On Day Two of our epic southern road trip, we packed the fam in the SUV and drove from Atlanta to New Orleans, with a stop for lunch and some sightseeing in Montgomery, Alabama.
After grabbing a bite to eat, we tracked down the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald House. Unfortunately, the museum was closed for tours, so we moved on to Oakwood Cemetery, the final resting place of Hank Williams, Sr., where we met a very interesting and very knowledgeable man who keeps the grave clean and maintained. He told us stories of growing up around Hank’s family and shared some anecdotes about the man himself.
We watched the sun set over the bayou as we made our way into New Orleans across Lake Pontchartrain. Once we got into our Air BnB, we ordered some pizza for the kids and a New Orleans classic for the grownups, lagniappe pasta. This over the top, creamy pasta was filled with shrimp and crawfish and had a spicy kick.
After an evening stroll over to the French Quarter, we got back and got some shuteye before exploring the city the next day. More to come…
Back near the beginning of 2021, when it seemed we were making our way out of the pandemic, we decided to take a family vacation. We hadn’t gone anywhere beyond a few days at the beach since summer of 2019, and the announcement that Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas would once again be hosting the American Grand Prix in October was the driver (no pun intended) behind our big Southern roadtrip.
9 days. Over 3,000 miles round trip. WiFi in the car so I could stay connected to work and the kids could keep up with their schoolwork.
Stop One was an overnight in Atlanta. We stayed in Buckhead and drove into the city for dinner at The Varsity, opened in 1928. Billed as “the world’s largest drive-in” and “the FUN place to eat,” The Varsity serves up delicious burgers, fries, onion rings and shakes from a handful of locations, including the one we visited in downtown Atlanta.
After dinner, we headed over to SkyView Atlanta for a nighttime ride. This 20-story tall sky wheel has views for miles and is the perfect way to see the city from the air.
The next morning, we got up, ready to drive to our next stop. Before heading out of town, we visited the World of Coca-Cola, where we learned about the history of this delicious drink, before sampling varieties of soda from around the world and, of course, exiting through the gift shop.
We are informed by our past, but we are not all stuck there. Time stands still; time produces evolution. Some things change; some things don’t. There is progression of thought; there is a mindset that is dug-in to the past. There is widespread acceptance; there is widespread racism. There is overwhelming beauty, and there is heart-wrenching sorrow and ugliness. Similarity and contradiction stand side by side. Sometimes it requires understanding, and sometimes it deserves celebration. We are the sum of all our history and all our progress. We are today’s South.