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Sunday, 15 November 2009 23:41
 Thanks in part to the epic movie Gone with the Wind, Atlanta is synonymous in the minds of many with the Civil War.  The conflict itself has is well documented in city at various locations.  If you’re planning to spend some time in the City, here’s how a Civil War buff could spend a day or two. MorningThe Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War MuseumThe Cyclorama is most noted for the giant painting that depicts the battle for Atlanta.   The painting was completed in 1885, twenty one years after the event (1864).  Visitors may listen to a narration that explains the details of this piece of art. The Cyclorama is located about ten minutes (east) of downtown Atlanta at 800 Cherokee Avenue.  Admission is $5 for adults ($4 for seniors) and $3 for children, ages 3—12 years.  The Cyclorama can be reached at (404)658-7625.  Oakland CemeteryTime permitting, many people like to visit the Oakland Cemetery.  The site is renowned as a “treasure trove of Victorian funeral statuary.”  The cemetery is a resting place for many confederate soldiers and Atlanta dignitaries.  Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind) is buried there, as is golf legend Bobby Jones. The cemetery is located about ten minutes west of downtown Atlanta on 248 Oakland Avenue.  Admission to the cemetery is free.   You may contact the cemetery at (404)688-2107. (http://www.oaklandcemetery.com)AfternoonAtlanta History CenterThis center is probably best known for its permanent exhibit: Turning Point: The American Civil War.  The site also boasts a collection of historic homes constructed before and after the Civil War.  The center also has many gardens.   A 33 acre garden that features much of the flora from the state.   The center is also home to the “Quarry Garden” where one may learn about the uses of pre-settlement native plants; the “Swan Woods Trail” is a native forest along an interpreted trail; and the “Cherry Sims Garden” where one may compare southeastern US plants with their Asian counterparts.   There are many other gardens from which to choose.The Atlanta History Center is a multi-faceted attraction located near the Convention hotel.  If your interests are in horticulture, you would easily spend one or more days at this great site.  For those interested in the Civil War, a visit to the period homes is a must do.The Atlanta History Center is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road near the Renaissance Waverly Hotel.  The site is about 15 minutes north of downtown Atlanta.  The History Center may be contacted by calling (404)814-4000.  (http://www.atlhist.org)Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield ParkThis park, located on almost 3,000 acres, commemorates part of the 1864 Atlanta campaign during the Civil War.  The battle was fought in the area from June 18 to July 2, 1864.   The statistics  from the battle are sobering.  Sherman’s Army of around 100,000 men faced off against the 63,000 troops under the command of General Johnson.   Almost 70,000 men were either killed, wounded or captured during the two weeks of fighting.   The park has about 17 miles of interpretive walking trails.   The park has three monuments commemorating those states that fought in the area.  The park is also home to a small museum with a slide show.  There are also picnic areas and hiking trails for those who are adventurous.  The park is located at 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive about 35 minutes from downtown Atlanta.  Admission is free.  Park staff may be contacted by calling (770)427-4686.  (http://www.nps.gov/kemo)Stone Mountain ParkFor those with time and energy remaining, the day could be capped off with a visit to Stone Mountain Park.   This park boasts the world’s largest mass of exposed granite.   The park is probably most renowned for its carving of Confederate notables General Robert E. Lee, General “Stonewall” Jackson, and Confederate president Jefferson Davis.   The park also includes many family friendly sites such as the “Great Barn”: an adventure site for kids with rope nets to climb, mazes to explore, and super slides that whisk the intrepid from ceiling to floor.  The Scenic Railroad is a five-mile trip around the park in open-air cars.  The Mountaintop Skylift is among the most popular attractions.  The Skylift’s Swiss cable cars climb 825 feet above the park giving visitors a spectacular view of the environs.  The antebellum Plantation and Farmyard consist of original buildings constructed between 1790 and 1845.  The buildings have all been meticulously restored to their original condition.  At Crossroads you will be whisked back 130 years to see craftsmen authentically reproduce life in the nineteenth century.  Among the attractions in this town are a grist mill and bakery, a glass blowing shop, a candle shop, a blacksmith, a large general store, candy and ice cream production facilities and a boarding house restaurant which features the best of southern cuisine.Stone Mountain Park is located about thirty minutes east of downtown Atlanta off highway 78.  A one-day pass admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children.  Parking is $7.  For more information, call (770)498-5690 within Atlanta or (800)317-2006 outside the city.  (http://www.stonemountainpark.com)

There’s probably no way that all of these great attractions could be visited in just one day.   The parks don’t just appeal to those interested in the Civil War.  Atlanta has attractions to suit all tastes.   If you are planning to spend some time in and around the city, it’s definitely worth while spending time at some of these attractions.   Both Stone Mountain Park and the Atlanta History Center have enough activities to keep visitors busy for a day!  When you arrive at the Renaissance Waverly hotel, contact the concierge for transportation options.  For groups of six or more, renting a minivan may be the best option.  For more information about these and other Atlanta attractions, visit http://attend.atlanta.net.

 

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