Some lessons learned, and jewels found, on our family road-trip to Atlanta
Yes, you read that correctly. My husband and I actually packed our family and a week’s worth of belongings into our car and drove to Atlanta. . . from Houston. What were we thinking? Well, I guess the short answer is that our two quite energetic (and loud) toddler boys would not have fared well on a plane. Also, saving on airfare meant more money to enjoy activities while we were away. And since we were gone for a little over a week, that was actually the right move. The wrong move turned out to be underestimating my eldest son’s tendency to get motion sickness. He’s got a track record of sorts, but it’s not to long. I read up on some mommy-bloggers experiences and tips before we left and came across a few posts that suggested medication. I was reluctant, and chose to forego it at first. Several messy stops and a pharmacist consultation later (thank you random Target pharmacist in middle-of-nowhere Louisiana) I realized that was a rookie move. We eventually made it and ended up having a pretty good time. Here were a few of the traveling things I feel we did right.
- Go at your own pace. I grew up in a road-trippin’ family. That’s really an understatement and a tale for a much longer post. My husband, on the other hand, is not fond of long drives in any shape or form. We had to come to some agreement and give ourselves room for error, especially with the mini-kings in the back seat.
- Sleeping Bags. Our boys are still pretty small (not relatively, but in general). The kids/youth size sleeping bags I bought before we left really were more than twice their lengths but I thought it might make sharing a room at Grandma’s house more fun. Thankfully, I was right. Even my 20 month old, who sleeps in a crib at home, slept soundly. They might has well have been camping. They’ve even asked to use them here at home since we’ve been back.
- Stop Friendly. Be aware of were you are and stock up on gas, snacks and supplies in the daytime, or at large well-lit areas close to the highway. Let’s be real, I felt perfectly safe and even welcomed at the Target I mentioned above even though absolutely no one else in it looked liked me. I’d feel a lot less safe in an off-brand, small gas station with confederate flag stickers for sale at the cash register. This is just a reality we still have to be aware of, especially for a black woman like me who’s personal safety and the safety of my family is always in the back of my mind when traveling through the southern states, as we did.
- Go for Groceries.
If you are staying with family, friends, in an Air B&B, or somewhere else were you are fortunate enough to cook – you should. We found a Kroger near my in-laws in the Dacula area and made it a bit of a home base. For little kid supplies, toiletries we forgot, and low-key meals in, I was glad to have a familiar stop just minutes away.
I’m in Atlanta fairly regularly for business; or leisure time catching up with friends and family. Thankfully, I happened across a few new spots that I hadn’t been to before. Here are the two that stood out as places I’ll be sure to swing by again the next time I’m in town.
Alon’s Bakery & Market
I had a meeting with one of my business mentors at the Dunwoody location, one of two venues. It’s a spectacular indoor market with outdoor seating available as well. With fresh salads, great cheese selection, baked goods, coffee, hand crafted entreess, etc. you instantly get the sense that you could not see or eat all the things you would want in one visit, so I must go back. The chicken salad and quinoa salad were both delicious. If you are a fan of a la carte picking and choosing – this would be a highlight.
My cool cousin-in-law planned a birthday dinner for her husband at this place downtown. The loungey vibe was cool and I would have been happy with a decent drink and the vibes alone, but, the food offerings from the restaurant were actually very good. I decided on the shrimp and grits (pictured below), which I loved. There was a bit more sauce than I would have liked for the amount grits served, but I realize I may be in the minority when it comes to such a sacred foodie ratio as sauce-to-grits. The live music was a nice backdrop to a good time. Be warned, if you agree to the suggestion of your waiter to have an extra “shot” in your drink you’ll be charged for two drinks. Other than that, it was a great night!
Since we usually stay in Dacula near my in-laws, we visit the Mall of Georgia most times we are in Atlanta as a family. This is a Simon Mall, like The Galleria here in Houston so there are events and special promotions here pretty often. The carousel near the food court is a fun activity for the kids. I like the outdoor promenade area, as well, especially for selfies. I grabbed a summertime sip of the new Watermelon Mint Lemonade from Chick-fil-a, the super brand that originated in Atlanta. My fun sunnies from Glow Glamazon certainly suit my summer style. I was glad to have this cute accessory along for this summer road trip adventure!