It’s been quite a while since our last FFF back on Florida’s Space Coast and we’ve been pretty busy since then. Much of this time was spent at our home in Connecticut (we stored the RV in Georgia and drove back up for the holidays and a nice long “winter break” from our travel). We resumed our roadtrip 2 weeks ago and, just yesterday, we crossed the Mississippi River! This quick swing through the south took us to some terrific cities: Atlanta, Nashville, and New Orleans.
Atlanta: Jen and I lived, met, and got engaged in Atlanta, so in many ways, it still feels like home. We had the good fortune of spending a few days with our dear friends (Shannon, Annie, and Richie), and it was great seeing their families, too. Our boys enjoyed (I think) getting dragged down memory lane and hearing stories of the people and place in our past. In terms of educational activities, we attended a gallery opening, climbed Stone Mountain, visited two excellent museums (Atlanta History Center and Center for Civil and Human Rights), and explored the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. It was MLK Day while we were there, so the Civil Rights Museum and Historic Park were especially lively and poignant.
Nashville: Nashville was a destination for us for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted to visit our niece, Maddy, who is a senior at Vanderbilt University. We loved seeing this impressive campus and hearing about her college life in the Music City. And music, of course, was the other big attraction for us. We toured the historic Ryman Auditorium, home to the Grand Ole Opry from the 1940s-1970’s. We also visited the Country Music Hall of Fame which charted the course of country music from its roots to the present. We enjoyed live music at the Honky Tonk bars on Broadway (well, the ones that had music during the day and allowed for kids). All this, combined with great eating (BBQ and Hot Chicken) made for a fun couple of days.
New Orleans: From Nashville, we followed the same path as the 1960‘s Freedom Rides through Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and Jackson, reading and learning more about these civil rights landmarks along the way. New Orleans, however, felt like we had arrived in a different country altogether. While there was still some evidence of the devasting blow recieved from Hurricane Katrina, the city seemed vibrant and alive with color. In this week before Mardi Gras festivities begin, the mansions of the Garden District were decorated in purple, green, and gold ribbons and beads. We visited Mardi Gras World, where hundreds of floats received their final touches before parades that will happen in coming weeks.
One unexpected highlight from New Orleans was the National World War Two Museum. We didn’t really know about this until our arrival, but we were certainly impressed with the scope and depth of this very important museum. The exhibits included a great variety of first hand accounts and the multimedia presentations throughout kept us engaged for the entire day… a must-see for any visit to the Big Easy.
The streets of the French Quarter were also bustling. At the national park visitor center, we saw performances from a ragtime pianist and a jazz ensemble. In and around Jackson Square, we listened to brass bands, acoustic performers, and even an opera singer. Local foods attracted us as well, especially in the French Market, where we found spicy jambalaya, savory po’boy and muffaletta sandwiches, and sweet beignets. We topped off our visit with a Cajun dinner and performance, and Jen impressed the boys by getting up and dancing the two step (with the help of an 83-year old couple who really knew how to move!). Good fun in New Awlins!
It’s good to get back to Four Foto Friday, and we’re looking forward to many more posts between now and early summer. For those interested in our winter break, which included time at Walt Disney World and Connecticut, I’ll also be posting December and January photo albums within the next few days. As always… thank you for following us!