I recently went on my annual trip to visit granny Fey. She lives in a north Atlanta suburb called Alpharetta. It’s a really nice area that’s about 30 minutes outside of Downtown Atlanta with plenty stores, restaurants and shopping. Together we’ve explored Alpharetta and Atlanta, but this trip took us to Athens Georgia.
Fey’s neighbor Jackie has a grandson is in school in Athens at the University of Georgia. Last year Jackie visited the quaint city and found a compelling interest in its historic roots and small town charm. Since her return Jackie had been raving to Fey and implored she take a weekend trip there together. So the next morning after my arrival we all jumped in the Prius and headed for sunny Athens…
Athens Georgia is an older city nestled an hour east outside of Alpharetta and about an hour and a half northeast of downtown Atlanta. If you’re from a major city and visit Atlanta you would have no clue what lies in the towns scattered across Georgia. Driving through some of these southern towns gives you a feeling of something you’ve seen in a movie set in 1993. Not only is the pace of life slower, but the characters you encounter along the way can be entertaining and enjoyable.
After a little over an hour we arrive in Athens Ga, and Jackie had everything planned out. First we stopped into the Athens City Welcome Center. This center highlighted the heritage and history of Athens. I find it fascinating that so much music, sports, and arts came from this city. To learn more about the city we took the Athens Heritage Tour. This guided tour introduced us to some remarkable things about the city. We saw the oldest house in Athens, the world’s only double barrel canon, and the historic Downtown district and shops.
Part of the tour introduced sites on the University of Georgia campus. I wasn’t completely sated, so after the tour I expressed we should walk the University grounds to learn more about the school. This was self-serving as I wanted to explore the library and read some of the classic books. The University of Georgia is the heartbeat of this town, and the campus has a matching southern charm. The blossoming trees, flowers and energy of the youth on campus only added to the appeal. Of course being a big sports school, you couldn’t turn anywhere without seeing the Bulldogs mascot, or ‘Dawgs’ as it was commonly referred to.
After the 90 minute tour and walking around campus, we were tired and needed to recuperate. Granny had an idea to visit a local spa to get a massage and pampered. We unanimously agreed this was a great idea so we asked a local for a recommendation on the way back to the car. This nice lady suggested a fairly new and popular spa founded by Athens locals. She said it opened a few months ago and that it was the best spa for the value so we headed there. Upon arriving at Foot Palace we were warmly greeted and all impressed with the decor and mood. We knew we were in for a treat massage and were grateful we asked that lady.
After an hour of pampering and relaxation we were ready to fill our bellies and end our first night so Jackie asked her massage therapist for a recommendation. We told her our fancy dinner would be tomorrow so refer us to a place with incredible food that was a staple in Athens. She directed us to this casual but amazing Latin American restaurant Cali N’ Titos. This unassuming and randomly decorated establishment didn’t disappoint. It was just on the outskirts of the University campus and seemed like a staple to the students. The food was very affordable and delicious. I enjoyed fish tacos, and their plantains were to die for. Granny Fey had a cuban sandwich and Jackie enjoyed the burritos. Everyone was satiated and enjoyed the comfort food. We could barely move from the picnic table, but made our way back to the hotel.
The next morning we got an early start and headed downtown to a popular brunch restaurant called Mama’s Boy. Here we were served a classic southern breakfast with grits, eggs, bacon, french toast and biscuits that were to die for. In addition to this being one of the best breakfast restaurants in Athens, it sit on the Athens greenway. So directly after our splendid breakfast we were able to walk right to the park behind the restaurant. It was a cute area that flaunted the classic Athens charm and beautiful weather. This was also a great way to burn off the calories from the cinnamon bun we all shared.
Next we did what any woman on vacation would, explored the shops and stores the city had to offer. While in Downtown Athens we discovered this boutique called American Threads. This shop had some really unique clothing and handmade jewelry. I fell in love with a vintage shirt and Jackie found some really unique jewelry I’ve never seen before. After stumbling into several other shops, Granny decided to purchase some decorative pieces for her home from a shop called Agora Vintage. This locally owned vintage store had everything from purses to jewelry and art, and had even been featured in Southern Living. Needless to say we all found things we liked and left happy campers. By this time it was late afternoon and time to head back to Atlanta.
The southern flair and hospitality this amazing city offers is something you should explore if given an opportunity. After a weekend of sightseeing, dining, and shopping, there were still so much we wanted to but didn’t get to explore. I guess that means we’ll be back to Athens Georgia for round two. This was such a fun and memorable trip that I’ll never forget and thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks Jackie for the idea, and granny Fey you’re the best!