Walking the USA - a Tour of Atlanta

by Tony Maniscalco - Date: 2010-11-17 - Word Count: 550 Share This!

The city of Atlanta, Georgia, is an excellent destination for the growing number of travellers who like the idea of getting to know the country by walking. USA is the ideal place to enjoy independent or guided walks, or a combination of both, when visiting the country's beautiful cities. Atlanta's wonderful climate allows for exploration by foot almost any time of the year. One of the most fascinating districts is Sweet Auburn, home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This well-known district dates back to the late 19th century. Under the auspices of the National Park Service, portions of it are undergoing restoration and it is a wonderful educational opportunity for young people. Give yourself at least half a day to see this historic district.

Where to Start?

Begin your exploration of Sweet Auburn at the corner of Howell and Irwin streets. Head south on Howell Street where you will see a number of renovated historic houses. Take note of number 102. This house, which dates to 1890, and has Corinthian columns and a Palladian window, was once the home of Alexander Hamilton, Jr., Atlanta's foremost black contractor at the turn of the 20th century. Turn right on Auburn Avenue, and as you proceed, keep an eye open for markers that identify historic homes. Most of those houses are of the Queen Anne or Victorian styles that you will see in many cities walking USA streets.

The King Center

This is one of the highlights you can experience walking USA's Atlanta, and is the focal point of the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site. Admission is free. Here you can see many exhibits from King's life and from the civil rights movement. Among them are King's bible, a handwritten sermon, and a clerical robe. One room is dedicated to Rosa Parks, and another to Mahatma Gandhi. This centre houses an organisation that continues King's work in reducing violence in communities and among nations. King is buried at Freedom Plaza, which is on the premises.

Birthplace of a Hero

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthplace is at 501 Auburn Ave. This is a place of pilgrimage for many people and often a highlight when walking USA's historical places. King was born in this two-storey, Queen Anne style house on January 15, 1929 and lived here until the age of 12, when the family moved to another nearby house. The furnishings are all original, or are authentic reproductions. There are plenty of photographs and family mementos, and park rangers explain the relevance of each part of the house to King's boyhood. During the summer, this is an especially popular attraction, so it's best to try to be here by 9:00 a.m.

Lots to See on Auburn Street

Continue along Auburn Street to one of the favourite sites for kids on a USA walking experience in Atlanta - Fire Station No. 6, which was built in 1896. This was one of Atlanta's original fire stations and is now a museum. On display are restored antique fire engines and vintage fire-fighting equipment. At 407 Auburn Street is the Ebenezer Baptist Church where King was co-pastor from 1960 to 1968. There are several other historic buildings worthy of visits, but be sure to save some time for the African-American Panoramic Experience Museum (APEX), and the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History.

Tony Maniscalco is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. They offer over 250 guided group walking holidays in over 65 different countries. Join our walking USA tours with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, and you will see scenic locations & landscapes at the best value prices.n
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