Although none of us got more than four hours of sleep, we were excited to explore Atlanta, Georgia. The morning started off pretty sweet with a visit the World of Coca-Cola. The staff were welcoming and made us all excited to explore the grounds. The self-guided tour was interesting because they made every room in the two-story building represent all parts of the world.
Coca-Cola was invented by John Pemberton in 1886. It has evolved from a local refreshment to a worldwide assortment of beverages that are unique to its environment.
We learned all sorts of fascinating facts about the history of the coke, how they are created and assembled, advertisements, and we even had the opportunity to watch a 4-D movie about “the secret of the Coke”. One of the highlights of our visit, was a photo opportunity with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear…
To conclude our visit we entered the taste testing room where we sampled Coca-Cola products from all seven continents. It was great to taste what others around the world drink every day.
For lunch we stopped at a New York City style deli called Reuben’s Deli. As soon as we entered the Deli we realized that it was filled with lively chaos which made ordering a bit of a task. When it was our turn to order we were being hollered at and expected to yell back while ordering, if not they couldn’t hear you past all of the other noise and you would not receive your meal. When it was my turn to order I asked for a Godfather sandwich on honey wheat toast. I yelled out what I wanted in my sandwich which included tomato and spinach as additives, but I wasn’t loud enough so I didn’t receive the tomatoes. Even without the tomatoes, my Godfather sandwich was by far the best sandwich I have had from a deli. The bread was soft and sweet and not dry like wheat bread usually is. Others at the table ordered hotdogs and Philly cheese steaks, and Kaitlyn purchased one of their oversized chocolate chip cookies which she kindly shared with us.
Next, we stopped for a quick photo at Martin Luther King’s gravesite. It was a beautiful gravesite where he was buried alongside his wife, Coretta Scott King. Their gravesite was surrounded by a pool which made it a perfect scene.
After our quick photo we moved to our next destination, the state Capitol. At the very beginning of our self-guided tour, we ran into a nice gentleman who turned out to be Georgia Representative Tom Taylor. In fact, he was so nice, he offered to give us a tour.
He started by telling us about himself and then shared some of his favorite governor portraits with us. One of the interesting stories he shared is the background of the Lester Maddox portrait (Maddox was a Governor of Georgia from 1967-1971). Maddox didn’t get along with the state’s largest newspaper, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and he often said that the only thing it was useful for was for wrapping dead fish. In his official governor’s portrait, Maddox included an interesting detail in the background:
In case you can’t see it, here’s a close-up of the bottom right corner:
Yes, that is the newspaper wrapped around a dead fish!
We moved on to the House Chamber where Representative Taylor told us history of the chairs and desks and then gave us an overview of how things work in the state House of Representatives.
The house still uses the original desks from the 1860s. Although the desks are original, they have been updated. The desk was originally equipped with an ashtray, which has now been converted to an electronics outlet; a microphone has replaced the old ink-holder for their quill pens; and while the drink coaster is still there, it’s now used for coffee or water rather than Bourbon.
We were also given a chance to occupy the spots used by the Representatives, and we had fun posing in positions we may actually occupy officially in the future.
Amazingly, Representative Taylor offered to take us to the Governor’s Office, where we took a group picture, were given some “official Georgia peanuts,” and took photos of the office.
Representative Taylor also guided us into the Secretary of State’s office where we were given state flags as souvenirs. At that point, Representative Taylor had to depart, so we continued on our self-guided tour, but not for long. We stopped into the Senate chambers, took a fun photo…
As we were about to leave, the Parliamentarian and Secretary of the Senate, David Cook, greeted us and offered to show us around the chamber! By this time, we were feeling pretty important, but we think the reality is that the folks in the Georgia Capitol are just very welcoming. He gave us a great tour of the senate where we learned a lot and got to take plenty of pictures. Secretary Cook also showed us a “cheat sheet” for parliamentary procedures that he keeps on the podium, and he explained some of them to us.
Also, each one of us got to slam the gavel, as though we were were presiding over the Senate.
It was great to be welcomed with such hospitality. We definitely learned more than we expected about Georgia’s legislative branch.
Following our exciting VIP capitol tour, we hurried over to the Carter Presidential Library. During the capitol tour, we learned that Jimmy Carter was previously a governor of Georgia. This was the perfect transition for the Presidential Library. Jimmy Carter was elected to office in 1977. The library began with a video which gave visitors background information on President Carter and his life.
Arranged as a timeline, the museum began with the birth of President Carter, proceeded through his early life and political career, and ended with his numerous awards.
The library contained extensive amounts of history, but also more personable artifacts such as President Carter’s childhood report card, or the President and First Lady’s passport. Dispersed throughout the museum, videos of President Carter and first lady Rosalynn played adding a more personable element throughout the library. Emphasized throughout the museum, President Carter and Rosalynn’s commitment to serving people and helping to establish world-wide relations to promote world peace were clear. The library gave visitors a better understanding of President Carter’s accomplishments in the White House, but also who he is as a person. The Carter Presidential Library is situated on beautiful grounds, giving us the perfect opportunity to take stop for photos.
Atlanta’s High Museum of Art was the next stop. The High Museum of Art consists of more than 14,000 pieces of art ranging from American, European, and African…the list goes on. The building is four stories high with all forms of art (photography, sculptures, paintings, and furniture) displayed throughout. It was a special day because as we admired the art a live band played great tunes.
The combination of the two were perfect and made the visit unforgettable. The museum offered a variety of styles to fit everyone’s palate. The group all had different favorites, however one in particular stood out to me. The Crochet Chair proved my favorite because of its uniqueness, but also its practicality. Created by Marcel Waders, this piece proved its originality with its simplistic concept. Another group favorite was more interactive, allowing visitors to listen to each other from a distance without creating extra noise.
We also enjoyed paintings by Thomas Moran, Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson,William Haseltine, Thornton Dial, and Mr. Imagination, the latter of which is a folk artist who actually appeared at the Wynne Home a few years ago.
Words and pictures do not capture the beauty of the artwork, but after spending a few hours exploring the massive art museum, we departed the museum–but not the grounds. The grounds had been decorated with “yarnbombs,” decorative and useful objects that attract people to create my relaxing….
…and dynamic locations in a city…
…and it certainly worked for us!
Dinner was different from what we anticipated. We were supposed to be stopping at West Egg Cafe for dinner, but we found ourselves in the Odd Bird instead because the West Egg Cafe turns into the Odd Bird after 3pm. The menu for the Odd Bird was limited to Chicken Biscuit sandwiches, Chicken Sandwiches and Chicken and Waffles. Three of us ordered the BBQ Chicken Sandwich which came with coleslaw and pickles and the other three ordered the Chicken Biscuit. I am a barbecue fanatic so I was pretty excited for my BBQ Chicken Sandwich, but when it arrived I realized that the Barbecue sauce from the Odd Bird tasted more like buffalo sauce than barbecue. I believe that the Odd Bird lived up to its name with its odd sauce. After we were through eating our entrees, we indulged ourselves with blueberry custard pie which left a sweet taste for the road, but after a wonderful dinner at John’s City Dinner the night before, Oddbirds was a bit of a let-down.
We had heard much about the view from the Jackson Street Bridge, so that’s where we headed. The view lived up to its name, giving us a beautiful view of the downtown skyline at sunset.
In fact, the view turned us in to shutterbugs, and we enjoyed it immensely.
The sun had set by the time we arrived at the Botanical Garden of Atlanta so we were able to go into the garden while it was filled with lights. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by a gorgeous piece of glass art called the Nepenthes Chandelier by Dale Chilhuly that was hanging from the ceiling (with Maple Leaf Rag) by David Horner in the background).
As we walked a bit further into the gardens we were able to see another piece of glass art by Dale Chilhuly called Parterre Fountain.
The main feature of the garden at night was a temporary and special exhibit by Bruce Munro, who specializes in art made from fiber-optic lights. Making our way through the gardens we passed numerous amounts of beautiful flowers like orchids in full bloom and Munro’s complementary art….
…and we then walked over a bridge which gave a beautiful view of colored lights below us and led us to a statue of a woman covered in over 1800 individual plants.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden was a peaceful way to end our adventure-filled day.