A Hungry Historian’s Atlanta

A Hungry Historian’s Atlanta

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.


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:


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.)


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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:


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:


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.


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.


The dark side: Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 4)

The dark side: Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 4)

Friday and Saturday and Sunday, I wrote about lighthearted and delicious things to do in Jackson. What I’m writing about today is the opposite; in fact, it might leave a bad taste in your mouth.

The Confederate monument in front of the Mississippi State Capitol Building in downtown Jackson

Mississippi’s Confederate past and history of racial violence are well known throughout the United States; in fact, that’s all many people seem to know. “Oh, is it really like Mississippi Burning?” I’ve been asked countless times by new acquaintances from around the world. Uh, no, I don’t think so. It’s really not even like The Help.

Continue reading “The dark side: Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 4)”

Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 3)

Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 3)

The past two days, I’ve written travel tales about my hometown, Jackson, Mississippi, a place I love (like a family member) and a place most people have probably not considered traveling to. I wrote about food, and I wrote about, well, food, because those are some of the best things about Jackson.

A frog statue outside the Mississippi Craft Center

Today, as promised, I’m moving on to inedibles: a few Jackson attractions. Tomorrow, I’ll continue with some unattractive things about Jackson because–those are so serious, and they really deserve their own entry. But that’s tomorrow–so today I’ll write about the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum and the Mississippi Craft Center. (In case you’ve forgotten, we’re in Mississippi.)

Continue reading “Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 3)”

Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 2)

Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about a day spent in my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, the day after Christmas. It was mostly about food and drinks because, frankly, we do a lot of eating down there. (How else do you think we’ve gotten top honors for fattest state in the country 10 years running?)

Me and a bear at the MS Museum of Natural Science in 2013. Pretty sure it’s been there since I was going there on elementary school field trips…

Of course, there’s a lot more to Jackson than food. For example, did you know Jackson is the only capital or major city in the US built on top of an extinct volcano? Have you heard about the two-headed snake at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science? Surely you know about Mississippi’s historic and still active music scene, or sites from the Civil Rights Movement like the Medgar Evers House.

Those things are all great and worth checking out, but I didn’t actually get around to them on this trip, so you’re going to be stuck reading about more food–poor you!

Continue reading “Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 2)”

Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 1)

Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 1)

Home! Mr. Kim and I like to say to each other, “네가 있으면 집이야”–“Home is wherever you are”–so I guess that means that for the last week of 2015, our home was back in the suburb of Jackson, Mississippi, where I spent my adolescence.

The Mississippi River from the air, last summer.

It’s always weird spending time in a faraway, infrequently visited hometown. Lost accents return; old thoughts and feelings and habits spring back into being. When you bring someone with you, you see it anew through their eyes, and greater experience gives you greater appreciation for some things while highlighting your earlier limits on other dimensions. But, I still love Jackson, the under-known capital of a misunderstood state, and it’s still home to people I love and also a lot of great food–so, for the next few days, I’ll present Jackson: the travelogue, with supplements from previous trips.

Continue reading “Jackson, Mississippi: a hometown travelogue (part 1)”

Cheot Yeoheng – First Travel

Cheot Yeoheng – First Travel

In every relationship, there comes a point–in most modern relationships, before marriage–when a couple decides to take an overnight trip together. In Korea, actually, first travel–첫 여행, cheot yeoheng–is basically a euphemism for the first time sleeping together, since, in a country where most young singles live with their parents, and most parents of young people are still very conservative, it’s not quite as easy a feat as over here in the States. In fact, a year ago today, Mr. Kim and I had just returned from our first time to travel together–but no, not that way, you pervert!

Suncheon-man, a wetlands area where a significant portion of the world’s hooded cranes winter.

I was planning to go home for Christmas; we had just decided to get married; and we wanted to take a trip somewhere together before our week or so apart. Mr. Kim had a few places in mind, places he’d been and decided he wanted to revisit with a woman, and in the end, he settled on Yeosu and Suncheon in Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla Province), the southernmost province on the Korean Peninsula. We both worked full-time (in the same place), so we left right after work on the Friday before Christmas, takin the high-speed KTX down to Yeosu.

Continue reading “Cheot Yeoheng – First Travel”