I posted before about the great time Mr. Kim and I had in Atlanta the weekend before our wedding weekend. While some people might wrinkle their brows at the idea, it was the perfect chance for us to take a few deep and much-needed breaths before plunging into the chaos of a wedding week with guests from around the world.

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Before heading to Atlanta, I naturally consulted my facebook network about what we should do there. My uncle suggested the World of Coke; my sister the zoo. Others recommended the aquarium and the botanical gardens. But I was with a historian, so, in the time we carved out between his conference-related activities and my wedding crafting, we did historical things–and, of course, ate a lot of amazing food.

IMG_1093We’d had to get up at 4 a.m. for our flight, so we were happy when the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (not the sort of hotel we usually stay in, but it was a conference) allowed us to check in early, around 10 or 11. After freshening up, we headed out for some brunch at Ria’s Bluebird Café. The food was amazing; unfortunately, my photographs of it are terrible.

Our next stop was right across the street: Oakland Cemetery, founded in 1850 and the final resting place of Margaret Mitchell and several other famous people.

As I’ve noted before, I like to photograph Confederate memorials when I come across them, not out of any misplaced sense of Southern pride because part of me (the part that wants to believe all people are good and reasonable) is always surprised that that’s still a thing. Still, a graveyard isn’t a particularly surprising place to find one. Here’s Oakland’s:

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Unfortunately, the African-American section (because people were segregated even in death back when this cemetery saw most of its action) is less marked, apparently because people used “natural markers like trees, shrubs, or wooden crosses” rather than stone, which I’m going to guess was because stone was too expensive or otherwise out of reach for most. (The one grave visible in the section below is a relatively new one.)

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After the cemetery, we headed back down town so Mr. Kim could get in on some conference action and I could take a nap and do some crafting, but we headed out again for dinner.

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Oysters. Living in the Midwest, we don’t eat oysters, or any seafood really, very often, so we were determined to take advantage of Atlanta’s resources there, in this case, at the Steamhouse Lounge, where the waitress calls you sweetie in true Southern fashion.

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Mr. Kim ordered a lobster roll with lobster bisque (good and great, respectively), while I had redfish, which was amazing. (Unfortunately, I’m writing this 2.5 months after the meal, so my descriptions can’t get much more detailed than that.)

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We also had some delicious key lime pie for dessert. Basically this place was so delicious and chill that we considered going back our second night in town.

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We spent our second day in Atlanta exploring the Sweet Auburn district, home of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr., served. Here’s the sanctuary where he preached:

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It was surreal to think that these were the very pews where his family sat, that was podium at which he and his father stood to preach, that this was the room where his mother was shot and killed six years after his death. It was even more surreal to stand beside his tomb, just down the street, at the end of a long series of cascading pools, with the I Have a Dream speech filling the humid air.

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We also visited the site’s museum and his birthplace:

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The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site was the highlight of the trip for me.

I have to say, though, the food was a close second. We had lunch at the Sweet Auburn Market, a historic market remade for the present, where Mr. Kim got some amazing Afro-Caribbean food–oxtail, greens, rice and black-eyed peas–from AfroDish.

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He’s still raving about it.

In the end, we managed to eat oysters all three nights we were there as well as some Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, a chain I associate with my college days, and some amazing Vietnamese noodles. We didn’t manage to hit up all the historical sites Atlanta has to offer, but we didn’t leave hungry.

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