A couple of weeks ago, Ampersand asked me to write a Love Letter to Athens for their fall edition (be sure to pick up a copy!). Since I recently accepted a position in Bloomington, Indiana my time in Athens is quickly coming to a close. Writing that letter for Ampersand felt like a really good start to saying goodbye to this city I’ve called home for the past four years. So I figured I’d use that template as a chance to properly leave some of my favorite haunts.
Thank you for not judging me when I started going to movies solo that one summer. And for satisfying my inner film nerd, even when I didn’t really know much about them yet. I’ll miss your cozy screening rooms and stacked lineup of popcorn flavorings. Plus, I’ll never forget that rainy night when I saw Manhattan for the first time (and on 35 mm) or when I (publicly) cried while watching Rust & Bone. You’re like a wonderful older sibling who’s taught me so much. Cheers for helping make some of my fondest memories.
Dear hip bar row,
I’m only lumping you together to save myself & the readers some time. But you each hold a special place in my heart. Little Kings, you hosted my 22nd birthday party and for that I’ll never forget you. And you played host for the quieter nights that were just as enjoyable as the crazy ones. Manhattan, even though your popcorn was never as good as Flicker’s I will always love you. Especially for that one night full of warm drinks (and my first hot toddy). Oh Max, I couldn’t leave you out! From graduation night to just plain old Saturdays, you never let me down. Thanks for the late night dance parties and (more importantly) food truck sustenance. NEVER CHANGE.
Dearest 40 Watt Club,
There are literally too many things to retell here. But thank you for helping me see some of the best shows I can remember. And for somehow letting me book a few shows with some of my friends. I’ll never be able to think about Athens without thinking of the Watt. From seeing Jeff Mangum live for the first time to putting together that Real Estate show you legitimately changed my life. Even if that’s cheesy to say, it’s absolutely true.
You were everything I’d been told you’d be. I’ll miss seeing you on the way to class and using my breaks as an excuse to find some new vinyl. Thanks for sharing lovely local music selections and weird compilations. Every day was record store day with you.
As Athenians we’re blessed with almost too many options when it comes to settling on the coffee spot that’s just right. We’ve all encountered the quintessential Goldilocks syndrome of too-small tables, poorly mixed playlists, and overpriced lattés. So when you find that place it makes that hot mess of searching worthwhile.
I honestly couldn’t tell you about the first time I went to Walker’s. But I can (without fear of hyperbole) say that other than the college radio station (WUOG), it’s where I spent most of my college career.
For me, Walker’s has the magical combination of raised, spacious tables, solid coffee selections, and a soundtrack that is suspiciously in tune with what I want to hear. On damp winter mornings I sought refuge in the high backed booths with (probably too many) toasty Americanos. In the spring I rejoiced alongside my fellow coffee shop campers when the street facing garage door was raised.
I’ve used it as an excuse to “study” with friends late at night or to skip early morning classes to be more productive (or to revive myself with copious amounts of coffee). Those surprisingly cozy cubbies have played host to countless group study dates, first dates, and solo blogging sessions.
In between four years worth of iced coffee and hot toddies I made some of the best memories. Maybe I didn’t realize quite how special it was at the time, but after graduation I realize now more than ever that Walker’s was my place. Through fitful WiFi, nail-biting midterms, and woefully large assignments, I could always snag a booth.
So thank you for the late-night caffeine fix, the post-class happy hours, and the early morning pick me ups. When I leave Athens, I sure am going to miss you Walker’s.
I’ll keep it short and sweet. Your brunch has saved me from many a horrid hangover. Your black bean chili & cornbread has made me cozier than almost any other meal in town. And that cake. There are no words for how delicious that grasshopper cake is. Thank you for helping me see that vegetarian soul food is a real thing and for being just a few steps from my front door.
You were something of a dark horse in terms of coffee shop stops. Once you moved downtown I was smitten. Sure you were quite convenient, but you offered delicious iced peppermint tea and damn near perfect WiFi. Plus you were the ideal safe haven on game days. Thanks for letting me camp out for inordinate amounts of time. My blog and I owe ya.
(Insert sigh) – If you know me at all, then you know that I have a very real addiction to Taqueria del Sol. Like not in a joking way. Partially because of its proximity to my apartment, but mostly because it’s fairly cheap and utterly delicious. I will forever crave fish tacos and I’ll never forget the smell of your chips baking as I walked to class.
Last but not least – Barber Street,
My home for the past two and a half years (I love you most of all). Thanks for your charming neighbors and passing trains. Walking home through crunchy leaves and even cold rain was more enjoyable with you. I’ll always remember the dumb yet wonderful graffiti on your sidewalks and the way you smell like bonfires in the fall. You’ve been with me through thick and thin, and I’ve always felt at home with you.
And thank you to all of the wonderful people who have made this place everything it is. I can’t even begin to name all of you. I think that in and of itself is a testament to just how great it is to live in Athens, Georgia.