more on the way.
While technically fast-food, it's not quite true at Zaxby's. They prepare the orders fresh as you order them, so there is a slight wait for one's food.
The great thing about Zaxby's is their quality and freshness. Hot, fresh and tasty, every time. They also have a wide variety of items on their menu, all of which are good.
Anyway, if you find yourself hankerin' for some chicken fingers in Tallahassee, or in the south..... give Zaxby's a try. It's by far my favorite place. Their chicken fingers are hot, fresh and tasty. Ask to have them done "Buffalo style" for some extra kick.
Zaxby's also has some terrific salads, generally featuring chicken tenders, fried, blackened or buffalo style. They are huge, fresh and filling. They call them "Zalads". They've just brought back (by popular demand) their Ranchero Zalad, which features grilled or fried chicken, greens and a Tex-Mex twist.
If you attend an FSU home game, be sure to take in the half time entertainment, rather than stand in line at the food stands to buy pizza and boiled peanuts. (Pick those up before kick-off.) The Marching Chiefs, FSU's world reknown marching band, puts on a incredible show. You'll be amazed at the talent of the Chiefs!
"Capital of the Sunshine State"
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I visited Tallahassee. Before I knew much about this city, I pictured the stereotypical Floridian city - palm trees, flat, glamour, glitz, timeshares, and beaches.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Tallahassee has none of this. Well, almost none of this. I did find two palm trees, but other than that, Tallahassee was a complete and very pleasant surprise. The countryside consists of endless brilliant green rolling hills and beautiful two lane country roads lined with live oaks and dogwoods. "Glamour" and "glitz" are not appropriate adjectives at all. To the contrary, Tallahassee is quaint, charming, and homey with more historical landmarks than condos. No beaches will be found in Tallahassee - it is 35 miles inland - so leave the beach umbrella at home. Despite being inland, Tallahassee has plenty of water. I wouldn't be surprised if there are 1,209 swamps and ponds (home to Tally residents of the alligator and snake species) in the area.
The best part of Tallahassee is the people. The friendly Tally natives really know how to make visitors feel very welcome. One afternoon, as I was waiting on a park bench in downtown Tallahassee for my ride, every single person who walked by me greeted me with a smile and a "Hello."
"Garnet and Gold"
Tallahassee is a city that takes its universities and sports programs very seriously. Visit the city during a weekend when the Florida State University football team is playing at home and you will watch this relatively peaceful city transform itself into one gigantic party.
FSU's colors are garnet and gold. Sports are huge at FSU. The garnet and gold colors are resplendent throughout the city. In true school spirit, even roses reflect the FSU color scheme.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Tallahassee and I look forward to returning some day.