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World’s longest freestanding escalator, Atlanta, GA

Krofft Supershow

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl first appeared on the Krofft Supershow in 1976. I may have wanted to be one or both of them. Photo credit: Sidandmartykrofft.com

While I don’t broadcast my age, my frequent references to 70’s pop culture should leave little doubt that I’ve been here a while. Today I learned something I didn’t know about Sid and Marty Krofft. Do you remember watching The Krofft Supershow on Saturday mornings, anywhere from 1976-78? Well, in 1976, they masterminded the world’s first entirely indoor theme park – The World of Sid and Marty Krofft – inside the Omni Center in Atlanta, GA.

Leading up to the entrance was the world’s longest freestanding escalator. That escalator is all which remains of the attraction, which closed after only six months. This part of the complex is now the headquarters of CNN, and the escalator leads you from the lobby of the CNN Center up to the public tour.

Many thanks to Jen at Two Kids and a Map for the trip down Memory Lane. And for this month’s guest post! Jen and her family just got back from Atlanta, where they took the long ride up the world’s longest escalator which led them to the start of the CNN tour.

Here’s her escalator experience:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going: 

We went to the global headquarters of CNN for their Inside CNN Studio Tour while spending a long weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.  It is the largest of the network’s 48 bureaus worldwide.  Besides being the largest CNN  bureau, it also houses the world’s longest unsupported escalator.

world's longest escalator

World's longest freestanding escalator

WHY did you go there, exactly?

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The Varsity: World’s Largest Drive-in Restaurant

Varsity

Credit: TheVarsity.com

Back in my carefree, single, post-college days, I visited my friend Tina in Atlanta. She took me to the Varsity, the world’s largest drive-in restaurant. While I relished the extremes of salty and sweet, what made a lasting impression was the frenetic pace and secret language of the counter staff, and the charmingly retro décor.

Twenty years later, and still in Atlanta, Tina blogs at Veggievangelist about the wholesome, home-cooked meals she prepares for her family. But she still takes them to the Varsity on occasion.

In this, her second guest post for GBOGH, she assures us that not much has changed at the Varsity. Phew.

Did I mention I’m hungry?

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

When my friend Michelle suggested that we take our gaggle of boys to The Varsity in Downtown Atlanta before heading over to the World of Coke, I didn’t hesitate. If there are wide gaps in my religious education, it isn’t hard to figure out why. Our church is across the street from what is the “World’s Largest Drive-In Restaurant.” We would go get onion rings instead of getting our butts into our Sunday School classroom.

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World’s Largest Santa and other BIG Christmas Fun!

Let’s talk about Christmas! Primarily, let’s talk about what I want for Christmas {sheepish grin}. Then we’ll get to you.

I would like your vote! Go BIG or Go Home has made Christopher Elliott’s list of nominees for favorite travel bloggers! He’s a consumer travel advocate who publishes this annual list, and it would mean significant exposure for us. We’re included in a list of 25 blogs, from which 12 will make the cut for “Top 12 Favorite Travel Bloggers.” The final list will be posted this Friday. Thanks in advance for voting for Go BIG or Go Home!

Moving on…have you entered our giveaway yet for some fun stocking stuffers? You could win a $50 gift certificate to Appalachian Outdoors or a pair of BTB Sunglasses. Winners will be chosen tonight and announced tomorrow, so enter now!

On to the fun part! We like BIG expressions of holiday spirit, so we thought we would share a few with you.  Like…

The world’s largest Santa Claus! You can find this sizable St. Nick at the Santa Claus House in North Pole, AK. Our friend Erin writes about family fun in the 49th state at AK on the GO. She tells us that the 42-ft, 900 lb. fiberglass statue has stood in front of this attraction since 1983, although he was originally built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

The world's largest Santa lives in...where else? North Pole, Alaska!

There’s a live Santa here all year with whom you can share your wish list. You can also have a letter delivered from the Big Guy, see reindeer, shop and grab a snack. Erin says, “It’s pretty fun to visit, a little kitschy, but a worthwhile place to stop, especially since it’s the North Pole, for goodness sake!”

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Top Five Family Road Trip Mistakes

Okay, the holidays are over, and it’s time to get back in the blogging saddle. The Go BIG or Go Home Road Trip (2010 Holiday Edition) is over, and we’re back into our routines. Routines which, sadly, include shoveling snow and administering Children’s Sudafed.

Home!

I did learn a few things from our 1,900-mile automotive journey from New York to Florida, and back again. Namely, that TSA patdowns must surely have gotten a bad rap, relative to sitting in a car for 24 hours with two kids.

We did not have a terrible experience on the road. We did not have a wonderful experience. We made errors in judgment regarding which routes would be faster, which prevented me from seeing the world’s largest peanut. I must carry the burden of that loss forever. So that you may never experience similar anguish, I must share with you our:

Top Five Family Road Trip Mistakes

1. Assume that it’s cheap to drive.

For the four of us, driving to FL was more affordable than flying during the holidays, when airfares skyrocket in line with demand. But while it was cheaper, it was not cheap. Our expenses for the four travel days, including gas, meals, and accommodations, totaled $903.42!

By the way…taking the train? Almost as expensive as flying!

2. Underestimate how long the drive will take.

Google Maps says it will take 10 hours from Point A to Point B. Your GPS unit says it will only take nine hours , 50 minutes. Don’t be fooled. It will take 12 hours. You will have to stop for gas and potty breaks, at the very least. You will want to stretch your legs, breathe fresh air, and untangle the two angry children wrestling in the back seat because one of them crossed the invisible center borderline.

3. Start out without hotel reservations.

This is one mistake we didn’t make, happily! You may consider leaving your overnight lodging up to chance, depending on how far you get. That’s risky when you’re traveling with kids, and want some assurance of a clean, safe place to stay. Also,  if bad weather forces people off the road, hotels may get overbooked. Find a hotel near where you think you’ll end up, make a reservation, and make note of their cancellation policy.

4. Eschew electronics.

If your family doesn’t own a T.V. , kudos.  On the road, you will need to plug the kids in eventually, or all of you will go crazy. (Yes, I am clairvoyant.) Part of the fun in travel is to have experiences they don’t get at home, so why not  entertainment too? PIXAR movies, in particular, appeal to children of all age groups, and keep the peace.

5. Set out with absolutely no idea where your next meal will be.

I-95

Enter to Win This!

This could lead to disaster if you have young children who get cranky when they’re hungry. We have some of those, and the snacks I packed didn’t always cut it. It was important to have some idea of where and when we were stopping for meals. While we were on I-95, this guidebook became an invaluable resource:  Drive I-95, by Stan Posner and Sandra Phillips-Posner.

I actually downloaded the PDF version to my laptop; how “eco”! On the first day of our return trip, it helped me avoid trouble when lunchtime was approaching, and I realized that we wouldn’t make it to the Applebee’s off Exit 6 in Georgia. My first clue was The Girl’s fervent demand, “When are we eating lunch?!” One look at the map, and we found a Wendy’s off Exit 373 in Florida. Close call, but nothing four chicken nuggets couldn’t help.

I find it remarkable that the authors have visited every single exit along I-95 from Maine to Miami! In addition to listing restaurants, they provide exit-by-exit info on lodging, gas stations, attractions close to the highway, campgrounds, mechanics, and much more.

And I’m happy to add that we have a copy to give away!! Because we all love Go BIG or Go Home giveaways, don’t we?

Want to enter? Just sign up to receive our e-mail notifications (see upper right hand corner). Alternatively, you can comment below and tell me which of the road trip mistakes listed above you’ve made, and what happened as a result. The juicier the story, the better!

A winner will be chosen randomly, and a winner will be notified next Tuesday (1/8/10). The winner will be asked to provide a mailing address within the U.S. or Canada.

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Contest Winner!

world's largest peanut

During our road trip, we have our sites set on the world's largest peanut in GA!

Our sincere thanks to everyone who offered suggestions for our BIG, NY to FL road trip next month! That was our most popular post yet, and I enjoyed reading about the type of places you like to see, and even more telling, where you like to eat!

The winner of our contest is JUDY!  She’ll receive a set of the first three books in the Wright on Time series by Lisa Cottrell-Bentley. This series of children’s chapter books are about an RV-living family who travels the USA.

While I’m confident that everyone who posted suggestions did so purely because they love to share travel tips, I know offering a contest can sometime help facilitate the sharing.  :-)  SO, be on the lookout, because next week, we have another fun contest giveaway! Can’t tell you what the prize is yet, but here’s a clue: rhymes with “bisney.”

Need a reminder to check back next week? Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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World’s Largest Aquarium, Atlanta, GA

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

Sometimes, you get the best perspective about an attraction from a “local.” This month’s guest post is from an old college friend, Tina. “Old” as in, I’ve know her for over 20 years. Not ancient. In fact, I recently saw her at our 20th reunion (same trip as the World’s Largest Rotating Globe), and now think she’s made some sort of youth-extending deal with the Devil. Yet, I still like her. She took a Seussical approach to naming her sons Boy #1 and Boy #2 for the purposes of online embarrassment. I dig it.

Tina doesn’t live far from the world’s largest aquarium in Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium features more animals than any other aquarium, in more than eight million gallons of water. Her report:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

I went to the incredibly large, exquisitely fish-filled Georgia Aquarium, which has the largest tank in the world. I took along my 4 1/2 year old son on his maiden voyage. We made it a playdate with my neighbor Carla and her 7 year old.

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