“What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have?”

We’re back on the Island after a really fun vacation in Atlanta. Flying home today and reflecting on what we did, it feels like we were there for longer than just three days. It was our first time in Atlanta and we really had no idea what to expect or what to do. We had such a terrific time. It seems like everyone we met were spectacular ambassadors for their city and the city is one they deserve to be so very proud of. We walked everywhere and when we needed to cover more ground, more quickly, we grabbed our Breeze cards and hopped on MARTA or the Atlanta Streetcar. After a long day of travelling home, it’s a pretty lazy evening here. I figured, in the name of attempting something resembling productive I’d work through a post of train photos.

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I’d read Amtrak’s schedule for The Crescent Limited and saw that if I was moving early enough I could catch it on its New Orleans-bound trip. On Friday morning I headed out to do just that. After a superb walk from our hotel, along Peachtree, to the station, I crossed over the highway by Atlantic Station I couldn’t help but notice the parade of MARTA trains doing the same just a bit further up the road. They are really moving and I’m rather pleased with how well this photo turned out.

In between MARTA trains, I waited…

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Running just about a half-hour behind schedule, almost as if waiting for better lighting before it appeared, The Crescent Limited arrives in Atlanta.

The Peachtree overpass provides a superb view of the train in both directions but is itself guarded on both sides by a very tall chainlink fence. To set up these photos, I have my camera carefully aimed between the links. The actual view looks more like this:

We’re big transit users for those destinations that are just too far to walk and for that, more MARTA is the way to go.

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I took the above photo of a southbound, Airport, train at the Five Points station. The interesting trivia here is that when I took this train this stretch of the Orange line was experiencing a period of single-line running while maintenance was completed on the other track. There isn’t much headway between trains and the thought of managing that same frequency, in opposite directions, on one track is nothing short of impressive. I’d love to have learned more about the logistics of making it happen.

Unable to resist the invitation of a streetcar ride, we made pretty great use of the Atlanta Streetcar service. The streetcar and its line are really only a couple of years old and it was neat to be a part of something still so new. I took the above two photos from our carriage on the gigantic Skyview Atlanta ferris wheel. Hard not to see something like this and marvel at just how model-like it all is.

Facing a very early flight out of Atlanta, we changed hotels to something much closer to the airport and spent our last night in Hapeville. Our hotel was directly across from Porsche North America and the distance from our hotel to Porsche was bisected by Norfolk Southern’s track through town. I did manage to catch the tail end of two trains but neither time did I grab my camera. NS was performing some work on this track and had staged a rather neat work train nearby. The train was staged in three separate blocks of cars: one set of rather old boxcars presumably for storing materials, one set of bunkhouse cars, and finally a block of flat cars each loaded with different pieces of equipment. Those flat cars were a neat mix of Norfolk and Western and Southern cars, each a memory of the history of the railroad different from the more famous Heritage scheme engines NS have decorated. This last photo is of just one of those cars.

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By the way…

“What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have?” is, I learned, the cry of the front line staff at The Varsity. Of the many places I wanted to see in Atlanta, this landmark restaurant was high on the list. I still don’t know how to describe it. In their words: “Welcome to The Varsity! The World’s Largest Drive-in Restaurant…” With an introduction like that, it would be easy to imagine The Varsity as some caricature packed with crappy fifties memorabilia. It was anything but and was a simple joy to visit. I wish I could go back again and again.

Speaking of food, the other “gonna eat here” restaurant on my list was a visit to Sweet Auburn Market over on Edgewood. Of the many vendors I discovered I only have eyes for Soul Food. Again, words fail to describe the experience but I think Krista coined the best and I’d like to use those to describe Soul Food: “I was totally unprepared for the amount of delicious!” Soul Food? Yes, in so very many ways. Jammed full of black-eyed peas, corn bread, and fried chicken our souls were fueled for a terrific walk through the neighbourhood.

Starbucks was everywhere in the city so coffee was never far away but I was surprised that independant shops were very scarce. That said, across the street from the Atlanta Zoo is The Grant Park Coffeehouse. I consider Charlottetown’s own Receiver Coffee Company as the finest coffee I’m ever going to have, anywhere. The folks at Grant Park Coffeehouse are a damned fine close second.

 

 

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