Saturday, April 16, 2011

What Makes Texas so "Grand" Anyway?

Having moved from Texas to Georgia, I am amazed by the floral array of Atlanta's spring and the lush greens that its wooded terrain affords. Despite the beauty of Spring in Georgia, I find myself looking forward to my brief jaunts back to Texas for our companies' senior leadership meetings. Though my kids are Texan by birth, I never thought I would become attached to this vast, wide open state where the hotels proclaim their Texan pride from the back of their room doors, but flying in to Dallas Forth Worth airport coupled with the view from my hotel room window, I found myself missing the wide open spaces and ambiance of Texas.

Bidding $65 on price-line had landed me at the Grand Hyatt rising up out of the middle of DFW's vast series of runways. With soundproof rooms, a pool on the roof, and a view that would make any Texan proud (you can see Dallas and Fort Worth from the roof) the Grand Hyatt afforded me a first: the unique opportunity to watch a huge airport wake-up while ironing my shirt. They say "everything is bigger in Texas!" I guess the 'Grand' Hyatt lived up to its name.

Whale Sharks are Lucky!

With uncle S, aunt J, and "m," in toe, we zipped out of church to experience the Varsity (local eatery next to Georgia Tech) and take in the Georgia Aquarium. While post church Sundays are not prime time for people under four feet to be active, we relied on van naps and were prepared with a smorgasbord of snacks.

The Varsity gets an A for history but a much lower grade for food - three hours later the term "grease pit" was being used and the adults were feeling the side effects. Fortunately those under four feet were oblivious, I supposed if the adults had the luxury of car naps we wouldn't have complained either!

The Georgia aquarium - the world's largest - was impressive. It boasts three whale-sharks, several manta rays, sharks (hammer heads included), and beluga whales; but the museum was very crowded. Ok, it was extremely crowded and for a border-line introvert who likes to take a nap on Sunday, it was a little overwhelming. The silver lining was Luke enjoyed the whale-sharks, sea otters, and sea horses. Fortunately I enjoy living vicariously through my three and a half year old; not sure Ava Marie was quite as impressed.

A staff member shared that the whale-shark's throat (it's really a sifter - it eats through its gills) is the size of a quarter. I suspect all of the adults in our crew were jealous of a whale-shark as it couldn't have made the same mistake we did by eating at The Varsity!

Friday, April 15, 2011


I expected Savannah to be more like Charleston. While they had similarities, Sothern city ports with lots of history, Savannah was unique in it's own right.

Three things that stood out:
- Savannah is the second busiest port in the US (who'd a 'thunk' that!).
- General Sherman decided not to burn the city as a Christmas present for Abraham Lincoln. The city was not destroyed because the 12,000 confederate troops gave up their positions in the face of Sherman's 34,000 federal troops. There were 16,000 residents of which 8,000 were slaves!
- You can track the arrival of denominations to America by the churches that emanate from the harbor as the city grew: Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, Congregationalist, Catholics and Baptists.

Two things you should know:
If you like history the trolleys and squares are a must!
River Sreet is reminiscent of San Antonio's river walk (more energy, less romantic) - you want to board here or near one of the squares.

One thing you shou ld avoid:
Savannah can be very humid, you want to miss the hot season.

Honorable Mention:
Tybee Island is nice if you are interested in light houses or a family friendly beech getaway.