Friday, September 12, 2008

Shop Hop Northern Arc

For you folks about to embark on the shop hop, here are some potential directions to help you find your way.

There is a Northern Arc of shops from west to east: Knitting Emporium in downtown Kennesaw, The Whole Nine Yarns in downtown Woodstock, Only You and Cotton Too in downtown Crabapple, and Cast-on Cottage and Needlepoint Garden in downtown Roswell. All of these are charming shops in charming small-town Southern settings. Most of them are also in areas with many pedestrians and tight speed limits, so do be careful if you are the driver.

One potential driving route:
Note to those looking at a map: at many times of the day, it is easier to travel on Chastain Rd than on Barrett Pkwy. If you are driving north on I-75, it may be worth your sanity to go a little farther north than what a map suggests.)
From I-75 take exit 271 Chastain Rd and head west toward Kennesaw and McCollum Field. Chastain will change names to McCollum Pkwy. Travel a couple miles and be in the right lane as you pass McCollum Field. At the traffic light for Old Hwy 41/Main St, turn right. Travel north on Main St about one mile, past two traffic signals. Beware of the speed limit changes! After Main St takes a turn to the right at the odd intersection with Summers St, Knitting Emporium will be on your left as the historic downtown comes into view. The shop is located inside a house and the sign says "Antique Garden." There is a tire place across the street from them. Turn onto the driveway next to the mailbox. Parking is around back of the house.

After Knitting Emporium, make a right turn out on to Main St. Go back to McCollum Pkwy/Chastain Rd and turn left. Travel east about 3 miles. You'll need to be in the left lane to get on I-575 headed north. Travel about 5 miles to exit 8, Towne Lake Pkwy & Woodstock. Keep to the right on the exit ramp. As you turn right onto Towne Lake, you'll need to shift one lane to the left. (The far right lane goes away.) Go straight at the light. The road goes up a small hill. As it comes over the crest, you'll see a red barn to your right and a sign informing that you cannot turn left ahead at Main St. Guess what? You want to turn left at Main St. Therefore, turn right at the red barn and then drift to the left across the x-shaped intersection. You'll still be traveling east, but now you are over on Mill St, which runs one-way parallel to Towne Lake but one block south of it. Staying in the left lane, follow Mill St a couple blocks to the traffic signal where it dead ends at Main St. Turn left when the signal light permits. Go straight at the light for Towne Lake Pkwy/Arnold Mill Rd. Do not go too fast, as the speed limit is only 25 mph! Shortly after the light, Main St crosses railroad tracks. As soon as it crosses the tracks, execute a hairpin turn to the right. This will bring you into Parkside shopping center. The gazebo is across from The Whole Nine Yarns. There is parking across the front of the shopping center, around the far side of the shopping center, and along one side of City Park. If you are really stuck for a spot, there is also parking along Main St on the other side of the railroad tracks.

As you leave The Whole Nine Yarns, make a left hairpin turn at the railroad tracks and head back south on Main St to the main light. Turn left so that you are headed east on Arnold Mill Rd. Follow Arnold Mill, bearing right as it meets route 140, for about 12 miles. Near the end of the 12 miles, you'll pass a castle on the right. In about a mile you'll see capitalistic civilization, including Kroger and BP on the left and McDonald's on the right. The traffic light is at Crabapple Rd, turn left. Be careful as this is a more than 90-degree turn. Go about a mile, passing the light at Birmingham Hwy/Broadwell Rd. Only Ewe and Cotton Too is just ahead on the left. The valet parking is for the restaurant. Use the parking spaces along the building with the long porch.

Leaving Only Ewe and Cotton Too, turn right and head back down Crabapple Rd. Go a little more than 5 miles west and south on Crabapple, being sure to keep to the left at the fork with Hardscrabble Rd. Crabapple becomes Canton St at Woodstock Rd. Cast-On Cottage and Needlepoint Garden is in a house on the left about half a mile south of Woodstock Rd. (There is a cat clinic across the street from them.) Parking is available in back.

Tomorrow: In-town route.

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