Saturday, October 22, 2011

They Call Alabama the Crimson Tide, Call Me Deacon Blues

Or "Steely Dan gargles my balls!"
- Seth Rogen (Ben Stone) in Knocked Up

Actually I like Steeley Dan.  I was going to use the lyric quote "up in Annandale" or "William & Mary won't do" because I always thought they were talking about Annandale, Virginia which is a suburb of DC.  But recently I did some research (because this is the type of important stuff I do) and found they were actually talking about Annandale on Hudson in New York, home to Bard College were they went to college.  Btw this post is about college or rather college towns.  But since the My Old School lyrics didn't fit me as well as I thought, I went with the Deacon Blues lyrics as they fit the post a little better.

So today I introduce! ta dah!

Ryan's College Travel Channel Extravaganza!

You see, you can see classy and extravagant places with Anthony Bordain but only here can you get good information on out of the way college towns!  Hopefully this doesn't "out" me but yes Ryan has spent a good part of his life around college towns.  Maybe it's because I never wanted to grow up or maybe I just have an affinity for college girls!  But regardless in my never ending attempt to impart knowledge to my readers here are some notes on my favorite college towns across this wonderful nation!

Athens, Georgia:  Well what college town tour wouldn't stop here!  And since I am all about knowledge I have to say one of my best memories is visiting the 40 Watt Club in Athens.  If you are into music this place is up there with the Fillmore or CBGB's in terms of must sees (and CBGB's in now like a Gap Store so you can't see that anymore)!  Even though it has changed locations this is the place where the B-52's, REM, Driving and Cryin', the Indigo Girls, and Love Tractor have played.  So don't just watch the movie Athens Georgia Inside Out, go there some time.  I will caution you Yankees and foreign hipsters though, you ain't inside the Atlanta Perimeter anymore so beyond a few streets adjacent to campus we are in Redneckville!  You might not be too impressed with the food in town (unless you are a connoisseur of the Huddle House) and it is a bit dirtier than other towns.  But all things considered this is the archetypal college town!  And ya gotta love hot southern chics who dig good music.

Austin, Texas:  Austin is the state capitol of Texas and fairly big so it is much different than the other towns listed here.  But if you stay on Guadaloupe Street you get that college town feel.  A lot is going on here and there is a very eclectic mix of food and music.  What Athens was to the 80's, Austin was to the 90's in terms of Slacker pop culture.  I have to say I was a little underwhelmed though.  They say Texas does everything bigger.  I would say yes - Austin is just a bigger and MUCH DIRTIER Athens, Ga with more wierdos stumbling around puking and urinating on the sides of buildings.  But do go there, I had fun and I do love TexMex!  And don't hold Rick Perry against UT, he is an esteemed Barnyard Science grad of Texas A&M.  And sorority girls in boots and cowboys hats - HOT!

Baton Rouge, Louisiana:  That means Red Stick if you don't speak Cajun.  OK let's settle one argument right now.  For all you people that think you are the best Tailgate U - fuhgedabout it!  When you get 80,000 crazy Cajuns' together you are going to have some KICK ASS food around.  Screw grilled burgers, I'll go fo' some 'o dat fried alligatuh an Gumbo!  No college atmosphere is quite like Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night.  In fact once in 1988 when LSU scored a go ahead touchdown in the last minute against Auburn the ensuing eruption from the fans was recorded as an earthquake (google it - The Earthquake Game).  And I just like writing Geaux Tigers!

Blacksburg, Virginia:  On a crisp fall day in October no better place in the world!  This college town is located on a plateau in the Allegheny Mountains (a subset of the Appalachians).  In town it's like you are in a salad bowl with the mountains forming the rim around you.  In the fall the backdrop of the leaves are in perfect Hokie colors of orange and maroon.  The air is so clear you can taste it!  But watch out for those winds, when they blow just right off the Ag fields that crystal clean air can quickly change to the taste of a cow's ass (that was an analogy btw, I have not actually tasted a cow's ass)!  Also the school is only 45% female and 90% of them are smarter than me so I think that means there is a 145% chance I don't get laid there.  But the philosophical question of the day is - what if the Hokie Pokie is what it's all about?

Chapel Hill, North Carolina:  I would call this Athens lite.  A great town for food and music (although note, the best music place is actually in Carrboro - the Cat's Cradle).  I have to say while I love a good college town I kind of like it to be clean and with a Starbucks close by.  That's Franklin Street - a great college strip but with Aeropostals and people in Polo's instead of drunkin' hipsters peeing on the sidewalk (like you might get in Athens or Austin).  Oh and if you have read my blog you will know Ryan has a sweet tooth for Carolina girls (best girls in the world)!!  :)

Charlottsville, Virginia:  Nothing screams aristocracy and culture like Mr. Jefferson's University.  A wonderful and beautiful place.  You are close to vineyards, horse country, Monticello, and even Walton's Mountain is close by.  If you want to impress your mistress take her to the Boar's Head Inn, it's a great place to screw in regal elegance.  And on  college gameday grab some Zima, your brie cheese and head down to Scott Stadium to see those "cookie dough" eatin' Wahoos get their asses kicked by Duke, William & Mary, John Tyler Community College, Fluvanna County High School or any other school they are playing!

Knoxville, Tennessee:  The strip adjacent to UT is certainly underwhelming compared to other colleges.  UT is not exactly a hip school nor is it known for college rock.  But on a college gameday there are few sights more enjoyable than seeing the Vol Navy float down the Tennessee River and boatgate before the game.  And while the college music scene is not great, Knoxville is really one of the epicenters of bluegrass music (which I love).   And any great college town has to have a great BBQ place and Knoxville has a great one in Buddy's BBQ (one of my favorites).  Oh, and I love watching Smoky the Blue Tick Hound flat-footing to the Vol Band's version of Rocky Top "once I had a girl on Rocky Top half bear the other half cat; wild as a mink but sweet as soda pop, I still dream about that!"  Just like I like 'em, any minks out there!

Lawrence, Kansas:  I don't think many on the East coast would think of Kansas as a great place to visit.  But this is a very elegant town with great food, a lot of boutique shops, and beautiful walks along the Kansas River.  They seem to have an inferiority complex with Chapel Hill because there always seems to be a lot of tee shirt shops saying that Jesus prefers Kansas blue to Carolina blue, IDK?  But my endorsement of Kansas stops here.  While there are a lot of nice places on the Kansas side of Kansas City (e.g. Olathe, etc) you don't have to go too far west to get smack dab in the middle of BF, Egypt.  Although I do want to stop by the Wizard of Oz museum some day, it's not too far from Lawrence.  But I don't get the point to that "rock chalk, Jayhawk thing?"

Oxford, Mississippi:  "Hotty toddy God almighty" they call it the "Country Club of the South" and no place screams of the old South like Ole Miss.  Southern style, cuisine, and gentility is best on display on game day at the Grove.  This town has a wonderful town square with good food and book stores.  The one tragedy is that The Gin burned down a few years ago.  It was a restaurant and bar I went to many years ago.  All I can say is "Sweet Jesus my eyes couldn't believe the display of hot Southern belles on display that night - every girl a Miss. Mississippi!"  Oh well, flim flam, bim bam, Ole Miss by damn!

Tuscaloosa, Alabama:  Like Knoxville there is nothing outstanding about the college scene in Tuscaloosa.  Obviously the Tide is great in football but the town is a bit dirty and no great music here.  But I can't emphasize enough one place that I have written about before.  You see if you are a Muslim you might trek to Mecca.  If you love art you may wish to visit the Louvre one day.  Well, if you are Ryan and you love BBQ there is one place that stands alone as the Mecca of BBQ and that is Dreamland.  And that is why I direct you to Tuscaloosa.  I'm serious, if I ever commit a heinous crime and have to order a last meal this is it!

Winston-Salem, North Carolina:  OK Ryan, let's get real, you're 'effing with us now - Winston-Salem is a rough tobacco town what are you thinking?  And all those Quaker chics don't put out!  Well, actually there are 5 colleges in the town (one all female), one of which is the often hapless Demon Deacons of Wake Forest.  So I include it here because of the lyrics above and because Old Ryan used to do some damage back in the day along Polo and Deacon Blvds.  So overall not really much of a college scene except for a small area near campus.  Ziggy's is a great place to see music though and a place dear to my heart.

There you have it, I have been to many college towns but these are the best in my mind.  Well, let's be real honest because I've been to Michigan State.  These places have better food and music but more importantly the girls are WAAY hotter!  But I do need to check out some of those left coast schools - I do remember seeing Long Beach State play once in the NCAA Tourney.  If their dance team is any indication of the female population that place needs to be on my bucket list!

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