Posted on August 12, 2016
Atlanta- Great American Road Trip
When we were teenagers, my family did a road trip through the South. We stopped in many places along the way like Birmingham, Hattisburg and Atlanta. At that time, we had no family living in Atlanta, so it was just a big dirty city to us. We disliked it so much that we left a few days early to go and visit Savannah. Years later, my Aunt Margaret moved there and our idea of the place changed.
Aunt Margaret and I are much alike. We are middle children, strong willed and independent thinkers. She works hard, but likes to get out and discover the place where she is living. I stayed with her in Atlanta for six weeks when I graduated high school and she showed me all of the cool places where she liked to eat, drink and shop. In the back of my mind, I suppose I have always wanted to be hip and cool like Aunt Margaret, so I was thrilled when she said that Bean and I could stay with her for two weeks or more if we liked.
When we visited back in March, Bean and I spent time with friends in downtown Atlanta. This time, I wanted to discover a new area, Roswell. Roswell is a cute little historic town right outside of Atlanta, with many interesting sites for it to be such a small community. Right near the place where we would be staying was the library, which Bean and I love, the community center, a plantation home and more. With all of the those things nearby, it was comical that the number one place Bean wanted to visit was the onsite gym. She begged to go almost every day the first week we were there.
Knowing we had an extended period of time to get out and visit everything allowed me to slow down and process what it was that we really wanted to do. Bean and I spent the first few days walking around the community exploring. I got into the habit of cooking in the evening to lighten the load for Aunt Margaret since she was working long hours. I actually had fun and was able to practice a few recipes that have been in the back of my mind begging me to try them. The best part of it all was when my aunt would compliment the taste and presentation! Who doesn’t want to hear that? And to think, I got much of my inspiration from her those six weeks I stayed with her all those years ago.
I am very glad that I told Bean at the beginning of our trip that it is summertime and summer is hot. I believe it has been the one thing that has kept us up and moving when everyone else is hiding in their houses soaking up the air conditioner. She is a trooper, that one. We would get out of the house around 9:30-10:00 right when things were heating up outside. Most days we would take a short walk to get to our destination for the morning. Often it was right down the street: the boutique store; to buy a shirt because I realized I only had two and I really didn’t want to wear them every day, the discount store; to buy flip flops because Bean is so active hers are wearing out after little more than a week, the library; which was small but hosted some amazing programs a couple of times a week or the community arts center; that presented a puppet show series for the summer with different groups performing weekly.
One day early in our stay, I struck out to find the visitors center. I have no clue how long that walk was. I didn’t realize it was quite so far away since I took the back roads to get there. When I had the opportunity to ride in the car going in the same direction, I felt a little sorry for Bean because I made her walk all that way. But, I guarantee you, she had a good nap that afternoon! At the visitors center, we were told about the Old Mill bridge and park, Bulloch Hall, Barrington Hall and other sites of interest. We spent that morning at the Old Mill Park. The bridge was lovely, scenic and had excellent hiking trails alongside that we would have loved to climb but didn’t have the appropriate footware. I made it up to Bean for the long walk by making a stop at a gluten free bakery. She quickly forgot about her tired body and thought only of the cookies!
A few mornings we went over to the library and saw some excellent presentations. We were able to see and learn more about owls and falcons from a demonstration given by the Chattahoochee Nature Center. We were not able to touch the birds, but the children were close enough to see them in detail. Bean even went up to the front to demonstrate the differences in wing span between different types of birds. Another day there was a presentation given by an Ecuadorian storytelling team…in Spanish! I didn’t leave, as some people did, because I wanted to see if my limited Spanish was good enough to understand the stories. While I did not understand every word, I am happy to say that I understood enough to be able to give Bean some very bad translations. She accepted them enough to sit there for the duration of the program. My favorite program was the All Hands Productions puppet show. “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I am the gingerbread man,” was our favorite phrase for the next few days. The gentleman who produced and performed that show was truly talented. He had the attention of adults and children alike. He must have acted the part of at least 10 different puppets. He didn’t drop any. His voices were not mixed up. His puppets were amusing and the story was entertaining. I bet you didn’t know that the old witch in Hansel and Gretel was only looking for someone to clean her house. Hansel volunteered because he LOVED to clean houses and wash dishes. They made a great team!
The cultural center was just a little further than the library and they also had puppet shows. They were very well produced. Bean can be vocal about the type of entertainment that she enjoys watching. She does tend to like live theater, but I wasn’t too sure about the puppets. She hasn’t seen many of them outside of Sunday School. She loved it! A troupe from Kansas performed their version of The Little Red Hen. She planted a garden and though the animals didn’t help her, in the end they promised to do better the next year and so she shared with them her goods. Our favorite part was getting up and dancing the Chicken Dance! We also saw another local artist, That Puppet Guy, perform stories from around the world. He used an assortment of puppets. We enjoyed the show and I only wish our pictures with him turned out better.
One of the best things we did this trip was get away for the weekend and go up to Charleston, South Carolina.
I would love to tell you about it in this post, but I don’t want to make it too long. Check back in a few days and I will finish the story. Thank you for letting us share our Great American Road Trip with you! Feel free to let me know how you like it in the comments.