October 21, 2008 – What a Weekend

Marilyn and I went up to Atlanta for a much needed mini-vacation. This is actually our 3rd vacation of the year (my 4th if you include a trip up to Detroit), if you include the trip that ended after new years. Not bad for squeezing a few day in where you can. We didn’t have too much in mind going into the trip — go to a Magnetic Fields concert at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and stop by the legendary Atlanta Aquarium — but we ended up doing this and a bit more. Thursday we headed up the typical boring drive, dropping Lily off (our new dog if I haven’t mentioned her recently), and getting up to Atlanta a little before 4pm. We stopped by Twain’s, a small bar and restaurant in downtown Decataur and killed a bit of time before the concert. We had nice 3rd row (near center) tickets, so we were able to see every movement of the 5-member band. If you’ve never heard anything by The Magnetic Fields, I highly recommend them. There aren’t many groups I’d drive that far to see, but they’re up there. Saturday we started early with a tour of the historic Fox Theater. Built in the mid 20’s it’s quite a sight to see. It’s inspired by Egyptian and Middle Eastern themes, although only in as much as Mikado is inspired by Japan. The tour guide was knowledgeable, and well worth the few bucks to see behind the scenes. Would’ve been nice to see more around the stage, but since Wicked is in town we couldn’t go back there. We went on to the Halloween Parade at Little Five Points which was absolutely packed. When we got down there we didn’t know anything special was happening, but the streets were packed. We ended up shopping around and grabbing some street food and mostly just enjoying the music and stores. Marilyn found a few things to pick up too. We ended up heading to Dialog in the Dark next, a strange but interesting experience. You basically go through an exhibit without any light, designed to show you basic things that a blind person would encounter. From when it starts to when it ends there is no light, so you’re somewhat vulnerable for a while in the darkness. We’d tried to get Wicked tickets earlier, but it was sold out on Saturday and Sunday seats were awful. Luckily we were able to get some from a guy on the street. Seats weren’t too bad, and we both really enjoyed the show. Recommend Wicked for anyone who hasn’t seen it! I’d probably be up for seeing it again if it comes to Tampa/Orlando. That was Saturday. Sunday was a bit more laid back. We hit up the Aquarium in the morning, as most Atlanta tourists do. It completely blows the other aquariums I’ve been to out of the water (Tampa, Boston, Seattle), but given that it’s the largest in the world that’s no surprise. With Whale Sharks and countless humongous tanks it’s a well thought out and fun experience. I love how instead of lots of small tanks, most the tanks they have are huge and you see them from multiple points of view. There is a bit of an awww factory when you see both the huge tank (with 4 whale sharks in it) or the pacific reef tank with it’s wide variety. Afterwords we headed north to the Atlanta History Center. Feels like a must to have some sort of history and nature aspect on every trip (sort of a ying/yang thing?), so we strolled through the trails and visited some history houses before going through the civil war portion of the museum. Between Richmond and Atlanta we’re really covered when it comes to large Confederate strongholds. We ended up taking a locals advice and stopping by the Buckhead Diner for a bite to eat — and we ended up having one very delicious meal. Although called a diner, it’s more upscale than you might expect. Marilyn and I agreed that it was the best Calamari we’d ever had (sweet chili flavored) and Marilyn’s favorite crab cake. The “famous” chips were pretty good, but I was more impressed with how good blue cheese is on chips. We’ll go back next time we’re in town. We ended the night settling down in the hotel, annoyed that you cannot buy beer or wine from retail stores on Sunday, so we settled for sparkling peach juice. Fun trip definitely though! There was a lot we wanted to see but didn’t have time for, but there’s always next time. Any suggestions on things to go and see in Atlanta? We opted not to see the World of Coke, Underground Atlanta or Stone Mountain, but all sounded interesting (although a bit too commercial maybe).

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