I am a longtime fan of the deleted scenes and other bonus materials that usually accompany films on DVD, except for the annoyingly bare bones rental versions.
In the spirit of those bonus materials, I have written up my second annual "deleted scenes" column. These scenes were experiences that I had on the road in 2011 that did not make it into my regular monthly columns.
White Pie at Burton's Café in Whittington
My family is from Southern Illinois, so I had thought I knew the roadside cafes between there and Mattoon fairly well. Then, I read Karen Deer's July 16 Lee News Service feature about Rend Lake. Her mention of the White Pie at Burton's near the lake got my attention.
Pie is one of my favorite desserts and I was not familiar with Burton's, so I decided to stop there during my next trip south. When my family arrived at the café's Whittington location, I realized I had driven by this nondescript restaurant several times over the years on Illinois Route 37 and not paid enough attention to it before. That was my loss.
Burton's has a history that stretches back to 1945. The restaurant's signature white cream pie, flavored with vanilla and topped with whipped cream and ground nuts, is alone worth the visit.
However, I also ate delicious breaded catfish with fried okra, black-eyed peas and corn bread there. This southern-style meal was great comfort food.
Walk of Heroes in Metropolis
When I visited the Superman Celebration in June, I was happy to see that Man of Steel creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster became the first entries in the new Walk of Heroes in downtown Metropolis.
The walk will honor those with close ties to the Superman character by naming them on diamond-shaped bronze shields that will be placed in a sidewalk between the statues of Superman and Lois Lane actress Noel Neill. Individuals and fan groups have the opportunity to purchase shields for their favorite characters.
I hope there will be a lot of support for creating plaques for cast members from "Smallville," such as Tom Welling (Clark Kent/Superman), Erica Durance (Lois Lane), and Southern Illinois University alumnus Justin Hartley (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow).
"Smallville" ended its 10-season run this year. I miss that show. I believe Santa may bring me "Smallville: The Complete Series" on DVD this year, though. No coal for this mild-mannered reporter.
Downtown Nashville, Ind.
After staying at Brown County State Park's secluded Abe Martin Lodge in September, we decided to stop in Nashville, Ind., on the way home. What we did not take into account was how busy the downtown business district would be on a Saturday afternoon.
The downtown was overflowing with tourists, which was a shock to my family's system after relaxing in a state park for a couple of days. We found a temporary respite from the crowds by going to a second-floor, open-air picnic area, where we dined on bratwurst and sauerkraut from the Gypsy Cup stand on the lower level of this building.
We soon hit the road for home, but I would not mind returning to Nashville some day. I glimpsed some interesting restaurants, such as the historic Nashville House (open since 1859), and entertainment venues, such as the Melchior Marionette Theatre, that I would like to spend time at some day. I'll just make sure it is on a weekday.
Road trip ideas
Speaking of planning for future journeys, I received a lot of great ideas after I asked readers for suggestions early in 2011. These suggestions took me to Brown County State Park, and I hope to take a couple more suggested trips in 2012.
I am particularly intrigued by one reader's suggestion to visit the Jeremy "Boo" Rochman Memorial Park in Carbondale, not far from my family's Southern Illinois roots. This park is a business man's memorial to his late son's interest in "Dungeons and Dragons," and features a dragon and several other fantastical statues.
Illinois' great outdoors were on the mind of several readers, who suggested the Shawnee National Forest and its Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, as well as Giant City State Park. I hope to someday camp in the Shawnee National Forest and visit the Giant City Lodge, which I have heard serves up tasty fried chicken.
Some of the other ideas included the new permanent archaeology exhibit at the Indianapolis Children's Museum; the Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco Festival in Amana, Iowa; the John Deere Pavilion in Moline; the Busboom Castle in Dewey; the West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, Ind.; and historic Cape Girardeau, Mo.
If you have any suggestions for future road trips, I would love to hear from you.
This column and previous entries in the series can also be read at www.facebook.com/RobStroud.DayTripper.