Road Trip Report

Jul 30th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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Road Trip Report

My husband and I along with my mother-in-law returned yesterday from a week-long road trip through the southeast.

Our plan was to visit capitols en route to a family reunion in Meridian, Mississippi. We had such a fun time that I thought I’d share a little trip report of our journey.

These were the cities on our list: Baton Rouge, (La.) Panama City Beach and Tallahassee (Fla.), Perry and Atlanta (Ga.), Graham, Anniston, Bessemer, and Montgomery (Ala.), Meridian and Jackson (Miss.) and then back to Dallas.

Day 1

I was determined to have a completely stress free week away from work and so in preparation for this I did all the laundry (if you can ever really do ALL the laundry) and packed the day before our departure. This was especially helpful as DH and I both woke up around 5 a.m.-ish and quickly dressed before picking up my MIL and hitting the road.

We drove through Shreveport, Louisiana, a gambling destination for many folks in these parts, and made our way to Baton Rouge. The location of the capitol is beautiful. A huge, beautiful garden makes for a great picnic spot and there’s a small lake sandwiched between the gorgeous Governor’s Mansion and the capitol. Both sit very near the banks of the Mississippi. This building is not your traditional capitol with huge columns guarding the entrance, nor a soaring rotunda causing neck strain and eliciting oohs and awws. Instead, it’s a 27-story tower jutting up from a one-story, bank-looking structure. Though we weren’t blown away architecturally speaking, the views from the 27th floor observation deck were spectacular. You get a front row seat on the Mississippi River, in all its muddy glory.

Before leaving the city we stopped at the Frostop, a greasy spoon a few blocks from the capitol. There they serve drinks in frosted beer mugs. My ice-cold coke went perfectly with my shrimp po-boy! Delicious!

Rather than traveling East on 12, we took 10 through New Orleans. Signs of Hurricane Katrina are still evident though we did not exit the highway.

After going through Mobile, we picked up 98 in Pensacola. By this time it was completely dark and I was utterly disappointed that I would not see the ocean as this was the sole purpose for traveling 98 and spending our first night in Panama City Beach, otherwise we could have stayed on 10 to Tallahassee.

Oh well. The complimentary upgrade to a one bedroom suite at the Marriott Bay Point helped sooth my wounds. Our accommodations were superb. My only complaint is that Internet access was not wireless and not free. Other than that, I’d highly recommend this golf resort.

ChicagoDallasGirl is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 08:01 PM
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Day 2

We slept in a bit and along with me making phone calls and working (which was NOT supposed to be happening on vacation); we didn’t leave the hotel until about 10 a.m. When we arrived in Tallahassee I was completely surprised. I had always envisioned it to be a large, dry-looking city but it was quaint-ish and full of trees! The campuses of Florida State University and Florida A&M University were beautiful.

The Old Capitol was fabulous with lots of exhibits and information on the state’s history. It was very educational. The new capitol was simply an office building. Other than taking a photo of the state seal in the lobby and then viewing the House and Senate there was nowhere else to go but up to the 22nd floor observation level. Unlike Baton Rouge, this deck was enclosed with no access to the outside. The space is primarily used as an art gallery but has fantastic views of the city.

One of the highlights was our dinner at The Wharf. I can’t remember what street that’s on but it was sooooo good. I had a scrumptious salad before my HUGE platter of blue crab claws came out with my side of cheese grits. Can you say, yummy???

I’ve been to three different cities in Fla. Miami, Del Ray Beach, and now Tallahassee. Each experience has been wonderful. Tallahassee is where my DH lived before relocating to Dallas. He has expressed an interest in returning to Florida. That would be awesome!

A side note here. One of the wonderful differences in culture is that pretty much everywhere we went in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi sweet tea was available at each restaurant. Some of it was absolutely too sweet (even by DH’s standards and he loves all things sweet) but for the most part it was quite refreshing.

We stopped for the night in Perry, Georgia and stayed at a small Jameson Inn. I was quite reluctant to stay here but after viewing rooms at the Days Inn and Best Western we took a chance. The place was run by a couple who made sure every area was spotless and the complimentary breakfast the next morning topped things off. Excellent value at $62.

Day 3
We arrived in Atlanta and after visiting a bit with my sister, we found our way downtown. Lunch at Underground Atlanta and then on to the capitol. One of our goals is to visit each of the U.S. capitols. We’ve been married 3 ˝ years and so far we’ve visited about a dozen. Iowa is number one on my husband’s list and now Atlanta has moved its way up to number two.

While in the Governor’s Office signing the registry one of the assistants asked where we were from. When we told her Dallas she immediately began asking about an explosion of some sort and then went online and printed out a CNN news article for us. Thankfully we had no family or friends involved in what turned out to be a natural gas explosion in an industrial park outside of downtown. That was very nice of her and her colleague to be concerned. Speaking of nice. This would be a good time to mention how super friendly everyone was during our journey. I can honestly say we truly experienced Southern Hospitality on this trip through the south!

After the capitol, we took a walk through Piedmont Park and then drove around looking at historic homes nearby before visiting relatives who treated us to a home cooked meal of fried tilapia and homemade biscuits. This also would be my first taste of “yellow” watermelon. I had heard of it but never saw it and was a bit reluctant to try it. Oh my goodness, it was good.

More to come...
ChicagoDallasGirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:39 AM
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I have more but having trouble uploading. Will try again later.
ChicagoDallasGirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:57 AM
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Great TR, ChicagoDallasGirl!

I look forward to reading more.

Also, it would be great if you would repost this thread (start a new thread) with state names in the title. And if you would, when you repost, please highlight the states you visited so your TR will come up when someone searches that state.

Thank you!
BayouGal is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Thanks Bayou Gal! Do you mean start a new thread with the list of states in the title?
ChicagoDallasGirl is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 06:15 AM
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Day Four

We woke to the smell of breakfast prepared by my sister and brother-in-law, despite the fact that she was a bit ill and they both had to go to work. After that my other sister and two nephews visited and we all went to the Georgia Aquarium.

My nephews were so excited, though they have memberships and visited several times already. They were so sweet and gave us the tour of the place. We thought it was spectacular but it was soooo crowded it made the experience a little less enjoyable. But being able to share this time with family more than made it worth the $21.50 admission (that’s the discount rate per person since my sister and nephews have memberships).

We left Atlanta and headed to the farm in Graham where my husband’s great grandparents once lived. The land is now taken care of by a great uncle who at 80-something still raises livestock and crops. He has even been featured in the local paper for his dedication to farming.

After that we drove to Anniston and said hello to another great uncle before making it to Birmingham where we stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites – Bessemer. This is a pretty new hotel with huge rooms. Very nice.

Day Five

We visited my great aunt and then headed south to Montgomery. On our way, we stopped for lunch at a Zaxby’s restaurant, a chain that specializes in all things chicken. I had a delicious salad. Wish they had Zaxby’s here in Dallas.

We did some research but not an obsessive amount since our goal was to keep rolling on our road trip. Somehow we didn’t realize how much there is to do in Montgomery. The capitol was great but there also is the Rosa Parks Museum, the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and Parsonage where Martin Luther King, Jr. once worked and lived, the First White House of the Confederacy, and lots of architecturally interesting buildings.

One capitol worker commented on the uniqueness of Montgomery being both the birthplace of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Interesting.

We drove through Selma and arrived in Meridian, the location of the reunion. The chosen hotel, the Best Western was a bit creepy so we ultimately found room at the Microtel, which honestly was not that much better. We were competing with hundreds of parents and pre-teens in town for the Junior Miss pageant. I’m still “itchy” from the stay in this room. Too disgusting to pay anything above $60 but we were stuck. Tried to look on the bright side as the point of the whole trip was to see family.

Day Six

The picnic was at Bonita Lakes Park which was a beautiful site. After that we drove to Enterprise to visit the house where my great-great grandparents raised my great-grandfather and his siblings. Now THAT was wayyy cool. I took tons of pics. There was something so moving about standing on that land (same with visiting the homestead in Graham). It brought tears to my eyes. The house had a tin roof, a screened front porch with a swing and rocking chairs, a well, and various species of trees. I imagined by ancestors scrubbing clothes on the back porch and children running up and down the red dirt road to each other’s homes. We had a family banquet that evening which included the traditional talent show. So fun!

Day Seven

Our last day on the road. We left Meridian at around 8:30 a.m. and stopped in Jackson to take pics of the capitol. We were amazed at the number of historic buildings in downtown Jackson. And most of them are being used. I did not add this to our list of visited capitols since it was Sunday and we didn’t get to go inside. But based on what we saw from the outside we are eager to return for a tour! We made it home at 4:30 p.m.

We learned a lot on this trip. In all, I believe we drove more than 2,500 miles. It was awesome!
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