After the defeat of the Confederacy in the American Civil War, much of the South was strewn with smouldering rubble in one of the most destructive conflicts in human history at the time. Then, it would be difficult to imagine the region as anything other than a humbled shell of what it once was.
However, this portion of America has risen admirably from the ashes of its humiliation, with the state of Georgia taking a central role in the recovery. As such, its biggest city Atlanta has been dubbed the capital of the New South, as it has served as an urban focal point for the economic resurgence the Southeastern United States has enjoyed over the past generation or so.
Throughout the state of Georgia, you’ll see evidence of its tumultuous past in equal parts ugly and gorgeous, as well as symbols of its modern success, whether it takes the form of the auspicious headquarters of the world’s largest cable news network, or one of the post-apocalyptic sets that a certain zombie television series has sprinkled across this state.
No matter what you choose to do on your tour through Georgia, it will prove to be a visit filled with interesting and/or entertaining highlights.
What To Do – Culture & History
Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most important figures in the history of the American civil rights movement is honored at the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.
Located at the former Baptist preacher’schildhood home, this site also includes the church where he and his father ministered over their congregations, and throughout these structures, the story of the most influential African American leaders in the history of the United States is told in great detail, making it a must-visit for any serious student of history.
Those that want to see the best painting, sculptures, and films produced by artists in the South will only be doing themselves a favor by spending an afternoon strolling through the High Museum of Art.
Home to over 14,000 works of art, this institution dedicated to fine visual and media arts contains works by the likes of Monet, Giovanni Bellini, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo that anchor the art from many talented Southern artists that will surprise and delight you upon viewing them.
Georgia was home of one of this countries’ presidents, as the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library attests to. Constructed in honor of one this nation’s still living former leaders, the tenure of the 39th President of the United States was one that was fraught with challenges, turmoil and controversy, thereby making a visit to this museum all the more interesting.
Those into human rights will also find this place interesting, as the former president has been intimately involved in the cause internationally since his retirement from politics, and as such, exhibits from his efforts and the causes taken up by him are prominently featured here.
Towards the end of the Civil War, many settlements in the South were resisting the relentless advance of the Union, often with disastrous results. Along with Charleston, South Carolina to the north, the civic leaders of Savannah, Georgia made the fateful decision to concede their territory to the armies of the North, hence sparing the stunning architecture found here from certain doom.
Like Charleston, the residential streets of the core are filled with the charming houses dating back to the Antebellum period, but be sure to also take a peak inside the soaring Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, or stroll through Forsyth Park, as it boasts many flowering bushes, ornate fountains and comes with the character only Spanish moss laden trees can bring to a public place.
What To Do – Modern & Natural Attractions
The past may hold a portion of Georgia’s appeal, but its present day modern spectacles are equally as impressive. Start with CNN Center, the central locus where the television broadcasts of the world’s leading cable news network is beamed out to TV sets all across the planet.
Sign up for a studio tour, riding the world’s longest escalator on your way to witnessing how television news is shot, assembled and disseminated to viewers across America and around the world.
CNN isn’t the sole major concern that calls Atlanta home, the corporate headquarters of a certain soft drink brand is also located here. Being home to a drink that most commonly know as Coke, the company as created an interactive museum known as World of Coca-Cola to chronicle the history of one of the world’s most successful consumer products.
View early memorabilia, read exhibits on the company’s journey through history, and taste up to 64 different varieties of Coke at the end. Those that are hopelessly addicted to this stuff will not want to miss this place.
In the past few years, one of the biggest juggernauts in cable television has been shot through the state of Georgia, as the carnage of AMC’s The Walking Dead has unfolded over four seasons as of this writing.
From the rock quarry where many original cast members first holed themselves up in the first season, to The Governor’s stronghold of Woodbury (known as Senoia in real life) in the third season, many set locations are accessible by the show’s rabid fans. Some aren’t however, so be sure to inquire first before potentially trespassing on someone’s property.
Finally, those looking to spend some quality time in nature will find plenty in Georgia’s highlands, but Stone Mountain is the biggest attraction in this region. Sticking out like a sore thumb above the rolling landscape surrounding it, this landmark is a popular day trip for many Atlanta residents, as it contains hiking trails, a skytram that shuttles visitors to the top if they aren’t so fleet of foot, and it hosts a laser show on summer evenings.