The second installment of a multi-part series about suburban Atlanta life in the summertime. Part 1 can be found here.
We are often too distracted by the monstrosity that is Roswell Road to notice that if you keep driving north past the fast-food restaurants and abandoned shopping centers, the omnipresent arterial transforms both in name and in character into Atlanta Street. Atlanta Street: you may know it as the one with the anxiety-inducing interchangeable lanes, but it is also the portal into Historic Roswell. And Historic Roswell is in fact very charming.
The area’s origins date back to the 1830’s when a businessman named Roswell King (how great is that name? Why doesn’t anyone name their kid “Roswell” anymore??) built a cotton mill. The mill was burnt down during Sherman’s march through the south but many of the homes were spared. Everything has since been restored/renovated.
Behind the mill, there is a covered bridge that leads to the Chattahoochee National Recreation Center. The woman at the visitor’s center told me there was a waterfall somewhere and I wasn’t yet sweating through my shirt so I figured I would cross the bridge in search of said waterfall.
I listened for the sound of falling water but to no avail: I could barely discern between the regular river-water sounds and the buzzing of a pressure-washer being handled by someone back at the mill. I was inappropriately dressed for any more than a short hike, anyways, since I had gone sockless in my Converse sneakers (imagine the blisters!). No worries – I walked out of the valley and up into the little park in the town square whereupon I briefly, albeit very seriously, contemplated jumping into the memorial fountain.
I was losing steam but not ready to forfeit just yet so I walked down to one of the big, old houses called Bulloch Hall. Something about Teddy Roosevelt, something about President Carter…sweat was dripping down my neck now…rich white people… big, rich, white houses…I walked into one of the neighborhoods looking for the historic cemetery. The houses were adorable but there was no cemetery in sight. Oh well. I kept walking…sweat in my eyes – gosh darn it’s hot today! – lush gardens, quiet neighborhoods…a swing set! I’ll sit here and swing for a second… I wanted to walk around the shops at Canton Street but I better leave those for next time.
Thoroughly enchanted by Historic Roswell’s antebellum charm but simply too sweaty to go on, I drove south on Atlanta Street, back towards the fast food restaurants and abandoned shopping centers, all the while wondering what other gems Roswell Road has to offer me if I just look a little harder.Check out Suburban Summer Part 3 here
I’ve been on a tour of Bulloch hall and it was so interesting! You should do it one day (Although you already know a lot of the information the guide will tell you!)
LAUREN! So good to hear from you! Yeah – I didn’t get to go inside since it was after 3pm but the wonderful thing is it’s very close to my house so I can always go back… (P.S. you gotta tell me about NY missy!!)
Another great post! If you get the chance, head back to the river behind the mill and take a stroll down the West bank. There’s a nicely narrated path showing various aspects of the old mill and machinery. Eventually (it’s really not too far) you will come to the dam and waterfall – most easily accessed from the East side of the river – cross via the covered bridge you mentioned – unless you fancy a dip!
You should also head a little bit further North up Atlanta Street and walk Canton Street. Some really excellent bars and restaurants – not a bad one among them! If you get tired, a shot of coffee at Roswell Provisions will get you back in the groove! Another option is to hit Canton Street for “Alive After 5” which is the 3rd Thursday each month during late Spring though early Fall. Roswell really comes to life, with loads of great bands and an exciting buzz. Parking can be a bit tricky, but worth the hassle!
Oh thank you!! That help with the waterfall – I was really confused about that one – and I want to go back to Canton Street to see the hustle and bustle. Such a cute little area 🙂
Roswell! Who knew! Actually I wanted to have your bat mitzvah at the Mill…and there are a couple of other mansions that do events in the neighborhood. Nice piece.
It sure is a great place to have a wedding. SO MANY VENUES. And hey – I remember visiting the mill to see about having my Bat Mitzvah there. I wonder why I didn’t like it cause it’s really very lovely…