Oh, how we love you, Virginia-Highland (can we call you Va-Hi?).  There’s no denying that you’re the crowd favorite for “best walking neighborhood” in Atlanta, which is obviously why we chose you for our hypothetical GK|CRE walking tour.  Not to say that we haven’t trekked the route we’re about to map out down North Highland Avenue, but we probably haven’t stopped in EVERY place to eat/drink/shop/what-have-you in the same day.  But, let’s pretend…

If there’s a neighborhood in Atlanta that evokes the “movie feel” with its quaint vibe and unique storefronts and restaurants, it’s Va-Hi (remember Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel took over Belly General Store to film the rom-com, Life As We Know It, just a few months back?).  So, we’ll start our tour at Movies Worth Seeing, the 20+ year old video rental spot (technically in Morningside), where we’ll pick up a few of our old favorites like Annie Hall, Manhattan and Urban Cowboy.  You won’t be able to find those OnDemand.

On a Saturday morning, we’ll hit Morningside Farmers Market, which has been offering exclusively organic produce since 1995 and is open every single Saturday, all year round.  We at GK|CRE like things we can count on.  After we’ve snagged a recyclable bag full of healthy goodness, we can’t help but sneak across the street to Alon’s Bakery and treating ourselves to their homemade cinnamon sticks.  Talk about a snack that’ll get you into the fall/winter spirit.

Backtracking just a few steps, we like to visit our friends Skip & Houston at Highland Wine and Crystal from time to time, and who can blame us:  the place has more than 800 carefully selected wines from all over the world.  We’ll toast to that.

Cruising down North Highland Ave. to the Amsterdam intersection, we’ll always stop in Armour & Co. – by far, our favorite place in the city for home furnishings.

We admire the beautiful pieces, and can’t help but admire the beautiful (both inside and out) owner, Jayme Leffler, whose sense of style and space is immaculate.  Listen to us, getting all gushy.  Let’s man up and head over to DBA Barbecue, one of our top Va-Hi picks for a lunch meeting or casual beer with friends.  We recommend the pulled chicken sandwich and green beans.

After our hearty meal, it’s time to head down toward the intersection of North Highland and Virginia Ave., for which the ‘hood was named.  Before we hit the four corners, there’s Paper Source to pick up the perfect card or stationary, Juicy Green for a froyo fix, Moe’s and Joe’s (ie. PBR Land) for the ultimate laid-back atmosphere and people-watching, and of course, Fire Station 19.  Did ya know it’s Atlanta’s oldest operating fire station?  Check it out in the 1920s…

In the most central area of the ‘hood is Murphy’s, which is and will always be one of our favorite Va-Hi restaurants.  With the amazing brunch, lunch and dinner menus and great wine selection, we give kudos to Tom Murphy – he’s got a good (and long-lasting) thing going.  GK|CRE client Aurora Coffee is right next door and we love their chill, anti-corporate vibe, which may just attributed to the place being founded “by a couple fugitives from the 9-5 world” back in 1992.

Continuing on our tour de foot, we stumble upon the “music lovers” part of town.  Blind Willie’s has some of the best blues music in the city and live acts every night (except Sunday when they’re closed).  10 High (below Dark Horse for you newbies) is home to Metalsome Inc., which takes place every Monday, Friday and Saturday, and if you don’t know what it is, we advise you to just show up and experience it, sans preconceived notions.  The same with the Yacht Rock Revue every Thursday.  Why do we love this infamous Atlanta act?  Hall & Oates.  Members Only jackets.  Enough said.

Next stop:  Surin of Thailand, where we’re never too full to belly up to the bar and order the basil rolls and a cold Singha brew.  A few doors down is Bill Hallman, which as you Atlantans know, is the name of the trendy unisex store, as well as the stylish owner.  Bill is a friend and client of GK|CRE and we helped open his location at the Shops Around Lenox, so now we have two places in town to pick up that sweet new pair of jeans.

After looking both ways, we’ll pop across Ponce de Leon Ave. where Urban Outfitters will supply us with the perfect shirt (to go with our new jeans), and the Plaza Theatre will supply us with the perfect flick when we’re feeling artsy.  And, let’s not forget the Majestic – serving a bangin’ breakfast whether it’s 10 a.m. or 4 a.m.  Not that we’ve been there at 4 a.m. or anything….

We like to stop into Café di Sol for the one-of-a-kind, mouthwatering Grapefruit Rosewater Martini, before ending our tour at the corner of North and North Highland.  There’s the historic Manuel’s Tavern, the Va-Hi landmark that is Buddy’s gas station/convenience store, and Videodrome – a great place to pick up a DVD recommended by their knowledgeable staff.   Yep, we started our tour of the picture-perfect Va-Hi at one movie store and ended it at another.  You might say the two places are bookends, or rather, movie-ends.  And, after all this walking, eating, drinking and shopping…returning home and watching a movie sounds just about right.  A Hollywood ending, you might say.


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