If you are a metaphorical frequent flier on my blog, you know that I am a frequent flier in the skies. And this week I jetted off again. This time to Atlanta, with my book in tow as always because it’s fun to take a shot or two of the city I’m visiting with it if I can. This is actually the second time I’ve been to Atlanta in less than a year. Before that I can’t remember the last time I was here.
My previous trip in the summer of 2016 included a stay at Stone Mountain, just outside Atlanta, where we rocked up to the top of the “mountain” in the funicular (for someone fearful of heights I think the word “fun” needs to be removed from that word) and for some reason chose to walk back to the bottom of the strange rock bulge in oppressive heat. Oppressive heat was kind of a theme of the visit.
We also laid in the grass and took in the Stone Mountain laser show complete with pyrotechnics, which further exacerbated said oppressive heat. Side note: That show might have been one of the more randomly odd things I’ve ever seen in my life. It jumps from knock-off Star Wars recreations, in laser form, to a strange and literal interpretation of the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band that features a monster truck, to a very long ode to the South in the Civil War, which honestly I found really uncomfortable and borderline offensive. I’ve seen it once, not sure I ever need to do that again.
We also spent a fair bit of time in Atlanta proper, exploring the city, where we visited sites like Olympic Park and ate juicy oranges at a small farmers market.
Now, I’m back again and staying at a lovely hotel with a decent view.
On my latest trip to ATL, it also just so happens that quite by coincidence, I brought along another book as well. It is a graphic novel called March: Book 1, by none other than John Lewis. If you don’t know him you might want to blow the dust off that history book. He is a beloved Congressman (I know that seems like an oxymoron but they do exist) who represents a district that includes Atlanta. He is also a Civil Rights hero and all around amazing person. But, more on that in another blog. March: Book 1 is deserving of it’s own dedicated time.
Today, let’s talk about what I love about Atlanta because it’s a city that is a bit atypical of other cities in the south.
Here are some reasons I love about ATL
Historical Figures Who Made a Difference
Atlanta is a place steeped with history, not all of it good. It was on the wrong side of the Civil War and paid the price, being mostly destroyed during the war. However, out of its ashes, years later, grew the phoenix of the Civil Rights movement. As I already mentioned, John Lewis, a Civil Rights icon, although originally from Alabama, has been it’s Congressman since the 1980s.
But Lewis is not Atlanta’s only Civil Rights icon. Do you know who else was from Atlanta? None other than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Both of whom advocated for peaceful change and nonviolent resistance.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
In Atlanta, you can walk the streets of the epicenter of the Civil rights movement and feel the history, bravery and eventual triumph seep up through the streets. If you’re ever in Atlanta, I’d suggest taking a tour of the civil rights history of Atlanta. It’s a great way to bring history out of the books. Not sure where to start? Check out the Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta.
Music that Touches the Soul
New Orleans may be the home of jazz and Nashville core of country, but, Atlanta has turned out some pretty incredible musicians as well – TLC, Ludacris, Indigo Girls, Deerhunter, Usher, Ciara, Toni Braxton, India.Arie, The Black Crows, Cat Power, to name a few amazing ones. It’s hard for me to narrow down my favorites but two stand out for me.
- The Outkast – In college, I became quite fond of The Outkast, thanks to some pretty great roommates. I nearly lost my mind when when Big Boi partnered with Phantagram and created BigGrams. I know there’s no way they met each other and said – let’s work together and create the perfect mash-up group for K. L. Kranes, but….
- T.I. – Ever since I heard the words “the spirit of a hustler and the swagger of a college kid” from Live Your Life, I’ve been obsessed with T.I, in a respectful, non-stalker, I still love my husband way. To me his words are poetry. I don’t care what anyone says.
More than Just Southern Food
My family loves food. Typically, unless I’m in New York or San Francisco, I’m ready to be disappointed by the food of a city. As a gluten-free Pescatarian trying to go vegetarian who borders on foodie without falling in, restaurants can be difficult. You’d think living outside Washington, D.C. we’d have easy access to vegan and vegetarian restaurants that include well-labeled gluten free options. Well, you’d be wrong. Apparently, I need to come down to Atlanta to get that.
There are actually several highly rated vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Atlanta (and several carnivore-friendly restaurants as well). My favorite is a place called Herban Fix on Peachtree Street. We happened upon this place accidentally on our visit last year and when I came back I immediately made reservations. The food never fails to be delicious and I often forget I’m eating vegan. It’s that good.
A brief list of other things I love about or based on Atlanta
- The TV show Atlanta. If you’re new to this show check out the episode called Juneteenth…it’s incredible.
- It’s the home of CNN. Whatever your opinion of CNN is, learning about how a large media organization is run is fascinating and the CNN tour takes you behind the scenes. It’s definitely worth the visit (especially when the summer is, as we’ve established, oppressively hot. The CNN building has very good air conditioning). The building also boasts one of the tallest escalators ever made.
- The Fox Theatre. This theater was originally built by the shriners to look like the mosque-style ancient temples of the Far East (influences for the building included the Alhambra in Spain and Egypt’s Temple of Kharnak). It now serves as a venue for musical acts and plays.
And, later today, The Travelers and I will head back home. Before then, my goal is to try to find a bookstore and buy March: Book 2 to read on the way home! If I find any interesting bookstores, I’ll be sure to write about them!