I was doing a little blog organization this week, sketching out the posts I want to share before the end of the year, and it turns out there are 20. (And these are, in my mind, just the must-dos – gift guides, year-end round-ups, major events I want to capture in the same calendar year, etc.) This is not great news, as I average 5-8 posts per month and November and December are busier than usual months, but I’m looking forward to all of them and I am determined!
So – let’s kick things off with a recap of our late summer/early fall visits to Atlanta, specifically the neighborhoods of Decatur and Virginia-Highland! We parked in Atlanta on both ends of our vacation to Florida’s 30A – it was the perfect midway stopping point to break up an epic road trip. On the way down, we stayed in Decatur, a small-ish city outside Atlanta proper, and on the way back up we stayed in Virginia-Highland, a neighborhood near midtown Atlanta.
These were very brief stays – just one night in Decatur and two nights in Virginia-Highland – but they were both an absolute delight! As I wrote about here, we were hoping to go deep instead of wide on these visits. In the past, we’ve found ourselves criss-crossing cities to check off “must visits.” Instead, we wanted to pick a neighborhood, park ourselves there for the day, and leisurely walk from a breakfast spot to a park to an activity to lunch and back to our Airbnb. And that’s exactly what we did! (This was especially helpful after a long car ride for little kids who were eager to stretch their legs.)
I’m happy to share a little peek into our adventures in case it might be helpful for a future trip of your own!
First: Decatur! We left the Triangle on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, and opted to stay with my sister and her family near Charlotte that night to help break up the drive. From Charlotte, it was about a 4.5 hour drive to Decatur; we left early enough to arrive in time for lunch at the Brick Store Pub on the Square. It was a gorgeous day and we were able to eat outside at their cafe tables (they also have a beer garden with more outdoor seating in back!). We didn’t sample any of the beer, but the sandwiches were delicious. Their menu is American with a European twist: I had a chicken salad melt with havarti and marinated tomatoes and John had the turkey sandwich with smoked gouda and peppadews. Yum.
After lunch we drove about five minutes outside of town to pick up our timed tickets for the Fernbank Museum. We were trying to limit our time inside at this point, so we opted to mostly explore the grounds with our crew.
The museum has 75 acres, including walking trails, a canopy walk, and nature playgrounds. It was nice (and again, a beautiful day!) but we are absolutely spoiled by our local Museum of Life and Science and Fernbank fell a little short for us given the ticket price. My favorite part might have been spotting the most ridiculously beautiful home through the woods on one of the walking trails, ha! To be fair it was magical:
We spent about two hours at the museum, and then hopped back in the car to check in at our Airbnb (about a five-minute drive away). As always, John did a phenomenal job scouting our stay – this Airbnb was one of our favorites we’ve ever stayed in! Everything was sparkling clean, there was music playing when we arrived and chocolates to greet us, a cute porch swing, and comfy beds. The only slight drawback was that the driveway was very intimidating – it was long and seemed to rise almost straight into the air, without much room to turn around at the top. But we managed!
After feeding Annie, exploring the house, and freshening up, we drove back into the Square, Decatur’s town center. We chose this Airbnb because it was close enough to walk to the Square, but in the end we opted to drive to dinner because our crew hadn’t napped that day and we felt like a 20-minute walk there and back would be pushing our luck (plus, we’d be in the dark). But if you stay in this Airbnb, you could totally walk! It would be a bit hilly, but would take you through an adorable neighborhood and there are sidewalks on the main road. I snapped a few photos out the car window, thoroughly embarrassing John per usual.
For dinner, we ended up at Leon’s Full Service. We were hoping to eat at No. 246 (an Italian spot next door to Leon’s!) but they didn’t have any availability until 10. At Leon’s, a former gas station, we were seated right away on their outdoor patio. Our food was good, but the menu was a little exotic for even our adventurous eaters. After dinner, we walked across the Square for ice cream at Jeni’s (delicious, as always!). We ate it on the green space in the middle of the Square, which was so neat.
The next morning we picked up bagels from B-Side Bagels for a quick breakfast, again eating them on the Square. Yummy, though we’d try something else if we returned. After that, we hopped back in the car and got on the road to Florida!
You all were so generous to share SO many great Decatur restaurant suggestions, and we wished we had more time to explore them! On our short list for next time: No. 246, Chai Pani, Victory Sandwich, The White Bull, Iberian Pig, and Sweet Melissa’s. They’re all grouped right around the Square and they all looked good.
Up next: probably the first gift guide, then our stay in Watercolor, Florida!