mNorth Atlanta Magazine - September 2016

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For Modern Women september | october 2016

JOURNEY BACK TO HEALTH Mom of 2 beating odds after injury

Fall outdoors: Hiking, camping spots | Visiting Ellijay | Apple picking in north Georgia

From having physical therapists and certified athletic trainers who only work with kids to using Dartfish motion analysis to correct mechanics and prevent injuries, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta offers the specialized care needed to keep young football stars playing at the highest level. Whether it’s a torn ACL, a shoulder injury, or a concussion, the pediatric experts at Children’s will get your superstar back on the field as quickly and safely as possible.

We’re proud to serve North Fulton and Forsyth county athletes. Find the location nearest you at

©2016 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved.



Moments Magazine | March-April 2015




16 14





20 wine country

One mom’s journey back to health after a near-death injury

A visit to Ellijay, Georgia

Explore the great outdoors in these unique spots

16 Attire for the great outdoors 24 Date night inspirations 28 Gypsy Theatre Company

Notes from a day tour to Napa and Sonoma Valley

on the cover... Denise Carleton, who has long been involved in the community through efforts with her nonprofit organization, Reaping Nature: Educational Outreach Foundation, which strives to educate children and adults on how to care for their natural environment, was involved in an accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. We catch up with her to see how she has worked to overcome challenges and continue her mission. 4

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Advertising rates and deadlines available upon request. Contact Ryan Garmon at (770) 205-8960 or

Vince Johnson - Publisher

Ryan Garmon - Advertising Director


Kayla Robins - Editor

fter what felt like the longest, hottest summer ever, I don’t know anybody who isn’t excited fall is finally here. One of the greatest things about living in Georgia is the beauty of fall — especially because we live so close to the mountains. If you haven’t been to Ellijay in a while, or ever, it’s time to carve out a day and make the trip. It’s a quick ride — about an hour and you are there. Of course the drive is lovely, as well — especially if you take back roads. We had a blast checking out some of the wineries. Who knew north Georgia could produce some excellent wines? On that fall note, check out Sydney’s piece about some of her favorite hiking and camping spots that are close by and worth going. Isabel keeps us all updated about what is trendy in the hiking/camping world. I love granola, and am sharing my family’s favorite trail mix recipe — it’s yummy, healthy and although it’s plenty sweet, there is no sugar in it. I love Kayla’s piece recounting her recent trip to Napa Valley, it really makes me want to go! I am excited and honored to tell you about my friend, Denise Carleton. I have known Denise for many years. I remember writing about her nonprofit organization, Reaping Nature, many years ago. Denise loved teaching children (and adults) about recycling and all things green. Last year, Denise was in a horrific accident when an 18-wheeler plowed into her parked car, almost killing her. Thankfully and miraculously, Denise survived but was paralyzed from the chest down. Please read her inspiring story. Also meet another friend of mine — Danielle Gustaveson. Danielle and her husband, Mercury, own the Gypsy Theatre Company. Currently they are working their theatre magic at the Sylvia Baird Theatre, located inside the Buford Community Center. Check them out! Their shows are first rate and always amazing. The theatre is also beautiful. We also let you know what’s going on for the next few months — make sure you schedule time for all of the fall festivals and of course, the Cumming County Fair & Festival. Enjoy the cooler days and crisp nights. As always, we appreciate your readership and always love hearing from you.

Tracie Pike - Production Manager

Angie Decker - Graphic Designer

Micah Green Creative Director


Sydney Robinson


Contributing Writer


Adlen Robinson Content Director

Adlen W. Robinson is a longtime resident of Forsyth County and mother of four. A contributor to the Forsyth County News for more than 10 years, Adlen is the author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” Email her at


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September | October 2016

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Overcoming the odds Local mother continues green mission after near-death injury Story by Adlen W. Robinson


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Photos by Micah Green September | October 2016


he afternoon of Dec. 11, 2015, changed everything for Denise Carleton. It was supposed to be a joyous trip to pick up her daughter from college for winter break. Eager to see Hali, Carleton said she was speeding and got pulled over by a state trooper. The officer was out of his car speaking with Carleton when an 18-wheeler crossed the line, soared over the state trooper’s car, and slammed into Carleton’s SUV. “I don’t remember it happening at all,” Carleton said. “The next thing I knew I woke up in a trauma center in a hospital in Tupelo, Mississippi.” The doctors explained to her that her back was broken and she needed surgery. “He said, ‘Well, we can do the surgery here, but you live in Atlanta where you have Grady — the best trauma center in the country.’” Carleton’s husband, Gary, was in Boston at the time of the accident but got there as soon as he could catch a flight home. She spent four days in ICU before a medical jet flew her to Grady Hospital. On Tuesday, she was prepped and ready to undergo the extensive surgery. As a result of the accident, Carleton sustained a T4 spinal cord injury, which left her paralyzed from the waist down.

In December 2015, an 18-wheeler crossed the line during a traffic stop, soared over the state trooper’s car, and slammed into Carleton’s SUV, paralyzing her from the waist down.

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For an active mother of two teenage daughters, this was devastating to Carleton, her family and her friends. Carleton said she always just looked ahead. One week after her surgery, she arrived at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta to begin the long road of recovery, beginning with intense physical therapy. “I had to learn everything — how to roll over, how to sit up, how to dress myself — it was really hard and exhausting. “I really cannot find the words to express how incredible all of the people were — the doctors, nurses, physical therapists — even the people who cleaned my room were amazing.” Carleton explained that the Shepherd Center wants patients to learn how to cope with their new life by ensuring they can care for themselves as best as possible. “When you are able, you learn to go to the grocery store, cook, bathe yourself, just everything so you are able to live as normal of a life as possible,” Carleton said. While at Shepherd, Carleton’s friends and family were on another

mission — to make sure she had a house to come home to where she could get around and start to pick up her life where she left it off — albeit in a wheelchair. They had an elevator installed that goes to all levels of Carleton’s home, and modified her bathroom so she could bathe herself. In addition, other modifications were made to the kitchen so she could reach countertops, shelves, etc. While Carleton strives to be com-

pletely self sufficient, she realized fairly quickly she needed some help and companionship. A friend referred Stacey Harrell to the Carleton family, and Stacey began coming daily to help. “Stacey is a forever friend — we hit it off right away, and now she is truly a part of our family,” Carleton said. Stacey helps Carleton stay active with a standing frame and FES bike to help her maintain bone density and


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September | October 2016

strength. “We do all sorts of things — we’ve even been to Vail [Colorado] and went snow tubing, snowmobiling. Next year we are going to go skiing,” she said excitedly. In addition, she learned to drive. “I really wanted to for our daughter Hannah. For so long she was getting rides everywhere — I wanted to be able to drive her to her school and her activities.” Carleton has long been involved in the community through efforts with her nonprofit organization. She is co-founder and executive director of Reaping Nature: Educational Outreach Foundation which strives to educate children and adults about how to care for their natural environment. Her organization has been recognized by Keep Georgia Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful. A children’s book author, Carleton has won numerous awards for her efforts, including Volunteer of the Year and Educator of the Year by Keep Forsyth County Beautiful. “I am working diligently to get back in the groove of my volunteer efforts,” Carleton said. “I partner with the Sawnee Woman’s Club as a member of the Conservation Department to support KFCB programs and contests for schools and kids.” Carleton also partnered with Friends of Tony on the Five Points Challenge 5K and last year donated $2,000 to the Shepherd Center. She recently met with her former therapist and passionate environmentalist, Cheryl Linden, to discuss implementing single stream recycling at the Shepherd Center. Carleton said at a family meeting at Shepherd, doctors think there is hope she will walk independently again. “Research is key — my hope is in this research,” she said. When asked if she was angry this happened to her, Carleton said absolutely not. “I have experienced so much love and support from everyone — family, friends, the medical community — I am not angry,” she said. “My husband and daughters have been nothing short of amazing. This has brought all of us closer together.”

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City at a glance


Charming town in north Georgia a must see By Adlen W. Robinson

Fall is here and that means it is time to head north to the North Georgia mountains. Ellijay is a charming town that has much to offer for couples, families or a girls’ get-away. Begin your Ellijay excursion with a trip into town. There are plenty of shops where you can find lots of artisanal items and local art as well as crafty things. This is the perfect time to start your Christmas shopping. Why not surprise family and friends with some unique gifts? Ellijay is the perfect place for this. Georgia might be nicknamed the Peach State, but when you think of Ellijay, there is only one fruit that reigns supreme — the apple. Apple orchards are everywhere and so are stands that specialize in all things apple. There are baked goods, jams, jellies


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and all sorts of treats made with apples — there is truly something for everyone. Take a drive down Hwy. 52 E, also known as “Apple Alley” and stop and visit one of the apple houses — or better yet, try them all! Be sure and check out the Georgia Apple Festival Arts & Crafts Show, which is held the second and third full weekends in October. If you are not familiar with Ellijay, you might be surprised to learn that there are quite a few wineries there. All have tasting rooms and some offer outdoor patios with fireplaces along with live music. Ellijay River Vineyards borders the Ellijay River between Ellijay and Cherry Log. Chateau Meichtry Vineyard & Winery is family-owned and operated and offers a cozy tasting room and beautiful patio — they have live music

on the weekends by local Georgia musicians. Cartecay Vineyards boasts 13 acres of vines and six different varieties of wine. Engelheim Vineyards is family owned and operated — the name is derived from the German word meaning “angel.” Visiting all of the wineries would be a great girls’ getaway trip — just make sure to have a designated driver! One gem you might not know about Ellijay is that it is home to Mountain Valley Farms — a beautiful farm specializing in grass fed beef, humanely raised pork and other products such as local honey, butter from grass fed cows, handcrafted ice cream, eggs from pastured hens, among other products. On a personal note, we have driven to Ellijay specifically to purchase meat from Mountain Valley September | October 2016

Farms and let me assure you, it is worth the trip. Everything is amazing — even the ground beef is probably the best I have ever tasted. Holden Creek Farms is not far and also worth the trip. Owned by Patrick and Sarah Burnette, this couple raises pastured chickens that are raised the way they are supposed to be — roaming free on pastures not treated with pesticides. They have a farm store and sell all cuts of the chicken, as well as packages of chicken backs for making homemade stock. Check their website for store hours or to schedule an appointment at Of course, you cannot talk about a visit to Ellijay without mentioning the outdoor activities. There is the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail on top of Springer Mountain. Bear Creek Trail is an easy 1.5 mile scenic hike. Carters Lake is just beautiful, and the cabins there are lovely. We have stayed there many times and guarantee you will love your time there. You can even rent a boat from the marina. There are also a lot of river tours, horseback riding adventures and even zipline canopy tours. Now that fall is here, this is the perfect time to schedule some outdoor activities. We are lucky to live so close to such a terrific mountain destination. Make sure you put a trip to Ellijay on your fall to-do list!

There are many wineries in Ellijay, above. Left, a visit to the Mountain Valley Farm is a beautiful farm specializing in grass fed beef, humanely raised pork and other products such as local honey, butter from grass fed cows, handcrafted ice cream, eggs from pastured hens, among other products.

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m North Atlanta Magazine 13

NATURE’S FINEST Best hiking and camping this fall

By Sydney Robinson

The season of cooler weather, cozy sweaters and hot apple cider is finally here! The heat and humidity of this past summer were brutal, especially if you are an avid outdoor enthusiast like me. Of course I am always thankful to live in North Atlanta where we are among hundreds of beautiful mountainous regions, national forests and wildlife preserves. For many of my friends this time of year, their idea of going for a scenic


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hike is to Sawnee Mountain in Cumming or taking a camping trip to Lake Lanier. I am not saying those places aren’t beautiful and fun, but I have had the chance to explore the ins and outs of our beautiful state this past year (and some parts of Tennessee) and have compiled a list of my Top 5 hiking and camping trips that are unbeatable for the fall outdoor season. The best part? All are less than a two hour drive.

September | October 2016

hiking Lula Lake The Lula Lake Land Trust located near Lookout Mountain, Georgia, is an amazing 8,000 acres of privately owned scenic land that is open to the public on the first and last weekend of every month. Because it is so large, there are guides at the start of the main trail to give you a map of the land and help you navigate your way based on what you want to see and how much time you have. The popular 3.1-mile loop features amazing overlooks, a gorgeous water fall that you can stand under and a crystal clear lake — hence, Lula Lake.

Kennesaw Mountain Take a wild guess where this mountain is located. One of my favorite parts about this hike is that it is a 3,000-acre national battlefield park with so much Civil War history. There are more than 20 miles of trails that weave through the forest that make for a great run, hike or outdoor adventure near Atlanta. You can see Atlanta from one side of the mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains on the other side.

Raven Cliff Falls Raven Cliff Falls, left, is the perfect day hike. Located near Helen in Cleveland, the trail is 5 miles of cascading waterfall heaven. I like this hike because it is not strenuous and allows you to just walk and leisurely take in all of the sights of the beautiful mossy landscape. Hike in 2.5 miles to reach your destination of a 40-foot tall towering cliff with a gorgeous waterfall flowing right through it. This is a great hike to take with your furry friends.

camping Dockery Lake

One very seriously hidden gem of a campsite in North Georgia is Dockery Lake. It is located just north of Dahlonega, and the trail around the lake takes you to the Appalachian Trail. This small lake is completely surrounded by mountains, and there are several campsites along the lake shore. This spot was hands down my favorite place to camp because of its serenity and lowkey nature. I camped there on a weekend this past winter and couldn’t believe not every campsite was occupied on a Saturday and Sunday. The trout fishing is also spectacular, and I recommend bringing a canoe. Do not expect to have cell service while you are there. September | October 2016

Cloudland Canyon For a more primitive camping experience deep in the wilderness, you must check out Cloudland Canyon. I camped there earlier this year in one of the backcountry campsites in the park, which was an incredible hike-in experience. The campsites are scattered along a milelong trail on level ground, and the best sites are spaced far enough away and offer great privacy. I definitely recommend camping here versus just hiking because there are hundreds of miles of scenic waterfalls nestled deep in the gorge. The canyon views are simply amazing. It is about a two-hour drive from Atlanta, so camping just makes sense. Ten numbered sites are available firstcome, first-pick, and reservations are required.

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Attire for the great outdoors As the days start to cool and the leaves begin to turn, hikers across the state are breaking out their fall gear. But for those who may be new to the activity, what to wear — and how to do it fashionably — is an essential question. By Isabel Hughes

Outerwear Patagonia is one of the leaders in fashion for the outdoors. Their trendy pullovers are a must-have staple in any fashion hiker’s closet, and the brand’s “Nano Puff” jackets and vests — windproof, waterproof and warm — are also well-loved. Their raincoats come in all sizes and colors, with some dual-colored — a perfect match for your navy leggings. These coats are also packable, so when the rain clears, you can shed the jacket. Marmot, another fashion brand, has a lot of the same items, though touts its plush fleece “Luster Jacket.” For those who love flannels, Marmot is the way to go, with different colors to go with your different palates.

Tops The best hiking clothes are not made of cotton, contrary to what you might think. Rather, synthetic materials like


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polyester will keep you dry as you start to sweat. Cotton traps sweat and moisture and on those cooler days, you don’t want your clothes, damp with sweat, cooling you down. Athleta, a popular activewear brand, has shirts and tanks perfect for any-length hike. September | October 2016

Their “Mesh Chi” tank provides ample ventilation and is ultra-lightweight, giving you breathability and lightness on the trail and in your step. Athleta’s “Fastest Track” top combines the brand’s “Unstinkable” technology and chafe-free fabric to leave you smelling sweet and feeling sweeter. This long-sleeved shirt also has thumb pockets and gripper dots along the hem to keep it from riding up. The company also offers hoodies, sweatshirts and vests not quite thick enough to pass as outerwear, but warm enough to keep a chill from getting to you.

Bottoms Whether bare legs are your thing or you like to have them covered, wearing the proper shorts or pants is essential. Shorts provide more freedom, as your legs aren’t contained by material, preventing you from propelling yourself upwards off that boulder. As the weather cools, however, shorts become increasingly hard to find in stores. For the super-stylish, Athleta offers skorts, giving you the look of a skirt but the between-the-leg coverage of shorts. Leggings and hiking pants are often preferred as the temperature drops, and they prove useful for protection

September | October 2016

against poison ivy, sharp brush and potentially dangerous bugs, like ticks. Also, if you happen to trip and fall, pants often protect you from skinned knees and shins. Both Patagonia and Athleta provide leggings, tights and pants to keep your legs warm and irritant-free. Patagonia’s “Happy Hike Studio” pants have elastic calf/ankle cuffs at the bottom of the pant leg to keep any critters from crawling up your leg. The pants are loose elsewhere, but have another elastic band around the waist to keep them from falling down. They also provide 50 UPF sun protection. The company also has leggings — both capri-length and full-length — intended to hug your legs while still providing the elasticity needed for hiking. Many people also wear leggings on a day-to-day basis, making them fashionable on and off the trail. Athleta offers “trekkie” pants, also available in capri and full length, with wicking material to keep you cool but comfortable. The company highlights their ease-of-movement as the pants have a two-way stretch.

Socks Like clothing, you don’t want cotton socks. They’ll keep your feet damp and wrinkle your toes, making you one unhappy camper (or hiker.)

Wool, Nylon, elastic and mesh — and preferably a combination of the four — are your best bets. Toe and heel padding don’t hurt, either.

Shoes The problem with many hiking boots and shoes is that the most comfortable ones aren’t particularly fashionable. However, if you’re serious about hiking, it’s worth taking the time to find a pair that feels good, even if they may not be showstoppers. The most debilitating factor of any exercise, as any new shoe-owner knows well, is blisters. They slow you down, make your feet swell and produce gross boil-like bumps on your feet. You can look and feel great everywhere else, but without comfort, you’ll never step onto a trail again — putting your well-earned, newlyspent-on-clothes money to waste. That being said, Timberland boots — and their original yellow boot –— are very popular, and can also be worn with a laid-back, everyday outfit. Their “Wheelwright” waterproof hiking boot resembles their classic style with the comfort and practicality required of hiking shoes.

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Fall Festivals Oktoberfest Mid September - October 30, 2016 Beer, brats, music, polka dancing, arts & crafts. Downtown | Helen, GA

Atlanta Greek Festival September 23-25, 2016 Greek food, crafts, products, jewelry & traditional dance. Greek Orthodox Church 2500 Clairmont Road | Atlanta, GA

Riverfest Arts & Crafts Festival September 23-25, 2016 Arts, crafts, food & music. Boling Park | 1200 Marietta Hwy. Canton, GA

Scarecrow Harvest October 1, 2016 Music, hayrides, face panting & art vendors. Downtown | Alpharetta, GA

Pine Lake LakeFest October 1-2, 2016 Arts, crafts, food & music. Pine Lake | 459 Pine Lake Dr. Pine Lake, GA

gold rush days

Cumming Country Fair & festival

October 15-16, 2016 More than 300 art & craft exhibitors & food vendors.

October 6-16, 2016 Rides, food, daily attractions, concerts, Hertiage & Indian Village.

Dahlonega, GA

Cumming Fairgrounds | Cumming, GA

Georgia National Fair October 6-16, 2016 Free outdoor concerts, rides, fair food, live family entertainment, Royal Hanneford Circus, pig races & nightly fireworks. Fairgrounds | Perry, GA

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival October 7-15, 2016 Music, arts & crafts, fiddlers convention, 7th annual cooking contest, helicopter rides, pioneer village. GA Mountain Fairgrounds Hiawasee, GA

Cumming Greek festival October 16-18, 2016 Traditional Greek food, dance, arts, crafts & jewelry. St. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene Greek Orthodox Church | Cumming, GA

Owl-O-Ween & Hot Air Balloon Festival October 21-22, 2016 Hot Air Balloon Festival and costume party, trick or treating, tethered balloon rides, Oktober Fest, live entertainment, and more. Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA

Johns creek fall family festival

October 8-9 & October 15-16, 2016

October 29, 2016 Music, games & carnival activities, arts, crafts & food.

1729 Main St. | Ellijay, GA

Newtown Park | Johns Creek, GA

Ga Peanut festival

Chastain Park Arts Festival

Georgia apple festival

October 13-15, 2016 Food, arts, crafts and all things peanuts. Jeffords Park | 301 E. Franklin St. Sylvester, GA

November 5-6, 2016 Fine art, acoustic entertainment & gourmet food trucks. Chastain Park | Atlanta, GA

Monet Waterlily festival

September 24-25 & October 1-2, 2016 French inspired, 100’s of waterlilies in bloom, French fare for purchase and fine art for sale. Live music and mimes.

Fall festival

October 8-9 & 15-16, 2016 The Michael Allen Radio Show Band plays your favorites on both Saturdays and Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q and gourmet desserts available for purchase.

Gibbs Garden | 1987 Gibbs Dr. | Ball Ground, GA

Japenese maples colorfest

October 22-23, 29-30 & November 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 2016 The Michael Allen Radio Show Band plays Oct. 22 ( 12 p.m.-5 p.m.) and Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q and gourmet desserts available for purchase. Strolling Classical Musicians will perform on Oct. 23.

Pumpkin Patches Big Springs Farms

When: October weekends Hours: Friday - Sunday, 10am-6pm Face painting, bounce house, farm animals, pumpkins, hay rides, corn maze. 2100 Sugar Pike Rd. | Woodstock 678-899-3900

Uncle Shuck’s

Burt’s Farm

When: September 10- November 20 Hours: See website for details

When: August 27-October 31 Hours: Open 7 days a week, 9am - 6pm Pumpkin patch, hay rides, country store. 5 Burts Pumpkin Farm Rd. | Dawsonville 706-265-3701

Kinsey Family Farm When: September 17- October 31 Hours: Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm Saturday - Sunday, 9am-6pm

Hay rides, pumpkin patch, barn animals, fish feeding, fall harvest shop, picnic area. 7170 Jot Em Down Rd. | Gainesville 770-887-6028

Corn maze, haunted maze, pumpkin patch, hay rides, bonfire, goat walk, festival food favorites. 4520 GA-53 | Dawsonville 770-772-6223

Warbington Farms When: September 17- November 5 Hours: Friday-Saturday, 10am-10pm Sunday, 1pm-6pm

Corn maze, fun park, hay rides, petting zoo, giant inflatables, corn crib, roller slides, pumpkins. 5555 Crow Rd. | Cumming 770-889-1515

Apple Pickin’ destinations, see page 30

A stroll through wine country Notes and sips from a day-tour to four wineries in Napa and Sonoma Valley


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September | October 2016

The vineyards of Jacuzzi Family Vineyards are vast and serene, and you’re even allowed to walk right up to a vine and eat the grapes.

By Kayla Robins


he air was dry, the sky a blue unbothered by clouds. The San Francisco skyline was well out of sight and mind, the rows of cars and crowded streets replaced by vineyard lines that were, of course, overhung with grapes by the bunch. Many a deep purple, cloudy and untouched by hands or store packaging. Others a lighter red, illuminated from the inside out by the sun shining from behind. Even others a green, yellow. All with a sweet tartness, filled with seeds, a refreshing taste that is only attainable by eating a fruit immediately after hand-picking it from the source. Napa Valley is certainly at least a day-trip away from San Francisco, but well worth the drive. As someone who has been to the city

September | October 2016

a handful of times but never out to wine country, taking an organized tour proved vitally helpful. There are myriad ways to experience Napa, but I will vouch for Napa Valley Wine Country Tours. You can take a tour by yourself or rent a private limo-bus if you have enough people. We did. We were transported from the city on an 8-hour trip to four different wineries in both Napa and Sonoma, with breakfast and lunch provided. I can’t speak for every driver the company employs, but our driver, Scott, was energetic, knowledgeable and entertaining. It was a way to get to multiple locations in one day without navigating the area or worrying about … anything, really. Except wine.

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24724 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, California 95476, (707) 931-7575, Our first stop was to Jacuzzi.Yes, it’s a winery, and no, there are no Jacuzzis involved anymore, though the Jacuzzi family did manufacture water well pumps and a spa in the late ’30s.The family’s story began on the 190-acre farm in the ’20s, though they didn’t apply for their first license to make wine until 1936. The estate in the Petaluma Gap is set in fog and coastal wind, protecting the grapes from hot summer temperatures and winter frost. The grounds made the experience, though the quality of the wine certainly helped. According to the sommeliers — and Scott — the vineyards are best known for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (neither favorites of mine) and have been gaining notoriety for their Barbera and Sangiovese. I brought the 2014 Barbera home with me, and it was just as good back in Georgia as on-site. It had bright, crisp flavors without a heavy, lingering finish that prevented it from being a chore to drink — especially notable for it coming in at 15 percent alcohol.

23355 Millerick Road Sonoma, California 95476 (707) 938-3031 Also a family-owned vineyard, while the land has been in the Larson family for five generations, it wasn’t until 1977 that Tom Larson and his father began their plans for their first vines. Eventually, their 40 acres of Chardonnay produced more wine than the family could drink, welcoming their slogan, “We drink what we can, and sell the rest.” Tastings are conducted for groups at their outside picnic tables and inside the tasting room for smaller groups, though reservations can be made for larger groups that want to stay inside. The sun was beginning to beat down in the open valley at that almost midday point, so retreating under the cover of the picnic coverings made the tasting relaxing and easy — a common theme throughout the day. Two tastings stood out to me the most.The first because of, well, three reasons: Buster, Bubba and Pete.The family’s three labs have become the de facto mascots on the grounds and the label of the aptly namedThree Lab Cab. A full-bodied blend of (mostly) Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Merlot, the hand-picked grapes make for smooth, structured mild tannins. Another favorite among the entire group was when we were given a shot of chocolate sauce to take right after a sip of wine. Needless to say, several bottles of each came home with us.

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m North Atlanta Magazine

September | October 2016

5400 Old Sonoma Road Napa, California 94559 (707) 255-8864 Driving into Napa from Sonoma, Madonna Estate was an easy, comfortable place to have lunch. Trays and plates of sandwiches and snacks were laid out by the time we made our way from the tasting room to the outdoor picnic area, undoubtedly orchestrated by Scott. Our last stop was to V Marketplace in Yountville, Napa Valley. A perfect way to end the day. The small town gathering features fine dining, gift shops, ice cream, specialty shopping, and of course, wine tastings. Many in the group visited Kollar Chocolates, which serves classic European-style sweets and “new world” flavors. Unless you simply don’t like chocolate (how dare you?) there will be something you like. If you’re on a tour, you may not have time to stay for a sit-down dinner, but check out Pacific Blues Café

September | October 2016

A new feature to Madonna, whose story began in 1922 with the third-oldest winemaking family in the Napa Valley, is a wine and chocolate pairing featuring five estate wines paired with Anette’s Chocolates from Napa. Though I’ll grab for a red wine

over white in almost any situation, Madonna’s Chardonnay is good. It is barrel fermented in French Oak and ends up not too buttery and creamy but still lingers — I was told with hints of butterscotch, apples and pears.

for “Maverick American” comfort food or Bottega for rustic farm-totable Italian cuisine from Chef Michael Chiarello. Or if you want to get one last tasting in, visit the chef’s newest venture, a tasting salon featuring his family’s wines. The Chiarello Family Vineyards offers tastings by the glass or of four pours of their choice. You’ll learn about Chiarello and his experience — and Emmy-level recognition — in both food and wine while hearing how they practice farming and winemaking sustainably.

6265 Washington St. Yountville, California 94599 (707) 220-8307

m North Atlanta Magazine 23

On the town

Date night By Adlen W. Robinson


amily-owned and operated, the Jerusalem Bakery and Grill is worth seeking out. Whether it is for their freshly baked goodies or one of their tasty sandwiches, wraps or platters. Everything is baked fresh everyday. The pita bread is the best I have ever eaten. The chicken and beef shawarma are amazing — and the hummus and baba ghanough are heavenly. My only warning is to get there early. Many times I have seen 20 or 30 people lined up outside just waiting to get in to order lunch. This is definitely one to try.

Jerusalem Bakery and Grill 4150 Old Milton Pkwy., Alpharetta, Georgia


love when I find an organic, farm to table restaurant that cares as much about food as I do. Such a place is alive and well in the heart of Crabapple in Roswell. Peach & the Porkchop is a family-friendly restaurant serving up homemade, prepared to order food that is both healthy and delicious. The salads are huge and satisfying on their own. The sandwiches are amazing and come with homemade potato chips! There are also vegetarian options. One server told us, “the only things that are not homemade here are ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.� There is also a cute bar area and a room for meetings and/or events.


m North Atlanta Magazine

Peach and the Porkchop 12040 Etris Road Roswell, Georgia September | October 2016


Steamhouse Lounge 1051 West Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, Georgia

September | October 2016

ho knew there was an incredible seafood place in Atlanta serving up some of the tastiest oysters, clams, lobster bisque and lobster rolls I have ever had? Well, I did since I have been going to the Steamhouse Lounge for several decades. If you love seafood, you simply must make that trek to midtown and try this Atlanta institution. Definitely start with a half dozen (or more) of the chargrilled oysters. Even if you think you don’t like oysters, you will love these. They are smoky and finished with garlic, butter and parmesan. Next move on to a cup of the lobster bisque — it’s creamy and full of lobster. For lunch or dinner, you can never go wrong with the classic lobster roll. I’m married to a guy from Maine, so when he gives these a thumbs up, you know it’s the real deal. There is no mayonnaise on these lobster rolls. Just ¼ pound of claw and tail lobster meat with drawn butter on a hot, poppy seed hot dog roll. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! The seafood buckets are also fun to share. Oh, and there is valet parking for just $2, so you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot. Also, on weekends you can sit outside and there is often live music. A great date night destination.

m North Atlanta Magazine 25

Hitting the trail with a healthy snack

By Adlen W. Robinson


ure, you can buy a bag of granola or a box of granola bars. But make sure you read the ingredients list or else you might be consuming lots of chemicals, preservatives and other additives. Instead of searching for a healthy granola or trail mix, why not make a batch yourself? You can really tailor this recipe to your own liking — add different nuts and/or dried fruit. You can also substitute real maple syrup for the honey. You can make bars with this mixture, but I like to roll them into little balls — they are perfect for popping into your mouth while hiking. They are sticky, so wrap them in parchment paper.


m North Atlanta Magazine

Trail mix bars/balls 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup cashew butter 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3/4 cup pecans 3/4 cup cashews 1/2 cup almonds 10 small dates, pitted 1/4 cup shredded coconut 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped

Soak dates in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop. In a small saucepan, heat honey, cashew butter, and coconut oil, stirring until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. In a food processor, pulse pecans, cashews and almonds until they are in small pieces, but not fully ground. Pour into a bowl and add chopped dates, coconut, cranberries and chocolate chips. When cashew butter mixture has cooled a bit, pour over nut mixture and stir to combine. Form into small balls on parchment paper, or press in a parchment paperlined baking pan and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

September | October 2016

Setting the stage “We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.” –Gypsy Proverb

Gypsy Theatre Company brings talent to Buford By Adlen W. Robinson


orsyth County residents likely remember the Gypsy Theatre Company from its years at The Cumming Playhouse. What you may not know is the successful group, under the leadership of Artistic Director Mercury and his wife, Danielle Gustaveson, the managing director, is currently producing six shows a year at the Sylvia Beard Theatre located inside the Buford Community Center. This multi-talented duo has a combined almost 50 years of acting, directing and technical experience with all things having to do with live theatre. Mercury was a professional actor in New York City for almost 20 years before coming to Atlanta in 2006. Danielle, besides being an award-winning actor and director, has 20-plus years of experience in art and interior design. Both were accomplished actors long before they decided to launch their own theatre company. “Supporting yourself as an actor in New York City, or really anywhere is difficult,” Mercury said. “Consequently, most actors learn to do other things besides act — such as set building or technical support — things behind the scenes.” Both Mercury and Danielle learned how to do it all, and both found they also have skills when it came to directing. “We have really learned how to do everything when it


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comes to a live production. We design and build the sets, do all of the costumes, really just everything,” Danielle said. Danielle even taught herself to sew so she could create costumes and set décor. “It is truly a labor of love — we eat, sleep and breathe theatre,” she said. When the couple is not working on their own production, they attend live theatre productions all over Atlanta and beyond. Starting their own company seemed to be the perfect fit, and in 2009, The Gypsy Theatre Company was born. For several years they both had fulltime jobs while managing their company at night and on the weekends. Then, after doing a few shows at The Sylvia Beard Theatre, they were asked to come on board and do six shows a

year at the theatre. Taking a leap of faith, the couple decided to leave their day jobs and devote all of their days and nights to their company. Now in their second season, The Gypsy Theatre Company shows no signs of slowing down. As far as their shows, the couple strives to choose productions that appeal to a wide audience — both female and male. “There is much thought and research that goes into what shows we do,” Mercury said. “You have to take into account your audience, the production end of things, the size of the cast — we have much to consider.” Many of their shows involve humor — some also have audience participation, which is always a fun element with live theatre.

Upcoming Shows at The Sylvia Beard Theatre • I Hate Hamlet (a comedy) Oct. 13-30 • It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play Dec. 1-18 • Barefoot in the Park Feb. 9-26 For tickets and more information, visit “We create art together,” Danielle said. “We are together pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we never get tired of each other — it’s clearly what we were meant to be doing — we spend thousands of hours to create one show, and we love every aspect of it.”

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m North Atlanta Magazine 29

Fall may have become synonymous with the invasion of pumpkins and pumpkin spiced-everythingyou-can-imagine-and-more, but the colors changing on the trees and the temperatures – hopefully – cooling down also mean it’s time to go apple picking in north Georgia. For a weekend away or even just a day of family fun, there are barrels of options for places to pick your own apples off the tree along Hwy. 52 near the edge of Amicalola Falls State Park. From Amicalola to Ellijay, take your pick of orchards, farms or even the Georgia Apple Festival.

Apple Pickin’


Georgia Apple Festival Oct. 8-9 & Oct. 15-16

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1. Burt’s Farm

5 4 3


When: August 27 - November 10 Hours: 9am - 6pm 5 Burts Pumpkin Farm Road, Dawsonville 706-265-3701 |

2. Hillcrest Orchards When: September 1 - November 30 Hours: 9am - 6pm 9696 Hwy 52, Ellijay | 706-273-3838

6. R&A Orchards When: August 1 - December 1 Hours: 9am - 6pm 5505 Hwy 52, Ellijay | 706-273-3821

3. B.J. Reece Orchards

7. Panorama Orchards

When: August 27 - October 30 Hours: 9am - 6pm

When: August 1 - December 1 Hours: 9am - 6pm

9131 Hwy. 52, Ellijay | 706-276-3048

63 Talona Road, Ellijay | 706-276-3813

4. Mack Aaron’s Apple House When: July 1 - October 31 Hours: 9am - 6pm 8955 Hwy 52, Ellijay | 706-273-3600

5. Aaron Family Orchard

8. Penland’s Apple House When: August 1 - December 1 Hours: 9am - 6pm 41 Talona Spur, Ellijay | 706-635-5110

9. Red Apple Barn

When: August 1 - December 30 Hours: 9am - 6pm

When: August - December 23 Hours: 9am - 6pm, Monday - Saturday 12pm - 5:30pm, Sunday

8350 Hwy 52, Ellijay | 706-273-3180

3379 Tails Creek Road, Ellijay | 706-635-5898


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