Tag Archives: railroad

a Whistle Stop story

Just to get a little farther into my Augusta adventure, I’ve already mentioned that the b&b was entirely perfect. It suited the town, my mood, my expectations to a T. It’s hard to consider 2 million thread count sheets an adventure, but 50 thread count in an old Victorian house the eaves are rotting off of, grimy carpet, brown swirled tile you haven’t seen since your great-grandmother was alive and linoleum in the jacuzzi ante-room… well, that’s something to talk about.

I feel like I should really put in a plug for them here, even though i’ve presented a fairly critical review of the Queen Anne Inn, y’all know i loved it and would stay there again in a heartbeat, although i’d rather a room in the big house (:

The hosts live down the street from their bed and breakfast but in lieu of providing breakfast themselves they have arranged for you to eat at the diner just a few blocks farther down. One review online called the diner “a real greasy spoon” but i’d call it, well, a real diner-y diner. The grits were unexceptional, biscuit not bad, the eggs were eggs and the bacon was salty enough (and good) to make up for the lack elsewhere. The coffee was nothing special either but sitting at the counter at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning was what i came for.

I’d woken from my canopied slumber, showered and headed down the already hot boulevard. Greene St is the artery of Augusta’s Historic District. Victorian homes which mostly appear to built during the industrial boom of the late 1800s-early 1900s line the streets reminiscent of New Orleans (for me, but perhaps closely related to Savannah after which Oglethorpe had the town modeled). I stayed in the center median for most of my walk (which conveniently has a sidewalk and big trees), passed the Signer’s Monument where the remains of 2 Declaration of Independence signers were re-entombed in the mid-1800s (i guess they thought it’d be an honor to dig you up from your family burying ground and rebury in the middle of the street??), on my way to 6th and Greene. The meal I have already described for you. I had felt like the only person alive in Augusta as I walked the 3 long blocks, when a car drove up near me and a man got out with a to-go cup of coffee in his hand I wondered where he got it, what place was open in this town just to serve this one man his Saturday morning coffee?? When i entered the diner, however, there were at least 5 full tables and a man at the counter, half the restaurant. I guess other people must need morning coffee too, but still, i thought, the businesses in this town must subsist on very little. Maybe they’re also selling coffee online.

I was a loner at the counter before long, and perched right in the middle of everyone. I was sure someone here recognized me from the previous night at the Fox’s Lair, but there was no point in making eye contact. I’d just gotten my breakfast plate however, when a whistle sounded (this was the Whistle Stop Cafe by the way) and a train began rumbling down the street behind me. Yep, right down the middle of 6th street it went. A good, healthily long chain of freight cars. EXCITING!! The camera came out. I had to take pictures for R.

So, that, i guess is the end of my story, except to say that i was wholly unable to leave town without a stop at the cemetery. Wide and flat, open view but full of trees, lots of white marble and surrounded by a brick wall. I told myself, no, no, i could avoid this one i could and then there i was, just inside the gate to take just one picture, well, i could head over here, and there… it’s a miracle i got away in under 20 minutes.

adv #584


P and R’s visit provided a great opportunity for me to explore Atlanta, we accidently happened upon the beltline exploration as we wandered around by Trader Joe’s, but it became a 2 day adventure. We started out behind the Landmark Theater and strolled south in search of something interesting. Once the interesting things started popping up (sidetracked by the back door of Paris on Ponce, then crossing Ponce on the RR bridge and coming upon an Andy Goldsworthy-esque picnic table, on to a fantastical woven hut, and a bridges of graffiti, skateparks, and before we knew it we were in Inman Park. Oh well, let’s stop for ice cream at Jake’s, and then back to our car. Everything was so close via the beltline path! who knew! why have i just now come to it??!

Last night we (and J too) sampled the cocktails at H. Harper Station, a fancy restaurant and bar in the historic Atlanta & West Point rail station. We examined the materials used to refurbish the building and determined that, really, the drinks were better done. How historic this station is i have yet to find out. Point is though, this station, now on Memorial Dr, is alongside the beltline and the next morning, this morning, we picked up our explorations there.

We hiked south on the stretch that runs through Ormewood Park to south of Grant Park (park). After examining the cool methods for moving sand near the cement plant at Glenwood, there was mostly new construction or projects in the vista near the tracks and high overpasses like that over Ormewood. Then it was back to the car where P guided me on a driving tour around the south and to the westside of the route. We found other RR tunnels, more piles of sand and decidedly did NOT find a way through an enormous rail yard (Tillford?) but we did see all there was to see there.

After a paleo brownie (meaning “dinosaur appropriate diet”) at Urban Pl8 we hiked up the hill in search of a stretch of the proposed beltline that should run near the Goat Farm. It was, we discovered, still in commercial use and always would be, but that meant there were REAL TRAINS going by! R was so excited.

I am seriously considering a switch from a highway 78 tour to a guided tour of the American Built Environment along the Beltline.