By Linda Harris
When I’m a tourist discovering a new location, I look for those places that draw the locals. Where does the community gather? Are there any particular shops or restaurants that have a local following?
In Decatur, we make it easy to find the locals and their hang-outs. We simply asked a variety of residents, employees and business owners where they would take a guest and asked them to create a personal “Go Local” itinerary based on their lifestyle, preferences, and interests.
We sent a photographer out with them to create Go Local Itineraries filled with personal suggestions for dining, playing, and shopping, as varied in themes and options as the locals Decatur locals.
My itinerary is called “Welcome Home.” I let you in on what used to be located in some of the now hot spots. For example, The Iberian Pig, a modern Spanish restaurant with a focus on traditional cured meats and Spanish cheese, tapas, salads, and flatbreads, is located in what used to be Smith’s shoe store where my parents purchased our shoes. When Iberian Pig moved in and took down an awning, they discovered the original brick with the old Smith’s sign painted on it and left it in place. Thus, you can appreciate what came before as you enjoy a delicious meal in a beautifully-renovated space.
My colleague’s daughter got married in 2013, and she wanted to hold the entire wedding in Decatur. She created the “Wedding Weekend” Go Local itinerary. A photo of the newly married couple standing in front of the Old Courthouse in their wedding finery makes a beautiful cover. They held the bridesmaids luncheon, rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception in different Decatur locations, and guests stayed in a Decatur hotel. They purchased the wedding cake, invitations, flowers, and items for the guest gift bags from Decatur shops.
The mayor got into the spirit by creating “10,000 Steps With the Mayor” for her Go Local Itinerary. Mayor Patti Garrett, an avid walker, includes such spots as the chickens at the Oakhurst Community Garden, the Agnes Scott College campus arboretum, Decatur’s Secret Doors, and a Living Walls mural. She is also a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, and her choices for snacks and food such as Souper Jenny and Kale Me Crazy are both delicious and nutritious.
Our office manager is also an aunt to two nieces and a nephew. She created the “Cool Aunt’s Day Out” itinerary for her niece, filled with such ideas as Shop and Spa Day, Swim and Sweets Day, Slice + S’mores Night Out, Fiction in the Kitchen, and a Picnic on the Plaza. She is also a native of Decatur and says, “Decatur is the perfect place to enjoy a quality time with my niece.”
Another colleague and her twin sister, who write, “Asian Cajuns,” a fashion blog, created the “Insta-Style” itinerary. The itinerary is done in an Instagram style with plenty of photos and ideas, including the Jack and Coke slushies from Victory Sandwich Bar, a Thali (daily special) at Chai Pani, and a mini-donut from Duck’s Kitchen.
Other titles include “Girlfriends Getaway,” “Foodie Faves,” “Cycle in the City,” “Family Time,” “Vintage Flair Around the Square,” and “Meet Up Indie-Catur,” which contains in-town tips for meetings, conferences, and events in Decatur created by our Visitors Center Manager who is also a Decatur resident.
No one paid to have their shop, restaurant, location, or business in these itineraries. Each itinerary reflects the personal tastes of the authors, and city limits were the only caveats to their creations.
Visit the visitdecaturgeorgia.com website and to find the itinerary that suits you. We would love to see you!