The first part of my Atlanta trip was three days with my sisters. We arrived in Atlanta just before lunch on Saturday and they left for Toronto on Tuesday morning. Not a long time but enough to pack in a few touristy things. My cousin and her husband generously invited us to stay in their home and chauffeured us around. We saw the Margaret Mitchell House Museum (we didn’t do the tour), wandered the Oakland Cemetery, and did the Decatur Ghost Walk.
My cousin’s home is in Decatur, GA (kind of an Atlanta suburb) and they have an amazing piece of property. From the front it looks no different than the rest on the street; street-facing house with a backyard. It backs onto a creek and the other side of the creek is all forest. However, the pièce de résistance is the gate at the back that opens onto a couple of acres they own between the other homes on the street and the creek; kind of an “L” shaped property where their house is in the short arm of the “L” and the long part of the “L” is untamed and tree-filled walking paths. Pretty amazing.
On Sunday we had a leisurely breakfast then drove off for more sight-seeing, stopping at the Ponce City Market. Open only a couple of years, it’s an amazing revitalization of an old Sears warehouse. A great example of “mixed use” and a big piece of the resurrection of downtown Atlanta –it’s right on the Beltline project.
Walking and biking are being encouraged. There is limited outdoor parking (there is a garage somewhere inside) and there is a “bike check” — like a coat check complete with valets to attend to your bike!!
From the market we headed to the Atlanta Botanical Garden where their annual holiday light show had opened the day before and where we also had dinner reservations. We got there just before dark so we could see some of the plants — still in bloom! Amazing to us even with our very mild fall. In fact, the camellias were just starting to blossom! We had enough time after dark, before dinner, to see the lights. The photos of the lights are a post on their own.
Monday was a workday for our hosts, of course, so we headed downtown to the Georgia Aquarium; a pretty amazing place. And we did the whole thing. 😉 The most impressive part — to me — was the size. The habitats are huge. Not a series of tiny aquariums and they are habitats. The emphasis on rescue, rehabilitation and conservation is everywhere. All the larger animals — the dolphins, the sea lions* — are rescues deemed unsuitable for release. Listening to the sea otter talk, they don’t breed any of the rescued otters in order to maintain space for more rescues.
Monday night we stayed in with honest-to-goodness Southern fried chicken, coleslaw and biscuits. 😉
*the largest and oldest rescued sea lion was found with fish hooks embedded in his flippers. On further examination he had bullet fragments in his skull!!