Dear America: G-L

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Downtown Atlanta
Georgia
In December 2008, one of my best friends from college (Megan) and I took a road trip from New York down South. Georgia was one of the states we stayed overnight in. We'd planned on staying multiple days in Atlanta, but the weather was atrocious and we couldn't find too much to like about it (traffic was horrible, and the city's so spread out!), so we left a day early to spend some extra time in South Carolina.

Megan had told me about a Southern buffet in a place called Social Circle (I tell no lie!) that was supposed to be amazing, and we didn't realize we'd actually pass Social Circle on the way up ... so even though we'd just gotten back in the car after eating a gigantic breakfast, we pulled off the highway and stuffed ourselves silly at this cute place, The Blue Willow Inn:


We had delicious fried chicken (though I think the best fried chicken I've ever had was at one of the few places we went to in Atlanta ... Mary Mac's Tea Room. I would go back to Atlanta just to eat there again), candied yams, collard greens and fried green tomatoes, yummy rolls of all kinds, sweet tea ... Then there was the dessert station, which had at least 8 different types of desserts. Megan and I agreed to each take a little of four, so we could sample it all. I remember peach cobbler and carrot cake, chocolate cake, coconut cake ...

I'll never forget what our server said to us when she came to clear our plates: "Y'all didn't eat very much!" We had to take a couple laps around the shops surrounding the parking lot before we could get back in the car!

Hawaii
My one and only visit to Hawaii came pre-digital cameras, so I've got no photos to share.
I was in the eighth grade or so, and my parents and I went to Honolulu over my spring break from school. We did the whole touristy thing, which included a luau on the beach. We hopped on a public bus that was supposed to take us to a rainforest, and I was very excited about this. The driver was supposed to tell us when to get off, but he forgot and we ended up making a circle on the freezing cold bus around the entire island. It took a total of four hours.

I never did get to see the rainforest, but I got to see the North Shore from the bus, and school kids who hopped on and off the bus. I was terribly intrigued and, oddly, a little jealous of the kids my age ... they all seemed to have keychains dangling from their book bags, like five on each zipper, and I just remember wishing so badly that I could do that in New York City and ride the subway without someone stealing them.

Idaho




I'd never really felt compelled to visit Idaho, but during my trip in 2009 between Denver and Yellowstone Park, etc, I happened to drive through parts of Idaho. In eastern Idaho, coming from Wyoming, I spotted signs like "Upper Coffeepot Campground" and streets named "Buttermilk Loop Road." I thought it was the cutest, quirkiest state I'd been to yet.

We stopped in Blackfoot to get gas and visit the Idaho Potato Museum ... and then had lunch in Pocatello (I love the way that rolls off the tongue).

Outside the Idaho Potato Museum:



Skies over Idaho:


Illinois
Periods of my life seem to have gone missing from the internet! Curious. I visited my friend Kate, who I'd met during my year abroad in England, in Chicago just after Christmas in 2007. She had to work, so I pretty much roamed the city alone during the day and hung out with Kate and her friends at night.

Chicago is another city I found myself not caring too much for, but I think maybe the frigid, snowy weather had something to do with it. I did all the requisite touristy things, and my favorite was taking the L out to Oak Park to check out some of Frank Lloyd Wright's work, and his home.

Kate took me to Evanston a couple of times, which I thought was a really nice area. There were plenty of "bobo" restaurants, and she brought me to the Baha'i Temple, one of only seven in the world. It was just a stone's throw from Lake Michigan.

I also got to check out Andersonville, the Swedish area of Chicago, and visited the Swedish American Museum (I am/was slightly obsessed with Sweden at one point). And of course, of course, I had some Chicago deep dish pizza (I think we had Lou Malnati's), which is amahzing (as Penny from "Happy Endings" would say!). I don't think it's fair to compare NY-style pizza with Chicago-style pizza ... they're two different beasts and I am more than happy to love them both.

Louisiana
Again, no photos. I visited New Orleans with my parents when I was in the ninth or tenth grade. I didn't like it much -- how could you really, at 15? I thought the whole city reeked of stale beer, but the food was good, the people lively, the music vibrant.

We rode the streetcar to the Garden District and I tried to find the house they shot The Real World at (naturally). I didn't find it (all of the mansions looked similar to me). We passed Anne Rice's home, which was on a street dotted with camellia trees. Not far away was the Camellia Grill, where we had lunch -- it pushed American diner fare up to near the top of my list of favorite "cuisines."

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