Friday, August 11, 2017

Atlanta Adventures

Just when y'all thought I had done all my summer traveling this year, I sneak in another quick weekend trip on y'all. Last weekend, some friends and I made a quick trip to Atlanta (and I mean real quick, we were there only 36 hours). I went with my friends Aaron and Mel. Y'all might remember them from my Mini Epic Road Trip last year. This was a VERY last minute trip (so last minute that no one really knew about it), BUT, regardless, we still found a lot to do in the short amount of time we were in Atlanta. And I should probably split this recap up into two posts because we did SO MUCH, but I'm not going to. You just have to bear with me. So grab a drink, sit back and relax and enjoy my insanely long recap. :)

Our flight left early last Friday (once again with the early flight to start my vacation). We had to get up about 2:30am to be sure we were at the airport in plenty of time. 

All smiles at 4:30am
Our flight landed in Atlanta a little before 9am EST. My sweet friend Paul (who lives in Atlanta) picked us up at the airport and was our chauffeur the rest of the day. I'm so glad he joined us, it was great to hang out with him. Our first stop was breakfast at the CNN center. We didn't do a tour, but we did pose for a quick photo by the CNN sign. 

After breakfast we headed to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. As you know, I'm trying to see all of them (and at least three that I haven't seen by the time I turn 40- see 40 By 40 list). The landscape of the library is beautiful. I bet in the springtime it's really beautiful with a lot of flowers (seeing that it's the heat of summer, there weren't many out, but the grass was very green despite the heat). There was a great 15 minute video at the start of the museum that I found very informative. I'll be honest, I didn't know much about him or his presidency (I was only alive for 18 months during his term in office). Lol. I know him mostly for his work with Habitat for Humanity. Fun fact. Mel has actually met Carter and has a picture with him- she met him while on a trip in college. Like most presidential libraries that I've visited, there are artifacts from his childhood all the way up until he was in office. I liked hearing about his relationship with his wife- they have been together for so long. And, like all the other presidential libraries and museums I've visited, regardless of your political views, it's a great museum to visit.

Not gonna lie, I literally laughed out loud at the "pardon me Mr. Ford" bumper sticker. To the far top right is the final copy of his inaugural address- one of the shortest in American history
Replica Oval Office. They won't let you pose for a photo in this one. So far the Bush libraries are the only ones that let you take a picture at the Oval Office desk
There is a path out back of the library that goes around a pond

After our library visit, we went to Peachtree Dr. to find the home of Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind). It's called the Margaret Mitchell House when in honesty, it had been converted into apartments by the time she and her husband lived there. Our tour guide was a sweet woman named Margaret (she swore that was her real name and she wasn't just saying that). She was a great guide- she knew so much information and she had a great story-telling voice (sometimes you get a tour guide who is very monotone and that makes for a boring tour- but she was outstanding). I learned a lot of things I didn't know. I didn't know Ms. Mitchell had been a journalist. I also didn't know that Gone With the Wind was the only novel she had published, I thought she had written something else. She tragically died at the age of 48 after being hit by a car. It was written in her will that all her papers, journals, letters, and manuscripts be destroyed after her death. Her husband honored her wishes, so we have none of her writings except the published articles from her journalism days and Gone With the Wind. As much as I respect her husband for honoring her wishes, the history nerd in me is like, WHY?? She might have been working on another novel or at least had an outline of a future novel. We will never know. I also learned that she didn't like the fame that Gone With the Wind gave her. She was ahead of her time- being a female author and writing a book where the protagonist is a female. Her book sold over a million copies in the first six months. For the longest time it was the second most published book (only second to the Bible). The upstairs was dedicated to the premiere of the movie. I saw the movie when I was a kid (so many, MANY years ago). I was finally inspired to read the book, so I bought a copy there. I plan to read it before I watch the movie again.

The typewriter on the bottom left was actually hers when she was a journalist. The furniture in the apartment didn't belong to Ms. Mitchell but it's from the same time period as when she was living there. It was still cool to stand in the apartment and know at one time, she stood in that exact spot. The lady sitting down is our tour guide, Margaret. And yes, I touched the wall. Stop judging me.

Seats from the Atlanta theater where the movie premiered

This is how the original house looked when it was first built. It has been added on to in the back
A southern belle relaxing on the front porch
This is the actual painting from the movie
Be honest- who wore the dress better? Lol
We headed from the Margaret Mitchell House to SunTrust Park, the new ballpark of the Atlanta Braves. I went to a Braves game when they were at Turner Field, but since they have a new ballpark, I had to go back to cross that ballpark off my list. If teams keep building new ballparks and stadiums, I'm never gonna get through my list. Lol. Last weekend was Braves Alumni Weekend. Sadly Steve Avery was unable to make it (insert super sad face here), but I was able to get autographs and meet several Braves alumni, thanks to my buddy Paul. Paul was a bat boy for the Braves in the 90s, so he knew a lot of the guys there. He said all of the players were always so nice to him and were genuinely nice guys.

Proudly wearing my Steve Avery shirtsey
Paul is also a Rangers fan (which is how we became friends). It was great to finally see a game with him!
Just a few former Braves I received autographs from- including former pitching coach Leo Mazzone
Yes, I posted this yesterday, I'm posting it again. 1995 World Champion Ryan Klesko
Former pitcher Pete Smith
SunTrust Park is nice. I like that you can see the field from the concourse (that's a big plus with me for ballparks). I was sad that the Braves museum that they had at Turner Field isn't at the new stadium. I don't know if they are going to add it on or relocate it someplace else. I was also VERY disappointed in the lack of Steve Avery memorabilia. I'm not saying there needs to be a statue of him (although that would be nice), but they could have had a plaque or banner or SOMETHING. And the number 33 jersey they had in the alumni area wasn't even for him. Rude. They didn't even have a Steve Avery bobblehead in the gift shop. Super rude. Speaking of the gift shop, THEY WERE OUT OF MAGNETS. HOW DO YOU RUN OUT OF MAGNETS!!?? Paul said next time he's there he will look for one for me. I have to add it to my collection. Although I don't know where I'll put it. My fridge is totally covered with magnets. Our seats were lower level in the outfield. We were under a covered area but could see the jumbotron. Braves fans are great, despite the attempt to start the wave- come on people. I'm going to assume those starting the wave were Marlin fans. 

Mel and I continuing the tradition of attending a baseball game together but NOT in Texas. Lol
Yet another ballpark that provides lids and straws with their drinks. RANGERS- WHY CAN'T YOU DO THIS???
I noticed while going through pictures for my blog that they put Dodgers instead of Marlins on the scoreboard. Lol
After the game, Paul dropped us off at our hotel. We couldn't thank him enough for driving us around all day. By the time we got settled into our room, we had been up for close to 21 hours. Needless to say, we were tired but the next morning we didn't want to waste too much time by sleeping in, so we were up early for breakfast at the hotel and then we headed out to the World of Coca-Cola Museum (which was just a few blocks from our hotel). It was a pleasant morning so we made the 15 minute walk. 
I found Captain Planet. Lol
We walked through Centennial Olympic Park on our way to the Coca Cola museum
My nephew Jacob and his beautiful fiancee Amber just happened  to be in Atlanta, so they decided to meet us on Saturday and spend the day with us (again, we lucked out and had someone willing to drive us around). Like I said yesterday, I proudly wore my Dr Pepper shirt at the Coca-Cola museum. I show my soda allegiance wherever I go. Lol. The museum was bigger than I expected, it took us almost three hours to tour the whole thing. Towards the end right before you get to the gift shop, there is a room with hundreds of different Coca-Cola products from around the world. You are able to taste as many as you want. I tasted a small sample of a few. There was one from India that wasn't too bad, but there was one from Italy that was positively disgusting. Blek. It's called Beverly. I don't recommend. Ever. You've been warned.

You can't take me anywhere

I find it funny they had a section about impostors and imitators when they have Mr. Pibb- AN POOR IMITATION OF DR PEPPER. Hmph. The picture on the top right is me by the vault that contains the only written copy of the Coke formula. I guess they trusted me enough to stand that close. An alarm sounded if you crossed over the line. I won't mention any names, but someone in my group stepped on the line and set off the alarm (and it wasn't me). Lol
I enjoyed the different Coke bottle artwork around the museum
Our souvenir photo highlighted any red in the picture. It makes my Dr Pepper shirt stand out even more. :)
The room with the different Coca-Cola products. This is about a third of the room, it was pretty big

By the time we were done there, we were starving, so we decided to check out a place called The Vortex because we read that they had good burgers. Word of warning: If you are easily offended, do not go there. EVER. The burger was good, I will admit that, but let's just say the atmosphere isn't a place I would want to take my folks to. I would say it's not kid friendly (because it's not) but you have to be 21 to get in, so kids aren't allowed. Also some of the decorations (for lack of a better word) are a little on the odd and slightly inappropriate side. But again, two big thumbs up on the burger. Oh, and they served Dr Pepper. REAL DR PEPPER. Not this Mr. Pibb crap posing as Dr Pepper. 

Some of the more "appropriate" decorations
Nothing like eating a burger named coronary bypass. For the record, I did NOT get the burger that was 9606 calories
After lunch we had just enough time to head to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. This is part of the U.S. National Park Service. Sadly by the time we got there, all the tours for his childhood home were full, but we were able to go by and see it from the outside. We were able to go to the visitors center which chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement and the path of Dr. King. That exhibit isn't terribly big, it took us about forty minutes to get through it. It was well done though. 

From there we headed to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King was baptized and where he and his father served as pastors. Ebenezer Baptist Church is still in existence today- but in 1999 they moved to a modern building across the street. The original church still stands but it is solely for people to come and visit as a landmark. Honestly seeing this church meant more to me than seeing the inside of his house. Since we only got to see one, I'm personally glad it was this one. There was something very moving about standing in the same church where Martin Luther King Jr. had worshiped. Just thinking about all the messages he had given, all the prayers he said- it was very moving to me. Maybe it has something to do with me being a Baptist preacher's kid, I don't know. But I'm glad we went. There was a sweet older park ranger and his name tag said Bruce Lee. We asked him how many times a day was he asked about his name. He said more than he could count. There was another park ranger inside who knew so much information (I guess they have to if they work there). I didn't know that Dr. King's mother was killed in that church in 1974. How did I miss that in history class? So much tragedy in his family. A year after he was killed, his brother drowned. The park ranger said his sister Christine still attends church there. She is about to turn 90 and they are having a big celebration for her. After paying our respects at his grave site, we also went by the King Center which had a large display of personal items of Dr. and Mrs. King. I highly recommend going to this national site if you are ever in Atlanta. Words can't describe it. Even my photos can't really describe it. Just go see it for yourself. It's all so moving.

We swung by our hotel to pick up our bags (that way we weren't carrying them around all day). We made two quick stops- one at the Georgia state capitol and one at Hard Rock. If you remember the road trip Aaron, Mel, and I made last year, we made it a point to see the state capitol in each state we visited. We decided we couldn't be in Atlanta and NOT go by to get a picture.

We stopped by Hard Rock so Mel could buy a charm (she buys one at each Hard Rock whenever we travel). We didn't eat there so I can't comment on the food or wait staff, but the gals working in the gift shop were SO NICE. We told them how rude the staff in the Seattle Hard Rock store had been. Funny story, I said something like, "we were fixin' to go back home" or something like that, and one of the staff members freaked out. She said her manager didn't believe that anyone ever said "fixin' to" so she asked if I would say it to him. It was an odd request, but I said sure, so they paged him. They even gave me a free souvenir and some water. BTW, the manager laughed when I said it. 

This motorcycle and jacket once belonged to Elvis. :)
Tammie- the sweet lady in the gift shop who loved that I said fixin to. Lol
We made one last stop before the airport at The Dwarf House, which is the original location of the first Chick Fil-A (of COURSE we would stop here). :) Y'all- part of it is a diner. The original Dwarf House was a 24 hour diner (except it was closed on Sundays) so half of this location is a diner, where you are waited on and can order your Chick Fil-A favorites plus a lot of other items (including burgers- the CFA Cows are probably so disappointed). Lol. The diner is still 24 hours so you could technically get Chick Fil-A at 2am on a Tuesday if you wanted. Our waitress said they close at 10pm on Saturdays and reopen on Monday mornings. 

I'm just a girl, standing outside a Chick Fil-A, wanting a chocolate milkshake

Y'all- Chick Fil-A opened on May 23. MY BIRTHDAY!! :) Just 32 years before I was born. Lol
God bless Mr. Cathy

Yes, I went through the little door
My nephew dropped us off at the airport two hours before our flight was supposed to take off. Once we got there, we found out our flight had been delayed by 30 minutes. No big deal, we just were now going to leave at 11pm instead of 10:30. Once we were on the plane, we seemed to taxi a long time to the runway (a good 15 minutes). I then realized that we were back at the gate. And we could see emergency lights. After a few minutes the door opened and a police officer walked on. Someone in first class stood up and walked out. It was maybe 15 minutes before the captain finally came on to say there had been a medical emergency, but we would still be going to Dallas. At one point, the whole crew was off the plane (it's a little weird seeing the cockpit door open and no one in there). We found out they were having to give statements. I'm sure there is so much more to that story and my curious self wants to know it. But alas, they didn't share. We FINALLY took off about 12:30am EST and got back to Dallas a little before 2am Texas time. 

Aunt Rachel's sweet boy

Waiting for our shuttle at the DFW airport at 2am
I know, that was lengthy- MAJOR PROPS if you made it all the way to the end!! I THINK I'm done traveling for a while, but who knows, I might get the urge to take another weekend trip someplace! :)


40 by 40 Update: 
-Visit three presidential libraries on my Presidential Libraries to Visit list (1)
-See a game at four different ballparks on my MLB Ballparks to Visit list (3)
-Visit five national parks (1)

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