We had the best time staying in Atlanta last fall (belated post, I know!). We re-located there for the filming of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, which is now available via streaming and DVD! Have you seen it yet? It’s hilarious! Watch it with your family; you will be sure to have lots of giggles.
Nothing like getting mud sprayed all over you. Multiple times. Not to mention the some 16 times after that that we had to get it painted on us at 6am, kept on until 8pm. Fun crunchy nasty times!
The best part about working on this film was how family-friendly the set was. I got to have Bear at work with me nearly every day! He would go to school (which he absolutely loved–thank you, Waldorf!) then come meet me on set. Plus, there were so many other kids there too! Producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, director David Bowers, and the first assistant director all brought their sons and daughters. There were kids everywhere!
More carnival fun 🙂
In addition to feeling the warm, familial vibe on set, we also felt so at home in our adopted neighborhood. We lived in the Virginia Highland area and loved it! We were across the street from a park, walking distance to Piedmont Park, close to a Whole Foods, and surrounded by kind neighbors. It was such a cool experience for Bear to be able to run to either of our neighbors’ houses for spontaneous play.
Another super fun thing about living in such a family-friendly neighborhood was Halloween. This holiday was so special for a couple of reasons: 1) we haven’t really celebrated it before (Bear has had some exposure to it at his school, but he had never gone trick-or-treating! And 2) our neighborhood was completely taken over by Halloween! Between all the decked-out houses and dressed-up kids, we couldn’t resist participating in a festive adventure. We went trick-or-treating with our neighbors, which felt less weird and more fun after a glass of wine. Bear collected candy, and at the end of the night we did the “Switch Witch.” In exchange for his candy, he requested blueberries and a vegan pizza – which he was thrilled about!! The next day he said, “Thank you mommy for Halloween!” It was so cute. I’ll share more about this sweet night in my next Halloween post.
We had some really special adventures around Georgia; a shout out to all you GA kind lifers that shared your thoughts and ideas! My dear friend Emily (I’ve known Emily since I was 21!) & husband Omar lives in Atlanta so we were lucky to go on most of these adventures with them. Here are some things we did and loved:
- Visiting Blue Ridge Lake
- Biking around the ATL BeltLine and flat roads of the city. This was the first time Bear learned to pedal–LA is so hilly!This is the first time Bear ever rode a bike with wheels! An awesome purchase made at Outback Bikes 🙂
- Kayaking down the Chattooga River
- Hiking Stone Mountain! We were planning to take a tram up but just missed it, so Bear, Emily, and I hiked all the way to the top. It’s such a great hike for kids. By the time we got to the top it was nighttime, so we used our flashlights to help us make the descent back down. I was so exhausted making our way down the mountain and couldn’t carry Bear the whole way, so huge thank you to the man walking down with us who helped carry him!!
- Hot Air Balloon Festival in Inman Park
- One of our favorite trips was visiting the Serenbe community in Chattahoochee Hills. Serenbe is an eco-village with geothermal + solar powered housing, organic farms, pretty trails (over 70 percent of the village is open space), cute goats hanging out + roaming around the forests, restaurants, a playhouse, fun trampolines and more. One night we were going to see a cool outdoor theatrical production of Sleepy Hollow and were driving our golf cart in nearly pitch black (albeit there were lit torches along the road) to get there. It was quite the journey! Serious four wheel driving in a golf cart. Bear loved it. We also really enjoyed carving pumpkins together. The only thing that wasn’t great about Serenbe was the food – for a sustainability-geared community I didn’t understand why there weren’t more plant-based options. The few vegan options available were tasty but not versatile or exciting and mostly made up of french fries and veggie plates. Given their organic farm and proximity to fresh produce, I think they can step up their plant game for sure!
And of course we loved checking out the food scene in ATL! Here are some of my favorite places:
- Restaurant Eugene is excellent! The food and wine are soo good. George the sommelier is so sweet. Dining at this restaurant is an epic experience, pricey but so good.
- Gunshow is so incredible. This place had dead animals on the wall – and the name is scary – but the food is beyond yum. They make the best vegan meals ever! Some insane dishes I ate included: mushroom scallops, falafel with great pickles, celery root plate, daikon dish, and pasta. The cocktails are also really delicious :). My favorite drink there had basil and mesquite (#8 on their menu). Next time I’m back in Atlanta I’m running back here!!
- For my birthday we went to Bacchanalia and they made a very nice vegan meal with delicious beets and nice pasta!
- We ate a yum meal at Better Half, they are super accommodating with dietary needs
- Staplehouse is really good!
- Dtox has excellent juice and yum snacks
If you haven’t been to Eugene, Gunshow, or Staplehouse, run there and you will be blown away. There are a lot of completely vegan restaurants in the city, but sadly the best-tasting food I found was at the restaurants mentioned above. Revolution Donuts and Dulce Vegan were yum and fun though! I brought Revolution’s orange pistachio, cinnamon sugar, and dark chocolate vegan donuts to set for the cast and crew, and everyone loved them. Another time I brought Dulce Vegan cupcakes for them and those were a hit as well. I also tried out Fig and Honey and Bright Seed meal delivery services.
I also loved checking out the farmers market. My favorite is the one in Grant Park. It’s small, but there’s tons of great stuff–amazing v pizza (S & J’s Woodfired Pizza) and a great nut cheese stand. The Grant Park neighborhood has such good vibes, too. I would love to live there next time.
Overall I really loved our sweet, magical time in ATL, and I really wasn’t in a hurry to leave. My work scenario with Bear couldn’t have been better, the Waldorf school he attended was fantastic, and it was so fun spending time with my dear friend Emily and her husband Omar. Even though I was happy to come back home, I truly enjoyed our lifestyle there and have lots of love for Atlanta. Until next time!