I can’t say Roswell, Georgia was ever on the top of my “places to visit” list. But when my aunt asked if I wanted to stay in their home and watch their dog for two weeks while they were out of town, I was eager to accept. Free housing and the company of an adorable four-legged friend in a city I’d never visited before? Sign me up.
I spent the first few days catching up on work and playing Battleship with my younger cousins. I hadn’t seen them for nearly two years and I had a blast playing and laughing with them. By the time everyone left and the house quieted down, I was eager to explore my temporary home.
Shopping on Canton Street
Much like my home town, Roswell has one main street where pretty much all of the action is concentrated. In the case of Roswell, this is Canton Street. I fell in love with Canton Street right away. Every shop was adorable and right up my alley.
My first stop was Go With The Flow, a water sports store where I geeked out over paddle board gear and learned that people in Georgia are really impressed when you tell them you are from California. I spent the next hour or so walking in and out of the shops.
Most of the shops are locally owned, boutique shops with just the right balance of chic and hippy for my liking. I came across a wellness center offering therapeutic yoga classes and selling a variety of healing crystals. I spent way too much money in Spirited, a clothing store that looked like it was picked up from Berkeley and dropped in Roswell. I drank my weight in olive oil and balsamic vinegar at Oli+Ve.
All in all it was a surprisingly fun day. Not that I have anything against Roswell, Georgia. I just wasn’t expecting the shopping to be this good.
Tongue readings and free massages
Chalk it up to great travel karma, but I happened to be in Roswell during the grand opening of RosWELLness. The minute I stepped inside I knew this was my kind of shop.
The woman who owns the place explained to me that they are dedicated to selling better-than-organic produce. She actually visits every farm that they source from. She tests the soil for any chemicals and does nutrient density testing on all the produce. This way she can ensure that her customers are getting the best local, organic groceries available. But this place is more than just a grocery store.
Connected to the grocery store is a cafe that serves hot beverages, smoothies, and vegan meals. As I admired the beautiful space, the owner asked me if I would like to sign up for a free 5-minute massage. Needless to say, I said yes.
I waited for my complementary massage in the wellness boutique, a small room full of vintage armchairs, jarred herbal teas, yoga mats, and a collection of jewelry with inspiring words and phrases on every bead. Then Stacy, the masseuse, led me into the massage room where she treated me to a 5-minute neck, shoulder, and head massage. I left the room feeling like jelly.
While I hovered around the homemade soaps and vegan baked goods, the shop owner made her way over to me. “Was there anything else I could help you with?” She asked. “Well,” I responded, my cheeks turning bright red, “I heard something about a free tongue reading…”
We sat down on the faded red sofa and she briefly explained that she was trained in a school of traditional holistic medicine that uses peoples’ faces, nails, and tongues to diagnose them. She then invited me to stick out my tongue. She glanced at if for less than a minute before telling me to put it away. Part of me was skeptical (the part that grew up with a nuclear physicist as a grandpa and took dayquil whenever I felt stuffy). The other part of me was eager to hear what she would say (the part of me that studied Ayurveda and now avoids dayquil like the plague).
Apparently my tongue gave away quite a bit. “You have a minor case of malabsorption,” she told me, “Oh, and your kidneys are a little displaced.”
I just nodded.
“Eat more yogurt and kimchi,” she told me. “It’s in the beginning stages, but it is advancing. Still, that should be enough to nip it in the bud.”
Personally, I am a big believer in holistic health, so I was excited to listen to her explain the theories behind her practice and the signs that led to her diagnosis. I have been to various holistic doctors and try different home remedies every time I get sick, so I am used to things like my toenails revealing that I need to do more shoulder-stands. What was different about this woman (and what I loved about her) was that she stuck to dietary remedies. She didn’t try to sell me on anything or insist I needed to drink weird herbal teas every hour (yes, I’ve been prescribed that in the past). She just told me to eat more yogurt and kimchi, which I am more than happy to do.
The great outdoors
Before heading to Atlanta to explore the city, I had one more destination I wanted to check out in Roswell. The next morning I loaded the dog in the car and drove to the Old Roswell Mill, the head of a large network of beautiful trails. No matter where I travel or what I experience, nothing inspires me quite as much as the great outdoors.
Living in drought-ridden California, it has been awhile since I’ve been on a trail where the soil is damp and the trees are bright green. There was even a cascading waterfall!
The dog I am watching is 11 years old, so we didn’t stay out for too long. Still, it was long enough to fill my lungs with fresh air and snap a few shots of the picturesque covered bridge. Later this week I am planning a longer dog-less hiking expedition in Northern Georgia, but I loved finding this small paradise so close to where I am staying.
Moral of the story: Roswell rocks
Roswell was nothing like I expected it to be. It was way hippier, greener, and more fun than I had dared hope. I thought I would spend every day in Atlanta, but exploring Roswell ended up being a ton of fun. It reminded me that wherever I go, there is a potential adventure to be had so long as I keep my mind open and maintain my willingness to explore. Suffice it to say if my aunt and uncle ever need a house sitter again, I will be here in a moment’s notice.