Green Atlanta

This third and final post about Atlanta (#1 Art and Architecture and #2 Cuisine and Cocktails) reveals the green side of the city and surrounding towns.  Trees are everywhere, and my early morning walks were much cooler because of the shade.  If you saw my previous two Atlanta posts, you’ll see that many of the photos show the green in the neighborhoods and right in the heart of the city as well.

Piedmont Park, whose mission is to “enhance and preserve Piedmont Park as a vital urban green space and as a cultural and recreational resource that enriches the quality of life for all Atlantans” is a 189 acre park located one mile from Downtown.  The park has been evolving since 1822, and has gone “through several phases, first from a forest to a farm, then to a fairground and suburban park, and finally to the urban park that it is today”

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As Andrew and I walked the trails, we remarked that it seemed similar to New York’s Central Park.  In fact, “in the early 20th century, a redesign plan called the Olmsted plan, was begun by the sons of New York Central Park architect, Frederick Law Olmstead. The effort led to the addition of scenic paths in the park and the joining of the park with the Ansley park system”.

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We walked along a few of the many walking / jogging pathways, but there are so many more things to do at Piedmont Park.

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Green markets, special events, a community garden, sporting events, beekeeping, and a Dog Park offer something for everyone.

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Now you see me …

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Now you don’t!

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Don’t forget to look up while you’re walking!

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The Magnolia trees were huge and full of blossoms,

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and the hydrangeas were lovely, too.

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Speaking of Green and Alternative Transportation, Atlanta has a growing cycling community.  As we pulled up to the traffic light after dinner late on Friday evening, we were stopped by the 4th Annual Moon Ride, a 6 mile night time ride through several intown neighborhoods.  The event is “open to anyone who wants to hit the streets, whether you’ve got a street bike, a mountain bike, a wheel chair or a good ole cruiser”.

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I wish I’d known about it ahead of time as I surely would have joined in.  The photo quality is not great, but that might be because I was dancing to the music that was being broadcast from various golf carts.

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Much to the embarrassment of my son, my dancing got the attention of the police officer monitoring the intersection, and she insisted on taking my photo.

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What a hoot!

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Of course, the whole reason I went to Atlanta was to visit my son, so I’m throwing in a few random shots of Andrew and his Atlanta family.

Mother and Son

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Jon (how I messed up the settings on this easy shot, I will never know)

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Wilson

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Tela

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Thanks for coming along with me on a fabulous trip to Atlanta! I hope you get to visit sometime. It’s a great city and I cannot wait to go back.

Atlanta: Cuisine and Cocktails

Knowing that the food and drink in Atlanta would be incredible, I was careful with caloric intake before I left Virginia, and I exercised every day during my trip.  That turned out to be a good decision, as Atlanta cuisine did not disappoint!  The only difficult part of the visit was choosing where to go and what to eat.  So many choices, and chain restaurants were not part of the equation!

** Disclosure: I am not a food critic nor food blogger. I’m just offering some suggestions should you get to Atlanta anytime soon. **

My first meal was at Leon’s Full Service.

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Housed in a former gas station, the owners “long for a time when you pulled up to a gas station and immediately about 4 people would descend upon your vehicle with smiles”.  Their philosophy is to provide the restaurant version of Full Service.

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My Trout Po Boy with house remoulade, b&b pickles, tomato,
baby iceberg on toasted ciabatta was so flavorful, and my cocktail, the Corpse Revivier No. 2
with ethereal gin, cointreau, lemon, cocchi americano, and la muse verte absinthe was divinely refreshing.

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The appetizer? Goat Cheese stuffed Peppadews.

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I love that the bartender dressed as if working at a Full Service Gas Station.

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My second meal, at 4th and Swift also featured trout, a main dish frequently found on Atlanta menus.  Evidently there are some wonderful trout farms in Atlanta.  Pre-dinner cocktails were as creative at 4th & Swift as at every other place that I visited, and my Green With Envy cocktail (Clement “Canne Bleue” Rhum Blanc, Cucumber & Basil Syrup, Fresh Lime, Cucumber & Basil Cube) was the perfect summer drink, and incredibly refreshing.

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(Photo Credit: 4th &  Swift)

I have no photos from this meal, but my Bramlett Farms Trout La Plancha (Sauteed Green Tomatoes, Red Spring Onions, Smoked Shitake, Miso, Sunflower Seeds) was fresh and delicious.  A dessert of Stickey Toffee Pudding (vanilla ice cream, candied pecans, toffee sauce) was the perfect birthday dessert for Andrew.

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Saturday morning began at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. Originally started in Charleston, SC, the Atlanta restaurant opened late in 2015.  Each biscuit is made by hand, baked while you wait, using simple, fresh ingredients including White Lily flour, buttermilk, butter and cream cheese.  No calories here!  The biscuits are insanely good!

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Amidst all the eating and drinking, we visited Krog Street Market, a “destination for Atlanta’s intown culture; those who are always searching for unique, specialty creations. It’s designed to be as authentic as the 1920’s warehouse it’s built into”.  You walk in, order your beer, and shop!

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The Ponce City Market “breathes new life into the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building in Atlanta. The classic structure, which is the area’s largest adaptive reuse project, has been reinvented as a vibrant community hub housing the Central Food Hall, various shops, flats and offices, all while pointing back to the roots of its inception”.

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The Beltline runs right next to Ponce City Market, and cyclists are able to leave their bikes with the bike valet, and step inside for lunch, a cold beer, and some shopping.  The place was buzzing with energy, the smell of delicious food, and a diverse crowd of people.  So fun!

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Before heading home for the day, we stopped into the Brick Store Pub, “a neighborhood pub where conversation dominates, pints are served properly and in the appropriate glassware, service is friendly and knowledgeable and the food is made from scratch every day, all accented by a beautiful historic building located on a bustling town square”.

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Almost done, I promise! Before leaving town on Sunday, we visted Rreal Taco, a casual Mexican taqueria.  The chef owner wanted to create authentic Mexican flavors —all natural, local, and organic whenever possible”.

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The food was so yummy that I didn’t even stop to take a picture 🙂 Photo Credit: Rreal Taco

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Phew! You made it to the end.  Are you hungry now?

Next Post: Green Atlanta

Atlanta: Public Art and Architecture

You all understand the challenge.  You travel to a new city / country / place and arrive back home with a zillion photos to work through.  It takes time, but it also offers the opportunity to remember the experience and relive the fun.

I was in Atlanta for just 48 hours, but oh my gosh, I had a blast!  My son Andrew, who has only lived in Atlanta for 2 years, knows the city like someone who has lived there much longer, and he was an excellent tour guide around this diverse, exciting city.  He took me to the Jackson Street Bridge, a local landmark known as THE place to get a shot of the cityscape.

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With this post, and the two that follow, I’ll introduce you to the Atlanta that I experienced.  The posts are longer than typical for me, but years from now I’ll look back and be able to remember everything.

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While quite the tourist attraction, and evidently a bit controversial, the Atlanta Skyview allowed me to see Downtown from on high.

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All images were taken through the glass of the gondola.

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What fun it was to ride high above much of the city!

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The Skyview towers over the 21 acre Centennial Olympic Park, created for the 1996 Olympic Games.  Today the park performs a dual mission: it serves as Georgia’s lasting legacy of the Centennial Olympic Games and it anchors efforts to revitalize residential and commercial development in Georgia’s capital city of Atlanta.

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We spent much of my visit in various parts of Midtown, which is the “second largest business district in the city, situated between the commercial and financial districts of Downtown to the south and Buckhead to the north. Midtown is known for it’s cultural attractions, architecture, and urban layout”.

We visited walkable, intown neighborhoods, each one unique with shops, restaurants, and public art.

Visit my post on Monochromia to learn more about Celebration by Gary Lee Price.

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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the current Dekalb County Courhouse was completed in 1918.  The four previous structures were destroyed by fire, war, and demolition.

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I’m sorry to say that I did not document the name or purpose of this next building, but I loved the architecture.

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Whether commisioned or not, public art is everywhere.  On the sidewalk, seen during my morning walk,

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and along the Beltline, the city’s bikeway / walkway system.

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“The Beltline is transforming the city with a combination of rail, trail, greenspace, housing, and art. It will ultimately connect 45 intown neighborhoods”.

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Public Art can be found in Piedmont Park,

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in neighborhoods,

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and sadly, along the streets.

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If you’ve visited my blog in the past, you’ve learned about Ghost Bikes.

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When taking shots from the Jackson Street Bridge, Andrew pointed out a sticker for Tiny Doors Atlanta, an Atlanta-based art project bringing “big wonder to tiny spaces.  With the installation of a door, what was once a wall or the column of a bridge becomes an entrance to collective creativity and an invitation to whimsy”.

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As we walked along the Beltline, Andrew pointed out this tiny door.  How cool is that?

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I was also enamored by the messages posted on various streetlamps.  The words of Harry Crews, an American novelist, playwright, short story writer and essayist, are posted here.

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“So far as I can see, nothing good in the world has ever been done by well-rounded people.  The good work is done by people with jagged, broken edges, because those edges cut things and leave an imprint, a design”.

Next Post:  Atlanta Cuisine and Cocktails

Atlanta!

My friend Ruth and I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia  this past weekend, the latest installment in our annual road trip to watch the Hokies.  As avid Virginia Tech Football fans (and basketball fans, too, for that matter),  we choose one away game to attend each year.  We’ve traveled to Chapel Hill, NC;  Huntington, WVa;  Morgantown, WVa; and to Washington, DC and Atlanta twice.  We try to find a town or place to explore along the way, and search out the historic downtown of any community we visit.  This was our 5th year in a row, and our 7th road trip overall.

We posed for the traditional start of the trip photo and then hit the road!

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The normal 6 1/2 hour trip turned into 9 due to a combination of Friday afternoon rush hour, labor day weekend, and football traffic.  A stop in Kings Mountain, NC and dinner at the Cherokee Grill was just what we needed.

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We finally saw the lights of Atlanta a little after 10pm.  I was so excited about finally arriving that I attempted to take a picture … with my cell phone … while Ruth navigated the interstate at 65mph!  This picture doesn’t reflect it, but the night skyline of Atlanta is beautiful!

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The next day dawned hot and muggy, but we had plenty of time to explore a few of the neighborhoods of Atlanta while waiting for game time. Theresa, our host for the weekend, was an excellent tour guide.

Photography on a trip with friends is a bit of a challenge.  How do you find time to shoot quality images while spending time with friends?  I definitely want to document the trip but I don’t want to spend all my time behind the lens.

We explored the neighborhood near Emory University and had a delicious breakfast at the Rise-n-Dine.

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Theresa drove us through the Krog Street Tunnel, which is known for it’s street art.  I jumped out of the car and had less than a minute to shoot what the locals call their “living bulletin board and urban art gallery”.

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The CNN Center and Olympic Park were both crawling with Tide and Hokie fans, although Virginia Tech fans were far outnumbered.

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Virginia Tech met Alabama in the Georgia Dome, and while we did not beat the #1 team in College Football, our defense was outstanding.  We held them to fewer yards and our offense gained more yards than most teams did in 2012.

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Sunday morning came quickly and it was time to head back home.  We briefly stopped in Spartanburg, SC and I wish we’d had more time to visit.  The downtown area, while quiet for a Sunday, showed evidence of historic renovation and revitalization.

Loved this Urban Art installation called Artcycle.

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The sun was bright at midday and the photos aren’t the best, but the artcycles were great!

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Locally owned businesses have the most creative signage and curb appeal.

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We were back in Radford in the late afternoon and had a short visit with friends who had gathered for labor day.  A lovely way to end the weekend … even if we did miss the music.

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Green Shoes at the Krog Street Tunnel

While in Atlanta this past weekend (watching my beloved Virginia Tech Hokies) my friend Ruth and I were given a tour of several local neighborhoods.  Theresa, our friend and tour guide, was good to let me jump out of the car at various times to capture some of the flavor.

These shoes were hanging over the Krog Street Tunnel, which is known for it’s street art.

Locals call it “Atlanta’s living bulletin board and urban art gallery”.

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More Photos from the Road soon!