The decision for my husband and me to purchase a home in Decatur came during dinner at Leon's.
We were celebrating my 40th birthday over glasses of Decatur's own Ode to Mercy brew and an appetizer of chicken liver croquettes. Our son had just turned 4 months old and we had begun our search for larger digs. The one-bedroom condo was becoming a bit small for the three of us and sadly there were no three bedrooms for sale in our Midtown high-rise.
Looking around at the parents enjoying good food and even better beer with babies in tow we looked at each other and agreed, "We need to be able to walk to this place. Let's look at real estate around here."
Amid the cheating scandal of Atlanta Public Schools we were concerned with staying in the district. Of course their reputation will turn around; but who knows when. The city of Decatur was the hands down winner when it came to great schools with strong parental involvement. The Brookhaven neighborhood was nice but DeKalb County schools had their own set of problems. My foodie brain had its own agenda and kept shouting, “These croquettes need to be easily accessible!”
During our search I couldn’t help but question our choice. Are we becoming old people? Are we giving up our cool lifestyle? The worst thought was "Oh God! Is Decatur the burbs?" Although it is not in Atlanta and I have heard it described as a suburb of Atlanta I don't think it truly meets the suburb criteria:
1. I have not seen packs of women driving mini-vans sporting Kate Gossling hair and seasonal themed embroidered sweatshirts.
2. There is no Chuck E Cheese or Walmart (let's keep it that way, folks.)
3. I do not have to take a major highway to get to my job in West Midtown.
4. There are tons of Subarus and Prius' with Mac stickers in the back window.
5. I have yet to see a Confederate flag!
Suburb or not, my love of this place is compounded on a weekly basis by the plethora of amazing restaurants and bars which brought us here in the first place. In the warmer months I can enjoy King of Pops or a beer on the patio at the Brick Store. In the colder months I can enjoy a warm sweet treat from Pastries A Go Go or beer inside at the Brick Store.
We always considered Decatur to be the cool cousin to our Midtown neighborhood. The shops, restaurants, public transportation and walk-ability were the same but without the office buildings and high rise condos. The families on bikes and small town charm reminded us of favorite city, Amsterdam.
And of course the most important selling point ... it was inside the perimeter! After seeing all the homes that the city had to offer in our price range and making three offers on three different properties we finally call the City of Decatur home. Now, three months later, we are just getting the hang of the pay-as-you-throw trash collection. (It actually saves you money to recycle in this town.)
I guess I am trying to say thanks, Decatur. You have given us everything we wanted (good schools and walkable neighborhoods) as well as things we never thought to ask for (turkey schnitzel at Leon’s). Now if you’d excuse me, I need to go jog off the pork belly sliders I had at Mac McGee’s.
Stay tuned for my next blog, where I rail on this city for making me morbidly obese.