Location: Silver Comet Trail
Not quite ready to tackle the hills of Atlanta on a bike? Looking for a long, traffic-less ride? Just want to say you’ve been to Alabama? The Silver Comet Trail, a paved path for walkers, joggers and cyclists, starts on the city’s Northwest side in Smyrna and continues 61.5 miles to the Alabama line, where it connects with the 33-mile long Chief Ladiga Trail. That’s almost 95 miles of paved trail! Built over an abandon rail line, the trail runs through suburban backyards, forests, sports complexes and a few restored depots (aka: bathrooms). Hit the trail on a beautiful Atlanta weekend, and you’ll find plenty of people joining you.
Date taken: Nov. 11, 2013
There’s really only one thing you need to know about the first annual Atlanta Cheese Festival — grill cheese meltdown! Yes, eight local restaurants put their best grill cheese forward for festival goers to enjoy and vote on. High Road Creamery got my vote with its creative take — french toast grill cheese with vanilla ice cream. Of course, no cheese fest is complete without pimento cheese, mac and cheese, beer cheese soup and dozen of cheeses to taste and buy.
Location: Chukkar Farm
Date taken: September 15, 2013
Nestled among the horse farms and golf courses of Alpharetta, Chukkar Farm in many ways feels like a step back in time — the green barn, rocking chairs, laid-back atmosphere and beautiful horses. The farm is family owned and run and has been for decades. Events and weddings are often held there. And, on Sundays when the weather is warm, the farm hosts polo matches and welcomes guests to bring a blanket, bring a picnic and come watch. Don’t know anything about polo? Find a friend who does (mine explained to me the unique qualities of a polo pony). Or, chances are you’ll be greeted at the farm by a Chukkar Farm family member, who will happily answer your horse-related questions.
Date taken: July 25, 2013
Location: Bocce ball courts at Midway Pub
Bocce ball — an Italian game that you can play with a beer in one hand and a ball in the other. Through the Atlanta Bocce League dozens of teams are competing at Atlanta bars and parks on any given weeknight (and Sunday). The game’s objective is much like horseshoes or corn hole — get your ball as close as you can to the one, smaller white ball (also known as a pallino, jack or snitch by Harry Potter fans). A little hand-eye coordination may be necessary to post a win, but athleticism is not required. What is required is a cheesy team name that includes a bocce pun: Chewbocce, Invasion of the Bocce Snatchers, Love is a Boccefield, The Big LaBocce, The Lawn Rangers, FreeBallin … you get the idea.
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 13, 2013
Location: Dacula Briar Patch
Growing up in Atlanta, my family would often head a few miles north on Georgia 400, park on the side of the highway and pick the blackberries that were growing wild. Yes, things were different then. 400 was vastly different then. Now, picking your own fruits and vegetables has been so popular that there are websites devoted to helping people find farms. In the Atlanta area, there are plenty of places to choose from. I love picking blueberries — there are no thorns or brambles and in one strategic grasp you can grab a handful of the summer berries. Of course, one of the perks of picking your own fruit is eating as you go. And, nothing tastes better than a blueberry cobbler made with the berries you worked so hard to pick.