Tag Archives: georgia

If Acting Doesn’t Work Out, At Least There’s Always Panning for Gold in Dahlonega, GA

Dahlonega, GA

Dahlonega, GA

All the time in the world + a car + nothing else to do = a trip to a town that has fallen off the face of history. You know the kinds of towns I’m talking about, the ones that have preserved their old town squares and turned them into tourist traps full of ice cream parlors and fudge shoppes and handmade candle stores. Once the living, beating heart of a real city, the downtown is now the equivalent of a decorative chamber pot at grandma’s house.

Dahlonega, GA is one of those towns. You can find it by driving northeast from Atlanta until you strike gold, literally. According to Wikipedia, this was the site of the nation’s first gold rush in 1828. Even the famous saying “There’s gold in them thar hills” came from here, though apparently it was misquoted from some dude who actually said “There’s millions in it…” which makes him sound less like a two-toothed idiot and more like the civil servant he actually was.

At any rate, there’s still gold in them thar hills and considering I’m fresh out of a job, I thought I’d try to win it all back by doing a little panning myself at the Crisson Gold Mine. Crisson is an Appalachian (read: unsexy) version of Las Vegas for grade schoolers and retirees, which were the only other people there. For only $10, you get the chance to strike it rich. What a deal!

After about 10 minutes of gold panning, my back hurt and I wanted to stop but I didn’t. I’d caught mild gold fever and the chance of winning big kept me dunking my pan into the water and sifting away. 10 minutes after that, I was done with that crap and had painstakingly gathered enough gold flakes to do absolutely nothing. The flakes were probably worth no more than ten cents but at least the experience had made me sweat. I hadn’t struck it rich this time, but that’s the risk you take when you roll the dice in Appalachian Las Vegas.

We stopped in downtown to get some bad fried seafood from a charming beach-themed restaurant. Two retiree couples (the only other people there) gave me the stink eye for wearing skinny jeans that showed part of my ankle, but I stunk it right back to them with my able body and sharp eyesight. 20/20, gramps!

On the way back to Marietta, GA, we saw a hawk and a gigantic inflatable eagle advertising a car dealership with the slogan “Red, white and you!” Georgia FTW.

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It’s Called a Chicken Biscuit, and it’s a Piece of Fried Chicken on a Biscuit and it is Heaven

chicken biscuit

credit: chester’s international

Biscuit. Bis-kit. Bis-cut. Biskt. CHI-cken BIS-cuit. chi-CKEN bis-CUIT. CHI-CKEN biscuit. chi-CKEN BIS-cuit. Okay we’re through warming up, just try saying it with me now.

“I’ll have a chicken biscuit.”

Okay, that was pretty good. Try saying it again like it’s 10:23 on a Saturday morning.

“I’ll have a chicken biscuit.”

I think we’re getting there. Say it again, and it’s 10:24 on a Saturday morning. You’re wearing flip flops, wind shorts, and a tank top with an eagle on it. It’s 87 degrees outside but cold as ice inside and you haven’t had anything to eat all morning. You just parked your car in a gravel parking lot that bordered a field that bordered a southeastern forest. Also, add a sweet tea to your order because you’re in Georgia, stupid.

“I’ll have a chicken biscuit and a sweet tea.”

Okay, I think that’s it. You did it. You ordered a chicken biscuit without making yourself look foolish. Congratulations.

I heard a story once about a man who asked what a chicken biscuit was. After a moment of silence, he was told that a chicken biscuit is a biscuit with a piece of fried chicken on it. Lucky him, he got to eat those words. It’s an astoundingly simple dish that confuses people who look for complicated answers.

But there’s no complication here, just some lightly breaded and fried chicken between two halves of a tender, flaky, buttery biscuit. Feel free to add honey to it, if that’s your thing. Or maybe you’d like some hot sauce, or some strawberry jam. At this point, you can make it into your very own frankenchickenbiscuit sandwich because it already has everything it needs to be incredible.

I’ve felt for a long time that the biscuit has not been given the appreciation it deserves across the entire United States. I went to a restaurant this morning in Marietta, GA, where half of the menu consisted of different variations on the biscuit i.e. the ham biscuit, the sausage biscuit, the baked biscuit, the fried biscuit, the chicken gravy biscuit, the biscuits and sausage gravy and so on and so forth.

I went simple and got just a chicken biscuit and slathered honey all across that mother busker. As I took bite after tender, flakey, chicken-y bite, I could only think of how much better off the world would be if they had this kind of delight in San Francisco, and Bozeman, and Indianapolis, and Rome, and anywhere there are humans that enjoy eating food for sustenance, community, and sheer pleasure.

Sure, we’d have to watch what we ate for the rest of the day and not make a habit of eating chicken biscuits for breakfast more than once a week, but we could do it. If we can put a man on the moon, if we can post millions of pictures of ourselves on the internet and call it a social movement, then we can moderate our biscuit intake.

That’s all I’m asking for. I’m just a woman with a college degree in international relations asking to spread the biscuit love across the US. It’s not too hard, is it?

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10 Valuable Lessons I Learned Today that I’ll Probably Relearn Tomorrow

coffee spilling

                                                                    the worst thing in the world

They say you learn something new every day, and that’s partially true. What’s more true is that as you learn something new every day, you also re-experience the agony of about 10 lessons you already knew that haven’t sunk in yet. Here are just a few of the ones I went through again today.

1. Leave more room than you think you’ll need in your coffee cup. Otherwise, it will overflow when you add milk like it did yesterday and the 363 days before that.

2. When in doubt while hiking in the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park near Marietta, GA, bear left on all the trail forks. That way you won’t end up having to trespass on a country-dweller’s land just to get back to the road where you’ll end up walking an extra 2 miles on a sidewalk-less highway in the sun with a dog with a death wish.

3. Don’t bring a house dog to do a woman’s hike. Some labradoodles aren’t meant to do more than 15 minutes of light jogging in the shade and will try to throw themselves under cars if made to walk more than 30 minutes.

4. If it takes more than one minute to open up the hot fudge jar, it means you’re not meant to have any. Don’t treat it like a physical challenge and then decide after finally opening the jar that it’s not good enough. Especially don’t spend another minute opening up a different jar of a different brand of hot fudge.

5. Don’t decide to write a one act, four part radio play about the Civil War to act out by yourself in the basement. You’ll just end up overwhelming yourself and then taking a nap.

6. Don’t try to impress your friends by using sophisticated terms to critique the improv show you saw together since you’ve taken some improv classes and know a thing or two. No one cares about whether or not the “players” made “strong choices” with “solid edits” or had “authentic relationships.” They just want to talk about what made them laugh.

7. The next time your suggestion is chosen at an improv show and the douchebag in front of you tries to give a different one, avoid yelling “SHUT IT” in his face. It’s not very endearing, and you don’t need to stoop to his level.

8. Gloating is never a good look, and doing fist pumps after the restaurant manager says he’ll give you half off is tacky. Wait until after you’ve left the restaurant to celebrate.

9. Don’t get yourself into a one-upping texting situation without an exit strategy. Say hahaha and leave it at that.

10. Don’t honk back at someone who honks at you because you made a driving error and it’s clearly your fault. Do something else, like swear in your car.

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Are you in Georgia? Use this checklist to find out (or at least narrow down the possibilities)


Georgia on my mind.

As of this moment when I am writing this sentence, I am in Georgia. I drove east from Nashville into the heart of the American Southeast and watched the sides of the highway fill up with those shapely Georgia pine trees. So I know that I’m definitely in Georgia.

Unless I don’t. Sometimes I forget where I am. Maybe I’m just in the East Bay where it also gets hot and there are a lot of trees. Maybe I just took the BART train one too many stops and got off in Orinda and started calling it Georgia like a crazy person.

Luckily, I made myself a checklist of ways to determine if I’m in Georgia. If you ever find yourself in this kind of situation, feel free to use this list. If you check off 5 or more of these, then you’re probably in Georgia or at least the Southeast portion of the United States or I’ll eat my socks.

You know you’re in Georgia when….

1. There are more deer, fireflies, squirrels and frogs than people.

2. Liquor stores are called package stores, which causes some people to think of genitalia and giggle.

3. When you accidentally oversleep and end up going for a run at 9:30 on a July morning, the experience is equal to being burned with the heat of a million suns while running in a sauna and choking down steam.

4. The trees are taller than 5 tall men stacked on top of each other.

5. There are more American flags than people and one on every porch.

6. American flags and colors are suitable for decoration in the months preceding and following the 4th of July.

7. Cheese sauce (also known as queso) accompanies salsa at Mexican restaurants.

8. You can say hi to the people on the street without seeming like a creep. They are friendly and will respond positively.

9. Front porches are everywhere and they’re filled with furniture.

10. Kudzo (an invasive plant that looks like ivy) is everywhere, and it is unstoppable. Longterm, it’s probably a more worrisome enemy than many other countries and militant groups.

11. The chicken biscuit reigns king.

12. Chick-fil-a has a presence in the local Kroger.

13. The forecast for every day in July is humid with a chance of thunderstorms and a 100% chance of y’all.

14. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the humidity, but something about the place seems timeless, like you could buy a home here and live forever while the world spins around you.

15. Jeep Wranglers.

16. Peach lore and Civil War generals make up 90% of local nomenclature.

You might want to hate it. You might want to love it. At the very least, you should sit on the front porch and enjoy a chicken biscuit. If you turn out to be in Orinda, take a walk and then head home, friend. Georgia will await you another time.

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An Overly Poetic Account of a Trip to Coastal Georgia

st_simons_island_georgiaWhoosh….whoosh…..whoosh…..that’s the sound the earth makes as it spins through space. We’re spinning around with it too and that’s the sound I make every day as I chop apples for my gallon of lunch salad, check emails for typos, and rush to post-work activities. Whoosh. Whoosh. One day, one night, and the Lord said it was good.

I finish opening up my Christmas gift cards and then it’s July 4th, 2013, the fourth anniversary of when I celebrated the Fourth in Boston for the first time, and two years since I graduated from college. In the whirlwind of numbers and dates and earth-whooshing, eight friends have committed to spending the Fourth together this year, and to caravan to coastal Georgia for three nights.

Down, down we drive from burbian Atlanta, through the forests of shapely Georgia pines and kudzu, and the atmosphere grows thicker as we become farther removed from our day-to-day lives and cross into St. Simon’s Island.

The office kitchen answer to the typical post-holiday question is, “Yes, I had a good 4th of July  – you?”

But the long answer is rife with poetry as my heart bursts from my ribcage and sings hours and hours of loud, overly dramatic music.

“We laughed, but it wasn’t like normal laughter. This laughter was the wine of the gods. We spoke, but it wasn’t like normal words. It was like Homer himself, blind though he was, were composing our interjections and outbursts. We ate, but it wasn’t like regular food, it was like food we threw together in an amateur fashion but because we did it with a pure heart and clear mind, no one complained.

“And on the night of the Holy 4th, as we tore ourselves away from Harry Potter to go watch fireworks and a man wished me a happy freedom, I knew he spoke the truth. Accented by friendly interactions with strangers, and beverages that could slake even a horse’s thirst, we wove our own Southern Gothic, and I don’t know what that means.”

You can see why I don’t give the long answer.

Sunday was goodbye day and the day of three separate trips to the airport. After the dust settled it was just me left in Marietta with a cancelled flight, wondering what to do next.

I know the world is still whooshing around me, and in an alternate universe I would be too, getting sucked back into my usual orbit and looking at the backs of the same people. But for some reason, I’ve been spat out and I’m looking at the blur from a city that’s not my home, in a home that’s not my home.

Here in my orbit-less state, I can almost see the time passing. I’m being allowed to take a deep breath before I go under again.

From this perspective, I know something of the meaning of life was contained in our trip, in the wine of laughter, and in the night walk we took on the beach at low tide, the Milky Way out there clouding everything up and us all trying to catch the first shooting star.

With no moon, you couldn’t tell where the sand ended and the sea began and the air was the same temperature as blood. I know that’s gross to think about, but it felt natural. On the sandbars, it felt like you could walk forever into the ocean, black as night. And now I’m thinking that maybe, in another universe, we’re still walking into the ocean forever, the world whooshing around and we are holding hands and singing and laughing.

So yeah, Georgia was pretty great. Sorry I didn’t bring you back any BBQ sauce or home tattoo kits.

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