The end of the school year means many things, in particular children and travel website operators, formerly called travel agents, are rejoicing.
Those trying to figure out what to do with all those kids eager to forget everything that they have learned and all the visitors eager to explore the top-tourist attractions are experiencing the opposite of rejoice.
What to do, where to go, how do we keep everyone happy?
For Covington residents, those answers can be answered easily. Along with what Newton, Rockdale and DeKalb counties have to offer, one of America's major cities is less than a tank of gas away.
For me, an Atlanta resident, it's a little easier to visit many of those popular tourist destinations the city has to offer, which of course means I rarely do.
However, with my brother's girlfriend having finished with her spring semester in Florida, that meant it was time to go on a visit to see big brother. When the family comes into town, they readily grab the pamphlets scattered throughout the area's hotels, visit tripadvisor, yelp, kudzoo.com or AAA, and tune in to the Travel Channel and Food Network to see where to go.
After several visits, I can now say I've seen all of Atlanta's tourist destinations, with the exception of Six Flags, and can provide a little insight for all those looking for something that the pundits say you're supposed to do in Atlanta, or places to go that won't bore you while your visitors post, tweet and instagram. Here's a look at a few of the more educational places, allowing visitors to take a look at Atlanta's history.
Atlanta's geographic location has been a crucial component to many historical events in American history - the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, the 1996 Olympics, and many more - and remains so with the world's busiest international airport.
But for those who live in the area and their visitors, the Atlanta History Center is a good stop.
For the ladies, it offers a nice garden, insights into Atlanta's cultural history and the Swan House, showing how Atlanta's well-to-do did. For the guys, and let's face it that's the demographic I know best, we won't get bored there thanks to the Civil War and Olympic Games exhibit. The price doesn't mean you will be treating your guests to McDonalds the rest of the trip either.
Now, I'm not being paid by the Atlanta History Center, but to learn about the city's past, it's a more viable option than driving through the neighborhoods, which I have also submitted my guests to, of East Atlanta and Collier Road to read signs citing where Civil War battles took place.
One of the better stops is also Oakland Cemetery to visit Margaret Mitchell's tomb, those lost in the Civil War or the inventor of Coke. However, if you know me you'll know that I think the ghosts will chase me out of the cemetery so I don't take my visitors there.
I did however take my visitors to the Martin Luther King Center, which is one of the better stops. It offers historical facts, and just makes you want to treat your neighbor better and is free.
The center itself is interesting and then you can walk a short distance away to see MLK himself, or rather his tomb. I did not participate in this activity, especially when I glanced at a large marble tomb floating on water.
Thanks Dr. King, I appreciate all you did but floating above water threatening to haunt visiting writers is not on my list of appreciation.
Luckily, Ebenezer Baptist Church is conveniently next door. Ebenezer was a highlight for me because I love to be where not only history happened, but where the country was shaped. There are plenty of churches in the south that are older and more architecturally appealing but this one felt special.
As far as history goes, the World of Coca-Cola offers a good lesson into Atlanta's financial history but let's face it everyone looks forward to the tasting at the end so how much history is worth a car full of caffeine?
There are other stops scattered here and there throughout Atlanta but when visitors mention the South's biggest city these are the ones that pop up first on Google, Yahoo, Facebook or other websites.
If the out-of-school children learn all they can about the World of Warcraft, take them out of the house to learn about the World of Atlanta.
Bryan Fazio is the Sports Editor for The Covington News and Rockdale News.