"Welcome to Decatur, Georgia" Decatur by rexvaughan

Decatur Travel Guide: 73 reviews and 176 photos

Beefing up the plaza

Decatur is located adjacent to Atlanta and about 7 miles east of the center of the city. This helps make it, in my opinion, a great place to live. It is in the midst of a metropolitan area but retains some characteristics and feeling of a small town.
Decatur covers 4 square miles and includes numerous pleasant residential neighborhoods with streets lined by very large and beautiful trees and diverse architecture including a lot of 1920's craftsman style. It also has a racially diverse population of about 18,000 and its own city government, and more importantly, its own school system which consistently rates as one of the best in the state if not the southeast US. The population tends to be above average in education, includes a lot of Baby Boomers as well as a significant number of African Americans, older people, couples with young children and a significant gay and lesbian group. It is older than Atlanta. It is home to Agnes Scott College, a small school (about 1000 students) for women as well as Columbia (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary.

The homey character of the town and the liberal political bent of its citizens led one Atlanta journalist to describe it as a combination of Berkley and Mayberry. It is not an inaacurate characterization.

In case you are interested, the town is named for Stephen Decatur, a Commodore in the War of 1812 and in Algiers during the Tripolitan conflict. He is the source of the often misused line: "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country right of wrong." He was killed in a duel in 1820.

The photo is of a statue dedicated to Elizabeth Wilson, Mayor Emerita of Decatur. Elizabeth was the first female and first African-American mayor of the city. Without giving away her age, she told me recently she has lived in Decatur for 57 years so has seen a lot of struggle and change. She is one of the most gracious people you could meet and remains very active in community affairs.
For a really good website on all aspects of Decatur, go to

http://www.decatur-ga.com/

Dining Destination

When we moved to Decatur (over 30 years ago), it had one decent restaurant. Now it has become something of a destination for the whole metro area for dining. We have about 90 eating places now, some mediocre and pedestrian (McDonald's, Starbucks) but some really great places.

Recently the plaza beside the square has been redone. The photo is of the redone plaza where the above statue is located. At first I was unsure of the art deco look, but the more I see it, the better I like it.

This charming old courthouse anchors the square. It is no longer used as a courthouse, but the marble lined courtroom makes a great place for rececptions, etc. During the 1996 Olympic Games, it featured a lovely wooden Irish Bar compliments of Guiness as it was the social home to the Irish athletes and their retinue who were hosted by Decatur which then proclaimed itself Hometown to the World (we are not lacking in civic pride). The obelisk in the photo is a reminder of the past. It is a monument to the honor of the Confederate Soldiers who died in the Civil War. This square was actually the site of one of the skirmishes in the Battle of Atlanta. The building now houses the DeKalb (thats our county) Historical Society and a small museum.

I obviously love my hometown as it is in essence a small town in the midst of a large city. We can take advantage of the cultural and entertainment offerings of Atlanta and yet live in a town where there are distinctive and close neighborhoods and where we know most of the City and school officials on a first name basis.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great old neighborhoods, excellent schools, wonderful shops & restaurants
  • Cons:Can get too popular on holidays
  • In a nutshell:A small town in the city
  • Intro Updated Sep 6, 2011
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Reviews (40)

Comments (48)

  • Jeannette1's Profile Photo
    Jul 18, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Hi Rex Your Decatur gardens make me want to visit Georgia. Never been there. It looks so green :-). We have a nephew who moved to Georgia and just LOVES it there.

  • Marisola's Profile Photo
    May 26, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I'm sure you must know, there is also a Decatur, Illinois! I've been there once, hardly remember.

  • riorich55's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2009 at 7:20 AM

    Alsace sounds great, although I am not a fan of anything from an internal organ, including liver pate.

  • Wowmoment's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2008 at 10:48 AM

    So you have been to Bushey Rex! I have been to Atlanta but only passing through from the airport. Had I known there was such a delightful town nearby....

  • amandajayne81's Profile Photo
    Jun 9, 2008 at 1:13 AM

    I love looking at people's hometowns. Yours is a beauty. Well done on the pages.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2008 at 3:15 PM

    What a lovely town. You've shared some wonderful sights. Thank you for sharing!

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2008 at 8:56 PM

    Thank you for visiting my Muehlhausen page, Rex. I also really enjoyed reading your hometown page. I love the small charitable events that can make such a big difference! Thanks for sharing, and greetings from foggy Dubai / Jess

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2008 at 10:16 AM

    What superior tips about your Home Town. You have much to be proud of, Rex...it's an amazing place to live...art, flowers, politics, mouth-watering food, unique shopping, great transportation, and you!!!Just wonderful.

  • Kid-A's Profile Photo
    Dec 4, 2007 at 3:48 AM

    Wow, if I'm ever in Decatur, Georgia, I will definitely know where to eat!!! :) Great tips! One thing I always look forward to when I'm in the U.S. is breakfast -- We need a Denny's in Germany!!! :)

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2007 at 12:29 PM

    Excellent 5-star tips on Decatur. My grandchildren, ages 10 & 7, moved there last year so their step-dad can go to Emory Law School. You can be sure I'll be down to visit. I have lots of family in the Atlanta area.

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