The Five Essentials – Atlanta

I recently spent a long weekend in Atlanta attending a best friend’s wedding.  The wedding, which took place on The Notebook-esque Lake Lanier outside Atlanta, was of course the highlight of the weekend.  Still, and yes I admit quite selfishly, whenever I attend a wedding or event that requires travel, I like to do a little homework beforehand to take advantage of the weekend away and enjoy the local flavor.

Below are Five Fabulous Finds I found for those looking to enjoy Atlanta’s Southern Hospitality:

  • Sid Mashburn: This men’s specialty clothing store makes Gatsby’s famously extravagant closet seem needy.  The multitude of fabrics, textures, colors, and taxidermy (there’s a full-size giraffe bust mounted on one of their walls…) is overwhelming but inspiring.  A truly world-class experience, the men who work at the store greet you with a friendly smile, handshake, and great conversation.  And, they’re impeccably dressed.  By the way ladies- Ann Mashburn is right next door…   An absolute must when in Atlanta.
  •  The Optimist: One might not expect to have an over-the-top amazing seafood experience while in Atlanta, but let me tell you, this place is fantastic.  The décor alone makes it worth a visit- happy stripes and earthen tablewares are oh so chic and fun.  Speaking of fun, there’s a mini putt-putt course at the entrance of the restaurant, and don’t forget to pass by the oyster bar to take home a tangerine colored “The Optimist” beer koozie!  Getting back to the real reason for a visit- the food.  It is phenomenal.  My personal recommendation is the octopus appetizer (we ended up ordering it twice because it was so delicious) – the presentation of the entire tentacle draped across your plate is unforgettable as well and their inventive cocktails are very Instagram worthy.      
  • The Georgian Terrace Hotel: This hotel exudes the real deal Southern charm and glamour of another age.  Built in 1911, the Gone With the Wind premiere took place at the Fox Theatre across the street and the star studded cast including Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh celebrated their big night in the grand ballroom of The Georgian Terrace.  Wrap around columned terraces, floor to ceiling windows, chandeliers and ornate mosaic floors truly have you travel back in time.  The rooms are small, although no smaller than most hotel rooms in Manhattan, so I was glad we only stayed one night there.  Still, absolutely worth a stop for a mimosa at their Livingston Restaurant if nothing else, darling!
  •  Tuxedo Park: Buckhead is the Bel Air of Atlanta- a ritzy neighborhood just outside the city center.  I knew I wanted to check it out, so we went for lunch.  Afterward, we took a little cruise throughout the neighborhoods searching for the Georgian mansions I’d heard all about.  The homes were divine, very old money, and one particular pocket truly stood out.  First of all, the name of this small community within Buckhead is Tuxedo Park.  How fabulous is that?   We drove by the gorgeous mansions with expansive properties, imagining what dinner parties must be like in Tuxedo Park.  Black tie at all times? Oh my.  I highly suggest taking the few extra minutes to see how the Atlanta elite live!
  • Star Provisions: An assortment of over 200 fine cheeses. A vast array of gourmet cured and fresh meats. Southern mega pastries that make your sweet tooth come calling. Beautiful and stylish cookware, home décor and accessories.  Star Provisions is what every market should be like- welcoming, service-oriented, and high quality.  This is the perfect morning stop for a coffee and baked goods.  Before you leave, meander the sprawling space and find a trinket to take home- it’s the perfect place for a gift as well!