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Southern Roadside Kitchens

The whole sweet, sunny drive back to Lexington was eclipsed by detailed recollections of the night before. I told Mary my dream; she'd only heard me groaning unintelligibly. Soon we were jetting home, high above the interstate highways with their fast-food turnouts, chain hotels, and thronged rest areas. I was fonder than ever of my little color-washed guide. It had given me a journey, not a destination, and shown me that the old roads, new at every turn, are still there, their pleasures simple and individual and, if you're lucky, unchanged.

A couple of days after returning home, I found a Web page titled "Haunted Kentucky." There was a section written by a former Old Talbott Tavern manager. "Several people, including myself," she wrote, "have seen the lady in white. She [is] thin, [with] long, brown wavy hair and...wearing a long, white 1800's dress." I stared at those words for a while, my back tingling, then shut off my computer and called Mary.

Jim Larkin is a New York-based writer and a senior editor of the J. Crew catalogue.

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