Where exactly is our hotel?

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Jul 05, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Sunday, June 20, 2010

We woke up from a well deserved rest in Asheville.  Going on a recommendation from the hotel, we choose to eat at the Moose Cafe, located in the farmer's market.  While it sounded enticing, it merely was average.  The kids enjoyed the fresh biscuits and house made apple butter, while the grown ups were able to try saw mill gravy on the grits.  We have to say the verdict is still out on the saw mill gravy, we will try it again just not at the Moose Cafe.

Our friend Stella the GPS brought us out of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountain area in a round about way.  The drive was very pretty, although the two lane highway traveling through many small towns (think rt1) was not the fastest route.  The most interesting thing we saw was Runaway Truck Ramps.  I guess if a tractor trailer loses control, they can pull into one of these gravel lined ramps to hopefully slow down.  There was an awful lot of them, so it made us wonder how often they were used.

The problem with booking your hotel online, in a large city you don't
know at all, is that you run the risk of ending up in a less than
desirable area.  When we got closer to Atlanta, and Stella directed us off the highway, we initially drove through an area that caused some minor hyperventilating in the car.  Fortunately, we continued through past the questionable area into a business park type area with many hotels.  Feel safe to book a hotel in Norcross, GA!

After an early check in we were able to head into Atlanta to the Botanical Gardens.  They were having some special Father's Day activities, but we arrived too late (we really need to get better at planning for traffic/bathroom breaks).  It seems no matter how much we plan and provide bathroom opportunities, someone always has to go at an unplanned time or location (if we were having a contest Max would win...his blog, bathrooms of the east coast, will soon be posted!)

Despite these setbacks the gardens were awesome. We were amazed at the size and maintenance that it must take to keep the grounds manicured.  The gardens were filled with various fountains, water features, and waterfalls and the children were having a good time getting there feet wet in different areas. Unlike the caverns, the gardens actually encouraged children to touch and observe the plants up close.  

The gardens contained a number of displays for kids, including some mazes (by Max's standards this is any path cut between bushes...even if he towers over the structure and can see the exactly where he needs to go) and a water play area.  Also the Tree Walk, which is the only of it's kind in the U.S., is an elaborate walking path up high in the canopies of the tree.  This was actually the attraction which drew us to the gardens, it was kind of neat, although not nearly as dramatic as we thought.    One of the coolest things was the indoor garden housing all of the rare plants of Africa, the kids(or grown ups) have never seen any plants like them. 

By the time we left it was almost 7, so we decided to go back to the hotel for the kids to go swimming.  Well two out of three anyways, Sophia and mom took a fun side trip to the Emergency Room , where she was diagnosed with strep throat.  Fortunately for us, the ER in Duluth was really great, and we were in and out faster than expected.    Hopefully the medicine kicks in soon, and she can enjoy her vacation more!
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