When it comes to states in America, Georgia usually gets a bad rap. Many people either think it’s a smog-filled, traffic jammed wasteland or a place filled with tough, country cops and tractor-driving hillbillies. While there is a sliver of truth to these points, Georgia is truly a gem of a state that’s a mix of laid back, southern charm and trendy swagger.
During this road trip stop, I visited much of the Atlanta metro area – specifically the regions of Buckhead, Virginia Highlands, Serenbe, Conyers, and downtown Atlanta. My boyfriend, Stefan, was also in town for business, and as I walked around with a smile on my face, he remarked that I look so happy in Georgia. One of my favorite things about this state is that people actually say “good morning” to me as I walk by, where I might just get a suspicious glance thrown my way in Miami. I guess it’s the little things that impress me in life, guys!
Maybe I hold Georgia so close to my heart because it’s been a second home to me for my whole life. Some of my family lives in Atlanta, so we would visit at least twice per year as I grew up – and of course, I had to go to University of Georgia. Best decision ever. The more I come here, the more new, charming things I find to appreciate. This time was no different. Inspired by photos I took on my first road trip stop, here are some of the reasons I can’t help but fall in love over and over again:
1. There are huge, leafy trees everywhere. This makes the hilly city streets look so incredibly lush and beautiful.
2. You’ll see street-after-street of charming, craftsman-style houses with beautiful gardens just a block away from boutiques and restaurants. I want a place this cute! In Atlanta, explore a neighborhood called Virginia Highlands where, based on what I’ve visited so far, go to a casual tapas bar called Noche and a gift shop called Dakota J’s. The best thing to do here is just walk down the streets looking at all of the adorable homes!
3. Georgia has basically every landscape a person could want. Rolling farmland? Check. Beach-lined coast on the Atlantic? Check. Mountain vistas? Check. Rivers, lakes, waterfalls? Well, of course.
4. This state has ladies doing amazing stuff! Ashley, the super knowledgeable farm manager at Serenbe, got her first experience on a farm only four years ago. Before that, she’d graduated from college with a degree in business! Ashley came to Serenbe Farms as in intern, as she was interested in learning how to grow her own food, and she ended up enjoying farming so much that she’s been doing it ever since. I love when people find their passions.
5. Georgia has tons of farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants which fosters a tight sense of community. Most of the town of Serenbe gathers at the farmers market every Saturday to chat and buy their weekly vegetables. I think it’s a great concept to have a community focused on wellness and sustainability for families to raise their children in. Athens, Georgia also has a great farmers market & local food community that I enjoyed participating in while in college.
6. It’s so easy to live a healthy lifestyle in Georgia! After exploring Serenbe and all of its boutiques, Stefan and I went on a walking tour of the beautiful Serenbe Farms. They sell 60% of their vegetables to local residents who have signed up for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Every week the residents will get a big box of a wide assortment of vegetables that have been harvested. It’s a great way to get healthy, fresh foods and to try out new recipes every week. I did a CSA with a farm in Athens for a couple of years and loved it!
7. This state has so many awesome restaurants and cafes that it’s crazy. Don’t even get me started on all of the bars and microbreweries. And if you ever decide to visit Serenbe, which I would recommend as a relaxing Saturday trip, you must get all of these pastries. They are the best. Ever.
8. Georgia is where all of the cool kids go. Creative and laid back entrepreneurial types thrive here – just like this awesome little girl. Stefan and I saw a Top Chef shopping at the farmers market as we ate our breakfast. It’s obviously the place to be.
9. Georgia Aquarium. Biggest in the world. Whale sharks. Beluga whales. Enough said!
10. Want a place with a bunch of fascinating history and cultures to learn about? Georgia. For instance, I visited the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers where Trappist monks make money for the monastery through a variety of projects that are sold to the public. This includes: honey from beekeeping, homemade pasta and fruit preserves, and homemade fudge. The most interesting thing that the monks do, in my opinion, is sell bonsai trees that they’ve trimmed and taken care of for many years. Some of the most beautiful bonsai trees in their garden are being sold for several thousand dollars! It’s an amazing sight to see.
11. Georgia is home to the best milkshake in the entire world. Drive all the way from whatever state you’re in to the OK Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta and order a peanut butter milkshake. Right now! You will never regret it, unless you’re allergic to peanuts.
There you have it! I hope you can tell how passionate I am about this state. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit Athens this time around, which I could rave manically about, but I’ll save that for a later date. So have you ever gotten to know Georgia on a deeper level? What do you love about it? Let us know in the comments below. Also, please share this post on Facebook or Twitter if you love Georgia just as much as I do. 🙂 Next stop on my road trip: the Raleigh/ Durham area of North Carolina. Stay tuned!
Have a wonderful day,