As we often say, our guests are golden and we couldn’t do what we do without them! Over the years, a lot of care has gone into creating our gardens, decorating the cottage, and caring for our chickens and alpacas, so hosting our guests well is a natural extension of what we love so much. Thank you for the kind words about your experience at the Decatur Alpaca Cottage; it was truly a pleasure hosting you! ~ Marykay, Decatur Alpaca Cottage Host
“From the moment we arrived, the gracious hospitality blew us away and ensured that our trip was one to remember. A special highlight was the Alpaca Experience – Marykay was great with our boys and it was clear that the alpacas and chickens are just as well cared for as we were. We can’t wait to return!” ~ Samantha, March 2018
“The Decatur Alpaca Cottage is a special place tucked away, close enough to the city action, but definitely a retreat from the hustle and bustle. The cottage is stocked with everything you might need and then some. Close to grocery stores and restaurants! And the alpacas and chickens – so fun! The cottage was a great get away for our family but would also be great for couples and other travelers as well! Book it – you won’t regret it!” ~ Sarah, June 2018
“Our stay at Marykay’s cottage was PERFECT. We’ve stayed at a lot of great Airbnb’s, but I would say Marykay takes the cake with her gracious hosting skills. Thoughtful touches everywhere surprised and delighted us. I think Marykay has thought of EVERY little detail for a lovely stay. A bottle of wine. Dark chocolates on the bed. Travel size toiletries in the bathroom. A beautifully furnished space which was immaculately clean. And that is only the INSIDE! The property around the cottage is so inviting. The alpacas and the hens were a big hit with us. But so was the outdoor dining room in the garden where we enjoyed a takeout meal one evening. The location was perfect as a cozy home base for exploring Decatur and Atlanta. Based in a nice residential Decatur neighborhood, we were only a few minutes away from Decatur’s downtown which has SO many of Atlanta’s best restaurants. We had an unforgettable meal at the Iberian Pig. I cannot say enough good things about the cottage, our host, her communication, and the quality of stay we had. I’ve listened to a few podcast interviews with the co-founder of Airbnb, Joe Gebbia, and the Decatur Alpaca Cottage has completely captured the spirit of community and connection that he intended. Bravo!” ~ Ale, March, 2018
“Heavenly! I didn’t want to leave this lovely cottage surrounded by gardens and cute chickens and alpaca. The location is perfect and felt so safe. So comfortable and clean. I could totally live here!” ~ Adrea, June 2018
“An amazing gem in the heart of Decatur, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay! The cottage is super comfortable, the gardens are beautiful and fragrant, the perfect setting for a stroll with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. The chickens and alpacas are clean and well cared for and very fun to watch.” Kathy, May 2018
“This will be our destination when visiting family in Atlanta! The cottage was tastefully decorated, well appointed, clean and very comfortable. We enjoyed feeling as if we were in a special hideaway out of the city. The surroundings were lovely. So thankful someone recommended the Decatur Alpaca Cottage to us!!” ~ Bobby, May 2018
“My husband and I chose to stay at the Decatur Alpaca Cottage for the two nights after our wedding. We thought it looked so cute from the pictures and noted that it had great reviews. Our actual stay far surpassed our expectations. It certainly lived up to the photos, and was very charming, clean and cozy. Beyond that though, we were very impressed with the personal touches that were provided. From providing wine, coffee, and snacks, to having a fully stocked kitchen, we were impressed every step of the way. We loved that there was an array of bath products (especially me, trying to remove my wedding makeup), and found that the bed was so comfy to relax into after a very long evening. The couch is comfy, with cozy blankets, and there was a full closet with items such as a blow dryer and an iron. Additionally, the grounds are beautiful and very well maintained, and the alpacas and chickens were great! Marykay was very accommodating, communicated very quickly, and left no stone unturned when thinking about guests’ comfort. We very much enjoyed our stay here, and hope that we can return in the future!” ~ Grace & Jake, April 2018
Vacation Homes In Atlanta Ga and Decatur
Whether you’re a resident planning an Atlanta staycation or an out-of-towner going on vacation, there are tons of options for places to stay. Atlanta vacation rentals aren’t new (hello, timeshares) but have been gaining in popularity in recent years. I love the options it gives me when I’m planning my travel. A house on the beach? An apartment in the city? Both on the same trip!? Such fabulous choices.
There are some things to consider when you’re looking at vacation home rentals. Not everything is the same across the various rental sites, and each property and owner are different, too. Here are a few things to consider.
What Do I Need vs What Can I Live Without?
While you’ll gain some things with vacation homes in Atlanta, you’ll lose others. I don’t actually need someone to make my bed every day (I don’t do it at home, either!), so I don’t mind not having daily housekeeping services. There also won’t be anyone to book show tickets or to make a dinner reservation (i.e., no concierge). So, it’s all about needs vs. wants.
I think the things you gain with a home rental far outweigh what you don’t get. Personally, I love having a kitchen I can use. Sometimes, you don’t want to eat out every single meal, especially on longer trips. There’s nothing better than a stop at a local farmer’s market and cooking up fresh goodies. Or if you do go out, tasty leftovers can be safely tucked away in the fridge. Having kitchen access can be a definite plus, especially if you have a family.
Plus, the amount of space in a vacation home in Atlanta is likely far more than a hotel. Even in an apartment, it’s going to be bigger than a hotel room at a fraction of the cost. Kick in access to laundry and you’re set! While there are more rentals that are serviced (say, housekeeping for a fee), you might be better off deciding on what you can skip on your trip.
Live Like a Local
If you really want to get a feel for the area, grab a rental in a quiet neighborhood like Avondale Estates and try living like a local. I adore seeing the communities I’m visiting. While I like the touristy stuff, I love finding those great little restaurants tucked away in a neighborhood or a great park to relax for an hour. Your vacation home rental might even have a patio or deck, perfect for hanging out after a day of cruising around town.
Live It Up Instead
Ever look at one of those glossy magazines like Southern Living and imagine yourself living in one of those houses? I know I do! A vacation rental can be the perfect way to do it, without the mortgage payment. There are rentals of all kinds, so if this is your “splurge” vacation, you can find a place that’s magazine-perfect. (There are also no rules against taking selfies that make it look like your house, but you didn’t hear that here).
More and more people are doing destination weddings, but they can be a bit hard on the budgets of your friends and family. I think the perfect answer to that is an Atlanta vacation home rental, where the costs can be split among several people.
A Brief History of Atlanta
Atlanta was founded in 1836 and its first claim to fame was being the end of a railroad line that stretched out into the Midwest. Terminus had far fewer zombies then…oh wait, that’s the Walking Dead, not the real-life Atlanta railway hub. Oops! But like many metro areas, Atlanta sees its fair share of TV and film crews. From IFC to HBO, you might see familiar streets and buildings on your screen.
Atlanta is the current capital of Georgia, but not its first one. Things like picking a new capital were easier when there were only 25 states in the Union. Georgians moved the capital four times before settling on making Atlanta the fifth and final choice in 1868.
What Else is Atlanta Known For?
You probably know that the state fruit of Georgia is the peach, though oddly, it wasn’t official until 1995. It was first brought to the area in the mid-16th century by Franciscan monks. Unlike some others things imported for food (that’s why parks are overrun with pigeons), peaches were a good addition to the local ecosystem and thrive in the warm, southern climate. Another interesting bit: there are more than 70 streets, roads and byways named “Peachtree” in Atlanta, so you’d better make sure you know which one you’re looking for. And despite its love affair with peaches, those streets aren’t named for them, at least not directly. The Atlanta area was originally a settlement of the Creek people. There’s some debate about whether they called Standing Peachtree or Standing Pitch Tree since the area’s also heavily covered in pine trees. Either way, you’ll see Peachtree all over town now!
If you’ve argued Coke vs. Pepsi and landed on the side of Coke, you’re in luck in Atlanta. Home to the World of Coca-Cola museum, I can indulge my love for sugary caffeine and immerse myself in the polar bears any time I want. Oh. And you can, too, if you’re visiting!
The population of Atlanta’s metro area is just under six million (it’s the 9th largest in the U.S) and has seen some serious growth the last few years. The population is pretty racially diverse, and also boasts one of the top twenty highest percentages of LGBT populations in the country.
Sports in Atlanta
If you’re a sports fan, you’re definitely in luck in Atlanta. Home to NBA, NFL and MLB teams (the NHL tried twice, but that was like dating your ex again) so there’s usually at least one game going on. Don’t forget college ball, either. You can check out the College Football Hall of Fame while you’re in Atlanta.
What to See in Atlanta When You’re Staying In A Vacation Home Rental
Once you’ve had your fill of Coke, it’s time to check out the rest of Atlanta.
The Largest Hindu Temple Outside India
Yes, you read that correctly! Built from 34,000 individual pieces of stone, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta is a beautiful masterpiece of craftsmanship. One thing to know about directions to the temple: you may hear someone say “OTP”. No, it’s not a song, it stands for Outside the Perimeter. The perimeter in question is Interstate 285 that roughly rings the city and divides the urbanites from suburbanites.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Run by the National Park Service, this historic site includes the home where Martin Luther King Jr. was born, as well as the church where he was christened. The World Peace Rose Garden is lovely in the spring and summer, with 185 varieties of roses. I’d say it’s a must-see on your visit to Atlanta!
This Isn’t Your Hometown Aquarium
I’m sure you’ve been to an aquarium before but probably not one like this. The Georgia Aquarium is the sixth largest in the world, with several thousand species of marine life calling its ten million gallons of water home. I love that they also run a conservation station in North Florida, to do rescue and rehab of dolphins and small whales, plus educate the public on our oceans. It’s another must-see on the list!
My Advice On The Best Vacation and Staycation Rentals In Atlanta
There are lots of sites you can use to find the perfect Atlanta, Georgia vacation rental. Let’s start with Trip Advisor, which started off mainly with info on hotel chains. They’ve expanded to include vacation rentals (and other things). Four long years before Facebook was founded, Trip Advisor was leading the way on user-generated content. Did you love the hotel? 5 stars! Hated that they charged for parking? 2 stars.
In recent years, they’ve purchased and/or partnered with a multitude of similar sites. Now you’re not just limited to reviews provided directly on Trip Advisor. Pro tip: If you’re looking at a list of properties and the rating is given in stars instead of circles, that means it’s from another site, like VacationRentals.com. Beyond that, you can filter by things like availability and price. The best part is booking directly through the site, which makes it easy when I’ve finally made up my mind where I’m staying!
The Top 10 Atlanta Staycation And Vacation Homes (Including Decatur), According To Trip Advisor
Tranquility at Kennesaw Mountain
Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) is part of the Homeaway Family of companies. They help connects travelers with people who own properties they’d like to rent out. From Hawaii to Hong Kong, you can find a vacation rental that suits you. What I like about the site is the way the listings are categorized. You can search by neighborhood or points of interest (and several more options). That way, I don’t need to have a map open to see what’s what or to guess where things are. They have user reviews (who doesn’t?) and a map that shows the prices so I can easily pick ones out in my price range.
The Top 10 Vacation Homes In Atlanta, According To VRBO
Brand New, Private Grant Park Retreat!
Likely one of the most well-known of vacation rental sites is AirBnB. Less than ten years old, they describe themselves as an online marketplace and hospitality service that “connects people to unique travel experiences”. The rentals range from a single night to a months-long stay. You can stay in a house with the owner, or have the whole place to yourself. I’ve tried it both ways and it’s great! You’ll often see the owner and most are more than happy to give a restaurant suggestion or quick directions to the local grocery. Like all rental sites, you can read reviews, look at pics and even ask questions of the owner. Where they differ a bit is the owner approval. Often if you’re choosing a home where the owner lives currently, they’ll look at your traveler rating. That seems only fair, right? That way everyone feels comfortable and can get a good night’s sleep.
ADD INFO AND LINK BACK TO DECATUR ALPACA COTTAGE?
The Top 10 Atlanta Vacation Rentals (Including Decatur), According To AirBnB
Historic 420 Friendly Rm Near Downtown & Marta
Though it may look similar to the other sites, Tripping.com works a bit differently. They are one of several that bill themselves as a search engine for vacation rentals, with more than ten million properties to choose from. What’s unusual about their setup is that you can compare other rental sites directly with their listings. Just check the ones you want to compare and you’re off. It may look familiar if you looked at a site like Kayak to book your airfare (in fact, Kayak is an option you can compare with). I definitely like the ease of use of their site. I don’t need to open five tabs and flip back and forth, it lays out all my choices in a clean, sortable grid.
The Top 10 Vacation Home Rentals in Atlanta GA, According To Tripping.com
1920’s Atlanta Antique Furnished Cozy Cottage in Historic Collier Heights area
According to their PR, Hometogo.com is the largest search engine for vacation rentals. Though they’re Berlin-based, they have listings in 200 countries and over 11 million properties. I like the clean design of their site, which makes it easy to find what I’m looking for. An interesting feature is their categories. Things like “Big City Vacations” or “Top 20 Beach Getaways” can make it a fun tool to use, if you haven’t picked a particular destination yet. If you do know where you want to go, it’s easy to plug in the search info and find properties. My favorite thing is the “best time to visit”. It gives you the lowdown on the average local weather with just a single click.
The Best Vacation Rental Homes In Atlanta, According To Home To Go
As you can guess from the name, FamilyVacationCritic.com is all about family vacations. You can choose from different destinations like Greece, or narrow it by type like a wellness retreat. While you don’t book directly with them, they aggregate the prices from the top travel sites like Orbitz and Booking.com. What stands out to me is the info they provide. Not only is it all the “usual” travel site stuff, but they also have a blog and news info. Things like preparing your teen to travel without you or even a list of great boots for your fall getaway. Now that’s what I call full service!
The Most Awesome Vacation Rentals Near Atlanta Ga, According To Family Vacation Critic
Part of the Trip Advisor family of companies, VacationHomeRentals has properties listed all over the globe. Their interface is a bit lacking in sophistication and the visual appeal of some other sites, but the selling point is the payment protection. Because it’s a Trip Advisor affiliate, you’re covered by their payment protection guarantee. I like their other cool feature, the availability calendar, that’s listed on each property’s page. You don’t need to keep guessing dates and filing out a form, you can clearly see in a calendar format what dates are booked or free. It’s a little like Southwest’s “flexible travel” dates. Plug your dates in and see the price, or try sliding it a week to see if it changes.
The Atlanta Georgia Vacation Homes (Including Decatur) That You’d Want To Rent, According To Vacation Home Rentals
While this site learns more toward buying a home, it does have a section dedicated to vacation rentals. The selection may seem a bit smaller than other sites (it’s actually a lot smaller), but you’re also more likely to find cities that aren’t on other sites. Plus, I like the idea of finding that hidden gem, where the owner didn’t put it on a big-name site. It has an availability calendar on each property’s page, which makes it easy to see at a glance what’s going on. You don’t book directly through the site but contact the owner instead, which could save a bit on fees.
The Greatest Atlanta Ga Vacation Rentals According To By Owner
Flipkey is also a member of the Trip Advisor family of companies (under the Rentals division). It has more than 300,000 properties in 179 countries. I like the easy layout of the site but they’re really hooking me in with the blog. It gives me ideas and inspirations like the dreamiest vacations or the best spots to see the fall foliage. While it might not have quite as many listings as another site, it has the full power of the Trip Advisor site behind it. Reviews, payment protection, easy to use – all the things I like! Who wants to be stressed planning a vacation of all things?
The Hippest Rental Vacation Homes In Atlanta Ga According To FlipKey