Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SE Roadtrip Days 5-6: Atlanta, GA 2012

Atlanta, GA 2012
Group shot in Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA

One thing we have learned immediately on this roadtrip is that you can take in much fewer sights with a baby, and Monday night I saw Christina's Facebook message that our motto should be "Survive!" so we paced ourselves on the first day in Atlanta.

We took recommendations on where to go, and everyone agreed we should try Varsity, a drive-in chili hot dog place.  The chili hotdogs were okay (a little small), but the place itself was awesome. They gave James a server's hat that we put to good use.

Atlanta, GA 2012
Varsity for chili hotdogs

Atlanta, GA 2012
Varsity hat for James

Beyond food, people we asked had no consensus on what we should do in Atlanta. The top guidebook recommendations are the Aquarium, Coca-Cola World and Centennial Park, but the Aquarium is prohibitively expensive if we're going to make it almost 3 weeks on the road, and we couldn't stomach paying to be advertised soda in 4-D.  We put Centennial Park on the list, but left it for day 2.

So we started at the Martin Luther King National Historic site in the Auburn section of Atlanta. The visitors center is a pretty small but interesting museum, and you can also go see MLK's grave at the Center for Nonviolence, his childhood home, and Ebenezer Baptist Church in the immediate area.  I thought the most moving part of the exhibit was seeing the very modest wagon that his coffin was carried in when he died. I've seen Presidential funeral processions in D.C., and the comparative modesty for a man who was a national hero is sad.

Atlanta, GA 2012
Outside the MLK visitor center

Atlanta, GA 2012
A civil rights march exhibit where you can join the march

Atlanta, GA 2012
The MLK Memorial at the Center for Nonviolence

Then we head over to Piedmont Park which James loved because the Active Oval had a huge section of grass he could run in without hurting himself.  After we saw how happy this made him we tried to fit in a park during as many days of our trip as we could. We liked it too because Piedmont Park is really beautiful with the city skyline overlooking lush green fields.  And that was it for me and James for the day. Kevin really wanted to see an Atlanta Braves game and see the stadium.  It was a night game and we don't think James is stadium-friendly even if it were a daytime game so James and I stayed behind while Kevin checked it out.

<Atlanta, GA 2012
James gives Piedmont Park his vote

2012-05-15 Top of the first
The Atlanta Braves

For Day 2, we started with the more touristy Centennial Park, designed as the Olympics town square during the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, but now more well-known for the terrorist bombing that took place there during the Olympics.  It was nice, but it wasn't as good for James to run around in, and apparently that's how we judge parks now.

Atlanta, GA 2012
James, stroller-bound in Centennial Park

Afterwards, we went for lunch at Fat Matt's Rib Shack, and wow, did that make our day.  We had the most terrific BBQ of our lives. Delicious! And everyone who worked there was really nice to us and asked us a bunch of questions about James. 

Atlanta, GA 2012
At Fat Matt's (notice James is about to steal my sandwich)

After lunch, we got one more site in-- the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. The guide books aren't big on this museum, but I'm a big fan of President Carter.  I think he really stuck to his ideals in Washington, even if it turns out that it doesn't work-- I think he was our one "Mr. Smith" president. More importantly, the work he's done through the Carter Center after leaving the presidency has been really impressive. Anyway, I enjoyed the museum a lot because I'm a fan, and James enjoyed the museum because it wasn't crowded at all and it was largely child-proof and he got to run around.

Atlanta, GA 2012
Jimmy Carter museum Oval Office recreation

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