Holiday in the USA (Part 3)
Yesterday I left off as we were driving from the International Museum of Towing and Recovery in Chattanooga to meet some friends at Hemlockfest in Northern Georgia. Hemlockfest is a small festival to raise money for research into how to save hemlock trees from a spreading infestation of the hemlock woolly adelgid, which is an insect native to Asia. The insect sucks the trees’ sap and kills it in 3-6 years.
We arrived at the festival on Saturday evening, but there was music, entertainment and various activities all weekend. It was something completely different to the big festivals I’ve been to in the UK. It was small, intimate and chilled out, with the campsite only a few minutes’ walk from the stage. We arrived in time for the fire dancers, who were fabulous.
The site itself was truly beautiful, with a pretty lake. This was the view from near our tent.
The music was mainly bluegrass and country and was really evocative of being in the mountains of Georgia.
After the festival ended on Sunday afternoon we went to our friends’ house in the suburbs of Atlanta and stayed with them for a few days. On the Monday we went on a lovely walk in the mountains.
Dan and Carol were really into nature and identifying different plants, which meant that instead of my usual power walk we had a leisurely ramble. It was actually a fantastic change. It gave us a chance to soak in the scenery and learn about the flora and fauna of the area. I hadn’t thought about it before, but it’s amazing the difference between the species we have in Europe and those in America.
Tuesday was Peter’s birthday and we headed into Atlanta with Carol and her toddler son. We didn’t really know what to see, but after consulting my guidebook we settled on the Martin Luther King Jr Historic Site. It was kind of fitting as it was also the day of the presidential election.
The visitor centre was small, but packed full of interesting and thoughtful information. It was heavy going and quite upsetting at times, but well worth visiting. It was a incredibly well done museum with a mixture of written information and videos and I felt that I learned a lot in a couple of hours. To lighten the mood, we met the real Santa. When he’s not in the North Pole preparing for Christmas he volunteers at the Martin Luther King Jr visitor centre. True story.
We then took a look around some of the other historic sites, including Ebenezer Baptist Church, which had been restored to look like it would have done in the 1960s.
We then went over to the aquarium, although it was close to closing time, so we didn’t get to see everything. We did see the whale sharks, beluga whales and rays.
Like all of the other places we visited, we were sorry to leave Georgia and felt like there was so much more to see. We were extremely grateful to Dan and Carol for being such fantastic hosts and showing us around.
In the final part I’ll write about our visit to Boston.