Cooter's Place, Sperryville, Virginia
This article was written in 2003, shortly after Cooter's Place closed. It has since reopened.
I don't know who you think you are, but calling Cooter's Place "tacky", you're wrong. You really must be a nobody to go around and find places that you think are tacky. Get A Life. (email from one of my many fans)
Once the D.C. area mecca for Dukes of Hazzard fans, Cooter's Place in Sperryville, Virginia, closed at the end of November 2003, a victim of its own success. Ben "Cooter" Jones could barely keep up with the demand for photo opportunities and rides in the General Lee much less maintain a busy schedule of personal appearances both alone and with his Country Western band.
So, belatedly, I declare Cooter's Place a Tacky Treasure, even though it doesn't exist anymore. I have never been to the Gatlinburg, Tennessee location, but I doubt that it could have the same down home, friendly feel as it did out here in the shadow of the Shenandoah Mountains.
It was a pleasantly sunny afternoon in mid-June when I found myself sitting in the shade along Route 211, eating a burger grilled by Miss Alma, and listening to the bluegrass stylings of the politically incorrectly named "Special Ed and the Short Bus." However, truth to tell, this passel of young, energetic musicians brought new life to a lot of old standards. After Cooter got up and sang "Rocky Top" with them, one of the musicians said, "Now I can die a happy man." No disrespect to Mr. Jones, but it would be better if our youth set higher goals for themselves than that.
It must have been hard for the band to play with all the noise going on around them, what with the bikers driving by on Rt. 211, and Cooter himself, peeling out of the parking lot in the General Lee. But all in all, a pleasant place to be. Ben Jones sure is good to his fans -- personable, approachable, and down-to-earth. He seems to be a man who is content with the blessings he's gotten out of life -- he's got some money, some fame, but he's still in touch with his inner Bubba. It's too bad he had to close Cooter's in Sperryville. It's uncommon to find a tourist attraction with a heart, and this one was it.
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