News & Views » Cover Story

Nostalgia Lane

The old-fashioned summer you never had


At the time, it seemed like a good idea. You squandered your childhood summers trying to top your own high score on Galaga. You scoured the mall for that perfect pair of two-toned jeans while subsisting on a diet of Orange Julius. You watched MTV for hours just to catch a glimpse of Madonna or Duran Duran.

Looking back on it now, you regret that you didn't do a little more stone-skipping and can-kicking. Perhaps you should have ventured outside more than twice a summer. So for the eternally nostalgic, CL offers an itinerary for a quaint, old-fashioned summer.


Remember when you felt a little thrill at the thought of driving your own car (or your dad's car that you managed to borrow for the night with carefully manipulated references to his own wilder days)? Sure, now you spend your mornings and evenings cussing out fellow commuters. But for tonight, let's enjoy that sweet ride.

7 p.m.: Drive to the Varsity, Atlanta's landmark drive-in snack stop. There's a world of difference between drive-thru and drive-in eating. Drive-thru says, "I'm too busy to sit still even for the seven minutes it takes to wolf down this Wendy's Classic Single and Biggie Fries." Drive-in says, "I've got plenty of time, and my car is so damn sweet. Oh, and my date's real purty, too." Order up a chili dog, onion rings and a frosted orange, delivered right to your window.

8:30 p.m.: What screams nostalgia more than a drive-in movie? Cruise over to the Starlight Six Drive-In for a double-feature - with six screens, you're sure to find something you like. Or tilt back the seats for a little drive-in summer lovin'. Skim a plot synopsis on your Web-enabled PDA (try before you go home, in case someone asks you about the plot. (Man, we could have used that tech back when Mom wanted to know how we enjoyed Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.)


9 a.m.: Thank the farmers for the very idea of a summer break. (OK, for farmers, summer meant hard child labor in the fields.) But for you, summer means buying fresh local produce at the Marietta Square Farmers Market. Make your breakfast as you go and pick up the requisite summer favorites for later: corn on the cob, tomatoes, a watermelon, and a fruit pie. (Marietta Square hosts a bevy of summer events, including concerts, festivals and Fourth of July fireworks. For info, go to

Noon: Go to Amicalola Falls State Park for an old-fashioned picnic of sandwiches, chips, watermelon and lemonade. Take a short hike to see the falls afterward.

2 p.m.: The muggy afternoon is soooo hot. So cool off with a quick session of skinny-dipping. Er, we mean "go swimming in remote locations, obeying all local, state and federal codes and community standards regarding proper bathing attire." Several good swimming holes are listed at Our favorite is Edge of the World, a run of rapids, falls and pools along Amicalola Creek, just south of the state park.

5 p.m.: Go on the camping trip that your parents never planned. Time to turn on the Mother Nature Network, tune in to Radio Cricket Noise, and pass the night with a good game of "Let's Check Each Other for Ticks." Plant your tent at either Amicalola Falls State Park or at the Etowah River Campground, just outside of Dahlonega. No survivalist skills required; both campgrounds have hot showers, playgrounds, and great views. Don't forget chocolate bars, graham crackers and marshmallows so you can make s'mores over the fire.


9 a.m.: Break your camp, then head west. Today is about two summertime traditions: baseball and barbecue.

Noon: Stop for lunch in Ball Ground, where Two Brothers Bar-B-Que serves up the good, slow-cooked stuff your doctor will scold you for at your next physical.

2 p.m.: Baseball is the quintessentialall-American summer activity. But it ain't so old-fashioned to pay $25 for crappy seats, just to watch a bunch of multimillionaires throw the ball. So go minor league. Head west to Rome and check out the Rome Braves, the Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Up-and-comers, washed-up-losers, cheap seats, real dirt, and a much more unpredictable game. Home run!


AMICALOLA FALLS STATE PARK 240 Amicalola Falls State Park Road, Dawsonville. Campsites, $17-$19. 706-265-4703.

ETOWAH RIVER CAMPGROUND 437 Rider Mill Road, Dahlonega. 706-864-9035.

MARIETTA SQUARE FARMERS MARKET Church Street at Hansell Street. Sat., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

ROME BRAVES play home games at State Mutual Stadium, 755 Braves Blvd. Games are Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon.-Sat., 7 p.m. $4 and up. 706-378-5144.

STARLIGHT SIX DRIVE-IN 2000 Moreland Ave. $6 (free for kids under 10). 404-627-5786.

SWIMMINGHOLES.INFO Edge of the World rapids are located along Amicalola Creek, which can be accessed from Route 53, west of Dawsonville.

TWO BROTHERS BAR-B-QUE 1695 Old Canton Road, Ball Ground. 770-735-2900.

THE VARSITY 61 North Ave. 404-881-1706.

Add a comment