The BlinkPacking blog is dedicated to arm its readers with ideas about maximizing time, money, and other resources to squeeze every last drop of adventure out of life. By now you know that a week’s worth of travel can cram into the space of two nights and one day, for a grand total of around $150 US.
But for this business owner, non-profit manager, husband, and father of an energetic three-year-old, a free weekend is often out of reach. Sometimes a handful of hours is all I can scrounge.
Three was the exact number of available hours in my schedule last week, and I wanted to make the most of it. I always love a drive, especially if the hectic pace of Atlanta life is in the rearview and quiet country roads fill the windshield. I formulated a quick plan: drive north for an hour, spend an hour wherever I end up, drive an hour home. A quick gas-up at the local Race Trac, and I was on the road to who-knows-where.
Sixty minutes had passed as I ambled into the town of Cumming, Georgia. There are the demented few who commute over an hour to downtown Atlanta from their homes in Cumming, but it is a reach to call this country town a suburb. The town square has a court house, a home-cooking restaurant, a mom and pop drugstore, and those obligatory one way streets that circle the Town Hall in an annoying, government-is-the-center-of-the-world fashion.
I thought about rummaging through the aisles of the Ace hardware store and grabbing a bite at the coffee shop, but that seemed like any old Saturday in Atlanta. So opted instead to type ‘antiques’ into my phone’s map app, and I found a quaint sounding establishment less than two miles away.
Called the Green Bean Exchange, the palatial antique mall was about the size of a Walgreens, and unlike many antique stands I have visited, just as well-lit. Each booth was overflowing with treasures from yesteryear, and the prices ranged from reasonable to extremely low.
Regular readers of this blog know that I am fascinated with signage, typography, and design, and I have a growing collection of old sign letters adorning my office wall. Antiquing is ten times the fun when hunting for something specific, and I came up with no less than three wonderful wooden and plastic letters for my collection at the Green Bean (an ‘I’, a ‘U’, and a ‘T’, for your reference). Add to those a gold and red bracelet for the wife and some metal flowers for her garden, and the grand total was $42. Score.
What could be better than antiquing in the far reaches of suburbia on a beautiful day? Why, crowning it all off with a gourmet pastry of course. Convenient for me, the Donut Depot was right next door, offering such exotic flavors as caramelized apple fritters, peanut butter and jelly, and wedding cake. I tried the bacon maple doughnut, and it did not disappoint. (Why is anything salty and sweet so darn amazing?)
Licking the corner of my lips for flecks of wayward bacon, I headed back to my trusty Honda Element, and a few NPR podcasts later, I was back home. Three hours is not a long time, but I felt good knowing I had made the most of it. I wish all of you a happy three-hour escape sometime this coming week. Go for it!