Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 50

Worth a Click
For a video interview
with Joe Deel, owner
of the Burger Bar
in Bristol, Va., visit
BlueRidgeCountry.
com/Retro

foods" of the Barbara Fritchie restaurant, which harkens travelers with a giant candy cane on its sign in
Frederick Md., along U.S. 15. That candy cane represents how the eatery began - as a candy company,
first called "Barbara Fritchie Chocolates," in 1910.
The current restaurant opened in 1960 and still specializes in sweet treats, like malt milkshakes.
Many retro restaurants like Barbara Fritchie's
remain along major highways, including U.S. 11 in
the valley of Virginia, where you can sample red hot
dogs at Dude's Drive-In in Christiansburg, Va., and
the one-of-a-kind dip dog at the Dip Dog Stand near
Marion. In between, time stands equally still at
Skeeter's on Wytheville's Main Street, where more
than nine million hot dogs have been served since
1920.
Down in Abingdon, Va., find the juicy Hi-Lo
Burger, along U.S. 11, near 1949's Moonlite Drive-In
Theatre, an official state historic landmark. Then
breeze into Bristol to have a seat inside the wonderfully retro Burger Bar, not even a block off State
Street, Bristol's famous lane with Virginia on one side
and Tennessee on the other. Here, the Tennessee side
of State Street is home of the Memory Lane Café, an
outpost of the popular Uncle Sam's Pawn Shop. It's
also a diner worthy of its name: Memory Lane operates at the former Woolworth's Fountain and Lunch
Counter, a storied place among locals.

The Todd General Store on Railroad Grade
Road looks not a day past the early 1960s -
maybe even the '30s. "It's in the past, and we
try to keep it that way," Mann says.
From Bristol, follow the long and winding U.S.
421 west to the outskirts of Pennington Gap, Va.,
where the Patio Drive-In has served hamburgers, fries
and shakes since The Beach Boys and The Beatles
battled for the top of the record charts. The owner,
Barry Calton, also does not mind if you toss your
trash into the parking lot; pitching wrappers has been
a goofy gimmick here since opening in 1965. "We
have the car hops that come out and wait on your car,
but we're not on roller-skates," Calton says. "We can't
afford that insurance policy."
Faux Retro
In Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains, an early
spring sky casts thunderheads above the classic cars
in the parking lot of The Diner, a '50s-flashback
sporting neon on the well-traveled strip linking
50 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

Sevierville to Pigeon Forge. Howard and Suzy
Kingsbury operate this immaculate eatery, serving
massive burgers and fries on checkerboard wrappers
plus sinfully delicious shakes and malts. "And there's
no shortcut in it," Howard Kingsbury says. "The
chocolate in it is Hershey's."
Full disclaimer: The Diner is a faux creation of the
'50s and '60s. But, oh, what a darn good one: With
all the chrome and fogged-glass windows, plus regular cruise-ins of classic cars and a jukebox blasting
Richie Valens' 1958 version of "La Bamba," practically anyone would swear this decade-old diner was
an original relic.
Officially, we must file The Diner under "Retro
Replica" - just like the equally impressive Hot Rods
'50s Diner of nearby Alcoa. At this neon-decked
diner, on the outskirts of Maryville, Tenn., the shakes
are also thick - and the burgers have more juice than
an orange in Florida. The owner, Ray Schwartz, is
actually from Florida and loves the music of the '50s,
which constantly plays on the jukebox as a reminder
of what he calls "a carefree time."
Old Stores
Bob Mann bridges several decades in the rickety relic
of a general store that he operates in a town called
Todd, hidden far inside the folds of northwestern
North Carolina. The Todd General Store on Railroad
Grade Road looks not a day past the early 1960s -
maybe even the '30s. "It's in the past, and we try to
keep it that way," Mann says.
"If you look on your phones, your phones don't
work. A lot of people come in and their kids are trying
to text, and the kids are trying to talk to friends on
the phone, and they can't do it," Mann says. "And I
always find it hysterically funny to watch these kids."
Mann's mix of merchandise and antiques resembles many of the general stores still open for business
in tiny hamlets:
* The Mayberry Trading Post, built in 1892, stands
along the Blue Ridge Parkway, about five miles south
of the famous Mabry Mill in southwest Virginia.
* Webb's Grocery near Butcher Holler serves the
Kentucky hometown of country music singer Loretta
Lynn, with displays of Lynn, at Van Lear.
* Near Helen, Ga., the old Sautee Store, dating to
the 1870s, seems much like a museum, with antique
tools and a nickelodeon on display.
Perhaps the most large-scale, lost-in-time offerings can be found inside the Mast General Store - a
chain of stores, actually. Yet, this chain operates only
inside antique buildings dotting the downtowns of
cities like Knoxville, Tenn., Greenville, S.C., and
Asheville, N.C.
The original Mast General Store first opened in
1883 at Valle Crucis, N.C., not too far from Todd,


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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Creature Feature
From the Farm
Great Home Buys
Digital Help Guide
Mountain Report
The Hike
Festivals & Events
Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Letters/Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover4
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