Maybe you've seen a few cars around Atlanta sporting a bumper sticker that proclaims "30307: It's not just a zip code, it's a lifestyle." This weekend presents the opportunity to experience that mantra first hand at the Lake Claire Home and Garden Tour. Big Lou the Emu awaits!
First, a little background: The Gordon family built a home in the Lake Claire area in 1871, but it wasn't until the early 1900s that development really took off. Starting in the 1910s, chunks of the neighborhood were incorporated into the city of Atlanta, although the area is still located in Dekalb County. Surrounding neighborhoods include Kirkwood, Decatur, Candler Park, and Druid Hills.
There is no lake within Lake Claire. An artificial one at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Claire Drive went the way of Whitney Houston's singing career, although no one seems to miss it. The lake, that is.
The small community's known for its close-knit neighbors who are dedicated to everything green. Although normally a laid back bunch, the residents of Lake Claire will fight when it comes to the environment. For instance, take the saga over the fate of Grandma Gordon, a beloved century old pecan tree.
As for the tour, expect the unexpected. Modest 1920s cottages hide backyard oases and 600 gallon bedroom fish tanks. There's a beautiful cypress-covered modern that's just different enough to make a statement, and a home with a front yard that might make you a convert to xeriscaping. A couple of stops sum up the vibe of Lake Clair perfectly. One is a unit at the pioneering Lake Claire Co-Housing development, which was the first of its type in Georgia. Here, residents partake in weekly communal dinners and tend a common garden. The next is the Lake Claire Community Land Trust, a kind of home-made gathering place where visitors can use saunas, groove out at drum circles, share food, and visit Lake Claire's most famous resident, Big Lou. Wearing tie-dye won't get you a discount ticket, but when in Rome....
For more info on the 2011 Lake Claire Home and Garden Tour click here.