Would you take the family to a brand-new 86-acre community in Georgia just to download a feature film in one fast minute?
Maybe not, but that’s only one of a gazillion super-fast techie pleasures to access in Avalon, the new “fiberhood” just north of Atlanta.
Just opened Oct. 30, 2014, this collection of chef-driven restaurants, high-end shops, entertainment venues, convivial outdoor living rooms and residential options surfaced with a purpose.
A “future-proof environment” say the developers who recognize the 20-mile ring around Avalon’s municipal partner named Alpharetta is wealthier than any other same-size region in America.
Wealth and technology fuel Avalon, requiring each business to exhibit distinctive features appealing to the geeks and geniuses operating the astonishing 900 tech companies flourishing in that 20-mile ring.
Clever interactions in every shop, eatery
Fun stuff that means for the rest of us using our electronic devices and liking clever interactions in the places we go.
For instance: High-speed Internet in Avalon means 100 times faster than elsewhere in the USA. One gigabit per second.
How come? 1,000 miles of fiber optics work underground. Not copper; all fiber. That’s why fiberhood is the moniker, not neighborhood.
Technically savvy web designers, app developers and innovators moving here need it. Now that I’ve experienced the speed as a day visitor, I want it too.
In December Kris Kringle was sending radiofrequency messages to kids waiting in line to see him.
Lots of shopping
Maybe you’d rather shop. Be alert to techie experiences everywhere. Single mom jeweler Kendra Scott is one example:
Two big touch screens flank the long counter where skilled technicians complete earrings, bracelets, pendants and complex necklaces.
Design jewelry with touch screens
You choose from 26 natural and synthetic stones and 23 settings, mixing and matching on the screens, making as many changes as you like, trying on previously designed pieces to help decide.
There’s a sister rule at Kendra Scott’s—treat each other like a favorite sister. I found it even friendlier than that. Might even share a mimosa.
Body-size and bigger touch screens distinguish the Avalon Whole Foods Market so go there even as a hotel dweller not needing groceries. I stayed in the Alpharetta Marriott, an official American Girls hotel.
One Whole Foods techie screen guided my pairing of chocolate, coffee and wine. Another called Align Your Whole Body reflected my aura (really! I saw it) and encouraged playful posing leading to product suggestions to refresh me, energize or relieve whatever needs relieving.
Interact with food sources
I had to wait my turn to turn knobs on 12-foot tall Wise Wood installation, creating windmills when sustainable energy was needed and other such farm landscape issues.
The kids’ play area has apps too—healthy living and awesome eats plus sturdy climbing toys. Upstairs adults play too—this market has beer and wine, tablet menus for ordering food, and a full-kitchen cooking school.
Select wines from the enomatic dispenser allowing small sips, no oxygen affecting the taste after a pouring, and lots of options.
Wander aimlessly, chatting with new-found friends in the Avalon outdoor seating areas, asking the downtown concierge for advice on anything, including valet parking and dog walking, skating on the winter ice rink or stretching out in luxurious movie theater chairs in the Avalon cinema.
Move in if $5,000 seems right for your two-bedroom apartment. Not a fit for me but embracing the excitement of this sparkling new fiberhood certainly is.
Open, inviting, not exclusive
Might be geared toward wealth, but the mood is open and welcoming, not gated. I saw many families with toddlers and strollers, teens and tweens.
Everybody was selecting and discussing restaurants. I tried three in my one-day visit.
El Felix is an exuberant big place, action at the full bar, artistry on the dishes presented at each table. Executive Chef Ford Fry embraces old-school Tex Mex, reflecting his early life in Austin.
My cocktail at lunch? A little brown sour on the rocks: Forrester bourbon, tamarind juice, lime, brown sugar.
If my entrée is indicative of creativity and satisfying seasonings, hurry to El Felix. Campechana de Marisco it was with spicy Gulf shrimp, octopus, lump crab and fresh avocado. Gorgeous too.
Oak Steakhouse Avalon bears the distinguished pronouncement over the substantial wooden front door: Established 2014. Actually you might have admired the food in Oak’s Indigo Road Group restaurant in Charleston already.
Avalon recruits excellence. A master purveyor of dry aged beef says General Manager Kevin Krapp about Executive Chef Chad Anderson. I ordered exquisite grilled swordfish and pan roasted cauliflower with Brussels sprouts.
Goldberg’s enticed me to breakfast; if you’ve chosen a bagel from them in the Atlanta airport or dined in downtown Atlanta, take a look at the Avalon operation anyway.
Full bar all day, abundance of coffee selections and concoctions, breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. My smoked fish called nova was superb.
North American Properties, developers of Avalon’s first phase of 60 shops, entertainment venues, residences and restaurants, have launched the next phase of housing and amenities.
Storytelling encounters at Whole Foods Market were developed by SapientNitro and Second Story.