After my flight arrived, I checked into the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown. I chose this hotel for its central location, attractive price point, and free breakfast. Throughout my stay in town, it was a comfortable home away from home, and the staff was super friendly and helpful. (The front desk staff and those keeping the breakfast buffet stocked were particularly attentive.)
Then, I changed clothes and caught an Uber to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Oh, what a wonder it is! I had an absolutely gorgeous day to tour it, and the gardens did not disappoint! They showed off in the sunshine for all of the visitors! After entering, I started in the Trustees Garden, with a lovely courtyard and some views. I took a quick detour in the playful Children's Garden before admiring the striking Chihuly in the elaborate parterre garden (a formal garden, banked on two side by halls, with a lovely raised overlook. Then, the rose garden, the Japanese garden, the expansive great lawn.
I stopped for a quick bite of lunch at the LongLeaf Cafe, which is on-site, before continuing my tour.
|Fried goat cheese at Ecco|
I made my way back to my hotel and took a well-deserved break before venturing out for dinner that night. I'd heard good things about Ecco, and it was in close proximity to the Fox Theatre (where I had a 7:30 p.m. curtain), so it was a deal.
And, boy, was it a good one. At the suggestion of my waiter, I started with the fried goat cheese. Oh. Em. Geeeee!! Think balls of goat cheese, which are doused in a light tempura batter, then flash fried. They are placed in a bowl, drizzled with honey, and dusted lightly with black pepper. I got other things (the grilled squid, the deeply satisfying walnut cake), but the fried goat cheese was the find of the night. Just scrumptious! Service was good, prices were pretty reasonable, and they got me out the door in plenty of time to make my show.
|The lovely Fox Theatre!|
The Lincoln Center production of The King and I was touring, and I just happened to be in Atlanta during one of their nights at the Fox. It had been YEARS since I'd been to this theatre. Myself and a group of girlfriends had last visited to watch The Phantom of the Opera when we were in high school. On that long-ago night, I remember stepping into the gorgeous Fox Theatre and thinking that I HAD ARRIVED. The interior of the theatre is just beautiful, designed to look as though spectators are sitting outside, underneath a starry sky. I clearly remember thinking, "Look at all these sophisticated grown ups at this fancy theatre. And I AM ONE OF THEM."
|Centennial Olympic Park|
The next morning, I enjoyed a day of conference sessions at Coca-Cola Headquarters. The interior of this building is completely brand-consistent, and you are never more than a few steps from an ice-cold Coke. (It was uncanny to see soft drink machines that didn't accept money. You just pushed the button, and whatever you selected popped out.)
|Bison burger at Ted's Montana Grill|
After my turn through the park, I was hungry! I ducked into the nearby Ted's Montana Grill for dinner, ordering a bison burger with Gruyere and caramelized onions. Paired with fries and a huckleberry margarita, it was completely satisfying and a great meld of flavors.
|Lovely views from SkyView Atlanta|
Then, it was off to bed! More to come . . .