It was time for a road trip. We headed up to Atlanta for a long weekend to visit friends. I was also hoping to see some fall leaves but we may have just missed the peak season.
Along the way we passed miles of cotton fields that were ready to be picked. It almost looked like the ground was covered in snow as we whizzed by.
As we got closer to Atlanta I could see lots of color. There was still a lot of yellow, orange and red in the trees so we didn’t miss the season completely.
Passing by the iconic Olympic torch tower. This replica was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics that was held here. At the time you were able to climb the stairs and see all around Atlanta but it has since been closed. We were living here at the time and my sister and I spent many nights down at the Olympic park during the games.
The parking lot at our hotel was like a fairy tale with all of the bright colors.
An early morning walk before heading out for the day.
We stopped at a friend’s house for lunch and her camellia bushes were still blooming.
She also had some little green critters hiding in her garage.
Now that we are well into November, I’m really craving fall leaves. Normally, Brett and I would have taken a trip in early October to see fall leaves. Last year we were in Boston and the the year before in Utah and we saw a lot of yellow and orange. Here in central Florida, we don’t really see fall leaves until late December if that and this year we just had day trips close to home. I was looking through some old folders and found these pictures of the leaves in the north Georgia mountains. Years ago Brett and I were visiting relatives and went hiking at Amicalola Falls State Park. It’s about an hour north of Atlanta so it was easy to get there. It hadn’t been raining for a while so there wasn’t much water coming over the falls but the leaves were amazing.
When I was in Atlanta in mid-August visiting friends, I spent some time at the Botanical Gardens. It’s one of my favorite places to take pictures. They were having an exhibit of “Mythical Creatures” topiaries that was really cool to see.
Above are just a few of the growing “creatures” that come to life.
Lots of fun things to see at these gardens which were full of butterflies.
Atlanta, as seen in the first episode of the tv series “Walking Dead”. Except in the scene, the roads were lined with abandoned cars that were photo-shopped into the scene. I took this the first night of our long weekend to visit friends. It was dark and cloudy and had just stopped drizzling. My husband thought I was going to look silly being the only person standing on the Jackson Street bridge taking this picture. No, there were several other people there taking pictures as well. I found out later that there are “Walking Dead” tours that take you to some of the places that scenes were filmed at. This is one of the stops.
Another Atlanta downtown scene, taken as we were leaving to head back home.
One morning while Brett was riding his bike with some friends, I took a walk around Piedmont Park. They used to have great art festivals and other events here. I’m sure they still do but it was quiet the morning I walked around the lake.
A few of the critters and an interesting mushroom or fungi around the lake. After my walk around the park, I headed over to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, more on that later.
We stopped at a shopping center to get something and this hawk was in the parking deck. At first I thought he was hurt but I think he had just finished a meal. He took off as I got closer to him but he let me get pretty close. He left behind a few scraps of his lunch.
Almost 25 years ago, Brett and I got married here in the gardens behind the Swan House. We were passing by and I made Brett stop for a few minutes.
I was feeling really nostalgic for Atlanta. I had lived here for 17 years before Brett and I moved to Tampa for work. Since his family moved to the Tampa bay area years ago, we hadn’t really spent any time here in over 3 years so we came back for a long weekend in August. We packed a lot of sight-seeing in the 2 and a half days we were here. We happened to be staying in a hotel next to this mural. The mural is on the side of the building where the old Limelight disco was back in the 70’s and 80’s. I spend many weekends there dancing with my sister and our friends back in the mid 80’s.
This eastern towhee was very accommodating. He just sat there staring at me.
Another towhee looking for food on the ground.
Dark eyed junco getting some food.
Upclose. The cemetery was full of these guys.
Mouthful of seeds.
Posing on the planter.
As I was taking pictures of the juncos, this white breasted nuthatch flew into a tree right in front of me. He only stayed for a few seconds and it was the only one I saw that day.
Two days before Christmas I had a few hours to kill in the morning. I headed for the Oakland cemetery in downtown Atlanta. It was cold (35 degrees is almost death degrees for this Florida person). I had tons of layers on and actually remembered my gloves which I wore the entire time I was there. Oakland cemetery is a very old historic cemetery with a few local famous people buried there (including Margaret Mitchell who wrote Gone With The Wind). When I first got there around 8:30 there was no one else around but by 9:30, people were wandering around. Tourists come to visit and locals walk through when walking their dogs. A few joggers cut through the cemetery as well.
The cemetery was full of birds but not a lot of variety. At first I thought the above were all first sightings but after digging through some old pictures when I got back from the trip, I had seen all of the above only once before and gotten really bad pictures which I never posted. I have not seen these birds in Florida, only Atlanta so I was excited to get shots of them. There were several towhees and tons of juncos everywhere. A few other more common birds were there but more on those later.
“What are you doing here lady?” said Whiskers, the squirrel.
Last December I had seen a redheaded woodpecker high up in the trees and I think it was a juvenile. It was dark and cloudy that day when I was at Oakland Cemetery so I only got a far away blurry shot of it. Since I was back in Atlanta for the 4th of July, I headed out to the cemetery with Hubby in hopes of finding it again. There were two there. One was high up in the trees and the other one came down and landed close by on a utility pole in front of me. They never got close to each other so I only have single shots of them. I wonder if they nest there. Was that juvenile I saw in December an offspring of the couple and maybe was born that summer? It would be pretty great if these fairly rare woodpeckers were nesting in downtown Atlanta.
It was worth braving the heat to find these birds. Oh yeah, there were also tons of robins at the cemetery. And about a million squirrels. I didn’t see any chipmunks though. We don’t have them in central Florida so it’s fun to see them when we visit Atlanta.