Searching for America: Atlanta
Lucy Connors narrates her experience of Atlanta, Georgia, an eclectic city with new things to discover in every nook and cranny.
Atlanta, Georgia, was the first stop on a ten-day road trip I recently undertook, and I would be lying if it didn’t turn out to be my favourite of all of them. At any intersection hundreds of telephone wires crossed the skyline, constantly in your periphery, interwoven among the most eclectic city I have seen. You turned one corner and were in the business district; all mirrored walls and glass and skyscrapers, you turned another, and you were in midtown; food and arts and culture and street festivals erupting from nowhere, but then you were suddenly surrounded by leafy trees and wildflowers and carefully cultivated homes – million-dollar ones at that. Every neighbourhood, every turn, held a different charm and a different character to marvel at. The cheapest motel we could find was straight out of a movie set – quite literally used in the film Identity Thief – and I think that faithfully captures how Atlanta felt.
The city also has such a significant part in history which was undeniable as we wandered around midtown which had historical markers everywhere. We walked across the city to the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site across from the First Ebenezer Baptist Church. The site features a beautiful rose garden and interactive visitor centre showing exhibits and films educating on the Civil Rights Movement and King’s origins in Atlanta. As we left the site, we quite literally stumbled into the Sweet Auburn Springfest: a street festival with live music, southern food, and hundreds of vendors lining the roads. The city has a vibrant energy and atmosphere totally different from anywhere else.
Every neighbourhood, every turn, held a different charm and a different character to marvel at
The main reason we started in Atlanta was to attend a Rex Orange County concert at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre. The open-air venue was incredible; situated in a hollowed-out space and surrounded by trees; I’ve never been to a concert somewhere quite like it. Atlanta is such a sprawling city that it’s hard to believe you’re still in it at times, and this was absolutely one of them. Rex was the most phenomenal showman, performing half his set completely solo, and managing to sound better than on his records. For his song ‘Best Friend’, he made the crowd put their phones away and take in the moment; it was truly beautiful.
Georgia is an incredible state. An hour north of the city, we stopped off at Lake Lanier in Gainesville. A town with streets named: Whispering Pines Road, Enchantress Lane, and Apple Pie Ridge. A mere stone’s throw from the city – a continuation of the Olympic Park – we sat on the dock, ate boiled peanuts, looked out at the lake, and I knew it was here that I had finally found the endless Southern summer that dreams are made of. Atlanta felt like it could have everything you ever needed, like every turn took you somewhere completely new, and I found that entirely endearing.