Griffin is a city in Central Georgia near Atlanta. It is the southernmost town included in the Atlanta Metro Area and has held on vehemently to it's "small town" appeal. At the same time the town is being forced into modernization. This has caused an interesting contrast between the deeply religious and devout churches and the packed night clubs and bars. The people will almost always display classic southern hospitality as long as they are given the same in return.
Griffin is steeped in tradition and history. Many of the locals are keen to retain as much of this as possible while moving forward to greater commercialization. There is also a strong sense of regional pride here with a deep foundation in religion. Most of the residences are strict conservatives and fervently fight about their beliefs and views. It would be considered very rude to challenge these ideals. At the same time the people are generally welcoming and will do their best to make sure you feel at home, usually by offering a glass of "sweet tea".
Many of the older locals still speak in a very thick accent that can be difficult to understand. It is also considered rude to ask them to repeat something more than once. Usually it is best to discreetly ask a younger person what they have said. It is also the norm to address those older than you as "Sir" and "Ma'am" whenever possible and you will be looked at strangely if you don't despite this custom being so out of date even people in Utah have stopped using it.
It's also best to keep in mind that many places will be closed on Sunday as most people will be in church.
Griffin is easily accessed by Interstate I-75 as well as State Route 19/41 which runs directly through town before splitting into separate highways.
There are several small local airports as well as a municipal airport. However, none is serviced by any major carriers at this time.
Griffin is lacking in any public transportation and taxis are not common and usually must be phoned for service. Walking is also not advisable as most major commercial and historical areas are miles apart. Renting a car would most certainly be the easiest and cheapest form of transport.
Downtown has changed little since the 20's and many new shops and restaurants are moving in to take advantage of renewed interest in the historical area. This is also where you will find the historical society and local museum. The museum complex contains the Doc Holiday museum to commemorate the western celebrity that was born in town. Many of the houses in the area hold historical significance dating back to the antebellum era (when most of the residents were born). You can find a map showing their locations and significance by contacting the historical society.
Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is located about 15 miles north, offers tours when arranged in advance. There is also the Griffin Ballet which frequently presents shows in the auditorium.
High school football is a large event in town and if you happen to stop by on a Friday night in the fall, we recommend you fork up$5 for a ticket and watch one of the home teams for a while. Griffin has no less than 10 official county parks which offer everything from golf to little league sports. Many are shaded by large oaks and offer a nice chance to escape from the heat and relax on the grass.
Shopping in Griffin can be disappointing for people from out of town. You will be shocked to see very few major department stores outside of wall-mart and home improvement corporations.
There are several cute boutiques, especially for children's clothes. Serendipity is a very large and trendy store. They have anything for any girl of any age. They also do monogramming.
The best place to look for any specialized stores will be downtown which, besides the pawn shops, contain a few specialized family owned stores. But seriously, it's mostly just pawn shops.
It is usually advised to avoid the local Wall-Mart as it is typically overcrowded and known to be somewhat rude to it's customers.
Aside from the typical fare there are many privately owned restaurants that offer a cheap meal. Nice authentic meals can be had at any of the numerous bbq joints usually for less than $10. The best meals found in town are usually at church functions where the deep fried southern food is top notch. Most dishes are from recipes passed down from generations and prepared with traditional methods. However be warned that if you choose to go this rout you will be visited at your house by religious zealots and fundamentalists that will bug you endlessly.
Griffin is also home to one of the few Chik-Fil-A "Dwarfhouses" this specialized Chik-Fil-A combines a typical fast-food setting on one side with a full service restaurant on the other. It's one of the few places on earth where you can get a Chik-Fil-A steak or burger.
Every restaurant in town serves iced tea that is sweetened beyond anything you are likely to encounter anywhere else. It's certainly worth a try if you've never had it.
There is a growing selection of bars and nightclubs that are packed on Friday and Saturday nights. However you can expect to pay $4-5 for the usual domestic beer in plastic cups. While the acceptance of the party scene is getting better it may not be easy to find a bar or pub. It's usually easiest to ask a local and they may even join you for a drink at their favorite watering hole.
Please remember that you are deep within the Bible Belt and public drunkenness is frowned upon. The local police are very adamant about the DUI laws and will usually wait outside the bar to pick out any obviously intoxicated person. A few local gems to try are:
A large array of commercial as well as independent hotels can be found on the north side of town on 19/14. Due to Atlanta Motor Speedway, these places easily lose vacancy during March and November but otherwise will have plenty of rooms for a very reasonable price.
Interstate 75 north will take you straight to Atlanta while going south will lead you to Macon. East on State Route 16 will bring you to McDonough and west on State Route 92 goes to Fayetteville although using both of these routes can easily get you lost without knowledge of the local roads.