It was a Merry-etta Christmas for me! For the past year-and-a-half, I called Ponce City Market in Atlanta my home. I was one of the first residents to live in the rent-only lofts and it was magical to watch the community open and blossom one store, restaurant and bridge at a time. 

By Katy Ruth Camp

But, although I loved being five floors above one of the most incredible and important developments in Atlanta’s history, Marietta still felt like my home. My job is here, many of my friends are here, my nonprofit work is here and I began to feel as though I was a part of this Cobb community in every way possible except for where I lain my head at night.

So, with my lease coming up for renewal at the end of November, I began house-hunting in Cobb with the help of the broker and realtor tag team extraordinaire of Mary Ansley Southerland and Wendy Bunch, respectively. My “Mama Bears,” as they called themselves, helped me each step of the way through finding, securing and closing on a wonderful townhouse off of the Marietta Square that is just perfect for me, along with a perfect two-mile commute to work!

Although my commitment to the Cobb community has never waned, I am excited to now be a Cobb citizen. Celebrating the holidays within walking distance to all of the many galas, parties and celebrations is a memory I am happy to continue creating.

Make the Pilgrimage

If you skipped last year’s Marietta Pilgrimage Tour of Homes, you missed out on some truly beautiful pieces of living history. Each year, a handful of historic and/or unique homes in the Marietta community are chosen for the highly-anticipated pilgrimage. The weekend kicks off with a gala on Friday night, day tours on Saturday and Sunday and a special candlelight tour on Saturday evening.

This year’s gala was held at the magical headquarters of Traton Homes on Kennesaw Avenue and Johnny Sinclair donned his usual “Hello, Holidays!” suit. Last year’s was blue with snowflakes but this year, Johnny opted for more festive flair with a red plaid suit that could be spotted a stone’s throw away. Katie Peterson, the queen bee of the pilgrimage, wore royalty purple and managed the event and weekend with her usual humor, smile and commitment. The tent just outside of the building’s doors was filled with dancing, live music and lots of laughter. It was a cold but wonderful night and a great way to kick off the tour.

This year, Laura Bottoms Higginbotham asked me to be the house chair for the Kennesaw Avenue home she owns with her husband, Bryan, daughter Mary Evelyn and golden retriever Lily Belle. I have volunteered at the Bistro before but never at a house, so I was excited to be the front porch storyteller for the Holland-Higginbotham home, but also wasn’t sure what to expect. How many grouchy tour-goers would I have to subdue? Do I have to memorize the script? WHAT IF THERE IS NO COFFEE?

Luckily, my Saturday morning/afternoon shift went swimmingly and I loved sharing the history of their beautiful home with the thousands of people who marched up its marble steps to view it. Allison Giddens manned the foyer as we partnered to get people out of the cold quickly and efficiently. As I was telling the history to a crowd of tourists early that morning (which I found was memorized after about the tenth time of telling it), my father dropped coffee and breakfast at my feet. He quickly shuffled away but not before I was able to embarrass him by announcing that he was my dad and was graciously bringing me a coffee and biscuit, which brought laughter and applause from the crowd.

And did you spot Brian Buckalew on his Marietta Pedicab? Brian bicycled tour-goers from the bistro at the Marietta Educational Garden Center to the homes like a champ, although some of us at the bistro might have shared a few laughs at the sight of him having to wheel his pedicab up the Garden Center’s enormous hill time and time again. I don’t know how he does it, but he makes it look easy!

It was a beautiful morning at a beautiful home in this beautiful city and I highly recommend you start the 2017 holiday season with this year’s tour.

Is Black Friday dead?

Did you make it out of your pj’s and house for Black Friday this year? I was covering the year’s biggest shopping day for the Marietta Daily Journal and set out around 6:30 a.m. for what I thought would be large crowds searching for even bigger deals. Instead, I found that most places I went were just as or perhaps a bit busier than usual and there wasn’t a terse, impatient line to be found.

Cassie Mazloom and some others mentioned Town Center at Cobb was periodically busy, while others said Target and many of the major retailers had their busiest hours on Thanksgiving.

Still, it seems the growing popularity of online shopping and Black Friday deals that span the whole month of November have put a damper on the Black Friday storms of the past. I, for one, was happy to spend Thanksgiving with my family without worrying about that storm and would gladly retire to my pj’s and a fire instead.

New Year

What are your New Year’s resolutions? I made a commitment when I moved to make 2017 the year of improving my health, finishing my novel and traveling more often. So, if by this time next year I am 20 pounds lighter, a published novelist and a passport full of stamps, you’ll know I met my goals. Now, where did I put that bag of Skittles…

Do you have an event you’d like Katy Ruth Camp to cover? Just email her at


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