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e're excited to bring you the second edition of Marquis magazine, or is it Marquee magazine? You may have noticed the
change in spelling, which was a simple stylistic choice we made this year that also tells a little story of how Fayette County itself has changed in so short a time. When we conceived the original Marquee magazine in 2013, Pinewood Atlanta Studios was a concept just blossoming and creating a massive stir of excitement. Everyone was talking about Pinewood and that hasn't really changed as the film industry continues to expand and evolve here in Fayette County and all around Georgia. Marquee was a simple play on the excitement of what was happening with the film industry combined with the namesake of Fayette County, the French hero of the American Revolution, Marquis de LaFayette. His image is on the cover of both editions, a nod to local history, which is among the focuses of this magazine. The first Marquee was meant to offer an array of glimpses at the varied beauty Georgia can offer. Filmmakers will need shooting locations, after all, and our state has plenty to offer. The dual purpose was also to give Fayette residents a taste of the state they may not have experienced and hopefully encourage them to venture out and explore a bit. This year's edition offers more of those glimpses and, hopefully, further inspiration to explore. We singled out a couple of areas this time around in the Arabia Mountain Heritage Trail and in our visit to Cartersville, which has more to offer than you may know. We met Trappist monks at the breathtaking Monastery of the Holy Spirit and took in more Western Art, by orders of magnitude, than we'd ever seen at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. The visual beauty of many of these locations was enough to warrant exploring, but the best part was meeting the people there who knew every square inch of a place and its history. Our trip to Barnsley Gardens was especially interesting in this regard, where we met the enormously dedicated Barnsley Historian, Clent Coker, whose gift for story telling brought to life the pretty remarkable family history behind a place that most people probably think of as a very nice place to visit or have a wedding. Coker contends the story of Godfrey Barnsley and his descendants could put the wildly popular TV show Downton Abbey to shame, and he may be right. Itâ€™s a moving human story the way Coker tells it that brings to life the history of the state that many of us know vaguely, or perhaps well, but haven't felt such a connection to as Coker can convey. Several of the places we visited have already served as backdrops for film and television, including Sweetwater Creek, which is featured in the Hunger Games, and the Lyon Farm in Dekalb County. Many of the destinations we've featured will be well known to most locals and some less so. We hope you'll enjoy the experience of a brief tour through Georgia and take the opportunity to see some of these places for yourself.
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Line Creek in Peachtree City is one of the most picturesque nature areas in all of Fayette County. In the spring and summertime it's a perfect place to take the family for an afternoon and splash in the water of the creek while soaking up some sun.The 70-acre preserve off Highway 54 near the Coweta County line has several marked trails and is home to diverse plant and wildlife. The area was also inhabited at one time by the Hillabee tribe, a subset of the Creek Indian tribe which once populated the region.
Line Creek nature area
photos by Christopher Fairchild
Georgia State Fair
photos by Christopher Fairchild
The Georgia State Fair, with a rich tradition dating back before the Civil War, has just recently found a new fall home at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, just a short drive for Fayette County residents. What began in 1846 as an event to promote agriculture, the Georgia State Fair has evolved into a more than week-long event with a variety of attractions for different age groups and interests. Circus performances, musical acts, exotic animal exhibits and the traditional carnival style games, food, and treats are among the many draws at the Georgia State Fair.
Guided tours are available each year for Fayetteville's historic city cemetery, which dates back to 1823. Re-enactors tell the stories of some of the prominent local families going back generations which are buried there. Some had descendants that went on to worldwide fame, including the great grandparents of Margaret Mitchell, Philip and Eleanor Fitzgerald. Similarly, some relatives of Doc Holliday are buried there as they once lived in Fayetteville in what is now called the HollidayDorsey-Fife House.
The Holliday-Dorsey-Fife House Museum is itself a preserved piece of Fayette County history which also includes a wealth of exhibits and artifacts that trace back through various aspects of our local story. The three names Holliday, Dorsey, and Fife refer to the three prominent families that lived in the home at various times. John Stiles Holliday, a physician in Fayetteville, was the uncle of John Henry "Doc" Holliday who attuned international infamy for his exploits in the west.With a number of permanent exhibits and a rotation of new exhibits, the house holds enough history for a multitude of visits.
Christopher Fairchild Fayette County Historical Society
The Fayette County Historical Society is Fayetteville's other treasure trove of local history, with newspaper archives stretching back over a hundred years and a variety of resources for researching local history, including records that trace family histories back through Fayette's past. Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, was instrumental in establishing the library in which the Historical Society is now housed. It's fairly well known that Fayette County and neighboring Coweta County served as inspirations for Mitchell when writing her novel. She was invested in the area and generously contributed to the founding of the Margaret Mitchell Library in which the stewards of Fayette County history at the Fayette County Historical Society operate.
Since its establishment as part of the construction for the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park, with its fountain, has become one of the city's most recognizable spots.The park transformed what had been a run down part of town into a center for community events including concerts, festivals, and market days. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which manages the park, has designs on making it an even better attraction for the city.
photos by Christopher Fairchild
rowing up in the southern suburbs of Atlanta, my friends and I became experts at enjoying Downtown Atlanta on the cheap to suit our working-student budgets. That's how I became a frequent diner at Sun Dial Restaurant, which is situated at the top of the 73story Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel. No, that's not a misprint. When friends and family come to town, often they want to see the Atlanta skyline, and really there isn't a better view than from Sun Dial's 360-degree rotating restaurant seating area. If you sit by the window (and I always sit by the window), you rotate around the entire structure once an hour, thus the name Sun Dial. Perhaps it should actually rotate once a day, but never mind. "Isn't Sun Dial a fairly expensive restaurant?" you might ask. Yes, you can easily spend $60 to $75 a head for dinner, but let's not talk about dinner. The best view is in the daytime, so let's talk lunch. Back in the day, you could get a really good hamburger at Sun Dial for about $10. Order tap water and skip dessert, and you've just bagged a bargain. Even nowadays, the burger option will only set you back $15, and if you're really skint, as they say in England, go for the $10 mixed-greens salad. Then drive through your favorite burger place on the way home.
The Sun Dial Restaurant's View of Atlanta is Tops by danny harrison
Here's the really cool deal: For only $15 (plus tax and tip, of course), you're getting free (validated), two-hour valet parking, a ride up the super-fast glass elevator (723 feet in 85 seconds) and a tasty meal that won't leave you hungry. Enjoy your hour looking out the windows at miles and miles of scenery in literally every direction, and if you have any time left, walk about a block down to Centennial Olympic Park. If you overstay your two free hours, you'll pay a little more for parking, and don't forget to tip the valet parking attendant who brings your car back to you. If you're really swanky, tip the attendants coming and going. Westin Peachtree Plaza actually sells rides up the elevator for as much as $8 per adult ($4 for children 6-12, free for 5 and under), but you're paying for your own parking, and you don't get any food. Forget this option, pick up the phone and make a lunch reservation. About reservations: They're not required, but they are recommended. Also, you can dress reasonably casual for lunch, but dinner is a different ball game. Show up underdressed, and you might be sent straight upstairs to the bar. Visit www.SunDialRestaurant.com to take a virtual tour and to check out their menus, but you'll have to use a Google search to find Sun Dial menu prices online. Sun Dial conveniently leaves regular menu prices off their website.
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The Ca maculate tholic Shrine of th side and ou Conception is be e Imautiful int and has a history that back to th e st city was st founding of Atlanta, retches ill known a when the sTerminus was the en dp be tem. Man oint of the major ra cause it ilroad sysy of the ra ilroad work Catholic im e worship, a migrants needing a rs were nd thus th place to e Shrine wa s establish first version of The ed in 1848 rent structu .T completed re was later begun in he cur1869 and in 1872. It's believed th at F atherThom was able to as p to burn th ersuade General She O'Reilly e church w rman not apart Atla nta, suppo hen he was tearing sedly warn man, "If yo in u Catholics in burn the Catholic C g Sherh th will mutin e ranks of the Un urch, all ion Army y." The churc h w o u ld minister erate soldie to C rs ing for th at the time, taking in onfede injured. and carT reflected in a scene his bit of history is Wind, whe from Gon eW re hospital fo anAtlanta church se ith the r soldiers.T rved as a h not shot at The Shrin ough the scene was e, it is base happened d on what there Ornate pa . in completed tings of the twelv e b adorn the y Georgia artist Hen apostles ry Barnes ceiling of the sanctu also includ ary es pipe organ a beautiful altar and , which a Moeller which was tuate the a coustics to designed to accenan excepti The lowe on tains a cry r level of the church al effect. pt which also conho Father O'R eilly, who d lds the remains of ther Thom ied in 1873 a , they were s Francis Cleary. Th and Fae caskets buried in after a majo were redis r since been fire in 1982, and the covered restored an c tours. d is open fo rypt has r guided photos by Christopher Fairchild
Atlantaâ€™s Most Historic Church The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Civil rights museum continues call for human equality
by danny harrison tlanta's Center for Civil and Human Rights is one of the newest interactive museums in the state, and it addresses one of the most controversial time periods in Georgia's history. Assuming you start your tour on the main floor, you are instantly struck with the crux of the American civil rights cause with a large wall reading "White" on the left side and "Black" on the right. The White wall is filled with images of Southern white society, including weddings, family picnics and such. On the Black wall, you see the black society versions of the same scenes. There are no black people represented on the White wall, and no white people on the Black wall. Move through the entryway, and you come face-to-face with noted segregationists, including former Alabama Governor George C.Wallace, former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, and South Carolina U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond among others. Further down, you see "The Big Six", who are the civil rights leaders credited with organizing the Aug. 28, 1963 "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." Those six are Martin Luther King, Jr.; John Lewis;WhitneyYoung, Jr.; Philip Randolph; James Farmer and Roy Wilkins. And then you find an exhibit honoring folks from various races who all stood up for the belief that social equality should not be based on color at all. Other exhibits put a spotlight on the infamous "Jim Crow Laws", pay tribute to Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56, and highlight many speeches along the way that played a part in swaying public opinion toward civil rights reform. Upstairs, you find a gallery of names, faces and stories of people of different races who lost their lives during the civil rights struggle, and then you pass through to a lounge of sorts overlooking the museum's atrium. This becomes a good gathering place for larger groups visiting the museum. Downstairs is home to "Voice to the Voiceless: the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection", which features artifacts connected with the famous civil rights leader. This level is also where you will find temporary exhibits and special event space. Located at Pemberton Place next to World of Coca-Cola and Georgia Aquarium, the Center for Civil and Human Rights is a very short walk to Centennial Olympic Park and CNN Center, which has a massive food court and is a popular add-on for family outings.
photos Center for Civil and Human Rights
by christopher dunn
ollege football may have started up north, but it’s deep in the south where they truly do it right. Whether it’s between the hedges at the University of Georgia or at The Grove with Ole Miss, the south has an unrivaled passion for college football. That just might be why the College Football Hall of Fame now calls downtown Atlanta home. Previously located in South Bend, Indiana, close to Notre Dame, the Hall of Fame has now found its way to the hotbed of gridiron passion. In August 2014, the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience officially opened in Atlanta. Located right in the heart of downtown, you’ll be within walking distance of Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and any other must-see spot you’re looking for. If you’re a football fan, you simply owe it to yourself to get to the Hall of Fame. Even if you’re just a casual follower, there is still so much to grab your attention. It’s simply an awesome interactive trip through the world of college football. From the very start, you’re part of the fun. Select your favorite school and you’ll see their gear light up on the massive Helmet Wall in the Quad. On that wall is an extensive collection of nearly 800 helmets, one for each school currently playing collegiate football.Take a peek and you’ll see everyone from big time schools like Alabama on down to smaller programs like Division III powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Game Day Theater seats 150 guests for an ultra-high definition feature film The Game of Your Life that is a can’tmiss. The Why We Love College Football experience is top notch. The 52-foot-long interactive media wall will recognize your school choice and highlight that team and the heritage of the game. Coca-Cola Fan’s Game Day traces the timeline of the college fan experience from the earliest tailgating, all the way up to today’s treasured traditions all around the nation. Along the way, don’t forget to sit at the ESPN College Game Day set and try your hand at broadcasting. Finally, you’ll reach the Hall of Fame on the upper level. With the 2014 induction, there are nearly 1,000 players and more than 200 coaches enshrined. Think that’s a lot? Not by a long shot. That means only 0.0002 percent of the almost five million players and coaches who have been involved with college football have earned induction.You can learn more about any of the Hall of Famers, whether you’re interested in a recent inductee, like Florida State’s Deion Sanders, a local favorite, such as Georgia’s Herchel Walker, or maybe a legend from long ago, perhapsYale’s Pudge Heffelfinger. If all of that football history has you itching to hit the field, they’ve got you covered. Just head out to the Playing Field, 45-yards of turf featuring the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone where you can get a taste of the action for yourself. There’s so much to see that you better plan to spend your whole day at the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience, and, while you’re at it, make plans to come back again!
photos College Footbal Hall of Fame
The history of Atlanta is partially written in steel as it was the premier railroad hub in the southeast. Much of that infrastructure of yesteryear is long since out of use, but city leadership have repurposed the railroad corridors around the city into the ambitious Atlanta Beltline project, which is still in progress. The 22-mile route has been converted into a network of multi-use trails that are meant to beautify parts of the city in desperate need of economic development. The Beltline was born of the imagination of Georgia Tech student Ryan Gravel, who conceived of the idea as the centerpiece of his masters thesis in 1999. Connecting over 40 neighborhoods, the Beltline is a remarkable and unique metropolitan feature.
photos by Christopher Fairchild
A NEW ERA AHEAD FOR THE HOME OF THE OLDEST ART FORM
by robyn dunn ince its inception, the Center for Puppetry Arts has introduced millions of visitors to the wonder of the art form of puppetry, making it the largest American non-profit organization solely dedicated to the art of puppet theater. Children and adults alike are educated, enlightened, and entertained through enchanting performances, hands-on workshops, and guided museum tours. The Center reaches more than 500,000 people annually through live performances, Create-A-Puppet workshops, Distance Learning, off-site exhibits, and the museum's permanent collection and special exhibits. The Center is well on its way to seeing its vision – to become the premier puppetry center in the world – come to life.The Believe in Make Believe expansion campaign will dramatically transform the look of the Center and will bring new museum galleries, a renovated entryway, and other upgrades to the existing spaces to enhance patrons’ experiences and allow the Center to touch even more lives through puppetry. Set to open later this year, the new museum space will feature expanded exhibit areas for both the Global Collection and the Jim Henson Collection. These exhibits will be immersive and interactive, letting guests of all ages explore puppetry in new and unique ways. A major project of the campaign is preserving hundreds of Henson pieces for future generations to enjoy. The Jim Henson Foundation is giving 500 pieces from Henson’s personal collection to the Center, which will have around 100 of these pieces on display at any given time. The Jim Henson Collection will be a permanent exhibit dedicated to providing a comprehensive overview of his life and work. It also fulfills Henson’s wish of highlighting those who inspired him. Housing Henson’s collection holds special meaning for the Center, as Henson and Kermit the
Frog were on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon when the Center opened to the public on September 23, 1978. Since 1996, the Center has educated more than 130,000 students and teachers through Distance Learning, a teaching tool that uses a two-way interactive video conferencing network. Distance Learning allows the Center to take its performances and workshops to people around the world, bringing new technology to the old medium, one believed to be more than 5,000 years old. Puppets were used in Ancient Greece, and many scholars believe prehistoric man used shadow puppets along with cave paintings to reenact their hunts. Since then, some form of puppetry has been found in every culture on the planet. The Center aims to highlight the artistic and cultural significance of these puppets and provide a magical exploration of puppetry as an international, ancient, and popular art form. The Center’s world-renowned museum currently displays more than 350 puppets from various time periods and countries, like
photos Center for Puppetry Arts
Gumby and Pokey, who will go on display again for the first time since the 1990s. In addition to Henson, other puppetry legends on display include Bill Baird (“The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of Music), Wayland Flowers (Madame), and Julie Taymor (Broadway’s The Lion King). No puppetry collection would be complete without Tony Sarg. Known as “America’s Puppet Master,” Sarg, who built helium-filled balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, is considered the father of modern puppetry in North America. The Center serves as the American headquarters of the international puppetry organization, Union International de la Marionnette, the oldest theater organization in the world. The Center has been recognized both nationally and internationally as an organization for excellence. The Ford Foundation recently selected the Center as one of only 28 national organizations, and the only in Georgia, to be recognized for its innovative programming. A recipient of three different grants from the Kresge Foundation, the Center was also the only theater group chosen by the 1996 Olympics to participate in all four years of its arts festival program, garnering recognition from Newsweek as "one of the most exciting companies in American theater." MSN.com chose the Center as one of the top 10 children’s museums in the United States, and Atlanta Magazine named it one of the top 25 experiences every Atlantan should have. The Center works to serve the diverse populations of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and the country at large and provides over 40,000 free and 140,000 greatly discounted tickets annually to underserved audiences. The Center for Puppetry Arts is a one-of-a-kind experience and a must-see for all ages.
D e c o rat i n g the Diegetic South Atlanta's antique stores become film industry prop shops
story danny harrison photos christopher fairchild
t is often said that Georgia would have more antiques still around if Union General William Sherman hadn't torched so much real estate during his 1864 "March to the Sea". But Sherman didn't get everything. If you know where to look, you can still find prized artifacts from Georgia's antebellum days and before, and not just in museums. Dozens of antique stores on Atlanta's south side make up what some enthusiasts call "The Southern Loop", which includes shops from Fayetteville and Tyrone to Senoia and Newnan, down to Hogansville and LaGrange, and then over to Warm Springs, Greenville and Griffin. If you don't find what you're looking for in these shops, oftentimes the antique dealers can help you locate what you're seeking. It's the strength of this south side network that is helping film industry set decorator Natali Pope, who only recently moved from Los Angeles, California, anchor her business here in Fayetteville. Pope's go-to shop is Fayette Antique Mall on Hwy. 54 on the east side of Fayetteville. The shop, owned and managed by Carla Harrison, is where the old ACE Hardware store used to be. Not only does Pope use items directly from the Fayette Antique Mall showroom floor in her films and television shows, but she says she even more commonly calls on Harrison and the other represented dealers to help her quickly find specific things she needs to round out her sets. Pope's career in Hollywood began in 1988, and by 1992 she was responsible for the sets on Amityville and Children of the Corn II. The next year, she decorated the sets for Jason Goes to Hell:The Final Friday. All the while, Pope was working on thesets of the Tales from the Crypt television series. After Tales from the Crypt, Pope went straight into a couple of years of decorating sets for the popular television series Sliders. More recently, Pope has worked on nearly 50 episodes of House M.D. in addition to Torchwood, Salem and, most recently, NBC's Constantine. Several items from Fayette Antique Mall have been featured in Constantine, which was filmed in Atlanta through December. Pope says Harrison's ability to round up what is needed in short order keeps her coming back for more. "I have to know my dealers and know what their abilities are," Harrison says. "It's not always something you see sparkling on the floor. It may be something hidden in someone's storage unit. "You have to work quick, or you're not going to fit in," Harrison adds.
As the film and television industry moves more and more into Georgia, some of the bigger production companies have established their own prop houses, and that's where some of Pope's set decor may wind up for use in other features down the road. But she says she is always looking for more stuff. Decorating for Constantine, for example, meant continuous searching for items to fill set after set. "It was like doing a feature every six days," Pope says. "It never stops." Sometimes, production companies will have Pope purchase the antiques and other props outright. At other times, the items are rented and then returned to the shop or to the owner. In rental cases, says Harrison, the production company hands over a check for the full sale amount of the item, and that check is held until the item is returned in its proper condition. If all is well, the production company then pays the rent on the item. If the item is somehow destroyed during filming or in transit, the owner receives the full-price check. Pope says people are sometimes surprised that she has decided to set up house and shop in Fayetteville instead of Atlanta or the northern suburbs. "I prefer shopping down here," she says. "When I came here, I didn't want to live in the city," Pope says. Moving to Fayetteville worked out well for Pope, especially as her husband Jeff Brown, an established greenery and set dressing producer in the film industry, has along with two partners established Cinema Greens on a 14-acre farm and shooting ranch in nearby Lovejoy. Remember the huge trees you saw on the set of Universal Studios' Jurassic Park? Brown had a hand in building those. After Universal outsourced Brown's department, he, Brian McBrien and S. Ford Jones got together and formed Cinema Greens.
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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fayetteville 770.719.9400 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServi 770.254.8333 Bob Adams Realty 770.487.4663 Bullard Property Management Company 770.471.4669 C2 Real Estate Services 770.318.8767 Ch ® 678.414.1408 Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty 770.487.1917 Coldwell Banker Commercial Bullard Realty 770.632.1774 Darby Real Estate Group 404 O’Kelly Realtors 770-487-1522 Drake Realty of Greater Atlanta 770.783.0271 Enclave Realty 770-969-1818 ERA Sunrise Realty 678.689.1500 Faulk Group 404.312.5838 Gene Reynolds Realty 770.315.5731 Harry Norman Realtors 770-632-8526 Heritage Realty Services 770-550-7177 Jan Tram 770.461-3461 John Bailey Realty 770.484.7888 Joy Funk Realty, Inc. 770.775.7600 Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners Peachtree City 770.632.1 Realty Atlanta Partners Newnan 770.252.2266 Kimbell Frank Realty 770.371.8664 Lindsey Marketing Group 770.599.0804 Meridian Realty Saylor & 770.719.9150 NuWay Realty 770.252.2585 Optimus Real Estate Brokers 678.894.9744 Paraclete Realty 770.596.0432 Patti Ayers & Associates 77 Peachtree City Home Search.com 770.487.1600 Peachtree Fine Properties 770.378.9747 Providence Home Properties 678.586.5122 RE/MAX Leg RE/MAX Legacy II 770.487.4266 Solutions Realty Network 678.782.1004 Southern Classic Realtors 678.635.8877 Southern Grace Realty 678.300. tate Group 770.217.0677 The Housing Group Real Estate 770.716.9000 TLC PropertyManagement.com 770.460.0882 Tri-City Realty Services 770 Seuell Realty 510.418.9324 Webb Solar Realty 678.389.3079 Aberdeen Fine Properties 404.587.1979 Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Re Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Peachtree City 770.487.8300 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fayetteville 770.719.9400 Berkshire Hathaway H nan 770.254.8333 Bob Adams Realty 770.487.4663 Bullard Property Management Company 770.471.4669 C2 Real Estate Services 770.318.876 Realty 678.414.1408 Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty 770.487.1917 Coldwell Banker Commercial Bullard Realty 770.632.1774 Darby Real Estate Grou Donna O’Kelly Realtors 770-487-1522 Drake Realty of Greater Atlanta 770.783.0271 Enclave Realty 770-969-1818 ERA Sunrise Realty 678.689.150 mercial Group 404.312.5838 Gene Reynolds Realty 770.315.5731 Harry Norman Realtors 770-632-8526 Heritage Realty Services 770-550-7177 J Estate 770.461-3461 John Bailey Realty 770.484.7888 Joy Funk Realty, Inc. 770.775.7600 Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners Peachtree City 770 Williams Realty Atlanta Partners Newnan 770.252.2266 Kimbell Frank Realty 770.371.8664 Lindsey Marketing Group 770.599.0804 Meridian Realty S 770.719.9150 NuWay Realty 770.252.2585 Optimus Real Estate Brokers 678.894.9744 Paraclete Realty 770.596.0432 Patti Ayers & Associates 77 Peachtree City Home Search.com 770.487.1600 Peachtree Fine Properties 770.378.9747 Providence Home Properties 678.586.5122 RE/MAX Leg RE/MAX Legacy II 770.487.4266 Solutions Realty Network 678.782.1004 Southern Classic Realtors 678.635.8877 Southern Grace Realty 678.300. tate Group 770.217.0677 The Housing Group Real Estate 770.716.9000 TLC PropertyManagement.com 770.460.0882 Tri-City Realty Services 770 Seuell Realty 510.418.9324 Webb Solar Realty 678.389.3079 Aberdeen Fine Properties 404.587.1979 Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Re Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Peachtree City 770.487.8300 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fayetteville 770.719.9400 Berkshire Hathaway H nan 770.254.8333 Bob Adams Realty 770.487.4663 Bullard Property Management Company 770.471.4669 C2 Real Estate Services 770.318.876 Realty 678.414.1408 Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty 770.487.1917 Coldwell Banker Commercial Bullard Realty 770.632.1774 Darby Real Estate Grou Donna O’Kelly Realtors 770-487-1522 Drake Realty of Greater Atlanta 770.783.0271 Enclave Realty 770-969-1818 ERA Sunrise Realty 678.689.150 REALTOR® is a registered Realty collective memmercial Group 404.312.5838 Gene Reynolds Realty 770.315.5731 Harry Norman Realtors 770-632-8526 Heritage Services 770-550-7177 J bership mark which may only be used by real estate professionals who Atlanta are members of the Estate 770.461-3461 John Bailey Realty 770.484.7888 Joy Funk Realty, Inc. 770.775.7600 Keller Williams Realty Partners Peachtree City 770 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict codes. 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Sweetwater Creek STATE PARK
Georgia Department of Economic Development
Sweetwater Creek State Park is one of the best nature areas within driving distance of metro Atlanta, providing a relatively easy hiking experience along the trails that take you down the banks of the creek and, at one point, to the ruins of the old New Manchester Manufacturing Company textile mill. The ruins served as a set for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. Just another example of the growing Georgia film industry featuring some of the state's natural beauty on the silver screen.
rom the porch of our rented cabin, halfway up a hill in Hiawassee, Sheri and I sipped on bad ginger cocktails, lounged in big wooden deck rockers, and stared out across the valley, lake Chatuge below, framed on the half-shell by the extreme northernmost mountains of the Georgia Appalachians. Atop one particular peak, we could just barely make out, through the bourbon and the Joy Division dirge, a tiny line jutting into the sky from the ridge – like three or four dead pixels on our sky screen. We speculated about what it could be: a radio antenna? A lone, bare tree? We weren’t really sure what scale we were working with. This is Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest point. The name Brasstown is actually a misnomer. The Cherokee name for the mountain was “Itsey’y” which meant “fresh green place”, but settlers mistook it for the word “Untsaiy” which means “brass”. So the name was born. The following day, I ventured the few miles over to the mountain, driving up a series of severely twisting roads, like the small intestine of the great hill. Near the top, a large parking lot suddenly made itself available and it’s as far as you can go in your own vehicle. From here you have to walk the rest of the way to the summit or opt for a trip in a park service van. Here you’ll also find a well-stocked gift shop, with all sorts of dry goods emblazoned with various Brasstown Bald logos and renditions of local wildlife. I decided to walk up the paved pathway to the summit, which proved to be pretty steep at points. The walk took about thirty minutes, but I stopped a number of times to take pictures of the lush vegetation and its furry or feathered inhabitants. This is apparently Georgia’s only cloud forest, evidenced by the lichen-dressed trees shrouded in a light fog that only periodically lifts.
Story and photos by christopher fairchild
At the top, on the bald (which is not bare at all, but rather dense with vegetation), the walk path opens up to what Sheri and I had seen jutting into the sky from across the lake. It’s what was originally built by the CCC as a fire-watch tower back in the 1930’s but has been renovated into an impressive observation deck and a visitors’ center, complete with a small museum and a short film about the mountain. From the deck, you have an unimpeded, 360-degree view of the surrounding area, including views of four states: Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. On clear days, you can see Atlanta off in the distance, ensconced between the slopes of two hills.This particular day was a little too hazy for that possibility however. Brasstown Bald rises 4,784 feet, but from afar, its barely discernible rise from the ridge it’s a part of renders it not so impressive to look at. There are no abrupt, steep slopes to give it drama.Yet, standing atop the bald, you get a sense of the scale and majesty the mountain possesses due to what you can see from the mountain. It’s almost an introvert, playing it down from the outside, but with a rich and powerful inner life. There is a Cherokee legend of a giant canoe that carried a few fortunate families, during the time of a great flood, to the summit of this mountain, to safety. There the Great Spirit removed all the trees in order that the people could plant crops until the waters subsided. Perhaps the Cherokee then propped the giant boat on its end as shelter from the wind or as a way to climb further into the sky, as humans will do. Or perhaps, merely as a beacon to those friends and relatives across the water, stuck on their own mountains, hoping soon to be reunited at a Fresh, Green Place.
Vibrancy and beauty can be found both in the natural features of Georgia and in those man made. This stunning view of Atlantaâ€™s Peachtree Street humming at night shows that vibrancy of the city, contrasted with the eye popping visual of a solitary trail at Valley Springs in North Georgia.Whether it's a view to the natural wonder the state can offer or the remarkable human achievements the city represents, one can find different types of beauty if they're looking for it.
ÂŠ2015, James Duckworth/AtlantaPhotos.com
Georgia Department of Economic Development
The Hambidge Center, located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is one of Amercia's first artist communities. The 600-acre property was established by Mary Hambidge, a vaudeville performer and weaver, in 1934. The center describes itself as a "sanctuary of time and space that inspires artists working in a broad range of disciplines to create works of the highest caliber."
Photos Georgia Department of Economic Development
Like any state, Georgia has its share of eateries that may not get close to a top Zagat rating but hit a certain nostalgic sweet spot that only the right food can find. The chili dogs at the Varsity would be a good example for Atlanta residents, and South Georgia has it's own version in the Billiard Academy chili dog. This restaurant and pool hall in Thomasville is that kind of placeâ€Ś not for everyone, but certainly one-of-a-kind.
Though its neighbor to the south, Florida, gets more attention for its coast lines, Gerogia has its own beautiful views of the ocean to boast of. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is a picturesque example of this natural beauty that also played a key role in the economic development of the state. The natural "water highway," as its called, allowed for trade dating back hundreds of years and was heavily used during the antebellum period when rice and cotton plantations on Georgia's Sea Islands were a major element of trade in the state.
Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomsaville is one of many Georgia locations listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The plantation dates back to the 1820's, when it was established by Thomas Jefferson Johnson, the man that would found Thomas County. The plantation would change ownership over time, eventually to be inherited by Kate Benedict Hanna Harvey and then her daughter, Pansy, who lived there until her death in 1978, at which time she left the plantation in her will as a museum for the public to enjoy. Today, the plantation is a popular venue for weddings and also attracts guests for its art and antique collections, natural outdoor beauty, and for the Pebble Hill horses, a legacy of Pansy's reputation as a great horsewoman and polo player.
Photos Georgia Department of Economic Development
Pebble Hill P l a n t a t i o n
FAYETTE COUNTY FARM BUREAU Your Farm Bureau organization is the voice of agriculture at the local, state and national level. Your $25 membership ensures that the Farm Bureau can continue to represent the producers of food and fiber who work to maintain a safe and abundant food supply and strong economic base for our nation.
Georgia’s Largest and Strongest Voluntary Organization since 1937 • Voice of Agriculture at the County and State Levels • Ag in the Classroom Programs: Women’s Committee • Young Farmer Committee • Legislative Committee
Your Georgia Farm Bureau Benefits: Georgia Farm Bureau uses the size and strength of its membership numbers to negotiate partnerships with reputable companies who offer exclusive discounts to Georgia Farm Bureau members, such as:
Visit your local Fayette County Farm Bureau for more information on how to become a member of this great organization.
We are located at 130 Kathi Ave., Fayetteville, GA. 30214 • Call us at 770-461-3436
Serving Fayette County since 1964
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rabia Mountain itself is the center piece of the 2,550-acre Davidson--Arabia Nature Preserve in DeKalb County. Open dawn to dusk, the mountain offers a beautiful hike along its granite surface, the rock showing evidence of the once active quarrying that was done there. Arabia Mountain is home to some unique plant species as well, including the red diamorpha which covers large areas in the colder months to be replaced in the fall by yellow daisies. Educational tours are offered to give more background on the history of the area. The dedicated work of the Arabia Mountain Alliance was bolstered by donations and the cooperation of DeKalb County to establish the already large and growing path system that now runs through the nature preserve. The multi-use trail system is perfect for hikers and bikers, offering beautiful natural views along a lengthy network of trails.
the arabia mountain T s
he Arabia Mountain National Heritage area located in Lithonia is a beautifully preserved and, now, carefully managed wealth of natural beauty and diverse historical treasures.As one of fewer than 50 national heritage areas in the United States, it is one of the state's most unique destinations. A national heritage area can only be established by Congress, thus their rarity around the country. Many states have no national heritage areas.This one, centered around Arabia Mountain and comprising of over 30 miles of walking and bike trails, was established in 2006 and has been shepherded by a 19-member board called the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance. The snapshots of history that can be explored here span thousands of years.
Like many parts of Georgia, the area was originally inhabited by Creek and Cherokee Indian tribes.While there is precious little written history describing the period when Indians alone occupied the land, it has been estimated that the earliest evidence of settlements go back as much as 10,000 years. In addition to the area's Indian history, other storylines of various communities are preserved at different sites along the Arabia Mountain Trail. Grab a bike and explore the paths established by the PATH Foundation, which partnered with the Alliance as well as DeKalb and Rockdale Counties to establish the trail system which cuts through 7,000 acres of nature from Stonecrest through Panola Mountain State Park, offering beautiful scenery and opportunities to stop and learn a bit of history along the way.
national heritage area p h o t o s
c h r i s t o p h e r
The mountain itself was at one time used for stone quarries, evidence of which can still be easily seen on the two exposed "granite mondanocks," which form the main topographical features. The "Lithonia Granite" mined there was used in local structures and sent elsewhere via the nearby railroad system. The Flat Rock community that still exists there has its own remarkable history, an incredibly unique tale of a farming town of former slaves who maintained a foothold in the south while most of the former slaves around them moved north.The legacy of that community is still maintained at the Flat Rock Archives by descendants of those very families. The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers also sits along the trail and is
f a i r h i l d
one of the jewels of the Arabian Mountain Heritage Area. Established by Trappist monks in the mid-20th century who set out to found their own community, the massive Abbey Church there is a stunning structure built entirely of poured concrete by the monks themselves. The idea that such a massive and beautiful structure was built by a group of humble monks who set out into rural Georgia with only faith guiding them is overwhelming when you're standing in the church, admiring the almost ghostly bluish-purple hue its ornate stained glass windows paint within. Panola Mountain, itself a designated state park, is considered one of the finest rock outcrops in the nation. It is preserved carefully today, but you can take a guided tour of the mountain to explore this natural Georgia treasure.
T.A. BRYANT, JR.
ohnny Waits established the Flat Rock Archives in 2006. The stories he works to preserve of this small community of former slaves, held together by one single-minded community leader, are truly remarkable in southern history.Waits, also a board member for the Arabia Mountain Alliance, is filled with energy and a passion for maintaining Flat Rock's history, of which his own family played a major part. T.A. Bryant, Sr. had a strong impulse to preserve the community and church there in Flat Rock at a time, in the early to mid 1900's, when most communities of former slaves were uprooting and heading north to seek greater opportunity. It took a single-minded and, to hear his son recall, somewhat stubborn mindset for Bryant to hold the community together and help everyone survive. "This community is very rare," Waits says, struggling to even think of one nearby that could be comparable. "How very rare it was for one man to keep a whole community together." T.A. Bryant, Jr., now in his 90's, remembers what a struggle it was at times as his father stuck to his goal of staying in Flat Rock. He remembers his father owned 85 acres of land and had tenants work part of it, providing them work and helping to sustain them. Asked why it was so important to his father to keep Flat Rock together, the Junior Bryant is inspired to some levity. "Most of it was to help keep the church and Masonic Lodge and all of the stuff they kept going here," he ruminates. "I know one thing, if it wasn't important to him he sure would have left 'cus my mother used to give him hell." He cracks up laughing remembering that dynamic and how his mother would resist. "Why do we have to stay down here and dig in the ground!?" she would demand. "Most of her family was moving north and she felt like we should have gone also. My daddy was like that. If he'd get his mind focused on something he'd cling to it like a bulldog." Waits and others have preserved and continue to preserve records and photographs stretching back to when the Flat Rock African-Methodist-Episcoal church was first founded in 1860 by slaves. That church building was eventually torn down in 1971, which Waits regrets, given his love for history. He remembers the building being torn down when he was 11 years old. "We actually buried the whole church on the site. All the pieces are still there," he laughs. One of the more remarkable sites that Waits will sometimes show visitors is the old cemetery where slaves were buried. Creek Indian burial sites can also be found there, just a stone's throw from Miner's Creek, where evidence of a Creek civilization as old as 10,000 years was found. The cemetery is truly back in the woods, and many of the grave stones are simply stones.You might miss it without a guide like Waits, but he knows the names and stories of many buried there. The grandmother of NFL great Warren Moon are among them. Interestingly, Dr. Jeffrey Glover at Georgia State University is currently part of a project to "map" the cemetery, and eventually the hope is to have an online resource in which you can click on individual graves and see a picture of the person buried there along with personal information about them. Waits says the Archives have seen over 20,000 visitors, and now operates three days a week as of last year.
he Lyon Farm, sitting within view of Panola Mountain, is believed to be the oldest home in DeKalb County, dating back to the Lyon family's arrival there from South Carolina in 1808.The family continued to live there until 2007, and now the historical site is owned by Dekalb County and has become part of the Arabian Mountain Heritage Area. The main house and some of the other structures on the property give a sense of how construction was done and what farm life would have looked like going back to the 1800s. Efforts to retain the historical aspect of the site and continue to learn more about it have been ongoing since the county acquired the property. The property was originally part of the Creek Nation, though their predominance in the area began to wane as white settlers moved in and began to push them out. Joseph Emmanuel Lyon received the original property as an Army land warrant in recognition of his services during the Revolutionary War. Lyon was from England and originally served with the British forces, but later would change sides and join the American troops, supposedly after having been captured, according to family history. The farm would continue to be managed by the Lyon family, which would also come to own slaves. A crude basement area beneath the home is believed to be one of the places the slaves had to sleep, in what would be remarkably bare and cramped space for even one or two people to have to live. According to Johnny Waits, descendants of the Lyon slaves have continued to live in the area since, though they adopted a slightly different version of the name as Lyons. He said many Lyons are buried in the Flat Rock Slave Cemetery.
he Monastery of the Holy Spirit is worth a visit for a multitude of reasons.The expansive grounds themselves are beautifully kept and adjacent to the Arabian Mountain trail. Though not often, the grounds occasionally are used to host weddings, and there's little question why once you've seen them. The gift shop shows the industriousness of the monks still living there, more than 40 now, who work daily in making delicious treats including fudge, fruit cake, rum cake and biscotti. The outstanding treats are made with care and help to fund the community of brothers there. Without a doubt, that legacy of industriousness combined with strict devotion to the monastic lifestyle and to Christian faith are most gloriously exemplified by the Abbey Church. The structure is simply awe-inspiring, a pun intended as the Cistercian Monastic tradition practice there is built on a simplicity in design that simultaneously reflects the lifestyle the monks seek to cultivate. As they explain themselves: "Cistercian spirituality is centered on a union of the soul with God. It is important that the monksâ€™ surroundings allow them to advance their essential task of contemplative prayer and meditation. The key to such an environment is simplicity, which is why the architecture on-site is clean and stripped of unnecessary distractions. One of the main functions of Cistercian art and architecture has always been to discourage emotional, irrational reactions and to encourage a sense of composure." That description is somewhat misleading, perhaps, as the church initially strikes the eye as anything but simple, and learning about the sheer time and manpower involved in its construction boggles the mind. It's a testament to the lifestyle that the "builders," the first generation of Trappist monks to come to Conyers, Ga., were able to erect such an astonishingly beautiful church by daily labor and solemn effort to be closer to God.
he most striking feature of the church is its stained-glass windows, which cast a bluish light across the interior, evoking a sense of solemnity and the divine. Interestingly, stained-glass of this type was not traditionally used in similar monasteries as it was considered too ostentatious. An exception was made in this case, however, because the blazing Georgia sun required a stained glass to disperse it somewhat. Visitors today benefit from the decision to veer a bit from tradition. In addition to the visual beauty of the church itself, the monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit maintain a history of Monasticism through the ages as well as the history of the founding of their own monastery. A group of only 21 Trappist monks left from Getshemani Abbey in Kentucky in 1944 seeking to establish their own community, and arrived in Conyers. They built the massive Abbey Church entirely from poured concrete, in a process that took 15 years, where before they had lived in a simple barn. Photographs and accounts of those humble origins and the "joyful labor" that lead to the eventual completion of the Abbey Church, a literal marvel of engineering, are fascinating to take in.
anola Mountain is another granite outcrop that can be found along the Arabia Mountain Heritage Trail. Unlike Arabia Mountain, Panola was never quarried and today is carefully protected to preserve the rare plant life growing on its slopes. The mountain is only open to the public as part of ranger-guided hikes. On the plus side, exploring the mountain with a knowledgable guide will allow hikers to learn more about the area and its unique ecology. The 100-acre granite "mondanock" that is Panola Mountain was made into a state park in the 1970's, which has since expanded to over 1,600 acres with various natural features.
he Arabia Mountain trail has also embraced technology while preserving natural history with its GeoPATH. The 30+ miles of trails through the preserve are dotted with over 60 geocaches, little treasures that can be found with a handheld GPS system. Geocaching became popular after 2000 and is an especially fun activity for children who are already adept with technology and can turn exploring nature into a game in itself.
Georgia Department of Economic Development
here's no shortage of reasons to visit Savannah, and if I had to pick one place in the state to spend a weekend it might be there. The view from River Street is one of the state's most familiar, with its cobblestone streets and notably steep staircases that were originally constructed around 150 years ago. A whole magazine in itself could be devoted to what there is to do in Savannah, so this year we picked an event to visit, the annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest held in October. A Pirate Fest is probably what you'd expect: a lot of people dressed up as pirates. Some of them really go all out, with costumes that look straight out of a painting or a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean. While there's plenty of fun for adults the scene is not quite as raucous as you might find in pirate lore, making it a much more family-friendly event. The beautiful area around Tybee Island is transformed into a "lively pirate village," according to its promoters. The three day celebration features live music, a pirate parade, costume contests, a "Thieves Market," and this year included a fair with games and rides along the beach.
THE OUVEAU IRATES OF THE EORGIA OAST
story and photos by Josh Akeman
Tybee Island itself is one of the state's great destinations and played a part in state history. It's believed the name "Tybee" derives from a Euchee Indian word for "salt," which could be found on the island. Resources like salt became important during early exploration, when the Spanish came looking for wealth in the new world and laid claim to Tybee, among other places, in the early 1500's. As the Pirate Fest suggests, the island also attracted pirates around that time, who needed to find safe ports to stop in from time to time. The Spanish dominion over the area would eventually give way as French and British settlements were established. Great Georgian figure General James Oglethorpe led the establishment of British settlements in Savannah and he saw the great value of controlling Tybee and established the first lighthouse there. Tybee would go on to play a crucial part in American history, having a role in the Revolutionary War up to the Civil War. Fort Pulaski National Monument remains there and still bears the mark of cannon fire it received from Union forces. The Pirate Fest is a fun way to reminisce about the remarkable and often extremely turbulent historical events that took place at Tybee. It made for a fun, if too short, weekend trip that only made me want to return to Savannah for more.
Georgia Department of Economic Development
Of all the great historical figures that have connections to Atlanta, Martin Luther King, Jr. may have left the greatest mark.The city has honored his legacy in multiple ways. His vision was profound and enduring, and the timeless importance of his message is symbolized by the Eternal Flame at the King Center, placed there as a reminder of his dream of the "Beloved Community," one which believes in justice, peace, and equality. The historic Ebenezer Baptist Church is another familiar stop on any proper tour of King's history in the city. His father and grandfather both pastored at the church, and King would serve as co-pastor at various periods of his life.
ÂŠ2015, James Duckworth/AtlantaPhotos.com
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's remarkable impact on U.S. history is all the more remarkable given his struggle with polio, a condition now essentially eradicated in this country. Much like his relative and fellow President Teddy Roosevelt, FDR's affliction informed a major part of his life story and underscores the incredible potential a person can achieve. He was quite private in managing his condition, preferring not to be seen by the public in his wheelchair. Though not a native Georgian, FDR came to the state in search of relief, based on the belief that the natural springs in Warm Springs, Georgia had a therapeutic effect for polio sufferers. Warm Springs would become a second home to him, in a sense, and the Little White House remains one of the finest historical landmarks in the state.
Georgia Department of Economic Development
Ocmulgee National Monument is one of many remarkable landmarks around Georgia that preserve the legacy of thousands of years of Indian habitation in the state. This particular monument is estimated to have had 17,000 years of continuous habitation, stretching back to the arrival of Paleo Indians to Georgia during the Ice Age around 15,000 BCE.The development of human society can all be seen in the archeological evidence, from the life of Ice Age era Indians toward the hunter-gatherer Woodland culture that developed as the earth warmed, onto the period around 500 CE when the Indians in this area began cultivating crops. It was the group known as the Mississippians that came to Middle Georgia around 900 CE and began constructing the Indian mounds, some of which have been excavated and remain as monuments to Mississippian history in Georgia.
One of the joys of any road trip is the road itself, and the views you see while cruising through Georgia. This view from Coastal Highway 99 in Darien, Georgia is a nice snapshot of one of the diverse views you can find here. Sitting on the coast, Darien offers some great views.
photos Georgia Department of Economic Development
Helen is a unique place in the state, a city that fashioned itself as a tourist town in a very deliberate manner, adopting the look of a Bavarian village that nicely complements the North Georgia mountains it is nestled into. The most obvious draw for the town is probably Oktoberfest, when visitors pack the streets, restaurants, and bars to enjoy the German tradition. In general, though, Helen is an extremely family-friendly attraction that makes for one of the best weekend trips in the state.
The natural wonder of Tallulah Gorge is on the list of must-sees for nature lovers in Goergia. The hike down into the gorge is not so bad going down, but becomes pretty challenging on the way back up the multitude of steps that scale the slope. The falls there are one of the state's natural wonders, and the dam that leveraged the energy from those falls is one of the engineering wonders in state history. The gorge has even been crossed by tightrope walkers on two occasions. The collection of local history there is worth a visit in itself, as it takes you back through the building of the dam and the development of the area around Tallulah Falls.
Yet another reminder of Georgia's Indian history, the Rock Eagle Effigy Mound in Eatonton, Georgia is believed to be 1,000 to 3,000 years old. The stone monument is over 100 feet in both height and width, fashioned into the shape of a great bird out of pieces of quartzite. The specific significance of the effigy is not known, nor is it certain that the builders of Rock Eagle were trying to depict an eagle. Today the site is managed by the University of Georgia and lends its name to the Rock Eagle 4-H Center, a popular attraction for summer camps and all types of getaways during the spring and summer. Georgia Department of Economic Development
Many visitors to Helen have probably noticed the gazebo at the Hardman Farm Historic Site, sitting atop a small mound in a sea of bright green grass. Itâ€™s a pretty site from the highway that may be overlooked, somewhat, as many do not realize the mound that the gazebo sits on was a Nacoochee Indian Mound, believed to be a burial site for the tribe. The farm property is named for Dr. Lamartine Hardman, the last owner and one time Governor of Georgia from 1927 to 1931.
photos Georgia Department of Economic Development
The battle of Chickamauga in September of 1863 proved to be a crucial point in the Civil War, part of the Union effort to take control of nearby Chattanooga, an important strategic post thanks to its railroad infrastructure. Now a national park, the Chickamauga Battlefield is the oldest and largest Civil War park, according to the National Park service.
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art of the fun of putting together the first Marquee magazine was discovering just how many awesome places there are to visit in the state of Georgia. As a lifelong Georgian I realized I had experienced so few of those places. While we didn't have the time or money to visit every place we've written about, we did resolve to go on an actual trip this time around, as we encouraged readers of the first Marquee to do. There are plenty of obvious trips to take in the state, and anyone who grew up in the public school system in Georgia has probably been to many of them on field trips. We took a different route thanks to the research of our graphic designer, Christopher Fairchild. He thought we could fill a weekend with great experiences with a visit to Cartersville. It turned out he was right. Several people, upon hearing we planned to visit Cartersville, asked why and had no idea what the area could offer. That's part of the fun of a magazine like this. Many people who have lived in a state for a long time still don't even know what's around them to be seen. Cartersville itself is a cool town with a nice little downtown with some really good restaurants and shops.Within driving distance of downtown, where we stayed for the weekend, we were able to have a full and memorable weekend. We put together an itinerary and kept moving, making full use of the couple days we had to explore. The first stop was our lodging for the night, a bed and breakfast near downtown Cartersville that was itself probably the biggest source of conversation from the weekend.The Etowah Heritage Bed and Breakfast isâ€Ś certainly unique. The exterior is painted in pastel blue and pink, complete with a ridiculously oversized chair in the same color scheme sitting on the front porch. Pulling up we were skeptical we'd made the right choice and perhaps should have picked a cookie cutter hotel. As it turns out, the stay was great and the interior of the house was very impressive. The backstory as to how the exterior and interior are so different is interesting in itself, as we learned from the woman that runs the place. Operating from this thoroughly unique home base, we hit a series of spots that all deserved more time than we were able to give them. Within easy driving distance we visited the Etowah Indian Mounds,Tellus Science Museum, Booth Western Art Museum, Euharlee covered bridge, Barnsley Gardens and the cave at Rolater Park. Some are certainly better known than others, but all were so fascinating that nobody on the trip could decide which stop had been their favorite. It's fairly profound to stand on top of an Indian mound, imagining what the community that existed there must have looked like, and then to visit the remarkable Tellus Science museum to be inspired by how incredibly far humanity has come since that time. Armed with a little curiosity, you can have an unforgettable experience over a weekend in a number of places around Georgia. Cartersville ended up being just that for us, and whether or not you're interested in visiting you should consider the possibilities that abound in places you may not think to visit.
e l l i v s r e t e r l l Ca rtersvi le l a i v C rters a C
story josh akeman â€˘ photos christophe r fairchild
he Etowah Indian Mounds south of Cartersville were the first stop on our weekend trip and may have been the favorite, though every place we went ended up meeting or exceeding expectations.The site has been very carefully explored and maintained archaeologically and is considered the best preserved site in the southeast for the culture of the Mississippian Indians that once occupied the area. The museum contains a wealth of artifacts that have allowed researchers to piece together what life must have been like for various groups that lived along the Etowah River across hundreds of years. The centerpiece is, of course, the Indian Mounds, which have been excavated and rebuilt in parts so that the public can now enjoy them. Standing atop the tallest of the three primary mounds, called the Temple Mound, is a very cool experience as you can imagine looking down from 60 feet to the thriving village that would have been buzzing with activity below you at various times between 1000 and 1550 CE. It is believed a series of different chiefdoms occupied the area in three main phases across those 500-plus years. The dominance of the Mississippian culture in the region is believed to have tumbled because of the arrival of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto in 1839. Historians and archeologists have used documents and archeological evidence to piece together De Soto's route from Florida through Georgia and eventually to the area now called Etowah. Though the Spanish writers never directly mentioned the mounds at Etowah, other details found in their chronicles have lead historians to believe they certainly collided with the society there to what would be devastating results for the natives. The wealth of artifacts in the museum at Etowah details the lifestyle of those natives, including what they must have eaten and how they dressed, and the types of tools and weapons they used. Perhaps most interestingly, archeologists found some remarkably well preserved examples of art and other artifacts that are believed to have been used as part of spiritually important ceremonies. Two marble effigies, one of a woman kneeling and one of a man sitting, are on display and are credited as among the most remarkable archaeological finds in the study of Mississippian culture because they are essentially perfectly intact. Those statues have been dated back to between 1250 and 1375 CE, the middle period when it is believed the culture there was at its height. Reading and learning about what has been pieced together to form our understanding of Native American culture is interesting enough in itself, but something about standing on those mounds gives an invaluable perspective that can't be recreated second hand.
he Tellus Science Museum turned out to be the place that many of us on our trip wished we had scheduled more time to explore. Like the Booth Western Art Museum not far away, the Tellus is huge at 120,000 square feet and its four permanent collections were more than enough to keep our group occupied for several hours, without leaving time to enjoy some of the other offerings like the planetarium and observatory. A Smithsonian-affiliated museum, the Tellus is relatively new, having opened in 2009. The museum is situated into four permanent galleries: the Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion, the Wienman Mineral Gallery and My Big Back Yard. Dinosaur exhibits are always popular and seem to ignite a childlike sense of wonder even for adults. The exhibit at the Tellus walks you through millions of years of history, past massive replicas of some of the fossils that have been discovered all over the world. The level of detail in the exhibits is great as well, as the individual stories of certain fossils are even pieced together. A cracked rib here and some scarring there tells a story to archaeologists about what a particular Dinosaur might have gone through and, often, how they met their end. The sheer timescales at play across the history of dinosaurs up to the emergence of mammal fossils is breathtaking to consider as you explore this exhibit. The Science in Motion can take your breath away in the opposite sense as you see how far human ingenuity has brought trans-
portation technology in so short a time. There's something a little funny about seeing just how rag tag of an operation the Wright Brothers looked to be running in order to sustain just 12 seconds of flight at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.Through experimentation and sheer trial and error, and certainly at some personal risk, the brothers were able to get airborne for just that long, yet long enough to change history. The exhibit takes you through from that flight at Kitty Hawk to the rocket technology that allowed us to bring rocks back from the moon, all in under 100 years. For a true look at ancient history, stretching back billions of years to the formation of the Earth, the Weinman Mineral Gallery provides a wealth of knowledge along with an extremely enjoyable visual experience as you explore the extensive mineral collection. You learn the importance of Earth's diverse array of minerals to human history. Something like gold gets all the attention, but there are more than 50 display cases of different minerals at the Tellus. One exhibit shows how a wide array of human inventions, from products we use every day to major technological innovations, are owed to the minerals that help make them work. These primary exhibits kept us engaged for hours, and we all agreed we need to get back to the Tellus at some point because there's still more to see.
s part of our weekend excursion we made a trip to Rolater Park in the tiny town of Cave Springs, Georgia, to visit the cave and natural mineral spring there. On the way we drove along part of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. This section was now a paved highway, but once was part of the pathway taken by the Cherokee tribe as they were forcefully removed from Georgia to Oklahoma with tragic results. The National Park Service has since marked many parts of the trail, which can be found around northwest Georgia.
e hadn't expected to find the trail, though, as we were headed for the cave and the rumored "Devil's Stool" found within, which we had little information about. As it turns out, the natural spring at the park is very popular for locals, some of whom showed up with a armfuls of water jugs to fill with the refreshing, clear water that flows out there. Inside the cave, which is typically only open in the warmer months, the temperature remains at a fairly constant 57-degrees, making it a refreshing place to visit when it is hot out. The "Devil's Stool" we had heard about is a little cove at the top of steep trail upward in one corner of the cave. The story is that men inside the cave, when there was no interior lighting as there is now, found the view up that steep corridor somewhat foreboding, imagining the devil himself might be sitting in wait for them at the top.
ittle Euharlee, Georgia is very proud of its covered bridge, and for good reason. There simply aren't many covered bridges left anymore, and this one in Euharlee is on the National Historic Registry as one of the oldest remaining covered bridges in the state, having been built in 1886. Different sources actually offer different theories as to why covered bridges were widely built and have since gone out of fashion. The theory that makes the most sense, as is often the case, is also the simplest: bridges built and supported by wood trusses could last a lot longer with covering that protected those supports from the elements. As bridge design advanced and sturdier materials like steel and concrete became more commonplace, the covered bridge finally wore out its usefulness. The Euharlee Covered Bridge sits near the ruins of the old Burge family grist mill. A foundation and parts of the bottom floor of that mill building are all that remain, but efforts are underway to do some rebuilding of the old structure. The name Euharlee apparently derives from a Cherokee word meaning "she laughs as she runs," apparently referring to the sound they thought the creek made as it flowed.
fter wending through the small, rural roads surrounded by wooded areas near the mountains of northwest Georgia, our group was hesitant that anything as grand as the descriptions of Barnsley Gardens could be just around the corner, as our GPS was telling us. Turning up the drive, however, we first saw the beautifully manicured championship golf course and knew we'd found something special and unique, just as we'd been promised. The contrast was striking--Barnsley Gardens is sprawling and immaculate, a high end resort that stands apart in rural northwest Georgia. It has become a premiere resort and renowned wedding destination. As impressive as Barnsley Gardens is today, you must consider what it must have been like for travelers to come upon the estate more than a century-and-a-half ago, when the area was not just rural, it was pure wilderness. A quote from The Illustrious Dream by Barnsley Gardens Historian Clent Coker captures what a woman born in the nineteenth century remembers upon first arriving at Barnsley Gardens: "I remember riding in a buggy over the main Barnsley road through those woods, and passing those long pretty fields; until suddenly, there it was. The big castle high on the hill, and all the beautiful color surrounding the place. It was just marvelous. Folks came from every where just to see the place." The story behind Woodlands, its original name, has it all, and is quintessentially American though it centers on a man, Godfrey Barnsley, who remained a British subject his whole life. The narrative begun at Woodlands sprawled as would any great classic, complete with romance, tragedy, war, mysticism, murder, great successes and crippling struggles. Barnsley Gardens today represents both the resurrection and preservation of the "illustrious dream," which was always tantalizingly out of reach for the dreamer, Godfrey Barnsley. Any attempt to parrot the tale is a pale imitation of what you can still hear directly from Barnsley Gardens' historian and ardent advocate, Clent Coker, who recounted the turbulent legacy of Godfrey Barnsey and his beloved wife, Julia, to our group in the historic kitchen attached to the ruin of Barnsley Manor. There in the kitchen wing the century long family story was con-
cluded with an ellipses of bullet holes and the blood of Harry Saylor, shot by his brother, Preston, and ultimately dying in the arms of his mother, Addie, under the watchful portrait of her grandfather and their great-grandfather, Godfrey Barnsley.The marks from the day Barnsley's illustrious dream turned nightmare remain in what is now the Barnsley museum. Barnsley first arrived in America in 1824, leaving a king in Britain to pursue another in the southern ports--King Cotton. Then less than twenty and fully aware he'd have to make his own way as he was not his father's first son, Godfrey Barnsley established a basic foothold in the burgeoning cotton industry of Savannah. Handsome and ambitious, Barnsley ascended from bright eyed immigrant to the south's wealthiest cotton factor by 1837. He sat atop high society in a uniquely wealthy southern town and relished the lifestyle, but his beloved Julia fell ill and he sought a cooler climate in the still wild northwest Georgia mountains, only recently made available for settlement as the Cherokee there were forcefully removed to Oklahoma along what would become known as the Trail of Tears. Wanting most of all to build the perfect home for Julia, it was here that Godfrey carefully amassed landholdings and established Woodlands, which would be the home of his descendants for a century and a wonder of the south, so wonderful that it would be largely spared by General Tecumseh Sherman's troops in their destructive march to the sea. Woodlands was unique not only for being a sort of oasis of opulence in the wilderness, but because it was styled unlike contemporary southern estates. Barnsley's designs were influenced by A.J. Downing, one of the great landscape architects of the time. Barnsley had studied Downing's works in the years he had simultaneously been building his cotton empire, and would design much of the architecture and landscaping at Woodlands himself in meticulous detail. Downing's designs were Italianate and Gothic in nature, and would have been more familiar in New England, where Barnsley encountered them in his travels, than in the south where the wealthy preferred a Greek revival style. The Downing influence would help distinguish Woodlands further from comparable southern estates. The ruin of Barnsley Manor still standing, where many beautiful weddings are held, is what is left and preserved of what was meant to be Barnsley's greatest gift to Julia, complete with its immaculate garden.
Tragically, Julia would die before the Barnsley Manor was built, and the grief of her loss hung over the rest of Barnsley's life as tremendous hardship beset the property and the Civil War brought near ruin for the family. Barnsley would be seduced to a form of mysticism popular at the time, called spiritualism, which held the promise of communing with Julia. He so believed this, eventually, that he would complete the Barnsley Manor with some direct input from her spirit. A passage from Coker's book, The Illustrious Dream: "It was one evening in the parterre, as Barnsley sat gazing into the dark rippling waters of the garden pool that he believed he saw a perfect reflection of his Julia forming in the water... As the days passed, according to Godfrey, Julia appeared more frequently until eventually, he was able to communicate with her. Barnsley later stated that he regularly walked and talked with his Julia in the gardens and it was then, she informed him of her desire to have the mansion completed. As time progressed, Godfrey in his lonely state of mind, continued to spend many of his evenings near the fountain in the parterre, relaxing in the shadows with his beloved Julia." Spiritualism would persist down the generations in the Barnsley family, as many of his descendants believed they were in some level of communication with their ancestors. As Coker beautifully illustrates, the stewardship of Woodlands, later widely known as Barnsley Gardens, passed through a series of characters of varying capability. Its survival, such as at was in the leanest times, is due to some remarkably strong and resilient women. Godfrey's daughter Julia was the most striking example, transforming in her lifetime from a southern belle to a hardened survivalist who kept Woodlands afloat by living off the land and fending off aggressors with a shotgun. A passage from Coker's book describes this transformation: "As the old timers later remembered, it was such hard life experiences that turned the genteel Julia into an iron willed mis-
tress, toting a shotgun to protect her precious Woodlands." Woodlands would be sustained by various means through the generations from valuable bauxite ore and timber out of the wooded mountains to peach brandy and whiskey among many others. Georgia's peach growing industry would actually blossom from the success of the orchards at Woodlands, from which other farmers in the Adairsville area joined in, helping to make Georgia the peach capital of the world. The great Barnsley Manor would be partly destroyed by a tornado in 1906, and, despite some intentions to rebuild it, would never be restored, remaining a ruin to this day. A familial storm would bring the Barnsley legacy at Woodlands to an end roughly three decades later as Preston and Harry Saylor, the grandsons of the great Godfrey Barnsley, struggled for control of the land. The struggle lasted years and became bitter, featuring a number of potentially unsavory outside operators seeking to profit themselves from the property's value. The brothers were at odds for years as Harry fell in with those business partners whom Preston thought were schemers and crooks. They had convinced Harry, however, that he should be in control rather than Preston. Their feud would be ignited when Preston caught a farm tenant stealing whiskey and shot at him. The man pressed charges, and Harry testified to authorities that Preston was "punchdrunk" from his professional fighting career and should be committed to a mental institution, which he was for months. Ultimately Preston, the exceptionally tough and accomplished fighter nicknamed as K.O. Dugan, decided Harry had gotten in too deep with these men and had put the future of Woodlands at risk. He took matters into his own hands, shooting his brother dead in the kitchen wing of the family home, and calmly marching to the County Sheriff to tell him the following:
"I shot my brother, but he had it coming! He took advantage of a little trouble I was in and used it against me, to run me away from my own home where I was born and raised. I also heard about all the threats he made against me. By jacks, he had it coming!" The murder essentially foretold the end of the Barnsley line on the property, as it was soon sold at auction in 1942 while the estate fell into disrepair over the ensuing decades and was picked apart by vandals and treasure hunters. The Barnsley legacy wilted and fell to ruin, and would have been gone if not for Clent Coker's utter fascination with reviving it. In yet another remarkable twist of fate Coker, who had tried and failed to find a way to restore and preserve Barnsley Gardens, was able to get the ear of a man interested in buying the land in 1988. Coker writes that it was nothing short of "miraculous" that Prince Hubertus Fugger and his wife, Princess Alexandra, of Augsburg, Germany, came to view the property with an interest in buying. More miraculous, Coker was able to convince them that not only should they buy it but restore it as it had been. And so it was that Barnsley Gardens began with modern restorations, reopening to the public in 1991 as a historic site. Since, it has only expanded while under the meticulous and caring direction of Coker and many other experts who helped move a number of nearby historic buildings onto the site, restore others, and to establish a beautiful Downing-style village in which guests of the resort now stay. To see what Barnsley Gardens is now it's hard to imagine Coker felt so bleak about its future less than twenty years ago. His own decades long investment in the Barnsley family history and the arrival of Prince Fugger improbably reignited that seemingly ghostly dream.
he Booth Western Art Museum would end up being the last stop on our trip despite being a short walk from our bed and breakfast near downtown Cartersville. Believe it or not, the Booth contains the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in the entire country and is the second largest art museum in Georgia. That's not hard to believe when you get inside. The museum is enormous at 120,000 square feet. Opened in 2003, the Booth and Tellus Science Museums that we visited are a remarkable pair of collections for one town to boast of. Permanent collections include the American West Gallery, Cowboy Gallery, Faces of the West, Heading West, The Modern West, Sagebrush Ranch, James and Carolyn Millar Presidential Gallery,War is Hell, and a twostory Sculpture Court. The different varieties and mediums popular in Western Art are all on display, including a display of more modern takes on classic Western themes that includes some really interesting pieces. The sculptures are striking in their somewhat mythical depictions of Native American warriors and the cowboys that explored the west. The collections are extensive, highlighting the art of the best Western artists including George Catlin, Charles M. Russell, and Frederic Remington among many others. It's almost remarkable, exploring the museum, to see just how much art has been inspired by this period in U.S. history and the various ways artists have found to depict it. The Carolyn & James Millar Presidential Gallery is another unique offering at the Booth, a collection of photographs/depictions of every U.S. president along with a letter each had written, designed to give insight into the personalities and different rhetorical styles of each of these men. A description of the exhibit notes it allows visitors to "see these men as they were. From the compassion of Abraham Lincoln to the playful correspondence of John F. Kennedy, these letters help to humanize the men we have chosen to lead our country." The museum also includes a library, ballroom, cafe, and two theaters. As one of the largest Western Art Museums in the country, the Booth also plays host to frequent events including the Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium, a four day event that features Western music, fast draw competitions, performances of the Re-enactment of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and demonstrations of traditional Native American dances.
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Fitness enthusiasts flock to Atlanta every Fourth of July for the Atlanta Journal-Constituion Peachtree Road Race. Running for the first time in 1970, the Peachtree Road Race is dubbed the world's largest 10kilometer race with 60,000 participants. In fact, it's a yearly race just to get one of those limited spots. In addition, there is also a wheelchair race before the footrace and a special division race for soldiers stationed overseas. The race starts at Lennox Square Mall on Peachtree Road then continues on Peachree into midtown. Piedmont Park is the home for post-race fun, including music and awards.
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No area has a passion for stock car racing quite like the South. Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of the most popular tracks on the NASCAR circuit, now hosting the second race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. On March 1, 2015, Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA., played host to the Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500. In 1949, Nascar introduced the Strictly Stock division, after sanctioning Modified and Roadster division races in 1948. Eight races were run, on seven different dirt ovals and the Daytona Beach beach/street course. These were but the humble beginnings of the Series. The 2006 merger between Sprint and the series sponsor NEXTEL resulted in the cup series being renamed the Sprint Cup, beginning with the 2008 season. In 2014, Kasey Kahne was the victor at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning the race at its previous August date. Last season, Kevin Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing claimed the drivers' championship and owners' championship, while Chevrolet took the manufacturer's championship. In one of the largest rookie classes in recent history, Kyle Larson was named Rookie of the Year. The 2015 Sprint Cup Series began February 14 with the "Sprint Unlimited" race.
If you’re into racing at a different speed, Road Atlanta has the Petit Le Mans. The Petit Le Mans is a sports car endurance race that features 10 hours of racing. First run at Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA., back in 1998, the Petit Le Mans features teams from Corvette, Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, and Aston Martin. The 2015 edition will roll from September 30 to October 3 with the class winners of the event earning an automatic invitation to the following year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Atlanta is a popular destination for the pinnacle of college hoops. The Final Four was last played in the Georgia Dome when it was here in 2013. When it returns in 2020, it will be held in the not-yet-open retractable-roof stadium. When that day comes, it will be the fifth time that Atlanta has hosted the men’s Final Four, including 1977, 2002, and 2007. The Peach State has also hosted the NCAA Women’s Final Four, in 1993 and again in 2003.
FIELD of PLAY
Georgia Plays Host to Premier Sporting Events By T. Michael Boddie
For world class tennis right in the heart of downtown, the BB&T Atlanta Open is your game. Bringing the top tennis stars to Georgia, the BB&T Atlanta Open is now held in Atlantic Station in midtown, with temporary courts setup by the retail and residential areaâ€™s park. Its main court has a capacity of 4,000 spectators. The event is set for July 25 to August 2 this year and is annually a premier warm-up stop for the worldâ€™s best as they gear up for the US Open. John Isner has won the past two editions, and Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick are tied for the most career titles with three apiece.
Bill Kallenberg/BB&T Atlanta Open
TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
The crown jewel of golf, the Masters Tournament, calls Georgia and the Augusta National Golf Club home. The idea for Augusta National started with Bobby Jones. He wanted to build a golf course after his retirement from golf. He brought his idea to Clifford Roberts, who later became the chairman of the club.They found a piece of land in Augusta, Georgia. Upon discovering it, Jones said, "Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course upon it." Jones hired Alister MacKenzie to help design the course, and work began in 1931. The course officially opened in 1933. The Augusta National Golf Club has already begun its preparations for the next Masters Tournament. The current leaderboard has 2014 Champion Bubba Watson standing at the top, with Jonas Blixt, Jordan Spieth, Miguel-Angel Jimenez, and Ricky Fowler trailing behind. The Masters Tournament will be held April 9-12, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. It will truly be a tournament of champions, always to be anticipated in our home state.
The Masters isn't the only premier golf tournament in the Peach State. Each September, the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta plays host to The Tour Championship, the final event of the season for the PGA Tour. The Tour Championship debuted in 1987 and initially rotated among several locations. Since 2004, East Lake has been the permanent home. It is a home with a great deal of golf history. East Lake was the home course of legendary golfer Bobby Jones. The course itself dates back to 1913. Billy Horschel won the 2014 Tour Championship with a score of -11, taking home a winner's share of $1.44 million. Tiger Woods set the tournament record score of -23 in 2007.
One of the nation's top college football bowl games is a New Year's Eve tradition. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has sold out the Georgia Dome for nearly 20 years running, the second-longest streak behind only the Rose Bowl. The Peach Bowl was originally created as a fundraiser by the Lions Clubs of Georgia in 1968, but after years of lackluster attendance and revenue, the game was taken over by the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Chick-fil-A has sponsored the game since 1997. From 2006 until 2013, Chick-fil-A's contract gave it full naming rights and the game was referred to as the Chick-fil-A Bowl as a result.The traditional "Peach Bowl" name was reinstated following the announcement that the bowl would be one of the six College Football Playoff bowls. This year, the University of Mississippi (#9) matched up against Texas Christian University (#6). For the 47th annual Peach Bowl, Chick-fil-A sponsored a battle between two teams who haven't met since 1983.TCU dominated Ole Miss 42-3.
The nation's top college football conference names their champion in Atlanta. The Georgia Dome plays host to the annual Southeastern Conference Championship to cap off the regular season and set up bowl time. The SEC was the first conference in the NCAA Division I to hold a football championship game. This was after the conference expanded in 1991 to twelve members, adding Arkansas and South Carolina, and dividing into two divisions. The format was adopted by other conferences to decide their football champion. On December 6, the Universities of Alabama and Missouri went head to head for the Southeastern Conference Football Championship.The Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 42-13, clenching their 24th SEC Championship. Alabama quarterback Blake Sims set an SEC Championship game record for completion percentage, and wide receiver Amari Cooper set the SEC record for most receptions in a season.
Leggo my LEGO
story and photos by danny harrison
rowing up in the 1970s and 80s, my friends and I were all LEGO builders. My friend Billy across the street was particularly rich in LEGOs, and I can remember spending hours in his garage building everything we could imagine there on a purpose-built activity table. What we didn't know then was that, not only were LEGOs invented back in 1958, the LEGO company built its first theme park in Denmark in 1968. That's five years before I was born. Since then, British company Merlin Entertainments has built several more LEGOLAND parks around the world, including ones in California and Florida. Now they've begun spinning off LEGOLAND Discovery Centers, which are shopping mall-sized versions of the LEGOLAND parks. Our family visited the LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Phipps Plaza in Atlanta, and after three or four
hours there, they were still having fun. I asked our six-year-old son what was his favorite part, and he said "My favorite part was everything." An interesting thing to note about the 30,000+ square feet facility is that adults are generally not allowed admittance unless accompanied by children. And truly, it's a kids' attraction, but grown-ups have fun, too. The attraction consists of a dozen areas, including play areas, a place to build and race your own LEGO car creations, a 4-D theater that rotates through four films every hour, a small laser tag arena, a very tame carnival ride that runs in a circle and elevates higher as you peddle faster, and a cafe. There is also a cool, wheeled ride that takes you through a cave looking for a dragon. The ride seats four people, all of whom have access to laser guns and participate in various shooting galleries. The ride is not on a track, per se, but it rolls through the cave automatically as if it were on one, stopping at the shooting galleries for a few moments each. Looking back, I think this ride was our son's favorite, but the big play area was our two daughters' favorite. One of the first areas you visit upon entry, and perhaps the most impressive, is MINILAND, which at the Phipps Plaza location features many iconic Atlanta buildings and other landmarks built entirely in LEGO bricks. Other LEGOLAND Discovery Centers, of course, feature notable landmarks of their own regions. The first LEGOLAND Discovery Center opened in 2007 in Berlin, Germany. Another one was built the next year in Chicago, and by the time the Phipps Plaza location opened in 2012, Merlin Entertainments had opened seven locations in North America, Europe and Asia. Four more have been built since then. While shopping at Phipps Plaza, which is perhaps Atlanta's most upscale mall, families are free to enter the LEGOLAND Discovery Center gift shop just as they would any other mall store, but to enter the attraction, walk-up admission is $17 per child (0-2 is free) and $19 per adult. You pay $13.50 for all ages when you book in advance online. LEGOLAND Discovery Center is offering a special deal for homeschool families during the week of Nov. 17-21. The price for parents is $10 that week, and a child's ticket is only $7, and admission on those days includes a special LEGO building workshop. At any other time, homeschoolers can still receive those rates so long as they book in groups of 10 or more. Driving up from Fayetteville, give yourself at least 45 minutes to make the 34-mile trip. It's an easy ride up I-75 and then GA-400 to Buckhead. Parking at Phipps Plaza is free. One thing we forgot to do was bring socks for the kids. They need these to participate in the big play areas. If you also forget, they'll sell you a variety of sizes and colors for less than $1.50 a pair.
ABSENCE OF PRESENCE ON CLOUDLAND CANYON I come again to the place – lichen-pocked stones leveled into families of random convenience by only the sheer, gentle weight of the ever-mothering air (her draping girth reaching towards familiarity) – a whole, naked jutting of them amidst the concealment of the ripe gorge by a fervid, intimate forest. I wonder why this spot (and not that) bared itself – inviting the sun-drinking animals to stop and plank-carrying men to build a railing to assuage, for other men, leaning, the precariousness of the cliff.
Georgia Department of Economic Developmeent
As ants inspect my backpack, (where, to their unrealized dismay, they’ll find nothing) I touch the spot where a lizard was earlier – basking, or just still, somewhat hidden, blending halfheartedly with the mottled stone (but its back lacking the rock’s moss’s flatness, and so betraying its presence). And another one – resting over the inexpertly carved graffiti of the wooden rail – a shade of grey too dark to mistake for the same weathered wood. I look down upon a descending bird gliding ovals through the textured, wide troughs of the gorge. Trigonometry was born here –
the bird trailing falling esses, tangentially, and the multitudes of tiny trees frantically cling to the canyon, up to the sine-like crests, protecting the scarred, massive sides of the suckling mouth from the men who had seen the math, reached for it threateningly, then fled; the men who returned again only to rail themselves off from the deadly, too comforting fall. Who were Andrea, I wonder, and RW and GK and JK? Did they scratch their names into the soft wood in a bark of dumb victory? Or was it in defeat? Iâ€™ll leave mine off, no reminding my quiet, missing lizard
(should he ever slink this way again) that I too perhaps have lost the grain to caress the precipice, as GK and JK; a simple squeeze between the beams. So I stand and gather up my things â€“ where, to my dismay, the ants, long since disinterested, have found nothing. -Brad Fairchild
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