48 Hours in Atlanta….GO!

It ain’t even March yet, but Steve points to this new article in the “April issue” of National Georgraphic entitled, “48 Hours in Atlanta” by the Atlanta Mag Food Editor Bill Addison.  There’s this rather clever observation at the beginning..

“People tend to forget that Atlanta is young compared to other American cities,” says author and illustrator Tray Butler, a Georgia native. “New York was founded 200 years earlier. Even Sunbelt superstars like Charlotte or Houston are technically our older siblings. What we have is a youthful exuberance, a kind of rebellious spirit, and yes, some growing pains. Atlanta is like a teenager: It can’t stop changing.”

Both Cakes & Ale and its homestead of Decatur get mentions – with the old “Decatur is to Atlanta as Berkeley is to…”.  You know the rest.

Addison has a lot for you to take on in your 48 hour stay.  MLK National Historic Site!  Little Tart Bakeshop!  Inman Park!  Billy Reid!  Miller Union!  Oakland! High! Dad’s!

Anything missing?  Beltline?  Piedmont Park?

42 thoughts on “48 Hours in Atlanta….GO!”


  1. And has anyone who compares Decatur to Berkeley ever actually BEEN to Berkeley? I don’t remember us having anything in Decatur akin to the public nudity problems that Berkeley has. I’m sorry, Agnes Scott and Emory can’t hold a freak candle to UC Berkeley.

    1. I always thought the “Berkeley” part of the saying came from the slightly liberal bent that Decatur has. Or “free-spiritedness” or however you want to spin it.

      1. Go to Boulder or Berkeley and check the scene, we are conservative compared to those places. But in comparison to our neighbors in Buckhead and the the suburbs, we are freaks!

        Fats, I don’t think he was trying to say we were just like Berkeley. Rather, that we are an interesting ‘pocket’ compared to the rest of Atlanta. Maybe L5P is to Haight Ashbury as Decatur is to Berkeley…

        1. Oh, trust me. I’m from the northeast so it took me a long time to see Decatur as distinctively “liberal” or “progressive”. It’s all about context, I suppose.

              1. I guess that would make EAV Atlanta’s Williamsburg. And Snellville would be Atlanta’s…Snellville.

  2. And one more quibble about Addison’s article. The “quirky poignant caricature” that he mentions in the southern folk art collection of the High is a piece by Howard Finster, probably one of the most famous artists, vernacular or schooled, to come out of this state. The High and other institutions have marginalized artists like Traylor, Dial, and Finster for decades. This doesn”t help.

    1. The High had many Finster pieces on prominent display in December, along with a lot of other southern folk art.

      1. The new display of the folk art collection is a great improvement over the previous gallery and the Thornton Dial exhibit Hard Truths goes a long way towards correcting some of the past injustices tossed Dial’s way. I would, however, love to see the Dial that hangs currently in the folk art gallery be moved into one of the contemporary art galleries rather than have the term “folk art” hung on it.

        1. Folk Art generally means that the artist did not have any formal training in his/her craft and usually is created by tradespeople or indigeous people and used for decorative or utilitarin purposes rather for the pure aesthetic value that most fine art is created. There are other various aspects that go into defining folk art.

          Finster is folk art…and that is not a put down.

          Wow…my art degree did come in handy.

    2. I’m probably wading into waters I don’t know that well, but how has the High marginalized Howard Finster? I remember a huge exhibit in the mid 90’s (and a gorgeous exhibit poster that was in my classroom for years). And didn’t they purchase hundreds of pieces from Paradise Garden? They have a pretty significant collection of folk art and seem to take it seriously and treat it with respect. Maybe I’m just unaware of some internal politics or prejudices there?

      1. Whatever you want to call it, whether vernacular art, outsider art, visionary art, it is kept in its own separate little world away from academic art and is given less credit than it deserves from the art establishment. Finster has been marginalized by buttonholing him and keeping him separate from the “serious” art along with the donations made over the years by folks like Judith Alexander and T. Marshall Hahn. Alexander donated some 130 pieces by Nellie Mae Rowe. Rowe is one of the centerpieces of the folk art exhibit at the High along with Finster, and there are perhaps 8 of her works out there.

        1. That’s an interesting point of view, FM. I have always considered that the High “featured” its folk art collection, not that they had ghettoized it. For example, the collection has (or had, there is a change going on right now) its own curator. That seems to suggest it gets special, additional attention rather than if it was folded into 20th century American. But, like Jake, I am wading into waters I don’t really know.

  3. I think Decatur is the third town I’ve lived in that compares itself to Berkeley, and the second where I’ve heard Mayberry meets Berkeley. I assume someone from Berkeley would find that very quaint.

      1. Hey now, as a Berkeley grad, I have to say it isn’t the students (or grads) that are doing the panhandling! Sadly, parts of Berkeley have become a mecca for those that want to drift, but do it somewhere (once?) hip. Interesting article in today’s sfgate.com about plans to attempt to revitalize Telegraph Ave. One thing that helped lead to the demise of Telegraph was the demise of some great bookstores (RIP Cody’s). We all need to work hard to support our great local bookstores here in Decatur!
        I will admit that The Naked Guy was a student:)

  4. Decatur may not exactly be Berkeley, but we do have that old guy with the grey hair that walks to Kroger everyday in the summer with no shirt and short shorts.

  5. If the rest of the comparison is “…as Berkeley is to San Francisco” I’m not feeling it. Berkeley seems much more separate from SF (though certainly with some shared culture and politics) than Decatur does from Atlanta. East Atlanta merges pretty seamlessly into Decatur. If anything, parts of East Atlanta seems more like Berkeley to me than Decatur, the lack of a university presence notwithstanding. Of course, the political bent is relative; Decatur is a blue city in a red state while Berkeley is a deep blue city in a blue state.

  6. Back to the article itself, I think hitting it early that Atlanta is a city of neighborhoods is fundamental. Just hanging out from a hotel in Downtown isn’t any kind of real glimpse of Atlanta. I’m also glad Addison highlighted the newly burgeoning Westside- that will be new information to people who haven’t visited in a while. One thing I wish was included in the article is that other than the Westside portion, all of his activities are easily accessible by MARTA, so a visiting conventioneer feels like exploring these places is an easy thing to do.

    One more thing on the Berkeley connection- Addison says this write after talking about Cakes and Ale. Remember that Chez Panisse, the Bay Area’s most famous restaurant for a long time during its heyday, is in Berkeley.

  7. I’m glad Addison made the salient point about Atlanta in the article: tourists who stay downtown are missing out on “the charm and diversity of the city’s many singular neighborhoods.”

  8. “I think hitting it early that Atlanta is a city of neighborhoods is fundamental. ”

    We must have hit submit at the same time, Macarolina. (see my post above)

    1. Very true. I was speaking to a recent visitor of ATL and they were slightly disappointed with their visit. I asked about what they did here and he mentioned city/tourist attractions. On his next visit, I encouraged him to visit the “neighborhoods ” of Atlanta to experience the good stuff. San Francisco is often identified as neighborhoods as well.

  9. “One thing I wish was included in the article is that other than the Westside portion, all of his activities are easily accessible by MARTA, so a visiting conventioneer feels like exploring these places is an easy thing to do.”

    Agreed.
    A few months back I was talking to a guy who was working on pre-production for one of the movies filming here. He was being put up in one of the hotels connected to Peachtree Center. He’d been there a couple of months, and he said he didn’t like the area much. I told him about the pubs and restaurants in downtown Decatur, but the distance put him off. When I mentioned that he could get here fairly easily on Marta, he said “what’s that”? Two months in a hotel practically on top of the Marta station and he didn’t know there was a train steps away.

    1. and this is why Atlanta gets a bad rap. For this particular guy, the film commission should be doing some outreach to the production folks, to make sure they get the best out of the area and wan to come back.

  10. The post heading asks “what’s missing?” I would have included the Little Five Points area, but that’s probably my east side bias showing.

    1. I dunno about L5P. Yeah, it’s got the Porter and the Variety and Seven Stages, but other than that? The Vortex, I guess. It’s more of a local hangout than someplace I would point tourists to. If Decatur is Atlanta’s Berkeley, L5P would be Atlanta’s East Village.

      1. Well, ok, but L5P is certainly more interesting than Inman Park, which is mentioned in the article.

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