Some Don’t Like It Hot

Atlantans regard summer—and the overheated tourists it spawns—woefully

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What Atlantans usually think about this admission is: "Wise choice."

In Birmingham and Charlotte and Mobile, people say: "You have to change planes in Atlanta to get to heaven."

Atlantans think: "Don't detour into town."

A lot of visitors come to Atlanta because they want to see the original Tara, the plantation where Scarlett O'Hara or Vivien Leigh or Margaret Mitchell or whoever lived in Gone With the Wind. It used to be said that Yankees knew of only two places in Georgia—the Coca-Cola factory and Tara—and one of those was fictional. According to Frommer's travel guide, among the questions most frequently posed by visitors to Atlanta is: "Where are Scarlett and Rhett buried?"

We don't have time for such questions.

And we don't like seeing visitors staggering down Peachtree Street, dazed by the heat, looking in vain for pillared mansions, hoop skirts and fields of cotton.

The real Atlanta isn't on display.

The real Atlanta unfurls her beauty in the spring, then folds it up again, as into a perfumed hope chest, well before July and August.

Atlanta in the spring is the loveliest place on earth. Atlanta in the spring is the Disneyland of flowers.

There is a morning in spring when we awaken to the shy presence of the pear trees in wedding gowns of white blossoms; and the dogwood trees, like bridesmaids, are beribboned with their own white or light-pink flowers. This day is the Deep South's version of first snow.

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