If you’re in the mood to do something different on a quiet Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, take a straight-line excursion up the road from Buckhead to Milton Along the way, you have a choice of several different types of eateries, galleries, antique places and parks, and even more recreation at an ice rink or gun range.
This story originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Living Northside magazine.
Start your driving tour route on Roswell Road near Peachtree Street at the historic Buckhead Theater, or with a bite to eat at Landmark Diner, located a little farther north.
The nearly 20-mile trip takes you up the Northside to Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Crabapple and Milton.
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Here are some notable destinations along the way.
1. Landmark Diner. In addition to serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the 24-hour New York-style diner at Piedmont Road is a popular late-night spot. It’s also the new site of the Punchline comedy club. 3652 Roswell Road, Buckhead. 404-816-9090. landmarkdiner.com; The Punchline. 404-252-5233. punchline.com
2. Gateway. The huge mixed-use development of planned retail space and luxury apartments at Windsor Parkway is under way and already home to Sprouts Farmers Market. 4600 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs.
3. Center Ice Arena. The new skate palace near I-285 appeals to children and adults, offering public skating sessions; ice hockey clinics and league play; figure skating lessons; private party space and more. 5750 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 404-549-8425. centericearena.org
4. Abernathy Greenway Park. A left turn off the path at Abernathy Road takes you to the Greenway’s Playable Art Park and six unique installations for children to explore. The 7-acre park has picnic tables, a pavilion and restrooms. 70 Abernathy Road, Sandy Springs. 770-730-5600. sandyspringsga.gov
5. John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve. A hike along the 30-acre preserve of trees, plants and wildlife is a serene break for the Roswell Road corridor. After learning in 1989 that the forest land was being considered for a car dealership, the late John Ripley Forbes, a conservationist and naturalist, purchased the property in a partnership that included the Southeast Land Preservation Trust, Fulton County and the State of Georgia. 7645 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. bigtreesforest.com
6. Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range. Bring your own firearm or rent one at the gun club. Less experienced shooters can take classes to learn fundamentals and marksmanship. The Bowling Pin Shoot game, a fun race against time for all levels of shooters, is held on the second and fourth Monday of the month. The club is open to buying and trading firearms, and has a wide selection of weapons for sale in its retail area. 8040 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 770-394-4867. sandysprings.myshootingrange.com
7. Azalea Park. The scenic Roswell park with fishing, picnic areas, a playground and Shoot the Hooch boat rentals is a short stretch from a left turn off Roswell Road. The Ga. 9 corridor leads into the City of Roswell at the bridge over the Chattahoochee River and becomes Atlanta Street at the traffic signal. 203 Azalea Drive, Roswell. roswellgov.com
8. Roswell Town Square. The fountain in Town Square honors Roswell’s seven founding families. Just around the corner are Barrington Hall, the restored family home of co-founder Barrington King; and Bulloch Hall, the historic home of Mittie Bulloch, President Theodore Roosevelt’s mother. 610 Atlanta St. roswellgov.com
9. Canton Street. Park the car and walk Roswell’s downtown district of shops and galleries. Several restaurants have outdoor dining that lets patrons have their pooches relax at their feet. Canton Street is a “carry district,” allowing folks to walk with a cup of alcohol from one establishment to another.
10. Sweet Apple Park. After passing Crossville Road, be prepared for Northside communities to change names several times — sometimes back and forth — on the way to downtown Crabapple. Spacious Sweet Apple Park has a playground; hiking and walking trails; and baseball and soccer fields. 11850 Crabapple Road, Roswell. roswellgov.com
11. Silos Park. The small, passive park and three 40-foot silos just past the Houze and Rucker roads intersection are what remain from a 1,000-acre farm that operated in the 1950s. The silos were used for feed storage. Right next door are shops at The Silos at North Farm Marketplace. 12375 Crabapple Road, Alpharetta.
12. Alpharetta Arts Center. This hub of creativity inside the Crabapple Government Center in downtown Crabapple has art programs for children and adults, including writing workshops, paint parties, and sculpture and clay classes. 12624 Broadwell Road, Alpharetta. 678-297-6160. alpharetta.ga.us
13. Milton Public Library. The new state-of-the-art library opened in 2015 and has four unique building structures that compliment the Milton/Crabapple community. The library offers several workshops and classes, including astronomy, chess and yoga. 855 Mayfield Road, Milton. 404-613-4402. afpls.org/locations/1610-milton-branch