Like 39 million other Americans, my wife and I have just returned from traveling on the long July 4th holiday weekend. We made the five hour trip up to Atlanta, so that she could could take part, and I could spectate, in the annual Peachtree Road Race. Oddly enough, however, the race itself was not until our day of departure, which left four full days for us to explore, and eat, our way around one of my favorite cities.
My usual at The Varsity - #1 with Rings and a Coke
While the greater Atlanta area is the poster child for urban sprawl, there are three main sections that we tend to spend all of our time in the city; Buckhead, Midtown, and Downtown. For this trip we decided to stay at the W in Buckhead (more on that later) as the starting line for the Peachtree was less than 100 yards from the hotel. Buckhead is the Upper East Side of the ATL, and as such is home to some of the finest hotels, restaurants, and much to my wife's pleasure, shopping. With nothing planned for our first afternoon in the city, and Ann Taylor Loft's 40% off sale, we simply HAD to walk over to the Lenox Square Mall and blow our travel budget in the first hour.
The next morning began with a short walk to The Highland Bakery, where I enjoyed the finest French Toast of my life. This stuff was so amazing, that I insisted that we have breakfast there the remaining 3 mornings, and of course I ordered it every day. I was pleased to learn there are multiple locations throughout the city, and I'm certain proximity to one will factor into where we stay on future trips to Atlanta. After breakfast, we hopped on the MARTA train Downtown, so that my wife could check in for race, and buy some well deserved gear at the race expo.
There is something about Atlanta in July that the heat is simply oppressive, with this coming from a guy from Florida. I think it must have something to do with the ever present haze that hangs over the city like a greenhouse roof. After venturing out in it for two days, all I wanted to do on day three was sit by the hotel pool, where at least I could cool off every now and then. After a few hours of listening to our fellow loungers complain about the price of drinks, we got ready for dinner, and hopped on MARTA to Midtown.
Over the last few years, Midtown has become the "new" Buckhead, with hotels and restaurants alike deciding that to be relevant they simply must have a location in each. As we made our way to the restaurant, I began to think that I may actually prefer Midtown over Buckhead. To me, Midtown has a much more metropolitan atmosphere, and gives one the feeling of being in the city. Whereas Buckhead, in my opinion, lacked that feeling, and seems a bit detached from the heart of Atlanta. Then again, it could just be that the buildings are taller in Midtown.
This was our third trip to Atlanta in the last 5 years, and each has provided some great memories. From the Gators winning college basketball's Final Four, to Paul McCartney in concert at Piedmont Park, and now my wife's successful run in the Peachtree. It seems that Atlanta on the 4th is going to be a new tradition for us, but it will be interesting to see if I view future trips in the same positive light, given I committed to run in next year's race....
~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~