A Love Letter to 2022

What Brings Us Joy in Decatur

by M. Mattingly

ON THE CUSP OF ringing in a new year, we can’t help but to look back on experiences we cherish and what we hope to carry forward with us. As we hopefully formed positive new nrelationships and perspectives in 2022 and embraced life with new focus, we gravitated toward those things that rejuvenate the mind and spirit – what brings us joy. Here are just a few of those joyful things we enjoyed all year.

People-watching on patios.

There are several local outdoor spaces we have particularly enjoyed this year, complete with heaters and fire pits that provide the warm, glowing ambience we’ve come to adore.

If you haven’t discovered the Decatur insider’s spot — down the alley behind restaurants The Brick Store Pub, White Bull and 246 — you’ve got something to add to your night-out calendar. Other restaurants with patios of note include Leon’s, with its two patios perfect for people-watching, and the covered patio at Taqueria del Sol. Our favorite local brewery patios include Three Taverns on New Street and Wild Heaven in Avondale. Both have lively atmospheres with music and on site-brewing and are dog-friendly.

Immersing ourselves in natural beauty. We basked in the natural beauty around us in 2022, refreshing our minds and spirits. Walking in the nearby Woodlands Garden’s natural piedmont forest or Lullwater Park’s preserve by the Emory campus is just what we need on a regular basis.

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens cultivates natural beauty for us to explore all year long, and their end of the year celebration, Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, has become a favorite tradition. And, at just a two-hour drive from Decatur, one of our favorite day trips or weekend destinations is Highlands, North Carolina. Each season, the scenic drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains awes us with spectacular vistas and layers of color.

Enjoying our community with festivals and events.

Outdoor festivals and events benefiting our community gave us something to look forward to and celebrate. In Decatur, as soon as one festival or event ends, another is surely on the way!

Favorites this year included the Oakhurst Porchfest and the Decatur Arts Festival. Amplify Decatur’s Music Festival also continues to be a good time — and this year, the organization donated $50,000 to Decatur Cooperative Ministry.

Another on our list is the Decatur High School Homecoming Parade, reminding us of our own youth and giving us a chance to cheer on the next generation.

‘Planting’ ideas in our homes.

Bringing the green freshness of the outside in is a passion we won’t give up. Transporting plants and clippings from your garden – or a neighbor’s — can breathe life into any room.

Professionals like Lush Plant Co. in Oakhurst can help you design and fulfill your indoor oasis dreams. For even more lively bountiful color, Les Fleurs Partout — translated as flowers everywhere — creates gorgeous arrangements for all occasions and by subscription weekly, biweekly or monthly.

Find them at lesfleursdecatur.com. If you have something from your own 2022 list that brings you joy, and you’d like to share it, please tag us on Instagram!