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400 LIFE JULY 2021

SCOTT’S AUTO CENTER Remains top choice for Forsyth County auto service and repair

Football player creates new jerseys for his old team Longtime chief magistrate judge talks about career, retirement

Inside: Fountain’s Food Adventures highlights lakeside eateries | Local lawyer urges residents to stay safe this summer

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| July 2021

contents from the editor

This month we highlight one business that most of you probably already know — Scott’s Auto Center. I know a lot of people who say their co-workers are like family, but after spending time with this group, they really are a family. And a well-oiled machine. Even the customers feel like family to

the staff. Scott devoted himself to staying at the top of his game from the very beginning, continuing his education every year, becoming a Master Tech, to eventually opening his own business that has grown to be a staple of Forsyth County. We also met artist and football player Blaylan Lomax. The South Forsyth High School senior used his art pathway to create new jerseys for the Sharon Springs Youth Football team. Chief Magistrate Judge Walker Bramblett, who was first elected to the seat in 2008, plans to retire at the end of July. We talk to the sixth-generation Forsyth County resident about his career and what his future holds. And now that summer is here, local lawyer Steven Leibel talks about safety and what actions to take if a loved one is injured due to negligence in his first column for 400 Life. Look for his legal advice each month moving forward. David Fountain and Fountain’s Food Adventures takes us on a trip around Lake Lanier for the best spots to stop and grab a bite. Happy summer everyone! Stay cool. — Tracie Pike

4 Scott’s Auto Center No. 1 in Forsyth County The team at Scott’s Auto Center is the best in the business. They fix problems other people can’t. For the customers, that builds trust and for Scott’s, it’s made them the number one choice for Best of Forsyth in auto service for the past seven years.

10 Football player, artist gives back to home team South Forsyth High School senior Blaylan Lomax created new jerseys for Sharon Springs Youth Football, where he started playing football in first grade.

contributors Publisher Stephanie Woody

Director of Revenue Leah Nelson

Managing Editor Tracie Pike

Advertising Tim Anderson Stacy Clark

Staff writers Sabrina Kerns Kelly Whitmire

This magazine is a product of the

Special contributors Jennifer Colosimo

Photographer Ben Hendren

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14 Chief Magistrate Judge Walker 15 As we approach summer,

legal issues that are particular to summer fun frequently arise. Know your rights when negligence occurs.

Bramblett is set to retire on July 31. We talk to him about his long career and his plans for the future.

16 Fountain’s Food Adventures highlights

our community’s best lakeside locations. July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 3

Scott Muse and his staff at Scott’s Auto Center.

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| July 2021

Switching Gears

How Scott’s Auto Center Changes the Auto Service Industry Story by Jennifer Colosimo | Photos by Ben Hendren


f you asked Scott Muse where he saw himself in 2021, way back when he was first pumping gas at an Amoco filling station in Lawrenceville, Ga., owning a 19-bay garage in Cumming wouldn’t be his first guess. But, in hindsight, with his passion for problem-solving and compassion for people, owning and operating a successful automotive center with an unmatched reputation was a very obvious evolution. That road to running Scott’s Auto Center started when he was 16 years old. He pumped gas and repaired tires throughout high school, and eventually began getting deeper into automobiles as a tech in a service garage. With a piqued interest, he enrolled in night school to earn industry-standard ASE certifications. He devoted himself to staying at the top of his game, continuing his education every year, becoming a Master Tech, and developing a deep passion for the ins and outs of a constantly changing trade. With expert knowledge, good mentors and nearly 30 years of hands-on experience, the next step was to go out on his own. “I had been in the business for so long and worked for so many other people, so I knew that I could do it better,” said Muse. “I had a wife at home, and two little kids, so it was kind of a crazy decision, but I knew I just had to do it.” In 2003, Muse opened a one-man, one-bay garage on Peachtree Parkway and wore every single hat to get through that first year. After that year, he hired Dan Levan, his first tech, and eventually Bob Contreras as his No. 1 service advisor, who are still with him today (along with most of his other employees, who have remained on staff since the day they were hired). The trio worked for three years out of that garage before it was time for another big decision; and in 2006, Muse put his life savings down on the corner across the street — where Scott’s Auto Center still is today — to give him a little more room to grow. He built 10 bays … but only had three lifts and a few employees, so with it he had a whole lot of hope. “I am blessed, because it took about 18 months and then things quickly began to change,” said Muse, who, in 2007, added four bays to his original 10-bay shop, then built an additional five bays in the rear of his

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July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 5

property, and quadrupled the staff by the end of that time frame. “I found myself building the second building because we grew really fast, and right then I decided to surround myself with really good people and that I would treat people as if they were a family member.” And the team at Scott’s Auto is, in fact, one big family. Aside from company trips and Christmas parties, the rapid rate of technological advancement and complexity of the modern automobile makes conBob Contreras, sertinued education for his technicians a privice advisor at ority. Scott’s Auto Center. In fact he sends them to relevant training courses, and in doing so created the foundation for a resounding philosophy that their success doesn’t come from sales. Simply put, they’re the best in the business. They fix problems other people can’t. They educate clients on what’s happening with their vehicle and make recommendations, but never pressure them into buying anything. For the customers, that builds trust — it makes them feel like family, too — and for Scott’s, it’s made them the number one choice for Best of Forsyth in auto service for the past seven years. Muse calls it the Scott’s Auto Standard, the way they approach each and every vehicle with the goal of going above and beyond to provide the best possible customer service, using the most up-to-date technology and expert technicians to fix any problem. The result is a huge loyal customer base that appreciates high quality care and bestvalue products. “We’ve earned our reputation through great service and honesty,” said Muse, who says it’s about listening first, verifying the complaint, identifying the problem and keeping the client informed throughout the entire process. “I’m happy when I read these five-star Dan Levan works on a car at Scott’s Auto Center. In 2003, Scott Muse opened a one-man, one-bay garage on Peachtree Parkway, shown far right. He eventually added two employees, Dan Levan and Bob Contreras. The trio worked for three years out of that garage before it was time for another big decision. In 2006, Muse put his life savings down on the corner across the street — where Scott’s Auto Center still is today.

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Scott’s Auto Center is a staple in Cumming! Always helpful, friendly and accommodating from simple oil changes to the more extensive auto repair. I have never had a bad experience and have never felt like the simplest of questions was annoying to the service desk.”

I really trust Kevin, Bob, Shelly, Mike and the team at Scott’s Auto Center. They always treat me with respect and like a friend. There is no other auto repair center that I trust as much as this place. They will never try to sell you on services you don’t need and their prices are always fair.”

We’ve shopped around a lot and Scott’s is by far the best. They are honest and will not try to sell you services you don’t need. We brought a car in and said we needed new rear brakes, after looking at it they found there were bolts that weren’t tightened and it was an easy fix. Who does that?! When your car is complete, it is truly fixed. We won’t go anywhere else.”

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I also wanted to do something that lets me solve problems for people, and treat people fair. This gives me a chance to work directly with those people and get to know the customers. I love that interaction, and the satisfaction of being able to fix a problem — and do it correctly — the first time. -Scott Muse, owner of Scott’s Auto Center

The service team at Scott’s Auto Center: Bob, Ben, Kevin, Mike and Shelly.

reviews online, when they talk about the quality of the service and the fairness and how we treat them. It really validates why we do what we do, and how we do it.” Clients, both returning loyals and first-timers, at Scott’s seek anything from basic tune-ups to engine diagnostics, complimentary taillight replacement, tire repair and courtesy washes, and just about anything else you could think of in between. They’ve even got an on-site car detailer operating out of one of their bays. “I’ve always liked a challenge and that’s why I like this industry,” says Muse. “I also wanted to do something that lets me solve problems for people, and treat people fair. This gives me a chance to work directly with those people and get to know the customers. I love

that interaction, and the satisfaction of being able to fix a problem — and do it correctly — the first time.” Muse has been a Forsyth County resident for a long time now and gives back to the community beyond the potential inside those 19 bays. He’s on the board of the Peachtree Parkway Improvement District, sponsors Heirborn servants, Humane Society of Forsyth County, Relay for Life, Campus Outreach Missionary, Central Forsyth High School’s engine building team, and serves several other non-profits in the community. So, car trouble or not, one thing is clear: his family is one we want to be a part of. — Sponsored content

Scott’s Auto Center Where: 820 Peachtree Pkwy., Cumming, GA 30041 Contact: (678) 947-4040, Online: 8 | 400 LIFE

| July 2021

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July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 9

Back to where it all began

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| July 2021

South Forsyth football player designs new jerseys for his childhood team Story and Photos by Sabrina Kerns


laylan Lomax first began playing tle brothers have played as Falcons, football as a Falcon, sporting a his dad coached all of them and his black jersey on the field for the first mom even served as the team coorditime after joining the Sharon Springs nator. Youth Football team when he was Lomax said he always finds himonly in first grade. self back on the field at Sharon Of course, the linebacker has since Springs, spending time with those he moved on from the team, joining his has known his whole life and practicmiddle school’s football team in sev- ing for his next game. enth grade before heading to South It was no surprise then that when Forsyth High School where he plays the organization was looking to get now as a senior. new jerseys for the team, Lomax But he said he will never forget his offered up his help. Using his experiteam at Sharon Springs where he first ence in art and design classes, he found his passion and what will designed two new jerseys for the K-6 hopefully become his future career, Sharon Springs recreational football especially as his family has been so involved in the team. Both of his litContinued, Page 12

I’ve always had a passion for drawing and designing, and my pathway is art. -Blaylan Lomax, senior at South Forsyth High School

July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 11

teams. “We feel like this has been an awesome opportunity for Blayan to give back to the park that has poured into him as well as the park being able to use Blayan’s gifts,” said Jenny Meaden, the director of football uniforms and team coordinators. Alongside his talent and desire to play football, Lomax has also always had a passion for art. He began taking design classes during his freshman year at South Forsyth, and he has continued down the art and design pathway since. Although he had been creating and designing logos within the studios at South Forsyth, he had never thought of venturing out and designing products such as a jersey. His mom, Tonika, originally slipped the idea into his mind when she found out the team at Sharon Springs needed new jerseys. “I’ve always had a passion for drawing and designing, and my pathway is art. So she said, ‘Hey, why don’t you check this out?’” Lomax said. Meaden took him up on his offer to design the jerseys, and he ended with two unique designs for both older and younger players. The designs were both mostly blue, gray and white — a step away from previous jerseys that have traditionally been black. Sharon Springs Youth Football and Cheerleading unveiled prototypes of Lomax’s jerseys at a team get-together in May, letting parents and players see the designs for the first time. “It feels good to [see the design in person],” Lomax said. Focusing on the combination of his two passions, Lomax enjoyed working on the jerseys and seeing them finally be put to use. Although his first focus is football going into the future, he said he could also see himself continue with projects like this one in the future. Overall, Lomax said he was mostly happy to give back to the team where it all started for him.

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400 faces

Walker Bramblett, Chief Magistrate Judge

‘It’s been the honor of my life’

Longtime Chief Magistrate Judge retiring

Story and photo by Kelly Whitmire


or the first time in more than a decade, the Forsyth County Magistrate Court will soon have a new leader. Chief Magistrate Judge Walker Bramblett, who was first elected to the seat in 2008, recently announced he will retire from the position on July 31. His replacement will be decided by judges of the Forsyth County Superior Court and will serve the remainder of his term before the election for the seat in 2024. “I want to thank the people of Forsyth County,” Bramblett said. “From the bottom of my heart, it’s been the honor of my life to serve as chief magistrate. I’m very grateful, and I always will be.” A sixth-generation resident, Bramblett has served his entire professional career in Forsyth County, including operating his own private practice for 17 years, working as a staff attorney for the Forsyth County government and four years as a magistrate court judge before being elected as chief magistrate. “It was great,” Bramblett said of his time transitioning from a lawyer to a judge. “Those four years, I didn’t have to manage the place. All I had to do was try my cases. I spent a lot of time in court. I spent a lot of time learning the ropes of magistrate court and, frankly, how to be a judge.” Bramblett said coming on during an economic recession meant a lot of building was needed for the court and he is happy with where it is today. He recently sat down with 400 Life to answer a few questions about his tenure. Since you’ve announced your retirement, how do you feel about your term as chief magistrate? “The chief magistrate is not only the chief judge, but also the chief clerk, so those are two big jobs under one umbrella. “The judicial side needed to be built. 14 | 400 LIFE

| July 2021

Chief Magistrate Judge Walker Bramblett, who was first elected to the seat in 2008, recently announced his he will retire from the position on July 31.

When I was elected, we had two fulltime magistrates and one part-time — really not enough. “It’s a 24/7 court. We have to have a judge on duty all night every night, all day every day, so after we got through the recession, which was my first challenge, we started building, and we were able to add several more judges. We were basically able to triple the size of the court as far as the judicial branch is concerned, and I enjoyed doing that.” What has the support been like from the community? “First of all, I would say that we were given every opportunity to succeed. The citizens have been behind us, the county government has financed what we needed to do, the bench has been behind us, superior court has been supportive and the bar has been tremendous, they’ve given us great support. “With all of that support, we were able to do the building that needed to take place, and we’ve built it into a court with about 20 employees… I enjoyed getting there.” What led to your decision to retire? “This happened faster than I expected. Everyone wants to know, ‘Are you dying?’ I’m not. I don’t have any acute medical problems, anything urgent. I have chronic problems that stem from old injuries, and my walking has gotten much harder.

“That’s gotten worse faster than I’ve expected. I have an old shoulder injury that makes it hurt when I sign my name, and that has to be done dozens of times a day. These old nagging things are part of it. Those issues advanced faster than I expected.” What’s next for you and the seat? “Well, I’m going to ride off into the sunset. I’m going to go home and break all of the alarm clocks. “This is another reason for my decision now, as opposed to later, the magistrate court is in good shape right now. We don’t have any crises going. The workload’s heavy, but it’s a good time for the chief magistrate to be proactive, to take all of this that we’ve built and make it more cohesive … In short, we need new energy in the job.” As a sixth-generation Forsyth County resident, how does it feel to have been able to serve your hometown? “It has been wonderful. That’s all I ever wanted to do. “When I went off to law school, so many students were looking all over the country for all the hotspots to work, and it was hard for me to understand. All I wanted to do was come home and practice law. Forsyth County has always been my home, it’s always been my family’s home.”

400 legal

Summer is for fun. But know your rights when negligence occurs. As we approach the summer season, legal issues that are particular to summer fun frequently arise. Summer activities during outdoor days are often governed by certain statutes. For example, when a person visits a place that does not charge any money for using the property, the Recreational Properties Act governs whether a person can bring a lawsuit against the property owner when a person gets injured due to negligence. Some years ago, I represented a family who entrusted their 3-year-old to a day care center. The center, which was governed under law to supervise children, did not have an insurance policy and proceeded to take the child to a public swimming pool. The Lifeguards on duty failed to watch the child

and she sadly drowned. Normally a child injured by the negligence of the Lifeguards would be governed by the Recreational Steven Leibel Property Act and would thus bar recovery. Fortunately, in our case the owner of the pool claimed a nominal fee which opened the door to coverage. I am proud to say that we were able to settle the case for the value of the life of the young child. Another regulation that applies specifically to summer recreations is a requirement concerning swimming pools. Under Georgia Law, all swimming pools must satisfy a fenc-

ing requirement. This requirement regulates that all pools must be fenced and alarmed. Homeowners are allowed to use their house as one side of the fence, and if they do, they are then required to place an alarm on the door leading outside to the pool from inside. Other pool gates or entryways must be made so they open away from the pool. Gates are not allowed to push open toward the pool from the outside of the fence. Some time ago, we represented a family who lost their young child who drowned in an improperly fenced and maintained swimming pool. The child could not be seen getting in the pool or easily located because the water was so murky. As a result, the child died without anyone noticing. Although no amount of

money could compensate the family for their son, we brought a lawsuit under the wrongful death statute on behalf of the child’s parents for the value of their son’s life. As a Lawyer I see a lot of tragedy. This makes me appreciate how precious life is, and how important one’s health is to every person. As we go through our summer season, I would like to remind everyone to stay safe and enjoy the warm weather! Steven Leibel is the principal Attorney at Leibel Law, he is a Georgia Super Lawyer in personal injury, and is rated preeminent AV by If you have any questions, please feel free to email at or call (404) 892-0700. — Sponsored content

July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 15

Annie Spratt, Unsplash

For area students lagging behind, this summer represents learning opportunity Pandemic may have caused disruptions, but local tutors can help bridge that gap For students, the warm embrace of summer is all about living in the moment and getting away from what has been a stressful year in the classroom. For many parents, however, the weeks ahead are more of a chilling worry of the future, as they consider their children’s lost learning time due to the COVID-19 pandemic — and wonder how and when they may catch up. Forsyth County Schools teachers at all levels did their absolute best during extraordinary circumstances during 2020 and into 2021, but there is no doubt that the pandemic cost students important class and educational opportunities, and many fell behind and continue to struggle due to no fault of their own or their educators. That has proven especially true with math. Studies produced in late 2020 by the Northwest Evaluation Association and Illuminate Education — each referenced in Education ( — predicted that students in the United States would lose two-and-a-half to four-anda-half months of learning. NWEA researchers compared the results of more than 4.4 mil16 | 400 LIFE

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lion students in grades 3-8 tested this fall to their peers tested in fall 2019. They found no difference in reading gains, but on average a 5 to 10 percentile-point difference in math. Similarly, Curriculum Associates, a company that offers testing, curriculum, and professional development services, compared the test results from a nonrepresentative sample of students in grades 1 to 5 in more than 1,000 schools to those of students for the last three years. The same study also found that students lost more ground in math than reading. In fact, students scoring two or more grade levels behind in math were 5 to 9 percentage points higher than in other subjects. Since math is traditionally taught in a classroom setting, many students saw their learning track wrecked by the pandemic, as it claimed significant portions of the second half of the 2019-20 school year and the beginning of the 2020-21 cycle. And while many parents did their best to support their children’s learning, current math practices and standards proved confounding to those years removed from a classroom. Add that to the proven fact that increased stress and trauma (such as those experienced during the ills and fears produced by a pandemic) can worsen a student’s ability to learn — especially something so particular as math. And when you combine that further with the fact that remote platforms also make for increased learning difficulties, you have a perfect storm destined to harm educational improvement.

We are thrilled when we get a chance to help a child ... and to watch a child that has struggled begin to grasp key mathematical concepts and excel is just one of the most affirming things you’ll ever witness. -Rusty and Faye Tarsches, owners of Mathnasium of Coal Mountain

Yet, as some parents are discovering, there are alternatives and support systems available outside of the home and school designed to reinvigorate student learning and return those struggling back to the path which they once trod. And this summer represents the perfect opportunity for parents and otherwise busy students to recover the knowledge of which the pandemic robbed them. Tutoring centers such as the Mathnasium of Coal Mountain offer dedicated instructors combined with a curriculum designed to not only get students back on track but match perfectly what Forsyth’s students will be learning in school while also preparing them for higher learning opportunities. “We and other learning centers throughout Forsyth County have been working to ensure that students maintain or exceed their grade level entering the next grade,” said Mathnasium of Coal Mountain owners, Rusty and Faye Tarsches, whose learning center is dedicated to aiding students in grades kindergarten through 12th. “We are thrilled when we get a chance to help a child, because these are skills that can serve them through the rest of their lives. And to watch a child that has struggled begin to grasp key mathematical concepts and excel is just one of the most affirming things you’ll ever witness.” It is a mission that Mathnasium of Coal Mountain, like other area tutoring centers, has pursued for some time, but it has become especially important under current educational conditions — such as one Forsyth County Schools teacher found out when she turned to Mathnasium of Coal Mountain for help with her own elementary school aged daughter. “My daughter started Feb. 21, and she’s doing very well there,” said Jennifer Emmert of her rising fourth grader. “We’re going to keep her there over the summer. We’ve seen improvements in her grades in the classroom since beginning to attend Mathnasium of Coal Mountain, and you can tell she has more confidence in her math abilities now. I can also tell she’s working hard and concentrating hard on the work that she does there.” It is a not uncommon sentiment, and that includes from school administrators who have also seen the difference that supportive and targeted tutoring can make. “I can say that I appreciate [Mathnasium’s] support of Chestatee and value their partnership. They provide a valuable service to the community,” said Dr. Polly Tennies, Principal at Chestatee Elementary said. The flexibility of the learning environment has also made a difference for several students. “My 10-year-old son goes to the center a few times a week with one day being virtual,” said Cindy Fraiegari. “The ability to have either option has allowed us to maximize the benefits, and I can schedule his appointments for the month online. He has improved greatly and now enjoys math. To see his confidence when solving

math problems is impressive.” Meanwhile, Melissa Harris turned to Mathnasium of Coal Mountain when her family first moved to Forsyth County and discovered that her son was behind other students in his grade. “He struggled with the lessons and homework, which impacted his self-confidence,” Harris said. “I hired tutors, but he still struggled because he didn’t have mastery of math basics. He took an assessment with Mathnasium that highlighted what concepts he knew versus what he didn’t know, and they set a lesson plan to build up the foundation he was lacking and also provided support for homework and tests to keep him from falling further behind. He went from failing math classes to now having a high B average.” It is that commitment to finding what works for each student and incorporating that into a learning structure that matches Forsyth’s learning curriculum that also helps set places like Mathnasium of Coal Mountain apart. And it combines with a commitment to being there for the student, no matter their situation. “My daughter was struggling in fourth grade math, and I knew we needed to find some help because math nowadays is not what I learned in school,” said Sarah Jabieski. “So, I found Mathnasium of Coal Mountain … and thought this is the perfect place. My daughter absolutely loves it. And owners Faye and Rusty are the best, always there to help with any questions or concerns. All of the staff there is amazing.” Tutoring centers such as Mathnasium of Coal Mountain are always ready to field questions and talk with concerned parents. And they also understand the difficulties experienced by students, parents and teachers alike during these unprecedented times, which is why they continue to make themselves available throughout the summer weeks — offering a great opportunity to catch back up on time lost in the classroom. It is reality that may have parents themselves looking forward to the weeks ahead, rather than looking with trepidation at the future.

Mathnasium of Coal Mountain What: A neighborhood tutoring center that helps students in grades K through 12th develop proficiency in math skills. Where: 2667 Freedom Parkway, Cumming, GA 30041 Contact: 470-567-6284, email: Online:

July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 17

So you want to photograph the fireworks? With a few tips and a little preparation, you can bring back images like these. By Jim Dean | Photographer and Digital director

Tip number 1: Know your equipment. You’ll need to set some very specific things-trying to find these in the dark out on a crowded lawn is not the time. Practice ahead, and know how to set up your camera, or your phone if yours supports these settings. Tip number 2: You will absolutely need a tripod or other very steady camera support. You cannot hand hold your camera and bring back good photos. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Some of these images were taken with a tripod that cost less than $15. That’s because we’ve got a trick to allow you to use a tripod that’s not quite rock steady. Now, the camera setup: Here are the settings you’ll want for your camera. Many phones can match these. If yours can, you can likely get great images from your phone. Shutter speed: This can range from 6 to 12 seconds, or maybe even higher. Yes, six full seconds, not a fraction of a second. Aperture: Set it for F11 and see how it looks. If that’s too bright, close it down a bit. You should be able to see distinct sections of each firework, with no overexposure in the bright areas. In a firework, it’s all about getting that balance just right. ISO: I normally set it for 200. There is no need to go higher, since you have plenty of light coming in from the firework. White Balance: This is a key setting. If you camera is set to auto white balance, it’s going to see that red firework and try to make it white. So you need to lock your white balance on something. If you go for Tungsten, you’ll get images more toward the red side, but it seems to be the most accurate. If you want it to edge toward blue, then go with daylight. Just do not leave it on auto. Self Timer: Remember the trick to get the most out of a cheap tripod? This is it. If you have a remote shutter release, you can use that, but I’ve found this works even better. Set the camera shutter on a 2-second self-timer delay. As soon as you hear the whump of a fireworks launch, press the shutter. This gives the camera time to settle down so it’s not moving when the firework explodes. Since you’ve got a six second shutter opening time, you’ll get the entire burst, and maybe one or two more. Longer shutter times get more bursts, but you’ll need to close the aperture to let in less light to compensate. Focus: Get there early enough to see the tree line in the distance where the fireworks are coming from. Set your focus to manual and lock it out there. Since you’ve got a fairly tight aperture (F11) you’ve got some depth of field to play with-it won’t be perfect, but it’ll be close enough. Now you’re ready to go. Get there early enough to get the best vantage point you can. Once you’re set up and have focus locked, wait for the first firework, and hit the self-timer. Look at the image. Too light? Close the aperture (higher number). Too dark, open it (lower number). Missing part of the burst, go to a longer shutter speed. Now you’re set. Get into a rhythm with the fireworks. I set my camera to replay each shot for 2 seconds. That gives me a chance to glance at the display and see that it’s still working. I don’t spend a lot of time peeking though, once I nail the first good one, it’s almost automatic. Hear a launch, hit the button. Many phones will let you duplicate these settings, but you will have better luck if you’re using a DSLR. Follow these tips and you’ll bring back images you’ll want to frame and hang on the wall. 18 | 400 LIFE

| July 2021

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July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 19

LANIER’S LAKESIDE LOCATIONS As the summer sun only continues to heat Forysth, we find ourselves heading over to Lake Lanier to cool down and have some fun.This month, David wanted to highlight our community’s best lakeside locations that you can reach by either boat or car. His goal is to provide you, our readers, with a new favorite spot while also helping these restaurants regain some of the business they may have lost during the pandemic. Smokey Q

Pelican Pete’s Known for being the only floating tiki bar & restaurant on Lake Lanier, Pelican Pete’s creates a true ‘on the water’ experience. When pulling into the Port Royale Marina, you do not immediately see the restaurant. It is not until you clear the trees and begin walking onto the dock do you see the lively covered pavilion of Pelican Pete’s. David and fellow foodie, Sandee, were excited to enjoy the nice lake breeze during their meal, and this location provides the perfect dining area to do so. After getting settled, David decided to order the Pete’s Hot Chicken Sandwich. Their Nashville-style hot chicken was topped with bread and butter pickles, shredded lettuce, and mayo, all on a brioche bun. He described the chicken as very tender and provided an enjoyable kick of heat. Sandee opted for the Blackened Salmon Spinach Salad, which was topped with toasted pecans, bleu cheese, Vidalia onion, and warm Georgia peach bacon vinaigrette. She said this is a wonderful choice if you are looking for a healthier option. The blackened salmon was perfectly cooked, and she was happily surprised by their unique, homemade vinaigrette. Described as a ‘one of a kind’ space, Pelican Pete’s creates a fun and lively space to enjoy their many different food varieties. Pelican Pete’s is also pet friendly location, which is perfect for days when you bring fido on the lake. 20 | 400 LIFE

| July 2021

Originally started as a catering company in 2005, owners Rudy Conner and Judson Holder have done a stellar job of perfecting their barbecue. Upon arrival, David and fellow foodie Caroline were greeted by Judson and given a rundown on Smokey Q’s craft. Their small batch, dry rubbed meat is hickory smoked using the ‘low and slow’ method, and they pride themselves on their ability to make tender and flavorful meat that does not need the barbecue sauce to taste great. The talk of their methods made David and Caroline excited to try their BBQ varieties, so they made sure to order a little bit of everything. David ordered the smoked chicken wings, pork spare ribs, and the pulled pork sandwich. The chicken wings were David’s favorite, as they were flavorful and juicy all the way through. While not required, their homemade BBQ sauce complimented the tasty chicken very well. Their pork spare ribs were also a hit and feature more meat than a traditional baby back rib. These huge ribs were very satisfying, and the dry rub provided ample flavor. Judson informed us that people travel across the lake for their wings and ribs, and it is clear why. To further spice up his meal, David decided to make his own pulled pork sandwich creation by topping it with their homemade BBQ sauce, mac n’ cheese, and coleslaw. He was happily surprised by how well their sides and entrees meshed and provided an exciting tasting experience. Caroline ordered the chicken taco and was just as pleased with her meal. She decided to not add any BBQ sauce and was very pleased with how flavorful the chicken was on its own. Smokey Q is located at Bald Ridge Marina and provides outdoor seating that overlooks the water. This is a smaller location than the others- but do not be fooled. Their barbecue is very well made and affordable, making Smokey Q is the perfect spot to go for a quick lunch off the water.

Pig Tales Owned by the same people as Fish Tales (Dale & Jessica Ozaki), Pig Tales creates its own wonderful experience of BBQ goodness. Walking up to this location, you are met with a calming lake breeze that wafts the savory scent of barbecue, which immediately left David and Jennifer excited to see what this eatery had to offer. After being seated, the server suggested that they start off with the Pig Tales Nachos. These nachos came completely loaded with pulled pork, queso, crunchy super slaw, and boom boom sauce on top of house made chips. David said that the pork was very tender, and that the ample amount of queso was a bonus. For the main meal, David opted for the Buff Chicken Sandwich- crispy chicken tossed in buffalo sauce with provolone, lettuce, and tomato on Texas Toast and drizzled with buttermilk ranch. He said the chicken was perfectly spicy and crispy, and surely satisfied his appetite. Jennifer decided on the Spinach Avocado Wrap, which was grilled chicken, spinach, fresh tomato, bleu cheese crumbles, and avocado ranch wrapped in a spinach herb tortilla. Being a huge fan of avocado, this dish was perfect for Jennifer. She said that the tomato, bleu cheese, and avocado ranch created a great flavor that left her wanting more. Located at the Aqualand Marina, this location provides beautiful views, tasty drinks, and a lively atmosphere to enjoy their many tasty BBQ varieties. This eatery is pet friendly, and their large outdoor seating creates the perfect environment to relax and have a good time with family and friends.

Fish Tales

Landshark Bar & Grill

Whether you choose to drive a car, boat, or helicopter to this lakeside restaurant, you are sure to be impressed with the fun atmosphere and tasty food. Located at the Hideaway Bay Marina in Flowery Branch, David arrived with Caroline, Jennifer, and Sandee. David and his fellow foodie friends decided to sit outside, and boy was that a good choice. The weather was perfect, and the refreshing breeze felt wonderful as they overlooked the marina. When deciding what to order, their server was immensely helpful by recommending their most popular dishes, as well as his personal favorites. They decided to start with the Fish Tales, and Tuna Poke Nachos. Everyone enjoyed the fish tales (fried grouper fingers), and it tasted especially wonderful with the homemade dill tartar sauce. The Tuna Poke Nachos were very fresh and was a great appetizer for David and Jennifer. For the main meal, David ordered the Floribbean Grouper, and said that the Caribbean jerked fish was very fresh and well-seasoned. Caroline and Sandee Opted for the Fish Tacos with shrimp, and Mango Mahi Tacos. Both tacos were wonderful, but Sandee recommends the Mango Mahi Tacos if you are looking for something new and exciting. Jen ordered the Spring Summer Salad with shrimp, and said the skewered grilled shrimp tasted wonderful with the fresh mix of lettuce, mangos, pecans, bleu cheese crumbles, grape tomatoes, and Caribbean mango dressing. The group was very satisfied with their meal, and all agreed their seafood was fresh and tasty. Open since 2010, owners Dale and Jessica Ozaki have done a wonderful job of creating a fun lakeside experience. The atmosphere of the restaurant is fun and lively, and allows you to enjoy their tasty food, full bar, and live music. If you have children, Fish Tales has a massive sandbox out front for their enjoyment as well. This family friendly restaurant is certainly one to check out.

To get to landshark Bar & Grill, you have to either enter Lake Lanier Islands, or arrive by boat. This lakefront restaurant is located inside the waterpark and provides a wonderful view of the lake and the surrounding attractions. David arrived with fellow foodie, Caroline, and were sat outside overlooking the beach access and marina. Their friendly server informed the two that the Buffalo Sriracha Shrimp and the Beach Fries were a big hit for appetizers, so that is what the two decided to order. The Buffalo Sriracha Shrimp had a nice kick and tasted wonderful with the bleu cheese dipping sauce. The Beach Fries were smothered in cheese sauce, mixed cheese, bacon, sour cream, and scallions. This is the perfect appetizer for cheese lovers and was described by David as a deconstructed loaded baked potato. For the main meal, David decided on the Roasted Turkey Club. This triple decker sandwich was piled high with roasted turkey, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, and signature mayonnaise on country white toast. As a turkey club lover, David highly enjoyed this sandwich, and recommends adding bacon to bring it up a notch. This family friendly spot is perfect to enjoy while the kids play. If you ever find yourself looking for some family fun on Lake Lanier Islands, Landshark is a great place to check out. Continued, Page 22

Follow the adventure at Fountain’s Food Adventures on Facebook and Instagram

July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 21

The Twisted Oar Located in the beautiful Holiday Marina, The Twisted Oar is a wonderful spot for lakeside views and tasty food. This restaurant sits off the water and offers outdoor seating that gives you a beautiful view of the marina. David arrived with Caroline and Jennifer, and they chose to sit outside to enjoy the nice lake breeze. Offering everything from fresh seafood to wings, the group was excited for what this location had to offer. They began with the loaded potato skins, and that was a wonderful choice to start with. Filled with cheese, bacon, and chives, this appetizer got them all excited for the rest of their meal. The server promptly let David know that they had just begun offering pizza again, and being a pizza fan, David knew he needed to try it. He ordered the Buffalo Shrimp Pizza, which was topped with blue cheese sauce, grilled shrimp, mozzarella, and a drizzle of buffalo sauce. The pizza was well cooked, and the tang of the bleu cheese perfectly complemented the buffalo sauce. Caroline decided to order the Fish Sandwich, which included grilled fish, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and tartar sauce on a hoagie. With onion rings as her side, Caroline highly enjoyed this meal. She said the fish was cooked to perfection and tasted very fresh. Jen opted for the shrimp tacos. Topped with lettuce, cheddar jack cheese, and Pico de Gallo, Jen said they sure hit the spot. The Twisted Oar is a pet friendly restaurant to ensure that your entire family, even the furry ones, can have a great time. Each week they offer a variety of specials, such as 10oz Ribeye and Blackened Red Snapper, so make sure to look it up before you visit. This eatery creates a fun and lively environment welcome to everyone by boat or car, and offers wonderful food, handcrafted drinks, and live music for your enjoyment.

Skogie’s Lakefront Restaurant Skogie’s Lakefront Restaurant is located in the Gainesville Marina and provides plenty of outdoor seating for your lakefront enjoyment. Owned byTony and wife, Heather, this location has done a wonderful job of creating an inviting atmosphere to enjoy quality food. After being seated and looking over the marina, David and his fellow foodie friend,Ty, started off with Boom Boom Shrimp and Grouper Fingers. David andTy raved about the shrimp and said that it was one of the best parts of his meal.The freshness of the shrimp, the crunch of the breading, and the spice of the sauce made for an exciting appetizer. The grouper fingers tasted great as well and got the two excited for their main meal. David ordered the Fried Green Tomato BLT and the Caribbean Plate. The BLT seemed to be made with high quality ingredients and made for a very tasty sandwich. David’s Caribbean Plate was the real showstopper of his meal. This jerk seasoned grouper, served with yellow rice, black beans, and plantains, made for a unique and exciting dish for David to enjoy. The fish was seasoned to perfection, and the plantains were perfectly cooked. Ty ordered the Shrimp Po Boy and said that the hand battered, made-toorder shrimp tasted perfect. While dining, David and Ty had the opportunity to hear live music, and this only amplified their experience. Skogie’s Lakefront Restaurant is a fun, family-friendly location to have a good time and enjoy some quality food. 22 | 400 LIFE

| July 2021

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Lanier’s Lakeside Locations

David Fountain, a local food enthusiast and our community’s Best of Forsyth Financial Planner and Investment Advisor, continues his monthly mission to uncover and support our local favorite restaurants! As to heat heat Gainesville, Forysth, wewe find ourselves Asthe thesummer summer sun sun only only continues continues to find ourselves headingover overtotoLake LakeLanier Laniertotocool cooldown downand andhave havesome somefun. fun. This heading This month, month, David wanted to highlight our community’s best lakeside David wanted highlight our community’s best thatprovide you can locations thattoyou can reach by either boat orlakeside car. Hislocations goal is to reach by either boat or car. His goal is to provide you, our readers, with you, our readers, with a new favorite spot while also helping these a new favorite spot regain while also helping restaurants regain some the business restaurants some of thethese business they may have lostof during the pandemic. they may have lost during the pandemic.

THE TWISTED OAR Lanier Islands Pkwy/Buford

PELICAN PETE’S Port Royale Drive/ Gainesville

FISH TALES Mitchell Street/Flowery Branch

PIG TALES Lights Ferry Rd/ Flowery Branch

SKOGIE’S LAKEFRONT RESTAURANT Dawsonville Hwy/ Gainesville

LANDSHARK BAR & GRILL Lanier Islands Pkwy/ Buford

SMOKEY Q Bald Ridge Marina Rd/ Cumming

Do not forget to visit our website to for upcoming and previous food adventures! Read our articles and browse the pictures at, or follow the “food adventure” on Facebook and Instagram.

Tastings made possible and Sponsored by July 2021 | 400 LIFE | 23

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400 Life July 2021  

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