Take a trip

Five top Atlanta spots

April 20, 2015

Photo courtesy of Devon Hanna
Senior Devon Hanna owns a one person Laser for racing on Lake Lanier, but he also enjoys sailing on his family’s 26 foot sailboat.

Lake Lanier

Decatur offers a limited range of experiences, and students should get out of Decatur to “see what the rest of Georgia is like,” senior Devon Hanna said.

In his opinion, Lake Lanier offers that diversity.

According to Hanna, Lake Lanier allows him to enjoy himself with company through sailing. The drive is just under an hour, and to him it’s well worth the commute.

Lake Lanier Sailing Club gives Hanna an opportunity to expand on his love of sailing and the outdoors, as well as his appreciation of more traditional Southern culture than Decatur provides.

“Everyone at the lake calls people ma’am or sir, and it makes me feel more like a respected adult,” he said.

Places like Lake Lanier offer young Decaturites more diverse social interactions, according to Hanna, and he thinks everyone should get out of Decatur to find something they love.

Yellow River Game Ranch

Yellow River Game Ranch is an unusual experience and is the home to over six hundred critters. It functions similarly to a 24-acre petting zoo, but tame animals like chickens, turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks and even peacocks roam free.

Photo courtesy of Emmie Berberick
The Yellow River Game Ranch encourages visitors to bring cameras to capture interactions with free-roaming animals, like peacocks.

Sophomore Emmie Berberick loved her visit to Yellow River Game Ranch in last May.

“The coolest thing there is probably feeding the bears,” she said. “You can throw foods like peanuts to them and they catch them in the air. You can also send them down a chute where they come out in their pens.”

Along with the eight dollar entrance fee, Berberick suggests packing extra cash to buy food to feed the animals.

The wildlife at Yellow River Game Ranch are all native to Georgia. Some of the most visited animals are the goats, the bunnies, and “one of the largest herd of buffalo east of the Mississippi,” according to the Yellow River Game Ranch website.

Berberick thinks everyone should visit Yellow River Game Ranch.

“Not many people get to say, ‘I fed a chipmunk from my hands,’” she said. “It’s a really great experience because of its novelty.”

Arabia Mountain

Eric Champlin founded and edits Atlanta Trails, an online magazine that informs readers about places to hike, bike and paddle around Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Eric Champlin
The Arabia Mountain Top Trail is full of craters, and rain transforms them into “stunning reflective pools,” according to Champlin.

Often times these places are unknown, even to lifelong residents, Champlin said. He strives to inspire others to explore the outdoors and have “unplugged” adventures.

“Trying new things can make even an afternoon seem like a vacation,” he said.

Seventeen miles east of Decatur lies Arabia Mountain, one of Champlin’s favorite spots to hike with his dog Jake “the Adventure Pup.”

Champlin enjoys relaxing visits to Arabian Mountain, especially since parking is free.

“You take a picnic up to the top of Arabia Mountain, and just chill out in the sun and eat some food,” Champlin said.

Photo courtesy of Eric Champlin
Jake and Champlin make up the duo that is Atlanta Trails.

He enjoys the scenery throughout the trails at Arabia Mountain.

“There is a huge landscape diversity at Arabia Mountain,” Champlin said. “One minute you’re on top of a huge mountain with really cool pools of water and really cool lichens and mosses growing everywhere, then a couple miles down the trail you’re circling the lake, and find yourself in a big grassy field with a rundown barn and rope swing in it.”

It’s only about a 25 minute drive from downtown Atlanta, but Champlin said it feels like “one hundred miles at least.”

“Sometimes the landscape is so different you question whether you’re even in Georgia,” he said.

Arabia Mountain’s otherworldliness and expansive trail system make it one of Champlin’s favorite spots.

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Sweetwater Creek State Park is “the perfect place to escape any worries I might have,” junior Braylen Dixon said.

Located about 23 miles west of Decatur, Sweetwater Creek State Park provides a natural sanctuary outside of Atlanta.

“I remember when we fished there were these guys who invited us over to teach us how to properly catch a fish and how to get them off the hook,” Dixon said. “They were really nice twin brothers.”

Dixon returned to Sweetwater Creek to hike the Stargazer Hike, a moderate two mile trek starting at 7:30 pm during February of last year. Stargazer Hike is just one of Sweetwater’s many trails that vary in difficulty and length.

“The Stargazer Hike made me feel free and open,” she said. “I was obsessed with what I saw – breathtaking views of the stars, planets and constellations.”

Sweet Auburn Curb Market

The Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a self-proclaimed “venue of fresh food,” according to the market’s website. The market houses vendors that supply fresh produce, meats and seafood, restaurants, small retail shops and even its own pharmacy.

Photo by Sasha Larson
Despite opening and owning a Caribbean restarant, Chris Sarpong’s parents originally hail from Ghana.

In 1998, a family-owned Caribbean restaurant, Afrodish, emerged in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

Chris Sarpong’s parents founded Afrodish, and he grew up watching the market change from the inside. He watched the market’s expansion make way for new vendors. This, he thinks, has allowed business in the market as a whole to increase. Sarpong also believes that the new Atlanta streetcar driving right by the market has grown business.

People should visit the market “to try new experiences and to get a new outlook on businesses,” Sarpong said. “Not all businesses and restaurants get their own specific location like you see here in the market.”

The food service industry fits Sarpong’s attitude because he enjoys meeting new people and satisfying them with his food.

“You see a lot of fast food restaurants going up out there,” he said. “We give people a chance to try different things with our home cooked food.”

Sarpong’s personal favorite is jerk chicken, but he loves all menu items.

The prices at Afrodish and throughout the market are fairly low, with a meal costing just around seven dollars.

Sarpong thinks everyone should give Sweet Auburn Curb Market a try because of the friendly service and family owned stores, along with delicious food.

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