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ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, 1963

Atlanta International Airport

Two businessmen toting briefcases have just arrived. From the bias-cut control tower down, this is a perfect ultra-modern mid-century scene. A T L A N T A marks the spot; a boxy building dressed in stripes; streetlights with dinosaur necks, giant lasagna noodle roofline, elevated streets and covered sidewalks. The turquoise and white color scheme is perfectly coordinated. Even the sky matches.

Last week I visited the fine city of Atlanta for the first time. The premiere of the new musical, The Color Purple, was the occasion. My dear friend, Allee Willis, co-wrote the songs. The show is AMAZING and will be a mega hit on Broadway!

While in town I ate at nearly every vintage eatery beginning with a 3am in-the-morning trip to The Majestic, a genuine diner serving since 1928. The pink neon signage was just about as exciting as the cockroaches were friendly. At The Silver Skillet, a greasy spoon diner serving since 1956, delicious banana pudding is a specialty. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where the customers write up the order on the check themselves and hand it to the waitress. At Mary Mac’s serving since 1945, heaping portions of traditional southern dishes like fried chicken are served up family style.

I got a buzz drinking namesake beverage at the museum of world’s most famous and promoted product and Georgia’s greatest claim to fame – Coca Cola. As if I wasn’t high enough already I then downed a tiki-licious rum and Coke at the 1967 Trader Vic’s in the Hilton. Then off to the grave of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind. She died tragically in 1949 after being hit by a taxi. That was followed by an outing to suburban Atlanta, to drive by the 41-year old big chicken towering five stories tall over a KFC.

My final hour in Atlanta was spent at the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, the Varsity, serving since 1928. During peak hours it takes a hundred carhops to serve the customers.

But Mother Nature provided the most surprising and unexpected experience of the journey. While on my little side-road trip to Tennessee I took a boat ride on the Lost Sea, the largest underground lake in the USA. I kept thinking to myself “this reminds me of a ride at Disneyland!”

Cheers to Atlanta, the Lost Sea and YOU!!