Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Song in the South

Nah, I don't really have a song.  But I DID have fun!

I went to Atlanta, Georgia for the Veteran's Day weekend to spend time with Donna and Mom and Laura. It was a nice get-away for Mom, and kind of a test to see how things would go with leaving Dad on his own with some helpers nearby to assist with meals and such.  I think it went well.

I got there late, late, late on Friday.  Or Early on Saturday, depending on how you look at it.  Laura got there a day before.  It was long enough for her to walk around downtown and get some massive blisters on her feet!!  Yikes!  Not a very good way to start the vacation, Laura!  But, she was extremely good-natured about it, all things considered.

Saturday, November 9.  After breakfast at the hotel, we traveled into Atlanta and checked out "The Wren's Nest."  It was an old house in a very sketchy part of Atlanta.  We took the tour.  It wasn't until we were well into the tour that I finally realized just whose home it was--the author of the Bre'r Rabbit Tales.  Uncle Remus.  Only he has another name.  It's Joel Chandler Harris.  The cute little ol' lady tour guide mentioned his name many times, but the name meant nothing to me.  Google the Wren's nest and you can find out all about it, I'm sure. It was a beautiful home and yard.

I loved the soaring oak trees and the crunchy little acorns we trampled through.  The back yard was spacious and had a little amphitheater area surrounded by magnolia trees.  Lovely spot.  Seedy area of town, but a lovely lot and home.

[Humph.  I wish my computer would upload photos much faster to Blogger.  It started at 7:49. It’s done with 4 of 11 pix in 5 minutes.  That’s a bit long...don’t you think?  Any suggestions would be welcome.]

So, after the Wren’s nest, we drove to Stone Mountain, Georgia.   According to the brochure they gave us, it’s Georgia’s number one attraction.  So how come I’d never heard of it?  It is quite lovely.   I am just really taken with all the lovely leaves on the trees.  Fall was in full splendor in Atlanta and I LOVED it!  So, SO pretty—everywhere!  Even in the parking lot of our hotel!  (See Donna’s blog for other hotel adventures. ha.)
Here we are--Ready for our adventures from the hotel parking lot--Hey!!  Wait for ME!!! :-)
One of Donna’s co-workers and daughter  met us there.  We walked around a bit, found the village wasn’t opened until 2 pm, and we were considerably early.  The three of us (me and Donna’s friends Karen and her  daughter,  Leah) left Mom and Donna and Laura-with-the-blistered-feet to purchase tram tickets to the top of Stone Mountain and we hiked to the summit.  It’s a bit of a hike, but only one mile.  Up. 

[Photo upload update:  9 minutes into the process and we’re on picture number 10 of 11!  ]

We took photos, enjoyed the view.  It really is a big tourist attraction and there were many people there. I liked it. It was nice.  After we met up again at the bottom (yes, we hiked up AND down the hill even though I had a chance to ride the tram back down), we ate a late lunch in the village.  We wandered around the little shops and window shopped.  They had a glass-blower.  You know, I don’t want to sound like a snob, but after seeing Murano glass-blowers in action, I really felt like the fellow we saw was not quite a master craftsman.  Not yet, anyway.  I could even tell by looking  at the wares in the store. They were pretty, no doubt.  And there’s no way * I * could do anything close to that—ever!  So he’s got talent for sure.  But Murano.  Now THAT’s craftsmanship at a master’s level!

Karen on left (pink on shoes), her daughter Leah in center, Donna on right.  Awkward shot, but aren't the trees pretty?  They were making snow off to my right, but I forgot to get a photo of that.  Prepping for the December displays and activities.

Part of the trail followed the power line.  THIS power pole was  COVERED with gum.  Yuck!  The power pole on the trail further up, past the difficult part and past the little resting area--not nearly so much gum!!  Either they had no more gum to give or not as many people really make it to the top!

Far less gum on this pole, yes?

Many inscriptions mark the solid granite trail.  Some are old.

Me with the skyline of Atlanta in the F  A  R away background. I think you can see it if you click on the picture and make it bigger.

One of the two markers I found.  Unfortunately, I had no crayon or pencil with which to make a rubbing.  So I photographed it.

Me on the trail.  Poor Leah slipped.  Some of the bare granite is not so bare on the trail and those pine needles or the loose sand can be slippery!!!

Just some pretty exposed and worn gnarled pine tree roots.

The Stone Mountain carving.  Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and General Lee.

These last two shots I took from the train as we were waiting to leave the "station." There is a miniature golf place here at Stone Mountain as part of their Theme Park Attraction.  But those leaves!!! I just loved the trees!!!

We had tickets for the open-air train ride around the base of Stone Mountain.

I have some photos of the train ride, too.  If I have the patience to wait for them to load, I’ll add them to the blog.  [There’s GOT to be an easier way to do this!!]

OK.  So, the train ride was open air.  There were video screens on the train—lots of them, actually. Kind of like on airplanes.  One little child boarding the train exclaimed upon boarding, “Oh!  Yay!  TV!”  Yes, well, not exactly.  The presentation shared facts about the history, flora and fauna of the area.  It was cool and crisp and a nice little jaunt around the base.  We were so busy looking at the granite monadnock that we forgot to look at the lake that we must have passed somewhere along the line.  Oh well.  The area of full of hiking trails and camping grounds.   It was really cool to see.  And such a view from the top!!  So nice.  The weather was overcast so no-one got overly hot or sunburned.  Bonus all around.  Our daytime temps were in the 60’s, I think.

I don’t think we really did much that evening.   We had a nice late lunch, so didn’t really feel it was necessary to go out to eat dinner, so we just snacked on what we had in the room, visited and fell into bed kind of early.  I did watch a movie on Donna’s iPad before I went to sleep.

Sunday Morning we needed to be downtown for the events of the day. I had planned, if possible, to attend church in the area of our hotel.  It was close, but the timing was not right to get us to the places we needed to go AND to avoid the masses of people who would be converging on the MARTA rail transit after the football game.  Football?  I think that’s who the Atlanta Ravens are.  I dunno. It’s sports, and I seldom pay attention to sports.

So we rode MARTA!  Laura had ridden it from the airport when she came in on Thursday or Friday, but none of the rest of us had.  It was an adventure to try and figure out the kiosks to buy our cards and rides, but we did it and felt so smart!  There was NO ONE around—the place was deserted and the trains very empty.  But it was a Sunday morning.  We enjoyed the adventure and went downtown to figure out our excursions.   None of us, not a one, has any sense of direction.  Not in a big city with sky scrapers all around.  We tipped a kind homeless-looking person who gave us correct instructions.  Mom had a ready tip for our hotel shuttle driver who didn’t accept it, so Mom gave it to him.  I’m sure it made his day. ha.

MY adventure was the Georgia Aquarium. I'd never been, but Mom and Donna had, so they opted to see the World of Coca Cola.  I'd already seen that and opted to NOT.   So it worked out well. I spent about 5 hours in the aquarium and they went on a long tour of the Coke place plus CNN then we met up with Donna's friends for dinner that night at the Cheesecake factory. 

Georgia Aquarium has whale sharks!!  And albino crocodiles!  And lovely displays.  Here are a couple.

Oh, but I get ahead of myself.  We had to get OUT of downtown first.  On the train, you know.  So we found the station after way too many stairs up and down and up and down for poor Mom and Laura-with-the-blisters-on-her-feet.  Ouch!  We found the station.  It's surprisingly lacking in signage, unlike the Metro in DC which has very adequate signage.  And the one in Boston.  Heck, probably even in Rome and Munich--I've ridden them all!  So we took the wrong train.  All the way out to the end of the line.  Enjoyed the ride immensely, even when we realized we were in the wrong place-ha!  So we got back on and rode it back in, switched to the RIGHT train and got back to the station where we could be picked up by the hotel shuttle and be taken back to our car so we could freshen up before going out to eat. Whew!
Some photos of one of the longest Escalators I've ever been on. About three or four stories, at least.  Coming up from the MARTA stop.
Looking UP

Looking DOWN. I took stairs a lot in our hotel.  Fifth floor room.  I did NOT take these stairs!!

And we ate.  And Ate and ATE. Yummy cheesecake.  Mmmmm.  We fell into bed that night, stuffed to the gills.  

Monday morning, we took Laura to the airport after breakfast, then Mom and Donna and I headed over to the downtown area.  We thought about seeing the Federal Reserve to pick up a free baggie of shredded money, but it it was a federal holiday.  We looked at the Margaret Mitchell House gift shop.  Then we three went on a fabulous tour of the Fox Theater.  I didn't have my camera, but it is pretty cool.  Cool enough that I bought not just a post card, but the whole souvenir book!  I am looking forward to reading it.  Then it was time to take ME to the airport.  

Such a fun weekend!  Thanks to Donna and Mom and Laura for making it such a great time!!!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Looks like a great time. I wish I could have gone. :(