Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ode to East Cobb

East Cobb may not be the trendiest area of town these days, but I enjoy living here, for many reasons.

NEIGHBORHOODS: Though most of the many neighborhoods are starting to age, most are kept in good shape. Some are newer than others. Many feature tranquil lakes. My favorite spot? Tiny Bishop Lake Road cuts from Highway 120 near the Fulton County line over to Johnson Ferry, avoiding the area’s most congested traffic. Lovely little Bishop Lake is surrounded by houses old and new, giving it the look of a mountain lake.

TRAFFIC: Like every area of town, traffic rears its ugly head in East Cobb…particularly on what I call Upper Roswell Road: highway 120 from the Avenue East Cobb west to the 120 Loop. The great thing about East Cobb is the number of alternate routes there are to get somewhere. There are at least five main east-west thoroughfares that can be taken, that help avoid lights and congestion. There are several alternate north-south routes as well. East Cobb is filled with older-style neighborhoods that fill up the space between two major thoroughfares, so they can be used as detours if a main road is backed up. East Cobb is located right in between I-75, I-285, and GA 400.

RIVER: The winding Chattahoochee serves as beautiful southern border for Cobb County. Roads seem to travel along the banks of the river. Where there are no roads, there are trails for bicycles and walkers. Not far from our house there are trails that meander through the woods and along the river, filled with deer and other wild animals. Other trails start at Johnson Ferry and continue all the way to the 285 river bridge. Unlike in Roswell and Alpharetta, limited bridges over the river does not hinder traffic in East Cobb, especially now that the Johnson Ferry bridge was been widened to six lanes.

Lower Roswell Road runs from Roswell past the Chattahoochee Nature Center and along the river, then makes a sharp left at the Timber Ridge intersection up a hill, then cuts right over to Johnson Ferry. It was a little used two lane road that resembled a drive in the mountains. Then the Cobb County government decided to spend millions to “improve” the road, adding sidewalks on BOTH sides of the road and widening the road to allow for turn lanes and bike paths. There’s talk of adding a traffic circle in a very natural area, right by the river, where Timber Ridge dead-ends into Lower Roswell. Quite the overkill, further spoiling what was once a beautiful, undeveloped, natural area.      

RESTAURANTS: While East Cobb may not have the widest variety of eating establishments, it does have a decent selection. It’s not overridden with chains, which is good thing. There are plenty of local eateries up and down Johnson Ferry. A quick list includes Chili’s, Houlihans, Houcks, Moes, Zaxbys, Chipotle, ZoĆ«’s Kitchen, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, El Porton, Ted’s Montana Grill, Waffle House, Chick-fil-A, Firehouse Subs, O’Charleys, Chepes, Longhorn Steakhouse, Mellow Mushroom, California Pizza Kitchen, Willys, Panda Express, Arby’s, Panera, and many, many more. Locally-owned Moxie Burger has been getting lots of good publicity around town. Roswell’s downtown row of trendy eateries is just a stone’s throw away. It’s not much farther to Sandy Springs, the Perimeter area, or Buckhead.

SHOPPING: Fortunately, East Cobb is not overridden with endless big box shopping centers like the North Point and Perimeter areas. These places aren’t far away, but there’s still plenty of shopping in East Cobb. The Avenue boasts many mall store, including the Gap, American Eagle, Bed Bath & Beyond, Talbots, PeachMac, Victoria’s Secret, Joseph A Bank, and more. Nearby is Target, Wal-Mart, two Home Depots, Old Navy, and Kohl’s, and more. Two large multiplex movie theaters, plus a smaller theater showing older dollar movies.

GROCERIES: five or six Kroger’s, four or five Publix’s, a Whole Foods, and a Trader Joes. There are also grocery sections in the Wal-Mart’s and Targets, and a few smaller groceries.

SCHOOLS: Led by Walton, East Cobb has several of the top high schools in the state. Pope, Lassiter, and Wheeler aren’t far behind. There are several nearby private schools, as well as multiple home-schooling options.

CHURCHES: Plenty of places to worship, in many faiths and denominations, with congregations large, medium, and small. Most offer a wide range of ministries. Over the years our family has taken part in events at Johnson Ferry Baptist, East Cobb Presbyterian, Mt. Zion Methodist, Mt. Paran Church of God, Shallowford Falls Community Church, Mt. Bethel UMC, and Sewell Mill Baptist. St Peters Episcopal, East Cobb Church of Christ, Roswell UMC, Eastside Baptist, Cobb Community Church, and St Ann’s Catholic Church.    

PARKS: Cobb County loves to build parks. In addition to the area along the river, a few years ago the county opened the large, expansive East Cobb Park one mile west of Johnson Ferry Road, on Highway 120. The heavily used park is also home to a non-denominational tree-lighting service in December.  

BASEBALL: Success in the little league world series many years ago made East Cobb a baseball hotbed. Actually, “machine” or “business” may be a better word. There are many leagues scattered around East Cobb, including Eastside, Mt. Paran, Johnson Ferry, Shaw Park, Oregon Park, Sandy Plains. and two more with names that escape me. But East Cobb Baseball is the monolith that attracts players from all over the state (and further), producing national championships and sending numerous players to colleges and pros…every year. ECB is also big business, filling local hotels and restaurants with teams traveling to town for tournaments every weekend of the summer. Almost every year one of the local high schools makes it to the state baseball finals.

GOLF: At least two courses are in East Cobb (Marietta Country Club and Indian Hills) with several more courses and ranges real close. For many years the PGA Tour played the BellSouth Classic at the MCC.

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