Personal | Road trip to Atlanta

Four weeks from yesterday will be the first day of school for most of us in Alachua County.  It’s crazy how fast this summer is going. I’ve spent the majority of  Gainesville’s hot and steamy days at home with the kids – taking advantage of the new Wii U we got for Aidan’s 12 birthday – which I really enjoy. We break the monotany of the day with  little short outings around town:  the downtown Farmer’s Market, Crazy Flavors over at Sweat Dreams Ice-creamg, Pizza at Big Lou’s (they got a Groupon Special $10 for $20 worth of food – check it out here), swimming at Camp Kulaqua River Ranch in High Springs, borrowing  old movies at the library, evening walks, and any other cool and cheap activity Gainesville has on offer for the week.  I love the summer TV schedule to0 – it’s really the only time that our schedules allow us to watch and sit together as a family.  Our guilty pleasures include: America’s Got Talent, Master Chef, and Last Comic Standing.  Aidan recently discovered a new game called One Night Ultimate Werewolf – which we are addicted to. I have planned a couple road trips this summer – including our recent trip to Atlanta.

I love putting together Instagram collages filled with the details of a “day in the life” – here is one I made of our Atlanta trip.
(starting from top left to right: On our way, Shark at Fla Souvenir Shop, Aidan’s West Hampstead Bear at the petting zoo at Rutland Farms, Ga., Rowan finds the bunnies at Rutland Farms, Just finished whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River with Sunburst Rafting, goat resting at Tanglewood Miniature Farm, I see you!, Antique store in Mariette, Ga, Swimming, next two at Tanglewood Farm, breakfast at the Australian Bakery Cafe in Marietta, whitewater rafting, another group photo after the raft ride, my brother thought it was cool to add a Duck Dynasty sticker over my Obama Sticker, Marietta Square, Ga, with my sister at Marietta Square, I had company on my ride back home.


I drive to Atlanta from Gainesville at least twice a year to visit my parents and sister.  It’s about a 5 hour car drive – but it always takes me about 9 hours. I’ve gotta stop a lot. If you take I-75 make sure to plan a stop at Rutland Farms.  It’s about 2 hours from Gainesville, Exit 55 about 2 minutes off the highway.  They have the BEST strawberry homemade ice-cream and other really yummy stuff inside their market – including a live bee hive.  We recently discovered they had a petting zoo with goats, bunnies, cows, and such. It’s FREE!  It’s a tradition for us – the kids love it. Clean bathrooms too!

This trip was especially special because we were spending time with my brother and his family.  They live out in L.A. and we are lucky if we see them once a year.  We also celebrated his 40th birthday with a BBQ birthday at my mom’s house.


My kiddos with my kid brother on his 40th birthday.


Here I am on the far left with my baby sister, brother, and mother

Since I last came to Atlanta, my baby sister purchased a lovely house in Marietta, Ga and she was so kind to allow us to stay with her.  Marietta Square is charming and filled with antique shops, museums (The Gone with the Wind one was there), and lots of food! While we were there we discovered the  Australian Bakery Cafe with the best meat pies and the Farmer’s Market. At the Farmer’s Market we saw the train come through with about 1 mile of miliarty tanks. It was the oddest sight!  I wish I spent more time there – next trip!


One of my favorite parts of this trip was spending the day with my brother and my sister-in-law’s family white water rafting down the Ocoee River.  This was my first time whitewater rafting and I can’t tell you want a blast we all had.  I highly recommend using Sunburst Adventures. I actually found them through a Groupon and was pleasantly surprised at the value and the fun we had.  They are a top notch organization – our guide was amazing! It was only $25 per person with the Groupon and about an hour and 45 minutes north of Atlanta.

Whitewater rafting down the Ocoee River

Whitewater rafting down the Ocoee River

I took advantage of everyone being together and attempted to take some family group portraits.  It was VERY hot and humid, not to mention the mosquitoes that were attaching everyone – so I had very little time to set up each grouping.  Here are a few of my favorites – notice the sweat and the movement  – it was hard to keep the little ones still.  My son really wanted to make sure I got in some of the pictures – and I thank my very special sister-sister-in-law for taking them for me!

My nephew on the far left with Aidan and RowanMy sister-sister-in-law with her familyA rare find - a picture of my kiddos with me in the center!That

My brother and his family

For those of you that know me – know I’m always about the road trip.  I love discovering new places. Our next adventure will actually have my handsome husband with us as we venture off to The Keys in August.  If you have any questions about the places I’ve mentioned in this blog post, please feel free to drop me a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.  With only a little less than 4 weeks before the grind of a new fall schedule – I;m o.k. with sleeping in, watching tv, playing wii, no agenda, and more importantly  – taking the time to enjoy and experience my kids!

  • Gomathy - Hi Lauren,
    Wonderful pictures. I stumbled upon your site as I was looking for trip ideas from Gainesville to Atlanta, all the while admiring the photos and at the end of the blog realised you are a professional.

    We plan to visit family in Atlanta. On our way back we are planning to do some sight seeing. Any suggestions as this will be our first trip?December 3, 2014 – 5:27 pm

  • Laurel - Thank you for taking the time to leave me such kind words. In Atlanta, I highly recommend the Aquarium and the Coco Cola Museum – they are right next to each other. You can usually find coupons online at Groupon or the Atlanta tourist sites. On the way to Atlanta – you must stop at Rutledge Farm – and treat yourself to homemade peach and strawberry ice-cream. Inside they also have a bee hive with live bees – and you can purchase honey sticks from these very bees – they also have a petting zoo. My daughter just loves the rabbits!December 7, 2014 – 10:05 am

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