Rich Simmons from the band The Georgia Flood performs during the Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival at Harmony Park in Decatur on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The 14th annual festival featured over seven hours of blues and bluegrass performances as well as beer, barbeque and children's activities.
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips

The New York Times tries to explain Decatur to its readers

"Mayberry meets Berkeley" — that's how the New York Times describes Decatur in a new travel guide, which takes their readers on a whirlwind and only occasionally silly tour of, again quoting from the Times, a city "equal parts molasses-drawled Southern and au courant."

What's more, the headline proclaims Decatur a "commuter town near Atlanta," though a drive from the DeKalb History Center, at the city square, to the Fox Theatre is less than half the length of the entire island of Manhattan.

(It's not just Georgia: The paper similarly describes Berlin as "where hip meets history.")

The guide is on surer footing in its recommendations for doing, seeing, eating and drinking, shouting out Kimball House, Decatur CD and Eddie's Attic, among others. "The walkable downtown hosts more than three dozen festivals a year," wrote the Times' Alex Crevar.

What the guide leaves out are places such as the Your Dekalb Farmers Market, Decatur Cemetery and Revolution Doughnuts & Coffee; and an encompassing view of the place that pushes past one platitude evolving into another.

"While its acclaimed school system and blossoming downtown boosted property values, and then helped sustain them during the economic slump, downtown Decatur’s left-of-center brand of food, shopping and entertainment draws visitors from surrounding areas eager to sample its charms," Living Intown's Jon Waterhouse wrote in an insider's guide in February.

He continues: In front of the old courthouse (which the Times correctly places at Decatur's cultural center) stands the “Valentine,” a low-key landmark "of a life-size bronze sculpture of an elderly couple on a park bench, which can cause passers-by to give double-takes.

"In 2008 the statue was dedicated to former Decatur mayor Bill Floyd and his wife, Sydney."

Click here to learn more about the city, including more things to do and a history lesson, in the Living Intown insider's guide.

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This story has been updated.