Being A Tourist In Your Own City
By: Dominica Reid
Just the other day I had a conversation with some friends on how easy it is to get stuck in your hometown bubble. By this I mean getting comfortable staying in your part of town, going to the same stores, dining at the same restaurants and frequenting the same entertainment hotspots. Living in a big city like Atlanta with its own little neighborhoods, and a lot traffic it’s so easy to just stay in your own part of town. However, every once in a while I do dare to venture outside of my comfort zone and explore another part of town. This past weekend was one of those times.
My fiancé Caleb has been hired to do a big project for the Atlanta History Center. To give some background on what he does, he’s a freelance illustrator and designer. The History Center has asked him with some rebranding and updates on their gift shop merchandise etc.. He was invited to visit some of Atlanta’s famous historical sites to get some design ideas. Of course I tagged along. As someone who is in the middle of planning a wedding in this city, I couldn’t help but come across gorgeous wedding pictures of the Swan House at the History Center. I had to see it with my own eyes, and dream a little.
Our first stop was the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown. I live within walking distance of this historic site. I even visit my favorite Korean bakery across the street from it, several times a week. Yet I have never stepped a foot into this famous Atlanta landmark. And now I’m so glad that I did. I never cared to read Gone With The Wind before but now I’m more intrigued on getting my hands on this book. Margaret Mitchell was one fascinating woman, especially for her time. I had no idea how much she has done for the African American community, as well as Morehouse College. A lot of this information is just now coming to light through public records. She kept a secretive and humble life, and this makes me like her even more. If you’re ever in Atlanta I cannot recommend more for you to go visit the Margaret Mitchell House you won’t regret it!
Our second stop was the main campus of the Atlanta History Center, located right in the middle of Buckhead, yet feels so hidden from the public eye. If you don’t go around this part of town often, it is easy to miss. Although I have to admit that I’ve shopped at the Whole Foods across the street from it, and not once even batted an eye at the huge building across the street. Yes it’s big! It sits on 30 acres of land. And yes you might think I’m a bit dense, but even our Lyft driver said he had never seen it before and he has lived in Atlanta for ten years. This shows how stuck I am in my own daily routine and bubble, that I even miss some of the most amazing landmarks in my city.
Visiting the Atlanta History Center was such an amazing and fun experience. There was so much beauty. We walked around nature trails, visited the Smith’s Family Farm and fed peanuts to goats and sheep, and explored the opulent and grandiose Swan House. We learned about fine china imported from China, as well as Georgia Folk Art. Caleb left with a bunch of ideas for his project, and I left with a new awe and fascination for this city. It’s so easy to get stuck in your daily routine and to get too comfortable in your own part of town, that you miss out on learning and reaching out to new experiences. I always love exploring new cities, restaurants and entertainment when I’m on vacation, yet I refuse to do so when I’m at home. Here’s to me learning to appreciate my hometown and to venture out and explore everything in Atlanta. Here’s to becoming a tourist in my own city.