Last weekend I went to Atlanta for a little girl time with Elizabeth. For a change, there was no running event or race associated with the trip, just a fun visit with a side of country music. Since Greenville is only 2 1/2 hours from Atlanta, I had spent a little time there, but this weekend showed me so much more of the “real” Atlanta. I got to see it from Elizabeth’s view and experience all of her favorite things. I whole-heartedly understand why these are her favorite things, because I definitely think I experienced some of the BEST of Atlanta this weekend! So, in chronological order…
- Virginia Highlands: Elizabeth’s neighborhood is absolutely adorable. Fully of tree-lined streets, Craftsman style houses, local neighborhood bars, restaurants and boutiques, it is its own little city inside of the city. It was very easy to see why she wanted to live there, because in three short days, I fell in love with the neighborhood too.
- The Beltline and Piedmont Park: Saturday morning, I headed out for my long run while Elizabeth went to the gym. With VERY simple directions, I was easily on the Beltline Trail, which took me right into Piedmont Park.
- West Egg: By the time we slept in, got our workouts in and showered, our trip to West Egg Cafe was more of a late lunch than brunch, but we (barely) survived. We were starving when we got there and since there was a wait, we started with a homeade granola bar. Seriously, I am STILL craving this and kicking myself for not buying some to take with me. It was amazing. Once we got a table, we both chose breakfast over lunch and I had a fantastic omelette and some of the best skillet potatoes I have ever had. I am sure 10 miles of runger enhanced the experience, but no joke, this place is good. Get the pimento cheese grits. Elizabeth let me try hers. To.die.for.
- Monday Night Brewing: After brunch, we headed to Monday Night Brewing for a little day drinking and people watching. For $10 you get 6 beer “sample” tickets, but they aren’t stingy with their samples. There was no way we could have polished off 6 beers in the hour+ that we had before last call, but we gave it our best effort. The FuManBrew was by far our favorite of the beers, but obviously we tried them all.
- Boutique Shopping: After our little Monday Night experience, we knew we would be in trouble if we gave ourselves too much downtime, so we headed out for some shopping at the boutiques in Elizabeth’s neighborhood. It was one cute shop after another. We tried things on and racked up with a few things, including Elizabeth’s outfit for the evening (so mad I didn’t get a full length pic!).
- Empire State South: Delicious. There really is no good way to describe this place. GO THERE if you get the chance. It is Hugh Atcheson’s (from Top Chef) restaurant and consistently rated one of the top 5 (3?) in Atlanta. We sat at the bar and had fun chatting with the bartender and watching him make drinks. Eventually we got brave and tried one of his concoctions. I can’t imagine that anything on the menu wouldn’t be amazing, but you MUST get the Farm Egg. It may sound a little odd, but it was one of the most unique and awesome appetizers I have ever had.
- The Family Dog: Did I mention that I love Virginia Highlands? Including this great little bar that is right in the heart of downtown in the neighborhood. Tons of beers on tap (although we stuck we Nuun Cocktails), live music and a fun, friendly crowd. We had a great time and followed it up with a little late night dancing down the street at The Warren.
- Pilates at Urban Body: Despite having to set an alarm to get up at 10:30, we dragged our hungover selves to pilates with Laura Sunday morning. This was my first pilates class ever and I seriously fell in love. It was an awesome workout and Laura wis really good. She is a runner and knew exactly what Elizabeth needed as she gets stronger from her hip surgery and what I needed as I ramp up marathon training.
- Metro Fresh: You might be starting to notice a little theme here (food). After pilates, we headed to Metro Fresh for a little healthy nutrition after a not-so-healthy night. The food is fresh, changes daily and there were so many things that looked good that we went back Monday for lunch so I could try something different!
- King of Pops: Apparently King of Pops is an Atlanta staple and has even been copied in other cities. The company was started by a guy out of his own kitchen after he got laid off from his corporate job. These popsicles are unlike any other and there is something fun about hunting them down on the corner and seeing what new, unique flavors they will have that day. So good that we made a trip back Monday.
- Ammazza: Ahem…again with the food. What can I say? I like to eat! This was a new one for Elizabeth as her favorite pizza place is closed on Sundays. Ammazza is brick oven pizza, with a nice thin Italian-style crust. Some of the BEST pizza ever. The atmosphere is super cool too. You order at the counter, it takes like 5 minutes for the pizza to cook, then you sit in booths or at picnic tables. Very “industrial contemporary”.
- Luke Bryan: Okay, okay, I know he technically isn’t a staple in Atlanta, but he is FROM Georgia, so it felt a little more special since he was basically playing at “home”. It is definitely obvious why he got entertainer of the year in 2012. He is AWESOME in concert and we loved every minute of it. Plus he is smoking hot and isn’t shy about shaking his booty up on stage. Florida Georgia Line and Thompson Square opened for Luke. FGL is awesome, but we missed most of Thompson Square because of this: The sky opened up and it poured for about 15 minutes while they were on stage. Luckily we saw the dark clouds coming and took cover so we escaped getting soaked like most of the rest of the crowd.
Monday morning I headed back out to the Beltline for some fartlek work, then we both worked at her apartment all day. Believe it or not, it was surprisingly productive! We were both absolutely exhausted by the end of the weekend. It felt like we didn’t slow down for a second and we packed a ton of fun, plus lots of chatting and catching up into a short 3 days. I can’t thank Elizabeth enough for being the best hostess ever and showing me all of her Atlanta faves.