Take the road ? 15 hidden gems, just outside of Atlanta!

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Of course, you can drive an hour from Atlanta in just about any direction and find yourself in a green and beautiful place. Well, here are some suggestions for state parks and other wilderness areas dotted with spectacular waterfalls, miles of hiking trails, and hidden swimming spots. But just as important: what are you going to eat along the way?

Heading southwest towards Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Bush Head Shoals State Park, thread, West Point Lake, Callaway Resort & Gardens, and FDR State Park

1. Tyrone

Latin American influences Kakao coffee serves espresso drinks alongside cubanos and chorizo-stuffed breakfast burritos. And above all: the churros.

Bulgogi and brie grilled cheese, from the Asian fusion restaurant Elle Craft Co, is a sticky, satisfying and strengthening breakfast. Grab an Asian lemonade (with lime, ginger, and lemongrass) from the on-the-go case.

2. Saw palmetto

Frank's family restaurant
Frank’s Family Restaurant Cheddar Grouper Sandwich

Photograph by Cori Carter

Only 25 minutes from the city center, Frank’s family restaurantThe Greek and Italian, just off the highway, between a gas station and a wing, is worth a visit simply for its divine cheddar grouper sandwich, served piping hot on crispy bread. Also of note: spinach pie with cheese and fruit turnovers the size of a plate.

Frank's family restaurant
Fruit turnover from Frank’s Family Restaurant

3. Newnan

Assemble a picnic from the offerings to Cleaver and Cork, a new butcher’s shop in downtown Newnan that sells deli dishes including Sequatchie Cove Creamery cheese, Phickles pickles, and more.

Over there near Alan Jackson’s big fresco (it’s his hometown), Rock salt milk bar offers ice cream with flavors like orange-cardamom and snickerdoodle.

4. LaGrange

Go old school at that of Charlie Joseph, a LaGrange institution since 1920, with a slaw dog and a sour lemon. Also on the program: Brunswick stew and Frito chili pie.

Tucked behind a Piggly Wiggly off the town’s main street, cute little one Taqueria Estrella Roja offers the usual taco fillings in handmade corn tortillas as well as two immensely tasty vegetarian options: zucchini and mushroom.

On the way for a hike? It’s a carbohydrate boost. After a hike? A well-deserved reward. In all cases, Wild Leap Brew Co. offers a spacious outdoor area to sample some of Georgia’s best beers.

Towards the northeast towards Lake Lanier, Atlanta Gainesville Botanical Garden, Don Carter State Park, Chenocetah Mountain, Broad River Trail, Panther Creek, Tallulah Falls

5. Sugar hill

Rushed trading company.

Photograph by Cori Carter

The massive biscuits at Rushed trading company. are built – and named – with sustenance in mind: see, for example, the Hunters Biscuit (country ham, Irish cheddar, apple butter) and the Intermediate Hike Biscuit (sausage, egg, cheese).

6. Buford

The “comfort world cuisine” at Rico’s world cuisine includes impeccably seasoned lumpias (Filipino egg rolls) and sandwiches worth checking out, like pork mojo with pickles and guava barbecue sauce.

7. Gainesville

In tasty packaging – either individually or in bread –Diletto bakery Bread stuffed with cheese and guava covers two of the most important food groups (cheese, bread). Grab a mango or passion fruit juice for the road.

8. Viola

Jaemor farm

Photograph by Cori Carter

If the huge apple fritters aren’t enough reason to stop by Jaemor farm and market farm on Cornelia Highway, here are a few more: fried pies, boiled peanuts and peach and strawberry soft-serve, made with locally grown fruit.

9. Cornelia

Costa de Jalisco– both a taqueria and a grocery store – offers the chance to pick up food suitable for the road (including cheese birria tacos) and snacks and Jarritos for later.

10. Demorest

Citrus zest and peppers add a touch of flavor to the avocado melted Turkish tuna to Sweet breads, a brunch spot where cookies and gravy are another fan favorite.

11. Clarkeville

The wood-fired oven Grains of Grace enriches the flavor of everything from bagels and waffles to hot and flaky donuts, with plenty of other breakfast options available at this lovely cafe.

This article appears in our June 2021 issue.


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