- A Platinum Tour Package to the Country Music Hall of Fame
- Lunch (and a classic song) in Chattanooga
- Cross the border to Georgia – our fourth state in two days
- Take the Jim Henson tour of the Centre for Puppetry Arts
- Find an Australian connection at Atlanta’s largest film festival
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Our driver Dan is beside himself with excitement. As a real country music fan, the celebrity audio guide… His tastes are more modern, but the rest of us with varying degrees of Country music appreciation still find plenty to enjoy – from the Patsy Cline exhibit to the RCA Studio guided tour where we are walked through the studio that birthed more than 1,000 top ten music hits (and around 150 recordings of the King himself).
We’re on a road trip to Atlanta, which involves a whistle-stop lunch in Chattanooga, Tennessee – the halfway point of today’s drive. We follow the Tennessee River to 212 Market Restaurant, at the north end of a town made famous by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra singing “Chattanooga Choo Choo” in the 1940s.
After 21 years in business, these guys know how to make a sandwich – are you going to choose the Pecan chicken club or the Chattanooga cheesesteak wrap? Something to chew chew on while we head back to Interstate 24 overlooking the choo choo train tracks!
Atlanta is a city steeped in US history, from it’s importance during the US Civil War, to the Civil Rights movement a century later, and today’s corporate success as home to CNN, Coca-Cola and MailChimp (you may have heard of them?). It’s also the fourth Summer Olympic host city we’ve visited on our everydaydream holiday so far (Link to Destinations).
Our first stop ignores all that – we’re here to have fun at the Centre for Puppetry Arts! Where was this place when I was planning my birthday party as a kid? We’re doing the Jim Henson: Life and Legacy tour, with all its background information on the man behind the Muppets and Fraggle Rock.
Jim Henson was there when Kermit the Frog cut the ribbon to open the centre in 1978. Since then they’ve been impressing adults and children alike – yes, in addition to children’s birthday parties they also host adults-only Puppetry Theatre! (No, not the adults only puppetry you’re thinking of!)
From there it’s to the World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta’s most famous export (and, some say, the reason they were awarded the 1996 Olympic Games). Unless you’re a real Coke head, there’s a lot to learn here, and the immersive experience of the ‘Vault of the Secret Formula’ is part of the fun. The taste-testing, we concede, is not quite as impressive as the similar experience at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
We part ways with Dan just outside the Martin Luther King Jr historic site, on Auburn Avenue. Roadtrips can’t help but bring people together, and we’ll miss him … His taste in music, on the other hand? We’re kinda glad to see that go.
Besides, we’ve got movie tickets tonight. While we’d never heard of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (“Atlanta’s largest film festival”), when we heard they were showing Lore (Australia’s official entry for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar) with a Q&A afterwards we jumped at the chance to grab tickets.
Music, Movies, and Coca-Cola – there’s a lot to love in the American South.
Want to go? Need to know!
- Want us to feature your town, or want to feature yourself as a local expert at your favourite tourist destination? Head over to our ‘Local guides’ page and tell us where you take your visitors when they’re in town.
- The Platinum package to the Country Music Hall of Fame is only $33, and includes the guided tour. But book in advance as places are limited.
- Atlanta is the fourth Summer Olympic Host City we’ve visited. Can you name the other three?
- The United States of America are currently memorialising the sesquicentennial of the US Civil War (that’s the 150 year anniversary). We’ll be returning later in the year when the Battle of Gettysburg anniversary events connect with the Fourth of July celebrations.
So what are your favourite roadtrip songs? Share them with the world in the comments below or on our Facebook page.