Archive for the ‘Georgia retro, vintage’ Category

Ever been to a drive-in restaurant that had a multi-level parking garage? If you answer yes that must mean you’ve visited The Varsity in Atlanta GA – the world’s largest drive-in restaurant. According to their website:

“Our Downtown Atlanta location is on more than two acres and can accommodate 600 cars and over 800 people inside. On days when the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets are playing a home game, over 30,000 people visit The Varsity.”


The Varsity Drive In Exterior(I’ve got a photo of myself in front of this very entrance, from 1998 – if I can find it I promise to post it!)


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Though we were not dressed to fit in with the church crowd, we absolutely loved our Sunday dinner at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta GA. Since 1945 folks in these parts have enjoyed the southern cooking and hospitality at this landmark restaurant. And so did we!

Mary Mac's Tea Room Neon Sign Atlanta GA(Their cool neon sign didn’t hurt their chances of making it on the RetroRoadmap either!)

I was excited to visit Mary Macs as I have loved most “southern cookin'” that I’ve had (mmm biscuits, nom) and it was a good opportunity for me to try some of the more unusual things that you don’t get at restaurants up north. And the “Tea Room” name? According to their website:

Mary Mac’s Tea Room doors first opened in 1945 when Mary McKenzie decided to use her good Southern cooking to make money in the tough post-World War II days. In those days, a woman  couldn’t just open up a restaurant, so many female proprietors used the more genteel Southern name of “Tea Room.”

Mary Mac's Tea Room Midtown Atlanta 1945

The restaurant is no longer owned by Mary Mac (was she all dressed in black? With silver buttons down her back?) but is flourishing under the ownership of  John Ferrell who was hand picked by the last owner to take over the business. And by the crowds we encountered he’s doing it right!


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One of the best breakfasts we had on our Retro Road Trip was at The Silver Skillet in Atlanta GA. Homemade biscuits and country ham now, please!

The Silver Skillet Atlanta GA Restaurant Exterior

Opened in 1956 and purchased in 1967 by George Decker, the restaurant is still family owned and operated by his daughter Teresa and her husband Jeff. Here’s a photo of what the Silver Skillet looked like some years ago from Flickr pal Julie Wilson.

As you can see from our photo below they have not really changed the decor in all those years – which is a wise move! Not only because it’s RetroRoadmap Worthy but their “period decor” has made them a location for movies, commercials, videos, and print ads.

Dining Room Silver Skillet Atlanta GAWe had no idea we were in the midst of such fame when we sat down at our boomerang Formica table, but later learned that Diners Drive-ins and Dives had stopped by the Silver Skillet to sample their biscuits and country ham (two of my fave things!) –

You can even see glimpses of our seasoned and sassy waitress in the DDD video – I swear she called RetroRoadhusband hon, sweetie, darling more than I do! Ah, those Southern belles.


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Here are some quick tips for vintage and retro roadmap worthy places in Atlanta GA – we wish we could’ve spent more time with ’em – but check them out for us next time you’re in the area!

The Majestic Diner
The interior of the Majestic has been recently re-done and the food was standard, but no one can deny the allure of their wonderful vintage neon signage and chasing lightbulbs.
Majestic "Diner" Neon Signs - Atlanta GA
The Majestic “diner” has been serving “Food That Pleases” since 1929, and is open 24 hours a day, every day, ‘cept for closing on Christmas eve. They reopen the day after Xmas at 6am.

Majestic Diner
1031 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 875-0276

Starlight Six Drive-In Movie Theatre
The Starlight Six is Atlanta’s only remaining drive in movie theatre and I’m grateful to the folks at Drive-Ins.com for providing the background on The Starlight.

Starlight Six Drive In Theatre Sign Atlanta GAIf it weren’t for them we would not know that the Starlight opened in 1949 as a single screen DI and stayed that way ’til the 80’s when it went  to a 4, then a 6 screen outdoor cinema. As you can read on the marquee they have flea markets during the weekend days.

Starlight Six Drive In Movie Theatre
2000 Moreland Avenue Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30316-3250
(404) 635-1087

The Fabulous Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is in the heart of Atlanta and on the Register of Historic Places.

Fox Theatre Marquee Atlanta GABuilt in the pre-crash 1920’s the 4000+ seat Fox has managed to survive in part because of the citizens of Atlanta who rallied to save it from demolition in the 1970’s.
The Fox Theatre and My Keds Atlanta GA
I encourage you to read the interesting history of this classic venue here on their website or on the Fox Theatre’s Wikipedia page. Even if you don’t read a word of it, do yourself a favor and check out the Fox’s schedule if you’re ever in the area and see a show at this grand old theatre.

The Fox Theatre
660 Peachtree Street Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 881-2100

Just because we didn’t get to spend enough time in Vintage Atlanta doesn’t mean you can’t – now that we’ve given you a head start you can plan your fun around these great old time places! And of course we’ve added them to the RetroRoadmap to make it easy peasy to find ’em next time you’re in ‘lanta.

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Thanks to Rick Kilby of Visual Ephemera, who was as amazed as I was to realize we did not have even one Retro Roadmap entry for Georgia. He graciously shared this bit of GA and his history on his blog and has allowed me to repost it- thanks Rick!

When I noticed that fellow blogger Mod Betty’s blog Retro Roadmap had no posts for the neighboring state of Georgia, I felt compelled to write about one of my favorite spots, Tallulah Point, in Northeast Georgia.


“Since 1912, Tallulah Point has been offering the traveling public the only free roadside view of Tallulah Gorge from our covered overlook porch. We also offer an unique gift shop filled with a little bit of everything and a lot you will remember.  An authentic experience!”
Tallulah Point Overlook website

We used to stop there when I was a kid on the way to see our relatives in Clayton and the place has changed very little since then. Basically a gift shop with an observation deck, the Point overlooking Tallulah Gorge has been pulling folks off the highway since 1912.

Tallulah Gorge GA VisualEphemera.com RetroRoadmap.com

When I visit, I can feel the history in the place and my mind races back to childhood. My imagination roams from the days when locomotives brought in fancy tourists from Atlanta, to the feat of daring when Wallenda walked the equivalent of 3 city blocks on a thin wire in 1970. I can think of nothing better to represent the state of Georgia on the Retro Roadmap.

https://midmodmapretroroadmap.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/karlwallenda.jpg?w=195As a kid I remember seeing the cable stretched across the chasm and being amazed that someone would be brave enough to walk across.

The Great Wallenda Tallulah Gorge GA VisualEphemera.com RetroRoadmap.com

And I remember there used to be a train locomotive from Disney’s The Great Locomotive Chase that was filmed nearby. This place captured my imagination and was a symbol that our long drive from Gainesville, Florida was near its end.

Looking at the business today with adult eyes I see the history in the rusty distressed signs still left around the place. The gift shop is pretty well equipped, although the only thing I was tempted to buy on two trips there this year was box of assorted moonpies. The porch still has a great view of the gorge, and a hillbilly to boot, but it seems much smaller than when I was kid.

While the gorge itself is certainly no Grand Canyon it is always a great contrast from the flat Florida topography and a great way to start any trip to the mountains.

Tallulah Gorge GA Vintage Post Card VisualEphemera.com RetroRoadmap.com

The gorge was formed as the Tallulah River eroded rock over millions of years leaving a 1,000 foot gouge in the earth. The first tourist hotel opened in 1840 and a railroad built between the Gorge and Atlanta in 1882 secured the gorge as North Georgia’s first tourist attraction. The town of Tallulah Falls sprang up in 1885 and at one point there were seventeen hotels and boarding houses for visitors to the “Niagara of the South.” Many of those burned down in 1921. The depression put a further hurtin’ on tourism, yet somehow the little business at the edge of the gorge has endured.

Tallulah Point Overlook
940 Tallulah Gorge Scenic Loop
Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
(706) 754-4318


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