We took a little family road trip during Thanksgiving break. We originally planned to go to Atlanta and then head to Blue Ridge, GA. Unfortunately, due to the wild fires in North Georgia we canceled our plans for Blue Ridge and headed to Birmingham instead.
Our first stop was Atlanta, Georgia. We stayed at the Marriott Atlanta Marquis. It was such a nice hotel. From the moment we pulled up they greeted us and took care of all of our needs. I had never stayed at a hotel where it was required that they take your bags to your room and unload everything for you. It was so cool. I felt like royalty for a night.
My husband likes to use the website Name Your Price. That’s how we get such good deals on nice hotels. The only downside is cancellations are non-refundable. So make sure your trip is a for sure thing.
This hotel had 47 floors! We were on the 15th floor and had a cool few looking out at downtown Atlanta. Ava loved looking out the window at all of the lights.
Our first adventure in Atlanta was the Aquarium.
It was such a cool experience. Oh and did I mention my husband reserved the aquarium just for us? Haha…just kidding, but it did feel like it. We arrived right when they opened so there were only a few other families there, making it feel like we had the whole place to ourselves. I guess there is a plus to your daughter waking up at 5:00 am on vacation.
Ava’s favorite exhibits were the otters, and the penguins.
After the aquarium, we headed to the Coca Cola museum
where we had unlimited tastings of sodas from around the world. Ava took a nap during our visit at the Coca Cola Museum
so it felt like daddy and I were on a little date. We also took the time to get someone to snap a picture of just us. I think it’s so important to “date your spouse.”
Now, our bellies were full with tons of soda and ready for some good ole comfort food. Joey took us to The Varsity,
the largest drive thru in the U.S.. The place that claims they put the “comfort” in “comfort food”. I was so excited that I looked the menu up on our way there. So when they asked, “What’ll ya have?”, I could say I want a glorified bacon cheese burger and an order of chili cheese fries.
The chili cheese fries were my favorite. They sell cans of their chili for about $4.50 a can! That’s right, A CAN! Don’t get me wrong. The chili was good but not that good.
After The Varsity, we said farewell to Atlanta and headed to Birmingham. On the way there, we stopped at Cheaha State Park
to take a short hike to Alabama’s highest look out point.
Then we continued on our way to Birmingham. Our first night in Birmingham we ate at Jim N’ Nicks BBQ
. We enjoyed some delicious bbq and was introduced to white bar-b-q sauce. I guess it’s a new fad now. It was pretty good. It had a spicy peppery taste to it.
The next day we headed to the Heavenly Donut Co
for some delicious and definitely heavenly donuts. My favorite was their maple bacon.
“What do you mean you ate all of the donuts?”
Next, we went over to the Red Mountain Park
to walk off the 1,000’s of calories we ate in donuts.
Originally, I thought we would just hike about .6 of a mile to one of their tree houses. Well, three hours and 4.5 miles later we hiked to the look out point and the other tree house. The one that was the farthest distance from the welcome kiosk. This was totally unplanned but so worth it. The trail was beautiful with fall leaves all over and historical ore mines throughout the trail.
We hiked and Ava…well Ava slept. Right now Ava prefers to be held by her daddy. I tried carrying her in my Ergo baby carrier but she wasn’t having it so Joey carried her and she was happy as could be.
After burning all of our donut calories it was time for some more bar-b-que. We stopped at Dreamland’s BBQ.
Their bbq didn’t disappointment. Joey and I both ordered their pork sandwich with a side of mac and cheese.
We ended our day at the Sloss Furnace
where we learned a little bit about Birmingham’s history. At one point the workers of the Sloss Furnance made $0.32 an hour.
It was neat to take Ava to a place that has so much history.
That night we decided to order in and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon relaxing and staying warm in our hotel room.
The next morning we woke up early and headed back home. Atlanta and Birmingham treated us well. Despite her ear infection and four teeth coming in Ava was such a good girl on our trip! It was nice to see some fall leaves, feel cold weather, tour the towns, and eat some good southern food.
Lessons We Learned…
- If you are going to take the city bus make sure you know the routes. The bell man at the hotel suggested we take the bus to dinner in Birmingham. He said it runs every 20 minutes by the hotel. Well that might have been true but that doesn’t mean it’s the same route. Needless to say we waited a very long time in the freezing cold weather for a bus. It made us appreciate the fact that we are blessed to have a car filled with fuel as our way of transportation.
- When hiking with a toddler no matter how long you expect it to be make sure to pack diapers, wipes, food, and water. I thought our hike was only going to be about 30 minutes to an hour so the only thing we had was water. No diapers, no wipes, no food. A complete parent fail moment!
Traveling with a Toddler Must Haves