Our trip to Auburn wasn’t due to the best of circumstances. We needed to take the dog to the Small Animal Clinic at the School of Veterinary Medicine. We were determined to make the best of our five hours in Auburn, known by some as “The Loveliest Village On The Plains.”
It was pouring rain. Like a lot. This put a damper on our willingness to wander to and fro, but we still made a serious effort to explore some of the town.
We had lunch at Veggies to Go on College. It’s a meat-and-three type place, and they take the “to go” part pretty seriously. Even though there are plenty of tables in the joint, all the plates/cups/forks/etc are disposable – not so great from an environmental perspective, for sure. But despite the needless landfill bulk, the veggies are good and reasonably priced (four for $4.99, as I recall, drink not included). The cornbread was a little weak, and the banana pudding was pretty light on actual bananas, but we’d eat there again for sure. Great options on the number of veggies to choose from, even if the atmosphere is a little institutional.
Then we went down to the area around Auburn University. First stop: lemonade at Toomer’s (on Toomer’s Corner – they have a webcam here in case you want to see live toilet papering of a tree). Classic Auburn.
Toomer’s Drugs really doesn’t seem to be a drug store at all. It mostly hawks Auburn Tigers schlock, with a tiny little section of the store devoted to a few shelves of over the counter pain killers, just, I guess, so they can keep calling it a drug store. The fabled lemonade itself is a little pricey (more than $3 for a tiny plastic souvenir cup), and was not mixed appropriately, so that the first half tasted like water, and the real lemonade goodness came only once you were close to the bottom.
We walked down the street looking for a place where we could sit and maybe have a beer and play some pool or read. No avail, but we did walk by a bakery with the awesome window art pictured above. Across the street we wandered into Stamp, a print shop with some very cool things for sale. They were very nice. They gave us a map, which was helpful. We made our way to Gay Street, where we found The Gnu’s Room.
We are pretty convinced that The Gnu’s Room is the best used bookstore in the state of Alabama. Anyone got another nominee? Let’s hear it. We love us some Reed’s, sure, but there’s so little there we actually want to read. And New South is SO expensive. Obviously we also love Capitol Books here in Montgomery.
But Gnu’s is up there as the best in Alabama that we’ve ever seen. The collection is great — full of books you actually want to read, with books in boxes on the floor for extra foraging excitement. Prices are quite reasonable, the people are super nice, and it looked like there was good freshly-brewed coffee and food. We look forward to coming back.
After buying a few things, we went next door to the Amsterdam Cafe. We only sat and had a beer, but the food looked good and the atmosphere was nice. It seemed a little spendy, but we might go try it sometime. Seems like a nice place for a chilled out date night kind of atmosphere.
Not sure what else to say about Auburn, exactly. We’re sure people who have spent more time there can say more about the nightlife, and we know that there are other shops & such that we didn’t go into, but we did spend a pretty nice afternoon there, all things considered. We’ll definitely be back to go to The Gnu’s Room, and are certainly open to being given a more extensive tour to highlight the things we may have missed during our unguided explorations.