Wish Choo were here
“Don’t forget to pick up your bag of money,” the woman at the reception desk said. Honestly, how could I refuse an invitation like that?
My wife Linda and I were visiting Atlanta in Georgia and – having arrived early for the opening of Margaret Mitchell House (she wrote Gone With The Wind) across the road – we’d popped into the Monetary Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of America.
Robot carts piled high with more dollar bills than I’d ever seen moved back and forth. Display panels told the history of money and highlighted the bank’s efforts against counterfeit currency.
And that bag of money? I did pick mine up – but it was full of shredded notes.
People tend to think of Atlanta just as an access point for the Deep South but there is so much to see and do in the city we tasted several of the more than 100 drinks Coca- Cola produce worldwide.
These two attractions are both within walking distance of the Ellis Hotel, as is the CNN HQ, where our CityPass entitled us to an “inside tour”, zooming up an eight-storey escalator to view the massive newsroom, have our picture taken “reading” the news and get some behind-the-scenes gossip.
But the real star in the area is the new $75million Center for Civil and Human Rights. It’s a magnificent, moving tribute to the battle for equality, which focuses on the terrible treatment and segregation experienced by so many people.
We’d been able to get a good idea of our bearings in Atlanta on a terrific ATL- Cruzers Electric Car tour, with a knowledgeable driver pointing out the city highlights.
The electric car seats five passengers and a 90-minute trip covers 15 miles and sights including the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site and Ebenezer paths on a guided cave tour past odd-shaped stalactites and stalagmites to view the Ruby Falls, discovered in 1928 by explorer Leo Lambert. He named the falls after his wife.
But it was outdoors where Chattanooga made even more of an impact. The Incline Railway – which has been on the go since 1895 and is the world’s steepest passenger railway – hauled us up to the top of 1800ft-high Lookout Mountain for terrific views over the Chattanooga Valley.
Close by, in Point Park, we gazed out over the Tennessee River and, at the park entrance, read about the battles for Chattanooga during the Civil War.
At the Rock City park, also on the mountain, we tried to pick out seven states (Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama) from Lover’s Leap, turned sideways to get between the rocks of Fat Man’s Squeeze and gripped tightly to the sides of the Swing A Long Bridge
Must-see Georgia Aquarium