Tag Archives: Atlanta

Travel: Panama City Beach

It's too bad that Panama City Beach has a reputation as one of America's best spring break beaches. Because the other weeks of the year its gorgeous powder sand beach and turquoise water are perfect for life break, and stress break, and work break. Uploaded by bookpcbeach.wordpress.com.

Some of America’s most gorgeous beaches lie along the Gulf Coast, and neither hurricanes (rare) or oil spills (rarer) can long spoil their beauty. One of the most spectacular is Panama City Beach, with soft, powdery white sand and calm turquoise waters. And, most of the year, no spring break crazies.

Uploaded to Panoramio by americandream27.

Because it’s located on Florida’s panhandle, Panama City Beach doesn’t offer the warm winter temperatures that others at more tropical latitudes enjoy. What you will enjoy all year long is the sun – the Visitors Bureau boasts of 320 sunny days annually. And the average high in the winter months is in the 60s, which sounds pretty good if you’re in Michigan or Massachusetts.

There’s lots to do at Panama City Beach. It’s a great area for sport fishing… dolphin watching… scuba diving (it’s called the Wreck Capital of the South, which I trust isn’t because of automobiles)… and of course, swimming and soaking up the sun. It’s about 100 miles from Tallahassee, and 300 miles from Atlanta. And…it’s a lot closer (and less expensive) than the Bahamas.

Travel: Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is, um, a whale of a facility. When its new dolphin exhibit is complete, it will have more than 9 million gallons of water and more than 100,000 fish and other sea creatures. Uploaded by wikipedia.org.

Ever been snorkeling or scuba diving? Seeing the wide variety of marine species up close and in their natural habitat is hypnotizing and habit-forming. But when you can’t get to a reef, get to Atlanta – the world’s largest aquarium lets you see some species you’d never see on your own. And you don’t have to change out of your street clothes.

Uploaded by unitedstatesdestinations.com.

First, let’s look at the amazing facts. The Georgia Aquarium has more than eight million gallons of water… more than 100,000 fish and sea creatures … more than 60 exhibits… and some species viewable almost nowhere else. These include four whale sharks from Taiwan, great hammerhead sharks, beluga whales, and hammerhead sharks.

That the Georgia Aquarium exists at all is thanks to an amazing $250 million gift from Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot. His company grew up in Atlanta, and he wanted to “give something back” to the city for its support. He also wanted to help revitalize downtown Atlanta, which the Aquarium surely has. Since its opening in 2005, the Georgia Aquarium has attracted more than 11 million visitors. That number will continue to rise, especially with the completion of a new dolphin exhibit, featuring an additional 84,000 sq. ft. of space and adding another 1.3 million gallons of water…

Food: The Varsity, Atlanta

President Clinton ate a grilled chicken sandwich at the Varsity. Pathetic. Photo uploaded by blogs.ajc.com.

President Clinton ate a grilled chicken sandwich at the Varsity. Pathetic. Photo uploaded by blogs.ajc.com.

“What’ll ya have!” For 81 years, visitors at The Varsity drive-in in Atlanta have been greeted with those words. In a world that moved from individually owned restaurants to large chains, The Varsity has stayed small in terms of locations while becoming “The World’s Largest Drive-In.”

How large, exactly? The flagship downtown location spreads across more than two acres, covers two city blocks, has more than 600 parking spaces, and can accommodate more than 800 people inside. And get a load of the food consumed. Two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2500 pounds of potatoes, 300 gallons of chili, and 5000 fried pies. EACH DAY.

Anyone can be off a diet for one meal. Uploaded by disneymike.com.

Anyone can be off a diet for one meal. Uploaded by disneymike.com.

Over the years, The Varsity has fed thousands of Georgia Tech students (the campus is right across the road) as well as the rich (Warren Buffet) and famous (Elvis). Clark Gable came by when he was in town for the premiere of Gone with the Wind (Great American Thing No. 29). And Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush all ate there while they were in office.

Freshness is an obsession with The Varsity. Founder Frank Gordy, who died in 1983, had a saying: “No food over 12 hours old.” Someone once asked him what the restaurant did with its leftovers. “We don’t have any,” he said.

If you go, here’s some jargon to help you fit in. Hamburgers are “steaks.” Want some chips? Get “a bag of rags.” Prefer onion rings? Say, “Ring one.” And if you ask for a hot dog, you’ll get one on a bun with chili and mustard. The video: A tour with an annoying guy, but at least you get a feel for the place.