Cue the confetti and break out the tissues… It’s High school graduation season!!! This past May, our daughter flipped her tassel and said goodbye to high school forever, and we, the parents, had to try to keep our cool during this major life moment because as you know graduation time is never easy for parents. 🙁
Mixed feelings aside, we know deep down that graduating and moving on is a great thing for our kids. It’s the beginning of a whole new life for them! The same can be said about “graduating” other important pieces in your life, even if they are material. One of these things is your vehicle. If you drive around as much as we do, you know how wonderful it would be to spend all that time in a comfortable and stylish vehicle you’re proud of—not your old car that’s seen way better days.
To stick with the theme of our daughter graduating, we decided to see what it would be like to “graduate” our car to a new-and-improved whip. So, to celebrate our girl’s new chapter, we test-drove our own. We took the 2019 Mazda CX-9 (Signature package) for mini road-trip to Athens, Georgia, to show our girl around this quintessential college town.
The Journey is the Best Part
As you know, it’s almost never about the destination—it’s more about the journey to get there. Such was the case when heading to Athens. The city, home to the University of Georgia, is about an hour from Atlanta, which granted us just enough forced family fun time. Luckily, all of the CX-9’s features made it easy to laugh, talk, and reminisce with our daughter.
The SUV’s comfortable and stylish leather seats made it simple to settle in on the ride, and we could just imagine using this roomy car to safely ship off our graduate and her belongings on her next adventure. CX-9’s state-of-the-art navigation system could help her navigate her next chapter, ensuring she gets around her new town with ease.
I especially loved the Bluetooth feature for hands-free driving, so that when I call, she’ll always be able to pick up. 😉 She’ll be able to stay focused while driving and continue looking forward without distractions. (Literally—the windshield display is stunning.) I can see it now—all of this is happening while the sun shines down on her through the sunroof… A perfect touch for my graduate’s first foray into adulthood. In a truly perfect world, she’d use the SiriusXM radio to tune in to mom and dad’s favorite station when she misses home (that’s 80’s on 8, in case you’re wondering.🤣)
Thanks to all these amenities, the drive flew by. Before we knew it, we were there.
A Day in Athens: What to Do
Athens, we have arrived.
We chose Athens because our daughter had never been and has always wanted to check it out, so graduation was the perfect opportunity! We decided to show her the town the only way we know how—by eating, photographing, and shopping our way through it! Here’s what we did while in Athens.
Brunch at The Last Resort Grill
The Last Resort Grill is a Southern-inspired spot that serves up some of the best brunch you could want. Trust me when I tell you that the food was IN-CRED-I-BLE. We sunk our teeth into the Shrimp + Grits and the Atlanticville Pasta and were fully satisfied down to every last bite.
Snap pics at the Graduate Hotel
No graduation road trip is complete without selfies and photos to document the memories! Of course, that meant posting up in the vibey lobby of the Graduate Hotel. The Southern Charm at this place is strong, so it’s hard not to try all kinds of fun poses and photo backdrops. If you know me and my family, you know we did not disappoint! 😜
Stop for coffee at Iron Works Coffee
Either before or after your photoshoot, be sure to stop by Iron Works Coffee inside the Graduate Hotel as well. This adorable spot has plenty of quirk for more fun in front of the camera, and the coffee really hits the spot.
Hit the Local Vintage shops
The trip isn’t complete without a little retail therapy, and luckily Athens has some super cool vintage shops (which my girls love)! Needless to say, we hit up a few, got our thrift on, and scored some really unique pieces.
Exploring Athens with our new grad was so much fun and the perfect way to help prepare our girl for “the real world.” From our talks in the CX-9 to the meals we shared in Athens, this road trip was one to remember. It just goes to show that even though moving on can be bittersweet, graduating from one chapter (or one vehicle) to the next often always happens at just the right time.
Here’s to new beginnings and pursuing bigger and better things, no matter where the road takes us!
Disclaimer: Mazda USA provided me with a vehicle to test drive, however all opinions are my own.