Tuesday, December 06, 2005


A Touch of Country

Ask people throughout the South to picture a town square, and they'll probably imagine one like the one at the center of Covington. The Square has just about everything you would expect - buildings that have stood for years, a tree lined central square with a monument, a hardware store that also sells homemade fudge, and a historic courthouse over a century old. In fact, many TV producers have come to Covington and filmed our square when they need a small-town Southern setting. The first show was The Dukes of Hazard, of course, but they also filmed the TV version of In the Heat of the Night and recently an episode of Three Wishes here.

The Dukes Boys are local heros here. There is an annual celebration that draws many of the surviving cars from the show, along with countless replicas. Many of the cast members live in the area, or did. And it's only fitting that the Square should have a small museum dedicated to The Dukes of Hazard and In the Heat of the Night.

A Touch of Country is that museum, a furniture store, and a restaurant, all in one. Don't let the name fool you; the food here is actually more like a classic diner than country cooking. The menu includes burgers, corn dogs, BBQ sandwiches, and homemade chili. They also have a Frito Pie - that's a combination of chili, Fritos, cheese, and sour cream. Of course, no diner menu would be complete without shakes and floats. They even have a "Hazard County Float," a citrus concoction with orange sherbet and Sprite. The food is about average quality for diner food - not exactly fine dining, but perfectly good for a casual lunch when you're not feeling like chain fast food. And this is the perfect place to stop in for a cold shake or float during a car show on the Square on a hot summer day.

This is certainly a friendly sort of diner, too. It wasn't long after I walked in today that some of the regular patrons started discussing whether one of the people out for a stroll in Covington Square was Cooter or merely a Ben Jones lookalike.

The museum is not all that big, but it's probably worth a look if you are a fan of either In the Heat of the Night or The Dukes of Hazard. They have several signed photos, props, a clickboard, and even a door from one of the General Lees, signed by several of the cast members. There is no admission charge, either.

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