Destination: Atlanta

This past weekend I met my boyfriend in Atlanta for a quick weekend getaway. With finals coming up and summer just far enough away, as a long distance couple we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to spend some time together.

We arrived on Thursday night, (we were staying with my amazing aunt and uncle at their house in Sandy Springs) and settled in. Ryan and I ordered some Chinese take-out, (our go-to meal) and cozied up in the “Man Cave” for a How I Met Your Mother Marathon. We made a quick Publix run for some fun snacks and wine, and then got right back to our show. It was nice to just relax and be together, and after a few more episodes we were ready for bed.

Friday morning we woke up pretty early, but still got a late start because of course I couldn’t decide what to wear. After straightening my hair, putting on makeup and finally picking an outfit, we were ready to go. (I decided on an off-the-shoulder purple top, denim shorts and my adidas sneakers… I had my camera around my neck so I wanted to make sure I looked good in case sometimes throughout the day I might have screamed “Hey, look at me, I’m a tourist!”) After I was finished getting ready, Ry and I set off for Ponce City Market, an outdoor/indoor food and shopping plaza in Midtown Atlanta about 40 minutes away.

We pulled in, found parking and headed straight for Spiller Park Coffee. I had done previous research online and was so excited to try this place. It was so funny because we kept scanning both sides of this “mall” to find it and neither of us could, but we ended up walking right into it, because it’s literally an entire coffee bar in the middle of the walkway. Both sides have counter tops and everything. We each ordered and sat down to wait. Ryan had ordered the “iced coffee of the day” and the second I saw it I immediately regretted my decision to go with a vanilla latte. His coffee was so good, I don’t even know how to describe it. It was strong and bold, but still sweet and light. The barista had given him some simple syrup and milk on the side if he wanted it, but we both agreed the coffee was so good it didn’t even need it. Ryan was curious and asked the barista “What kind of coffee is this?” He replied, “It’s from Honduras! Definitely some sweeter, citrus-y notes, you can probably even taste a little bit of pink lemonade in there.” We were just shocked at the way this guy was talking about coffee, almost like it was wine! We laughed and raved even more about the coffee. But then our food came and we were even more in Heaven. I had ordered toast with butter and a fried egg, and Ry ordered avocado toast. Both were on huge Texas Toast and cooked to perfection, it was SUCH a good a start to our day.

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After breakfast we headed outside to the Beltline, a boardwalk-esque walkway that Atlanta designed to promote walking/biking/skating and other forms of alternative transportation. It reminded me a lot of the High Line in NYC, which I loved. Ryan and I explored a little bit and then found a place we had been looking for at the recommendation of a friend, Paris on Ponce.

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Paris on Ponce is hard to explain, or at least hard for me to explain, as a non-ATL resident. I thought it was a store, and I guess it kind of is, but it also has a museum vibe and has an entire themed party room and dining area that can be rented out, called Maison Rouge. There is also a restaurant and men’s barber shop? It’s kind of just a bunch of different stuff and Ryan and I had a great time exploring and taking pics. (SEE BOTTOM SLIDESHOW FOR MORE PARIS ON PONCE PICS!)

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After Paris on Ponce, we decided it was time to get a move on because we still had a lot more we wanted to do, so we got back in the car and headed straight for our next destination: Centennial Olympic Park/Pemberton Place. We had planned on doing the World of Coca Cola museum and then visiting the famous Atlanta Aquarium. First up was the World of Coke! We were given free bottles upon entering, and then began our tour in the “Loft” which had thousands of old Coca Cola artifacts. Then we were ushered into the Coca-Cola theater and watched the most incredible video, I can’t even put into words how it made me feel. Both Ryan and I were close to crying at the end of it! After that, we were on our own to explore all the different exhibits. We got to see the hidden vault where the secret formula is held, we got to try Cokes from countries around the world, and we got to see the bottling process! It was all super interesting and Ryan and I even swiped a fancy Coca Cola dinner recipe from a cookbook in the gift shop!

After the museum we walked across to the Georgia Aquarium, but it was closing at 5pm that night due to a private event. We were so bummed. It was one of the only things Ryan wanted to do, but now we are glad because we have an excuse to go back! We realized we were starving, so we decided to go to an ATL landmark for dinner, The Varsity!

“WHAT’LL YA HAVE?” was yelled at us the second we walked in. We were handed our burgers and fries and we scarfed them down in record time. It was seriously one of the greatest burgers I’ve ever had. (I ordered the “Glorified Burger”, which has lettuce, tomato, and mayo.)

After dinner, we knew that the Skyline Park had opened at 5pm and headed back to Ponce City Market. The rooftop of this building is a mini amusement park, with carnival games, mini-golf, a three-story slide, and two bars! This was probably my favorite part of our entire trip. The weather was INCREDIBLE, all the good summer songs were playing on the speakers, and we had the greatest view of Downtown Atlanta right at our fingertips! Ryan and I had an absolute blast playing mini golf (we have never played together, which is crazy for a couple who has been dating for 10 months!) and it was so much fun! I beat him by 3 points but we still don’t know if that’s right. πŸ˜‰ We also played derby race, ring toss, and skee-ball!

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Then we googled the SkyLounge rooftop bar at the Glenn Hotel to find their dress code and realized we wouldn’t be able to go in what I was wearing. But we were 40 minutes from home, so we decided to just go shopping really quickly instead. I bought a pair of white jeans that went well with my top and cursed myself for not thinking ahead to pack my new espadrille wedges in the car. Oh well. It was perfect timing because the sun was just starting to set, so we headed for the hotel, parked, and took the elevator up. Immediately we were greeted with an atmosphere I usually only daydream about; music, city lights, a delicious breeze and yummy drinks! It was a perfect ending to our perfect day.

We went back to my aunt and uncle’s house, chatted with them, watched a few more episodes of How I Met Your Mother and hit the hay, because tomorrow was going to be a busy day.

Our alarms went off and we did not want to wake up. But it was SIX FLAGS DAY so we had to!!! We got dressed quickly (actually, for real this time, because I had planned out my outfit the night before) and headed downstairs. My aunt and uncle made us a yummy and quick eggs & bacon breakfast and we were out the door. We stopped for Starbucks, and hit the road.

Being from Orlando, neither of us really knew what to expect at Six Flags, but we definitely didn’t think it would be anything like what it was! It was such an interesting experience and we had such a great time. Carnival games (we’re seriously such suckers for those!), haunted mansions, roller coasters, and a nonexistent water ride were all so fun! By 6:30pm we were WORN out and ready to go home. Luckily, Six Flags was having a special, so our tickets from this weekend are good through September! We can’t wait to go back.

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We got cleaned up, ate dinner with my aunt and uncle while watching the Rangers game and then just chilled. Ryan helped me work on a paper for one of my classes, we looked through all the pictures we took, and of course, we watched a little bit more of How I Met Your Mother.

Sunday morning we got to sleep in, and then we had brunch with my aunt and uncle. Food at their house is always incredible (Chef genes in this family, people.) and this morning was no exception. We had AMAZING authentic buttermilk pancakes, bacon, coffee with homemade vanilla simple syrup and freshly squeezed blood orange juice. It was fantastic! Such a great morning hanging out with great people, and I am so grateful for opportunities like this.

Saying goodbye was no easy task… it never is. But we managed to get through it, and then Ryan and I drove off into separate directions. So bittersweet. We’ll see each other in two weeks though, where our biggest adventure yet is waiting: Summer 2017 πŸ™‚

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