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The Cost of Living Diaries: Athens, AL

Get the inside scoop on what it's like to be a local in Athens and Limestone County.

By Lindsey Hyde on February 15, 2023

Sherry Jefferson, owner of Flirty Flame Candle Co. in Athens, AL
Valerie Burwell

Welcome to The Cost of Living Diaries. How much does it cost to live in Athens, AL? What’s it like to own a business here? Keep reading because we asked an Athens local to tell us all about the cost of living in this thriving city!

Located in northern Alabama near the Tennessee border, Athens-Limestone County is a beautiful area where residents can lead both a successful career and a flourishing life.

When not crushing their career goals, they can spend their days enjoying the area’s parks and trails, historic courthouse square, community events, unique local shops, and a terrific food and drink scene.

To get a better view of local life, Livability chatted with Sherry Jefferson, who grew up in Huntsville, moved to the surrounding area in 2011 and then planted roots in Athens in 2013. Today, she runs Flirty Flame Candle Co., a business she launched in 2020. Two businesses in the area sell her products.

How would you describe Athens and its residents?
The people in Athens are loyal. They love their community. They love their city. They love Limestone County. Everyone’s been friendly to me, like when I started my business. It’s a small town, which is growing, of course, and everybody knows everybody.

How would you describe the affordability of the area?
It is actually pretty affordable. They’re building new apartments everywhere, so the newer apartments, the one-bedrooms are usually starting out at over $1,000, which is still less than the surrounding areas.

What do you like to do as far as entertainment in Athens?
I like going out to eat, and I like listening to music. There’s a place downtown, Athens Alehouse and Cellar, and they always have live music and good food. And downtown Athens is growing so fast. There’re a lot of new restaurants and boutiques and things down there, and it’s walkable. The square is always walkable.

What are your favorite restaurants in the area, and how much would dinner be for two?
Wildwood Deli. It’s very simple. It has a diner feel to it. You walk in and can order at the bar or sit in a booth, and it’s really laid-back. They have breakfast foods, sandwiches, omelets and things like that. When I go, I get the club sandwich. It’s not a pricey place. Two people could probably eat there for $25. My favorite place in Athens is Ramona J’s. They have home-cooked meals, and every day they have a plate special. It’s a small business, as well, and they have a food truck. (Dinner for two) would probably be about $30. They have the greens, the beans, the cornbread – all the good stuff.

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