January 11, 2018

Thanksgiving in Atlanta

by Steve W

After spending a couple of weeks in Washington DC, we traveled to Atlanta to see my sister Janis and her daughter, Gracie. It's been a couple of years since we saw Janis and, even though we saw Gracie a few weeks ago in Middlebury, we don't get to see them often enough.

For those of you who are wondering how we are traveling on this long journey, it is pretty minimalist. Basically, we have one week's worth of clothing each and a few peripherals, like a laptop case, our own pillows and a few other conveniences. When we go to Europe next year, we will have to pare this down even further.

One of the first things we did in Atlanta was go to Stone Mountain Park, which has the largest (17,000 square feet) high relief sculpture in the world, depicting three leaders of the Confederacy: Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Started in 1923 by Gutzon Borglum (who later went on to sculpt Mt. Rushmore), it was not finished until 1972 due to various artistic and financial issues. Unbeknownst to many Georgians (and many others in denial), this 1,700 foot high piece of granite was the site of the revival of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia in 1915. Currently the NAACP is calling for the removal of the sculpture.

When we got there, we couldn't figure out why people were dressed in winter gear, as if it were snowing. Then we discovered that, right under the sculpture, Snow Mountain had been set up, with artificial snow, ramps for sledding down on inner tubes and an open area where kids and adults could play. This would have been more fun to watch if it were not for the loud music.

These inner tubes hold 5-6 people, but we also saw 1 person and 2 person tubes on a different hill.
Stone Mountain Park has some beautiful scenery, walking trails, gardens and a lake/reservoir, where Fall colors had finally come to the area.

The next day, we went for a walk along a portion of the Atlanta Beltline, a series of walkways and parks that eventually will circle the city. We started at the Krog Street Market and walked a few miles north to the Ponce City Market, where we had lunch. Although we knew that Georgia is an open carry state, we were not used to seeing signs like this.

Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

The Beltway is lined with public art, such as this sculpture (and others) and paintings below.

This is actually a fence about 20 feet in front of the wall with the dog's picture.

Although a work in progress, the Beltline will be a nice addition to the city experience.

Next was a visit to the High Museum of Art, one of the largest art museums in the southeast. While we visited, they had an extensive exhibit of art from Africa, with some thought provoking phrases on canvas.

As the High also has a collection of modern art, here is one piece, oddly enough called "Untitled", that I thought stood out for originality:

This is art? Seriously? No wonder the artist couldn't come up with a title.
One of the highlights of our trip was a nighttime visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Near the holidays, they decorate many of the plants with lights and create new lighted works that are just amazing. We wandered around the garden for about an hour, marveling at the displays. Fun for kids and adults alike!

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Gracie and Janis (who cooked a delicious vegetarian dinner), then headed South the next day. One of the great benefits of traveling the way we are is the freedom to stop to see interesting things along the way. As we passed through Harlem, Georgia, we saw signs for the Laurel and Hardy Museum.

This is another fine mess you've gotten me into.
Turns out Oliver Hardy was born in Harlem and the citizens opened this museum with lots of L&H memorabilia.

We browsed the exhibits and watched a short film, "Oliver the Eighth". A few days later we watched another L&H movie online, "Sons of the Desert", which is now the name of the most famous L&H fan club.

There is a second L&H Museum in Ulverston , Cumbria, UK, birthplace of Stan Laurel. But if you are passing through Harlem, this is worth an hour of your time.

Onward we go!

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