Traveling for work isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds. There are early morning flights, extra long work days, and a large amount of physical activity (i.e. sore back and feet). Honestly, I rarely see much of the cities I’m in, but a great restaurant or two and perhaps some quick lunch-hour shopping at local stores can make a big difference in my experience. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining… I love getting to see and experience even the little snippets I can while traveling, and am grateful for the opportunity to visit new places and the people I’m able to meet and work with. I’m always able to take away a little inspiration in some form or another.
Recently, my work adventures took me to Atlanta, Georgia. Wow, was it HOT. The nickname “Hotlanta” supposedly derived from reference to the nightlife, but I beg to differ. This was one trip I wasn’t so bothered by being trapped working indoors all day. Once evening hit, things cooled down (a little) and we were able to explore a few aspects of the city in more comfortable temperatures. Restaurants are probably the main way I inevitably experience cities while working in them – you have to eat, right?
My hands-down favorite restaurant was Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall. So much in fact, I ended up there 3 times (one being a very large group dinner where they so graciously agreed to host us). Tucked amongst the trees along Atlanta’s famous BeltLine, Ladybird is a charming hybrid of restaurant, pub, camp and lodge. Several rooms and areas (including a southern-style screen porch patio) with different, but cohesive personalities make up the space – all as a backdrop to a delicious menu of food and drinks. Overall, a perfect “Den & Delve” atmosphere and a suitable source of inspiration for the upcoming Camp & Scout Collection in the Den & Delve Shop.
Other notable restaurants I visited (but not pictured) are Cooks & Soldiers, The Pinewood (their take on chicken & waffles was perfect), Victory Sandwich Bar, JCT Kitchen & Bar, and Dancing Goats Coffee. All worth a visit when you’re in Atlanta.
A stop into the local Army Surplus store over lunch one day turned out to be quite an adventure. Hoping to find some new and interesting materials for repurposing, my initial reactions to the shop were rather lackluster… things were sparse and picked over with no hidden gems to be found. Until, that is, we began to ask more questions about their inventory. Before you know it, we were being offered to explore the warehouse & storage area for ourselves. We climbed into a large, old freight elevator with a wooden slatted door which pulled down from above (a true warehouse-style situation here) and slowly ascended to the 4th floor. I’ll be honest – it was dark, dirty, and extremely hot up there, but a truly interesting and fun experience! Despite the phrase “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” (which was definitely -mostly- true in this case), there probably was also some really valuable and rare things buried up there. Within minutes, we were covered in dirt and dust from frantic digging and uncovering, as if we were in some sort of treasure hunting race. But we managed to find a lot a great things in that mess for both work and personal uses/interest… and for really cheap. I don’t think these people even know what they have or what it could be worth, but we definitely got the good end of that deal. It was a fun experience that I’ll never forget.
The vintage canvas army bag I got has amazing markings and paint on it, but unfortunately is so dirty that I’ve had to put it aside (even after several washings) until further cleaning techniques can be explored. However, I’m determined to get it to an acceptable state as it will make for amazing Den & Delve Shop pouches!
Although exhausted, on our final night in Atlanta, we stopped at the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the Bruce Munro exhibit, Light in the Garden. Words and pictures cannot begin to explain or convey the experience of this magnificent and enchanting art installation. The Forest of Light is site-specific and uses hundreds of miles of optic fibers to transform the garden’s forest into something other worldly (more comprehensive photos of the installation can be seen on both the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Bruce Munro official websites, as linked above). The massive amount of undulating lights scattered throughout the forest were both hypnotic and mesmerizing. Beacon, a separate piece by Monro, is a geodesic dome constructed of plastic bottles with fiber optic lights inside each bottle. These lights also slowly changed color and density reminiscent of the Northern Lights. Seeing this special exhibit was well worth staying up past my bedtime!
A short and sweet snippet of Atlanta though my eyes… I didn’t get to see as much of this city as a normal visitor would, but the things I did see (and eat!) were a pleasant surprise and very memorable. I’m thankful for what I experienced and happy that I pushed through on those tired nights after a long day of work to make the most out of what free time I had (a good reminder for myself and other work-travelers out there). I’d be happy to explore more of Atlanta in the future… but perhaps when they nickname it Cool-lanta.