Work sent me to Atlanta last weekend for SMACSS and AWA12 at the GTRI Conference Center. Amy came along to see the High Art Museum and Botanical Garden while I workshopped and conferenced, and we both visited the Georgia Aquarium before heading home. While in Atlanta we stayed at the Midtown Artmore Hotel, a short walk from the conference venue.
- Atlanta photoset
- Atlanta airport chapel
- Video from the Georgia Aquarium
- Evernote Shards for SMACSS Workshop and A Web Afternoon
- Futurama: Hail Atlanta
Lovely little boutique hotel in Midtown, a restored 1920s Spanish-style structure centered around a uniquely decorated courtyard with fountain and fire pit. Our room was a third floor “Loft Suite,” with a kitchen and living room on the lower level, and bedroom and bathroom upstairs. Loved the skylights in the slanted ceiling, the classic Brat Pack photo over the toilet, and the super-soft and thick Harbor Linen pillows on the bed. Did not especially love the wildly variable temperature and water pressure in the shower, or the breakfast tray that said “bacon” but when you lifted the lid it was full of french toast. French toast is okay but not when I expect it to be bacon. Video tour of suite here. Would stay again if I knew shower temperature would be more consistent (also if work paid for lodging).
Atlanta does not seem to be a walking town. We stayed in Midtown, which apparently is about as walkable as the city gets, and while the sidewalks were wide and the crossing lights timed okay, there were almost no people walking at rush hour, while Peachtree Street was crowded with cars. The bridge over the I-75/85 Downtown Connector, which I had feared would be impassable, turned out perfectly accessible, with high decorative railings providing a porous barrier. Pedestrian right of way generally seemed the exception rather than the rule at intersections, and I got the impression that people on foot who weren’t in exercise gear were oddball-ish figures on the sidewalks. I was nonetheless glad for our location as it saved me the trouble and expense of renting a car.
Web Afternoon took place in, well, the afternoon, so I had the morning free to join Amy for a bit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I saw various types of gardens, a suspended curving canopy walk, a conservatory full of orchids, and an “edible garden” with a wall of herbs before it was time to go. I walked back to the hotel to get some papers for the conference, while Amy stayed behind with the camera to see the rest of the gardens.
Sadly we failed to avail ourselves of any of Atlanta’s more unique food offerings, other than the grits that came with the hotel breakfast. The Silver Skillet was nearby but their early closing time didn’t agree with my schedule. At best we had some lamb curry for one dinner at Jaffa Gate in the Colony Square food court, and I had Chick-Fil-A for lunch walking between the botanical garden and the conference center.
Our last day in Atlanta, we spent the morning and early afternoon in the Georgia Aquarium. Built in the early aughts with a generous gift to the city from Home Depot cofounder Brendan Marcus, subliminal and superliminal branding was evident throughout the place — from the “MADE BY HOME DEPOT” sign on the title of the main exhibit, to the fish mascot “Deepo,” whose orange scales match the orange of the Home Depot logo.
The Aquarium is a marvel of marine engineering, with its main “Ocean Voyager” exhibit housing countless fish, rays, and sharks — the main highlight being four whale sharks, who despite their youth already dominate the tank for size. An acrylic tunnel and grand viewing window afford stunning views of the tank, with rays and sharks soaring overhead, copiously escorted by rays, snappers, wrasses, and remoras.
In the River Scout exhibit we were treated to an albino alligator striking a nice pose. It never moved the whole time.
We skipped the dolphin show but did view the dolphin tank later to see them outside of a performance context. For some reason all the male dolphins seemed to be in heat which was both fun and awkward to see. Stop looking at me, dolphin.
The African Penguin exhibit afforded a pair of pop-up windows, allowing for close views of the penguins — at the expense of some rather strenuous crawling through child-sized tunnels. Well worth it to get this close:
We tarried a bit more back in the Ocean Voyager exhibit while waiting for the best time to head for the airport. There was a lot to see just sitting there, especially when it came time to feed the whale sharks. Even the people gliding by on the slow moving walkway were occasionally fun to watch. I left the camera running for a bit in the main viewing gallery.
4PM, we caught a cab to ATL. With a few hours to spare before our flight, we viewed exhibits from the Center for Puppetry Arts, and I got a few photos of the interfaith chapel in Terminal E, unique in its treatment of the “praying man” pictogram as a focal point of worship.