My Trip to Atlanta – Part Two

September 13, 2016 at 4:23 pm (Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Centennial Olympic Park

Maybe it’s because this was an Olympic year and I just introduced my daughter to the joys of binge watching the best gymnasts in the world blow everyone’s minds.  Maybe it’s because it was the twenty year anniversary of the night Keri Strug wowed us all with her stellar commitment to herself and her team.  Maybe it’s just because I like parks…

IMG_1242.JPGMy favorite part of Atlanta – the city, not the trip – was Centennial Olympic Park.  I had to walk through it every day to get to the Vendor’s Hall for Dragon Con; and I am so glad I did.

Atlanta as a whole had a wild, unkempt feel to me, sporadically blasted with moments of finely controlled beauty.  I’d walk from Joseph E. Boone, where the grass I think, had never been cut, to stepping into the symbol of perfection itself: Centennial Olympic Park.

img_1238Honestly, I enjoyed the contrast.  As an environmentally friendly foraging hippie, I loved that the lawns were more like meadows.  I found joy in poking along overgrown sidewalks with the opportunity to inspect local wildflowers.  I even found a luna moth one morning, something I had never seen in person before.

But as a lover of community parks, I also found myself drawn to the twenty-eight million dollar completed project. City cleaners sweep, scrub, and constantly pick up trash, keeping the park immaculate. The statues seem to gleam, both from their artistic beauty and the city’s over all effort to maintain “curb appeal.”  I found myself wondering what was there before 1996 and learned that it was a city block of old industrial buildings, some abandoned.  The difference to Atlanta citizens when the park was first erected must have been startling.

img_1245I stopped to take pictures of some of the statues when I was there. I got some curious looks before people started stopping and taking pictures too. “Sheep” my friend called them, but I think it just takes someone noticing something beautiful before others stop and look up. And the monuments there are very beautiful.

Each morning I would cut across a paved walkway made of engraved stones to get to John Portman Blvd. During the park’s construction a donation of $35 got you a stone and a message. When I return to Atlanta, because I plan to, I’d like to pay more attention to those engravings. There are stories there, I think.

img_1263The weather was gorgeous. People (Yankees! Haha) kept talking about how hot it was. I was wearing a sweater most days, not the afternoons, but definitely in the mornings.  My morning walks were the most refreshing parts of my day.  I meant to stop and eat breakfast at the Waffle House right outside the park, but never managed to wake up early enough – or if I did, I found myself dawdling in the park instead. So, I spoiled myself and got coffee at the Starbucks in the AmericasMart. I kept looking for a local Non-Starbucks coffeehouse, but didn’t find one; again, next trip.

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2 Comments

  1. E. Michael Helms, author said,

    At least your weren’t (nearly) accosted this time! My young memoires of Atlanta are too foggy/faded to even know the area you’re talking about. Probably the buildings the park replaced weren’t even there when I was a five & under kid trailing along holding my mother’s hand. I DO remember Grant Park. We often went there from shopping breaks. Did you happen to come across Grant Park while there? 🙂
    –Michael

    • Anakalian Whims said,

      No, Grant Park is in a different part of town on the other side of all the major highways I think.

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