Carrie and I included a two-night stop in Atlanta, Georgia on our good old American road trip across the south. We were in search of great food, awesome craft breweries, and of course that famous southern hospitality. This would be my first visit to the Peach State.
Atlanta, Georgia and Tourism
Atlanta, one of the most visited cities in the United States, is known globally as the home of Coca-Cola, and CNN, the host of the 1996 Summer Olympics, and the world’s busiest airport. International and domestic travel and tourism are vital to the state of Georgia and accounted for $26.7 billion in spending and supported over 254,000 jobs in 2014. Atlanta offers a wide-range of attractions such as the largest indoor aquarium in the western hemisphere, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and Grant Park to name just a few.
Since 2000 the city has undergone an intense period of revitalization in the downtown area, which has spurred the creation of new sites like the BeltLine, a former railroad corridor in the city that has been converted into multi-use green space with trails and public art displays. The BeltLine conveniently connects two other recent redevelopment projects, the Krog and Ponce City Markets, both mixed-use complexes.
Where to Stay in Atlanta
The Social Goat Bed and Breakfast
Looking for a more personal and unique experience, we found The Social Goat, a bed and breakfast just one block south of historic Grant Park. The Social Goat, as its name implies, has goats that seem to be sociable, amongst the many other farm animals on the property, like the boisterous and playful chickens, ducks, turkeys, and cats. The bed and breakfast, reminiscent of a rural farm in central Georgia, is not something you would expect find in central Atlanta, but was exactly what we were in search of; a central, affordable, and locally owned and operated accommodation. The house is beautifully decorated with large Victorian-era furniture, and has three rooms, one suite, and a carriage house to accompany large groups.
Kristy, the friendly owner called us just before we arrived to make sure we weren't lost. Upon our arrival just a few minutes later she greeted us in the driveway and gave us a quick tour of the house. For our two night stay we reserved the Yellow room that had a small private balcony overlooking the farm. The balcony was a huge selling point for us and was the perfect place to enjoy our morning coffee or to sit and listen to the rain in the evening. The room was not an ensuite, but the other room that we shared the bathroom with was empty both nights.
For breakfast each morning we ate in the dining room on the first floor and had fruit, cinnamon roll (just the first morning), and eggs, scrambled the first morning and an omelette filled with ham and cheese the second morning, all cooked, of course, by Kristy in her large kitchen. The homemade meal was delicious and the eggs came right from the chickens on the farm. Kristy was more than happy to share her extensive knowledge of Atlanta, as well as information on The Walking Dead filming locations that we would visit. Two of the locations (Rick’s and Morgan’s houses from the first season) are only blocks away from The Social Goat.
Where to Eat in Atlanta
Six Feet Under
For our first night in Atlanta we walked from The Social Goat along the western side of Grant Park to Six Feet Under, a lively bar/restaurant per the recommendation of Kristy. We ate at the bar and ironically watched the Washington Nationals plays the Atlanta Braves in Washington, DC. Carrie had mussels and I a real southern meal - fried catfish, fried okra and hush puppies! I couldn’t remember the last time I ate hush puppies! I washed it down with an Eventide (located just blocks away from The Social Goat) and a Red Brick. Six Feet Under is just opposite Oakland Cemetery, founded in 1850 is one of the oldest plots of land in Atlanta.
The Wrecking Bar Brewpub
This well known brewpub is set in an old mansion near the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta, a popular part of town with a vibrant nightlife. We took a 15 minute Uber ride from The Social Goat over to the Wrecking Bar Brewpub for what would be one of the most memorable dinners of our trip. For dinner I had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with a side of pig ears! Yes, that right pig ears. As soon as I saw that on the menu I thought there was no way I couldn’t try it! Unsurprisingly, they tasted like stringy bacon. Carrie had one of the Thursday night specials, homemade seitan with a salad. After dinner at the recommendation of a friend who used to live in Atlanta we walked over to The Porter, a cozy-yet popular bar with perhaps the largest beer selection ever assembled in one place.
What to See and Do in Atlanta
MLK Museum and Historic Area
Atlanta is famously known as the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. The National Park Service has converted the section of the city that King Jr. was raised in and turned some of it into a national historic site. There is a museum that pays tribute to his life and legacy; and is very emotional and inspiring. Near the museum is his childhood home, the church where his father preached, and his final resting place. Since it’s the centennial year of America’s National Parks what better way to celebrate than with a visit to the site. You should not leave Atlanta without a visit.
Ponce City Market
The Ponce City-Market is a mixed-use development inside the historic Sears building. The market contains well known brand shops, and perhaps more importantly lots of dining options. One place that caught our eye was, Biltong Bar Beef Jerky and Booze. We love both beef jerky and booze separately, so the idea that a bar would focus on them both was too good to pass up. Unsure of what to get and what amount, we made life simple by selecting the Biltong Sample Board, which came with five different types of jerky; traditional, peri-peri, and garlic biltongs, droewors, and chili bites. We washed the jerky down with two local craft beers. I wish there was a Beef Jerky and Booze in Washington, DC.
The BeltLine, a 22 mile former railroad corridor turned, public space that contains green space, trails, public art, and housing and is the most comprehensive transportation and economic development effort ever undertaken by the city. It conveniently runs past the Ponce City Market, which is where we picked it up for a nice stroll to Piedmont Park. The BeltLine is a testament to Atlanta’s forward thinking approach to revilitzling space in the downtown area and is well worth exploring.
Day Trip to Senoia, Georgia
In 2005, the State of Georgia introduced generous tax incentives to film and production companies that film in Georgia. This resulted in an increase in tv shows and movies being filmed in the state. The bucolic town of Senoia, located about an hour south of Atlanta is famously known as the filming location of the popular AMC show The Walking Dead. Being fans of the show, we had to make the journey. We were not alone in our fascination with exploring the town and were able to see the Alexandria Safe Zone, several of the homes featured throughout the show, and the town of Woodbury, which is actually downtown Senoia.
After Atlanta we continued our road trip through the great American south along Interstate 20 to the Magic City-Birmingham, Alabama.
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All photography by Albert Bond
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