Georgia Governor’s Mansion

“Are you sure we can do this?” my daughter asked. “I mean, doesn’t somebody live here?”

DSC_0141

 

We had just turned into the Governor’s Mansion in Atlanta. I presented my driver’s license and the guards at the gate told us where to park.Walking up to the orange brick building flanked with 30 white columns, we rang the front door bell where a white-haired, petite docent greeted us on this rainy day and gave us the history of the mansion.

Built in 1965 during Lester Maddox’s tenure, it had formerly been property of a Robert Maddox. After his place burned, he donated the land to the state so that it wouldn’t be turned into a subdivision. Previous governor’s mansions were in Ansley park and Peachtree street in Midtown.

DSC_0116

 

A docent stationed at each room on the first floor gave a description of the function and history of the furnishings. My favorite was the library with its wood walls and fireplace made in England of Italian Carrera marble.”I could sit here by a warm fire and read a book with a cup of tea, ” I told my children.

DSC_0117

My favorite room

My least favorite room was the guest bedroom which is located to the left of the front door. It has a tiny alcove bed reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. It’s only used on rare occasions as there are 7 guest bedrooms on the 2nd floor.”One time an aide to President Clinton was staying here. He was very tall and said he was so uncomfortable, he got his pillow and slept on the floor.” Seeing the marble floor with only an oriental rug to cushion it didn’t look that appealing to me, but at least he could stretch out.

“If Ms. Deal was here today, she’d be greeting you right here,” a docent proudly informed us. She’s so down to earth and once a year invites us upstairs to see their suites. “Education is her big thing so she’s signed up to read at one of the schools, ” the docent continued.

Wouldn't it be fun to be invited to dinner here?

Wouldn’t it be fun to be invited to dinner here?

The main living room is large and supposedly so decorated during Christmas, you can hardly even see the furniture. Several different docents encouraged us to come back during the holidays when they have it decorated and serve cookies.

DSC_0122

The living room with a view of the informal sitting room through the opening.

 

The fireplace in the family sitting room

The fireplace in the family sitting room

The informal dining room has a mahogany table and red chairs purchased by Sonny S (from Midnight in the Garden of good and evil to pay for one of his trials). To the right, we could peer into the kitchen where staff were preparing lunch. Christmas ornaments of the mansion and the state seal are for sale for $20 while a cookbook is for sale for $10.

I loved peering in the kitchen to see a meal being prepared.

I loved peering in the kitchen to see a meal being prepared.

Outside, we wandered the gardens. Surprisingly there’s a swimming pool. Somehow I just don’t picture any governor and his wife swimming, but there it was. I loved the rocking chairs outside with the large columns. Despite the fact that the mansion resembles a Georgia state rest area, it is beautiful. A large fountain is at the front door, as well as two rockers – one says governor and the other first lady.DSC_0109

DSC_0110

 


Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party

Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

Dr. Bombay!

Dr. Bombay!

Emergency! Emergency!

Come Right Away!

If you’re over the age of 30, you probably remember this chant from the TV show “Bewitched” which aired from 1964-1972 in prime time, and seems to always be on TV reruns.

Recently, I heard about Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party located in Atlanta near Candler Park. I had to see it for myself and I was not disappointed!

The inside was filled with wall to wall books and a large tea menu. Books and tea…my favorite combination.

The day I went they were offering pimiento and egg salad sandwiches, quiches and samosas. Since I never had heard of a samosa, I tried it. It’s a baked pastry filled with vegetables and served with a chutney sauce. My description is not doing it justice, but it delicious!

The tea menu was large with over a dozen black teas to choose from. They also had a large selection of rooibus, herbal and green teas, but I didn’t really look past the black teas. I chose the Gold Yunnan.

Additionally, Dr. Bombay’s sells coffee, pastries and ice cream.

The atmosphere is pre-WWI India when the British still ruled. Several people were chatting, while other customers had a laptop and were completely absorbed in their own world. The shelves were lined with books that they sell for only $1. All the proceeds go to The Learning Tea, which helps young women get an education in India. For more information visit www.drbombays.com.

DSC_0163


Opa! Atlanta Greek Festival

Opa!!!

We went to the Atlanta Greek Festival last Friday evening at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Annunciation on Clairmont Road. If you’ve never been, you need to make plans to attend next year. The outdoor four-day festival, now in its 38th year, offers some of the best Greek food. I had Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna), DH had the Souvlaki plate and Thing One and Thing Two shared an order of Greek chicken. We also ordered a side of Greek potatoes, which were seasoned with lemon, oregano and a few other delicious spices.

After watching Greek dancers in full costume perform on the stage, we went inside the church to buy a sampler of Greek pastries, including Kourambiethes (Greek wedding cookies) and Kataifi, which resembles shredded wheat, but much better tasting as it’s filled with nuts and honey. My favorite was the Amygdalota cookie, which is an almond cookie.  But the Baklava pictured below was pretty hard to beat. We ate these in the Kafenion, or coffeehouse area.

Image

The Baklava was the best I’d had in a long time!

To burn off all those calories, we walked around the various shops, looking at scarves, jewelry and paintings. This year, they had two new exhibits: a room about Greek culture and another about the Greek Orthodox church. We ended our visit by going inside the cathedral which was completed in 1970, the same year the church was designated as a cathedral. Tours were given every hour and it’s always impressive to view the intricate mosaics. Pictured below is the 58 foot dome ceiling mosaic called Jesus Christ Ruler of All, by Italian born Sirio Tonelli.

Greek Orthodox Church

This is the 58 foot mosaic on the ceiling

You just can’t appreciate that this is made of millions of tiny mosaic pieces.  Also, below is a picture of one of the side panel mosaics that are located inside the cathedral. The tours are led by the church clergy and explain that the church was officially begun in 1905 as “The Annunciation of the Mother of Christ” in downtown Atlanta, first on Whitehall Street, then on Decatur Street near Five Points. In 1906, the congregation moved into a Presbyterian church on Garnett Street until the late 1920’s, when they moved into a Jewish Synagogue on Pryor Street. Here they stayed until 1970, when they built the present-day location.

This is one of the side mosaic panels at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Annunciation

There are plenty of activities for children, including rides, face painting and crafts. It is best to park at Century Center Office Park on the other side of I-85 on Clairmont and use the shuttle bus service as the streets near the festival have signs clearly stating, “No Festival Parking.” Admission is $5 for anyone over 12 years old. Bring your appetite and enjoy this vibrant festival, while learning about the Greek culture. See http://www.atlantagreekfestival.org/ for more information. Opa!