|Part of the Atlanta skyline reflected in the pool at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.|
And while there were several attractions less than a mile from our motel, the ones I was interested in were five miles from the motel, so I drove to them. I didn’t really enjoy driving in downtown Atlanta, especially around rush hour, but it wasn’t too bad because I had a GPS system. And although she seemed to misplace me a few times, I always got to where I was going.
Atlanta Botanical Garden : this was by far my favorite place in Atlanta, so much so that I have 72 photos from there (I actually took more than that but I deleted some). I won’t put all of them on this blog but if you like plants or being in nature and you’re going to be close to Atlanta, I’d recommend stopping for a visit.
Part of the conservatory has a large area dedicated just to orchids.
Atlanta History Center : includes the Atlanta History Museum; historic gardens; and two historic houses, the Tullie Smith farm and the Swan House.
Tours of both the farm and the Swan House are included in the admission price but you have to schedule your tour when you buy your tickets. The tours fill up quickly so it’s suggested you arrive early. The tours are offered every half hour but each tour also lasts for half an hour (or more) and are about a 5 minute walk from each other so you shouldn’t arrange them back-to-back. I spent several hours at the center and still felt a little rushed.
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High Art Museum : The art museum spans three different buildings that are connected on two of the five levels, which was a little confusing to me. I was mostly interested in the special Toulouse-Lautrec and Friends exhibit, which was on the Skyway (top) level of the Anne Cox Chambers Wing.
After viewing that I followed the skyway into the other two buildings which, luckily for me, featured contemporary art, modern art and folk art, all of which I enjoy. As I descended in levels, I moved back through art history, which was less interesting to me. I was a little pressed for time so I didn’t spend as much time in these levels.
Their website stresses the importance of reserving tickets and that special exhibits are timed so you can only enter during the time on your ticket, although I must have gone at a slow time because I didn’t have any problem getting in and no one checked the time on my ticket.
And while they allow photography of some exhibits with special permissions, they don’t allow those photos to be used in blogs or other on-line places so I didn’t take any photos of the art inside the buildings.
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Turner Field : This year one of the conference vendors hosted a party at Turner Field, so Scott was able to go visit this attraction, which was on the top of his list of things to see. There wasn’t a game that night (and actually the party was the night before their first home game of the season) but we got to eat and drink in one of the VIP boxes overlooking the field.
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Centennial Park : You might remember a few years back that Atlanta hosted the Centennial Olympics. Part of the area has been turned into Centennial Park. The evening we were there they had a free concert in the park and there were lots of families enjoying the park. There were several fountains, sculptures and public art in the park.
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Folk Art Park : Courtland St. bridge over I-75 near Ralph McGill Blvd. (no relation). This was very close to our motel and we stumbled upon this intersection that had several pieces of public folk art.
make some improvements to the park, so hopefully that will happen.
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Underground Atlanta : this area was inadvertently created during the 1920s when construction of concrete viaducts elevated the street system one level to permit a better flow of traffic. Merchants moved their operations to the second floor, leaving the old store fronts for storage and service.
In 1968 the five-block area was declared an historic site. Many significant architectural features survived from original storefronts. One year later, Underground Atlanta opened as a retail and entertainment center. In 1980, the it was closed due to construction of the rapid transit but was reopened in 1989 and aimed at preserving and revitalizing the center of Atlanta.
Back in the 1990s my one and only business trip was to Atlanta for computer training and I remember going to a comedy club in Underground Atlanta and I really liked the architecture.
Unfortunately it seems that Underground Atlanta is yet another victim of the economic downturn and while we were still able to enjoy the unique atmosphere, many of the shops were closed and the ones that were open seemed to sell a lot of trinkets. Hopefully it will turn around in the future.
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A short trip outside of Atlanta :
Arabia Mountain Heritage Area : located 20 miles east of Atlanta and features some large rock outcrops and is also home to several rare plants that are unique to these granite outcrop environments. In the spring, pools of red plants called Diamorpha can be seen for great distances.
= = =Marietta Square : Marietta is located 20 miles north of Atlanta just of I-75. Marietta Square is a quaint little downtown area with unique shops and restaurants, and on Saturday mornings from April through November they have a farmer’s market.
The highlight of this detour was eating at the Australian Bakery where they feature Aussie Meat Pies. I had the chicken vegetable pie and Scott ate a spinach and feta breakfast pie, which was similar to quiche and we shared an apple slice (a pastry) that was very yummy!
If you want to see more photos, you can do so by clicking here.
To read about some Atlanta accomodations and dining, click here.