We’ve got a Secret



About thirty secrets, actually. Secret doors, that is.

These little charmers are hidden in plain sight all over town, from Thinking Man Tavern to the Glenlake Pool. They have been well-received by Visitor Center guests, especially the small ones.



Larry Holland, one of our favorite artists, coordinated this installation with support from the Decatur Arts Alliance. Within the next few months he will be adding more and refurbishing some of the originals.




Look for them as you explore Decatur from the Wylde Center to Color Wheel Studios. For a complete list of doors and the local artists who created them visit Secret Doors Decatur.




Good hunting!


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Reclaimed by Nature: photography at the DeKalb History Center

Kippelen 5x7_PRINTno crops

Have you been by the Old Courthouse to see this photography by Virginie Kippelen?

On her blog, Ms. Kippelen shares:


“People forget but the landscape remembers.” – English photographer Simon Norfolk

This new body of work shades the light on the history of a place –  the former granite quarries at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve in Lithonia, Georgia-  and explores the intricate layers that have shaped its existence.

Arabia Mountain is an intriguing place: it is granite monadnock, an isolated and exposed rock hill, one of the few found in Georgia. It has a unique topography and geology which allow unusual plants to thrive. Decades of stone extraction have shaped it distinctively and have created man-made walls. Yet after the quarry closed and the surrounding land was eventually preserved in the 1970s, the walls have returned to their natural state. In my eyes, they provide both a testament to the industrial past of this land and a beautiful metaphor for the resilience of nature.

While composing my images, I intentionally framed the massive granite walls so that they fill the visual space, leaving viewers no choice but to face their intriguing beauty and to contemplate the subtle nuances of color, shape and texture that define them.

I also found this little video at Atlanta Celebrates Photography, it gives you a better idea of the magnificent scale of the work.

You can see this work at the DeKalb History Center,  open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Virginie Drujon-Kippelen is a writer, photographer, and multimedia producer working in editorial, portrait, and commercial photography. Originally from France, she moved to the United States in 1991 and earned a Masters’ degree in print journalism from the University of Arizona. Drujon-Kippelen is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia and has worked as a Photo Editor at CNN.com. Her editorial photos have been featured in the New York Times; Her personal body of work investigates the contemporary landscape and our perception of nature in the urban environment.



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Different Trains: new gallery opens


We heard this exciting news from the Decatur Arts Alliance:

An art gallery with a difference has opened its doors in Decatur. The Different Trains Gallery, the brainchild of art lovers Sarah Garvin and Shawn Vinson, launched during the Decatur ArtWalk. Different Trains, located near the railway track on East Howard Avenue, will show paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, and photography, among other art forms. Some of the local and international artists scheduled so far include Eben Dunn, Ruth Franklin, Masako Kelly, Cynthia Knapp, Flora Rosefsky, Mark Sandlin, Marek Tobolewski and Kosmo Vinyl.

“I call it uncommon common sense. You have a wonderful setting with two or three- dimensional art, you draw people in for the experience, and there’s this neighborhood feel to it – that’s a wonderful thing,” said Garvin, a longtime collector who began buying pieces of art while still in college.


Plans call for pop-up dinners, wine tastings, artist talks, and live music events several times a year. “We want to mix it up. These are going to be happenings, to use an old-fashioned term,” Garvin said. Exhibitions of works by Jon Eric Riis and Toshi Yoshida are also coming up.

Garvin and Vinson have a combined 60 years of experience in the art world, and Different Trains represents the culmination of their endeavors. “Shawn and I have spent a lifetime connected with the arts, and we’ve managed to accumulate this rather vast network of wonderful talent,” Garvin added. “Now they have a place to come and talk about their work. Throw in music, food and wine, how can you go wrong?”

Garvin was an art history major at Tulane University and spent many years in the corporate world before returning to her art roots. Vinson was a founder of the Decatur ArtWalk and ran The Vinson Gallery from 1998 until 2008. British artist Ruth Franklin, Vinson’s wife, said, “I’ve always felt that art should be accessible and inclusive, not exclusive; that’s the whole point. Approachability is important.”

WHAT: New art gallery Different Trains open in Decatur

WHERE: 432 East Howard Avenue, # 24, Decatur, Georgia 30030

WHEN: Check facebook for summer hours

(Thank you, Kevin Madigan, a local journalist and friend of the gallery for this information.)
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Lori Lejeune Gallery Show


The latest installation at the gallery of the Decatur Arts Alliance features the work of Lori Lejeune now through Friday, June 23, 2017.

“Flight & Figures” are selections from Lori Lejeune’s contemporary art installation series. Lori explores the intersection of art and technology using digital tools to create her mixed media artwork. The Flight series offers a modern interpretation of graceful birds. Also featured are selections from her Body Language series, which conveys emotion and feeling using figures that are gender-neutral and race-neutral. Both series can be configured into patterns suited for large spaces and offer a unique, signature look.

Lori Lejeune’s artwork has been collected throughout the U.S. and internationally in Australia and Turkey. Her work has been included in museum exhibitions in California and Texas.

Visit the gallery of the Arts Alliance in the Decatur Visitor Center, 113 Clairemont Avenue. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Lori Lejeune-2186smPhotographer credits: Drew Stauss of Departure Studio.
All artwork is copyright Lori Lejeune

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Food Resources

Hate going to the grocery store? Me too? It’s not that I hate buying food — I love shopping for food and I get really excited when I see the possibilities of what I could cook and eat from gorgeous fresh foods. It is just that I hate the impersonal service and the vastness of grocery stores – they are boring. I have decided it is time to start shopping the European way – buying what I need for a few days, while visiting a few purveyors that specialize in certain types of foods. This type of pleasant shopping experience is possible in Decatur. Here are some examples of places that will allow you to enjoy the food shopping experience.

Oakhurst Market

This store is just the right model for urban food shopping. Whether you need items for dinner preparation, or want to find some ready-made food items, need a sandwich for lunch, or just need a snack – this is the place. They carry a well-rounded assortment of high quality, fresh, whole foods, as well as a nice assortment of house made prepared foods. You’ll find very pretty, fresh vegetables, cheeses, milk, bread, fish, meat, deli items, beer & wine, olive oil, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, chips – almost everything you might need to eat well.  The meat counter is large and the quality is exceptional. One of the things I love about the meat counter is that I can order special cuts of meat and they will have it ready for me when I need it. For Easter I ordered a large 3-4 lb. side of salmon that I poached for a very special dinner. This special order feature is especially convenient for special occasions or holidays when you need a crown rib roast, a ham, or other specialty cuts.Oakhurst market cropped photo

The other lovely feature of this store is that they will prepare lunch or dinner for you. There’s a variety of sandwiches and even pizzas that they prepare on sight. For dinner, I love picking up a ready-made, hot dinner that is available Monday thru Thursday nights. A weekly menu is posted, you call by 2:00 pm to order, then pickup your dinners after 5:00 pm.  The dinners are nicely packed in reheatable containers and the servings are ample. Most times when I have retrieved my order, the food was warm so not even reheating was necessary. Oops, if you forget to order, no problem — you can take your chances with the “grab and go” counter where you self-serve a prepared protein, starch, and/or vegetable into a to-go container and haul it home.

(Oakhurst Market is located in Oakhurst Village on East Lake Drive.)

La Calavera Bakery

Just walking into this tiny bakery is a heady experience. As soon as you open the door, you are bombarded with smells of deliciousness. Does anything smell better than baking bread, or chocolate babkas, with a background note of fresh brewed coffee? The bread and pastries vary from day to day – too bad, you may have to make regular trips to taste all their offering. Stacked in trays on shelves waiting for you to pick them up (with tongs) and place them on a metal tray are the day’s baked offerings. Once you have made the hard choice and placed the items on your tray, you can dive right in (there are a few tables and chairs available for eating in, along with a nice assortment of teas and coffee); or you can have one of the friendly staff members bag your goodies up for your trip home. There are always 3 or more types of breads – sourdough, sprouted wheat, olive and rosemary. The assortment of pastries is sinfully tempting – Danish, empanadas, croissants, pan dulce, ginger piggy cookies, oh my. This place is so good that my teenage grandsons will get out of bed at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning to go with me to pick out breakfast pastries.   la calavera pastries photo

(The bakery is located at 747 E College Ave. near the Avondale Marta station.)

La Calavera photo

Decatur Organic Farmer’s Market

On Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings you can spot a yard full of little white tents on the lawn at the First Baptist Church on Clairemont Avenue. This is the scene of the Decatur Organic Market where local farmers and food purveyors offer their goods to the lucky customers that get there early enough to get the good stuff.  You will find plenty of super fresh veggies, gem-like fruit, rich orange-yolked eggs, and organic meats to take home for dinner preparation. Don’t want to cook? That’s okay because you can pick up plenty of prepared foods such as cheeses, breads, jellies, honey, pastries, salsas, tamales, soups, granola, Belgian waffles, and even some doggie treats. This wonderful food festival brings out plenty of friendly neighbors towing kids, dogs and smiles. It is a good way to really get a feel for what Decatur is about. Come hungry.  Decatur market photo

Other Food Shops

There’s even more ways to enjoy small shopping for food in Decatur. At Splash of Olive you can find a huge variety of olive oils, both plain and flavored, as well as vinegars. Not sure what you want – you can taste each and every one of them before buying.

Need wine? – Sherlock’s Wine Merchant, Wahoo Wine & Provisions, and Greene’s Fine Foods offer great selections and affordable prices, with personalized service from knowledgeable staff members. At all three shops you will also find other food temptations such as sausages, cheeses, pastas, and condiments at Wahoo; and candy, nuts, fudge and condiments at Greene’s. All three are great places to buy gifts.




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New Decatur Shop: Tres Jolie

Tres Jolie opened up last Friday on Church Street next to Java Monkey just in time for summer.

tres jolie exterior

I get so excited whenever a boutique opens up in Decatur and Tres Jolie does not disappoint. The shop’s owner also owns and runs Boutique Karma on the square (less than a block away) so you might recognize some of the accessories, but for the most part Tres Jolie is geared towards a younger crowd than its sister store. Think floral summer dresses, distressed denim shorts, Coachella-worthy tanks, and jersey maxi dresses.

tres jolie interior

tres jolie shorts

I’m a fan of all of the delicate gold jewelry available and was tempted to purchase a few of the necklaces. 
tres jolie long gold necklaces

tres jolie bracelets

tres jolie necklaces

The small room at the back of the store is chock full of tops, dresses, pants and skirts that are all $25. That’s the best deal in town!

tres jolie backroom

I ended up getting this blended, magenta top that will go perfectly with some slim cut black pants and pumps for work:

tres jolie purchase

I wish I could have spent a little more time in the shop for my first visit, but I had just popped in right before Saturday’s Concert on the Square. Next time I’m going to try on a couple of the rompers from the $25 room.

Leave a comment if you’ve already been to the shop and let me know what you think!

Tres Jolie Boutique
427 Church St., Decatur, GA 30030

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Furry Tails Pet Shop Visit

Furry Tails Pet Shop for Dogs & Cats just opened up at 228 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue in the Renaissance building last weekend.


Anna Zaveryukha, the owner, is super friendly and used to work at a Petsmart so she knows her stuff. The shop is stocked full of local, healthy, and organic items for dogs and cats.



They even have dog and cat items made especially for Furry Tails by re:loom.


The leash in the photo below might be one of the coolest items I’ve ever seen. It’s a reflective dog leash made from recycled Delta employee safety vests. Handcrafted by re:loom weavers.


If orange isn’t your (or your dog’s) color, there are plenty of other collars and leash styles you can choose from.


Furry Tails has a number of organic, all-natural bath and treatment products. I’m thinking about getting some of the organic ear cleaner (second from the left in the photo below) for my Goldendoodle.


The shop carries local Decatur favorites like treats from Taj Ma Hound and fresh dog food from Corrina’s Corner.


The shop also has some fun pet-related items for humans like the cat soap pictured below, leash hooks and dog magnets.


For their grand opening, Furry Tails had a silhouette artist come and create portraits of customers’ dogs. You can see photos of the finished works on the shop’s Facebook page here. If you missed the grand opening, Anna told me that she’s hoping to invite the artist back in the summer for some more silhouette sessions. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for details.

Furry Tails Pet Shop for Dogs & Cats
228 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030

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