Hotlanta… My Time in The Big Peach

I have been home six days now and it feels like I was gone a month. Two weeks on the road with a day at home wore me out this time. TMI Alert: PMS had something to do with it. Blek.

First stop. Atlanta.

I have spent a lot of time in Atlanta. Used to go there a lot on business and I may have had a liaison with a resident of the city who was once special to me back in the day. I am familiar with most of the attractions; the zoo, the Aquarium, Coca-Cola, CNN and the like. Of Atlanta, I’ve never been a fan. It’s a big city with horrible traffic, the fastest growing number of homeless children in the United States and I don’t particularly feel safe there. Still, I told myself I would approach this trip with a positive attitude. I was determined to have a good time and put my negative feelings out of my head! I told myself I would see three things. I would do those three things during my downtime and keep a smile on my face.

So after a month at home, the day came to take off. Walter didn’t seem too happy about it:

Oh my gosh, that face! He saw the suitcase and went into this pose.

The hubs took me to the airport. I was hoping to catch some of the Miami vs. Florida game before the flight.

You can guess who I was rooting for 😉

Checking in was a breeze. Ahhh I love flying in the late mornings. Things always tend to move faster. I got to the airline club, settled in and watched the first half of the game. It went pretty well…

Time to board the flight. Though it was long, it flew by. I blogged, I had going on my laptop, I may have slept a little and it was overall extremely pleasant. I got to Atlanta and my bag was already waiting on the other end.

And there was no line for a cab. Oh – and Miami beat Florida!


It’s the little things…
 Off my driver took me to my hotel. We got there in no time! No traffic? What the what? I kept telling myself this was too good to be true.
I got to the hotel and settled in.
Always laugh at the TV screens. And doesn’t that look like a giant martini glass?
 For Mid-town, the view from my balcony wasn’t so bad.
I headed to grab dinner with a business associate at Twenty-Two Storys (yes, it is really spelled that way) and ordered a delicious salmon dish. It was huge so I couldn’t’ finish it much to my chagrin.
Great bartender and the salmon was spot on! Fish in Atlanta? Who’da thunk it?
I was pretty happy with how swell this trip was going and then I ran about a block and a half to the CVS pharmacy to pick up some contact solution. UGH. Unfortunately, I had a bad encounter with another, customer, if you will – and as he hovered over me trying to watch me punch in my pin number I had to yell and tell him to back off. All my preconceived notions of why I don’t like Atlanta came rushing back to me. Just as in San Diego, Atlanta has many homeless people residing in their downtown area. They’re just much more aggressive in Atlanta. This does not mean I am against the homeless. Someone close to me was once homeless, in fact. I just wish this issue would be addressed in the United States. I felt unsafe and out of control – two feelings no one wants to experience. I went back to my room, pissed off. I vented on Facebook and I stewed awhile. Then I told myself to build a bridge and get over it. I was determined to make my time in Atlanta positive. After texting with the hubs, off to sleep I went…
The next day I went to set-up for our event, but alas they were a day behind so I had an entire free day. I picked up my rental car, ran some errands and grabbed some stuff we needed for the event and decided to take on my checklist:
  • Harley Davidson Pins/Poker Chip
  • Southern Food
  • Stone Mountain

After hoping my GPS was steering me in the right direction, the Harley Davidson sign appeared in the sky. I felt like I was home! The Atlanta Harley was closed on Sundays, so I made my way to the Stone Mountain Store – which isn’t actually near Stone Mountain, go figure!

I perused a bit, picked up our pins, poker chip and a work-out tank for the hubs. Fifty-percent off, too! Score! I had a great conversation with the people who worked there and laughed a bit. I’ve written this before: It does not matter where in the world you are. If you own a Harley Davidson and you find other Harley Davidson owners, you will make instant new friends. We talked about riding, cancer survivorship and family.

Stone Mountain Harley Davidson. See that tent? We are so getting that. Yes, it has a space for your bike.
After awhile, my stomach was grumbling. San Diego isn’t known for Southern food and I was jonesing for it something fierce! Since I wasn’t in the know of where to go for this epicureanism of Atlanta, I asked the lady at the Harley dealership. She said she wasn’t familiar with too many places near the dealership other than Folks, which was just across the highway. Sounded good to me.

I bid my brethren farewell and trusted that although my GPS was taking me on a loop through a residential neighborhood I’d find Folks. And find it I did!

I pulled up to this adorable little place and I was as giddy as a school girl! Everything looked like this:

It was after the Sunday church rush and I was seated right away. The hostess asked me if I’d like lemonade or sweet tea and when I asked in reply, “Do you have unsweet tea?” she looked at me like I was an alien! She brought me an unsweet tea and two other servers asked if I needed sweetener. I know they really like their sweet tea in the south! I think most people could tell I wasn’t from around there since everyone kept looking at my table. My server, the most cheerful gal ever, handed me a menu. My eyes widened and I am sure my smile was from ear to ear. I told her I would need a couple of minutes to decide.

They had fried green tomatoes. And peach muffins? And sweet potaoes? And meatloaf? And fried chicken, too! Sign me up. For all of it. Let’s do this!

I was laughing so hard when I placed my order because I couldn’t believe I was about to consume all this southern goodness.

Here’s how it went down:

O.M.G. did I eat! I am going to admit it – I ate everything but one chicken thigh! And it was DAMN GOOD.

Next up was a small banana pudding. That was good, too. Darn it to heck for blurry pictures!

I chatted with my server for a few minutes and decided it was time to burn off some of those calories. I don’t even want to know how many that was! For the record, this kind of meal is a rare thing. And yes, it was worth every last bite!

I took off for Stone Mountain. Now, I can’t tell you that the GPS took me the most direct route, but I finally made it after about 40 minutes of driving. I got lost in the actual park and finally pulled over to read the map they gave me when I paid the $10 entry fee to the park.

Okay, found the spot! I parked my car and ran into the bathroom to change my clothes. Five inch heels and jeans were definitely not going to cut it! Since I only had a couple of hours, I decided to take the lift to the top of the dome (it really isn’t a mountain per se) and hike down and around back to my car.

Stone “Mountain” in all its glory
The ride is about $5.00 one way ($5.90 with tax).

I lined up and got ready to load into the skylift car thingy.

1) getting ready to load 2) they pack the cars full 3) a view from the inside 4) on the way up 5) getting to the top

Made it!

Our trusty guide (Steve?) snapped a shot for me! Thanks, Steve! Hope that is your name!

Made it! (and did I mention I don’t like heights)?

I hit the gift shop and picked up a couple of pins for our vests then explored a bit.

It was a bit cloudy, but the views were still nice.

After a half hour or so, I decided to make my way back to the car since the sun was starting to set.

First you follow the white lines…

The White Line

Then you don’t…

Stop following the white line here

Find the yellow…

Okay, now follow the yellow broken line!

Once you figure out the path and make your way down a bit, you’ll get some shade.

And see some foliage and fauna:

Along the way…

After walking around a mile and a half, I got to the bottom. I had about a mile and half to go to get to the car. There were some cute stops along the way:

Not sure which area this was, but it was really cute.
If you click on this picture and look through the trees, you can see the Confederate Memorial Carving of Generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and President Jefferson Davis. I have mixed feelings on this “tribute”.

As the sun started to set, I made it to my trusty rental. Got in and took off to run one more errand for the event. After navigating around some downtown closures due to a baseball game, I got to my hotel and hit the shower!

The Chevy

I wound down, told my hubby goodnight and hit the sack.

After a good night of sleep, I set up our event in record time, turned in my rental car (I didn’t rent from the airport), caught a cab to the airport and took off to my next stop…the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport so I could attend a five-day event in Hilton Head.

I left Atlanta glad that other than my run-in at the CVS I kept the deal with myself to maintain a positive attitude. Travel is about staying open-minded. It paid off.

Now, if you made it through all of that, thanks for reading! Next up…Hilton Head! Stay tuned!

This travel piece has been added to Sunday Traveler. For more great travel stories, visit the link up by clicking here.

Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Twenty-Two Storys
Hertz Rental Car -Courtland Street