Atlanta trip 2010


24/09 - 6am start from Manchester. 10.30am flight- no delays and an uneventful flight. Had an Asian Vegetarian meal cos Lucy recommended ordering a 'special diet meal' because you get served 1st. Enjoyed it down to the last grain of rice! Arrived Atlanta early afternoon in searing (gorgeous) heat. 1.5 hours ish? to clear customs & immigration. (what do you expect, it's Friday afternoon, said the guy controlling the queue!         


Met by Lucy, in arrivals - great to get back together again. Whisked off to Athens GA for a meal and to meet Richard, Anjelica & Candice at the Melting Point Bar & Restaurant for the Holdcell gig. Great food & great drinks. Holdcell were awesome, but the set was not long enough, due to the Rattlers (support) going on far too long. Met the boys from Holdcell after the gig. Eventually got to Roswell at around 2am after being awake about 24 hours. Went to bed tired, happy & glad to be back "Home".


Sat. 25/09. Lazy day. Woke early cos my body thought it was 1pm, not 8am. Chilled in the sultry heat of an Atlanta late summer day & watched some college football. Evening gig at Nick's place. Had some nice food, Band was The Hollidays (formerly Soul Shaker) - great mix of covers, blues-rock-fusion (hard to quantify, but really good & including a great Hammond organ player.) Rain.


Sun 26/09 - Samara's birthday - more chillin & some rain as we accustom to the time difference (any excuse.) Watched some NFL (Live in HD & Surround sound & shared a few beers with Robert - perfect Sunday. Went to see Andrew Black at ‘Players’ in Marietta - a sports/biker bar). Andrew was playing electric, rather than acoustic and jamming with a number of great musicians. Anne met a musician friend who she knows through Facebook - & Anne declined the offer of a jam. Got back home & watched the 'Dolphins' get beat - didn't spoil the day, though.


Mon 27/09 - Lazy start to the day. Drove to North Springs Metro station, for a trip to downtown Atlanta. Visit to the CNN building (awesome place) and then a walk through Centenary Park to "Coca Cola World". Typical tourist attraction in, the home of Coca Cola. However, part of the tour included a 4D movie about the search for the true taste of Coke. Blatant advertising – However, never even seen a 3D movie, let alone the moving seats -  making the $15 entrance fee totally worthwhile -  fantastic! Free drinks at the end of the tour, sampling all the different Coke products from around the world. Back home for tea-time & a Humungous thunder/hail storm - Lake Roswell in the garden! Not much doing on a Monday night (apart from Monday Night Football), so went to a place in the boonies to see a jam night at "The Tavern". A proper  Roadhouse with about 50 pick-up trucks in the car park.  Bands comprised a number of older boys playing covers of Southern Fried Rock songs -  - but a great place for music, nice stage & good atmosphere) - then home to bed.        


Tue 28/09 - lazy start, then into Roswell for a bit of shopping in ‘Jewels from Heaven’. Then, on to look at some houses. Drove to Mountain City Park. A hillside community straight out of 'Deliverance'. The properties are built on wooded hillside of maybe a few hundred acres and all very individual. The residents have formed an independent 'city' with their own fire service and a 'city hall, which was really a posh shed, but really great. Absolutely fantastic.

 Then onto a place called (mountain lookout???). Similarly, built on a hill which used to be woodland. However, each property was absolutely stunning, all houses with 3 garages & perfectly manicured lawns.  I know where I'd prefer to live. Continuing the house theme, we decided to visit a new housing development near the town of Woodstock. Approximately 130 acres. They managed to build 6 Showhouses, just before the credit crunch. They're waiting for things to pick up but you  can still look round the show houses. We started at the cheap end of the market ($290k ish - and were blown away at the amount of stuff you get for your cash. Mid-range of a round $350k & upwards was stunning. 3 floors plus a basement you could build a rehearsal room in and an outdoor barbecue area. Wow! Top of the range was $500k ish - again, 3 floors + basement games room, bar, office & home cinema - the basement room alone was as big as our house. Stayed in on the night and watched telly.


Wed 29/09 - Early start for a change. Drove up north to the mountains. Had lunch in a place called Ma Gooch's in Cleveland. Not at all touristy, and a place where the locals eat. Had good, home cooked food in what felt like someone's house. Then on up to a tourist town called Helen - very German & touristy, glad we'd eaten earlier! Drove back via the 'scenic route' and chilled out before gettin ready for a gig at Nick's Place - WHICH WAS AWESOME! Saw John McKnight, James Kirk-Plunkett, Eric Frampton & Mike Martin jamming. Bit of improvised, jazzy, funky stuff & some covers I sort of recognised - didn't matter though. Just watching 4 excellent musicians playing some fantastic music - brilliant!


Thu 30/09


Did practically nothing during the day except go to the post office and pick up a few groceries with Lucy. Post Office was actually quite pleasant and a million miles from the UK in terms of service. Evening out to see Andrew Black at Atkins Park in Smyrna. Had a meal in an upper class restaurant - nothing special & the waiter was a bit too smarmy. Music was outside near the fountain. Unfortunately, not many people there, so not much atmosphere. Watched Andrew's 1st set then headed back to Darwin's for the last ever blues jam. Stayed about half an hour, then heard that John McKnight was jamming at Nick's Place, so headed off there to hear some more amazing improv/jammin from some more awesome musicians. Home to bed...


Fri 01/10


Went to the Home Depot, (the American version of B&Q) with Lucy. Picked up some violas & a rosemary bush, which I planted in front garden. Hope they survive! Evening - Went to The Tavern to see Marty Manous & his band. What can I say? Awesomely brilliant guitarist, playing a mix of covers & Marty's own stuff. Watched the 1st set which lasted about an hour and a half - each song on its own was worth the $2.00 entry fee. Had a good chat with Marty, and also the drummer. Great bunch of musicians, and really nice guys. Then off to Nick's to catch a late set by Barry Richman. We'd been waiting a long time to see Barry, having missed him last year due to him being ill. Barry is indeed a great guitarist.  Don't remember what time we got home.


 Saturday 02/10


Road trip to Savannah. 1st stop - Dunkin' Do-nuts! Long trip to Savannah, on the most boring road ever - 2 hours of nothing but trees & a straight ribbon of concrete road. Arrived in a baking hot Savannah & found the apartment which was in a converted cotton warehouse. Fantastic place overlooking the Savannah River, Chilled out on the balcony watching the world, and the container ships go by could have stayed there all day. Went too Wet Willys for an alcoholic Slush Puppy then dinner @ Huey's and off of to a gig - Thomas Claxton, at the Bijou. A great acoustic guitarist/singer doing some unusual cover versions. The highlights were Tom Sawyer & Bohemian Rhapsody - the low was a couple of lushes from Idaho, screaming at every opportunity  - spoilt the night a bit. However, Thomas had a few great put-downs and some great music. Cute waitress too! Decent blues band on after Thomas, 2 black guys and a guy on drums who looked like Mitch Mitchell's grand-dad!


Sunday 03/10


Had a wander round the river front market & generally chilled. In the afternoon, took a trip to Hiltonhead Island in South Carolina. Had a wander down to the beach & then,  lunch in the Angler Restaurant. You can't buy alcohol in stores in Georgia on a Sunday so went to Piggly-Wiggly Supermarket for some supplies (Rob's real reason for visiting South Carolina on a Sunday!). Evening - dinner out with Jim & Kelly, friends of Rob & Lucy then back to apartment for some wine and then bed.


Monday 04/10 - Sat-nav treasure hunt with Rob, Total fail! Trip to Tybee Island. Walk on pier then lunch in Fannies on the Beach (fnarr Fnarr) then a walk round the shops & back to Savannah. Had a wander through the squares, up to Forsyth Park. Saw a guy in a Santa Claus Suit which seemed quite surreal in 70 degree heat - wish I’d remembered the camera! Later, went up to the rooftop bar in the Bohemian Hotel and watched the sunset with a drink. Had a walk around City Market, then dinner in Molly McPherson's Scottish Pub & on to Kevin Barry's ‘Oirish Pub’ for a nightcap. Fell asleep watching the Dolphins get stuffed by the Patriots. Lucy was watching the TV until quite late, but, luckily it didn’t wake anybody!


Tuesday 05/10


Trip back to Atlanta. Then dinner with Richard & Anjelica at Papasito's - a fantastic Greek-owned Mexican restaurant. Food was exceptional but we were full after the tortilla chips & salsa and appetiser of cheesy spinach. Ended up getting a box and taking home more food than we actually ate in the restaurant. Dozed off watching Ice Road Truckers & went to bed.


Wednesday 06/10


Lazy start then off to Supermarket for supplies. Had lunch in a Sports Pub called Brewsters - Best burger & chips  - EVER. A bit more shop browsing then a drive round to looked at some more new houses (I can see a pattern developing here!) Looked at a couple of over 55’s bungalows and still can't believe how much space you get for your money. Not sure where we're going tonight...


Off to Nick's Place to see John McKnight (who really liked my shoes!) & the house band, jammin'. Mike Martin was absolutely on fire. Really great gig, slightly spoiled by stupid girls on the table in front high-fiving, chatting loudly & taking photos. The music was great though... Band was followed by a group called 'Graham's Number' - only in their 20’s and  obviously influenced by 'Police', but really great musicians doing mostly their own stuff. (The bass player was cute). Home to watch a bit of TV and bed at about 3am....


Thursday 07/10


Another lazy start - Lucy tried to put a video on - got sound, but no picture - too many remote controls, so gave up after an hour - even a phone call to Rob couldn't fix it. Took Max for a haircut & looked around a few more shops. Actually enjoyed one of them! Back home to chill in the garden with a beer. Evening - Up north to Alpharetta to see Andrew Black at Montana's Bar & Grill. Food was good. Andrew was totally sublime & chilled. He totally got the audience and played accordingly. Amplified acoustic - great voice - Born to Run was a standout song - brilliant - Treated dinner for Lucy & Rob as thanks for the trip. Worth - every penny. Home to watch some vintage Paul Rodgers' VHS footage, then bed.


Friday 08/10


Hometime :(


Flight was on time. Customs, Security & Immigration all went smoothly. Take-off was a bit delayed due to a queue of planes waiting for clearance. Got my Kosher meal served 1st (and hot - thanks Lucy). Already thinking about the possibility of another visit.


All of the above describes what we did - not how we did it. I forgot to sign the guestbook & so didn't tell Lucy & Rob that their hospitality and generosity make each visit not just a trip abroad, but a really unique sharing of great friendship, happiness, food, wine, special times and wonderful live music from great musicians.


Thank you so much, Lucy & Rob – love you both



Holdcell - Ride


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