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