From Savannah to Atlanta...
Updated: Oct 2, 2020
We often joke about Atlanta Georgia being our second home. Garrett and I both grew up visiting family and frequenting sporting events in Atlanta. As devout Falcon football fans, we spent years tailgating downtown and going to the dome. The drive from Savannah is less than four hours from our home which makes the drive a quick and easy one. Our adventures to Atlanta became more frequent when our son was diagnosed with asthma and the pulmonologist that we chose for him was located at the Children's Hospital of Atlanta. With two of mine and Garrett's closest friends living only a few miles from the the doctor's office, we truly have made Atlanta Georgia a second home. Listed below are some of our favorite places to go and some of the best eateries in the city.
The Garden Room; If your Atlanta trip is a quick romantic getaway with your special person, make reservations now for The Garden Room! The atmosphere is like a whimsical storybook that you fell into. From the moment you arrive, you are transported to a world like no other. I imagine the parties at Versailles were quite similar to the likes of this fantastic restaurant; ornate and magical.
Whiskey Bird; With an outstanding brunch menu on the weekends, you must make a stop by this delicious eatery. Their current menu shows a frozen pumpkin spiked latte that makes me want to trek back to A-town for a sample.
Ponce City Market; This "market" is a effervescent community where one can eat, drink, and be merry. Filled with eateries, shops, and more, Ponce City Market is where the entire family wants to be for an outstanding brunch outing, a leisure lunch, or a dandy dinner with a fun atmosphere. During the day, Skyline Park is located on the roof of Ponce and offers putt putt, rides, and outstanding views. In the late afternoon, there is limited access for the kiddos so going earlier in the day is better recommended if the whole family wants to enjoy.
The Georgia Aquarium; Roman has his list of most favorite places to visit that he can count on one hand. The famous aquarium in Atlanta is one of them. You truly find yourself transported to the depths of the ocean and encouraged to explore. Visit their website for ticket rates and special events. Lower prices can be found during the low peak times of day.
Atlanta Botanical Gardens; Walk through the beautiful park that is filled with unique topiaries and beautiful botany. "Renowned plant collections, beautiful displays and spectacular exhibitions make the Atlanta Botanical Garden the loveliest place in the city to visit. An urban oasis in the heart of Midtown, the Garden includes 30 acres of outdoor gardens, an award-winning Children’s Garden, the serene Storza Woods highlighted by a unique Canopy Walk, and the picturesque Skyline Garden."-Atlantabg.org
The World of Coca Cola; This attraction has been a staple for us for years. Sampling the different Cokes from all over the world along with meeting a giant fluffy polar bear character makes for a fun time.
The Varsity; It makes the list for its iconic staple in Atlanta. My memories of the Varsity are mostly associated with football games for a pre or post meal that hits all of those greasy fast food needs. The main branch of the chain is the largest drive-in fast food restaurant in the world taking up an entire two city block radius! My order was always the loaded chili dog... What'll ya have?!
A stay you won't soon forget; The Omni Hotel at the CNN center is the hotel we have always stayed at when we weren't staying with friends and have never been disappointed. But if you are looking for that stay that gives you unique travel bragging rights, try this Airbnb for two, only a short drive to downtown Atlanta.
With so much in Atlanta that we had already done, I reached out to you guys for recommendations on different things to do near the city. I was encouraged to visit Stone Mountain, roughly 30-45 minutes away (depending on where you are staying) We went to the famous stone monadnock to experience the 2020 Pumpkin Festival and the seasonal Glow by Night event. With Covid19 risks being a factor in all of our current travels, we try to keep our adventures limited to attractions that offer advanced safety precautions that lower the risks of exposure. That always makes a destination a front liner when exploring our options so I was interested to see if Stone Mountain park was on top of things as far as health safety went.***
Stone Mountain is an outdoor attraction that I had visited often as a child. Garrett and the kids had never been, so we were excited to visit somewhere "new". You can visit the Stone Mountain and climb it (for free aside from parking) or ride a gondola up it (for a small fee). I highly recommend climbing if you are somewhat fit and in decent shape. Be sure to give yourself at least 40 minutes each way so if you are planning on doing the "glow by night" event, give yourself plenty of time in the earlier part of the day to climb the mountain. Also know that the gondola rides can sell out due to Covid making for limited capacity. The views from the top are spectacular so either way, its definitely worth the climb.
Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival and the Glow by Night event: If you love pumpkins then this is a treat beyond words. The entire "town" portion of Stone Mountain Park is completely covered in pumpkins with incredible carvings. At night, the jack-o-lanterns light up the attraction along with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the trees. Before day light savings time, the nighttime spectacular is quite short lived due to the park closing at 9pm. So be sure to visit the glowing dinosaur exhibit as soon as the sun goes down. A note to add would be that because of Covid, the line to ride the scenic railway train is long and our wait was two hours! Plan accordingly because you will not want that wait to interfere with your nighttime fun. As far as cost goes, you can visit their site for rates but check Groupon right now for a much lower rate. Also, if you are a Dollywood season pass holder, you can receive 50% off of your ticket but you must wait to buy your ticket at the gate and show you actual pass to guest services. But be warned: the tickets sell out, so waiting to buy tickets just for the discount, may be risky.
***Covid precautions are in place at Stone Mountain but they are NOT enforced. I was very disappointed to see only about 30% of the guests actually wearing masks that ARE required at all times. I saw only one employee approach a family to tell them to "please put their masks back on" and the family ignored the employee blatantly and that was all that was done about that. There are worn down pieces of tape on the ground for 6 foot distancing the lines but no one was enforcing it and very few guests were abiding by it. We did our part and stayed back six feet from the families in front of us but the people behind us stayed right up against us. The train seats are appropriately distanced due to being roped off. Being an outdoor attraction, I would say the risks are still lower for transmission but there is still a risk. Just keep all of this in mind when visiting.
If you are looking for a small little town with great food, unique shopping, and beautiful residential architecture, Roswell Georgia is where you need to be. One full day will be plenty of time to enjoy all of it. Breakfast for a unique pallet should be at Fellows. The kids were not crazy about the "hot cakes" but the "fellows board" had a little something for everyone. The "BELT" was a breakfast take on the BLT and it was delicious. Catch a football game at Rock N Taco and enjoy a view of just about every game being aired on their impressive amount of large TV's. Order their fried ice cream for dessert and you will thank me later. Head over to Roswell Provisions for a wine tasting during certain times of the month. Historic Roswell Antiques & Interiors is a great shop loaded with unique finds and antiques. If your main interest is Roswell with a possible side visit to downtown Atlanta, then consider this Airbnb for your stay. It is a quaint bungalow, walking distance to everything Roswell has to offer and sleeps 6 guests! I see a girls weekend getaway in my future!
Finding new and exciting things to do in Atlanta can be overwhelming because there really is so much to explore. From beautiful botanical gardens to the famous Georgia Aquarium, you are sure to have a jam-packed, fun-filled getaway, but remember; you can create a completely different vacation experience just by venturing out a short distance from the city itself. Atlanta's surrounding areas are just as fun and ready to be explored by you and your wandering crew!
The Adventurous Alfords