It ain't Paris, but ...
If you have looked at any of my Decatur stuff, you realize I am unabashed booster of my little city. Thanks to some excellent leadership, it has become very popular because it is so liveable. Developers who build housing like this in the photo are required to devote the ground floor to retail space and to provide wide sidewalks with nice lampposts and landscaping. My ideal city of the major ones I have seen is Paris. It is beautiful and also has, like Decatur is striving for, housing where services like restaurants and shops are within walking distance. The last few years has seen a lot of improvements to the look of the city. For me this is the best of both worlds - we are in the midst of an urban area but Decatur has a significantly small town feel. It is nice to have people you know personally running the local government. While I do not agree with all the decisions of our city and school board, I feel that they are made with deliberation, concern for the citizens and never for personal gain. What more can you ask.
The view in the photo is looking west on Ponce de Leon Ave (I won't even try to explain how we pronounce that in the South) toward Church Street - the center intersection of the city. The little shop on the corner at the bottom is Rue de Leon - maybe this is Paris after all!
Come to think of it, our favorite restaurant is Cafe Alsace (not Parisian but French). See the second photo.
This photo is my neighbor across the street. Even if you don't agree with his choice of candidates, it is great to see people interested and involved in the election of our leaders. I am not sure you can read it, but between the red signs on the left of the photo is a blue sign which reads "War Is Not The Answer." These were all over Decatur before and at the outset of the US invasion of Iraq. We tend to be more liberal than most Georgians and were proud when, before the invasion, an Atlanta newspaper columnist opined that we shoud go to war regardless of the opinions of Germany, France and Decatur! I take it as a mark of distinction.
Oakhurst Community Garden Project
This project was formed by a grass-roots coalition of Decatur residents to preserve green space and give kids a chance to connect to the earth through engaging them in experiential learning and service of real importance.
Includes 1 1/2 acres of organic herb, vegetable and native plant gardens, restored woodland and wetland habitat and a stream. It is also home to a variety of domesticated farm animals such as goats, rabbits, chickens and honeybees.
It is located at the corner of McDonough and Oakview Drive in south Decatur.
Healthy ice cream alternative (maybe)
This little place just opened in 2009 and sells only yogurt (and toppings). They bill their yogurt as having only 90 calories per serving but don’t specify what amount that is. My grandson found a way to increase the calorie count with toppings of raspberries, M & M’s, candy corn and chunks of Oreo cookies, and observed that it was “healthier than DQ, but maybe not the toppings.” They feature 6 flavors which rotate and tons of toppings. I like the fact that you serve yourself the amount you want and put on the toppings of your choice. They have about a dozen fruit and berries for topping and then about a dozen nuts and candies. It is priced by weight and is quite good.
Decatur Garden Tour
"A World Renouned Gardener in Decatur"
Ryan Gainey is a world class landscaper and lives in Decatur. I gained new respect for him when, a few years ago, Audrey Hepburn did a special on gardens of the world and his was the only one mentioned in North America. He has a lovely old bungalow and his garden is done cottage style. It is extremely lovely and he is gracious enough to invite the public in usually several times a year. He is very creative and loves recycling objects in his garden. Where better to have Adam & Eve?
This one is not a private garden so some person or group in the neighborhood sees that it is maintained. What a great feature of their neighborhood!
""The Well Placed Weed""
Another of Ryan Gainey's use of recycled objects. These are behind a large pond. He seems to be a master at the mixture of colors, shapes, textures and materials.
I also love the title of one of his gardening books - "The Well Placed Weed."
"Welcome South, Y'all"
This is here because it is a very lovely flower and because no garden tour in the South would be complete without a sweet, fragrant magnolia blossom. Can't you almost smell it?
"He is no minimalist!"
The back of Ryan Gainey's house. You can see it is not large but how beautiful he has landscaped and decorated it. When I try something like this it looks like clutter. His looks like a work of art.
"Come on in, the water's fine"
Gainey is not the only one to employ whimsey. Notice the frog floating in the dish. Water features have become very big and Decatur is no exception. People go to great lengths and expense to have a pond or fountain or both.