Timeline: January 28-31, 2017
Not content to let grass grow underneath our feet for long, we planned a four-night trip to Atlanta the last weekend in January. We secured lodging through Airbnb in a “1930 Modern Bungalow” with our own bedroom and a private bath. We left early enough Saturday morning to make the anticipated four-hour drive and arrive around 1pm, our agreed upon early check in time. About halfway there on the I-85 the GPS lit up with a traffic warning, indicating a significant delay due to construction.
We called ahead to our host David to let him know we’d be delayed and figured we’d do some sightseeing upon arrival until we could check in around 6pm. David called back not long after to let us know that their plans had changed and we could go straight to the house once we arrived in Atlanta. With some time to spare we stopped outside of Greenville for breakfast, hitting a Denny’s, where I got my usual veggie omelet and Joanna a stack of Blueberry pancakes.
Fueled up we completed our drive and pulled up in front of the house on Waverly a little after 2pm. Alex, David’s wife greeted our arrival and provided us with several suggestions for places to visit and eat at later. Without a specific agenda for the day and just a few hours of daylight left, we decided to walk around the neighborhood to check out our surroundings.
We would discover then and later that the location of the house was ideal, with much in walking distance, easy street parking, and a MARTA station just three blocks away, providing us with rail access to nearly all of Atlanta.
We walked up Waverly to Euclid, turned right and a less than a mile later found ourselves deep in the heart of Little Five Points. Established in the early 20th century as the commercial district for the adjacent Inman Park and Candler Park neighborhoods, it has since become famous for the alternative culture it brings to Atlanta. Described as Atlanta’s answer to Haight-Ashbury, it is a melting pot of sub-cultures, and the Bohemian center of the Southern United States.
Our first stop, after pausing outside of the Variety Playhouse to see what groups might be playing, we popped in next door at Rag-O-Rama, a used clothing store with two other locations, one in Sandy Springs, Georgia and the other, of all places, Columbus, Ohio. With a large selection of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, shoes and accessories we spent well over thirty minutes perusing the racks. We didn’t find anything that struck our fancy and so walked to the corner of Euclid and Moreland, where we turned left to check out the bars, restaurants, and shops that stretched for a couple of blocks up the street.
Most notable of these was the Vortex Bar & Grill, which already had a line formed outside and a shop we where spent some time, the Junkman’s Daughter. Filled with an assortment of clothing, smoking accessories, and unique gift items, we wandered the aisles until I found something I’d been looking for.
Since the theft from our car last fall, a small coin purse I’d use to carry an assortment of pills. A display of Blue Q Bags caught my eye and the rest is history. Made from 95% post consumer material, their unique designs and catching graphics sealed the deal for me.
We left to walk back down Moreland Avenue, checking out a number of local watering holes with an eye to stopping in for a drink. A couple of blocks down and across the street an interesting looking collection of three food concepts caught our eye, and we entered the first Front Page News (Tijuana Garage Taqeuria & Cantina, and Cameli’s Pizza the other two) and found a place at the bar.
I ordered an Abita Andygator (doppelbock) and Joanna, in keeping with the spirit of the Peach State, a Georgia Peach Martini (Absolut Peach vodka, peach schnapps, OJ and Sprite). Not yet hungry enough to order food, we regretted it somewhat as the New Orleans inspired menu looking intriguing. We lingered over our drinks and engaged the bartendress in conversation about the area and, given it being the weekend before Super Bowl Sunday, her support of her hometown Atlanta Falcons.
By now we were feeling a bit peckish and decided to walk a half mile or so to our next destination, recommended to us by our friends Dee and Richard, Manuel’s Tavern. Still relatively early in the evening, the place was packed, the larger rooms full of big parties occupying almost all of the tables. Joanna spotted a lone booth just inside the entrance that we quickly grabbed where we made ourselves comfortable.
We’d end up with a couple of rounds of beers, splitting the second one, with one of the best beers we’ve had in some time, a bourbon barrel aged version of a Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Bomb, a 13% decadent descent into a coffee, chocolate, and vanilla bean taste sensation that had us searching for it later in the trip, successfully tracking down a bottle.
For food we split a bowl of the soup of the day, delightful tomato bisque and a Cobb Salad (Grilled chicken, avocado, Applewood bacon, blue cheese crumbles, chopped egg, red onions, and tomatoes over fresh greens).
Sufficiently full after our meal, we set out for the Krog Street Market as recommended by our hosts at 49 Waverly. We’ve found this indoor open market concept a few times in our travels, most recently in Portland. Located in the old Atlanta Stove Works building, a former potbelly stove and iron-pan factory that opened in 1889, after decades and decline it was abandoned around 1988 before being transformed into its current incarnation in 2014.
Featuring over twenty food and retail concepts that that cover the spectrum, we were stopping in specifically to satisfy a dessert craving at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. It will come as no surprise to faithful readers of this blog that somehow Joanna knew about this place, having heard about it through the dessert grapevine only she knows about. We would order a range of flavors over the course of two visits here, but the favorite had to be the Juniper and Lemon Curd (Juniper-scented cream with swirls of made-in-house, sweet-tart lemon curd).
Being a Saturday night, the market was jammed with people, mostly twenty and thirty something’s out for a night with friends, infusing the public areas with a palpable energy that lifted our spirits. We walked the half-mile back to the house for a total round trip of 3.5 miles, a warm night just right for a light jacket and spent the rest of the night planning our Atlanta itinerary. We were off to a good start and the next few days would bring even more good times.
1930 Modern Bungalow: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/7004215
Little Five Points: http://littlefivepoints.net/
Variety Playhouse: http://www.variety-playhouse.com/
Junkman’s Daughter: https://www.thejunkmansdaughter.com/
Blue Q Bags: https://www.blueq.com/
Front Page News: http://www.frontpagenews.com/
Manuel’s Tavern: http://www.manuelstavern.com/
Prairie Artisan Ales: http://prairieales.com/
Krog Street Market: http://www.krogstreetmarket.com/