200 Layers to Love

written by JENNIFER COLOSIMO

IT’S COMPARABLE TO THE RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE WITH YOUR OLDEST FRIEND. You’ve known each other for decades, learned things from each other, experienced fun times and endured heartache together. You’ve watched the world evolve, tried new things and treasured the traditions you’ve created. The result is like the cake pictured here — layer upon layer of delicious nostalgia that leads to that marvelous layer of icing. No stranger to a tasty metaphor — especially when it’s dessert — we’re celebrating our version, our relationship with the Northside communities, by mirroring this layered confection to the many layers of stories that we’ve been able to share for more than 200 issues. In fact, this is No. 211. Perhaps you’ve followed along with that list. Since January, we began detailing some of the 200 reasons we love living, working and playing in the Northside. You’ve potentially spent at least 2,400 minutes checking off what we’ve given you, but it is the layers of quality that stir up a deeper affinity for our neighborhood. They’re the ones that don’t require any time in the car or to circle a date on the calendar, just some perspective that allows us to truly appreciate where we live.

Poignant Personalities

Often, the stories we tell are serious and historical. More often, they’ve been joyous, inspiring and captivating. That’s because in all cases, we strive to tell a story that you’ve never heard before. It’s the story of a person — the person who founded a business, had an idea, cooked that dish, sang that song or invented that product. That is our bread and butter, and bringing that human element onto the pages is what we believe provides us any story worth telling. Introducing you to the guy wearing the chef’s hat might become the reason to make a reservation. Digging into the history of a local developer’s ties to the neighborhood offers new perspective on forward progress. It’s reading material outside the scope of what you will find in a blog or in some other publications, but instead becomes a conversation between friends, passing on “what’s good” from one neighbor to the next.

Unforgettable Food

It’s hard to say that writing about food isn’t our favorite thing — because it is. Luckily, we live in an area concentrated with enough of a variety to provide something for any kind of eater, and it’s rare we’ve been disappointed. From nuanced eateries and futuristic menus to traditional diners and special event mainstays, international options and classic Southern staples, there’s a constant influx of new places to experience or a steady list of old faithfuls to revisit. We revel in the good-humored rivalries between family-owned Italian restaurants, or staking a claim on who has the best NY bagel, deciding on which chips-and-queso favorite will win tonight’s dinner out, or which steakhouse should host our special occasion. Having too many good options in this case, is a pretty good problem to have.

Ticket to Travel

We’re a local magazine, but we love to pack our bags. That’s especially true when we’re traveling somewhere exotic, somewhere we’ve never seen or to a place that’s been on our bucket list (and probably yours). In addition, rounding up tantalizing locales across the map is what makes us appreciate home so much. Even just in the past few years, our staff highlighted the best in tropical vacations and some of the country’s best snowy slopes, jet setted for a taste of what exists overseas and even did so via non-traditional transportation — be it by foot, on two wheels, inside a snow cat or in skates — to see what a destination may bring just one step farther than a brochure.

The Local Allure

Frequent flyer miles and champagne tray arrivals may be something we swoon for, but because we love where we live more than that, we often choose to spend those vacation hours right here. That should come as no surprise — for every white sandy beach or sprawling vineyard, the Southeast has a boutique brewery, waterfall hike and mountain vista to rival it, to name a few. Whether in state or just a few hours away, our region delivers scenic drives along winding roads, historic tours in historic cities and activities to keep a multi-generational family entertained for an entire weekend. If you can hop in your car and be there before the sun goes down, we’ve done it — or we’re doing it — and we remain your resource for finding out what the locals do for fun.

An Artful Eye

As a magazine, it’s no secret we love a visual work of art. It’s why we’re so proud of our covers and seek out vivid photography to illustrate the stories we tell — it’s even why we’ve chosen to let those photographs do the telling of our stories in many cases. One might assume the era’s best talent lives deep in the city, but what we’ve delighted in is finding those talented individuals living right next door, finding inspiration in the same places we live, work and play. Seeing the fruits of their labor, celebrating it as a community and being able to share it with an even wider audience is what we value most. In addition, outside the city we’re closer to getting our finger on the pulse of artisans working with rare mediums or old-world craftsmen that are still in practice today.

A Charity Hub

Whether the annual location of ShamRockin’ for A Cure or simply a calendar packed with charitable reasons to run, shop, eat and compete, the Northside loves to give back. And we’ve loved being able to play a role — whether actively, or as a supporter — in many of the great causes throughout the area. We’ve featured men and women leading the causes, told stories to generate awareness and helped promote fundraising opportunities in print and online. We’re proud to be a member of the community — one that can link arms with our neighbors and make a difference with what we do best.

Shopping Spree

When you ask the employees that represent our local communities, they’ll cite many elements that attract visitors and keep locals happy alike. One common denominator among them is the impeccable (and growing) shopping offered north of the big city. Multi-use developments — arguably a buzz word for the decade — have popped up in many neighborhoods, and offer high-end shopping, fun boutique spots and unique storefronts depending on where you are. An extra perk includes a more intimate way to shop, an easier way to get to the store you love and never a lack of options when it comes to finding exactly what you’re looking for.

Adventure Awaits

Whether you moved here last week, or you’ve been around as long as we have, you know there’s more to this area than good schools and tennis teams. In fact, as our zip codes become more concentrated with active young families, the decision to make outdoor plans is more and more of a no-brainer. And this area answers. Whether manmade, like the multiple greenway trails that are continuing to expand and connect our communities even now, to the natural hiking trail options from Kennesaw Mountain to the North Georgia mountains, there’s never an excuse to stay on the couch and we’ve been one of the first voices to encourage getting out there.

Niche Neighborhoods

Outsiders describe the trip to the burbs as going way up north, heading “OTP” or driving halfway to Tennessee (if you ask some in-town dwellers). To those of us living here, it’s simply home. And it’s no secret why this is where our heart is — we’ve been telling you so for almost 18-plus years. That we’ve been able to experience it with you, sharing the view of each of these unique pockets of the Northside through our journalistic lens, makes us feel like a part of it. We’ve watched and reported on each neighborhood as they’ve evolved into a network of sprawling communities, blending a little bit (or a lot) of history and adventure with impressive progress that still nods to nostalgia. As a whole, the entire Northside is a blend of born-here, raised-here locals and Atlanta transplants mixed with international ex-pats and people who were tired of the snow. We’re neighborhood-dwelling families and people wanting to be closer to the mountains and farther from the city, in better schools or well off the beaten path. We’ve still got traffic, but occasionally there’s a side road where no one even thinks about blowing a horn. It’s the beauty of the Northside, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. In short, it means there are infinite stories we have left to tell.