Atlanta Fun Day 2: MLK, Southern Food, Botanical Gardens

If you are someone who doesn’t like to read travelogues of other peoples vacations this post is not for you! I recently returned from a half business/half fun trip and it was a great experience. The work part was very effective and rewarding and the vacation part super fun.  I posted on Thursday about my food tour of Atlanta which was a wonderful way to be introduced to the city.

This trip was a solo trip which some people find very intimidating and it can be but it has its advantages.  First of all, you can do whatever you want.  If you want to eat at the same place for all 3 meals you can.  If you want to sleep in till noon you can.  It’s your trip and you don’t have to worry about anyone else’s opinion or tastes.  You can also go at your own pace which for me is a huge advantage.  I’m a tough person to travel with because I am slow and need to rest frequently. Sometimes if I’m with others I feel guilty holding them back but by myself I can just walk in my way and savor the experience.

Traveling solo can be very rejuvenating when with others it can be more exhausting but still fun.  Either way I encourage you to take advantage of what opportunities come your way.   I’m so glad I stretched a business trip into a little solo trip.  There was no option to travel with another person so I took advantage of the chance I had and I’d encourage you to do the same.

breakfast meSo day 2 started out sleeping in and enjoying a leisurely morning.  Then I went to a popular breakfast spot called West Egg and got a southern breakfast.

southern breakfastI had a pimento cheese omelet with bacon, grits, biscuit and fried green tomatoes.  It was good but I kind of wished I had ordered the pancakes.  I figured I could order pancakes anywhere but they looked so good.  I try to get local flavors when I visit new places and I’m glad I did.  This was my second time eating fried green tomatoes and I’m not a huge fan of the dish.  Something about the texture of big warm tomatoes isn’t my favorite.  Live and learn!

oj
Always got to have your orange juice.

After a pleasant brunch I went to the Martin Luther King historic site.  It was a neat place and I left feeling inspired by the words of Dr King and the courage the Civil Rights movement showed.   The site is very large with 5 buildings including visitors center, Ebenezer Baptist Church (MLK’s first church), Auburn St restored firehouse, MLK tomb and Freedom Walk, and MLK birthplace.  It was all put together very well with lots of volunteers which I feel gives a heart to the tours you don’t get with paid tour guides.

In the visitors center they have a recreation of the Selma bridge march and you can stand amongst the figures and feel a little bit of what it might have been like.  All the exhibits were very well done with a mixture of video, memorabilia and more hands on like the statues.

selma

 

I was very moved by this plaque with Dr King describing his calling to the movement.  “I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying ‘stand up for righteousness, stand up for truth.  God will be on your side forever”.  I can relate to that experience of receiving a call from the Lord and the reassurance I am up for the task (nothing like what Dr King was asked to do but I could relate on a smaller level).  I know that Dr King wasn’t a perfect man but God works through imperfect people to do great things and we can certainly see that with him.  This calling reminded me a little bit of Joseph Smith’s communion with God in liberty jail where he worried and turned to God receiving the guidance to go on serving boldly to the end of his life.

 

 

king calling This quote also touched my heart.  It was written by Dr King from jail in 1963.  “when you are…living constantly at tiptoe stance never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a denigrating sense of ‘nobodiness’; than you will understand why we find it difficult to wait”.   I can’t begin to understand what that kind of hate and persecution must have been like but  I can relate to small moments of being ‘plagued with inner fears and outer resentments’. Again nothing like what they went through but I guess finding some part of my own life that could relate to these feelings helped the experience at the site feel real and less like a textbook. It certainly took great courage to do what they did and I was humbled to be immersed in their stories for an afternoon.

freedomLeading up to MLK’s tomb there is a long freedom walk with a fountain that goes 4 or 5 levels.  Considering it was in the middle of the city it felt contemplative and peaceful.  freedom walkwayAt Ebenezer Baptist Church they have stained glass, which I love, and a recording by Dr King called The Drum Major Instinct.  It’s long but I was really moved by his words about the dangers of envy, enmity and selfishness.  That if we must fight the temptation to vault ourselves up higher than anyone else.  It was just a neat experience to be in the room, hear his voice preaching and think about what I could do to be less selfish and envious. If you are looking for a good listen for your morning devotionals or scripture studies this would be a very good one.

https://smilingldsgirl.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/01-26-the-drum-major-instinct-february-4-1968.mp3ebenezer3

ebenezer2After all the MLK sites it was time for dinner and since I had been dreaming about it after the sample on the food tour I decided to go and get a full size portion of fried chicken at Max’s Wine Dive.  As I said in my tour review this is the perfect place to go on a tour for me because I would never have gone into such a place on my own because I don’t drink alcohol and wine is in the name.  This fried chicken is the best I’ve ever had.  It was so moist and yet still very crispy.  It has a little bit of heat from jalapenos in the soak and they give you a chipotle honey which undercuts the heat..  So good!  They serve it with mashed potatoes and greens that are also to die for.

chickenI guess the key to the chicken is to fry it on low heat for a long period of time.  The waitress said 285 for like 20 minutes.   I’m going to try it one of these days because unfortunately Atlanta is too far away for me to get it again anytime soon.  One of the yummiest things I’ve ever eaten bar none!

After my dinner I still had time and was feeling pretty energetic so I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  I have never been to a botanical gardens like this but it was huge and featured an outdoor walkway with lush trees.

botanical gardensA pond with a ‘Earth Goddess’ statue.

earth goddess 1A Japanese garden

japanese gardenA edible vegetable garden with a wall of herbs

veggie garden truthsI loved this covered walkway.

walkwayThen there was a large indoor section with an orchid garden that was stunning ( I love orchids!)

orchidsA rainforest section with all these vines hanging everywhere.  The photo doesn’t really do it justice.  It was so beautiful.

rain forestIt was such a stunning place and may have even been the highlight of the trip.  I spent about 3 hours there just walking at my own pace, enjoying how beautiful it was.   In fact, I even got to meet a frog friend…

frog prince2
It’s like the garden variety of a mascot like Mickey or Minnie.
Will I get my prince?
Will I get my prince?

All in all it was a fantastic day and for all that I did it didn’t feel rushed or crammed in.  Just a fun leisurely day with good history, nature and food.  My kind of vacation!

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