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Saturday, January 15, 2022

A Weekend In Atlanta, Georgia



I was thinking about changing the title of this post because we have since made another trip to Atlanta recently and have something to add here. We also have plans to return this coming summer! That is how much we love this city.  

If you didn't have a chance to read this post the first time around, please do. If you did, you can just skip all the way down to the end of this post and read about our second trip.

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We planned a road trip to Atlanta, Georgia to watch our favorite baseball team, the Mets, play their away game against the Braves.   We arrived the day before the game to make it a mini vacation.  (You can read about our first day and all about Stone Mountain Park here.)  We chose to stay at the Country Inn & Suites, Atlanta/Galleria, Ball Park because it was within walking distance of of the stadium.  This made the hotel very convenient for us.  They offered shuttle service to the stadium but we found out about it after the shuttle left!  There's never any harm in getting a couple of extra steps each day so it was actually a good thing that we missed the bus.  If we would have skipped the sightseeing we would have made the bus but then we would have missed out on seeing some awesome sights.  We researched before we left on our weekend road trip and found a couple of things we had to see and do here.

Our hotel was only a few miles from Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park.  This park spans about 35 acres and consists of several buildings and sites that includes Martin Luther King, Jr.'s childhood home on Auburn Street in the Sweet Auburn Historic District.  We didn't have time to look inside, which was free to do, but we were thrilled to just stand on the same porch where one of the greatest people in history once stood.



Down the block is Ebenezer Baptist Church where both Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dad, were preachers.



Across the street from the church is the visitor's center which has exhibits telling the story of the Civil Rights Movement.  There is also a theater here and the D.R.E.A.M Gallery that holds exhibits that will change from time to time.  You can pick up the free tickets to enter King's childhood home in the visitor's center here.

A few blocks away from the park was the Krog Street Tunnel.  I was thrilled to find this tunnel as we love to seek out the unusual sights in a new city.  This tunnel was perfectly quirky.  If you are an artist with a paint can, you can display your art in this tunnel.  It was so colorful and so fun and the paint cans thrown around throughout the tunnel just added to the ambiance of this place.


 


The walls outside the tunnel were also decorated with works of art and a couple of restaurants and stores in the few blocks surrounding the tunnel also got in the spirit and decorated their businesses with spray paint as well.



Now it was time to get to the game.  We went back to the hotel to drop our car off and walked up the hill towards SunTrust Park along with lots of other people doing the same thing we were.



I had completely forgotten that the Braves fans were the ones who did the tomahawk chop when they were cheering for an amazing play.  I remembered the rivalry the Mets and Braves had when I was a kid and how much that chop annoyed me haha!  If the Brave fans were cheering, the Mets were probably in trouble!  It all came back to me when we got to the stadium.  Everything is about the chop.



We had great seats and were able to watch the Met's pitchers warming up before they got into the game.



And because it was Memorial Day, there was a wonderful pre-game show honoring every branch of the armed forces and the brave men and women who serve or served in them.  Throughout the game, between innings, individuals were singled out for either serving, formally serving or being the family of someone who gave their lives while serving.  We saw their images on the big screen and gave them standing ovations.  There were also taps and a moment of silence in honor of all those heroes who never returned from their tour of duty.



Unfortunately, the Mets lost but we had fun in spite of the loss.  The Mets hadn't been doing so well so we kind of expected it.   We are fans for life, though, no matter how bad their seasons are.

After the game we wanted to find somewhere fun to eat.   There was a burger place in Atlanta that was recommended for us to try by our son Joe.  He has made trips to some really out of the way places to try a burger he has read about so we trusted his suggestion.  We found H&M Burger in Ponce City Market.


H&F Burger is where we could find the famous H&F burger that local chef and James Beard Award winner Linton Hopkins created.   This burger was first served at Holeman and Finch Public House.  There would be only 24 burgers prepared each night at 10 p.m.  First come, first served.  You would have to come back another night if you missed out.  The original H&F burger is a double cheeseburger, topped with red onion and house-made pickles served on a freshly baked bun which is made to be the same size as the burger.  It is buttered and toasted on a griddle before the burger gets to sit inside it.  It is served with made from scratch ketchup on the side.  We ordered french fries and shaved crisp onions to eat with our burgers.  I have to say that this burger is on the top of my "best burger I have ever eaten" list.  And the fries and shaved crisp onions were not too shabby either.


We were on vacation so that means we could splurge on desert.  I noticed something delicious that I had never had before, on our way over to H&F, and I had to have it.  But first we needed to walk off some of the calories of our delicious dinner.  We went window shopping and then checked out the rooftop area.   We didn't, but could have had a cocktail up here while we relaxed and enjoyed the view.   We passed an area with a piano and comfy couches and listened to a young couple playing Chopsticks


After our walk I was ready for desert!  Batter Cookie Dough Counter served "cookie dough" that you could eat before it turned into a cookie.   I've always thought that the best part of baking a cake or cookies is being able to lick the spoon that stirred the batter even though I know I am taking a risk of getting sick from the raw egg.  I don't know how they did it, but you can eat the dough they sell here without worrying.  I picked brownie batter and sugar cookie.  They were yummy but a little too sweet.  I would love to go back one day to test out the other flavors though!



Needless to say, I was stuffed after all the eating we just did so it was time to head back to the hotel.
We had a great time in Atlanta.  We will be looking for another Mets game here in the future for an excuse to visit this fun city again!

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We knew we would be back!

What brought us here this time was because we couldn't get all the way to Mammoth Cave National Park, the first stop on our 5 National Park Road Trip.

We camped at Stone Mountain Campground. Soko notice that there was a campground here on our first visit. It was nice to get a chance to camp here as we were hoping that one day we would be able to check it out.


We were not disappointed. It was a 5 star (our rating) campground with a couple of easy trails we enjoyed hiking on. (Read more about this campground here.) You can hike here whether you are camping at the campground or not. We would definitely recommend hiking along the Stone Mountain River, if you have time, on your trip to Atlanta.


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We hiked the Evergreen Trail which would take us to the Cherokee Trail which would take us to the century old Washington w. King Bridge.


We got a glimpse of the carving on the side of Stone Mountain at this point on the trail. Read more about this carving here.



It started to get late when we finally made it to the Cherokee Trail so we decided that we should head back to the car and drive to the bridge instead. 


We only had 1 1/2 days to spend in Atlanta this time. We decided that we would spend the one full day we had here at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.


On any given day you will find Atlanta Botanical Garden hosting a special event. We were lucky enough to be at the garden for the SUPERnatural: Aerial Art in Motion exhibit. We enjoyed watching the streamers dancing in the wind as we walked along the suspension bridge they call the Kendeda Canopy Walk.


Everywhere we looked we saw gorgeous displays of colorful flowers and beautiful foliage.


There are specialty gardens and greenhouses throughout the garden. You will need a few hours to be able to see all Atlanta Botanical Garden has to offer.  
 
                                                                  Fuqua Orchid Center

                                                                     Tropical Rotunda


Japanese Garden

                                                                            Children's Garden

In addition to the live flowers in the garden, there were amazing glass flowers that were almost equally as beautiful as their counterparts. These glass flowers were a collection in another exhibition that was currently being featured here, Glass Art in Bloom.



But the highlight on our day at Atlanta Botanical Garden had to be suddenly coming upon the Earth Goddess as we turned a corner. This beautiful lady was installed in 2013 as part of a mosiaculture (sculptures made out of plants) exhibition that became a permanent resident. The goddess is 20 feet tall, weighs 29 tons and holds more than 18,000 plants. She has to be trimmed weekly to keep her gorgeous shape.



We had another awesome visit to Atlanta and are excited to know that we already have plans to visit for a third time. Keep an eye out for Part 3!


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