As mentioned, I kicked off my Tour de Georgia this past weekend with a wildcard destination: Griffin, Georgia. It’s not your typical tourist locale, but I was there visiting family, so I decided to pull over and take some photos.
From Atlanta, Griffin is about an hour away. It’s historic downtown has the look of a southern town that will be damned if some outsider, especially a Yankee, tried to come in and make changes without the town taking a vote on whether or not to take another vote to possibly consider the changes. (You still with me, folks?)
Sunday is still regarded as a day of worship and rest, so all but a handful of downtown shops close for the day. At times, the only shadows visible were my own and those of pigeons perched above on power lines. But with businesses just beyond the historic commercial district open, the noise of cars passing through town let me know that I wasn’t the only person out and about.
Storefronts proudly display American flags and hand-stenciled signs that timestamp the era when their doors opened for business. Brick facades, a prominent town clock and still-functioning railroad tracks also serve as hallmarks of a traditional southern community. But even with markings of the past, Griffin isn’t a town that is completely frozen in time.
Modern restaurants and coffeehouses blend seamlessly among the pharmacies, barbershops and consignment stores along the Hill Street and Solomon Street thruways. On 6th Street, a small arts district is taking shape around the corner from the courthouse. It’s evident that if you want to start something new in Griffin, it must appeal to the city’s time-honored character and charm.
Though the Griffin pace of life isn’t for me, it was cool to curiously wander in and around places I probably shouldn’t have – due to people taking time away from work to enjoy their family and faith. In our fast-paced society, it’s almost hard to believe that places still exist where taking a day off is collectively celebrated. Maybe the Big City can still learn a thing or two….