Welcome back to our Atlanta blog! We pick up about eight hours after we left off in Part 1:
Thursday began with a stop at the hotel’s Starbucks—a bit crowded, but just what I needed for a quick bite. Because I wanted to take advantage of the city’s great public transportation system, I did not rent a car for my visit, so to visit the educational excursions that were a bit further away I hopped in a Lyft, one of the ride-sharing companies available in the city. Most attractions would be reachable via the bus system, but with limited time, I wanted to make sure I was able to see everything!
The first stop on my itinerary was the Atlanta History Center. I allotted myself an hour and a half to explore—way too little time! The Center has many exhibits covering the history and art of the city. As well, it has a vast campus that includes a historical farm, several historical homes, the Goizueta Gardens, and more! We’ll be holding an excursion here on Sunday focused on architecture and design, designed just for AAFCS—but if you’re not able to attend, I highly suggest you take an extra day and head over! It’s accessible by bus with about an hour’s travel time. If you do take that time, make sure to also visit the home of Margaret Mitchell, who wrote Gone With the Wind. Her home is not on-site, but admission is included with your Atlanta History Center ticket, and since the home is located in downtown Atlanta, you can stop over on the way back to the hotel! Of course, you can also purchase tickets JUST for her home if you don’t want to venture too far afield.
After my too-short time at the Atlanta History Center, I headed over to SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film to check out their current exhibit, “Guo Pei: Couture Beyond”! SCAD is the Savannah College of Art and Design, and has campuses in Savannah and Atlanta. The museum is located on the Atlanta campus. We’ll be holding an excursion there as well—unfortunately, the exhibit will have changed by then, so you’ll miss these dresses, but as the new exhibit is of Pierre Cardin’s work, it’s sure to be fantastic!
Next, I headed to the David J. Sencer CDC Museum. The museum hosts many exhibits, both permanent and temporary. Currently, there is a very detailed exhibit about the Ebola outbreak, which was really fascinating (though sometimes a bit more detailed than my stomach was ready for). I learned quite a bit—and we'll be holding an educational excursion at the museum on Wednesday!
After another too-short visit, it was time to head back to the hotel and meet up with Abby, who arrived that morning! We had a bit of time to say hello before meeting up with our contact from the local Convention & Visitors Bureau, who had lots to share about deals for our attendees, local fun facts, and more! We are so excited to share information about Atlanta with you over the next few months.
That evening, we had plans for dinner with the Atlanta Local Advisory committee, chaired by Joanne Cavis, CFCS. One of the hotel’s restaurants, Sear, has a great early bird deal, and so we all sat down to dinner at 5:30 to ensure that those who live outside of Atlanta had time to head home safely. We HIGHLY recommend Sear—going around the table we had soups, flatbreads, salads, crabcakes, chicken, and shortrib, and we all enjoyed our food so much. I had the chicken flatbread, and it was a great light meal!
After dinner, we took a walk around the hotel with our committee members to give them an idea of the space—and show off the location of our opening reception up on the 10th floor. This beautiful open space is the filming location of Katniss’s apartment in The Hunger Games, and we’re so excited to welcome you to the 109th Annual Conference there!
After two very long days, it was another early night, since we had a lot of hotel exploration to do on Friday!
Friday morning, Abby and I decided to split up to see what the hotel had to offer for breakfast! Abby headed down to check out Starbucks, while I decided to start my morning with a hot breakfast at Sear. I really enjoyed their House-Made Corned Beef Hash, along with a big cup of coffee!
A lot goes into the meetings with hotel reps—but not too much that’s particularly interesting in blog format! However—we want to share that we spent time working on the menus for our meals, which we’re very excited about, and of course toured the hotel! Our rooms for educational sessions are very conveniently located off one small foyer, right next to the Atrium where our general session and expo will be located. Though we’ll have a few luncheon, business meeting, and group session rooms elsewhere in the hotel, we were very happy to see that most rooms are so conveniently located. We also went up to see our reception space in the daylight, as it will look in June—we’re really excited for you to see the space in person!
As I said earlier, the hotel is just beautiful, with an open atrium all the way up to the top, where several movies have been filmed! Most rooms have windows, and the general session and expo space have beautiful high ceilings. We’re hard at work planning the schedule for conference right now-you can take a look at the Program at a Glance at www.aafcs.org/ac2018/program--and it is so helpful to have seen the space as we schedule in sessions!
After our tour, it was time for Abby to head to the airport—she was able to print her boarding pass at the dedicated terminals in the lobby, and then headed through the connecting skyways through the food court to the MARTA terminal. I had a bit more time, which I spent typing up my thoughts on the trip at one of the many tables that have charging stations in the hotel’s large lobby spaces.
I ended up taking MARTA to the airport as well—even at rush hour, it was no problem to get on with my luggage. Since I had left myself extra time at the airport, I decided to walk between terminals rather than taking the tram. There are moving walkways, of course, and if you really want to get your exercise in, plenty of space to walk on your own! The extra benefit of walking is the Airport Art program. Between each terminal there was a different installation! It was a great way to end my trip.
As my flight was at 8:30pm, I had time to fit in dinner before I left—and there are lots of options in every terminal, both healthy and not-so-healthy—along with some Atlanta restaurant landmarks like The Varsity.
I was sad to leave Atlanta as it was such a short visit and there was so much more I wanted to explore, like the Georgia Aquarium, The Center for Civil and Human Rights, the King Historic District, and so much more—but I headed back to Alexandria energized to jump back into the planning process! Our 109th Annual Conference is going to be better than ever—and we hope to see you there!