Georgia Vacation – Part Three: Atlanta and Blue Ridge

I’d like to start by apologizing for making these vacation posts so drawn out. I have been super busy as of late and haven’t had a ton of time to sit down and knock out some solid posts. I am back in Missouri now after 2 1/2 weeks, and I’m taking care of Curry, who got his wisdom teeth removed on Friday. Between changing his gauze and being a slave at work, I’ve been on the go a lot recently.

Anyway, on to the actual blog.

On our last day in Atlanta, we went to the Archibald Smith Plantation. We toured the Swan Mansion (as mentioned in the previous post,) but it wasn’t a plantation home like we were thinking, so we were excited to see the real deal. The Smiths had about 30 slaves that helped around the house and lived on the premises, but the rest lived out by the cotton fields, which were around 5 miles from the house itself. Those buildings were no longer intact. We were only able to see one slave cottage, but it had been re-done, so it wasn’t in its original state. The tour was interesting. What surprised me the most is that the plantation had a room on the back side of the main house that was open and unlocked to traveling strangers. Guests would let themselves in and would stay as long as they needed. The slaves would check the room everyday for visitors, and then would care for them accordingly. In this day, it’s hard to imaging just leaving your house open to whoever wanted to come in.

Front of the Archibald Smith Plantation house. © Holly Hildreth 2011

Front of the Archibald Smith Plantation house.

 

Plantation flower garden © Holly Hildreth 2011

Plantation flower garden. You can see the corner of the slave cottage to the right of the stone building.

 

Slave Dwelling © Holly Hildreth 2011

Slave Dwelling

 

After the tour of the plantation, we headed toward the cabin we were renting in Blue Ridge, Georgia. It was no easy task getting there. We put the address into our GPS and followed its instructions. The Garmin took us on an extremely windy mountain road. We were doing hairpin turns most of the time and couldn’t do above 30mph most of the way. We were all looking forward to getting off the highway and were relieved when the GPS told us to turn. To our dismay, it took us on an equally windy GRAVEL road. This road was the epitome of sketch. We had to ford a couple of rivers that were across the road. I was positive that it was going to lead us to some shack in the woods where we would make a real-life sequel to Deliverance. We eventually came to the most rickety, shady bridge I have ever see.  We all held our breath while crossing. Eventually, after what seemed like days, we finally reached Blue Ridge, GA. When we picked up the keys to our rental cabin, the office people assured us that our cabin was only about 5 minutes away and that we were close to town. HA! We were 12 miles outside of town, literally on a mountain. The incline getting to the cabin was probably a 45 degree angle or greater. We had finally reached our destination, though, so we were content to stay put.

The cabin was really nice. Everyone got their own rooms, except for Jen and I had to share. We were excited about all the arcade games, the pool table, and the hot tub.

Front of the cabin in Blue Ridge, GA © Holly Hildreth 2011

Front of the cabin in Blue Ridge, GA

 

Driveway leading to the cabin © Holly Hildreth 2011

Driveway leading to the cabin

 

Fire pit on the back side of the house © Holly Hildreth 2011

Fire pit on the back side of the house

 

Outdoor fireplace © Holly Hildreth 2011

Outdoor fireplace

 

Front entryway to the cabin © Holly Hildreth 2011

Front entryway to the cabin

 

Living room © Holly Hildreth 2011

Living room. (The taxidermy fox was my favorite part, haha.)

 

The other side of the living room © Holly Hildreth 2011

The other side of the living room

 

The kitchen and dining room area © Holly Hildreth 2011

The kitchen and dining room area

 

The room my uncle stayed in upstairs © Holly Hildreth 2011

The room my uncle stayed in upstairs

 

The view from our porch © Holly Hildreth 2011

The view from our porch

 

The basement © Holly Hildreth 2011

The basement

 

The basement © Holly Hildreth 2011

Jen and Kristin racing on the arcade games in the basement.

 

 

The hot tub right outside the basement door © Holly Hildreth 2011

The hot tub right outside the basement door

 

Jukebox and bar in the basement © Holly Hildreth 2011

Jukebox and bar in the basement

 

There were a TON of wild turkeys around the place © Holly Hildreth 2011

There were a TON of wild turkeys around the place

 

Honey bee and some wild flowers © Holly Hildreth 2011

Honey bee and some wild flowers

 

As always, visit my Flickr to see all the photos from our vacation by clicking: HERE!

Stay tuned for more posts. I’ll try to be more timely with the next one!

 

Georgia Vacation – Part Two: Atlanta II

The second day we were in Atlanta, we went to CNN’s World Headquarters. The CNN building was once an indoor amusement park and hotel. After 6 months, the amusement park went bankrupt, and CNN bought the building. The hotel is still functional and takes up a large amount of the building. CNN belongs to Turner Broadcasting, which is a corporation also responsible for  HLN, TBS, TNT, TCM, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, and many more. The tour was interesting. As some of you may know, my sister is a meteorologist for a local NBC affiliate. I had been in her studio a few times before, so it was cool to see the differences and some similarities the two studios share. Here are a few photos from the tour.

 

Before the tour. The family from left to right: Dad, Jen, Mom, Kristin, Greg, and Uncle Randy

Before the tour. The family from left to right: Dad, Jen, Mom, Kristin, Greg, and Uncle Randy

 

Before the tour. My brother-in-law, Greg, Me, and my sister, Kristin

Before the tour. My brother-in-law, Greg, Me, and my sister, Kristin

 

Offices at CNN and part of the hotel © Holly Hildreth 2011

Offices at CNN and part of the hotel

 

CNN Newsroom © Holly Hildreth 2011

CNN Newsroom

 

After our tour of CNN, we used our City Passes to go to the Atlanta Historical Center. My brother-in-law, Greg, is a history buff. On the way down, he was reading, “Team of Rivals,” which is a book as thick as a dictionary about Lincoln’s presidency. So, of course, he was totally into the museum as it was all about the Confederacy and their roll in the Civil War. It was unique to see the South’s side of the War. In school we were taught with a bias for the North. Celebrated generals and other historical figures from the North were cast in a slightly negative light. It wasn’t outrageously biased, but it was interesting to see the different perspectives.

The museum also featured a large wing devoted to the Atlanta Summer Olympics. It contained Olympic torches from nearly the past 100 years as well as the costumes from the opening ceremonies and a lot of the athletic equipment used.

Me in the Olympics Wing

Me in the Olympics Wing

The museum had two historical houses on the premises–one a farm and the other a mansion. Our City Passes let us tour one, so we picked the Swan House Mansion. The museum did not permit photography inside the house, so I was only able to get pictures around the premises.

Swan House Mansion © Holly Hildreth 2011

Swan House Mansion

 

Swan House Mansion © Holly Hildreth 2011

Swan House Mansion

 

Back side of the Swan House © Holly Hildreth 2011

Back side of the Swan House

 

Wall of the Swan House Garden © Holly Hildreth 2011

Wall of the Swan House Garden

 

As always, this is just a small sampling from the day’s shoot. Head over to my Flickr page to see the whole slideshow by clicking: HERE!

Georgia Vacation – Part One: Atlanta

I’m finally back from Georgia! We had a great vacation. We saw and did so much that it seems like we were there longer than a week. To get from Iowa to Atlanta was about 16 hours of driving. We broke the trip up, (which was a good thing, because there were 7 of us in a van that could comfortably fit 6). We stayed in Mt. Vernon, IL the first night. I drove us from Waverly to the hotel, which is about 7 1/2 hours. I’m used to that amount of driving since the trip from Warrensburg, MO to back home in Iowa is about 6 1/2 hours, so it wasn’t too bad. The next morning we drove from IL to Atlanta. I’ve always liked the South and thought it to be pretty country. I hadn’t been south of Missouri in about 7 years, so it was nice to see the area again. We got to our hotel in Alpharetta, Georgia, and hung out for the rest of the night. The following morning we headed into Atlanta. We got the City Pass, which is a bundle package rate for many attractions in the area. We started out at the Georgia Aquarium.

The Georgia Aquarium is only about 6 years old. It’s located in Olympic Park, next to the Coke Factory. It’s the largest aquarium in the World, and it’s a must-see for those vacationing in the area.

Entrance into the Georgia Aquarium © Holly Hildreth 2011

Entrance into the Georgia Aquarium

Inside the front entry © Holly Hildreth 2011

Inside the front entry

My sister, Jen, touching a stingray © Holly Hildreth 2011

My sister, Jen, touching a stingray

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Tide Pool area where you could touch the animals © Holly Hildreth 2011

Tide Pool area where you could touch the animals

Conan Dolphin © Holly Hildreth 2011

Conan Dolphin

The Family waiting for our behind-the-scenes tour

The Family waiting for our behind-the-scenes tour

The World's largest indoor aquarium. This is behind the scenes. We're above the aquarium looking down. The tank itself about a football field in size

The World's largest indoor aquarium. This is behind the scenes. (We're above the aquarium looking down). The tank itself about a football field in size.

Jellyfish © Holly Hildreth 2011

The Family

The Family

The World's Largest indoor aquarium © Holly Hildreth 2011

The World's Largest indoor aquarium

Whale Shark. This is the largest fish in the world, and the Georgia Aquarium is the only place to have one in captivity. Very little is known on the species, so having four of these fish is quite the feet. © Holly Hildreth 2011

Whale Shark. This is the largest fish in the world, and the Georgia Aquarium is the only place to keep them in captivity. Very little is known on the species, so having four of these fish is quite the feet.

Georgia Aquarium © Holly Hildreth 2011

The family in downtown Atlanta

The family in downtown Atlanta

After spending the morning at the Aquarium, we grabbed some lunch and headed over to the Coca-Cola Factory.

Waiting in line at the Coke Factory © Holly Hildreth 2011

Waiting in line at the Coke Factory

In line at the Coke Factory--it was HOT!! © Holly Hildreth 2011

In line at the Coke Factory--it was HOT!!

The entrance into the World of Coca-Cola © Holly Hildreth 2011

The entrance into the World of Coca-Cola

Olympic Torches at the Coke Factory  © Holly Hildreth 2011

Olympic Torches at the Coke Factory

A machine bottling and packaging bottles of Coke © Holly Hildreth 2011

A machine bottling and packaging bottles of Coke

Us Girls before the 4-D movie at Coke World © Holly Hildreth 2011

Us Girls before the 4-D movie at Coke World

Gift Shop © Holly Hildreth 2011

Gift Shop

After the tour of the factory, we headed back to our hotel. It was still very hot outside, so we took a dip in the outdoor pool and then played some cards.

Up Next: Georgia Vacation – Part II

Also, if you would like to see ALL the photos from our vacation, feel free to check out my Flickr. I only posted a few pictures in my blog, but I have about 160 proofs you can see if you watch the slideshow: CLICK HERE