I didn’t have expectations going into Atlanta. When I first started solo traveling, I used to love visiting large cities. I’d chart walking paths to notable sites and just walk for hours and hours. So when I was heading through the South I added Atlanta to my list as a short stop, knowing that Atlanta might be a little too much city for me even after 4 months without NYC. So for the first week of October I found myself in an apartment that sold itself as an “Urban Farm” in Atlanta.
It was quite a change from the months I’ve spent in the mountains of Asheville, NC or the small hamlet in Bethel, NY and I admit I found the hustle (and the traffic of Atlanta) really overwhelming. To start off, my last 2 hour leg into Atlanta turned into a 3 hour journey as I got stuck in traffic as soon as I hit the city limits.
The weather really didn’t help. It rained during most of my visit, not just rain, down-poured. Atlanta was forecast to get an entire months worth of rain over several days and it seemed to rain at the most inconvenient times such as in the mornings when I’d normally go for a long hike with Nova before starting the workday or in the evenings when I’d just be wrapping up work and would want to venue outside to explore.
I met up with a friend at Little 5 Points, an artistry outdoor area with some graffiti art and some cute shops and it started down-pouring almost immediately and we had to cut our visit short. I only managed to snag photos as we pulled away.
Then there was the situation with the apartment from my first stay. It was originally advertised as an apartment at an Urban Flower Farm and I was really excited about the thought of a lush and beautiful backyard with endless rows of flowers. They even mentioned chickens and the possibility of fresh eggs.
The place itself looked a little rustic but I had expected it to be and coming from New York City I’ve learned I’m not particularly picky about the “quality” of my stays. I’d look at our friends prewar apartment with pealing off-white paint and windows with bars on them and say it was “nice” (and mean it!). But this place was stretching the meaning of the term rustic, to the point of abusing it.
The hosts really meant the property “not well maintained.” The inside was fine, however the backyard wasn’t full of flowers but instead was full of broken lawn decorations, overgrown plants and random piles of sticks in really inconvenient places that would scratch up your car if you parked in the wrong spot (ask me how I know this). It was the first place I had stayed in this entire trip that I really didn’t like. Fortunately, I only had to make it through the week.
But then when I looked at the back entrance there was the most problematic part of the airbnb. The back door had this heavy grated security door that locked, kind of like a heavy duty screen door. It seemed great in theory, I could leave the back door wide open to get some airflow but still keep it locked. However a couple of days into the stay I noticed that there was a large hole right cut into the door. It had been there a while and I had just never noticed it before because the host covered the hole with this thing wooden sticks that were tied together. It was pretty obvious to me that in the past someone had cut the security gate to unlock it.
My gut told me it was not a good idea to stay there. I cancelled the stay, explaining to the host why, weirdly, she seemed extremely understanding. I’d gather that I wasn’t the first person to feel a little bamboozled by the listing vs the reality of the apartment. I booked another stay at an apartment building a little ways across the city.
The only real plus side of my original stay was that it was steps away from an 1996 Olympic training track and field that is still maintained. I was able to run on a track used by Olympic Athletes! So in one of my couple days staying at the “Urban Farm” I ran a few miles and worked out on at the track. It was really cool to just picture all those world class athletes lapping me over and over again during that run.
My next stay in Atlanta was this mid-luxury apartment building with a tenant-only gym, pool and lounge area. It also had an attached parking garage and was conveniently located minutes from downtown. Not walkable but it was a quick drive. Parking in Downtown Atlanta isn’t quite New York City level but they have a complicated arrangement of parking garages and parking rules. According to a local friend they will not hesitate to boot your car if you ignore them.
Unfortunately my first night at the new place the fire alarm went off around midnight. Disoriented and dealing with a distraught dog, I threw on some clothes to join some very grumpy tenants in the courtyard. We were outside for maybe ten minutes before the firefighters gave us the okay and I went back in, settled my racing heart and eventually fell back asleep.
I was already awake and heading out when the Alarm went off again the next morning but I was better prepared this time, I walked Nova and the alarm was over before I came back, fortunately that was the last time the alarm went off during our stay.
Since I wasn’t able to get our on hikes due to the terrible weather I instead took advantage of the apartment gym and had it all to myself. It was the first time I got in a gym workout with real gym equipment since before the pandemic hit.
The weather finally cleared up by Friday, my last full day in Atlanta, and I managed to finally get a hike in at Sweetwater Creek State Park. It was quite a gorgeous place with Ruins of an old factory and a nice hike along a large river.
Atlanta Pride is normally scheduled for early October however most of the events of Atlanta Pride were cancelled again due to COVID. The only Pride Event still on schedule was the Out Night at the Aquarium. For a regular ticket you got drink vouchers, full access to the aquarium, performances and a Pride Dolphin Show!
It was a pretty sweet event.
I also managed to catch a few touristy attractions. I visited a bunch of local coffee shops, I went to Martin Luther King Jr Historical National Park, I went the Pounce City Market, I grabbed some food from Dekalb Farmers Market.