Atlanta – Part 1 (On foot)
Did someone say travel..and it got me all excited especially since I just returned from a long holiday in Atlanta. Minneapolis was getting colder by the day so when the husband had to make a work trip to India, I grabbed the opportunity to visit a friend in Atlanta and to experience the southern sun.
Atlanta is beautiful and like NYC is soaked in art, culture and history. It has it’s high rises and luxury condos but it also has its graffiti filled walls, 18th century town homes and beautiful parks.
I absolutely loved the city and its vibrant beat. This post is Part 1 of my Atlanta visit and is named ‘On Foot’ because I walked to most of these places…Well! from and to the train stations of course. Too bad I didn’t have my Fitbit with me!
I have listed out the things I did in Atlanta. This is not really an exhaustive list of ‘must do’s’ but certainly some of the most important ones.
So here goes…
Coca Cola Museum
We all have a relationship with Coke…Love it or Hate it, we cant ignore it! Atlanta was where Coca Cola originated somewhere in the 1800’s. The formula was developed in a lab and became an instant hit amongst people. Everything from its taste to the unique bottle became a rage. Did you know that the 6-pack was originally introduced by Coca Cola? The museum tells you all of this and more. Right from the history of Coke to the events that followed around the world. A tour of a mini bottling plant to a run down on the cultural impact that Coke has had over the years. They even let you design your own Coke bottle and show you the vault where the formula is still safely stored. My favorite part was at the end where you get to taste the different coca cola products in different countries. I tasted as many as I could and ended my little Coca Cola binge with a swig of Thums Up!
A little trivia – I was told that the P word was practically banned in most households in Atlanta. What is the P word? If you haven’t got it, the answer is at the end of this blog.
Margaret Mitchell House
As a teenager, when I had read Gone With the Wind, it hardly occurred to me that this was based in Atlanta, the place seemed like a far far away land. As we grew up the world became a smaller place and visiting these places became a reality. So when I realised that this is the city that Margaret Mitchell wrote the book in, I had to visit it. The house is in the middle of midtown and very easy to get to (walkable from the nearest train station). It’s commendable how the authorities have really made an effort to secure this historic house considering that it is in the middle of the city.
The museum houses details and artefacts about Margaret Mitchell and how the book came to be being what it was. At one point, the book was the second best selling book, first being The Bible. The house also has a lot of details and pictures about the movie, since it premiered in Atlanta and not in Hollywood.
Atlanta History Center
No visit to Atlanta can be complete without a visit to the Atlanta History Center. This is one huge museum and has historical details ranging from the first European settlers to the Olympic games that Atlanta hosted. My favourite were the following:
The Swan House
Do you recognise this house?
It was the palace of President Snow in the middle of the fictional Capitol district in The Hunger Games. Historically the house was built by a rich and affluent American family – ‘The Inman Family’ and is traditionally known as one of the most recognised and photographed landmarks in Atlanta.
The house is almost like a palace with beautiful victorian architecture, vintage furniture and delicately designed china and show pieces. They also have a small museum of the history of china crockery that explains how it gained popularity in the US.
Civil War Museum
Being an Army kid, war museums always fascinate me. The stories of the soldiers, the losses and the victories…give me goosebumps. Atlanta was an important city during The Civil War and the museum is a must do for sure. To think that a country this united, at one point was so divided that its people were at war with each other, is chilling to say the least.
The museum tells you the story of how the conflict began, how the north and south differed in their ideologies and how the southern states actually wanted to form a separate country. Details of how the Confederate Army fought the Union Army have been elaborately explained. All of this obviously with artefacts and illustrations.
They even have a small tombstone depicting how war benefits no one and how countless number of American soldiers and civilians died in the war that lasted over 4 years. This museum was one of the highlights of my trip and a must must do for anyone visiting Atlanta.
Finally, a leisurely visit to the Piedmont Park should be on the list of anyone visiting Atlanta. This beautiful park overlooks the city skyline. and gives you the perfect afternoon picnic spot. You see people jogging, walking their dogs, skating, cycling or just relaxing in the park with their friends and families and bottles of beer, champagne. My favourite sight was that of 3 women, possibly in their 30’s, sprawled on a sheet and guzzling away wine, not a care in the world…having a happy girlie moment 🙂
Also, if you are a dog lover, there are 2 dog parks within this park. One for small dogs and another for the big ones. The purpose of these parks is to help dogs ‘socialise’ with one another and have a field day. It was almost heaven for me. Surrounded by all the wonderful dogs!
The park is also a popular venue for music concerts and events. The day we visited, there was a St. Patrick’s Day event happening. Live music blared and people danced to it and it was all Green..such a celebration!
Stay tuned in for more on Atlanta in my next blog.
P.S. In case you haven’t figured yet, the P word stands for Pepsi. Atlanta’s loyalty to Coca Cola shows in the fact that it is almost impossible to get Pepsi in Atlanta. Even food chains known for their tie ups with Pepsi sell Coca Cola in this city.