(Hint: Watch an Episode of Stranger Things)
You've seen it on the big screen, or the little one, if you've watched Stranger Things, The Walking Dead or The Hunger Games.
But until now the Bellwood Quarry was only open to Hollywood. The new Westside Park, unveiled a week ago, makes it accessible to everyone. A massive 280 acres, it's the largest park in Atlanta, surpassing even Piedmont Park. The centerpiece is the celebrity quarry, whose high granite walls give way to inviting green water. But don't even think about swimming in there. First of all, you'd have to scale a huge fence, and you'd probably drown. Second of all, that's our emergency drinking water.
Shawn and I went on Friday to check it out. There is a free parking lot, so points for that. We didn't explore all of the park but chose the trail that would get us to the quarry the fastest. We passed a pavilion, playground, water filtration building, restrooms and about a dozen people. We had to compete for the money-shot selfie overlooking the quarry. But otherwise, it was far from crowded.
I was surprised by how pristine the park is. Bordering the cleared areas, much of the trees and grasses are wild, which is unusual to find in a city. Urban parks are normally very cultivated. And just listen to these cicadas! That's all you hear. No traffic, or sirens, or any urban noise. Just quiet.
We came across a small pond that served as a bathtub for Canadian geese. We clearly were walking into their home. I'm sure it won't be that way for long.
Westside Park will eventually connect to the Atlanta BeltLine. Read more in the AJC about the Northwest Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine.
The neighborhood around the park - Bankhead, English Ave., Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway - has long been economically depressed. But that will certainly change with construction of the BeltLine. It looks like housing is already going up across the street from the park, and Microsoft is building a huge campus nearby, according to the AJC.
If the Atlanta BeltLine has taught us anything the past few years, it's that it's like another Hollywood classic.
Build it, and they will come.
If you want to check out Westside Park for yourself, drop this address into Google: 1660 Johnson Road NW, Atlanta.
Looking for fun things to do in Atlanta? Join us on a Food & Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine or our new BeltLine Sunset Walking Tour (walking only).
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder & CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking food & art 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: email@example.com. Or follow on Instagram @bitelinesatl.