Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Weekend in Atlanta

 We have just had a great couple of days in Atlanta (Georgia).  The Atlanta Miniature Society were holding their 36th Annual Show and Sale and I thought it might be different to see a 'club' show rather than the usual 'commercial' one.

Originally we decided to do a road trip there and back as we don't get to see anywhere much, other than Florida when we come here.  We did a lot of map studying and decided it was a pretty uninteresting journey; especially if we hared up the I-75 and it would take us two days with no real stops on the way.  Our next inspiration was flying.

With the benefit of Air Miles and $11.20 we could fly there easily from Fort Myers.  Indeed Fort Myers is the usual transit airport for us on our trips here.  We have flown Manchester/Atlanta/Fort Myers more times than I can count.  So off we toddled on Friday 18th for the 12.12pm flight; arriving an hour and a half later in Atlanta.

I spent many words recently bemoaning our Thompson flight here from the UK - let me say how vastly different our Delta experience was.  I had a middle seat in three as we booked just a couple of days before flying and the flight was full.  I asked if I could be changed to an aisle seat at check-in and luckily there was just one (now) remaining and for the princely sum of $15 I was switched.  This is the second time Delta in the States has done this for me without an ounce of fuss. Indeed in the UK, on more than one occasion, we have booked seats months ahead to get the ones we want and then found at check-in that we have been moved to allow a 'family group to sit together'.  Infuriating.

We got pre-check boarding cards which fast tracked us through security and gave us a green card allowing us to keep our shoes on (!).  We were only needed at the gate half an hour before the flight, indeed fifteen minutes will do.  Polite queues making for easy  boarding, a reasonable plane with free wi-fi.  the trip itself is like a bus ride with drinks - off the plane and into an airport we already like.

Atlanta is a very well arranged airport, easy to negotiate.  It is generally busy as it is a main hub but it is doable and there is an every-three-minute shuttle between concourses.  This time we were actually leaving the airport rather than being in transit.  That seemed very strange.  We caught a different kind of shuttle.

To pick up the rental car you get the Sky Train.  It is almost literally that, being elevated, it strides its way across road after road and building and trees.  It is really impressive and in five minutes you are at the rental car centre.  Here, because Ken had booked on line,  we just walked through and picked up a car - no check-in, no queues, nothing.

From there to a lovely hotel - Wyndham Galleria - and in plenty of time for the Preview at 6.15pm - with desserts!

The show itself was a delight starting with a huge room filled with people's work, presumably from the club itself.   I toured that and was able to get in the rooms when the show was being set up, so I managed to take a lot of photos before the opening.  This meant I could have a very 'deep south' dinner with Ken in the hotel before going off to do more schmoozing and photographing and a little purchasing.

Ken's slow-cooked beef ribs, southern mac and cheese and collard greens

My creole shrimp with bacon (!) over cheddar grits - not a veg in sight

Saturday began with breakfast in the hotel following which I went off to do a quick flit round the show.  The quick flit lasted about two hours.

We decided our tourist trip in Atlanta would be the Botanical Gardens.  this took us through a small section of what looks like a very nice city.

small part of the Atlanta skyline

It was an absolutely glorious visit,  beginning with a delicious meal in the 'Cafe at Lintons' - not a cafe as we would know it Jim.  It was very chic and the food and staff matched it perfectly but the prices were just fine.

Gorgeous plate of smoked trout on a cornmeal blini with horseradish etc

My smoked trout was just beautiful and from the starter section of the menu.  I added in a side of fruit which was described as Fuji apple with muscadine and scuppernong.  You know me - if there is a creature I have never heard of on offer I have to eat it.  Turns out that muscadine  is a black grape (already guessed) and a scuppernong is its almost bronze sister.  They are both indigenous Southern grapes and can withstand high temperatures.

They were decidedly different in texture and in taste.  Not unpleasant but (I thought) not entirely grape-like.

Scuppernongs and all under our belts and we were off to tackle the botanical gardens.

It is just the most magical place.  Beautiful landscaping and wonderful and fascinating plants.  When do we see Okra and Millet in our veggie gardens?

Right now there is a 'Light in the Garden' show and I so wish we had the energy to have gone back for that in the evening: it must be overwhelmingly beautiful.

A British artist called Bruce Munro has set up all kinds of fibre optic pieces but I think his simplest is maybe his best..... his Forest of Light.  He has dotted lights through acres of woodland which apparently are all different colours of light.

We saw this and other things from a forty-feet high walkway in the trees

Having said that was good - how about twenty (!) luminous water towers and then this little gem.

a different coloured light in every bottle!

This is made up of empty plastic soda (pop) bottles.

There are masses of seats in every nook and cranny and each one more interesting than the next.  How wonderful to be able to rest and enjoy the surroundings every few yards.

There is a Chihuly glass piece in the entrance hall and a spectacular fountain (see my album) using one of his pieces.

As if all this wasn't enough we then visited the just spectacular orchid house.  Please look at my album - the flowers were glorious but the photos can't capture the experience.  Simply magical.

Saving the best 'til last..........if you ever change planes in Atlanta and have hours to kill - escape the airport and go and see this if you see nothing else.

she is just astonishing, completely covered in plants, even her skin

The serenity by that pool it is palpable.


The link for the photo album for the trip:  Atlanta, 18-20 Sep 2015

If you want to read about the miniature show: Dollshouse Trips and Shows

If you want to see what I bought:  Dalton House

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