Posted by: Rachael | October 10, 2010

5 Faves: Atlanta, GA

As if you couldn’t tell from the title of my blog, traveling is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it’s for work or play, I’ll jump at the chance to go just about anywhere I can. That being said, I always go camera crazy on  my trips, taking at least a gazillion pictures. Who doesn’t, right?! Of course, what I struggle with when I get home is how to wade through all my photos and summarize a [usually] fabulous trip into a clever and succinct blog post. I’ve decided that from now on, whenever I travel somewhere, I’ll post 5 of my favorite things about that destination or experience. These favorites could include food and drink, hotels, beautiful scenery, moments, fun times with friends ….you see where this is going. Basically, the sky is the limit! And the five favorites will change with each trip I take – that way neither you or I get bored! First up in the five faves experiment- my recent work-related training trip in sunny Atlanta, GA:

1. Favorite attraction – CDC Global Health Odyssey Museum and Communication Center

Oh yeah, I just hit you with a major dose of nerdage right there. Only a biology major turned public health junkie would list one of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s campuses as a favorite attraction. But man, I have to say, it’s one cool place! The Global Health Odyssey Museum tells the story of CDC’s history and houses both permanent and rotating exhibits highlighting public health milestones in the U.S. and abroad. Plus, the building itself is awesome – everything is so high-tech and futuristic – it’s just about what I would expect from CDC! The only downside is that because it’s CDC, this place is harder to get into than an airport! If you ever find yourself in this area of Atlanta, I highly recommend a visit to the museum – just make sure you pack your purse like you would your carry-on bag!

2. Favorite place to lay my head – Emory Conference Center Hotel

What can I say, I love the Emory Conference Center Hotel! This is the second time I’ve stayed at this hotel for a CDC conference, and I can’t wait to go back again. Designed to mimic the architectural stylings of Frank Lloyd White, this hotel is both beautiful and highly functional. It’s situated in a beautiful, woody area of Atlanta just across the street from the Emory Campus and the CDC Museum mentioned above. Another thing I love about the hotel is that it was awarded a Green Seal for being environmentally conscious! Yay for being GREEN! The decor inside is all warm and inviting and has a very Adirondack feel to it. There’s also an awesome indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, miles of picturesque hiking trails, an outdoor fire pit, and even a bowling alley! My room was large and comfortable, and the views of the wooded surroundings and unique design of the hotel itself were fabulous to wake up to every morning.

And last but not least, one of my very favorite things about the Emory Conference Center Hotel is the fact that it’s located a short, easily walkable 1.7 miles from my favorite place in the world. Yep, you guessed it. Whole Foods! Which brings me to favorite #3…

3. Favorite meal – Whole Foods Salad Bar Dinner (DUH!)

Haha no surprises here! I have a 6th sense that allows me to sniff out the closest Whole Foods in my vicinity every time I travel. Most of our meals on this trip were provided at the hotel through the conference, but we were on our own for dinner Wednesday night. When I found out there was a new WF less than 2 miles from the hotel, I knew there was a delicious salad and hot bar calling my name. Naturally, I dragged my boss [who’s a nutritionist and has NEVER been to a Whole Foods] with me for the organic adventure. My salad above consisted of a pile of mixed greens topped with a little bit of just about everything from the salad bar:  roasted veggies, peppers, chickpeas, Parmesan, grilled chicken, quinoa salad, crunchy kale, marinated mushrooms, etc.. Holy delicious! My boss also grabbed an interesting chicken salad that was served between two slices of grilled, marinated tofu which is not pictured but was equally delicious.

Now, even though the WF beast of a salad was my favorite meal of the trip, I have to post the runner up in the food category as well. The reason is that this surprisingly awesome salad came from a completely random place at the Atlanta airport! Now I’ve eaten my share of nasty airport food over the years, but this salad was amazing AND healthy and was actually a close second to the one I mixed up at WF.  I can’t even remember the name of the food place where I picked this guy up, but I do remember that it was next to the Sam Adams brewery in Concourse T.  This concoction – eaten on the run to our gate at Hartsfield – was a Greek salad with feta, dill, cukes and tzatziki sauce covered in balsamic-lemon marinated chicken. Fabulous! If you ever find youself in Hartsfield looking for a healthy, delicious meal – look no further friends!

4. Favorite place to be physically active – Lullwater Park

How many times have you gone to a conference or training where your hotel was in the middle of nowhere and there was nothing to walk to or do within miles?! That has happened to me so many times, but not in Atlanta! In fact, the Emory Conference Center is quite possibly the perfect location to host an event. Besides the obvious reasons I’ve already mentioned in this post, the hotel is also a stones throw from this beautiful gem on the Emory campus.

Gorgeous Lullwater Park is home to a loop of paths and trails for running and walking with beautiful views along the way. There’s also a lovely lake in the center of the park with a grassy meadow that’s perfect for a picnic or laying out in the sun. It also helped that the weather was a perfect sunny 70 degrees the whole time we were here! My boss and I walked to the park and did laps every day, each time commenting on how serene and peaceful the park was. The president of Emory is also lucky enough to live in the heart of the park….take a look at this house!

Ah I love houses with turrets like this! It reminds me of a medieval castle of sorts. Can you imagine waking up every day and having this park right at the end of your driveway?!? My new goal in life is to someday be president of Emory so I can live in this house. Hey, a girl can dream right?!

5. Favorite moment – Getting a surprise swag bag!

To round out my top 5 faves, I had to talk about the cute little gift bag that was waiting in my hotel for me the last day of our conference. As a thank you gift for attending The Institute, the ECC staff put together a little package of hotel/Frank Lloyd Wright inspired gifts for me to take home. Imagine how excited I was to come back to my room and find this little bag of goodies waiting for me on my nightstand!

The gift bag included one of those really fun multi-colored highlighters [my FAVORITE for studying and note-taking], a really fun scarf and pen with Frank Lloyd Wright designs, and a sweet little note from the hotel staff. It was such a nice gesture of appreciation that it left me smiling for the rest of the day. I’ve already used the highlighter four times since I’ve been home so clearly this gift was not only thoughtful but very practical as well. All these goodies serve as a nice compliment to the swag I picked myself up at Whole Foods…

A fabulous 8$ organic cotton tank in a pumpkin spice color that just screams fall! Can’t wait to wear it with my new scarf to remind me of all the fun times had in Atlanta! Wish I had an excuse to go back already!


  1. All great things! I am in love with Whole Foods salad and hot bar, I have never been disappointed!!


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