Storyville Road Trip: 24 Hours in Athens

December 29, 2009 by Natalie Naquin Harvey

Let me tell you a little bit about how we got to where we are now.  Originally, this little trip was going to take us to a ton of Southern cities -- Gainesville , Savannah , Asheville , Chapel Hill , etc. -- but we soon realized that going to a bunch of cities in one week wouldn't be very feasible or cost effective.  So we narrowed it down to two: Atlanta and Nashville .  When Josh and I were looking at the logistics of the trip (and we did this literally two days before we hit the road) I pointed out how close Athens was to Atlanta.  And boy am I glad I did that.

First of all, our hotel is fantastic. The Hotel Indigo is a boutique hotel situated just a quick walk from downtown Athens and the University of Georgia's campus.  You feel like you're in a fancy W Hotel, but without the cost and, well, the cost.  I may have singlehandedly lost the hotel's LEED certification by using up all of the water available in my very-long, luxurious shower.

But really, check this hotel out if you're in Athens.

Josh and I went on a long walk around downtown and the University of Georgia campus.  It's so pretty here!  It's amazing what you can take away from visiting all these other cities.  I wish I could take some of these businesses in downtown Athens and transport them to the North Gate area of LSU (you know, where everything was bulldozed a few years ago and is now just an empty lot).  I hope that area will be developed soon.

But I digress.  Downtown is so quaint and special, you can see how nice it must be to be a student at UGA (I'm very partial to LSU and even I can admit this).  Wake up, grab some coffee from Jittery Joe's , go to class, walk downtown for lunch at Five Guys, go back to class, then finish it all with a beer with friends at one of the numerous bars near campus. And you can just walk everywhere!

Those of you who know me know I'm a little -- OK a lot -- obsessed with food.  While thumbing through a "Guide 2 Athens" provided by the hotel, I saw something about a restaurant called " Five & Ten ." Atlanta Journal Constitution 's Restaurant of the Year in 2007?  Best New Chef in Food and Wine Magazine ?  Three James Beard award nominations?  And a Zagat food rating of 28?  IN ATHENS?

Best of all, I saw that they have a prix fixe menu for a 3-course dinner if you get a reservation before  6 p.m.  With pleading eyes, I told Josh about the find, and how affordable it was if you get there in time for the prix fixe menu.

I got to try sweetbreads for the first time (as did Josh).  We also got skirt steak, greens, and the best cheese cake I've ever eaten.

So yeah, I'd recommend Athens.  It's funny how just a short drive from Atlanta we got to stay in a swanky hotel and eat gourmet cuisine, yet our wallets are still intact.

And who knows, with all the amazing storefronts downtown, perhaps Athens will be home to Storyville sometime in the not-too-distant future.

[Note: Special thanks to Tom and Robert from Bizarro Wuxtry ( Wuxtry Records ) for giving us a lot of great tips of where to visit during our 24 trek through Athens.]

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