Hello! And hooray! It’s Heather The Happy Blogger coming to you from Athens, GA. Adam and I came here early in August and decided to stay for a bit. This laid-
back town is on the smallish side (just over 100,000 people) but it has everything we like: lots of live music, a variety of food, bike-friendly roads, friendly people, and a warm climate. When we first arrived, we stayed with a couple we found on AirBnB.com who works for UGA (University of Georgia) for two weeks. Dan and Kate made us feel so welcome! Plus they’re a perfect example how to stay young-at-heart individually and as a couple because they have an incredibly active social calendar.
Before I continue, let me tell you that these past few months have been super challenging mentally, emotionally, and financially. Adam and I both fell into a rut with Location Liberated and our careers. I’ll share more about this in future posts. However, once we started traveling again and got some professional counseling help, we found our groove (both individually and as a couple). Now back to The Classic City…
Athens is like a breath of fresh air! The trees kiss the sky and the air smells clean and fresh even in populated areas. Plus, the people here are committed to sustainable living so they’ve put effort into preserving the natural beauty of the city while keeping its character. There are also many historic buildings and homes. I’m writing this post in a cafe that was once an abandoned service station. Now it’s full of life with caffeinated keyboard clickers drinking up java from a local roaster. It’s recycling at its finest!
Once of my favorite places here is The State Botanical Gardens of Georgia. There are 313 acres of gardens and 5 miles of hiking trails. We’ve only been once to check out the gardens but plan to return to hike around. Once we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly employee who gave us the lay of the land and some information about becoming members and future events like special exhibits and concerts. After making our donations (there’s no admission charge), we strolled through the conservatory and admired the bromeliads and orchids. I even discovered a plant I hadn’t seen before called a Lipstick Plant.
There are various gardens that feature native species, plants from Asia, medicinal plants and their purposes, showcase gardens, heritage gardens, and more. Instead of describing what we saw, it’s better to show you some of my favorites in no particular order.
We see lots of Bumble Bees all over Athens; they’re in our neighborhood, downtown, and out at the brewery, Terrapin Beer Co. They’re kinda shy when it comes to having their pictures taken so I have to be quick and patient. We saw this one just outside of the conservatory among a sea of blueish-purple flowers.
When I first saw this Swamp Rose, I thought it was a Hibiscus but then I saw its sign. It looks similar and rightly so because they’re in the same family. Once I discovered it, I began to notice them all over Athens. They grow near water and the Oconee River runs through town.
This is my favorite flower because it looks like it’s wearing a skirt! Plus, I’m passionate about life and find them very cheerful. They grow on vines and are popular on trellises. I see them as a metaphor for life in that we’re all trying to cultivate what excites us and the only way to do this is to keep branching out.
- Butterfly in a Lantana Plant
I had to include at least one butterfly because they’re common here (much more so than in Florida) and I get excited each time I see one. Just like the Bumble Bees, they’re shy and don’t like to pose for photos. Luckily, I caught this one not too long before we finished our visit.
I’m delighted to be sharing what we’re up to through my writing again! We won’t be moving around as much but we’re still going to explore every corner of Athens. Of course I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.