Impossible Germany

Got up early and and headed to The Center of Puppetry Arts. We head heard they had a good Jim Henson exhibition. They also currently have a Labyrinth exhibition on also, so this was a must do on our trip. When we got there it was really quiet, only one other family and they ended up going off somewhere else, so we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. We checked out the Labyrinth display first and it was super cool.

Then on to the Jim Henson exhibition.

Wow. It was so good. There were Muppets, and Fraggles and Doozers and Sesame Street characters and all the things that anyone who grew up in the ’70’s and ’80’s would lose their mind over. We spent a lot of time in there, and as previously mentioned we where the only ones in the whole gallery.

Loved it all. If you are ever in Atlanta, you must go here. Heck, book a trip to Atlanta just to go there.

After we had officially lost our minds at the exhibition, it was time for lunch.  A lot of people had recommended a Southern cooking restaurant called Mary Macs, so we thought we should probably go and check it out. Glad we did because it was delicious. Really good home cooking all made from scratch – and very generous portions of course. Blainie had the roast pork with cornbread gravy and Steve had Chicken Fried Chicken.

After lunch we decided to go for a drive to the county to check out the Chattahoochee River and a small town called Helen, which incidentally is a German themed town. It was a bit of a drive to get there, but the scenery was pretty spectacular. When we got to Helen it was REALLY hot and REALLY humid. We had a bit of a wander around, then stopped for a coffee. 

Feeling a little rejuvenated we went for a wander down to the river. The smart people were keeping cool by renting tubes and floating down the river. We only put our feet in the river.

We wandered around a bit more, then decided it was time to head back. Just as we started driving, from out of nowhere a huge storm hit. Thunder, lightning and a lot of rain. We had to pull over briefly at one point.

A quick stop at Cracker Barrell and Old Navy to buy some jeans, before getting back into the city.

We decided to go to The Varsity for dinner. An Atlantan icon, it is the worlds largest drive in fast food restaurant in the world. You can eat inside the restaurant too, which is what we ended up doing. It’s not somewhere we would rush back to in a hurry. It was cheap though, so that was something.

You’re gonna make me spill my beer

Our first full day in Atlanta, also happened to be the 4th of July. We weren’t really sure what to do with ourselves or if things were going to be crazy busy or open or whatever. We decided to stay local-ish to our accommodation and head out for a wander along The Beltline which is a walking/cycling/running track made from a disused railway line. It goes right past our accommodation and to the Ponce City Market which is where we decided to head to.

It was rather a nice walk, but perhaps a little hot. It is very hot and humid in Atlanta at the moment, and we like the heat!

Saw some cool street art and stuff along the way.

Made it to the markets.

First stop, coffee. We went to Spiller coffee. Their coffee was good. They also had cool baseball cards that they used as your table/order number.

Looked at some shops and bought some things. Ate a chicken sandwich from Hops Chicken.

Then thought it would be a really good idea to keep wandering up the belt line. We saw some more art.

And found some Tiny Doors – which is an art installation around Atlanta. There are about 15 or so tiny doors in various places around town and you have to seek them out. We found two on this walk.

After walking around for about 40 minutes or we realised that we were a bit mad for walking around in the scorching heat, so we headed back to Ponce Street Markets for icecream. 

As it was the 4th of July, the markets were holding a special event in their rooftop to celebrate. We decided to go to it. But as soon as we got up to the roof top the weather chanced and it got windy and started to rain. We managed to have one beer before we had to go back downstairs again.

So we had a drink downstairs whilst waiting for the rain to ease. They have the coolest beer shop at the markets. The Tap has a whole load of beers on tap. Most of which we had never heard of. You choose your beer, and size then they pour it into either a bottle or a growler, put the lid on and there you go. Your very own bottle of beer that you are free to drink at your leisure.

The rain eased eventually, so we headed back up to the rooftop. They have a small carnival set up on the roof, it was pretty cool. 

We got free rides on the slide.

We hung around there until it got dark. Had some drinks and food and made some friends. And played some carnival games. Blainie won the horse race game and Steve won the ring toss game.

Once the sun went down, the fireworks started. Not an actual organised fireworks show, they don’t need to worry about that here. Just random fireworks being set off by random people all over the city.

After all the excitement, we walked back home to our accomodation and went to sleep.

Oh and we found another tiny door!

Passenger side

See ya later Nashville! Today we were bound for Atlanta. But first, the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg. Things got off to a shaky start when we went to pick up our hire car and it wasn’t there yet. Being on somewhat of a tight schedule to get to our 10:45am Jack Daniels tour, we waited around for about 20 minutes or so before asking if they could just give us another car. They found one we could have (which was a downgrade from what we booked – I’ll be sorting this out later) and we hightailed it out of there. Except the GPS they gave us was shoddy and kept resetting itself. After momentarily fearing we were going to get lost somewhere in the middle of Tennessee, we figured we could use Google maps on our phones. Phew. Holiday saved. But there will be some more stern words with Avis when we return the car in a couple of days. Problems sorted, we headed towards Lynchburg. Everyone is gearing up for the 4th of July tomorrow, and we saw countless tents along the road selling fireworks. Pretty bizarre site for us Aussies.

We made it to Lynchburg with moments to spare before our tour started.

The tour was great. We got taken around the distillery and told about all the processes etc etc then at the end we got to sample some of the whiskys. Interesting fact to note: Lynchburg is a dry county. Meaning no alcohol is served or sold. There is a small loophole that lets them serve the whisky samples at the end of the tour but that’s it. How bizarre is it to think that there is a whisky distillery in a dry county?

Here’s us with Jack Daniels (in statue form)

Here’s the cave spring which is the source of the water that goes in to making Jack Daniels.

After the tour we got to sample 4 whiskys. The Gold, The Sinatra, Single Barrel and Rye.

After the tour it was time for lunch. We headed in to Lynchburg town centre where we went to Barrelhouse BBQ, because we really needed to have BBQ again 😁 We had to wait for a while to get in as it was so popular, but it was worth it. We had pulled pork sandwiches.

Then back on the road bound for Chattanooga. We saw the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Read the plaque for more information.

Next stop, Atlanta. Via a brief stop at the Cracker Barrel family restaurant and store. It actually stocked some really cool things.

Our phone GPS even welcomed us into the state of Georgia.

And then we were in Atlanta.