My trip to Atlanta and Charleston

Old Apr 13th, 2005, 01:10 AM
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My trip to Atlanta and Charleston

Well this is the first trip report I have ever done so I feel like a student having to do a book report.

First of all, OneWonderingJew and I became friends, thanks to Fodors. I emailed her and she emailed me and the relationship took off from there. After several emails we started talking on the phone. A relationship was established.

One day I was invited to come to Atlanta to visit she and her husband. And the invitation included she and I driving the 5 hour trip to Charleston SC.

I have never visited someone I had not known before but in this case I knew that this would be a good thing to do.

And so arrangements were made. I made the flight arrangements via Delta to fly from Sacramento to Atlanta, both OWJ and I were surprised that the nonstop flight was actually cheaper fare wise then the flights that had one or two stops.

A couple of days before my flight (which was April 3rd) the weather channel told of terrible weather in the SE of the US including big problems in Atlanta. I have a big mental "sigh" as it seems wherever I decide to go there are always problems.

But April 3rd turned out to be perfect weather!

I took the SuperShuttle from Vacaville to the Sacramento Airport and lucked out as they had no other passengers to pick up along the way.

I did the curbside check in and then went through security. I always have a problem with security! Why I have no idea. But this time I went through the metal detector without any problem. A big sigh of relief on my part. Too bad my carryon and purse did not have the same luck!

The security person told me that they would need to send these through the exray again. I said "alright". Did I have a choice? When the two plastic bins came through again there was my shoes, my blazer, my carryon BUT where was my purse???? Panic time. I looked at the security person and a man next to me said "there is a purse in my bin that is not mine!" Security said to me "ooooh, sorry, guess your purse got put in the wrong bin". Oh sigh, but thankfully I got my purse back.

The flight to Atlanta on Delta was one of the worst flights I have ever had. We boarded late. Then after sitting for about 20 minutes we were told there was an electical problem. Finally told that was fixed. Then about five minutes later we were told that there was another electical problem and we would have to go back to the gate. Then we lost our place in line. We finally much later departed.

I have from past experiences never liked Delta and so this did not add to enthusiam for them. I had an aisle seat. The fellow next to me, a computor nerd, sighed, huffed and puffed the whole time. And across the aisle from me was a body builder type that made Arnold (CA gov) look like a wimp. He was a Marine and let everyone know he was back from Iraq. I sure respect our military but this fellow was scary. But not to the gal sitting next to him. Too funny I guess (but pathetic as the Marine had already let everyone know he was married and had a little daughter) From the time we got on the plane until we arrived in Atlanta she was hitting on him, even gave him her business card. I will say he was not interested. But the entire flight I heard his describing every horrible death and injury he had seen in Iraq. Having had one relative killed in Iraq and another severely injured it was not the most pleasant converstation to listen to.

And passengers were stressed as they were going to miss their connections in Atlanta to other airports. A reminder to all, if you have connections do not take a late flight as you could be stuck in your connecting airport until the next morning.

Anyway, the attendants were tired, overwhelmed and crabby. Flight was late, passengers tense. Also it was April 3rd, the day that Daylight Standard Time went into effect. Probably added to the tension. A long miserable flight.

Arrived in Atlanta. Thanks to OWJ perfect instructions I got to the airport tram and went to baggage. In fact there was a woman on the flight that lived in Atlanta that had no idea how to get to the baggage area. I guided her, escalators, tram, escalator etc. I laughed to myself because this was my first time in the new Atlanta airport and here I was being the tour guide to an Atlanta resident. All thanks to OWJ instructions.

And there they were!!!! OneWanderingJew and here husband. We had exchanged photos earlier so I knew what they looked liked and because of emails and phone calls I knew they were wonderful people but inspite of this I was overwhelmed when I met them!!! Hugs and kisses as though I was seeing family. I wanted to cry! Such warmth and happiness. Hard to explain but a meeting I will never forget.

My luggage arrived quickly and we retrieved that and went to their car and I had "tour" of Atlanta during the ride. It was night and the various skyscrapers were lit and OWJ husband gave me info on the various buildings as we drove to the Buckhead area of Atlanta.

It was late (thanks to the delay of the Delta flight). We stopped at a cafe and had a late dinner which was perfect. And talked and talked as they we had known each other forever. It was like being with family. And then they drove me to the Sheraton Buckhead. I might add here that OWJ took the time to make all the hotel reservations for my trip which I appreciated so much as I have never been to either Atlanta or Charleston.

The Sheraton was wonderful and I had a great sleep.

Monday OWJ picked me up at the Sheraton and we hit the two fabulous malls which were right around my hotel. She and I had discussed I needed new makeup and so that was our aim. But first she drove me through the beautiful area of Buckhead where the mansions were (near the Atlanta Historical Museum). It was so intersting to see the difference between the architecture of Georgia and the US westcoast.

We had the most fabulous lunch at Brasserie LeCoze, fabulous green salad and then we shared Mussels and french fries. Everything from the decor of the restaurant to the service to the food was wonderful. This was located in Lenox Shopping Mall.

Then we shopped and window shopped (or as they say on the Europe Board window licked, LOL). I found the absolutely perfect Ferragamo purse, both OWJ and I decided it couldn't be more perfect, uh until we looked at the price tag. It was $990.00! Oh well, it was beautiful but it is not part of my wardrobe, LOL.

We ended up at the next shopping mall described as the most beautiful mall in America and it is truly wonderful. Oh, what is the name of it? Well OWJ told me so many times, so I am cringing as I cannot remember. Anyway after going to Saks, etc. we ended up at Parisian and I bought the makeup I wanted. Well not what I originally wanted, a Borghese line of foundation which evidently is not produced anymore but a good substitute.

That night OWJ and her husband took me to the most fantastic Italian restaurant, I am sorry I do not remember the name. It was in Buckhead. Owned by a man from Italy and for sure we felt like we were in Italy. A fabulous evening, good and fun conversation (again felt like I had known OWJ and her husband forever) with wonderful wine and gnocchi etc.

The next day OWJ and I left for our adventure in Charleston. She picked me up at the Sheraton Hotel. And off we went! Well sort of! Her husband had printed out the directions to go from Atlanta to Charleston but somehow we missed the turnoff off and finally decided that "duh" we had not turned off the freeway in Atlanta where we should off. But a quick cellphone call to OWJ husband (he was probably thinking "oh good grief, how many of these calls will I be receiving") and we did a turn around and were consequently headed east to Charleston!

Now Ira, if you are reading this (which you probably are not) we turned off the freeway and went through Madison, after all it was profiled in CondeNast was it not? Lovely town and we wished we had had your telephone no. as we would have called you. OWJ pointed out the mayors house (very lovely) as she had been at a reception there).

And then on the Charleston/. All was great until we turned off (per OWJ's husbands printed instructions) from the freeway to go onto Kings St. and oooops, construction work did not allow that. No problem at all, LOL. We just drove around and around (keep in mind we did not have a map with us) and somehow we ended up going over the bridge away from Charleston. Oh my, I must say OWJ is the best sport I have ever been with. Anyway, somehow we found our way back over the bridge (BTW the are building a new bridge that looks like the sails on a sailboat - very interesting) and after doing an unintentional tour of most of Charleston we did finally get to our hotel, the Francis Marion. We decided to take advantage of the Valet Parking which was a good decision so we did that and checked in and arrived in our rooms.

I guess there has been some negative comments about the Francis Marion but personally we both liked it. It is evidently independently owned. The hotel staff was wonderful. The rooms were just fine. Not a five star hotel of course but then we were not paying five star rates. It was very clean, great bed, TV etc. The bathrooms did not have a counter around the sink (just a glass shelf above the sink) but that is probably the only negative I could see. More or less like like the Villa Florence in SF.

And so after settling in we too, off to see Charleston. And what a beautiful city! My first visit there and it went beyond all my expectations! GoTravel has given all kinds of information regarding Charleston as have others so I will not repeat what she and others have posted but I would encourage anyone that loves a historical city, beautiful architect, fantastic restaurant, a city that is easy to walk in, charming residents etc. to visit Charleston.

Some thoughts. We walked along the walkway along the Cooper River. The smell of the ocean and the view was fantastic. We stumbled (each of us) about every block due to cobble stones but even more due to cracked pavements. Too funny! Every block one of us were saying to the other "are you alright?" The answer was always "yes". Stumbling was due a good part to looking up at all the beautiful historical houses and commercial buildings instead of paying attention to the sidewalks.

A note of interest. At one point either OWJ or I stumbleld (don't remember which one) and I commented "good grief, the sidewalks are as bad as Benicia's are". At that point a voice behind me say "Benicia, California?". I swung around to see a lovely redhead lady standing there with her beautuiful dog. We got into a conversation and it turned out that she was very famaliar with Benicia CA as years ago her aunt had lived in Benica. Benicia is not exactly know all over the world so that was fun.

Dinners: Thanks to GoTravel and others we had our dinners at Poogan's Porch. I had grilled scallops that were I believe the best I have ever eaten. Had an Australian wine which was fantastic too, which I knew what it was.

The next day we again walked and walked. It was amazing the entire trip that OWJ and I seemed to be agreeable with everything. The time we met in the morning, the walking, the time we were both ready to stop and have a drink and a rest, when we were hungry, the type of food we both enjoyed etc.

The walk along the walk way of the Cooper River was fantastic and we both enjoyed the sea breeze and air as we both do not have tht were we live (Atlanta and the Sacramento Valley).

The second night we had dinner at S.N.O.B. I had rack of lamb. Again I cannot describe how fantastic the dinner was.

Thursday we took off to drive back to Atlanta. We had had such beautiful perfect weather my entire trip but for about 30 minutes or more driving home we did hit a rainstorm. And because of that (I am sure it was not due to our talking the entire time, I am really sure, LOL) we missed the turn off at Columbia.

Oh panic, another call to OWJ husband (lets see, first when we lost our way getting out of Atlanta, the when we lost our way getting into Charleston, and now when we are heading to N. Carolina instead of Atlanta). What a wonderful fellow. He never got irritated with us once (or at least to my knowledge, LOL).

Anyway, we ended up driving back to Atlanta via I-85, and we both agreed that missing the turn off at Columbia was probably a good thing at I-85 brought us into to the north end of Atlanta and avoided driving all the Atlanta from the south end.

My last night in Atlanta was at the Grand Hyatt in BuckHead. Beautiful hotel and fantastic room. OWJ got me the room for about $89.00 where normally it would be $249.00.

We went to the Atlanta Fish Market that night for dinner. Another fabulous dinner. I had Australian Lobster Tail. Cannot describe how good it was. OWJ and husband haven't been to this restaurant for awhile and said they have to remember to go there occassionally.

My flight home on Delta was the exact opposite of my flight to Atlanta.

First of all I would say even thoug I have read many negative comments about the Atlanta airport my experience was most postive. In fact I think security could teach a few other airports a thing or two.

And my flight home via Delta was probably one of the nicest flights I have had in aqes. Interesting I think. The flight to Atlanta was so miserable and the flight back to Sacramento so wonderful

And one last comment. If it had not been for Fodors I would not have gotten acquainted with OneWanderingJew.

Their invitation to me touch my heart in a way that I can never explain.

And when I met them at the luggage area at the Atlanta airport I felt like it was seeing family rather then "strangers".

And the entire week was so very special. I know that I have not described the very special care and love that I received from OWH and her husband. Every moment was such a pleasure and I still think about how I could be with a couple that I have never been with before and yet felt like I was with family or the closest of friends. It was truly a magical week.

Best wishes to all.








LoveItaly is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2005, 01:50 AM
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One thing I forgot to mention. Before my trip I got a couple of books to take with me as I always do. I went down to to the Clubhouse where I live where resident donate books to whoever wants to borrow them

My eye immediately fell on "Charleston" by John Jakes. An author I was not famaliar with. Priinted in 2002. It is an historical novel and highly acclaimed by various book critics. I have not finished reading it but did read part of it before my trip. And I have to say it really added to the enjoyment of Charleston.

One quick example. St. Michael's Church, the Espicopal Church in historical Charleston. The entire church is painted white including the steeple. But during the war it was painted black so that the English would would not be able to see it and shoot cannons at it during the war. The book has a map where all the historical sights are. As OWJ and I were out walking the first day we went by St. Michael's and consequently looked at it and went inside and it was quite interesting, thanks to the book "Charleston".

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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 05:19 AM
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Love, aren't you just the best? What a sweet touching report. Congratulations on finding your new friends. OWJ and her DH appear to be just outstanding super people (I've always thought that of her from reading her posts).
Hopefully OWJ will post the name of the Italian Restaurant for us. And what a steal on the Grand Hyatt.

Isn't Charleston a beatiful city? It's been years since I have been. Next time you and OWJ take off for a southern adventure, you must post and give some other girlies the opportunity to meet the 2 of you for a day somewhere.

Glad you had such a good trip (except for the flight to Atlanta), and thanks for taking the time to tell us about it.

i2
 
Old Apr 13th, 2005, 06:16 AM
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I also enjoyed your report and am also awaiting the name of that Italian restaurant!
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 06:16 AM
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the mall that has saks & parisian and all of that is called phipps plaza...

i love brasserie le coze! by far my favorite french restaurant in town...i'm guessing the italian place was either pricci or antica posta, both of which are in buckhead and serve great gnocchi...it sounds like they treated you well!
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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Oh, wow, LoveItaly...... what a great trip report, and I'm so happy for you and OWJ that your meeting/trip together turned out so well in every way. Charleston is a fabulous, friendly, gracious city......... I'm always so happy to go back! Thank you again for sharing your trip with us!
 
Old Apr 13th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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Fantastick!!
I am so glad that you two met, I think OWJ is a doll and I think you are too, so how could you not get along well?!

Excellent report, I can picture the two of you , stumbling along, window licking, it brought a Beeeg smile to my face this morning!
Thank you Love and if you think of anything else, please tell us more

Scarlett
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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Thanks for the great trip report. I am so glad you "liked" the Francis Marion. We are staying there in a few weeks and was also worried about the reviews. Now I am even more excited for our trip. Also, it's so nice to hear about your new friendship! People are what make life fun...
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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Thank you everyone. But I am sorry about the typing errors. I typed this last night after trying to deal with a somewhat stressful business situation that popped up yesterday so I just typed away and knew if I proofread it I would not get it posted.

Rocky, I think OWJ was a bit worried about the FrancisMarion Hotel as she evidently had read negative comments also.

After our visit we both agreed we would stay there again. The location is fantastic, right across from the park with the very large statue of "The Swamp Fox" and right in the historical center. The staff could not have been more pleasant and helpful. The bed was wonderful and the room was good size and very clean. It is an older hotel and not a cookiecutter type hotel so it had charm. I do like a counter in the bathroom but it was no big deal.

As the two hotels in Atlanta did the FrancisMarian had a coffee maker in the room which I love! The TV had good reception also.

My room looked out over a lower roof and across at other rooms but certainly not a problem. One note of caution. OWJ's room looked out to the street and the park across the street. When she was tying to relax after our long day of walking (as we were going to be walking again and going to dinner) some young men starting beating on drums in the park and consequently the noise kept her from getting the rest she wanted. So if that is important to you it would be good to ask for a room away from the street. My room was very quite.

A girl's GTG would be fun next time! I did not have a lot of time this trip as I anticipated a business problem at some point (and received it yesterday, grrrr!) so our time was limited and yet I never felt rushed.

We were going to go to the Atlanta Historical Museum but spent so much time in the malls, and yes the other mall was PhippsPlaza, that we didn't make it but as OWJ said "next time".

One of us will post the name of the Italian restaurant for sure. We really felt like we were in Italy.
In fact we spent a good part of the time talking about their honeymoon in Italy which was so much fun. All three of us "love Italy"! In fact I was amazed. They had stayed at a villa just a couple of klm's from the small village of Reggello where my friend has her vacation home. That was surprising as it was their first visit to Italy. Their TA obviously did a fantastic job planning their honeymoon for them.

Atlanta and Charleston are both wonderful cities, each in their own way. I truly hope that when people come here to SF and the surronding areas they are treated as well as I was during my trip. Southern charm for sure!

And what a good sport OWJ's husband is. And so kind and interesting to talk to. They are truly an amazing couple.

And yep, that was us Scarlett, stumbling, window licking and eating, eating, eating. Well when we were not gettin lost that is, LOL.

Now OWJ and her husband are talking about planning a trip here to SF which would be fantastic.

Thanks for all the kind comments everyone. Take good care.

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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 04:00 PM
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Hello all, OWJ just told me the name of the fantastic Italian restaurant in Atlanta which they took me to.

It is: Antica Posta on E.Paces Ferry neaer Piedmont Rd. in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.

The owner is from Florence and owns another restaurant in Florence (I must find out what the name of the Florence restaurant is). The website is anticaposta.com.

I love gnocchi and the ones I had that night were like little fluffy clouds in a good tomato sauce. Of course the wonderful company added to the experience but seriously the restaurant and the service were impeccable. Mangia!
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Boy, LI, OWJ2 and I sound like heros! I'm glad you didn't tell everyone about all our flaws and human imperfections. You know we had a fantastic time w/you too....

As for the name of the restaurant folks, Fast guessed correctly--Antica Posta on E. Paces Ferry. Yumm, yummm, yummm!
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 04:32 PM
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Hey OWJ, I did tell about "our" flaws and imperfections - you know about getting lost several times. And you are the most calm driver I have ever know BTW. And wasn't OWJ2 so relaxed everytime you called him to get directions as in "where do we go now dear?" Your husband has the patience of a saint IMHO.

And what about our "stumbling" around Charleston? But neither of us ever fell did we? But we almost did fall over in a faint when I found the perfect Ferragamo purse in the mall in Atlanta, remember, the $990.00 one? You know the one, the one I did NOT buy, LOL.

Well anyway, you two are as close as "heros" as I have ever met so sorry but you will just have to live with this reputation. However I think "angels" even better fits the description of you two.

And didn't we have fun? And we sure did eat well! And I won't tell this to just anyone but I enjoyed my time in the south as much as I have in Italy!

Shhhhh Fodorites, that is a secret just between us.
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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Gotta admit, I have no damn sense of direction and it's amazing it didn't drive you nuts!The one good thing about my klutziness and issues w/directionality--it's always an adventure to be me or with me. I can honestly say, I've gotten lost in some of the nicest cities in the world

And as for my husband, no arguing that he's the best!

I still think we need to try to get that purse on ebay!
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 05:21 PM
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Hey OWJ - you forgot - although I would agree maybe your directional sense is not the best (but you sure stay calm about it) how about me? Remember me? I am looking a the map and thinking the Ocean (in this case the Atlantic Ocean) is west, but noooo, of course it is east of us. So remember how turned around I was? Typical California airhead right?

Didn't we have fun! Between the two of us it is a wonder we didn't turn up in NYC or somewhere!

Honest folks, we were pathetic. But we got everywhere we wanted to go to - amazing as it sounds. I just was so turned around I was looking at the sun and thinking "this has to be west but why is the sun in the east because it is not noon yet".

And oh yeah. My first night in the Buckhead Sheraton or rather the next morning I was sooooo confused. Keep in mind the day before DayLight Savings Times had started. So I was dealing with the 3 hour change of time (west coast vs east coast) plus the hour change for the DayLight Savings Time.

Unbeknowst to me the Sheraton had NOT changed their time on their clock/radio on the night stand. And I had turned on CNN on TV and they were showing first mountain time and then central time. Confusion reigned! What in the heck time was it????? Too funny. Somehow I got it all figured out but only after a couple of cups of coffee (thank goodness for coffee makers in hotel rooms).

About that purse on EBay, do you think?
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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Actually duh, I was thinking "why is the sun in the west" because it is not noon yet. See, I am still confused, LOL. Anyway, the sun was in the east as it should have been. I just THOUGHT it was in the west, because to me living in CA the ocean is always west of us. That is my excuse for the day!

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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Great report, Charleston is the most beautiful US city I've been to.

I'm still wondering the name of the Florence restaurant... trav
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 09:23 AM
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Hello Travephile, if you look at my post of April 13th you will see the name etc. of the Italian restaurant in Atlanta. Also I gave the website of the restaurant that refers to the restaurant in Italy. I you live in Atlanta or visit there I think you would enjoy this restaurant.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 03:44 PM
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Did your family think you were crazy, going to meet someone you met on the internet?
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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No grasshopper, my family is more sophisticated then that!
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 04:19 PM
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I hope you didn't think I was implying that you were crazy. It's just that I've heard that from so many people (myself included) who turned epals into real pals.
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