A Day at Marietta Square

Saunter, Linger, browse: the very words conjure summer relaxation. In this busy world, they can be endangered activities. But a day on the square in Marietta, GA, is a perfect chance to reacquaint yourself with their simple, endless charm.

Marietta is a small town near the big city of Atlanta, Georgia. Much of its square has not changed very much in appearance since the early 1900's. The buildings, the brick walkways in the alleys, and the park in the middle of the square look almost the same now as in pictures from the 20's and 30's. And they still invite the visitor to slow down; to saunter; to relax and linger, and to take the time to browse.

Begin by sauntering: past the railroad tracks on the red brick walkway by the iron fence to the Welcome Center. On the way, you pass the old mellow brick railroad and factory buildings and can imagine what it was like when this town was a popular resort for plantation owners escaping the summer heat. In the Welcome Center, the friendly volunteers invite you to linger in the convenient rocking chairs and browse through the brochures to acquaint yourself with the offerings of the square and the surrounding town. Get an overview of the festivals, concerts, theatre offerings, and current museum exhibits and prepare to continue to the next browsing opportunity: The Marietta Museum of History, right next door in the historic Kennesaw House.

Kennesaw House in fascinating in itself. It was formerly a hotel during Marietta's resort days, and its basement was used as a hospital during the Civil War. It has its own ghosts, including one of a surgeon who many people have claimed to have seen walking the halls of the lower level. You are not likely to encounter the ghosts on your visit, but you will see many artifacts of Marietta history, from Civil War uniforms to a model 1940's kitchen.

Continue to saunter right next door to Marietta's newest museum, the Gone with the Wind Museum, or, "Scarlett on the Square." If you are a fan of the movie or the book, the museum contains a comprehensive collection of books, photos, correspondence,movie memorabilia and costumes that will keep you happily browsing for some time.

Finished with your museum browsing, it's time to saunter again, around the square, to window shop and browse through the many antique stores that are the main pleasure of Marietta shopping. From the large  Dupre's Antiques Market, in which 75 dealers sell everything from linens to leather-bound books, to the smaller Mountain Mercantile or fun Vintage Queen (heavy on Marilyn Monroe and James Dean,) an antique lover will have a delightful time sauntering, lingering AND browsing, as well as buying.

All that sauntering and browsing has probably made you hungry, so now it's time to linger and eat: in the coolness of Hemingway's, a touch of the islands in the city, where Hemingway himself would feel as much at home as the Parrotheads who hang out here. Or outside, at the shady tables in front of Marietta Pizza Company, where people chat easily with friends and total strangers on weekend afternoons while enjoying delicious fresh pizzas and salads. Or on the other side of the square, at the tables on the shady, tree-lined sidewalk in front of Efe's, for delicious, authentic Mediterranian food. (Efe's also offers bellydancing on Friday and Saturday night.) While you eat, you can watch and listen to the children laughing and playing on the toy train engine in the park across the street.

Or saunter on over to the park yourself. Sit on a bench next to the cast iron fountain and listen to the soothing sound of the splashing water. Watch the other people strolling through the park. Smell the flowers and soak in their vibrant colors. Revel in the complete lack of hurry.

Of course, if it happens to be a day when many of the art shows, festivals, or concerts is taking place in the Square, you will also have the opportunity to saunter over to Sweet Treats for a refreshing ice cream in your choice of custom-blended flavors and then  browse among the booths, linger in front of the bandstand, and thrill to the total, uncomplicated fun of it all.

So saunter, linger, browse.. and you'll know you'll want to come back to see us again and again.