Saturday, July 14
On Saturday morning we paid our respects to the farmers' market in Forsyth Park before hitting the Interstate to Atlanta. Our first stop in Atlanta was the Contemporary Art Center, which was in a surprisingly rough-looking neighborhood -- we were pretty certain our GPS had led us astray! It doesn't help that the museum building looks kind of like a warehouse that burned up in a fire, but we had to assume that was intentional. The exhibit featured several artists who were aiming to stretch our comfort zones. There was a mostly-nude lady dancing erotically with a dead salmon, for example. And there was "Hennessee Youngman's" thought-provoking (satirical) video on "How to be a Successful Black Artist."
In the afternoon we went to the Flor Store. For years I'd heard great things about Interface Carpet, and I wanted to try their product (recycled/recyclable carpet tile), but as residential customers we'd have to go through their residential brand Flor, and they only have a few stores worldwide, but one of them is in Atlanta. We got excellent service from our sales clerk and took home half a dozen samples. (After we got home, we bought some of the carpet tiles for our hallway.) We couldn't resist stopping next door for organic frozen yogurt.
At the recommendation of our Flor salesperson, we spent the evening window shopping in Virginia Highland and had a memorable dinner at the very popular Yeah! Burger. Coincidentally when we went to the Flor store we had parked at Yeah! Burger's other location, which was not crowded at all, but that's the way it goes!
Sunday, July 15
In the morning we visited Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, in spite of Jessie's GPS's earnest efforts to direct us to the airport instead. (This was one of at least three times it routed us to airports during this trip.) We enjoyed strolling by the various fountains and memorials in the park. We also saw the World of Coca-Cola and the aquarium, from the outside.
Our next stop was The Farm, a famous intentional community outside Summertown, TN. I've heard of the Farm for years, since college at least, but I wasn't sure what to expect as a visitor. They don't do much actual farming, if any. They do a lot of teaching -- residential classes on maintaining intentional communities, sustainable building, and permaculture design. We stayed in the first building that was ever built on site, which is now an eco-hostel, and went on a self-guided tour. Left to figure out what we were seeing for ourselves, we spent the most time with the public artwork, murals and the magnificent Wholeo stained-glass dome. We had dinner in the general store.
Monday, July 16
The only thing of note that happened on the way to Memphis was that we saw signs for Manley Rd. and Gurley Rd., less than a mile apart. We had lunch at the Pig on Beale on the famous Beale Street (after a side trip to the local airport, courtesy of Jessie's phone), which apparently is quite a hot spot at night but was pretty unremarkable at lunchtime on a Monday. While we were downtown, we visited the ducks at the famous Peabody Hotel.
We spent the afternoon at the National Civil Rights Museum, which was excellent. Afterward we stopped at an ice cream truck, and the vendor offered to sell us bottled water as well because "white people sometimes get thirsty when they eat ice cream." Yes, I suppose that's true.
We tried to visit the Mud Island Riverwalk because I have fond memories of it from visiting relatives as a kid, but admission is through the museum, which is closed Mondays. Instead we stopped by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, recipient of Jessie's fundraising work through Up Til Dawn at ESU. She's had a number of tours, but without a legitimate excuse, we didn't get to see inside on this visit.
Tuesday, July 17
The last day of the trip was an unceremonious all-day drive from Memphis to Emporia. You know a vacation has been long enough when you're just plain ready to be home!