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About Atlantawise, and  me

This page is about me and also about Atlantawise.  

Hi, I’m Sharyn Bernard, the creator and publisher of the Atlantawise website. I thought it would be a good idea to give you an idea of who I am and what this site is about. 

I grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where my dad taught anthropology at the University of Florida. He is ostensibly retired – although still works like crazy – and he and my mom still live there when they’re not traveling around the world.

I am a very proud alumna of the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and go back frequently, especially during football season. 

Go Gators!

After I graduated with a BS degree in journalism, I moved to New York City to live out my fantasy of being a reporter and living in Manhattan. I did just that – and I also met my husband at my first job.

After a few years of life in the big city, we decided we didn’t want to live in New York forever and looked to make a new start. This was right after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and it was a buzzy, up-and-coming city. We picked up and moved – pretty much sight-unseen. It was slightly crazy, but we knew it would work out. 

Centenial Park in Downtown Atlanta

For the last 22 years we have lived smack dab in the middle of Atlanta in the Buckhead area. We live just off Peachtree Street – and yes, there really are more than 70 streets with the word “Peachtree” in it.

We bought a house (two actually), raised two children and I have grown to love my city. While I once thought of Atlanta as “a nice place to live but I wouldn’t want to visit here,” it has become a tremendous tourist draw. Besides the obvious attractions, Atlanta boasts charming and funky neighborhoods to explore, world class dining, obscure activities and enough music, theatre, sports and museums to compete with any major metropolitan area. 

At the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

When I moved here, I immediately noticed a contradiction about Atlanta.

It is both “The South” and urbane. It is a genteel Southern city, reconciling with its conflicted past as it embraces the future. On one hand, Atlanta is indisputably the most diverse city in the South – I would say one of the most diverse in the country. Atlanta is home to 16 Fortune 500 companies.

Atlanta is one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the country

But in one day, you can spend time at Martin Luther King Jr.’s grave and you can still visit a plantation or see where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind. As someone who has lived all over, including New York, at first it was difficult to get behind this. Sometimes Atlanta – and Georgia – can infuriate me. Other times, I am thrilled by the progress and international stature the city has. I guess you can say Atlanta has a bit of schizophrenia – much like many parts of “The South.” 

One of my favorite signs in Atlanta

Over the years, I have become an accidental insider and expert tour guide as I have led friends and family around the city, insisting on showing them everything I love about Atlanta, from really messy barbecue to killer cocktail bars to world-class theatre. I always want to show that Atlanta is as cool as other big cities. 

I have researched martinis all over the city. You're welcome.

What I discovered along the way, and what I keep discovering, is while at one time Atlanta tried to be like other cities, as it’s grown it’s developed a unique and distinct personality.

When I take visitors to my favorite places, they are unanimously stunned by what they see. This is not the Atlanta they expect – it’s full of funky shops, hipster bars, stellar dining, stunning homes, tree-lined streets and a cool urban vibe.

Add in the best and most varied cultural scene, year-round festivals, unique city tours and yes, truly fun and sometimes kitschy tourist attractions, and Atlanta is actually a really cool place to visit. I wanted to make this guide for people who want to visit Atlanta but have no idea where to start – no, it’s not Tara.

Atlanta increasingly is becoming a destination of its own, not just a stopover, with thousands of people descending on the city. Whether you’re coming for college move-in, conventions, other events, endless filming and relocating, you will often find yourself with a few days free here and need to know how to maximize it.  I hope y’all will find it as interesting as I do. 

You can always find me on a rooftop bar!

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