Between the Lines



The past few weeks have been very busy. I had friends visiting from NYC recently who are first timers to the South and were headed down from Nashville. While in route to Oneonta, I got a text that they wanted “authentic southern BBQ.” I thought about where I could take them for quite some time. Saw’s in Birmingham… Full Moon in Fultondale… then it hit me! We can go to The Top Hat right here in Blount County! I had just been there a few days before for, embarrassingly, my own first visit.

It was dark when we drove to Hayden, but all they talked about was how pretty the drive in from Birmingham to Oneonta was earlier that day. The “mountains” as they called them; the fields of grass and trees changing color; the long spans of countryside that artfully decorate Highway 75. I was proud when they arrived at my house saying “this little town looks like something out of a movie!” And, indeed it does.

One of my friends who visited is a professional photographer. Right off the bat I knew he needed to see the view from Palisades. I unfortunately had to work the next day, but I plotted a road trip for them throughout the county. Palisades Park, the Horton Mill Covered Bridge, the Fire Tower, Rickwood Caverns and of course, quaint little downtown Oneonta. I thought they would quickly make their stops then be done by 1 or 2 p.m. They were still at Horton Mill when I finished work at 4:45! He took over 1,200 photos and I enjoyed hearing about their fun-filled day during dinner that evening.

The moral of this story is that even New Yorkers, accustomed to the shine and shimmer of the big city, are amazed at what we have here. It served to reaffirm my choice to return and make Blount County home again. It’s like being in a movie.

Until next time, I hope you find something new here in Blount County. It’s a good old place to call home.

-Richard Phillips