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Weekend in Atlanta

It's taken me days to get around to it (travel fatigue, plus I had other things to do and posts to write), but here is a post about last weekend's trip to Atlanta. Why was I there? Why, to attend my cousin's daughter's wedding. (Or, if you prefer, the wedding of my first cousin once removed.) My sweetheart and I flew in with Maggie very early on Friday morning, where we caught the MARTA train from the airport to downtown and trekked a few blocks to the Georgian Terrace Hotel, where we were pleasantly shocked to find that our rooms were ready for us. At 9:30 in the morning.

After a nap, we met up with some relatives and headed off to Mary Mac's Tea Room, an Atlanta tradition. The food there was Southern cooking at its finest. (We went after the concierge at the hotel heard us mention the name from a travel column, and started raving about it.) I got an assortment of side dishes, of which the fried okra was my absolute favorite. Everyone at the table was 100% pleased with their selections, which is a great thing. And we managed to avoid the rain, which was better still.

The rest of the afternoon was spent meeting up with additional family - Sara came in from South Carolina with my parents - and, if memory serves, taking a much-needed second nap. (We're like hobbits, I suppose, only instead of food, it's sleep we need often?)

That evening, we attended the rehearsal dinner at an Italian restaurant called Baraonda, and it was excellent. Not just because of the open bar, but because the food was excellent. And so was the music - one guy with a guitar, but he had some backing tracks, too, and he was incredible.

With the wedding being in the evening, we had time to explore during the day on Saturday (which happened to be my beloved's birthday). He is such a sweetheart that he decided that going to visit Margaret Mitchell's house was a fine idea, even though it's not his usual bailiwick. We ended up taking my Aunt Betty and my mother along with us, which made for a fun outing. Our tour through the house was most excellent - the docent was wonderful - and made up of people from all over the world, including South Korea and China. There I am, perched on the edge of the window seat in Mitchell's first-floor apartment; the window seat is located underneath a radiator that hangs from the ceiling - they believe it's where she worked for much of the time she was writing Gone With the Wind, although she also wrote on the glassed-in porch (no longer there - now just a wee regular porch).

Her apartment was very tiny - a living room at the front of the house, a hallway toward the back with a small bathroom on the left, a bedroom (with a small table in it, which is where they ate their meals), and then the kitchen, which you had to go through the bedroom to reach. We learned a bit about Mitchell's life as a young Atlanta debutante, as well as her life as a newspaper reporter (uncommon in those days - it was the 1920s and 30s), and her marriages (a failed one to a ne'er-do-well sort of guy, which ended in a quick divorce, and her second one to John Marsh, which lasted until her death and seemed to be a happy one). We also learned that the only reason she ever wrote a book at all was that she had been hit by a car and broken her ankle, leaving her on bed rest for quite some time. Her husband brought her library books for months, and the story goes that one day he showed up with a large stack of newsprint and told her it was time for her to write her own story. So she did.

And she was a total "pantser", by the way. She wrote the book in a nonlinear manner, a chapter here, another there. And it must have been a really big manuscript, since the envelopes containing her chapters allegedly stacked up to 4'11" - Mitchell's height.

After exiting the small apartment, we wandered over to a neighboring building where the documentary about the making of Gone With the Wind runs on a loop. There are some enlarged costume sketches on the wall, and some copies of parts of the script for you to look at, plus a portrait of Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara. (True fact: Did you know that Mitchell originally named the main character Pansy O'Hara? If so, a point to you! I sure didn't.) Here's me with a costume sketch for Rhett Butler.

Saturday night featured the wedding, which was a really great ceremony. The readings they chose were wonderful, the guy who officiated was good, and there was a really excellent string quartet playing things like Coldplay, Phillip Phillips, and "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka before the more serious choices kicked in for the processional and recessional. They wrote their own vows for one another, which were personal and heartfelt, and everyone looked amazing, just as they should for a wedding. And afterward, there was the reception, with hors d'oeuvres to start (lovely piano music accompanying it) and then dinner with a great party band and delicious food. It lasted long into the evening, and we wandered upstairs to our room happy and tired by the end of it. (Okay, we left a little before the end of it. But we made it until after 11, which is late, yo.)

On Sunday, our flight home wasn't until evening, so we enjoyed a late brunch at a local diner and then wandered down to the World of Coke, which is nothing at all like it was 15 or more years ago. In fact, I'm pretty certain it's not the same building, even. No more shooting jets of soda over your head in the tasting room, not nearly as much ephemera on display. But it was interesting, even though I find I prefer the old museum better (as best I can remember). And their opening movie with annoying weird characters and an attempt to make you sing along was aggravating, really. As we left, I couldn't help but think that we - and LOTS of other people - had just paid money to look at advertisements for a product that someone is trying to sell us. And that we went to see because we actually like the product. And then there's a gift shop, where you can buy lots of things that help them advertise their product further. Well-played, Coca Cola.

We returned home late at night, and, as I mentioned at the start, it's taken me a while to recoup. But I'm nearly there, just in time for the weekend, which holds some social plans, but promises to be lower key than the last.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2013 01:00 am (UTC)
I knew that Scarlett was Pansy at first.

I read that she wrote the last chapter first so she would know where she was going. Also Rhett Butler was based on a former boyfriend. Also that she was ten years old before she found out that the South lost the Civil War. (Probably I got this knowledge from Writer's Digest.)
Aug. 2nd, 2013 07:22 pm (UTC)
Interesting stuff. We learned that she also thought that the war had just ended - had no idea that it was over more than 30 years before her birth.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 2nd, 2013 07:23 pm (UTC)
I'll bet! I'm looking for a good biography, but maybe I'll grab her letters instead.
Aug. 2nd, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
Awesome post! Great pictures!
I love fried okra. Yum.
Oh wow! I'd love to tour Mitchell's home. I didn't know about Pansy. I'm so glad she changed it to Scarlett! =)
Aug. 2nd, 2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
Scarlett is much better, I agree. And it's really her actual apartment as reimagined using period furniture, not her actual stuff. Still, it's pretty great.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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