Expectation vs. Reality

As an avid fan of music and all things pop culture, the notion of Graceland was pretty darn magical. The king of Rock and Roll’s epic home seemed like something that was worth the hype, but it sadly was not so. Plastic covers and velvet ropes barred any real entry, no mention was made of his later years, and the house itself was unremarkable. It was beautiful, but just not quite beautiful enough, considering the amount of time and money invested by all the investors and tourists visiting. Nonetheless, I was provided with an in depth education on Elvis’ filmography, awards, and outfits, which I absolutely adored. Additionally, I liked hearing more of his music, as I hadn’t heard much before. The advent of the notion of superstardom marked a turning point in how fame is acquired and perceived by both those who possess it and those who witness it. As a monumental fan of Lady Gaga, I find all this very intriguing, for the notion of celebrity is forever evolving, and fame can bring on a meteoric rise or a plummeting downfall, often both.        Another instance of a disconnect between that which is expected and that which occurs was dinner the other night, which was highly rated online and then resembled leftovers from a 1980’s meal in real life. Alas, these things happen. Similarly, lunch today was met with eagerness and left with stomach growls and mild dejected […]

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Featuring Fish and Flight

Visiting Georgia Aquarium is an assault on the senses. Sound waves wash over the casual observer as they walk the cement pathway to the grandiose entrance. A voiceover by an enthusiastic fish sets the scene, and the oppressive heat beating down through the glass windows walking in provides a lovely reminder of Hotlanta. Past ticket booths and bag inspections lies an atrium. Various exhibits and highlights are clearly pointed out by well-designed signage, and crowds can be seen splitting up and following the path to separate exhibitions. Ocean Voyager, the first exhibit we viewed, had a gigantic tank containing many tons of water. In order to sufficiently view the vast expanse of water to the left, right, and above, there was a conveyor belt of sorts that traveled down the main hallway of the display. Beyond that was a huge, several feet thick window into the gargantuan tank, which offered many opportunities for panoramas gone wrong (I’m totally not posting those – they’re actually terrible). Further, we visited two other exhibits, providing an opportunity to see cute penguins, moody Beluga whales, and even a totally rad dolphin show, among other things. I had never been to an aquarium before, (at least that I can remember) so this visit was especially eye opening and unique.      Today, from Huntsville Alabama, we visited and toured the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and Martial Space Flight Center. There were many large rockets and robots. […]

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Back at Biltmore

Yesterday, we had the privilege of visiting Biltmore, America’s largest house and privately owned estate. Asheville, the city in which it’s located, is a hip, pretty rad town. The Vanderbilt mega-mansion-European-castle-esque property stands in stark juxtaposition to the modernity of Asheville and the estate’s inherent context. As part of the immersive experience of viewing and touring Biltmore, we went on a Segway tour through the grounds. Segwaying requires a finite amount of finesse, and our guide and instructor, Sara, provided ample instruction and training, as well as tangential information on the background of Biltmore’s landscape architecture. Biltmore is beautiful, and being able to see this feat of architecture and American innovation was awe-inspiring. Sadly, no photos were permitted inside, but I rebelled and took an artsy shot of the medieval style chandelier that hangs down through the grand stairwell. Thus is the nature of tourists.             Hope you enjoy our road trippin’ updates.  

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Southern Charm

The most striking thing about North Carolina is probably just the vibe. Forget hostility-there’s only charm and politeness to the people here, whether a passerby or a waitress or a tour guide. The word hostility has instead been replaced with the phrase ‘ya’ll’, and the word rude has been swapped out for an aura of openness and welcome. Moving on from the personality, the Southern aesthetic is beyond the breadth of my prior comprehension. Sunsets over cornfields certainly broaden one’s horizons (this was a play on words – look out for those). There are stunning mountains that loom nearby the speedy highways that traverse vast expanses of the country and even venture through the heart of such mountains in (hopefully structurally sound) tunnels. Notably, the speed limit is higher than in Cape Cod, so all of the gorgeous scenery tends to pass by rather quickly. Adding to the delightfulness of our Southern venture was a visit from Maddy, with whom we shared an excellent meal and from whom we gleaned a great deal of fun knowledge about the South and the area in which we’re staying.   Among the nearby sites is Biltmore, America’s largest privately owned estate, which I can’t wait to see tomorrow. Prior to a fantastic dinner, we also enjoyed the cultural opportunities in Charlotte, which we left this afternoon. As I mentioned earlier, the south does have a distinct personality and flavor to it. Cars are […]

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Flashback Friday

This morning we had an incredibly informative, thorough, eye opening tour of Antietam. From the ‘Bloody Cornfield’ to Burnsides Bridge, there was ample opportunity to delve into the rich history of the turmoil of The American Civil War.   Tactics, troop movements, and the imperative positioning of an army’s flank were all elucidated and elaborated upon. We’ve been traversing Virginia’s verdant countryside and tumbling hillsides. Later today, we’re going to Monticello, which is very exciting because I was assigned to do a project on Thomas Jefferson in 4th grade, thus resulting in a since untapped compendium of eclectic trivia. All of these immersive historic experiences allow us to delve into the unfathomable. Did you catch that play on words? (It’s like delving as in diving into, such as diving into a pool, and then unfathomable has the word fathom, which is a measurement of distance in terms of depth of a body of water). I have a lot of time on my hands; my mom’s driving and my responsibilities consist of DJing and backseat driving, including learning how on earth a GPS works, (another play on words) as opposed to how a GPS works on Jupiter.  Enjoy our sporadic roadtrip updates. 

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