Falling for Georgia Fall

Pumpkin and cinnamon are my least favorite flavors, so I never had a taste for fall…until I got lost in a field of sunflowers, rolled a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins and stood over a waterfall — all in one 70-degree day.

The leaves had not turned and the weather wasn’t crisp yet. It was the very early stages of autumn in Georgia, when the summer tends to throw a few more punches of heat before bowing out. And it’s during this cusp that sunflowers are in bloom.

Ninety minutes north of Atlanta, there’s a family owned farm that dates back to the same year Abraham Lincoln gave his famous “A House Divided Speech”. It wasn’t until 2011 that Fausett Farms ceased poultry farming and converted their more than 30 acres into a field of sunflowers as far as the eye can see.

It’s the best $5 you’ll spend for a frolic in the field. If you’re feeling loose with your wallet, you can spend much more. You can buy sunflowers and sunflower oil, go on a carriage ride and eat sweet treats. Before I left with my goods, one of the good people of Fausett Farms suggested I stop at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.

I took him up on it, even though I wasn’t a fan of pumpkins. It was only two miles away and in the same direction I was headed. But even if it was 20 miles in the opposite direction, it would have been well worth it. I had not known the joy of pushing a wheelbarrow until this day. I also had not known the awe of looking out onto a field of pumpkins that were diverse in color and shape. I was hard pressed to find any two that looked alike in the sea of gourds.

With a car filled with sunflowers and pumpkins, I went around the bend in search of the 729-foot Amicalola Falls. It was an easy hike. Maybe too easy. I expected to work a little harder to be able to capture these views:

I went home that day with a greater appreciation for the season, but I still won’t sip a pumpkin spice latte.

(Road)Tripping in the Age of Covid

Today I was supposed to be driving through Wyoming as part of an elaborate, multi-state road trip. From Yellowstone, my next stop would have been Grand Teton National Park, followed by Shoshone Falls in Idaho. But we all know what this year has done to our travel plans.

Thanks, pandemic.

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Penguins on Parade: Making Friends at the Georgia Aquarium

Listen to Penguins on Parade:

On Christmas Day in 2013 I was wheeled out of the Georgia Aquarium by two very nice people. One was a man named Met, as in I “met” you today, the day your back spasmed so intensely that it numbed your leg and rendered you  paraplegic. The other was a woman named Halle who insisted on offering me an entrance voucher for a future visit, as I had only seen two exhibitions before my visit was cut short.

Between winces, I let her know that I had no plans to return. Ever. And she nodded her head and smiled even though I was being unreasonable.

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Market Watch: Ponce City in Atlanta

The produce section of the Whole Foods is where the best (purchased) seats of Ponce de Leon Park once stood. This baseball stadium was the home of the Atlanta Crackers from 1907 until the Braves arrived in 1966. If during that time you worked at the Sears, Roebuck & Co., however, you would be able to see the game for free.

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Ode to Atlanta

“We want people to learn from the city of Atlanta, learn that we are one people, we are one family. We all live in the same house: the American house, the world house. It doesn’t matter whether we are black or white, Latino, Asian American or Native American. We will not give up on each other. We will not become bitter and divided.”

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