Downtown and Metro Atlanta is like any other city, with skyscrapers, hip urban pockets, and pro ballparks right next to sketchy hoods. It's a city of contrast, both in culture and in foods. ATL is the hometown of conservative Chik-fil-a, but also HQ to Hooters. In downtown, you can find good sushi the same block as chicken and waffles. And speaking of, there are Waffle Houses everywhere here, even more than there are Starbucks.
But venture a bit further out, or as they say here, OTP (Outside The I-285 Perimeter that encircles metro Atlanta), and you will find smaller towns and communities that smack more of that slower-paced southern lifestyle. I live in one such small town, with the quintessential Georgian name of Peachtree City. While it's just a 30 minute commute from downtown Atlanta, Peachtree City is a world apart in pace of life, enabled by one very important and unique distinction.
Peachtree City is a golf cart community. It's THE golf cart community. Come, let's take a tour.
Peachtree city is a community of about 35,000 that has more than 90 miles of golf cart trails that link everything in town — schools, restaurants, shopping, parks and lakes, and yes, three championship golf courses. Almost every house has a golf cart and golf cart garage, and there are more than 10,000 electric golf carts that roam everywhere, over bridges and under tunnels that traverse the busy roadways and vehicular traffic.
Parents drop off and pick up their kids at school in a long procession of golf carts, rain or shine.
Teenagers drive their carts to the high school, where there is a one year waiting list for a spot in the golf cart parking lot.
These golf carts have a top speed of only 15-20 mph, and so define the easy tone and pace of southern life in Peachtree City. Winters are usually mild, so the carts can be used year-round. When riding around, strangers and neighbors alike give a friendly wave as they pass by. Kids and teenagers zoom by on their way to a friend's house, maybe a swim in the lake, or to catch a movie at the theater. Residents will deck out and customize their golf carts for holidays and parades. Life passes at golf cart speed.
And one of the best thing about a golf cart community is that you can get to just about any restaurant or bar in town. Pub crawls in Peachtree City are done via golf carts. While not true microbrew pubs, there's no lack of beer variety to choose from at any of the bars.
The food culture here has lots of traditional and non-traditional southern fare also. It's not just Waffle Houses and fried chicken. The following are a few of my favorite places and eats in Peachtree City. The first are dishes from the Beirut, a family-owned Lebanese restaurant. On the top Lebanese salad, and below it is a sampling of spreads and grilled lamb and chicken. Fresh, garlicky and declicious.
On the other end of the spectrum — this bad boy, comfort-food special is the best burger in town, served in a local pub. It's a double-decker, fried mac and cheese, organic beef chesseburger, with picked jalapeno and Frank's hot sauce ketchup, on a grilled yeast-bread bun. I prefer it with the poblano coleslaw and a cold Mac & Jack. It's as indulgent and yummy as it looks. Guaranteed to induce a post-burger coma.
And no southern food tour would be complete without sweets and desserts. The first is a popular cupcake bakery, where you can get cupcake versions of Southern favorites like red velvet and bread pudding.
And last, are desserts from the locally-owned Flying Biscuit Cafe. It's a trio of their signature desserts, from left to right: chocolate biscuit bread pudding, Georgia peaches and cream on biscuit with rasberry sauce, and the gooey chocolate chip cupcake with cream cheese icing in warm vanilla cream. Southern sweets at its best.
Well that wraps our visit this Friday to Peachtee City, Georgia. it's been my pleasure, and I'll end it with a little video of a golf cart ride through the city.