Location: Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Date taken: October 3, 2014
Fall is the season for pumpkins, apples, golden leaves and amazing weather. At the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, it’s also the season for Scarecrows in the Garden. Local businesses and organizations show their creativity in transforming this farm figure into an urban dweller. Stroll the gardens in the fall and you’ll get an extra dose of art along the paths — some scary, some playful and a few wonderfully classic.
Location: #WeLoveAtl Mobile Photo Gallery
Date taken: October 5, 2013
It started as one art show. Now, it’s a ongoing exhibit with dozens of new photos added each week. #WeLoveAtl showcases Atlantans’ photos of their city and love of their city. Atlantans — those on Instagram — have been sharing their photos of skyline views, resident portraits, landmarks, neighborhoods and even various modes of transportation. #WeLoveAtl’s photos are now available for purchase, with proceeds going to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Want to participate? Just grab your camera or smartphone, and snap a photo of your favorite Atlanta spot — don’t forget to hashtag #weloveatl.
Location: Wall Crawler Rock Club
Date taken: October 6, 2013
Intimidated by giant rock climbing walls? Don’t know where to put your hands and feet amid all the colorful holds? You like the sound of the word “belay” but have no idea what it means? Follow the smell of cookies baking (yes, there is a cookie factory just across the train tracks) to the Wall Crawler Rock Club on Dekalb Avenue, and you’ll find a intimate and laid back climbing gym. The walls are tall, but the learning curve feels a little smaller here. Of course, this is by no means a beginners only spot — there’s a crew of neighborhood regulars who call Wall Crawlers their home gym. Stop by, and you might become one of them.
Location: Westside Provisions
Date taken: August 6, 2013
The directional signs sprinkled throughout the Westside Provisions District read, “Really good stuff ,” and the statement is true. From the dessert case at Star Provisions to the guacamole at Taqueria del Sol to the gorgeous furniture at Room & Board to the stylish clothing of Sid Mashburn, Westside Provisions has become a dining and shopping destination. The Howell Mill block of brick buildings has come along way since its days as Atlanta’s first modern meatpacking facility (hence the pig logo).
Location: East Atlanta Village Criterium
Date taken: August 17, 2013
The streets around East Atlanta Village close down, and the bikes take over for one Saturday afternoon every August. Criterium implies a short course, usually less than a mile, and the EAV Criterium lives up to its name. Find a spot along the course, and you’ll see cyclists zoom by about every minute or so — they race on a small rectangle of a course around the main stretch of the neighborhood. Locals, family and friends and cycling enthusiasts cheer on the racers, starting with youth early in the day and ending with the veterans who compete for a cash prize. If you can’t make the EAV race, check out other criteriums nearby — Grant Park, Athens.
Date taken: July 26, 2013
Location: Melody 2
For those of us born without an ounce of musical talent, a night of karaoke can sounds quite terrifying. But when your solo is limited to a group of your closest friends, karaoke becomes a little less intimidating. Among the international flavors of Atlanta’s Buford Highway sit several private room karaoke clubs. Rent a room. Bring your friends. Order drinks. Select a song, and sing your heart out. There are books and books of songs. Make your selection, enter it into the room’s iPad and soon you’ll be singing your favorite rock song, love song, country classic, ballad or cheesy 80s hit. And, if you’re lucky, your song will not only feature lyrics but an entertaining video as well (don’t be alarmed if you start seeing the same actors over and over).
Date taken: July 14, 2013
Location: Big Psychic Fair
Enter the big, blue barn at Harmony Place, and you’ll find rows of small tables set with pairs of chairs. At each one sits a psychic ready to offer insight into the past, present or future. At the Big Psychic Fair in Roswell, two readings can be purchased for $25 and attendees can choose from a long list of psychics. Tarot cards, dream interpretation, crystals, aromatherapy, massage — there’s a little bit of everything at this monthly event.
Location: East Lake
Date taken: January 19, 2013
Location: Lake Claire
Date taken: December 31, 2012
Location: The Biltmore
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to recreate the photo from this 1940s postcard of Atlanta’s famous Biltmore, which occupies an entire city block in Midtown Atlanta. A parking deck now fills the space immediately in front of The Biltmore … and blocks the view of the building’s main entrance. Once considered Atlanta’s premier hotel, The Biltmore opened in 1924 as a hotel and residences and hosted famous Americans such as Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Bette Davis and Charles Lindbergh. The two towers on the building’s roof, which have become a famous part of the Atlanta skyline, are former radio towers from WSB, which broadcasted from The Biltmore for three decades. Now, The Biltmore features condos, apartments and event space in two historic ballrooms.
Location: Lake Clara Meer at Piedmont Park
Date taken: November 10, 2012
160 people in a Picnic Shelter
70 jets at Legacy Fountain
60-minute guided historic tour of the Park
30 vendors at the Saturday Green Market
12 tennis courts
8 items on the Scavenger Hunt
4 lap lanes at the Aquatic Center
3 fishing piers
2 bocce ball courts
Location: Atlanta Botanical Gardens‘ Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Date taken: December 9, 2012
Holidays are all about traditions. Your Atlanta tradition might be seeing the lighting of Macy’s Great Tree, picking up a tree from the same lot each year, buying tickets to the Fox Theatre’s Nutcracker or touring Christmas at Callenwolde. Growing up in Atlanta, our family tradition was heading to the downtown Rich’s store to ride the Pink Pig. The Pink Pig is now a train ride in a tent at the Lenox Mall parking deck, but back then it was a monorail style ride located on top of the Rich’s store. We would climb the stairs up to the roof, hop aboard a small pig car and circle the base of Rich’s Great Tree, admiring its surrounding Christmas village. When the ride was over, we stuck our “I rode the Pink Pig” stickers on our coats and wore them proudly for the rest of the day. If you are looking for a new holiday tradition in the city, check out the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Holiday Nights event, which is now in its second year. There’s no sticker at the end of the tour, but the lights are bright and plentiful and the event is great for all ages.
Location: Edgewood Avenue
Date taken: December 15, 2012
Socks. Josh Woiderski recommends always having a pair of extra socks at your office. That’s the one thing that’s usually forgotten when packing for a long trip or in Josh’s case … a trip to work. Josh is a run commuter. He runs approximately five miles every morning (then again every evening) from his home in Kirkwood to his job downtown at the Department of Justice. The commute takes him about 40 minutes.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Josh, a Michigan native who has lived in Atlanta since 2004. “Being able to get to work without having to rely on an automobile or public transportation gives you a sense of accomplishment. At first, that’s the mental hurdle to overcome, knowing that you can do it. For me, it’s a way to exercise daily without sacrificing family time. And, running is the best way to explore Atlanta. You can stop and check things out, have conversations with people and stumble upon interesting things.”
Josh, who has two young sons, started running regularly while he was in the Army. Previously, a bike commuter, Josh saw run commuting as an opportunity to get a great cardio workout doing something he was going to do every day anyway — commute. “For awhile, my co-workers did think I was weird for doing this, but now they are used to it,” said Josh.
So how does the practical part of run commuting work? Josh irons and folds his clothes and packs them in the backpack he runs with. He recommends leaving shoes and belts at the office for less weight to carry. Once arriving at his office, Josh changes clothes and washes off (using a combination of soap, water and baby wipes) and starts his work day.
Josh estimates that there are around a dozen run commuters in Atlanta — people who might use some form of transportation (car, bike, MARTA, etc.) but make running a part of their way to get to work each day. Washington D.C., with it’s flat landscape and great public transportation, is the nation’s top city for run commuting. In Atlanta, Josh is working to help others figure out how to run commute effectively and easily. He started The Run Commuter blog, where 10 contributors from across North America offer tips, advice and stories. For example, listing the best waterproof backpacks and reminding people to pack socks.
Check out Josh’s The Run Commuter blog for tips and ideas on run commuting.
Date taken: December 2, 2012
Concerts. Bed races. Beach volleyball. Beer festivals. Food festivals. Cirque du Soleil. The 138 acres now occupied by Atlantic Station have seen a lot of changes in the past 100 years. Opened as the Atlantic Steel Mill in 1901, this Westside neighborhood is now a tourist destination for shopping (only IKEA for hundreds of miles) and dining. And, for locals, it’s a space to live (buy or rent) and work (Creative Loafing’s offices are here) and attend a variety of events. If you can navigate your way in and out of the massive parking deck, it’s a great place to spend an evening.
Location: High Museum of Art
Date taken: November 20, 2012
Touring the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles earlier this year, I kept thinking to myself, “This looks familiar. This looks like MY art museum.” Of course, my art museum is the High Museum here in Atlanta. I grew up going on regular field trips to the High and exploring the children’s part of the museum, which back then featured a giant tongue, giant nose and giant ear for exploring. The Getty did not appear to have any of these giant body parts or a children’s area, but it turns out that the Getty and the High were designed by the same person — Richard Meier. Meier is know for his white buildings and rationalist style. Except the Getty is cream not white. People were afraid the California sun bouncing off the white walls of the museum might create a blinding sight for motorists on the nearby highway or people in nearby homes. While Atlanta’s sun might be hot it’s rarely blinding, so we got the real deal — classic Meier white.
Location: Festival on Ponce
Date taken: September 15, 2012
Along the path in Atlanta’s Olmsted Linear Park, there’s a stone that reads: “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. – Benjamin Franklin”. Parks, of course, are designed for play. They are designed for throwing a ball or throwing a frisbee, for swinging on a swing and hanging upside down from monkey bars, for playing tag or playing hopscotch, for running a race or jumping rope. And sometimes, when you stumble upon an arts festival, you might get to play awhile layering colors of sand in a small, plastic bottle. Play is simple. Simply play.
Location: Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark
Date taken: November 4, 2012
The veterans gather on Sunday mornings at the skate park in the Old Fourth Ward. There are some newbies too … and kids on scooters and tourists and general onlookers. It’s part performance, part competition, part social club and mainly a great way to spend a warm fall morning. I recently fell down a set of stairs (yes, just walking normally), so placing a board on wheels beneath my feet and propelling myself down a sloped concrete wall does seems like a death wish. It also makes me more impressed with those who do skateboard … who gather early to share a few dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and a love of their sport.
Location: Adair Park
Date taken: November 9, 2012
As a native of Atlanta, I grew up frequenting the playground at Hammond Park and played in the first softball league at Chastain Park. I have taken tennis lessons at Mason Mill Park, and there’s a brick that bears my name in Centennial Olympic Park. I helped teach my nephew how to swim at the Candler Park pool, and you can frequently find me jogging along the trails of Olmsted Linear Park. People often say that Atlanta is a “city among the trees.” Thank goodness it’s also a city among the parks.
Date taken: September 16, 2012
Floating down the Chattahoochee River in a giant intertube has always been one of the traditional summer activities for Atlantans. But, the river is not just for leisurely trips downstream. If you feel like more active water sports, rent a canoe or kayak, join a stand-up board group, or test your skills with the Atlanta Rowing Club. And, for those Atlantans more inclined to stay on dry land, there’s also plenty to do — take a tour of the Nature Center, plan an afternoon at a park’s picnic tables, grills and playgrounds, join the annual Run the River 5k/10k, or eat at Ray’s on the River or Canoe.
Location: 2012 Chomp and Stomp in Cabbagetown
Date taken: November 3, 2012
Bring your appetite. Bring an extra hand or two. Bring a water bottle and maybe some cornbread. And, of course, bring a friend. The annual chili cook-off in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta features booth upon booth of chili for tasting. Wander down two streets filled with everyday Atlantans who are eager to serve up their homemade chili (and maybe win a trophy for their efforts) and a third street featuring local restaurants. With a spoon in hand, you can spend an hour or more sampling chili (for veggie options, look for the green balloons). Your sample cup might be filled with pumpkin inspired chili, chili so spicy you’ll need that water bottle and cornbread, curry infused chili, chili served with popcorn (see the Plaza Theatre tent) or good old fashion chili that’s perfect for a fall Saturday in Atlanta. Hungry yet?
Date taken: November 9, 2012
When Angel Poventud moved to Atlanta in April of 1998, he went in search of a community similar to what he had experienced living in Miami – friendships built around social activities, such as his favorite hobby of rollerblading. But Angel soon found that Atlanta was different and community was a little harder to find. One day, on a whim, Angel followed a friend to a Trees Atlanta tree sale and signed up to volunteer. His first assignment – removing exotic and evasive plants from a patch of land in Kirkwood.
“There was something about that day of removing plants that clicked for me,” said Angel. “By the end of the day, I was covered in dirt, but the experience felt like a metaphor for my life. I was a part of bringing the field back to its original state.”
As a kid, Angel watched one of his childhood neighborhoods returned to its original state. His parents had built a house in the Everglades of Florida, and his family lived there for a while. A few years after Angel’s family left, the government decided the area was not safe for people to live permanently and removed all houses and traces of people.
“How many people can say that they’ve seen a place they have lived returned to its natural habitat,” Angel said. “That made a positive impact on me. It’s a unique part of my story. I see the beauty in it. Creating beauty and caring for the places we live make our communities better for everyone. ”
Since that first day with Trees Atlanta, improving and building community has been a passion for Angel. He’s known around town for his green dress, rollerblades and commitment to volunteerism. He’s served endless hours with Trees Atlanta, Atlanta BeltLine, Atlanta Preservation Center, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and WonderRoot. He’s been honored with a Cox Conserves Heroes award. His Twitter name is “angelformayor,” and on the day of this interview, he was organizing people to remove vandalism from a Living Walls mural.
Now, Angel’s newly purchased home is his most recent project focused on building community and restoring something to its original state. Located on the Atlanta BeltLine, the historic bungalow in Adair Park was more a skeleton of a house than a livable structure when Angel purchased it in October 2011. For the past year, he has been working to raise funds and get necessary permits to start construction. The renovations start this month, and Angel quickly envisions the home becoming a gathering place for the neighborhood, larger community and those seeking to make a positive impact in Atlanta.
“As Atlantans, we need to be part of improving our city” Angel said. “We do that by participating. I want to show people how easy and how rewarding it is to participate.”
Learn more about Angel Poventud’s work to build community and a home on his website. You can contribute to the project online.