Road Trip: Auburn
Posted: Thursday September 14, 2006 11:30AM; Updated: Wednesday September 27, 2006 3:07PM
Auburn is a school enriched with tradition, and its surrounding city exemplifies the true values of the South. The unparalleled friendliness and compassion of its residents help visitors understand the meaning of "Southern hospitality," and the quiet and laid-back atmosphere is what gives Auburn its unique character. On football game day, the word stranger doesn't exist; everyone is simply a fan. The town is overcome with a sense of pride that can be seen on the faces of children wearing Kenny Irons replica jerseys and alumni who still proudly flaunt their Tiger spirit exactly as they did 30 years ago. The chant of "War Eagle!" is heard all day long throughout the plains, and no one gets tired of yelling it.
Best place to celebrate an Auburn victory: Toomer's Corner. The tradition of "Rolling Toomer's Corner" is one that won't be broken anytime soon. After any football win, Tigers fans comes in hordes to celebrate by lobbing rolls of toilet paper into the trees on the corner of College Street and Magnolia Avenue. The date of the first "rolling" is unknown, but it is speculated to have been in the early 1960s. The toilet paper remains in the trees for hours after fans have left, leaving the corner looking like the aftermath of a snowstorm.
Where to feel Auburn's history: Toomer's Drug Store. The small convenience store and restaurant still occupies its original building, where it's been since the late 1800s. The city landmark serves food such as hot dogs and ice cream and proudly serves the world's best lemonade. The legendary John Heisman, namesake of the Heisman Trophy and one of Auburn's first football coaches, is reputed to have quenched his thirst with the sweet beverage frequently. The December 2001 issue of Esquire placed Toomer's Drug Store at the top of its list of "162 Reasons it's Good to be an American."
Where to groove with Auburn students: SkyBar. The downtown hot spot for Auburn students and local residents offers music, dancing and drinking for those 21 and over. Styles of music range from country and dance to acoustic and karaoke.
Where to eat after the game: Mellow Mushroom. The restaurant serves pizza good enough to sell your soul for and unique brands of beer from all over the world. Even though it's usually packed to capacity with Auburn fans, no one minds waiting for a table, because talking about the big game with people you've never met before is all part of the experience.
Best place to tailgate: Anywhere on or around the university property. For big Saturday games, especially against SEC teams, fans begin to trickle into town and claim their desired spots to tailgate as early as Wednesday. By game time, the campus looks like a giant orange campground, and the mouth-watering smell of barbeque lingers in the air long after everyone has eaten.
Where to satisfy late-night hunger: Mama Goldberg's Deli. Open until the early morning hours, the old, wooden building within walking distance of campus looks like it's been part of the city of Auburn as long as the university. Inside, the walls covered with Auburn memorabilia and the friendly atmosphere inspire a sense of pride that could make a 'Bama fan want to be a Tiger. The fresh sandwiches, especially the Mama's Love, are unlike any from the other delis in town, and the nachos are in a category of their own.
Most interesting building: Samford Hall. The gorgeous redbrick building is home to the university's administration. Atop the building is the clock tower, which chimes every 15 minutes and is famous for playing the Auburn fight song at noon and midnight every day. In case of a fire, to prevent the entire building from being engulfed in flames, the floors between each story are filled with sand.