Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring in Atlanta



About two weeks ago we met some family visiting from out of state at a local restaurant in the wealthy uptown Atlanta area known as “Buckhead” - read also high rent district…. The restaurant is called the “OK Café.” It is an informal Southern cuisine restaurant and moderate in price.


Click on collage then on each picture to enlarge

I had been there several years ago and saw that it had been enlarged quite a bit. The entrance has many fun graphics of employees.



A framed plaque shows why this restaurant was so named: "The OK Café was named in honor of the OK Café in ‘to Kill a Mockingbird.” Next to it is an autographed note from Harper Lee, the author. I had the “vegetable plate” - turnip greens, squash casserole, black eyed peas and Waldorf salad with a corn muffin. It was quite good.



I can stay a couple of days at home or more, work on my computer and read, but when I am out I like to see as much as possible. When we left the restaurant we decided not to take I-75 the freeway going back home but instead to take a convoluted way through the pretty neighborhood and look at all the spring flowers. Here is a house I used to drive by on my way to work when I worked in Buckhead.



There were quite a few houses for sale – really a lot more than I would have imagined. Behind this bench is another pretty house with a small stream (the house is for sale too.)



But as we drove past this house we had to turn around as some trees were down. There are often heavy rains and even tornadoes here and many aged trees come down unfortunately. (As I am writing this we are under a “tornado watch”.) Atlanta is called the “city in a forest” because there is such an abundance of trees, which is quite unique for a city of this size. Trees cover 36% of the city, the highest percentage out of all major US cities (the national average is about 25%.) The main Atlanta road is named after a tree: “Peachtree.” All these trees make for lovely drives. Most of the houses are shaded by trees and have well manicured lawns.



The houses in the collage below are for sale in case anybody is interested.



Below is another one. I looked up the listing, just to have an idea of how much such a house would cost.



The listing says this house sits on four magnificent acres with spectacular mature gardens and a lake which can be seen from the iron balcony. It has seven bedrooms with seven baths, 3 half baths, a library, a wine cellar and a grotto. Sotheby’s, the real estate company, shows more pictures which I’ll place below – these are the agency’s photos – $4,900.000 and it will be yours (3,500,000 Euros.)



Well I guess we won’t buy it today. I’d rather have a small house and be free to go on many trips. I’d like to go and have a cup of tea maybe in one of these houses, but that’s about it. Luckily I’ve never had delusions of grandeur. In a way I prefer to look at pretty flowers than showy interiors.



The house below does not have the “southern” look. Trying to look like an Italian villa perhaps? Well, their landscaping firm has worked hard in the garden, but for my taste the house is too ornate and a tad pretentious. It does make a nice picture though.



Now we’ll drive away from the affluent West Paces Ferry area toward the Chattahoochee River – and that will be for another post.


Georgia’s Chattahoochee River


37 comments:

DJan said...

What elegant homes, VB. I am like you, though: I cannot picture myself in one of them. I could definitely spend some time in the OK Cafe, and really enjoyed my trip to Atlanta with you.

Lonicera said...

My lottery-winning fantasies involve staying for long periods in houses like this - though not owning them. A house with a pool, however modest - now there you're talking.
Caroline

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

We just drove through Atlanta on the way home. Buckhead is indeed a lovely neighborhood and very upscale. I just read a book about the Buckhead Boys, a very enjoyable read about growing up in Atlanta in the sixties and how the "good ole boy" network works.

The cafe sounds interesting and I especially like the "southern" plate you selected. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter weekend.
Sam

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Oh, there is nothing more beautiful than Atlanta in the spring. I went to college in Atlanta and although much has changed, the exquisite homes and landscapes are much the same.

I will have to try out OK Café on my next visit to Hotlanta. Thanks to Sam for the book recommendation!

Bises,
Genie

Sandy said...

WOW Beautiful homes...

Marguerite said...

Spring looks lovely in Atlanta and those homes are so beautiful! A little too large to live in, for me, though. And the food at the OK Cafe looks scrumptious! Hope that you and your family have a very Happy Easter holiday, cher!

Arti said...

All these southern mansions look like they're the set of Gone With The Wind! What a marvellous post. I know some friends in Atlanta, but have never visited them... they're from here, Alberta Canada. So I can imagine what kind of a culture and climate shock they must have gone through when they moved to Atlanta. But they've not been back except short visits to their families. So, I can tell how fascinating that place is. And I must stop by OK Cafe... if only to see the handwritten note from Harper Lee. BTW, I just saw the movie Capote a few days ago, and Harper is one of the main characters. A riveting thriller, I must say. Thanks for a wonderful post!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Glad you came home a different route, this was great. Having never been to the states it was interesting seeing how different the buildings are over there. Happy Easter. Diane

Frances said...

Vagabonde, you are surely a citizen of the world!

Perhaps you will remember that I was raised in Virginia, and will allow me to chuckle a bit at these pictures of examples of current opulence in greater Atlanta.

Tom Wolfe grew up in the same Virginia city as I did, and set one of his novels in Atlanta, prominently featuring Buckhead.

I would much rather be able to travel than to be tied to real estate like those Buckhead mansions. Think of the air conditioning bills in summer!

xo

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hello Diane, I am a new visitor who stopped in from Elaine's Artic View blog. We have been to Georgia (Savannah) a couple of times and always enjoyed the beauty of older homes in the area. Thanks for showing these in the Buckhead area. They are lovely and certainly priceless.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

All the Spring Flowers are so Beautiful my dear Vagabonde....And, I have always loved looking at Houses---I use to do that here in Los Angeles, quite often, back-in-the-day, on Saturdays or Sundays when they would have "Open Houses" in many neighborhoods....Some of those homes look quite beautiful---especially those in the "Southern Style.....That last one---I agree with you because it seems neither fish nor fowl...lol...And the landscaping is so manicured...!
I look forward to seeing more homes in other neighborhoods, my dear Vagabonde.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Yes, there is a big difference between a house and a home. I prefer a home-comfortable and easy. Not a big pretentious mansion for me, either.
Those pink and orange flowers are so beautiful! Wish we had flowers! Not yet.

Ruth said...

I am the most interested in your lunch plate. We are mostly vegan at home now. We still eat fish and chicken when we go out. I wonder how they seasoned the black-eyed peas. Such a Southern dish.

I've heard much about Buckhead from my sister and niece. There was a time when houses like this would have sent me. But not any more. Give me flowers, as you say, a plain meadow, a window, a door, a chair, a pen and pad. I used to care about decorating, and I had magazine piles and books on flower arranging and rooms. Well I still have the books, but they sit still now. I am far more interested in the simple material of the world — an apple, a tree, a leaf, the sky, moon, birdsong, owl pellets, and bringing them inside to my inner landscape.

But I do enjoy walking in gardens like these, with yard sculptures and vessels. The last one reminds me a bit of the Rodin museum in Paris, minus the fountain.

marciamayo said...

Vagabonde, since I teach in Buckhead, I know it pretty well. I do love the big beautiful housed there, but personally prefer a smaller home. I guess that's a good thing since I don't see a big old ship sailing up the Chattahoochee with a boat load of money just for me.

Miss_Yves said...

En somme, le café OK est un café littéraire!Quelle belle référence!
Non, je n'achèterai pas une de ces maisons!
Atlanta me fait penser bien sûr à Autant en emporte le vent...
Et la première photo à gauche du 2ème collage évoque Tara (ou la dernière en bas à droite du 1er collage)

Lifecruiser Travel Blog said...

Some very elegant homes indeed, yet not quite in my taste. I wouldn't feel at home in them being born into more of a "working class" :-)

Though I enjoy looking at ALL kind of houses, I'm an architecture fan. And garden fan too. Unfortunately I can't do any garden work at all and now lives in a small compact-living kinda apartment instead. One has to adapt to the situation, for the best.

Lovely blooming trees and flowers in your photos above!

Zhu said...

The house for sale looks huge! Kind of like a mini-White House. I wonder how much it cost... and why people need houses that fancy.

We haven't really seen spring yet but it's coming... little by little.

Dianne said...

I too would rather have a modest home and then afford to travel

these homes are wonderful photo models though
the villa made me laugh
reminds me of the few in my old neighborhood of Brooklyn who would buy the house next door and create a monster in the middle of a blue collar neighborhood
never liked those folks :)

Kay said...

Spring is sure pretty in Atlanta. I wouldn't mind one of those homes if I could have a maid to go along with it.
Happy Spring!

Snowbrush said...

I do miss those slow, warm Southern streams.

ParisBreakfasts said...

You live in Scarlett O'Hara country!
What a Palladian mishmash that big house is...not that I wouldn't mind having tea there occasionally either.
merci
carolg

Jojo said...

I don't know how you did the driving and photography!!! I rarely drive in the area because I would cause an accident trying to drive and see the sights! Your photos are lovely.

Kay Dennison said...

Lovely homes. I lost any delusions of grandeur long ago. All I would like is a little home of my own and enough money that I wouldn't have to worry so much and take a nice vacation once or twice a year. There I go dreaming again.

Mlle Paradis said...

Wow. Did not know that Atlanta was 36% trees! That's alot!

Merci de passer encore par Passage Paradis et bon sejour a Paris. Je reviendrai en voir les resultats!

claude said...

Moi non plus je n'ai pas la folie des grandeurs. Il faut beaucoup d'argent pour acheter une maison telle que celles sur les photos, chose que je n'ai pas.
Toutes ces maisons à vendre, c'est sans doute à cause de la crise.
Miis Yves a raison, il y a une maison dans un collage qui fait penser à "Autant en emporte me vent" (j'adore ce film).

BJM said...

Thanks for the tour! Most interesting! B.

Pauline said...

My first visit to your blog - and what a treat. I often think such grand houses are there to be admired and not actually lived in. Looking out wouldn't be the same.
Thnaks for a lovely tour!

Tim said...

I really liked the first photo with all the blooming flowers!

Ginnie said...

Interestingly, Vagabonde, after 25 years in Atlanta, I never really drove through the Buckhead area to see the neighborhoods like this. I always learn from you about the city where I have spent more years than anywhere else. Well, continue to do so because I love learning these things from you.

Now the Chattahoochee...I do know about that. :)

Olga said...

Your post and photos are stunning!

Gretchen Wilson said...

It was a very nice lunch at the OK Diner and with good company. Thank you. We did drive around afterward and saw many of the sights, but my chauffeur was going a little too fast for my camera or my camera wasn't fast enough. Did enjoy the and lunch with you and Jim.

Stafford Ray said...

I wonder if the Grand House is finished. Expensive houses are cheap here too right now, maybe half replacement value. Really enjoyed the tour.

Fennie said...

Why is the countryside, gardens and rural architecture in America so beautiful and yet the city scapes and commercial buildings so ugly? The contrast never ceases to amaze. Mind you you could ask the same question about Wales on a smaller scale, but I am sure there are twice as many flowers in Georgia than anywhere else in the world.

Vicki Lane said...

Growing up in Florida, I'd never experienced a 'real' Spring till my freshman year at Emory in Atlanta. Your post brought back wonderful memories, Vagabonde!

Margaret said...

I loved your Old Lady of the Hill (part 1) and will have to come back and enjoy the 2nd part! I was visiting Savannah GA this past weekend and got back just before the storms hit. I hope you are OK! This set of photos is spectacular - Springtime in the south is magnificent.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Vagabonde, my dear...I know you won't see this till you return, but...I tried to email you to wish you a WONDERFUL Happy and Safe Trip...But, it got returned to me two days later!!! Go Figure! Anyway, my heart was in the right place but the computer devils got in the way....!

Shammickite said...

What amazing houses, and such glorious gardens. I suspect that the owners of these fabled houses would employ an army of gardeners to keep the gounds looking so well-cared for! I agree with you, living in a huge place like this would be far too stressful, I'd always be worrying about maintenance! You certainly live in a beautiful city.

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