Jonah McDonald with Secret Atlanta

After publishing his second novel “Secret Atlanta: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure,” author Jonah McDonald became known for exposing Atlanta’s best-kept secrets. An adventure guide, author, TV host, storyteller and Dekalb County Park Ranger, McDonald’s avid curiosity brings him into the studio today for the Around Atlanta segment of the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to talk about his two novels, “Secret Atlanta: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure” and “Hiking Atlanta’s Hidden Forests: Inside Secret Atlanta coverand Out.”

McDonald’s love for nature and the outdoors is no secret. To get to where he is today, he actually walked from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Atlanta, Georgia in 2003. After hiking 2,172.4 miles on the Appalachian Trail, McDonald decided Georgia would be his home.

McDonald describes the inspiration behind “Secret Atlanta: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure,” as something similar to attending a dinner party. When everyone is gathered around the table and the conversation is lagging – what is the next step? To ask an awesome question. McDonald finds the best dinner party question to be, “What do you know about Atlanta that I don’t know?”

The responses from this question opened his world to an Atlanta he had never before seen. Hoping to do the same for others, McDonald made it his mission to find the city’s hidden secrets and make them not so secret any longer.

“Usually when you think about secrets, you think about something that divides people. I believe that by sharing each other’s stories, sharing the secret, that an everyday thing in your life that I don’t know about and that I have never heard of, connects us,” said McDonald.

“Secret Atlanta: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure” consists of 90 stories rooted in specific Atlanta locations. While many of the stories are weird and wonderful, others are mundane and will appeal to more laid-back souls. There are many surprises waiting for readers, including a Sweet Auburn hair salon and museum to a forgotten elep


hant graveyard.

McDonald’s first novel, “Hiking Atlanta’s Hidden Forests: Inside and Out,” encourages people to get out and explore the city’s hidden forests. Atlanta is a city full of pavement, interstates and high rises but there are plenty of trails for hikers to traverse.

With a total of 60 hikes, the novel serves as Atlanta’s first guidebook dedicated entirely to intown and close-in neighborhoods.

“It can be just as life-changing to integrate nature into your everyday life by finding the green space that’s close to you or finding that trail around the corner and going back there season after season,” said McDonald.

As McDonald moves forward, he plans to write a sequel to his first novel which will include 60 more trails. He is excited to dive back into the city’s hiking movement and see what more there is to learn.

Visit McDonald’s website to learn more about his current projects or to buy a novel.

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Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. New American Funding and Jonah McDonald are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of the products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (May/2021)

New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit

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