By Cheré Coen
It’s a short drive from downtown Atlanta, and the landscape doesn’t vary much from the hustle and bustle of its high-rise neighbor, and yet the northern suburb of Dunwoody feels like a world away. Top it off with plenty of outdoors fun, great arts attractions, and a vibrant dining scene, and Dunwoody makes for the perfect day trip or weekend getaway.
Dining In Dunwoody
Dunwoody offers a wide variety of dining choices, many of which are high-end chain restaurants. We suggest bypassing the familiar names and choosing local, of which there are many. In fact, Dunwoody has created such an exciting food scene, Forbes recently named it one of “The South’s Most ‘Tasteful’ Small Towns.”
There are so many choices when considering the first meal of the day in Dunwoody, but don’t miss Alon’s Bakery & Market. This eatery with locations in other Atlanta areas resembles a European market, filled with fresh pastries, breads, craft coffees and specialty menu items. Carve out some time to take in this feast for the senses, then linger on the patio enjoying a fine meal and coffee.
Less elegant but equally delicious is Crema Espresso Gourmet’s French egg breakfast sandwiches and specialty coffees.
Lunch at NFA Burger means slipping inside a Chevron Station, ordering from a limited menu, and feasting on one of the best burgers in Atlanta at the picnic tables out back. The burgers consist of Angus beef, pickles, mustard, and owner Billy Kramer’s “sassy sauce.” There’s also hot dogs, sausages and tatter tots but the burgers rule here; they’re that good.
Happy Hour in Dunwoody goes to the dogs at Moondog Growlers, a small pub in a strip shopping center that’s almost too non-descript to find. Step inside and it’s a community gathering place, complete with patrons’ four-legged friends. Thirty-nine beers and a non-alcoholic drink are on tap daily and visitors may enjoy small glasses to sample many.
For fine dining options, Nova Cucina creates its own pasta and pizza dough with almost everything on the menu made to order. Make a reservation for the place fills up fast. Vino Venue serves up a variety of dishes, including tapas and flatbreads, but it’s the wine selection that puts them over the top. The restaurant and wine bar and shop also offers cooking and wine classes in the back.
Walk it Off!
You can have the run of the woods at Treetop Quest at Brook Run Park, an attraction that combines ziplining with 60 obstacle courses. Visitors pay for two and a half hours of activity, are instructed in safety measures and then let loose in the woods. Naturally, each section is geared for different age groups.
Plus, there’s more to enjoy outdoors at Brook Run Park, including the two-mile multi-use Dunwoody Trailway where we spotted chipmunks, owls, and a number of colorful songbirds. The expansive park is also home to an amphitheater, playground, dog park, several sports fields and a Saturday farmer’s market.
More trails await at the Dunwoody Nature Center, where visitors may traverse through 35 acres of woods, wetlands and along a creek bed, discovering interesting birds, butterflies and other wildlife along the way. There’s no fee to enjoy the trails, and there’s even a hammock garden where hikers may pause and relax.
The Nature Centers offers both youth and adult programs, monthly events such as bird walks, yoga and forest hikes, and hosts several special events throughout the year. The Butterfly Festival, for instance, will be held Aug. 19-22, 2021.
For Art’s Sake
The Spruill Center for the Arts, which is enjoying its fifth decade of operation, began in 1975 when a group of women met for painting classes. Today, the center teaches 800 art classes annually, everything from pottery and painting to decorative arts and drawing. Its corresponding Spruill Gallery mounts several exhibitions a year in a historic 1867-1905 home. The artwork is top notch, and many of the artists’ work may be purchased in the gift shop, one of the best artist gifts shops in Atlanta.
For more information on Dunwoody and its attractions, plus places to eat and stay, visit Discover Dunwoody.
Cheré Dastugue Coen is an award-winning food and travel writer living in Marietta, Georgia. A native of New Orleans, Cheré also writes the quirky travel blog, Weird, Wacky and Wild South and creates popular fiction under the pen name of Cherie Claire.