At the beginning of the year, I made what is now becoming my annual pilgrimage to see one of my best friends, Katie, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Now with Katie as my guide, it’s like I’ve rediscovered Atlanta, a city that was once “just Atlanta” to me. A place I went on occasional weekends, since I grew up in Augusta, Georgia, just two hours southeast of the big city. A place that I thought I didn’t like, but that now has restaurants and locations I find myself wishing to be in from time to time. Thanks, Katie, for helping me re-appreciate my Georgia roots and the big city of ATL!
No matter what, I’ll always be a Georgia girl, that’s for sure.
- Serenbe Farmhouse. Get the fried chicken, made from organic, free-range, cage-free chickens that roam at the farm next door. And then walk around the rest of Serenbe, where you can find lots of other wonderful things to eat and buy.
- Fox Bros. BBQ. A frequent award-winner, this is my favorite purveyor of what I would consider true Georgia pulled pork barbeque.
- Cafe Intermezzo. Every single dessert looks mouthwatering, and I have yet to be steered wrong. Although, unless you want to convulse from sugar, I recommend either getting a specialty drink or a slice of cake. Not both. Not like I speak from experience. Bonus: this place is now also in the Atlanta airport, so you can get your fix on the go.
- Sundial at the Westin. If you asked me what you should do with one night in Atlanta, this should be on your list. Just get drinks here so you can save your stomach, your wallet, and your time for other places — but you have to see this view! Drinks will run you about $10 and up, so come up for a cocktail or two, and then go on your merry way.
- Swan House. A history museum, but also the scene of Catching Fire filming.
- The Beltline. A greenway right in central Atlanta.
We started our weekend at the Swan House, mostly because we both wanted to see where the presidential party scene was filmed in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. And because we care about history. Sort of. Okay, you caught us. Basically we only went because of The Hunger Games.
It’s a pretty building in its own right, but we certainly enjoyed seeing it, knowing that it was part of the movie.
With all those windows and the quadruple-tiered fountain in between the double staircases, It’s very grand, and you can easily see why The Hunger Games found it an appropriate set for the grand finale of the Capitol Tour at President Snow’s house. Although, admittedly, they dressed it up a bit for the movie. See the clip from Catching Fire, if you’re having trouble picturing it as glitzed-up President Snow’s house. (I admit that I didn’t quite see it at first. The shift from monotone to bright purple takes a bit of imagination.)
After our faux celebrity life, we had to recharge at Octane Coffee.
I had heard good things about Octane before coming to Atlanta, but if that cup isn’t enough to tempt you, two things stood out about our experience there. When we first got our drinks, we had hoped to sit outside. It was a pleasant day, but breezy. When we took our coffee outside (without lids, as you see above), the wind blew up and sprinkled debris into our lattés. They weren’t salvageable, and we were crushed. We’d just gotten this delicious coffee, and now it was ruined. When we went back inside to reorder, they remade our drinks, for free, without batting an eye. What service! Also, all of their syrups are 100% homemade. You won’t find a Torani or Monin label here! And because of that, the syrups are richer and creamier, making the lattés — mine was a caramel latte — especially delectable.
The next day, we went to Serenbe, a place I was far too busy enjoying myself at to take many pictures. Serenbe is a farm, a community, and a village with shops and restaurants all wrapped up into one. It’s like visiting a quaint, yet somehow also modern, little town with everything you could need in one place … in the middle of nowhere on beautiful property. (But only some 45 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta.)
I did snap this one of the beautiful landscape. Our original purpose in coming to Serenbe was to eat their delicious, juicy, farm-raised, free-range fried chicken at the Farmhouse at Serenbe. And oh boy, was it wonderful. Quite possibly the best fried chicken I’ve ever had; I still think about it and crave it, months later. We also poked around the shops at Serenbe and walked around the village shops. Before we left, we had coffee and pastries at Blue-Eyed Daisy, which was also fantastic.
The day kept getting better, when we spent our evening at the top of the Westin, at SunDial.
This was from the elevator ride up to the top. We even had a full moon.
And even better company.
We had a great time grabbing a few drinks and appetizers at the revolving bar, which I highly recommend if you want the SunDial experience without the high tab of dining there. There’s nothing quite like seeing Atlanta “revolve” (though you’re the one actually moving) below you while sipping a Georgia-themed cocktail.
Afterwards, we saw this same view from the ground in Centennial Olympic Park.
Centennial Park houses several remnants of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, including the Fountain of the Rings. The new SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel makes the park look especially cool at night. The circular building on the far left is the Westin, where the SunDial glows at the top.
We spent most of the next day around Piedmont Park, which I raved about last year. This park offers everything you would expect from a big city park: lots of winding trails, wide open space, art installations, a dog park and more.
If this shot looks familiar, I took the same one last year. The weather was a little better this year, though.
And we finished off the weekend with Intermezzo, a very sweet ending to a fun trip.
They just put an Intermezzo in the Atlanta airport (Concouse B, in case you need to know). Heaven help all my future connections in that airport. I don’t really think my self-control can resist this any time I’m near it.
Well, Atlanta…until next year. Or until my next layover at your airport, at which time I’ll be indulging in some cake at Intermezzo.