Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Road Trip to Georgia WIP

Now that we're past most (not all, but most) of the big stresses of February, our school days have been much happier and more relaxed for me. I'm enjoying watching the kids stay busy with the projects that consume this month--

Syd working on her Trashion/Refashion Show entry--we finished it yesterday and submitted it! Another February stressor done and DONE!
Will working on a project for her Cadette Woodworker badge--Girl Scout badges are great for the kids to work on as part of their schoolwork, especially when we're otherwise so busy. They're basically a packaged, kid-led cross-curricular curriculum, and it doesn't take a ton of extra planning to turn them into mini unit studies.

--while I, too, work on my February-specific projects. I'll be doing Girl Scout cookie stuff for another week and a half, although much of the work for that has already been done. Syd and I just finished her Trashion/Refashion Show entry--I'm not pleased with my photos, as it was a grey day outside AND her garment is mostly black and/or shiny, and that's impossible to photograph well, but at least it's done.

As a little reward for being so productive, I let myself spend some time working on a specific itinerary for an upcoming road trip. I've been researching it for a while, but it's high time to nail down a better list of options for where we want to go and what we want to do while we're there. Here's what I've got so far:

  • Nashville. Unfortunately, most of the things to do in Nashville are music-related things that only *I* would want to do, so we won't be doing them. I do occasionally drag the kids along to places that are for me, not them, but I don't think that this trip will include any of those occasions. We'll be spending a day or less in Nashville, then, and here are my only must-do places currently:
    • We probably won't go inside, but we've studied too much about the Parthenon in Athens to miss its recreation in Nashville!
    • We're ASTC Passport Program members, so we always like to hit up the local hands-on museum wherever we are. Passport museums in Georgia are few (Atlanta doesn't even have one!), so we'll for sure check out this one in Nashville
  • Nashville to Atlanta. There are two National Parks that I want to hit on the five-hour drive between Nashville and Atlanta. Since we'll likely be staying overnight in Atlanta on our way home, as well, we could hopefully hit one going one way and the other on the return trip:
    • Stones River National Battlefield. The only battlefield of note that we visited during our Civil War study years ago was Gettysburg, and the prevalence of Civil War battlefields on this trip has me planning a very brief second study for March. Revisiting a topic is one of my favorite homeschool strategies; each time we do so, the kids come to it with a better understanding, better able to retain more sophisticated information and a more-detailed context.
    • I have been warned that the Junior Ranger book for Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is long (and tedious), so it's possible that we'll print it and do some of it in advance, or collect it on the way down to Atlanta, work on it some in the car, then finish it and earn the badge on the way back.
  • Atlanta. We've got two days in Atlanta, and more than two days' worth of things that I want to see, so I'll have to be selective, sigh...
    • The Georgia Aquarium is a must-see. We all adored our sharks study, and the Georgia Aquarium has whale sharks! I long to give Will this whale shark dive experience as a gift, but it's simply too expensive, alas. We'll just have to look at them through glass...
    • The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site is another must-do, even though we've already been there once. The kids weren't collecting Junior Ranger badges when we first went there, and we've studied so much more Civil Rights since then that I'm eager to see the kids re-experience the place with more understanding.
    • Chatahoochie River National Recreation Area is a little outside of Atlanta, but would be a lovely way to spend some time if the weather is nice, and it has a Junior Ranger badge.
    • The Atlanta Zoo is a big maybe. The kids LOVE zoos, but I have far less patience for them (also they make me sad), and since we're already visiting an aquarium in Atlanta, the zoo will be low priority.
    • Even though it will surely be mostly glorified propaganda, like Hershey's Chocolate World was, I still want to visit World of Coca-Cola solely for the room where you can sample international varieties. It's right by the aquarium, so it's possible that we could spend most of the day at the aquarium and then the afternoon here.
    • The CNN World Headquarters is also right there, and we'll definitely stop by. I want to do the tour, but it's awfully pricey, considering how little info they give about what you'll see. I want to see real news reporting in the making! It also kind of depends on if we decide to purchase an Atlanta City Pass
  • Atlanta to Savannah. We have to make this trip in one morning, as we have tour tickets for the afternoon, so any stops we want to make will be on the way back:
    • Ocmulgee National Monument is a prehistoric Native American site, and I am REALLY excited about seeing it! It will, of course, inspire a brief review of North America's prehistoric settlement--A History of US is an excellent resource for this.
  • The Georgia Coast. We're heading to Savannah first for the afternoon, but I'm hoping that we can score a hotel on the beach--even better if it's on one of the islands!--and enjoy some time with sand and sun for a couple of days.
    • Juliette Gordon Lowe Birthplace. The kids and I are SO excited about this! A pilgrimage to the home of the founder of the Girl Scouts is a Big Deal, and by doing this, the kids will earn a special pin that they can keep on their uniforms for their entire time as Girl Scouts.
    • Fort Sumter is a little far away, but it's a possibility that fits into our Civil War study and has a Junior Ranger badge.
    • Fort Pulaski National Monument is the same, but in the opposite direction, and I've heard that its Junior Ranger book is so creative and fun that it won an actual award.
We don't usually make a production about eating out on vacation--in fact, one of the ways that we save money FOR vacations is by NOT eating out during them!--but I'm a Southern girl, and I miss my Mamma's home cooking, so I am going to make a point of finding a couple of places to eat that have the kind of genuinely Southern cuisine of my childhood. I'm salivating a little right now, thinking about buttermilk biscuits and country ham and fried okra and sweet tea and maybe, just maybe, maybe even pimiento cheese... yum.

So let me know if you have any suggestions for good places to eat, or what to do or NOT to do in Atlanta, or reasonably-priced beach accommodations on the Georgia coast, or good resources for our Civil War or prehistoric North America studies!


cookiert said...

Hey, I'm in Stone Mountain. Does Tellus not participate in the ASTC passport program anymore? You'd be passing right by it on the way down from Nashville, I think. Also, if you are going to be on the Georgia coast, there are several state parks all close together there, and the Georgia state park system has its own junior ranger program where you can earn 3 different patches: Fort McAllister is one that would fit with your Civil War focus.

cookiert said...

Oops, forgot about food. It sounds like you want Mary Mac's. They even have pimiento cheese.

julie said...

Yay for some expert advice! I'm glad you told me about Tellus--it's on the ASTC Passport list, but since I was just looking at city names, I didn't realize that we'd be passing right by it. I've got it on our itinerary now in case we want to kill a couple of hours indoors. We'll be staying in Atlanta on our return journey, as well, so the timing might work out, especially if the weather is foul so we can't spend as much time as I've planned at the national parks.

Oh, my gosh, Mary Mac's also has fried green tomatoes! I already know what I'm going to get--the vegetable platter with fried green tomatoes, fried okra, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato souffle, and an order of pimiento cheese to go, so I can make myself a pimiento cheese sandwich later.