Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of our epic road trip to the east coast. It was 13 days filled with joy, sibling fights, a bazillion rest stops, one major meltdown on the side of I-10, great memories and lots of hugs with awesome people. Oh, and we saw a ton of cool stuff, too. You can read all about it by city: New Orleans, LA; Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Washington, D.C. and Knoxville, TN.
The drive from New Orleans to Atlanta was easily the absolute worst of the trip. Everyone was still settling into the close quarters, we hit Alabama beach traffic and it rained, rained, rained. It’s stretches like that when Scott and I wonder if we are legit bananas.
One thing that makes it easier? Stopping to see an Instagram friend, who is now a real life one! Sheena, you and your kids were the absolute best. Your chicken salad was outstanding, but the company was even better. You went out of your way to make us feel at home and that was not lost on our crew. The hour at your house was one of the highlights of the trip. If y’all need some beautiful pieces in your home, check this. Sheena and her husband are amazing DIYers!
Because there’s never a land-grant university we didn’t love, hey-o, Auburn! We loved, loved, loved this campus. It’s too bad they don’t offer Will’s college major. But, hey! I have five more kids. So, fingers crossed. And can someone please tell me what the odds are that we run into someone we know on campus? Looking at you Benjamin Knox!
All the kids really wanted was some lemonade and ice cream sandwiches at Toomer’s. #wellplayedkids
We arrived in Atlanta crazy late. Varsity came highly recommended and after a long day of driving it did the trick. That frosted orange was delicious. On road trips we try, very hard, to stay with friends and family. It makes traveling with a big brood so much more affordable. In Atlanta and Knoxville, we stayed at a hotel. We will sometimes get two rooms, but we usually look for a suite. We’re cramped, but it fits the budget. I won’t lie, our hotel in Atlanta was super convenient, but the sleeping really tested my faith. As in, please Jesus just let them fall asleep. That’s life.
The next day, we had a great breakfast and then hit the Aquarium. I’ll admit, I went in with super low expectations. Holy Moses. Y’all, that place blew us away!
The dolphin and seal shows were spectacular (it helped that Will had just visited during one of his 4-H trips and knew the lay of the land) and the Dive Show with the whale sharks was such an unexpected treat. We went early to take advantage of the discount. It wasn’t cheap, but that helped. Our entire morning and early afternoon was spent exploring.
On a whim, we decided to ride the Ferris Wheel (I sure do miss the old open air ones). Um, that thing was high, y’all. We were all happy to get off!
Grumbly bellies were soon calling, so we hopped in the van and headed to a place we had scouted via The Food Network the night before, Fox Brothers BBQ. Y’all know us and ‘cue. There’s a great back story that I’ll have to share someday, but suffice it to say, there are still some really wonderfully kind people in the world. Our late lunch was pretty tasty – not as good as the ‘cue in Austin – but definitely worth the trip.
Just before Mass, we decided to drive through downtown Atlanta. I kinda have a thing about state capitols. Isn’t Georgia’s beautiful?
After my capitol geek out moment which the kids TOTALLY did not appreciate, we left for Mass at the Cathedral. The priest gave a fantastic homily and then prayed the most beautiful blessing over our family for safe travels at the conclusion. We were grateful the van *just* fit under the height requirements for the parking lot. I mean, if we had taken out the top of the van that really would’ve been poor form, right?!
One of the total highlights of the day? Getting a text from this gal, telling us she was just pulling into downtown Atlanta just as we were pulling into our hotel. The kids all played in Centennial Park, we chatted and drank LaCroix (with a Shiner for the road) and laughed. Oh, how wonderful the world can be when you connect with a friend. I have admired and looked up to Rachel for so very long – her faith, her family values, her writing, her life perspective. She’s the real deal. If only we had more time!
All of us were grateful our time in Atlanta was a gorgeous 87-degrees. In July! We’ll take it. There was so much more to do in this great city; it’s just an excuse to come back and visit again.