Throughout this trip I have seen so many things. Some I have planned to see; huge tourist attractions, major cities, road trips. Some have been complete chance, and all the better for it. Skydiving in New Zealand, sitting by a lake in a tiny mountain town in California, shooting guns in Nashville.
The Tiny Doors were happenstance followed by planning. I had ended up with two nights going spare when I decided not to go to go to Universal Studios. I needed somewhere on a good transport route between Nashville and either Washington or New York City. A quick peruse of Greyhound routes threw up Atlanta as a possible option, so I decided to look a bit further and see if anything looked worth doing there.
Having a little hop through Pinterest is one of my favourite ways to get inspiration, and along with food options and walks, I quickly came across Tiny Doors Atlanta. It captured my imagination and I fell a lot in like with the idea of following the trail of these doors across the city. They are cute and whimsical and tiny, and as I had no need to be anywhere else, it felt like the perfect ridiculous thing to do.
I really only had a day and a half in Atlanta, and it’s somewhere I would love to visit again (maybe with a car) so in between eating pot roast and drinking ice tea and feeling incredibly Southern; I tried to make the most of exploring the city and finding these quirky little pieces of art.
I found the best way to start was by going along the beltway from Piedmont Park. I had the benefit of people watching as it was packed with people walking dogs, cycling and running. There were cafes, restaurants and shops but it was easy to feel as though you were out of the city. Along the beltway, which connects various parts of the city, there were various artworks – sculptures, murals, statues, all with their own stories.
I found my first Tiny Door on the beltway too, just next to the Eiffel Tower (yes, really). It was red, and pretty, and made my day. This was a random thing I had thought to do, and I had actually found one! You might think, well of course you did, they were made for people to find! But, I have a truly shocking sense of direction, and I was following not exactly comprehensive directions from a blog off Pinterest. It would not have been surprised to wander all darn day and not find a single one!I haggled with Google Maps and my screenshot of vague descriptions of Tiny Door locations. I ventured off the beltway, and found a beautiful Tiny Door, a replica of the wall it was on, including its butterfly mural. The fabulous part about this one was it was right next to an ice lolly shop, so I indulged in a peach flavoured King of Pops. Well, I was in Georgia after all.
I cheated a bit on the next one and got directions towards the street I knew I needed. This was a pet shop and the door even had a little dog dashing through the dog flap. I amazed myself and managed to navigate back to the beltway and towards the skate park, the site of the next door. Set into a bridge, surrounded by huge swathes of graffiti with a rainbow arcing over the top of it, this was my second favourite. I really wished it opened. It looked like it would go somewhere full of colour and adventure.
I was excited for the next door as it was on Krog Street. A street called Krog, hiding a tiny fairytale door. It was even better when I got there. I had walked the whole way through the Krog Street tunnel and felt sure I must have missed it somehow (they really are tiny, clue is in the name) but as I came out the other side I saw a lady sat on the floor surrounded by paint tins and brushes, and a sign which said Tiny Doors Atlanta. She was redecorating the door as it had had to be moved when a new guardrail was put up inside the tunnel. Meeting someone who actually sets the doors up and looks after them was a serendipitous little bonus and seemed to go with the quirkiness of the day.
I knew there were two more, in a bookshop and a puppet workshop, but the Tiny Doors artist directed me towards Cabbagetown (what is with Atlanta and cool sounding names?) and I continued my treasure hunt. I’ve got to say I was a bit bloody hot by this point, the ice lolly was a distant memory and the humidity was playing havoc with my hair. But I was on a roll so I decided to find at least one more door. The way I’d been directed took me past a whole group of artists creating different murals along the street.
On the other side of the road were quaint wooden style houses with people sat out on the front porches watching the artists in the heat. I easily found the next door…Well, I had a teensy bit of help finding the next door…Ok, I asked for directions and managed to latch onto some free WiFi to find the next door, happy?
This was my favourite. It had so much detail. Each of the miniature bricks surrounding it had names of people or businesses who’d contributed to Tiny Doors, a teeny weeny lamp over the door, and flowers framing the miniscule path. It even had British and American flags, although I don’t know why.
An extra fab part of this door was that I got talking to a couple of people who were also taking pictures and I found new friends to have wine with! Tiny Doors Atl, bringing people together.
Once I’d sat down I realised how tired walking in thirty-odd degree heat and humidity makes you, and I still needed to walk back. I made an executive decision with me, myself and I that I was done miniature portal hunting for the day, bade my new friends goodbye and headed back to my apartment.
Being completely on my own in a brand new city, my Tiny Door treasure trail was the perfectly whimsical way to explore a small part of such a big place. I’d definitely recommend it if you find yourself in Atlanta. There are way more doors than I found, and new ones do keep on being added. And if you find the tree one in Grant Park, which actually opens, I will be in awe of you.