Monday, January 16, 2017

Bountiful Buffet at the Blue Willow Inn

About 45 minutes east of Atlanta is the tiny community of Social Circle, Georgia. Social Circle, home to approximately 4500 residents, got its welcoming name, according to legend, when a weary traveler looking for food and a place to rest stumbled into what was just a crossroads at the time. He was so impressed with the hospitality of the residents, he exclaimed, "This sure is a Social Circle!" Whether the story is true, or not, the diminutive town is proud of the unusual name.

Social Circle evolved from a parcel of land purchased by John Blackmon in 1824. It didn't take long for businesses to come to town and for a church and post office to be built. By 1832, the town of Social Circle was incorporated. 

By the early 1900's John and Bertha Upshaw had moved to Social Circle and, in 1917, they began construction of a Greek Revival style home on an old Indian trail, now known as Cherokee Road. A frequent visitor to the home was a little known Atlanta Journal reporter by the name of Margaret Mitchell. The writer stayed in a small Victorian cottage on the property. During this time, she met John Upshaw's cousin, Berrien "Red" Upshaw, who became her first husband. According to Mitchell scholars, Red Upshaw was the inspiration for the character of Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. He was a dashing scoundrel who made money bootlegging alcohol out of the Georgia mountains. Upshaw abandoned Mitchell after only a couple of months of marriage. 


Today, the old home is known as the Blue Willow Inn and houses a restaurant that serves up a daily, except for Monday, buffet of traditional southern cooking. This past summer our family decided to check out the Blue Willow for ourselves. 

The buffet at Blue Willow is bountiful, to say the least. Beginning with entrees like fried chicken, chicken livers, roast beef, meatloaf, shrimp and rice, seafood au gratin, and ham and moving on to vegetables and sides like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, fried green tomatoes, green beans, creamed corn, candied yams, black-eyed peas, collard greens, lima beans, broccoli and stewed apples, it is safe to say, if you go home hungry, it is your own fault. If you like old-fashioned, southern cooking and lots of it, Blue Willow is the place for you. 

But that's not all. There is an expansive fruit and salad bar,

and homemade desserts galore!

 When you finish your meal, assuming you are still able to move, take time to stroll around the beautifully landscaped grounds and visit the gift shop.

If you have time, take a side trip into nearby Covington. It may look familiar if you were ever a fan of The Dukes of Hazard because scenes from Covington were used as the backdrop for the show. As a matter of fact, more than 60 films have been made in and around Covington. You will find boutiques, antiques, restaurants and much more in the historic downtown area. Our favorite shop was called Town Square Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar and it is just what the name implies. With an array of flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars, you can easily spend all your time (and money) in this little shop. The owners (helpfully) let you try any combination of oil and vinegar you want and, trust me when I tell you, it is addictive.

 Three Friends and a Fork and these three fine fellows give the Blue Willow Inn and Restaurant 
3 Very Flavorful Southern Yums UP!

Three Friends and a Fork
Three Friends and a Fork

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