Last weekend I planned a “just us girls” outing with my sister, Katy. I’ve been in Georgia almost two weeks and we really haven’t had any time to just talk. There is always family visiting, noise from kids, grandkids, and dogs, lots of hubbub going on. Add to all that she has been working full-time and you’ll understand why there’s been so little time. We needed time to just be sisters and friends again. A day trip to Thomasville, GA (a little over an hour’s drive from Valdosta) was just what we needed. I found lots of ideas on activities to do on our day trip but the Taste of Thomasville Food Tour seemed to be the perfect activity. We’re big foodies and a tour with great food, lots of history and architecture was just what we needed.
We arrived in town about an hour before our tour and took the opportunity to look around. Thomasville is a quaint pre-Civil War town with a charming restored downtown historic area and a vibrant food scene.
The tour met in the courtyard of The Gift Shop which is right in the heart of the downtown area. It was a busy Saturday for The Taste of Thomasville. They like to keep the group small and intimate so they added a second tour to accommodate all those wanting to take the tour. One group would leave at 10:45 and our tour would start at 11:00.
We had two lovely women greet us at the beginning of our tour, Debra Smith, the owner of Taste of Thomasville, and Pat Baxter, one of her tour guide and retired teacher. Both were genuinely friendly and passionate about Thomasville. We got a chance to get to know them while they were sorting out the groups. Both were so gracious and seemed so knowledgeable enthusiastic that I knew either tour group would be a fun experience. We couldn’t wait to hear, see and taste more of Thomasville on our tour.
Debra led the 11:00 group which was our group. She shared with us what her inspiration was for starting Taste of Thomasville 4 years ago and shared that she was retired from teaching. She did a wonderful job highlighting the history of this quaint town as well as explaining the food offerings in such tantalizing details that we all eagerly anticipated each new offering.
Our first stop was Jonah’s Fish and Grits just steps away from our starting point. When I heard our sampling would be Shrimp and Cheesy Grits, my heart sank. I’ve tasted grits in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia and they were definitely not to my liking. (As a California girl I don’t have much experience with the tastes of the South so my past impressions of grits were, well, they’re gritty and tasteless.) The Shrimp and Grits from Jonah’s were to die for. The dish had lots of cooked fresh sautéed vegetables and big, plump shrimp in rich, creamy, cheesy grits. It was a WOW moments when I tasted the combination of different textures and tastes from grits, shrimp, and vegetables in my mouth. I didn’t want to disgrace myself by licking the bowl but it took tons of self-restraint. The dish was also served with a lovely plump hushpuppy. This cornmeal hushpuppy was crispy on the outside and light and moist on the inside, reminiscent of a just-fried donut hole.
This tasting set the tone for the best food tour I have ever taken. The other stops on our tour included Moonspin Pizza, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, George & Louie’s Restaurant, and Grassroots Coffee Co.
Debra gave us a lot of info about Thomasville. She had researched historical details and collected entertaining stories about the history of Thomasville, its historical buildings, its inhabitants, and visitors. After the Civil War, Thomasville became the winter resort of the wealthy and a favorite destination for several presidents. She is a retired schoolteacher and presented the details in a fun, entertaining way, not like a dull history lesson.
Debra not only told stories of how the restaurants’ owners started their businesses but also shared tantalizing stories about the food samples we would soon be eating. We eagerly anticipate each upcoming stop. The food at each stop was excellent and Katy and I agreed we would go back to each of the restaurants for the full experience. In fact, we’re already planning our next outing to Thomasville highlighting one of the restaurants on our tour.
Debra is a great goodwill ambassador for Thomasville. Not only does she showcase wonderful eateries, history, and architecture, but she was able to point us to fabulous boutique shopping and eclectic little shops in historic downtown Thomasville. Her recommendations were spot on.
Getting to know your fellow tour members is another fun element of the food tour. At each stop, we conversed with them, shared our insights, and get to know your companions a little more. It’s fun to find you’re sharing your tour with people who love food and history as you much as you do.
My sister and I found The Taste of Thomasville Food Tour is a great value. We enjoyed being able to try out 5 different restaurants while learning the stories behind the beautiful buildings in Thomasville. The quantity and variety offered by the restaurants exceeded our expectations. The walk was about 1 ¼ miles over 3 hours with 5 food stops, interesting bits of history, old architecture, and a group picture at the Big Oak (tree). Considering the exceptional quality of food the cost of the tour was very reasonable. We were excited to learn The Taste of Thomasville offers a second tour at night. It showcases different restaurants with different stories and historical details.
Our tour was a very unique and an exciting way to experience this quaint little town. The food was wonderful and the history was interesting as well. Don’t miss the Taste of Thomasville Food Tour!