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Vinings: Small-town charm in Atlanta

By Mary Welch, For the AJC #atlanta-ga

What exactly is Vinings?

Is it essentially Buckhead but with Cobb County’s lower taxes? Or is it a small-town bucolic community that happens to be in the city of Atlanta? Perhaps since the Home Depot is headquartered here, it is the mecca for DIYers.

Actually, it’s all of those things.

Vinings is located next to the affluent West Paces Ferry section of Buckhead but it’s governed by Cobb County. Without a map, it’s hard to tell where Buckhead ends and Vinings begins, since Vinings is actually a part of unincorporated Atlanta. It has the feel of a small town with a walkable village, and its streets are lined with beautiful homes surrounded by the Chattahoochee River and lush trees.

Vinings is less than 3.5 square miles with a population of about 10,000, but it packs a lot into that small space. It has direct access to I-285, Cobb Parkway and I-75, putting it minutes away from downtown, Buckhead and the Galleria/Battery and Perimeter areas.

Things to do

Vinings is a fantastic place to be outdoors and there are plenty of trails for walking both in Vinings and the surrounding area. The Silver Comet Trail is a 61.5 mile walking and biking trail that runs near Vinings in Smyrna. You’ll also find the Cochran Shoals Trail and its abundant river views, wildlife-filled marsh and grasslands and more than 4 miles of level gravel trails perfect for running or a stroll. The West Palisades Trail is another popular walking destination and explores the Paces Mill Park near Vinings. Path 400 also runs through Vinings. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is nearby for more walking and jogging or tubing and canoeing.

Culinary delights

The star of the Vinings culinary scene is Canoe, a restaurant that has garnered national recognition and was inducted into the 2005 Fine Dining Hall of Fame by “Nation’s Restaurant News.” The restaurant, located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, features a seasonal menu created by executive chef Matthew Basford. Each course — from brunch to dessert — is worthy of the restaurant’s fine reputation, but it’s probably safe to say that it’s one of the few in the area that serves kangaroo.

The Old Vinings Inn is loaded with charm and history, which is natural since it is housed in an 1880s cottage. The Inn is popular for special events and its live music, with an occasional comedian thrown in the mix.

Other pride of Vinings restaurants include SOHO American Bistro, a trendy spot with a casual global menu, and Paces & Vine, which features lighter comfort food by executive chef Adrian Gutierrez, as well as exceptional wine and beer options. A chef-driven steakhouse from 101 Concepts is 101 Steak, offering steaks, seafood, a raw bar and more than 100 wines by the glass. Another local favorite is Stockyard Burgers & Bones that has a variety of burgers as well as sandwiches, salads, seafood and steaks.

Since Vinings has always been connected with the railroad, it seems fitting that there is a restaurant, the Orient Express, that is a renovated railroad car with paneled walls and beautiful chandeliers.

Vinings Central

If Vinings has a central point, a town square or green, it would be Vinings Jubilee. Opened in 1986, it is the area’s first lifestyle center with a collection of boutiques, restaurants and specialty shops. The lighting of the Vinings Christmas tree takes place here every year. It is a prime spot for those who love speciality boutiques. Some could spend the whole day in the Read Shop, a quaint and cozy bookstore/coffee shop, or Waiting on Martha Everyday (clothes and accessories) and Waiting on Martha Home.

Vinings has several places for pampering including the Boardroom Salon for Men, which delivers a relaxing grooming experience; Sugarcoat, a nail salon; Sweet Peach Wax & Sugaring Studio; and Restore Hyper Wellness and Cryotherapy.

For a treat, try the Whimsy Cookie Company or the Southern Baked Pie Company, whose offerings go from the practical and savory — such as chicken pot pies — to the decadent — caramel pecan pie, for instance.

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