Hello and welcome!
I am starting this blog to bring you happenings along the Atlanta BeltLine. If you don’t already know about the BeltLine, in short, it’s a paved trail that connects Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods. When it’s finished, it will circle 22 miles around Atlanta – like I-285, only for pedestrians.
In a city where cars reign supreme and terrorize the pedestrians, it’s a refuge.
Mural on the Icebox building at Irwin Street
The BeltLine is a work in progress. Portions of it are already finished – on the west and east sides of town. But the heaviest traveled section is between Piedmont Park and Inman Park. It is known as the Eastside Trail.
On any given weekend, and many weekdays, you will see the Eastside Trail packed with people walking, jogging, bicycling, scootering, skateboarding or hoverboarding. You may see a man on horseback, an 1800s bicycle or devices I dare you to name. There is even some weirdness, like a guy riding a bike with mannequins, and someone else wearing a TV on his head. You can witness performers playing violin, saxophone, drums…At one time, a woman read poetry to passers by, calling herself “Bardess of the BeltLine.” There are tons of dogs, and an occasional cat in a backpack, or parrot, or God knows what.
It’s a place to people watch, and in the summer, it looks like a catwalk, as women come out to model their pretty dresses down the trail.
The pandemic has only increased traffic, with Atlantans seeking fresh air and a change from the scenery inside their homes.
There are official art exhibits that make the BeltLine the South's largest outdoor art gallery. And under the bridges, you will find constantly changing street art that may reflect current events. A portrait of Congressman John Lewis went up under the John Lewis Freedom Parkway bridge last summer when he died, and it’s one of the few artworks that has not yet been covered over. (RIP John Lewis).
John Lewis mural under the John Lewis Freedom Pkwy. bridge
Sculpture by William Massey
Sculpture by JD Koth under the North Highland bridge
"Crystalline" by Ben Pierce, in the shadow of Ponce City Market
North Avenue bridge
Above, a mix of official and unoffical art on the Atlanta BeltLine
It is why I created BiteLines, a food tour on the BeltLine, which has been paused during the pandemic but will resume as soon as it’s safe.
Above, BiteLines food tours and other photos
The BeltLine is my backyard. I have lived along it for the past 6 years, and watched it transform Atlanta. In its wake, warehouses and old factories have changed into apartments and restaurants and food halls. Real estate along the BeltLine has skyrocketed. It is a river that brings life and progress to the city.
Personally, it has breathed life into me as well. I have walked more than 1,000 miles on the trail. It has gotten me through heartbreak, and helped me find love. It has made me fitter and healthier. It has given me a respite from driving. The BeltLine made me fall in love with Atlanta all over again.
But this is not meant to be a civics lesson. If you want to learn all about the Atlanta BeltLine project, check out their website. If you want to keep up with unofficial street art, restaurants, performers and BeltLine random activities and weirdness, sign up to get our blog.
And if you see something strange or fun on the BeltLine, send us a picture/video, or let us know about it so we can track it down. We may even send you a prize for the best ones.
(Some photos courtesy of Shawn Ventura)
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the founder & CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking food tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. The BiteLines blog features art, restaurants, happenings and weirdness on the Atlanta BeltLine. Share story ideas and pics at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow on Instagram @bitelinesatl.
Note: We have paused our tours during the pandemic, but will ramp up again as soon as it’s safe.