Griffin is a city in Central Georgia near Atlanta. It is the southernmost town included in the Atlanta Metro Area and has held on vehemently to its "small town" appeal. At the same time the town is being forced into modernization. This has caused an interesting contrast between the deeply religious and devout churches and the packed night clubs and bars. The people will almost always display classic southern hospitality as long as they are given the same in return.
Griffin is steeped in tradition and history. Many of the locals are keen to retain as much of this as possible while moving forward to greater commercialization. There is also a strong sense of regional pride here with a deep foundation in religion. Most of the residences are strict conservatives and fervently fight about their beliefs and views. It would be considered very rude to challenge these ideals. At the same time the people are generally welcoming and will do their best to make sure you feel at home, usually by offering a glass of "sweet tea".
Griffin is easily accessed by Interstate I-75 as well as State Route 19/41 which runs directly through town before splitting into separate highways.
There are several small local airports as well as a municipal airport. However, none is serviced by any major carriers at this time.
Griffin is lacking in any public transportation and taxis are not common and usually must be phoned for service. Walking is also not advisable as most major commercial and historical areas are miles apart. Renting a car would most certainly be the easiest and cheapest form of transport.
Downtown has changed little since the 20s and many new shops and restaurants are moving in to take advantage of renewed interest in the historical area. This is also where you will find the historical society and local museum. The museum complex contains the Doc Holiday museum to commemorate the western celebrity that was born in town. Many of the houses in the area hold historical significance dating back to the antebellum era (when most of the residents were born). You can find a map showing their locations and significance by contacting the historical society.
Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is located about 15 miles north, offers tours when arranged in advance. There is also the Griffin Ballet which frequently presents shows in the auditorium.
High school football is a large event in town. Griffin has no less than 10 official county parks which offer everything from golf to little league sports. Many are shaded by large oaks and offer a nice chance to escape from the heat and relax on the grass.
There are several cute boutiques, especially for children's clothes. Serendipity is a very large and trendy store. They have anything for any girl of any age. They also do monogramming.
The best place to look for any specialized stores will be downtown which, besides the pawn shops, contain a few specialized family owned stores.
- American Pie Pizzeria, 1537 N Express Way (U.S. 19, Walmart Shopping Center), ☏ .
- El Charro, 1501 N Express Way (U.S. 19, Walmart Shopping Center), ☏ .
- Truett's Grill, 1455 N Express Way (U.S. 19, Walmart Shopping Center), ☏ .
Aside from the typical fare there are many privately owned restaurants that offer a cheap meal. Nice authentic meals can be had at any of the numerous bbq joints usually for less than $10. The best meals found in town are usually at church functions where the deep fried southern food is top notch. Most dishes are from recipes passed down from generations and prepared with traditional methods.
Griffin is also home to one of the few Chik-Fil-A "Dwarfhouses" this specialized Chik-Fil-A combines a typical fast-food setting on one side with a full service restaurant on the other. It's one of the few places on earth where you can get a Chik-Fil-A steak or burger.
There is a growing selection of bars and nightclubs that are packed on Friday and Saturday nights. However you can expect to pay $4-5 for the usual domestic beer in plastic cups. While the acceptance of the party scene is getting better it may not be easy to find a bar or pub.
A few local establishments to try are:
- Hollywood Hills in downtown at its new location on Solomon. Very nice and roomy. Beautiful bar.
- GTO's bar and grill beside the old wall-mart building. This is Griffin's largest bar and nightclub.
- Buffalo's Southwest Grill, one of the towns first bars.
- J-Henry's, while mainly a restaurant, the bar packs out early in the evening
- Manhattan's, same as above
- El Durango, home of the best Mexican food and cheapest drinks, also, they make a fantastic Texas Magarita.
- The Moose Lodge.
A large array of commercial as well as independent hotels can be found on the north side of town on 19/14. Due to Atlanta Motor Speedway, these places easily lose vacancy during March and November but otherwise will have plenty of rooms for a very reasonable price.
- [dead link] Griffin Inn & Suites, 676 North Expressway, ☏ .
The county seat of Monroe County, Forsyth is a tiny pop-3780 city at the northern edge of the Macon (Georgia) metropolitan area. Forsyth was home to Tift College (a private liberal arts women's college) from 1849 until 1987, when the college was merged into Mercer University in Macon. The former campus is now headquarters to the state's prison system. The Forsyth Commercial Historic District includes the Monroe County Courthouse, Courthouse Square and several examples of 19th century architecture.
As Forsythe is directly on I-75, it has a dozen chain hotels and various restaurants.
- Monroe County Historical Society, 126 E Johnston St, Forsyth, ☏ . 9AM-4PM Wed-Fri. Local history museum in 19th century former rail station.
- [dead link] The Rose Theater, 23 West Johnston St, Forsyth, ☏ . Home of the Backlot Players.
- Rum Creek Wildlife Management Area, 116 Rum Creek Road, GA Hwy 18, Forsyth, ☏ .
- Forsyth Historic Train Festival, ☏ . Early Nov. Celebrate rail and its historical impact to Forsyth.
A small hamlet near the western entrance to Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. Exit I-75 at Forsythe, drive 10 miles (16km) east on Juliette Road.
Founded in 1882 and named for Juliette McCrackin, the daughter of an engineer who was building the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia railroad, Juliette was a small industrial village on the Ocmulgee River which declined after its gristmill closed in 1957. In 1991, the nearly-deserted townsite was used to film an adaptation of Fannie Flagg's 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café (ISBN 9780394561523).
- 1 Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, 718 Juliette Rd, Round Oak, ☏ . Refuge open sunrise-sunset daily, visitor centre 7:30AM-5PM wkdays. A haven for over 200 species of birds and 50 species of mammals.
- The Whistle Stop Café, 443 McCrackin St, Juliette, ☏ . Southern comfort food, most of it fried. This building was originally the town's general store (1927-1972); the film depicts a café in this building, so a real café was opened here after shooting was completed.
- Riverview Café, 465 McCrackin Street, Juliette, ☏ .
- USPS Juliette, 356 Bowdoin Rd, Juliette, ☏ . A matched pair of seasonal picture postmarks is issued in Romeo, Michigan and Juliette, Georgia annually for Valentine's Day. An envelope containing stamped cards for re-mailing may be sent to Postmaster, Valentine Station, Juliette GA 31046-9998.
Interstate 75 north will take you straight to Atlanta while going south will lead you to Macon. East on State Route 16 will bring you to McDonough and west on State Route 92 goes to Fayetteville although using both of these routes can easily get you lost without knowledge of the local roads.
|Routes through Griffin|
|Atlanta ← Hapeville ←||N S||→ Albany → St. Petersburg|
|Atlanta ← Hapeville ←||N S||→ Macon → Lake City|