Monday and Tuesday of this week found me in Atlanta and Stone Mountain, GA for work related training. I left Savannah on Sunday afternoon and arrived in Atlanta on Sunday evening where I stayed in the Holiday Inn Northlake Atlanta (lodging provided by my employer). The training took place in Stone Mountain, which wasn’t a long drive away. As readers of my scanning reports from Atlanta over the last couple of days are already aware, the weather was miserable so that prevented any exploring or playing tourist. The rain arrived in Atlanta approximately the same time I did an pretty much never stopped. The drive back home to Savannah on Tuesday evening was through continuous rain as well. Another factor that played against playing tourist were the hours of many of the museums or attractions; they closed around 5:00 or 5:30 PM which didn’t give someone much time to visit after their day’s activities. I’ve often wondered why museums or attractions that are mostly or completely indoors don’t have extended evening hours to give those working during the day (and may not be there during the weekends) an opportunity to visit.
The Holiday Inn Northlake Atlanta is in Tucker off of Exit 37 on I-285. It is conveniently located near a number of restaurants, gas stations, and shopping areas. The accommodations were average, although the shower curtain needed to be replaced and the TV channel selection was limited (granted that wouldn’t have been an issue had the weather been better; I wouldn’t have stayed in the room as much). The WiFi internet was also unstable and tended to drop out. The staff, however, was very friendly and the customer service was excellent. Bentleys restaurant in the lobby is not a place for dinner, but it had an outstanding breakfast buffet, which was free for those staying in the restaurant (you got vouchers for each morning when you checked in). The chicken finger dinner I had Sunday night was OK but nothing special. I wasn’t disappointed in the breakfast buffet the next morning: the selection of bacon, ham, sausage, potatoes, grits, eggs pancakes, waffles, cereals, and various breads was delicious. The potatoes were my favorite: skin on potatoes sauteed with onion and bell pepper.
For supper on Monday night, I took a short drive in the rain to Eduardo’s Mexican Grill. I had the shrimp burrito (which I don’t see in the menu on their website). The prices weren’t bad, the food was good, the staff was friendly, and the service was good; I’d definitely go there if I was in Tucker again.
Stone Mountain was only a short drive down GA Highway 78 away so the commute back and forth to training wasn’t bad at all. It was against the normal flow of traffic so I never got stuck in the stop and go traffic on I-285 during the morning and evening rush hours. The scenery along the way was also spectacular; living on the coast one doesn’t get to see the hills and stone outcrops very often. On Monday, my co-worker and I went to lunch at the Metro Cafe & Diner in Stone Mountain. This was a pretty good choice. The menu had a very wide variety to choose from and I decided on the Greek Gyro Platter for $12. I wasn’t disappointed, it tasted great and there was more on the plate than I was able to eat. For the quality and quantity of the food the price was right and the service was great. I’d consider this a great any time of the day restaurant. Tuesday’s lunch was at the Village Corner German Restaurant and Bakery. You MUST try this restaurant, the food was excellent and there was plenty of it and the service was also excellent. We got there shortly after 11 AM but they don’t start serving lunch until 11:45 AM; since we had to be back at training by 12:30 PM they went ahead and served us lunch anyway. I had the Black Forest Pan Saute, which is smoked Sausage medallions sauteed with mushrooms, peppers, onions and new red potatoes for $12. After that it was hard to stay awake for the afternoon training session! If you find yourself in Stone Mountain, GA this is definitely a place to try!
Travel tip from someone who doesn’t travel very often… I’ve taken some grief from some folks over my habit of checking in at various places on the Foursquare app but it paid off at the Village Corner German Restaurant and Bakery. When I checked in on Foursquare it came up with a 50% off offer so I got my lunch for half price. I’ve also noticed other businesses with Foursquare specials, so you might want to download the app for your smartphone, check in at businesses and restaurant and see if you can save any money as a result.
Despite the dismal weather I decided to visit Stone Mountain Park after the final training session on Tuesday. I’d never been before and as a History and Civil War buff, the Confederate Memorial Carving was something I wanted to see while I was there. Although I found the $10 parking fee combined with the $9 Museum ticket a bit much I’m still glad I went. The Memorial Hall museum has good information and displays on the history of the carving as well as history of the surrounding area and the Civil War in the Atlanta area. The Confederate Memorial Carving is something to behold. It’s hard to imagine the work that went into finishing something of that scale. I know there are those that would disagree with honoring the subjects of the carving in such a fashion but in the case of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in particular there are qualities to be admired (but this is an argument I’m not going to get into).
Many probably wouldn’t understand and I’m probably in the vast minority in my opinion on this, but I found the amusement facilities in between the rear of the Memorial Hall museum and Stone Mountain to be out of place. It really spoils the view of a magnificent piece of nature and the results of a great human endeavor. It is also out of place with “Memorial” aspect of the museum and carving.
Despite the miserable weather, I enjoyed my trip. I received some good training and met some good folks from around the state in my line of work. I had some good food and got to see an amazing attraction. I also had some good fun with the radios, which is the topic of some other posts: