Exploring Atlanta

exploring-atlanta1Despite what it might seem, my time here in Fairburn hasn’t been all job applications and festival merriment. I have managed to sneak away a time or two around preparing for the next adventure to further explore the Atlanta area. If you should happen to visit, here are two things I might recommend.

Last week on Saturday (the 24th) after the festival let out at 6 pm, Julie and I high-tailed it over to Shakespeare Tavern http://www.shakespearetavern.com/ in downtown Atlanta. Some of our rennie friends are also members of the performance company there and they informed us that A Comedy of Errors was playing. I’ve never seen that one, but Julie had when she was younger and had loved it, so off we went.

Shakespeare Tavern sits across from Emory University Hospital, and that is the best place to park. The building is very cozy and cute, old fashioned and wooden that stands out between the two brick monstrosities that sandwich it. Inside it’s three narrow levels, the theater is in the basement and the balcony seating must be on the first floor, the top floor is storage. It’s got a really neat ambiance that is hard to explain, and despite the small quarters it feels spacious and bigger on the inside.

exploring-atlanta2The set up of the seating areas is also worthy of note. The place lives up to it’s name as a Tavern, for the seats are arranged around tables and counters. Seats are not assigned other than main floor, box seats, or balcony. When you show up, you choose your seat, and then get in line to go through the cafeteria located at the back. It’s not a full menu, but it is a miles beyond what you’d typically think of as cafeteria food, it’s all done in traditional British pub style. I had the turkey version of the Cornish Pasty, it was delicious.

The show was good too. The actors brought the characters to life, the set worked very well, and I laughed my butt off, which is exactly what one hopes for in a comedy. Prices vary based on seating location and day of the week, as low as $20 and as high as $36, not bad for an evening of entertainment. My meal was right near $11 with a soda.

Then, on Wednesday of last week (the 28th) I hopped into Bertha and took a half-hour drive to Sweetwater Creek State Park.

exploring-atlanta3Of the three or or so State Parks within an hour of Fairburn, this one had the highest rating for day activities, which was what I was most interested in. In fact, it’s a day use only park, which is a bit unusual for the Georgia Park System.

It’s about 2,500 acres, and located just 15 miles west of Atlanta. It boarders… yep you guessed it, Sweetwater Creek and the reservoir located midway through it. The entrance fee is $5 per vehicle.

As far as amenities, there is a boat ramp, a bait shop and store, several covered picnic pavilions, and a playground on the reservoir. The Interpretive Center and park office is pretty neat too, it’s the only building in the Southeast that the U.S. Green Building Council has certified at the Platinum level. The toilets are all composting toilets, the hand washing water was collected rain water, and there are plants growing on the roof. There is an educational treasure trove of information in there about the geology, habitats, and history of the area… but more on that to come.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that what I’m mot interested in is the hiking trails. The park boasts about 15 miles of trails. I opted to do the popular Red or History trail which is a one-way 1 mile trail running along the Sweetwater Creek, and then meet up with the White trail at the end which is a 5.2 mile loop through the woods.

The start of the Red trail is easy walking. It’s flat and broad and graveled. The creek to the left starts out slow and sluggish as it meanders away from the reservoir. As you approach the mill ruins, the creek slowly narrows and gets faster, with large slabs of rock providing obstacles for the water.


That mill, wow. The New Manchester Manufacturing Company factory was opened in 1849 along the bank of the creek, it produced thread, yarn, and cloth. On July 2nd 1864 it was seized by federal troops under the command of Col. Silas Adams and the factory workers were detained and placed under military guard. A week later the mill was ordered burned. Flammable liquids were poured on all five floors and it was set on fire. The workers were deported to prison in Louisville, KY and after signing a paper pledging allegiance to the Union, were sent across the Ohio River for the remainder of the war.


With the tall trees it’s impossible to capture the whole ruin at once, but it’s impressive from about any angle you photograph it. Downstream from that rapids are the main attraction. The Red Trail continues another half mile or so along the increasingly turbulent creek down to The Falls, a class IV rapids heralded by an impressive roaring of water. The farther you go, the more challenging the trail gets. The banks get steeper with large rocky boulders to climb over and around and trail washout becomes more common. It wouldn’t be too challenging to get a stroller or wheelchair down to the ruined mill, but getting one down to The Falls would be impossible.

After capturing my picture proof and sweating from the mid 80’s heat and high humidity combined with physical effort, I opt to take the shorter side of the White Trail back to the visitor’s center under the shelter of the trees. A lovely mix of hardwoods full of wildlife. I’ve seen chipmunks, squirrels, wrens, ducks, two types of lizard, and heard a plethora of various bird calls on the trails, it’s a good place to view wildlife.

exploring-atlanta6Back at the truck, I grab my camp chair, Kindle, and snacks and sneak back down to the start of the Red Trail for some laid back reading on the river. A grand old time is being had when the clouds start rolling in and just as I think “Huh, I wonder if it’s going to rain.” a veritable deluge falls from the sky. By the time I make it back to the truck I’m so wet there’s no point in getting in, I’ll just get the car seat soaked. So I throw everything into Bertha and stand in the parking lot, using my hands to wipe some of the sweat from my arms and legs in the downpour. Well, now I don’t feel such a desperate need for a shower.

* * *

I’m currently typing this up from my parent’s house in central Wisconsin. I flew in yesterday and have already enjoyed a trip to a real Wisconsin cheese factory and falling asleep to night sounds and a brisk breeze with the blinds wide open – there’s something to be said for living in the middle of nowhere. Expect more about visiting this part of the country in my next update.

Also May’s Amazon earnings are in, $247.32! As always, thank you very much to everyone who contributes to Interstellar Orchard whether through using my affiliate link, donating through PayPal, commenting on posts, or recommending my blog to their friends.

Lately I’ve been getting e-mails from readers who have lost my Amazon affiliate link and want to make purchases and don’t remember how to find it, or people who’d like to use my affiliate link without having to load up my blog first, or people who want to make sure they ordered correctly and I got the credit. If this does not apply to you you can stop reading now, have a good week! If you’re interested read on, it’s quite simple to do actually.

I know that if you read my blog through a feed reader or through e-mail you don’t get to see my Amazon link in the side column and the footer of the site. Or maybe you just want to streamline the process without having to load my page every time you want to shop. So here’s what you can do if you don’t want to click through the blog every single time you shop on Amazon. Simply click the link below, and bookmark that page in place of your usual Amazon.com bookmark:


It’ll take you to the Amazon homepage, and all the stuff written after it is what gives me the credit, you’ll see it has “intersorchar-20” in there, that’s my unique code. It’s as easy as that! Now you only need to open that page in your bookmarks to do your shopping. Thank you for putting in the effort and making my travels a little easier.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Ryan on July 11, 2014 at 5:48 am

    The ruins of the old burned down mill look pretty cool to explore. I love checking out historical places like that.
    Ryan recently posted..Comparing the Best Teak Garden BenchesMy Profile

    • Becky on July 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      I’m not a huge history buff, but I do like ruins. They’re just….neat.

  2. Pleinguy on June 5, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Enjoy your visit with family. And, remember to tell us where you land for the summer.
    Pleinguy recently posted..ZionMy Profile

    • Becky on June 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Having a lot of fun Plein, it’s nice to get to see them for longer periods of time like this, was next to impossible to do with a real job. And of course you’ll all know before long. 🙂

  3. Sheryl on June 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for the park/hiking details as the Atlanta area is on my “to visit list”. I’m curious as to what you did with Cas and Bertha while you fly home. Storage? Or are you still parked at the Ren Faire in Fairburn?

    • Becky on June 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Still at the ren fest, I’m there this weekend still, just flew home for the week inbetween. It’s nice having a more open work schedule for trips like this.

  4. Curious by Nature on June 4, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Ha! You forgot the moral of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe! You’re OK as long as you have your towel! 😉

    Sounds like a really neat place to visit.

    • Becky on June 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Yeah they both were Curious. 🙂

  5. Ron on June 4, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Any Summer job offers yet?

    • Becky on June 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Not yet, but it’ll work out. It always does.

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