New City, New Bridges

Happy #bridgeday readers! Admittedly, this might be a bit of a stretch, but I’m going to seize this holiday to share a bit about my recent trip to Atlanta. I mean, I crossed exactly two bridges over the course of this four-day excursion, so it counts, right??

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During the days, weeks, and months before the trip, the most common question I fielded was, “Why Atlanta?” Well, for starters, my mom and I share a tradition of spending Labor Day together. This yearly practice has consisted of travel in one form or another, as we’ve lived anywhere from 400 to 1,000 miles apart. Because plains, trains, and automobiles are major players in our planning regardless, some years we go to one another’s homes, sometimes to another family member’s abode, and sometimes to a brand-new city. Cue Atlanta! (Okay, cost of airfare helped cast the deciding vote in this year’s planning process. And yes, I am aware that Labor Day is in September, but work schedules made October the way to go this year!)

Over the course of roughly four days, we saw many places that are unequivocally Atlanta-eque, while also making time to get off the beaten path a time or two. To that end, one of the first things about Atlanta that surprised and delighted me was its murals.

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According to our segway tour guide (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it–THE best way to see a new city), neighborhoods like Cabbagetown, Inman Park, and others frequently commission artists to fill city streets with eye-catching wall murals. The one above features the classic “butterfly” symbol of Atlanta’s Inman Park. In the upper-right hand corner, you’ll also see a plug for King of Pops. Killer popsicles! I humbly suggest ordering the blackberry lemon ginger pop. Places like this make you dream of frivolous things like suitcase freezer compartments.

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Aaaand, everyone needs a little liquid refreshment, right?? My mom was brave enough to follow my lead a far spell from our downtown hotel to Urban Tree Cidery. After train-ing, busing, and walking, we narrowly dodged a rain shower to grab ourselves each a flight. The seasonal variety, shown above, was a solid collection of tasty apple cider brews. Our MVP? Cheery #3, of the cherry varietel.

Beyond snacking and drinking, we also took in some local jazz and Shakespearean theater. (I take that back, we did munch on peach cobbler and tomato basil soup, respectively, at these establishments.)

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Although commonly and most deservedly visited, Martin Luther King’s gravesite, childhood home, and Ebenezer Baptist Church were historical highlights of our time in Atlanta. Because the MLK National Historic Site is currently undergoing renovations, note that the eternal flame and gravesite are not currently visible. However, sitting inside his church, while listening to King’s prophetic, inspired speeches on repeat, is quite impactful and well-worth the time.

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On our last full day in the city, my mom and I started the day at Olympic Park before heading over to “Share a Coke and Smile,” “Open Happiness,” “Taste the Feeling,” and [insert your favorite slogan here]. In our humble opinion, it was definitely worth the price of admission to try Coca-Cola products from every continent and to sit on the American Idol couch…just for old time’s sake.

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As we approached a trip total of roughly 25 walking miles, we pushed our aching feet over to Ponce City Market for a little shopping and, you guessed it, snacking. One of our best meals of the trip was a simple paneer tikka wrap at Botiwala. Their specialty is Indian street food, and the shop shares the same chef as Chai Pani. Although we didn’t leave with a basket of Georgia-made goods (I mean, we did have more walking to do!), I did sneak up to the forth floor of the market where Stuff You Should Know is recorded to see if I could sneak a peek on my husband’s behalf. Alas, the definitive word “private,” paired with clouded glass, prompted me to turn the other way. And, after a quick video, I did. (Fast fact: Pinterest is also located at Ponce City Market.)

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During our time in Atlanta, we were also able to make our way (aching feet and all) through Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Center and Library just before closing time. The grounds were lovely and peaceful–a very fitting way to frame our 39th president’s time in office, as he was and, still is, a man deeply committed to peace, human rights, and disease eradication.

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After a bit of vegan soul food and several episodes of Gilmore Girls, the Ploeger Girls found themselves on an airplane and back in Kansas City. And this day of bridges, I am so glad to have connected with a new, wonderful U.S. city, while reconnecting with my mother as well. 🙂 Thank you, Atlanta!!

Although I just attempted to end this post with an impressive, abstract mural, I know what you all (or y’all) really want. Alright, alright, here’s a picture of us on segways…

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