The weekend before last, CW and I made a quick escape to Atlanta for an overnight getaway. We had just completed our summer classes (I gave a final exam on Friday night — not by choice) and we were ready to kick off the more relaxing phase of the summer.
Saturday morning, we woke up early and headed out on our bikes by 7:00 with our friend N. for a quick 20+ mile ride and then came home, showered, and hit the road. It was kind of a rushed morning, but getting the ride in before leaving town was perfect. That way, we could enjoy all kinds of food and drink while we were in the city and feel like we’d earned the indulgence.
For lunch, we stopped in at the Porter Beer Bar in Little Five Points for some interesting brews and amazing French Fries. Seriously, before I can take a stab at ordering, I have to spend about 20 minutes poring over their beer list, which has over 800 kinds . My first pick was this Belgian Blanche de Namur, which was a wheat beer with a little citrus to it — just what I like.
We also split this Caspar, which was perhaps a little too hoppy and full of sediment for my taste, but good nonetheless.
I subjected my lunch companion to the camera:
And he returned fire:
After lunch we headed to Cabbagetown, the little mill neighborhood where our friend lives. Our plan was to hit up a neighborhood bar to watch the World Cup game (it was Germany-Ghana that day, if I remember correctly).
Cabbagetown is full of murals (managed by a public art group of some kind, I believe, and intended as a graffiti deterrent), and I made our kind hosts walk us around to the bar the long way, so that I could take pictures of them all.
We found our way to the bar and hung around watching the soccer for a while before moving on with the rest of our day.
Carlsberg: a fine Danish beer (but I prefer Tuborg).
Cabbagetown is a really interesting little neighborhood — it’s full of cute houses and pretty gardens and narrow little streets, but the most interesting thing about it, to me, was the insularity of the community. I don’t think our friend (or any of the people we met in the neighborhood) really ever have to leave Cabbagetown for any reason except maybe to work.
The neighborhood has a grocer and coffee and bars and restaurants and a yoga studio (just the necessities, see?). People can walk everywhere: go out at night and never have to drive home; run out for coffee in the morning and bring the dog with you. Locals can tell who’s not from the area by noticing who shows up at the bar in their cars and who walks. People who drove there — don’t live there.
There is something charming about it and I think I could really enjoy living in a neighborhood that could meet most of my daily needs in that way. It would be lovely to just wake up and walk down the block for coffee or to go out to dinner and stroll back home around the corner. Where we live, it isn’t quite like that. It’s a small town, but big enough that you need to drive places most of the time.
On the other hand, there’s something a little weird or maybe just cliquish about such a small, insular community. It reminded me of a hipster Melrose Place in a lot of ways.
For the most part, though, it’s a lovely place. Seeing the houses with their big front porches and sweet gardens gave us some inspiration for things we would like to do with our future house, whenever we have one of our own (and aren’t left to the devices of the owners and property managers).
Step one, of course, will be to cover our walls in large-scale art like this. You think the neighbors will complain?
That is what it felt like to live in Capitol Hill, D.C. I didn’t touch my car on evenings or weekends – everything I needed I could walk to. Even though I lived in the middle of a city, living in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Capitol Hill felt like a small town to me. I could walk to everything I needed, and I couldn’t walk a block without seeing someone I knew. It’s a very, very nice way to live, and I do miss it, quite a bit.
Yes, that sounds lovely. I think as long as we’re living where we are, there won’t be anything really like that. Maybe one day!
A neighborhood like this is my dream. Add easy public transportation to work, and I would get rid of my car in a heartbeat. Some day, indeed. (Let’s be neighbors.)
YES. Sounds perfect.