A Return Visit to Roswell, Georgia

If you find yourself in the Southern parts of the USA, make sure not to miss stopping in Georgia. While my introduction to Atlanta proved to be one of my favorite city tours, I was eager to return to nearby Roswell. A place that feels like a “home away from home,” its the strong sense of community and their residents that certainly has made Roswell one of my favorite places to visit.

With a population slowly creeping to 100,000, Roswell currently comes in as the eighth largest city in Georgia. Being just 25 miles out of Atlanta, it certainly makes for a great city escape. From its tree lined streets on trendy Canton Street and Mimosa Boulevard to the rich Civil War-era history as well as some of the best food coming out of the Atlanta area, it’s no wonder I was eager to return and see more of this wonderful suburb. A city I’ve enjoyed so much, that I’ve even said I’d move there in a heartbeat. It’s that good!

Checking in and Alive in Roswell

After wrapping up in Atlanta, I hopped in my rental car and headed over to Roswell to check into their newly remodeled Best Western Plus. Having not stayed at a Best Western in quite a few years, I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a great, no frills lodge that served perfect for resting my head between adventures. Something that surprised me was my generous living space and work area in addition to my cozy bed and TV. Check in and out was a breeze, and you’ll be central to restaurants and markets when staying here.

Time was of the essence, and I was anxious to head over to Canton Street for Roswell’s seasonal event favorite, Alive in Roswell. From April through October, Roswell definitely becomes ALIVE with this locals and visitors favorite event. All of Canton Street is closed off for pedestrians (and dogs) only, and the streets are filled with live music throughout the stretch, food trucks, local vendors and more. All I kept thinking was, this is the Coachella for Roswell. You really have to see it with your own eyes to get the full experience. Roswell Provisions caught my attention with their long line of customers awaiting their famous FrozĂ© (basically, a rosĂ© wine Icee. It’s as good as it sounds) and Babakabob is an amazing local food truck serving up kabob…bowls. Think Chipotle, but with Mediterranean inspired kabobs and fresh meats. Hold the skewer!

One of the best parts of Alive in Roswell is sitting back to people watch. Given the thousands who attend and make the event the smash it is, it’s no wonder that I encountered restaurant wait times were averaging an hour or more. This is when I headed further down into the festivities and found Rice, a local gem specializing in Thai food. No wait time, and I landed myself a prime seat on their patio to take in the sights. I decided on my old reliable, Pad Thai, and was so impressed at the precautions taken when I said I’d need it gluten-free.

This refuel break was just what I needed to cruise the street fair a bit more before heading back to enjoy my hotel room. I had a full day ahead of me and couldn’t wait.

Checking in to Roswell’s Best Western Plus. (c) Mary Farah
Living area. (c) Mary Farah
Bedtime. (c) Mary Farah
Alive in Roswell. (c) Mary Farah
Dinner at Rice. (c) Mary Farah

Breakfast and the Chattahoochee Nature Center

After a sound sleep at the Best Western, I was so excited to head to breakfast at the newly launched Fellows Cafe. Fellows specializes in breakfast and brunch fare, with some stellar lunch items like a burger and salads. They also serve up morning coffeehouse favorites as well as cocktails like Bloody Mary’s and a watermelon mojito. A charming, laid-back bistro, it was decision time as they offer several gluten-free plates including lemon ricotta pancakes and huevos rancheros. We all know I rarely say no to hot cakes, but something savory was calling me. My huevos didn’t disappoint and served as just what I needed for my excursion to the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

Roswell’s very own nature center was one of the highlights when I first visited Georgia in 2017. As the summer season was wrapping up on that first visit, the season was just beginning when I arrived this time around. From their Butterfly Encounter (which will return next year) to the dozens of opportunities for visitors young and old to learn more about what’s in their backyard, the Chattahoochee Nature Center is one of the most unique experiences you’ll have.

The center now offers zip lining, as well as opportunities for hiking and canoeing. One of my favorite activities offered at the center would have to be their Nature Exchange program. A trading program to get children interested in nature, kids simply bring in interesting artifacts they find like feathers, rocks, even fossils, and can trade their discoveries for small prizes.

Arriving to Fellows Cafe. (c) Mary Farah
Huevos Rancheros at Fellows Cafe. (c) Mary Farah
Avocado toast at Fellows. (c) Mary Farah
Chattahoochee River views at the nature center. (c) Mary Farah
Butterflies! (c) Mary Farah

Lunch and an Afternoon on Canton Street

As I mentioned, Roswell has some fine cuisine representing the Atlanta metro area. Another example of this is found at Plum Cafe, an entirely organic cafe with chock full of gluten-free options. Plum Cafe serves up sandwiches, soups, salads and a variety of burgers in a great, chill atmosphere.

I was so happy to be joined by my friend and local, Dotty Etris, for a scrumptious lunch. Dotty recently retired from the Roswell Visitor’s Bureau as their Executive Director and through that position is how we met. Dotty and her colleagues at the CVB are every bit “Southern charm” and some of the sweetest people. The hospitality is strong and true in the South, and especially so in Roswell.

Next up, it was time to head a few steps up from the cafe and pay a visit to Oli+Ve. Store owners Suzanne and Deborah, have created a dynamic pantry shop offering some of the best olive oils and vinegars in the area and serve as the only boutique of its kind in the Atlanta area.

I adore olive oil shops as they give food lovers the chance to discover the wide world of olive oils and vinegars. Oli+Ve offers single varietal extra virgin olive oils, flavored extra virgin olive oils that have been fused (with the actual pepper, citrus fruit or herb) or infused with natural flavors (using the extract or essence of). They never use man made ingredients, and also carry a selection of gourmet oils. In addition to all things olive oil and vinegar, the shop also offers pastas and several nic-naks that are perfect to accompany a gift basket or act as that last minute gift you need to grab.

After my wonderful visit to Oli+Ve, it was time to move on a few doors down to meet with Dana Gurela, owner of Roswell’s very own wine bar and market, Deep Roots. I’m in the midst of editing my wonderful interview with Dana, so please stay tuned to learn more about her and her impressive shop, shortly on Wine Women Wednesday.

The Plum Cafe in Roswell, Georgia
Arriving to the Plum Cafe. (c) Mary Farah
Organic Portabello sandwich on GF toast. (c) Mary Farah
Oli+Ve. (c) Mary Farah
Gluten-free pasta for sale at Oli+Ve! (c) Mary Farah
“The Wine Station” at Deep Roots. (c) Mary Farah

Dinner and a Fond Farewell to Roswell

As a gal who loves a great cocktail, I knew I’d be in good hands when the girls from the Roswell Visitors Bureau took me to The Whiskey Project for dinner and drinks. The Whiskey Project may sound scary to a gluten-free person at first, but trust me, they’ve got you covered. The lively restaurant and bar offers over 1,000 types of whiskey in addition to tequila, rum, gin and vodka. Their full menu boasts American favorites with plenty of seafood options which proved difficult to decide on an entree. Good thing I was loving my Oaxacan Burro with vida mezcal! I ended up deciding on the snapper with a mouth watering ginger Thai basil risotto and left full and satisfied.

With this dinner being my last night in Roswell, I took a final walk along Canton street to check out Gypsy Rose Music, Roswell’s newest and biggest music hall downtown. Gypsy Rose offers a gorgeous and large concert space with a great full bar. Who said “small towns” have nothing on?! I then found myself back at Roswell Provisions which both trips has proven to be a great quick stop shop for a late night snack or coffee.

Whether you’re nearby or far away, Roswell is a terrific destination offering delicious restaurants, world-class bars and plenty of local entertainment and activities. Learn more and plan your visit HERE. xo

Whiskey display at The Whiskey Project. (c) Mary Farah
Drinks at The Whiskey Project. (c) Mary Farah
Snapper dinner. (c) Mary Farah

(*Disclosure: I was hosted for this trip on behalf of article purposes. All opinions are my own.)

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