By Doc Lawrence
ATLANTA-Florida State has a long history in my hometown. The first Peach Bowl in 1968 featured the ‘Noles against LSU, played in freezing rain at Georgia Tech’s stadium. Bill Peterson was FSU's head coach and I'll never forget leaving the great jazz bar, Down the Hatch in Underground Atlanta, greeted with the Marching Chiefs performing on the cobblestone streets.
The boys in Garnet and Gold returned in 1983, another outdoor event played against North Carolina in 16-degree weather. The most recent was the 2010 New Year’s Eve contest against South Carolina in the indoor comfort of the Georgia Dome, site of this week’s game.
Mary Mac’s has a close connection to Florida State. Owner John Ferrell is an FSU alum and has done wonders in preserving this dining shrine, easily the most revered in the region. Located just down the street from The Fabulous Fox Theatre, the menu is vintage Southern. Start off with a cup of the healing elixir, pot licker, and then plunge into platters of Mary Mac’s classics sourced from the farms of Georgia.
Walk around the rooms and see photos of VIP diners like the Dalai Lama, various U.S. presidents, Hollywood and TV stars and many sports legends. There is a special wall covered with FSU memorabilia. Dine next June and you will likely run into Garrison Keillor before his performance of “A Prairie Home Companion,” at The Fox.
FSU enjoys an international reputation as a center for liberal arts. The Woodruff Arts Center includes the world-renowned High Museum of Art (on Peachtree, of course). The Habsburg Splendor is a not-to-miss feature exhibition earning raves. Woodruff is also the home of the Atlanta Symphony (former conductor Robert Shaw was once a conductor in residence at FSU) and The Alliance Theatre Company where plays and musicals regularly showcase Florida State grads
Take Ponce de Leon Avenue east to Decatur. Agnes Scott College was founded by George Washington Scott, Florida’s governor during the Civil War. The battle flag carried at the Battle of Natural Bridge by the cadets at Florida Seminary, FSU’s predecessor, is on display at the Dekalb County Historical Society Museum in the beautiful old courthouse. Decatur is one of the top restaurant centers in the South. Don’t miss oysters and cocktails at The Kimball House, located in the historic rail terminal. Café Alsace serves authentic French cuisine.
During the 1996 Summer Olympics, the North American Indian Compound was alongside the renowned hot dog headquarters. Chief James Billie headed the Seminole Tribe of Florida, principal sponsor of the spectacular exhibition of Native American culture, and entertained with alligator wrestling and country music. For those who haven’t heard the songs of Hank Williams performed in Seminole, your life is incomplete. The Chief made it crystal clear he is both an Atlanta Braves and an FSU fan.
|"Hey Good Lookin" in Seminole|
Over six million visitors annually enjoy this huge urban park. Experience the Atlanta skyline, your reward after a hike to the summit. Or, take the sky lift. Either way, you’ll never forget the breathtaking view.
Enjoy Atlanta. Dieon Sanders once electrified NFL fans in the Georgia Dome and introduced the Tomahawk Chop to baseball fans while he played centerfield for the Atlanta Braves. Come on back: The 2017 Alabama-Florida State game will be first regular-season college football game played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.