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| December-January 2012

Homes and Communities

Cobb County: Abundant Nature and Suburban City Living

by Muriel Vega

Expanding your Social Circle

Located just 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta, Cobb County offers all the perks of suburban life with a city-like atmosphere. Residents enjoy Cobb’s low cost of living, access to nature, great educational options and rich history. Built around the Chattahoochee River and bordering Cherokee County and Fulton County, Cobb County is part of the core five-county metro Atlanta area.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cobb ranks as the most educated county in the state of Georgia. And with good reason: Cobb County houses 13 of Newsweek Magazine’s 2010 Best Public High Schools, including Walton High School and Marietta High School.

The city of Marietta boasts one of Georgia’s first charter school systems, allowing local officials more flexibility with student curriculum. And its top-notch school district attracts small businesses, making it even more attractive. Cobb is also home to such recognized universities as Southern Polytechnic State and Kennesaw State, which offers 43 bachelor’s degree programs and Georgia’s only doctorate in Business Administration.

Big City With a Small-Town Feel

Marietta, the largest city in Cobb County, allows residents to enjoy both the conveniences of a bustling metropolis and the comforts of small-town living. With a median home price of around $160,000, it’s easy to find affordable housing. And some of that housing is quite beautiful: Marietta claims more than 150 antebellum and Victorian-style homes.

The heart of the city is the historic Marietta Square, which serves as both park and town center, lined with boutiques, museums, shops and restaurants. Theatre in the Square stages high-quality productions in an intimate, 225-seat space, while the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, a renovated art deco movie house reopened in 2009, hosts musical productions, classic movies and concerts. Hemingway’s Bar & Grill, a casual eatery with a nautical feel, is a favorite landmark offering live music on weekends. The Historic Marietta Trolley offers one-hour tours showcasing antebellum homes, the Gone with the Wind museum and the battlefields at Kennesaw Mountain.

Marietta is mostly accessible by Interstate 75 South. If driving is an issue, Cobb County Transit connects the suburbs with the City of Atlanta. With eight available park-and-ride shuttles around the county, it’s easy to hop a bus into the big city and transfer to MARTA, Atlanta’s public rail system.

Outdoor Pursuits

For those with an interest in history and the outdoors, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park offers more than 2,800 acres of green space, with three areas commemorating the Civil War battle fought on the property (and from which the park takes its name). A recently expanded museum displays rare artifacts and weapons from the era, and screens a short film on General Sherman’s Atlanta campaign and the Battle of Kennesaw. Relic hunting is prohibited, but visitors can take self-guided cellphone audio tours. Runners and hikers can enjoy more than 17 miles of trails, while the rest of us can drive to the top of the mountain on weekdays (there’s also a shuttle on weekends).

Another outdoor option is the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, which offers bike trails as well as mountain biking for more daring riders, and even horseback riding on Bowman’s Island. Rafts, canoes, kayaks and other small boats are allowed on the water, and there are also boat rentals available for those keen on fishing or getting to know the river.

The nearby Sweetwater Creek State Park offers more than nine miles of trails with varying levels of difficulty. The red trail follows the stream down to the ruins of the Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill that burned during the Civil War. The park rents kayaks and canoes in the summer, and fishing supplies are available in the park’s bait shop.

Cobb Means Business

Cobb County has a strong small business presence, with the Cobb Chamber of Commerce being one of the largest in the state, boasting more than 250,000 members. With programs for discounted employee health insurance, an Office Depot Discount Program and the Small Business of the Year annual awards program, Cobb offers great incentives for entrepreneurs to grow their dream businesses within its borders.

The area’s commercial center is a stretch of real estate anchored by the Cobb Galleria Centre, a convention and shopping center with specialty shops that connects to another retail shopping destination, Cumberland Mall, via a pedestrian sky bridge. The Cobb Galleria Centre is also connected to two hotels, the Sheraton Suites Galleria and the four-star Renaissance Waverly Hotel. This concentration of businesses also features the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, a prominent entertainment venue that hosts concerts and Broadway shows and is also the home of the Atlanta Opera and the Atlanta Ballet.

For those who want to be closer to Atlanta,Smyrna is located about 10 miles from the city and can be reached by I-285. Smyrna boasts a younger demographic than the rest of the county, with a median home price of around $200,000. Williams Park, one of its oldest neighborhoods, houses many Victorian and historic homes and is only a short walk from downtown Smyrna and the Market Village, with many homes in the upper $300’s. For a more traditional suburban plan, Bennett Woods has more than 300 homes, all traditional brick ranches built in the ’60s and ’70s.

In the heart of Smyrna’s downtown, the mixed-use Market Village development sports an open, airy vibe thanks to a walkable combination of family-friendly green space and a town center. Market Village also features 16 townhomes, 40,000 square feet of office space and another 18,000 square feet of retail space.

Cobb County offers everything from great education options, affordable housing and a high quality of life to small-business opportunities and a vibrant commercial and entertainment complex. Its many parks and green spaces put you close to nature without taking you too far away from the always-buzzing county seat of Marietta, one of Atlanta’s largest suburbs. Why choose one world or the other, when Cobb County gives you both?


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