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Friday, July 2, 2010

It's not just Mayberry

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 4:13 PM

I received this email in response to my recent Grazing column about Farmstead 303:

You and I sat near each other on an airplane ride to California many years back when you were commuting there for your doctorate....I have loved and missed your personal columns as well as your foodier pieces ( I was a cultural critic for 26 years in the Bay Area...)

I was however taken aback enough to write you about your description this week of Decatur as Mayberry or Hooterville. Even when we chose this community in Georgia as the only best way to transition from our previous home, 17 years ago, there was a Seattle's Best coffee cafe, now Java Monkey, that sold t-shirts with the caption: "Decatur: where Mayberry meets Berkeley." You overlooked that part of the identity equation.

This is a place where my husband and I can walk to more than 50 eateries, not to mention independent book stores, boutiques, galleries and a really decent CD store- and where every year we have a wine festival, a gourmet beer festival , an arts festival with a regional following and of course the Decatur Book Festival- 70,000 folks visiting us to catch a glimpse of their literary superstar, up and coming poets, etc. A green city, a diverse ( or more diverse every year) place.

It may look like a prototypical Southern town....with its square, gazebo, etc. But hey- it really is a metro-smart, culturally happening place.

I hope nobody else took my hyperbole seriously. I love Decatur and wish I lived there.

At the same time, the courthouse square and train depot do indeed remind me of the small towns where I worked for weekly newspapers when I finished undergrad. But, yeah, Elberton and Thomson don't have Decatur's cultural life, or at least they didn't back then.

"Where Mayberry meets Berkeley" is a perfect description!

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