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.
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: 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: Krog Tunnel
Date taken: November 3, 2012
Driving along Dekalb Ave at rush hour, traffic usually slows around Krog Street. As the main thoroughfare linking Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward on the north side of the train tracks with Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown on the south side, Krog Street and its famous tunnel can get quite congested. In addition to cars, there is usually a flurry of bicyclists and pedestrians … and the occasionally film crew (such as on the day this photo was shot). But stopping for more than a few minutes in front the tunnel does have its advantages — you can find out about upcoming events. I don’t know when or how the tradition started (or who oversees the process), but the front of the tunnel serves as a homemade billboard for the next big neighborhood event. The main event is painted across the top, while smaller events find their way onto the pillars and inside walls of the tunnel. Drive slowly through and you’ll probably learn about some upcoming events.
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: 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?
Location: Silver Skillet
Date taken: October 28, 2012
You can read about the history of the Silver Skillet on the restaurant’s menu, website or even walls. From the horse prints, good luck charms carried over from the first owner, to the autographed poster from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the stories and praise for the Silver Skillet are numerous. But, if you really want to know what to expect at this 14th street Southern diner, check out the menu. When the menu categories include “Syrupy Things” and “Biscuit Specialities,” you know the meal will satisfy Southern tastebuds. Don’t be discouraged by the line out the door on weekends. It moves fast. This is not your leisurely brunch place. Eat, enjoy and let the next person have your booth.
Location: CBS Atlanta News studio
Date taken: October, 27, 2012
Dead air. It’s a broadcast journalist’s worst nightmare. As a 16-year-old volunteer at her local radio station in Anniston, Ala., Jocelyn Connell found herself with dead air. Something had gone wrong with the sound board, so Jocelyn quickly grabbed the nearest news copy she could find and started reading it. A few minutes in, she realized it was the previous week’s news. She never made that mistake again.
Since then, Jocelyn has been filling the radio and TV air waves with news and information that impacts people’s lives. The two-time Emmy winner is currently a reporter and weekend morning anchor for CBS Atlanta News.
“I’ve always been curious about current events,” said Jocelyn. “I’m interested in how events impact people and directly impact the decisions they make tomorrow. I love being the first person to know something, and then being able to break it down for people. You never know what the day will hold, so you have to be adventurous and up for anything. But it can be so much fun.”
Through the course of her career, Jocelyn has covered serious events, such as the capture of Eric Robert Rudolph in 2003. It was her first national news event, and Jocelyn says being in the midst of such a big event was both nerve-wracking and an adrenaline rush. In Atlanta, Jocelyn covers breaking news, but she also gets to introduce Atlantans to fun and interesting happenings. She goes behind the scenes of Atlanta attractions, has stood atop a cheerleader pyramid during a fitness convention and raced a bed on wheels as part of a local non-profit’s fundraiser.
“I feel very content where I am,” Jocelyn said. “It had been a goal of mine for such a long time to be in the Atlanta market, one of the country’s largest markets and near family, and I feel blessed to be here. The launch of our new weekend morning show is a dream come true.”
You can see Jocelyn Connell on CBS Atlanta News every Saturday from 9-10 a.m., Sunday from 8:30-9:00 a.m. and during the week from 5-7 a.m. and again from 9-10 a.m.
Date taken: October 28, 2012
Scott Dupree has discovered that if you work hard and are lucky, there’s a point in your life when it all comes together. As a child, Scott knew he would grow up to be an artist. But as an adult, he struggled to figure out what that looked like. He tried anything and everything related to art – sculpture and metal working, abstract and classic styles.
“It’s like learning how to walk,” said Scott, a graduate of the University of Georgia’s art school. “It’s a difficult part of the journey, but once I discovered what was personal to me, I realized it was what I had been doing my whole life without realizing it.”
Eight years ago, Scott finally hit his stride and found that his artwork was repeating certain elements, that each piece was continuing a larger dialogue. The foundation of Scott’s artwork is his drawings — drawings of himself in costumes. He adds paint, and suddenly they become still life theatre, examining the historical, social and political influences of our time.
Scott credits his unusual childhood for his curious nature and awareness of culture’s impact. His family lived in Marietta, Ga., for the early part of his childhood. But when Scott was 7, his parents quit their corporate jobs, sold their house, moved their sailboat to Florida and the family spent a year and half sailing up and down the coast. After that, they traveled around the country, living out of their car.
“Being so young and not having preconceived notions about the people I met was important ,” Scott said. “Those travels as a child have played such a big, big part in my work the past eight years. It gave me a solid backbone and avenues to work from.”
Scott’s artwork, which he describes as often “revealing and personal,” hangs in galleries, homes, restaurants and places of business. The new owners of his paintings frequently report back to Scott that his artwork generates conversation and questions.
“To hear that, it affirms what I’m doing,” Scott said.
Date taken: October 13, 2012
If you are working on a “bucket list” or “things to do before I die” list, then I suggest going ahead and adding to it “race a bed.” Each fall, the Furniture Bank’s fundraising event gives Atlantans a chance to do something unique. Jump on a bed. Sure, that’s easy. Make a bed. You probably do that every day. But racing a bed through the streets … that’s one of those things you have to do at least once. So, sign up your team of 5 people (one rider, four racers). Come up with a theme (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bed Thieves, Breakfast in Bed, Bed Bugs, etc.). Then put on your helmets and start running. Yes, helmets are required — beds on wheels move fast. People fall down. People fall off.
Date taken: October 20, 2012
The best thing about the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade is not the official parade itself — instead, the best part is the parade of dressed up people who walk up and down Moreland and Euclid Avenues. Kids and adults of all ages debut their Halloween costumes early at the Little 5 Festival. My favorite part of the day is picking a spot early in the afternoon, bringing a chair or spreading out a blanket and enjoying people watching. The parade, which features neighborhood businesses, can be entertaining as well (depending on the year). But, the residents and visitors who embrace the spirit of Halloween are the highlight of this annual event.
Date taken: September 26, 2012
The name Margaret Mitchell House is sort of misleading for the large brick house that sits at the corner of Peachtree Street and 10th Street. Mitchell, a native of Atlanta and author of Gone With the Wind, never owned the house or occupied all of it. Her space in the home was Apt. 1, a tiny, one-bedroom apartment located on the bottom floor and facing Crescent Ave. Mitchell, who lived there with her husband for many years, referred to the building as the “The Dump”. Despite its negative nickname, this was place where Mitchell wrote her best-selling novel. Take a tour of the house and you’ll see the restored apartment and her typewriter (shown here). But the most interesting part of the tour is learning about the author herself — her career as a reporter, her uneasiness with fame, her work to provide scholarship to Morehouse students and the story of her untimely death.
Location: My Favorite Place
Date taken: August 1, 2012
My Favorite Place is truly my favorite flea market in Atlanta. There are aisles and aisles of furniture, dishes, purses, sports equipment, books, toys, random collectables and the occasional mounted deer head — all stacked on top of each other. Unfortunately, the name of the store has resulted in numerous “Who’s On First” conversations over the years:
Friend: “That’s a great lamp. Where did you get it?”
Me: “My Favorite Place. It was only $13!”
Friend: “Wow. Nice deal. Now, where did you buy it?”
Me: “My Favorite Place. It’s in Chamblee near the car dealerships.”
Friend: “I realize this is your favorite place, but what is the actual name of the store?”
Me: “I am telling you the name — My Favorite Place!”
Location: Castleberry Hill
Recently, whenever I head to the Castleberry Hill neighborhood, art is somehow involved. A few years ago, I wandered through the area with a photography MeetUp. Then last year, there was Flux 2011. Still on my ‘to do’ list is the monthly art stroll. With its large concentration of old railroad buildings, the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And, the early 20th century warehouse buildings often provide artistic views on the inside and out.
Date taken: June 15, 2012
Location: Lake Claire Land Trust
Around the time my nephew was first beginning to string words together into sentences, I asked him about his week – specifically what he had done that day and the day before. We were riding in the car, and he was listing the places or people he had seen. At one point he said, “Went to see boo eew.” I had no idea who or what he was talking about, so I said, “say it again.” And, he did. I still didn’t understand, so he repeated it. This went on about six more times, with me saying “who?” and him repeating what he had said. Finally, he had enough of my ignorance and told me, “go ask daddy.” I did. It turns out they had gone to see “Big Lou the Emu” at the Lake Claire Land Trust. I had no idea the land trust was home to an emu. It turns out this community space also features chickens, a garden, drum circles, a few unofficial wood carvings and large hand-crafted wooden chairs, which provide a comfortable spot to enjoy a view of the land trust and the city.
Location: Madison, Georgia
I remember first exploring the small town of Madison in college when my photography professor sent the class on an assigment to the small Georgia town. He said the antebellum architecture would be a great backdrop for capturing texture and lines using black and white film. I had always heard that Madison was “the town so beautiful that Sherman refused to burn it.” The town is quite charming and a nice day trip from Atlanta (1.5 hours). But, if you read a little history about the Civil War, it turns out that Madison’s mayor was a Unionist who reached a deal with General Sherman’s troops not to destroy the town.
Date taken: June 16, 2012
In the 1920s, Asa Candler, the Coca-Cola co-founder, former Atlanta mayor and Druid Hills resident, donated more than 50 acres of his land to the city of Atlanta. Today, that land is Candler Park, and it’s home to a public golf course, swimming pool, playground, pavilions, basketball court and several fields. Each year, the park hosts at least three annual festivals — Sweetwater 420 Fest, Midsummer Music Festival, Candler Park Fall Fest. And, I believe you can find a cold Coca-Cola at all of them.
Location: Sweetwater Creek State Park
Sweetwater Creek State Park sits to the west of Atlanta and just off I-20. The name might be familiar to most Atlantans, as the park’s whitewater rapids inspired the name and slogan for Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company – “Don’t float the mainstream.” But with nine miles of trails, fishing, boat rentals and playgrounds there is a lot to do. There’s also a little history – one of the most popular trails takes you by the remains of a Civil War era textile mill.
Location: First Baptist Church of Decatur Annual Yard Sale
Date taken: June 7, 2012
Held every year in June, this yard sale supports the church’s youth on their summer mission trip. In addition to dozens of cups and coffee mugs, the church’s front lawn is also covered with refrigerators, dressers, tables, bedframes, books, bikes and stuffed animals. Last year, I stumbled upon the perfect long-sleeve button-up shirt for 50 cents. I wear it all the time. But, if this sale isn’t big enough for you, drive two hours north to the Tennessee-Alabama border in August and shop the World’s Longest Yard Sale.