Monday, March 8, 2010

UGA Valentine's Day

I'm on a quest to see the state universities of the South, so we convinced friends to join us on a Valentine's Day weekend trip to Athens to check out the University of Georgia.

For a cultural reference, we had the kids listen to REM and the B-52s all the way down from Knoxville ("I'm headed down the Atlanta Highway . . . Love Shack, bayaybeee . . ."). Unbelievably, SOME people slept through this important anthropological teaching moment and were promptly punished by having their hair tied up in ridiculous top knots:

Our first stop in Athens was The Grit, a vegetarian icon in a building apparently owned by Michael Stipe. The peeps were tired, but The Grit's strawberry cake was so good that moods improved rapidly.

We walked around downtown Athens and took in the sights. Unlike Knoxville, Athens is a planned college town and has a lot more land to house the university and its student population. The university itself is well-kept and has a number of modern buildings. It's a pretty attractive campus. Overall, Georgia seems to be devoting more money to its flagship state school than Tennessee.

Aside from the campus, Athens has cute shops, music stores, and of course, lots and lots of bars.

Oh, and bulldogs. Everywhere.

REM references abound.

We had a great dinner at The Last Resort Grill. It was Valentine's Day, so all the Georgia kids were on dates dressed in their finest, and it made for good people-watching. The next morning we had a fantastic breakfast at Athens's Big City Bread Bakery, where we sampled the mini-cheesecakes, biscuits, cookies, and various breads in the name of "market research" for our restaurateur friends.

I love market research. It has no calories. Being work and all.

Then we headed to Stone Mountain, Georgia, a truly weird stony outcrop northwest of Atlanta.

I'm not a fan of Stone Mountain--after seeing the rock and learning about the town's role in Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech, what else is there to do?--but there was an indoor pool, an exercise room, a gigantic outdoor chess set, and tubing, so the kids had fun. Mostly, I just waited Stone Mountain out. I never know what to do at resorts, and the one at Stone Mountain is particularly uninteresting.

The next day we headed to Atlanta. Of course, we HAD to check out the gut-wrenching chili dogs at The Varsity. Onion rings, mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Although we had planned a quick visit to the Atlanta Aquarium, I was shocked--SHOCKED--at the prohibitively expensive entrance fees for both the Atlanta Aquarium and the nearby Coca-Cola Museum. The 500Jerk family did a quick cost-benefit anlaysis and decided we would rather shop than pay Coca-Cola for the pleasure of brainwashing us any further.

That being said, Boy Wonder did get a Coca-Cola football.

On our way back home, we stopped at Green Life in Chattanooga, the world's best grocery store. Poor Boy Wonder had a stomach bug by then, but was a good sport about it (note to future self: never feed chili dogs to queasy kids).

Overall, it was a fun trip.

Next up, the University of Mississippi.

1 comment:

kag said...

LOVE the photos :-)