A few weeks ago, Alyssa and I went to Georgia. It was mostly just a spur of the moment thing. We had been tipped off to something exciting going on with the swing scene. It turns out they sometimes have events at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, which means that there are Dinosaurs and dancing in one place. And apparently martinis as well, which makes for a pretty interesting combo. The event was a part of something called Martinis and IMAX that happens on a monthly basis at the museum and I guess they decided to do a swing dance. I had never heard of it before, but I love dancing, and Alyssa loves dinosaurs, so we went.
We figured that while we were already going on a trip, we should make the most of it. We cleared out our Friday and Saturday schedules and left Murfreesboro around noon. The drive was great. Alyssa and I make pretty great travel buddies. We listen to stupid music (4 Minutes and Sexy and I Know It being particularly well played), listen to Cage the Elephant, sing about the scenery argue with the GPS, have philosophical conversations, and take videos which we immediately delete. When we got to Atlanta, the traffic had just started – score one point for the time change – but we had some time to kill, so it wasn’t an issue. We just crawled along and looked at everything. Atlanta is an amazing city.
We had some boring Justin-and-Alyssa time at an Arbys and then it was time to dance! It was pretty incredible. There was a dance floor set up in a huge round room with two bars off to the sides and tables everywhere. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History has a decent café, and people were eating while they watched other people dance. Or they were drinking alcoholic refreshments and trying to walk up stairs. Or they were dancing. It was a really energetic, slightly-but-not-too sophisticated atmosphere. I wish there were more events like that, especially that were local to me.
After the dance, we crashed. About halfway through the night, dancing had started spilling out on to the floor surrounding the dance floor, and by time we were leaving, there were lindy hoppers and balboa dancers everywhere. It was a very tiring yet refreshing experience. I loved it.
The next day, we walked around the corner to little coffee shop that was also a bar and hookah lounge. It was interesting, I think the name was Joffery’s. I’m not sure if I liked it – my mocha was a little on the sweet side – but the idea of alcohol and coffee at the same bar is an idea that I like. They’re both bar drinks, and they work well together. People like to meet over both to talk things over or make new friends.
After Joffery’s, we were caffeinated and ready to hit the road and get home, so we skipped out on the Atlanta weekend traffic and headed to Tennessee. More driving, more music, more discussions: wedding plans, world travel, peace, and domination. It was nice to have all that time together with nothing to do. We started talking about stopping in Chattanooga and seeing what there was to do. Maybe starting a food blog with a review or two from Chattanooga.
Chattanooga was a great stop. We parked and walked around a little to scope out what there was to eat. As soon as we got out of the car, we remembered that we had skipped breakfast. It smelled so good on the square. We ended up going to Lupi’s, a little pizza shop on the Market. There pizza was reasonably priced and tasted awesome. Their cheese was a sweet-tasting blend of what I think was mozzarella, asiago, and cheddar and their sauce came in light and fresh, adding to the sweetness of the cheese. It was a very, very good pizza. We ate more than half of a 16-inch. We’re also fatties, but don’t judge us.
Next up, and next door, was a place called Greyfrier’s Coffee and Tea Co. As soon as we walked in, the coffee smell had me hooked. As did the wooden counter, the chalkboard menu, the tables, and the raised seating area. Greyfrier’s roasts their own beans, makes European style macchiatos, and serves tea and french-press coffee. And the espresso is fantastic. I had a plain iced latte because it was warm and I love a good latte. The one I got there was one of the best I have ever had, and one of the best priced ones as well. Alyssa and I couldn’t bring ourselves to leave. We just sat there talking and drinking coffee, picking out things we liked and things we’d do differently when we own a coffee shop. It was one of the nicest places I can remember having been. I can honestly say that I would make a trip back to Chattanooga just to go to that coffee shop.
We finally tore ourselves away and drove the last few hours back to Murfreesboro. We left at noon and were back by 4pm: 28 hours of nothing important, no responsibilities. It was something I needed. It was an amazing experience. I’m pretty sure that the last thing I said to Alyssa before we got home was that we needed to do something like that again. With how much stress I’ve had lately, it will probably happen soon.