We were only prepared for a mini-vacation this year. Not knowing when I would be traveling to China, I am trying to save my days off at work. A while back, I planned a long weekend (Thursday through Sunday) trip to Atlanta. The main reason for our trip was to take Jenna to the American Girl doll store. I know there are some mixed feelings with AG dolls, but because JG is an only child for us we are more able to enjoy something like American Girl. Plus, it doesn't help that Nana helps subsidize with handmade clothing, beds and a variety of other cool things.
There is a hotel in Alpharetta, GA right outside of Atlanta that has an AG package. The hotel is a Marriott which I have stayed in before for business. For pleasure though, we usually go with Hampton because of their free (and generally good) breakfast. Let me just say, I cannot say enough good about this Marriott! If there is a Marriott representative reading this, I will forever be a fan of your grand hotel! Our check-in time wasn't until 3pm, but I had let them know we'd be there about 2pm. We made such good time driving that we actually arrived at 1pm Atlanta time. And you know what? The room was ready and they checked us right in. They made a HUGE deal with Jenna about her AG doll and talked to her about everything. It was really spectacular. Not one hotel associate batted an eye when Steve came in with Katie (which is way out of the norm) and they just acted like people came in with service dogs every day.
We paid about $115 per night and the package came with a free breakfast (along with other AG amenities). Remember, I'm used to Hampton free breakfasts. Well, no offense but Hampton this was NOT. This was a FULL ON BREAKFAST BUFFET.
Anyway, I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone looking to stay in that area. It was top of the line in my opinion. We checked in and took some time to freshen up and then we headed to the Coca Cola factory for a tour. By the way, I can also recommend a City Pass if you are visiting any of the cities they service. It was a steal of a deal considering and we used all the passes except one. Anyway, we got there and went straight it. That was a pretty cool place.
After the Coke tour, we had a few minutes before dinner so we happened upon The Container Store right near the restaurant. We had time to kill, so I went in for the first time ever and OH MY WORD! It was the first place I spent money, but I did buy a couple super cool things! Lo and behold, come November, our own Green Hills in Nashville will have a Container Store!
After leaving there, we met a friend, Nicole, I work with who lives in Atlanta and her family for dinner. We tried out a Brazilian Steakhouse, something Steve and I had never had before, but YUM-MO! It was so neat! 15 different meats to choose from and it was all very delicious!
It was the first time I'd met Nicole's family and I was ULTRA impressed! Her son, Peyton, was the most polite, kind, mature boy I've met in a long time. Her husband was so easy to talk to and Steve really enjoyed conversation with him. And her daughter, Paige, well she's as well-mannered as her brother, but she's also 9 years old, so she and Jenna hit it off immediately (which Nicole said they would way in advance!)
(BTW, if you know Nicole, Paige is a mini-me of her!). After dinner, they talked us into their favorite ice cream store...Think CeCe's on steroids, but for a fraction of the cost. That's Menchies.
I had some watermelon sorbet and HELLO LOVER! Delish!
After dessert, we stopped at Walgreens for me a refill of my allergy meds and to pick me up some new sunglasses because we all know it's not a vacation until Mama loses her sunglasses. This time one pair broke when the screw came out and the arm fell off. The 2nd string sunglasses which I hated because they were scratched were left somewhere (probably while eating). Usually the ocean claims my glasses, but not this time.
By the time all that was done, we had enough of the day and had a fun Friday planned so we headed back to the hotel and got in bed. It was late, but we weren't in a huge hurry Friday morning...