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December/January CONTENTS FEATURES 7 Fun Sightseeing Tours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Atlanta’s Hottest Happenings in 2015 . . . . . . . . 26

Get to know your new home by bike, Segway, and electric car—and go behind the scenes at CNN.

As you consider new schools for your child, make sure your education choices allow balance among extracurricular pursuits, schoolwork, and free time.

From the city’s 10 most unique events to exciting outdoor festivals, mark your calendar for the year’s biggest celebrations.

Finding the Right Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Georgia’s Best Holiday Celebrations . . . . . . . . . . 34 Your new state offers several fun and festive ways to commemorate the season. Discover magical light displays, small-town traditions and other holiday events.




In Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Relocation Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

The inside scoop on news, events and happenings around Atlanta.

Homes & Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

A comprehensive guide to help you find your way before, during and after your move, including counties, neighborhoods, relocation tips, a map to metro Atlanta and much more.

Across the metro area, more and more people are embracing the idea of walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

Upcoming Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Neighborhood Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Get caught up on the best exhibitions, theatrical productions, special events and live music across the metro area.

Consistently rated one of the best towns in the country, fast-growing Suwanee offers affordable housing and a high quality of life that exceed expectations.

Hidden Atlanta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

School Spotlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19, 24 St. Joseph Catholic School and Mt. Bethel Christian Academy emphasize high-quality education and service to others.

Dining Out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Atlanta is filled with restaurants that are perfect for a romantic evening. We share eight of our favorites. 4 | Newcomer Magazine |

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta’s interactive exhibits and high-energy approach make learning an entertaining experience.


Find Newcomer Magazine on Facebook and Twitter For additional information before and after your move, from news on deals and events to tips on real estate, organizing, events, restaurants and much more! Facebook: Newcomer Magazine Twitter: @NewcomerAtlanta

PHOTOS: (Left) Manda McKay; (Right) Cobb Convention & Visitors Bureau.

DEPARTMENTS | Newcomer Magazine | 5

We wish to thank all the people who made this publication possible through their valuable time and dedication. We graciously thank our advertisers for their support of Newcomer magazine. ­—PK publisher/president

Patrick Killam editor

Kevin Forest Moreau marketing & promotions

Jeff Thompson administrative assistant

Rebekah Finkel contributing writers

Anna Bentley, H.M. Cauley, Sheila Cosgrove, Cady Schulman, Muriel Vega director of sales & marketing

Patrick Killam account director

Lacey James

TO ADVERTISE CALL 770-992-0273 font: mawns handwriting

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Newcomer magazine, December/January 2015 Volume 18, Issue 5. Submissions, photography or ideas may be sent to Killam Publishing, Inc., 200 Market Place, Suite 230, Roswell, GA 30075. Submissions will not be returned unless otherwise requested and accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Newcomer magazine reserves the right to revise any necessary submissions. Reproduction in whole or in part of any elements of this publication are strictly prohibited without the written permission of the publisher. © 2014 Killam Publishing, Inc.

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ne w s b i tes fr om a ro un d AT LANTA

That’s a Lot of

Candy! Sixth-grade students at Perimeter School in Johns Creek recently raised more than $700 for a good cause in just one day. The students crafted and sold handmade goods including bracelets, ornaments and candy at “Grandpa’s General Store” to help send staffers on a mission trip to Perimeter’s partner school in Karansi, Tanzania, in January. Perimeter staffers help train educators and administrators, and offer financial and curricular assistance.

Dash Away, All!

You don’t need to be as swift as one of Santa’s reindeer to participate in the sixth annual Bedford Dasher 5K run/walk. All you need is a big heart to take part in this fundraiser for The Bedford School, which helps maximize the potential of students with learning disabilities. Bring the family along to snap a photo with St. Nick and join the 200-meter Elf Run for kids 8 and under. The race takes place Saturday, Dec. 13 at The Bedford School in Fairburn; registration begins at 7:30 a.m. For more information, call 770-774-8001 or visit

Gunshow Racks Up the Honors It’s been quite a year for Gunshow, the restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Kevin Gillespie of Top Chef fame. First, the Glenwood Park eatery was named one of the 25 Best New Restaurants in America by GQ magazine, and now it’s been singled out as one of the nation’s 12 best in Esquire’s inaugural American Food & Drink Awards, which said it “may just be the manliest restaurant in America.” Congratulations to Gillespie and the staff! 8 | Newcomer Magazine |

PHOTO: Whitelake Studio

PHOTO: Angie Mosier

Pinecrest Gets High Marks Cumming’s Pinecrest Academy was one of the 337 schools in the nation to be honored as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education for 2014. Pinecrest was recognized as an “Exemplary High Performing School,” and was one of only 12 Georgia schools (and one of only four independent schools in the state) to be named a Blue Ribbon School. “We are extremely proud of both our students and their teachers,” said Head of School Paul Parker.

infocus Suwanee a Top Digital City

PHOTO: Kim Kenney

The Gwinnett County city of Suwanee is one of the nation’s “digital capitals,” according to Google, which recently named it Georgia’s top “eCity” for having the strongest online business community in the state. The honor is based on the online strength of cities’ small businesses, which includes such factors as social media promotion and whether businesses have mobilefriendly websites. “Clearly there is a growing entrepreneurial spirit in Suwanee,” said Google’s Brett Williams. “We hope Suwanee becomes an inspiration to other areas in the country.”

In Step for Good Health More than 500 people turned out for the third annual Healthy Living Day, hosted by the Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education, in September. The free event featured dance classes, nutrition seminars, food demonstrations, interactive workshops, and performances by local dance companies. The Atlanta Hawks, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia State University and Georgia Organics were also on hand at the event, which promotes good health and healthy eating.

Johns Creek Montessori sChool of GeorGia

Sowing the seeds of organic learning Multi-age, vibrant learning communities with uninterrupted blocks of work time Montessori certified teacher in every classroom Hands-on, multi-sensory learning materials Nutritious lunch, organic milk, and healthy snacks offered daily 6450 East Johns Crossing • Johns Creek, GA 30097 770-814-8001 • | Newcomer Magazine | 9

Touring Atlanta 7 Fun Ways to Explore Your New Home By H.M. Cauley

Whether the moving van just pulled away or you’ve been in Atlanta for a few weeks or months already, you’ll find learning about the city is an ongoing process. There’s a lot to take in, from hiddengem parks to museums and neighborhoods that even longtime residents may not know about. Here are seven tours designed to increase your knowledge—and appreciation—of your new home. 10 ||Newcomer Newcomer Magazine | 10 Magazine |

PHOTOS: (Left) Courtesy of Paul Hammock; (Right Top) Van Hall; (Right Bottom) Dinny Addison.

LEFT: The Atlanta Preservation Center offers tours of historic areas like the Ponce de Leon corridor. RIGHT: (Top) The Beltline Bus Tour bus; (Bottom) Oakland Cemetery.

Atlanta Beltline Bus Tours

Atlanta Segway Experience Tour

The Beltline is a 22-mile trail that loops around much of the city, providing a convenient system of accessible walking and biking trails, parks, green spaces, neighborhoods and developments. One of the best ways to explore it is via a three-hour bus tour that departs from the Inman Park MARTA station every Friday and Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. This informative tour weaves on and off the path, showcasing spots, such as the Bellwood Quarry (featured in The Hunger Games), that can only be seen from the trail. While the tours are free, there is a catch: Reservations must be made in advance. Starting at 9 a.m. on the 15th of each month, the reservation line opens for the following month. Groups of five or more can register 72 hours in advance. But if you want to show up as a stand-by, tour organizer Alexia Wynn says there are often a few no-shows that create open seats. “We also offer private tours from four people to about 15,” Wynn adds. “Or you can take a self-guided tour with one of our maps.” 404446-4400,

Before you hop on Segway to see some of the city’s top sights, tour guides teach you how to ride one of these fun, motorized roundabouts in a detailed how-to session. Then you’re off to check out such Atlanta highlights as the Beltline, Oakland Cemetery, the Flatiron Building, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and some of the city’s coolest neighborhoods, including Cabbagetown, Old Fourth Ward, Grant Park and Inman Park. Children ages 14-17 must be accompanied by an adult, and all participants must sign a liability waiver. Price is $63.95, and a $5 online discount is available. 770-662-3827,

Atlanta Experience Electric Car Tour The same company that conducts the Segway excursions offers a second option: Settle back into an open-air electric car and cover 15 miles of Atlanta highlights with ease. Knowledgeable tour guides take the five-passenger shuttles to a range of important sights, including the Fox Theatre, the Margaret Mitchell House, the Georgia Tech campus, the CNN Center, the Georgia

Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola. Children must be at least 8 years old. Groups larger than five can spread out between two or more cars. Reservations are required; tickets indicate the tour’s starting point. Tickets are $14.95 for children, and $26-$33.95 for adults. 770-6623827,

CNN Tours The cable news giant offers three ways to see the real CNN from behind the scenes. The quickest is the 55-minute Inside CNN Tour, offered every day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children ages 4-12.. Linger longer with the $49 Morning Express tour, which takes visitors to the set of “Morning Express with Robin Meade” and the HLN control room every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Children on this tour must be at least 12 years old. The Inside CNN VIP tour ($35) takes off four times a day Monday through Saturday, and takes visitors through both the CNN and HLN newsrooms. Children must also be at least 12 years old to be admitted on this tour. 404-8272300, u | Newcomer | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 11

Bicycle Tours of Atlanta Get a good cardio workout while seeing some of Atlanta’s hotspots. Choose from three on-road treks: along the Beltline and through Piedmont Park; through 10 miles of the historic downtown district; and to a variety of the city’s public artworks. Though most tours take about three hours, there’s plenty of time to stop, check out the scenery and take pictures. Most tours take place on Thursdays through Sundays, but appointments are also available. Ticket prices ($30-$49) include bike, helmet and water. 404-273-2558; www.biketoursatl. com.

Atlanta Preservation Center Walking Tours

PHOTO: Dudley Merrifield

Learn about the city through its landmarks with a guided walking tour through eight of its most fascinating neighborhoods. Trained guides from the Preservation Center point out the historic highlights, from the Victorian mansions of Inman Park to the city’s first downtown skyscrapers. What makes these 90-minute tours particularly appealing is that most guides live in the neighborhoods they showcase. “These are volunteers who bring energy and excitement along with folksy deBicycle Tours of Atlanta offers a glimpse of many beautiful and historic neighborhoods. tails to the areas they love themselves,” says Paul Hammock, the Oakland Cemetery Tours grounds at your leisure, or follow a costumed Center’s director of education. “They have no Explore the city’s oldest burial ground—found- guide on a 90-minute highlight tour, offered ev- script. Their goal is to start a conversation about ed in 1850—while learning about its Victorian ery weekend. The cemetery also hosts a variety places that aren’t emphasized very often. It’s 90 architecture, Civil War memorials and the roster of special events and tours throughout the year. minutes that will stretch your legs and expand of famous Atlantans who rest there (including Guided tours are $5 for seniors and students your mind.” A list of neighborhoods, times Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, (with ID) and $10 for adults, while admission and meeting places is available on the Center’s golf great Bobby Jones, and Maynard Jackson, for a family of four (two adults and two chil- website. Private group tours are also available. the city’s first African-American mayor). Pick up dren) is $26. 404-688-2107, www.oakland- $5-$10 (cash or check only). 404-688-3353, a map ($4) at the visitors center and wander the

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Atlanta WHY I L VE Ron Clark

Ron Clark is an educator, the bestselling author of “The Essential 55,” and founder of the Ron Clark Academy. How long have you lived in Atlanta? Thirteen fun and adventurous years! When I first moved here from NYC, I was still in my twenties, so a lot has changed since then. The businesses, foundations and individuals in the Atlanta community have embraced me and the school, and the support has been overwhelming. There is no better place in the country where I could have decided to build my dream. Atlanta was a perfect fit.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Atlanta? I love that we can have 80-degree-weather days in January and that the people, for the most part, abide by Southern manners and traditions. My grandmother raised me, so I have an appreciation for people who adhere to courtesy, respect and social etiquette.

PHOTO: Courtesy of the Ron Clark Academy

What’s your favorite neighborhood and why? I love the area where the academy is located in downtown Atlanta. The actual neighborhood is called “South Atlanta,” and I have enjoyed watching the area change and improve over the years.

What is your favorite place to eat in metro Atlanta? Mary Mac’s Tea Room! Miss Martha takes good care of me there, and instead of allowing me to order what I want to eat, she’ll usually just bring me what she thinks I should eat that day. She’s my “Atlanta mama.”

What is your favorite weekend activity? I enjoy hanging out with friends, going to the movies, watching “American Horror Story,” and writing. | Newcomer | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 13

THESE STREETS WERE MADE FOR WALKING Exploring Atlanta’s PedestrianFriendly Communities While searching for your new home in metro Atlanta, you might be looking for a community that puts you within walking distance of great dining, shopping and maybe even your job. Well, you’re in luck! All across the metro area, more and more people are embracing the idea of pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. By Anna Bentley

14 ||Newcomer Newcomer Magazine | 14 Magazine |

TOP: Atlanta Motor Speedway. CENTER: Noah’s Ark. BOTTOM: The Yellow Pollen Street Festival.

PHOTOS: (Top Left to Right): Cobb Convention & Visitors Bureau; ©2014, Kevin C. Rose/AtlantaPhotos. com; courtesy of Serenbe. (Center): Photos provided by Decatur Downtown Development Authority.


hese areas are defined by such factors as higher-density development; a mix of residential, retail and office spaces; wider, landscaped sidewalks; and an increased focus on safer conditions for pedestrians. And though this may seem like a relatively recent trend, it’s anything but. “The idea of walkable communities is definitely not new. It’s actually old,” says Dan Reuter, community development manager for the Atlanta Regional Commission, an organization that promotes and funds livable centers throughout metro Atlanta. The rise of the car took communities away from their walkable roots, moving development toward sprawling suburbs and stripmall shopping centers. Now, though, that trend is reversing. “In the last 20 years in the United States, this idea of creating more walkable communities has really taken hold,” says Reuter. “In metro Atlanta, we’ve now got many, many more walkable communities than we did in the late 1990s.” From revitalized downtown centers to smart new developments, here are just a few of Atlanta’s pedestrian-friendly communities.

TOP: (Left to Right) Smyrna Market Village; an Inman Park home; a street scene in Serenbe. CENTER: Pedestrians fill the streets of downtown Decatur.

some cities devoted resources to revitalizing their existing historic areas, Smyrna took another route by building a town center completely from scratch. The Market Village, with its mixed-use development of restaurants, shops and townhomes, as well as a nearby community center, public library and parks, created a cultural focal point for the community in the early 2000s. Now, the Market Village hosts festivals, concerts and other events throughout the year. The city has continued to make commitments to walkability. Medians throughout the city’s main roads help slow traffic and encourage foot traffic, and a mixeduse development with single-family homes, luxury apartments, and retail and dining recently broke ground less than a mile from the Market Village. Inside the Perimeter, just east of Atlanta, the city of Decatur is known for its vibrant downtown, strong community and smart growth. Downtown Decatur is home to some of the city’s most lauded restaurants, including Cakes & Ale, the Iberian Pig, No. 246 and Leon’s Full Service. It’s also home to farmers markets, pop-up markets, concerts and festivals celebrating books, wine, craft beer and bluegrass, to name a few. Best of all, it’s all within walking

Decatur is known for its vibrant, walkable downtown area.

Historic Downtowns, Reimagined One of the region’s first communities to revamp its downtown area was Smyrna, a booming city about 30 minutes northwest of Atlanta. While | Newcomer | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 15

“Now, we’ve got a healthy mix of historic single-family homes with lots and lots of choices for dining and businesses and a whole bunch of new neighbors to visit,” says Mobley.

Walkable Developments Atlantic Station, one of the city’s largest live-work-play developments, features office space, several blocks of dining and shopping options, an 18-screen stadium-seating theater, highrise hotels, apartments, lofts, condominiums and townhomes. Its location, just off of 17th Street and Interstate 85 in Midtown Atlanta, makes it convenient to all the action of the city. Atlantic Station also hosts events throughout the year, from music festivals and tennis tournaments to haunted attractions and performances by Cirque du Soleil. In the heart of Atlantic Station’s residential area is a large park complete with a lake, pedestrian bridge and benches for enjoying Atlanta’s sunny summers and (mostly) mild winters. Plus, a free shuttle transports residents and visitors to top neighborhood spots and the Arts Center MARTA station.

PHOTOS: Pro Studio at the Garden Cottage

distance of the Decatur MARTA station, allowing for easy, carfree access to some of Atlanta’s top attractions and entertainment destinations. Just west from Decatur is one of the city’s oldest—and most distinctive—neighborhoods. Filled with Victorian estates and bungalows dating back to the early 1900s, Inman Park is most known for its historic architecture and eclectic community, bolstered by the annual Inman Park Spring Festival and Tour of Homes. “The spirit of Inman Park is embodied in that crazy festiAtlantic Station hosts events throughout the year. val,” says Dennis Mobley, president of the Inman Park Neighborhood Association. It’s the largest volunteer-run festival in the Southeast, according to Mobley, and it’s brought hundreds to enjoy live music, handcrafted art and the neighborhood’s feisty personality every April for the past 43 years. Inman Park’s modern redevelopments (Krog Street Market, Inman Quarter and Inman Park Village, to name a few) and close proximity to the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile network of multi-use trails and parks, give homeowners easy, walkable access to nearly limitless dining, shopping and entertainment options.

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HOW WALKABLE IS ATLANTA? A June 2014 study ranking the country’s 30 largest metro regions in terms of walkable areas placed Atlanta at No. 8.

Hapeville, Georgia come see where things are taking off! Hapeville is located on the doorstep of the Atlanta HartsfieldJackson International Airport and is an active regional leader of the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance. Hapeville welcomes Porsche Cars North America, Inc. Porsche Cars North America U.S. headquarters, a $100M project— is just on the City’s doorstep. Dramatic job tax advantages attract businesses to Hapeville’s commercial Opportunity Zone. Residential neighborhoods feature homes such as craftsmanstyle bungalows, traditional Chicago-style townhomes and loft-condominiums; with manicured parks and facilities.

photo: darnyl k. katzinger

Thirty miles southwest of Atlanta sits a different kind of pedestrianfriendly neighborhood. Serenbe, founded in 2004, is a master-planned community based on the arts, nature and wellness. Its intentional, thoughtful design promotes community and walkability in clever ways. Communal mailboxes create opportunities for conversation with neighbors, and wooded trails throughout neighborhoods offer a shorter path to city centers than along paved streets. The community’s four culturally themed neighborhoods are designed like English villages, with restaurants, cafes and boutique shops located in the center of the neighborhood, and homes radiating outward. When finished, Serenbe will feature 1,200 homes—single-family homes, garden estates, condominiums, apartments and lofts—on its 1,000 acres, as well as plenty of green space. As part of its development plan, 70 percent of Serenbe’s land must remain untouched. At Serenbe, as with developments and cities throughout Georgia, it’s more about embracing smart ideas from the past than creating an entirely new way of life. “What we’re doing really is taking from the past … and recreating it in a neighborhood that inevitably develops community,” says Monica Olsen, director of communications for Serenbe. No matter what part of Atlanta you decide to call home, odds are you’ll find a community that offers the opportunity to live, work, shop, dine and play in one convenient, walkable neighborhood.

Hapeville celebrates the arts, investing in its own Performing Arts Center, and a vibrant public art program. Hapeville Assoc. of Tourism & Trade Department of Economic Development Hapeville, GA. * (404)-669-8269 | Newcomer | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 17



e Park Arts Festiva


By Julie Edwards and Sheila Cosgrove


iving up to its motto, Suwanee certainly “exceeds expectations.” Over the past several years, this vibrant, family-friendly community has enjoyed substantial growth. Its 2014 population is estimated to number around 17,000, almost double the number of residents who lived here in 2000. Located 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Suwanee is committed to maintaining the highest quality of life for its residents.

The Big Splash


Culinary Treats

Suwanee offers a variety of housing options to fit your lifestyle without breaking the bank— the area’s median home value was $322,900 in September 2014, according to Zillow. Neighborhoods such as Highland Station, Madison Park at Town Center, McGinnis Reserve, Stonecypher, Suwanee Station, Three Bridges and Village Grove feature traditional designs, and many are part of planned mixed-use developments.

Visit Cinco Mexican Cantina (678-541-0645) for an upscale take on “Mexican food with an attitude.” Friends American Grill (678-7656477) offers fresh-made burgers, sandwiches, steaks and other favorites in an energetic sportsbar setting. Golden Seven (678-889-4999) features classic Chinese and Thai dishes, while Gulf Coast Grill (678-765-8270) serves up tasty seafood, sandwiches, soups and salads. Head to Umaido (678-318-8568) for a taste of authentic Japanese ramen, or Mango Cuban Restaurant (678-482-0600) for generous portions of richly flavored Cuban-inspired cuisine.

Local Treasures

Housing in Village Grove

The heart of Suwanee is its vibrant Town Center, a mixed-use development anchored by the 10-acre Town Center Park. That’s where you’ll find Suwanee Fest, an annual community celebration held each September with live entertainment, children’s activities and much more. The Suwanee Farmers Market offers fresh produce and other foods. Suwanee is home to several great parks, as well as the Suwanee Creek Greenway, a multipurpose trail that connects nearly 400 acres of park, residential and commercial areas. Harvest Park, billed as Georgia’s largest organic community garden, boasts 76 farm plots. White Street Park, which houses the farm, also features a natural outdoor amphitheater, a barn available for rental, a butterfly garden and more.

Arts and Entertainment Town Center Park is known as Suwanee’s front yard, and regularly hosts concerts, festivals and other events. The Big Splash, located inside the park, is one of the largest interactive fountains in Gwinnett County. The Suwanee SculpTour is a walkable art exhibit featuring 14 sculptures located in and around Town Center. Remembrance, an exhibit commemorating the events of Sept. 11, 2001, features a 1,628-pound relic from the World Trade Center. Just a few miles outside of Suwanee, the Gwinnett Center (770-813-7600) hosts big-name concerts and the Gwinnett Suwanee Town Center

Cinco Mexican Cantina

The Inside Track Suwanee has made Money magazine’s list of 100 Great American Towns three times, and was named one of Family Circle magazine’s 10 Best Towns for Families in 2013.

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Mt. Bethel Christian Academy A Personal Approach to Education By Anna Bentley


t Marietta’s Mt. Bethel Christian Academy, the key to delivering high-quality, personalized education is intimacy, both in classroom size and in the teacher-student relationships that result. The school boasts small classrooms—capped at 18 for the earliest years and 22 for middle school—allowing teachers to make personal connections with each student, effectively identifying and addressing individual strengths and weaknesses. “We describe Mt. Bethel not so much in terms of a safety net, but a safety bowl,” says Head of School Jim Callis. “Even in a net, there are cracks, and if you’re small enough, you slip through. That’s not possible here.” Callis credits the school’s faculty and staff, from English teachers to nurses, with cultivating those personal connections, and with shaping students into well-rounded, academically challenged learners. Students at Mt. Bethel benefit from a comprehensive curriculum that supplements core classes with options including band, chorus, performing arts, visual arts and foreign language. “Our faculty wants to invest in the hearts of kids because they feel called to it,” Callis says. “They teach because they believe that God has called them to invest in the hearts of young people.” Mt. Bethel was founded in 1998 as an extension of the 9,000-member Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church. And though it’s currently a K-9 school, the recent opening of the Upper School—a second campus 6 miles north of the main campus in eastern Cobb County—will make it East Cobb’s first K-12 independent school option by the time the expansion is completed. The Upper School welcomed its first class of freshmen in August, and will add one grade level each year until 2017, when all 12 grades will be offered.

Mt. Bethel is a nondenominational, evangelical Christian school, meaning that students and their families do not have to be Methodist to attend; they don’t even have to be Christian. The school operates under a Christ-centered educational model, however, with weekly chapel sessions, Bible classes, a biblically integrated curriculum and a school-wide focus on service. “We want our kids to understand that there is a world of need out there, so every grade level has a ministry or mission that they support,” says Callis. Yearly service-hour requirements are added when students reach middle school, adding a personal element to the service focus. The academy’s community also comes together each February for You Fed Me, an annual event in which Mt. Bethel faculty, staff and families package 100,000 meals in four and a half hours for needy families around the world. This year, Mt. Bethel will partner with MUST Ministries to help needy families in Marietta, giving the popular event a local flavor. “There is no quicker way to get a child oriented in a helpful direction than to put him in a context where he’s thinking about somebody else—when he has the opportunity to put somebody else’s needs above himself and feel what that feels like,” says Callis. “There’s a feeling that we get when we help others. We want to expose kids here to that feeling as early as possible.” N

The Specifics Grades: K-9 Student/Teacher Ratio: 7:1 Tuition: $10,370 - $14,500 Location: Marietta

Contact: 4385 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, GA 30068 770-971-0245 Web: | Newcomer Magazine | 19

How to Strike the

Right Balance Helping Your Child Juggle School and Outside Pursuits By H.M. Cauley

We live in a fast-paced world, with many parents struggling to balance the demands of home life and a busy career. And that world is increasingly affecting our children, who are enrolled in extracurricular activities and organized sports in an effort to help them become wellrounded individuals and increase their chances of getting into a good college. On top of that, relocating to a new city and school can bring the added pressures of fitting in and making new friends. 20 | Newcomer Magazine |

The result can be a crushing weight of activities that keeps students rushing from one to another at breakneck speed. Too often, this hectic approach can backfire, creating stressed-out students who can suffer both academically and socially. Striking the right balance is crucial for kids’ health. So how can parents keep them from getting overloaded?

es, science and reading, as well as off-campus activities. Moon encourages them to find a balance by communicating their schedules with teachers and staff. She also works with them to establish a calendar that assigns specific times to each activity, including homework and studying. “They all have their phones, so we use them to come up with a calendar that helps them focus on the classes that need the most attention. We even talk about how to use time wisely while just driving in the car,” she says.

“I tell parents if they’re feeling haggard taking their children to all these activities, then imagine how the child feels having to participate in all of them.”

ESTABLISH COMMUNICATION The struggle to find the right mix of activities and hours to spend on them should never take a backseat to academics, cautions Jennifer Diaz, school counselor at White Oak Elementary in Sugar Hill. “Yes, children benefit from sports or dance, but schoolwork is more important,” she says. “So many of our students are overcommitted, because there’s a lot of societal pressure to keep kids busy. But if you’re so tired you’re not able to get your schoolwork done, then it defeats the idea of doing well.”

JENIFFER DIAZ School Counselor at White Oak Elemantary “I have seen kids with busier calendars than I have!” says Natasha Moon, head counselor at Tucker Middle School in DeKalb County. “Some of them do not do so well, which is not surprising. Some of us adults don’t multitask well, either. I tell parents if they’re feeling haggard taking their children to all these activities, imagine how the child feels having to participate in all of them.” At Tucker Middle, students can sign up for academic clubs that focus on robotics, languag-

LET KIDS BE KIDS While communication and time-management skills are important, it’s essential that children be given time to just be themselves. As with academics, “let them pick one or two things they’re very interested in and just do those,” Moon advises. Allowing children to choose an activity they’re excited about can help ensure that they stick with it, and spur their personal growth. u | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 21 | Newcomer

Letting kids be kids can be even more important when those children are dealing with learning difficulties. Parents of children with special needs can feel compelled to push their kids further than is helpful, says Catherine Trapani, head of school at The Piedmont School of Atlanta, which serves children with autism. “We have students putting in more than 40 hours a week, going to school and a combination of therapies,” she says. “Parents of children with autism are constantly afraid they’re not doing enough, when sometimes, too many things are torture.” Trapani says parents absorbed in meeting a child’s special needs often overlook a key point. “I tell them, ‘Your child is still a child.’ They need to learn on their own, and they can do that by allowing them to be like other children,” she says.

WHAT COLLEGES REALLY WANT Juggling school and extracurricular activities can be stressful enough for kids. But that stress can multiply when parents push them to take on more projects and activities in the hopes of getting into a good college. For many parents, it’s never too soon to start building a child’s resume for higher education. “Kids think they have to be good at everything,” says Susan Reilly, director of college counseling at Mount Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek. “But often, that’s not what colleges are looking for. Colleges want them to pursue what they really enjoy with integrity and commitment. Otherwise, it’s just juggling, and so many of our kids are juggling. It’s hard for families to find good balance. “The big word right now is ‘authentic,’” she continues. “They want their applicants to be who they are, and not present themselves as someone they think that college is looking for.

Children need unstructured time to just play, relax, or socialize—and to process what they’ve learned. What’s more, children need unstructured time to just play, relax, or socialize—and to process what they’ve learned and experienced. Spending time with other kids also allows children to practice the new physical, mental and social skills they’ve developed.

22 Magazine | 22 ||Newcomer Newcomer Magazine |

themselves into a frenzy, thinking they have to do it all.” And parents can feel the pressure to get their students into a variety of activities well before high school. “We find even eighth-grade parents want to know what their students should do to prepare for college, when they really should be asking, ‘What is my child interested in?’” Reilly says. “Look at their strengths and let them increase their level of commitment so they can really make an impact in that area, whether it’s sports, student government or academics.” By having realistic expectations for your children, making sure they don’t take on too many extracurricular activities at the expense of schoolwork, and allowing time for them to be themselves, you can best help position them for success in school and beyond. They should pick an activity because of the positive experience they’ll have, not because they think it will look good to a college.” Part of the problem, Reilly says, is the misconception that all those juggled activities are the key to being accepted into college. “The truth is, colleges accept more kids than they reject. But many parents and students still work

TIPS FOR KEEPING BALANCE • Create an activity budget. Figure out how many hours in a week your child can safely spend on outside activities while still keeping up with schoolwork. • Check in with your kids often. Are they enjoying their current activities? Do they feel overwhelmed?

Victory World Christian School is a multicultural community of learners committed to Christian discipleship, academic excellence & world transformation. 1 Pre-K (4) through 5th grade elementary program 1 High curriculum standards & creative learning environments 1 Interactive technology in every classroom 1 Pick from 8 foreign languages to learn using Rosetta Stone

5905 Brook Hollow Parkway Norcross, Ga 30071 Ph: 678.684.2030 Fax: 678.684.2031 | Newcomer | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 23


St. Joseph Catholic School

Academic Excellence and Service to Others By Cady Schulman


or staff members at St. Joseph Catholic School in Marietta, excellence is about more than just rigorous academics. It’s about instilling in students the desire to give back to others, a trait the school hopes that graduates will take with them throughout their lives. “It’s all about giving back and living your faith,” says Patricia Allen, the school’s principal. “The children are taught that they are gifted. God has given to them, and they give to someone else. This is a hallmark of Catholic schools. When students are taught to live out their faith, they take that into adulthood.” To help teach students about serving others, the school supports Lighthouse Family Retreat. Each year, students raise $6,000-$7,000 to send a child battling cancer and his or her family to the beach for a week. “The students love it,” Allen says. “They love helping someone else out. They love making a difference in their lives.” Fundraising for the charity also mixes academics with service. For example, second-graders make items, market them and sell them in the Cougar Mall, a process that teaches them about economics. Kindergarten students participate in a read-a-thon, raising money by reading for 60 minutes over two days. Older students raise money through a gym-athon, collecting donations for each gym circuit they complete. “They’re being physically fit, and they’re raising money as well,” Allen says. The school also promotes service through its Kindergarten Buddy program, which pairs kindergarteners and fourth-graders as a way to help the younger students learn how to behave during Mass. The students spend time together throughout the year, and each fourth-grader talks about his or her buddy during kindergarten graduation. The pairs continue to participate in activities throughout their time at St. Joseph’s.

24 | Newcomer Magazine |

“That’s one of the best things about this school—to see the interaction and the care that is established,” Allen says. St. Joseph’s also prides itself on its academics, and on its status as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. “The achievement of our school’s students placed them in the top 10 percent of the nation in reading and mathematics when measured by a nationally normed test,” Allen says. The school has held that distinction since 2003. Outside the classroom, students participate in a variety of activities, such as LEGO robotics, art club, drama club, praise band, chorus, basketball and volleyball, among others. One of the more popular offerings is an after-school Spanish club, in which students learn about Hispanic culture and customs in addition to navigating a new language. “It’s trying to acclimate them to being a global person,” Allen says. “The students love learning about it.” In the end, Allen says, it’s the working relationship between students, parents and teachers that sets St. Joseph apart. “Our teachers are top-notch,” she says, noting that they make themselves available two mornings a week to provide extra help for students who need it. And the parents volunteer their time, as well. “They know it’s that triad where the child is working, the teacher is working, and the parent is working—that’s when education really works,” she says. N

The Specifics Grades: K-8 Student/Teacher Ratio: 15:1 Tuition: $6,145 - $7,989 Location: Marietta

Contact: 81 Lacy St., Marietta, GA 30060 770-428-3328 Web: | Newcomer Magazine | 25

TOP: (Left) The Dragon Con Parade; (Right) the Inman Park Festival. INSET: The Atlanta Fringe Festival.

PHOTOS: (Top Left) ©2014, James duckworth/; (Top Right) Photo Provided by Inman Park neighborhood association.

10 UNIQUE ATLANTA EVENTS Looking for a different way to ring in 2015? Jump into the frigid waters of Lake Lanier during the Polar Bear Swim at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue. This annual tradition, a fundraiser for the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club, also features a chili cook-off. Jan.1. Watch in awe as hundreds of butterflies are released into the air during the Flying Colors Butterfly Festival at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. You can also walk among the butterflies and enjoy live music, a costume parade, children’s activities and more. June. Experience a wide variety of local and national arts performances during the Atlanta Fringe Festival. This annual event spotlights original works by professional, amateur and experimental performers in the fields of theater, dance, comedy and much more. June. www. Dress up as your favorite fantasy, sciencefiction, comic-book or other character and join the fun in the Dragon Con Parade. The parade is one of the highlights of the annual Dragon Con pop-culture convention that takes over downtown Atlanta on Labor Day Weekend. The 2015 parade takes place on Saturday, Sept. 15. For more information or to register for the parade, visit

After two decades at the Starlight Six DriveIn Theatre, Drive-Invasion—a celebration of B-movies, classic hot rods and rock and roll— relocated to Turner Field in 2014 with a kid’s zone complete with inflatables, face-painting and more. On or around Labor Day weekend. The third Saturday in September brings the East Atlanta Strut, a neighborhood festival known for its parade filled with colorful costumes. There’s also a 5K fun run, live music and much more. Speaking of colorful costumes, each October the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade attracts more than 35,000 spectators to a neighborhood many call Atlanta’s answer to Greenwich Village or the French Quarter. Billed as the Southeast’s signature Halloween festival, the parade is as fun, funky and diverse as the neighborhood itself.

For more than 40 years, the Stone Mountain Highland Games have brought the sights and sounds of Scotland to Stone Mountain Park. Thousands of Scots and people of Scottish descent gather for a weekend of athletic events, dancing demonstrations, live music, shopping, children’s activities and more. The games take place the third weekend of October. Atlanta’s character-filled Cabbagetown area hosts the Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp— a combination neighborhood celebration, chili cook-off and bluegrass festival—in early November. I scream, you scream, we all scream for the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival. This fun community event focuses on promoting fitness and healthy habits. And yes, of course, there’s ice cream—enjoyed in moderation, of course. The date and location of the 2015 festival have yet to be determined. Please visit for the scoop.

6 NEIGHBORHOOD FESTIVALS Highlighted by a tour of some of the neighborhood’s most gorgeous homes, the Inman Park Festival features a spring parade and three days | Newcomer | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 27

TOP: (Left) Suwanee Fest; (Right) the Peach Drop. INSET: The Peachtree Road Race is an Atlanta tradition.

in 2015, accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display. Dec. 31. Amazing fireworks are also a staple of the Legendary 4th of July at Lenox Square Mall. The Buckhead shopping center’s patriotic event features the largest fireworks display in the Southeast, along with live music and great food from some of the top local restaurants. food, classic rides and much more. In 2014, the community celebration formerly known as Suwanee Day expanded to become the two-day Suwanee Fest, entertaining approximately 55,000 visitors with arts and crafts vendors, festival food, live entertainment, children’s activities and a hometown parade. The 2015 festival takes place Sept. 19-20. www.

HOT HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS While the main event takes place at midnight, the Peach Drop, Atlanta’s premier New Year’s Eve event, is an all-day affair. The Underground Atlanta shopping district is filled with carnival rides, street performers, festival food and live music, all leading up to the big moment when a sparkling, 800-pound peach descends to ring

| 28 || Newcomer NewcomerMagazine Magazine |

5 SPORTING EVENTS Every Dec. 31, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl brings postseason college football excitement to the Georgia Dome. In 2014, the game became part of the new college football playoff format, making it one of the most important games of the year. Atlanta’s annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves from Labor Day weekend this year. Qualifying starts Feb. 27 and the weekend culminates with the Atlanta 500 March 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. www.atlantamotorspeedway. com. The Masters Golf Tournament brings the biggest names in professional golf to the Augusta National Golf Club, less than three hours from Atlanta, April 6-12. The Global Imports Sandy Springs Cycling Challenge in May is part of the USA

PHOTOS: (Top Right) John E. Ramspott; (Inset) James Reynolds.

of music, food, dance, children’s activities, and arts and crafts vendors. April 24-26. Billed as the largest free outdoor festival in the Southeast, the Sweet Auburn Springfest celebrates the rich heritage of the Sweet Auburn Historic District, a stretch of Auburn Avenue of cultural significance to Atlanta’s black community. The 2015 festival takes place over Mother’s Day weekend with food, art, music and more. The Virginia-Highland neighborhood in Midtown Atlanta welcomes the summer each June with the Virginia-Highland Summerfest, a two-day outdoor festival bursting with food, art, music, children’s activities and a 5K run. If Virginia-Highland ushers in the summer, Grant Park bids it farewell in grand style with the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival. During the last weekend of August, the park that gives the neighborhood its name welcomes thousands of visitors who come for art, live music, food, family-friendly activities and a 5K race. Marking its 30th anniversary in 2015, the Sandy Springs Festival offers two days of family-friendly fun each September with fine art, music, a pet parade, 5K and 10K races, great

LEFT: (Top) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway; (Bottom) Taste of Atlanta. RIGHT: The Dogwood Festival.

CRITS Series’ “Speed Week,” a nine-day string of bicycle races across the state. The Challenge also includes the Taste of Sandy Springs food festival. The Peachtree Road Race is Atlanta’s most beloved July 4 tradition. Said to be the world’s largest 10K race with more than 60,000 participants, it starts at Lenox Square Mall in Buckhead and ends at Piedmont Park in Midtown.

PHOTOS: (Top Left) atlanta Motor Speedway Track Photographer; (Bottom Left) Taste of atlanta; (Right) Michael Frey.

12 ARTS, MUSIC AND CULTURE CELEBRATIONS One of the largest and longest-running film festivals in the country, the Atlanta Film Festival draws more than 25,000 people to a celebration of cinema that highlights hundreds of independent, animated, documentary and short films submitted from all over the world. The 2015 festival takes place March 20-29 at various venues. The sight of vibrant dogwood trees is only one of the attractions of the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. This annual event, billed as one of the oldest fine arts festivals in the country, also features food, live music, children’s entertainment, a disc dog tournament, and a juried artist’s market with hundreds of artists working in paint, pottery, photography, sculpture, jewelry and more. April 10-12 in Piedmont Park. www.

Held in early May, Fiesta Atlanta is the Southeast’s leading Cinco de Mayo festival. This daylong celebration of Hispanic food, music and culture features folk dancing, arts and crafts, a 5K race and much more. The event takes place at Centennial Olympic Park. www. The Atlanta Jazz Festival features concerts throughout the month of May, capped off with a free three-day festival over Memorial Day weekend. Every summer, the Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival screens a mix of classic films and recent hit movies in the grand comfort of the Fox Theatre. Each film is preceded by a cartoon short and a singalong with the Fox’s massive “Mighty Mo” organ. The festival runs on select dates June through August. www.foxtheatre. org. The National Black Arts Festival stretches over the summer months with dance, theater, music and more, and also produces special programs and events year-round. Every Labor Day weekend, the Decatur Book Festival takes over downtown Decatur with book signings, author discussions, readings, food and book vendors, small press publishers and much more. The Yellow Daisy Festival is a four-day, family-friendly event that showcases the work

of hundreds of artists and crafters. It also features food, shopping, music, children’s activities and more. Sept. 10-13 at Stone Mountain Park. Music Midtown is arguably Atlanta’s biggest music event, featuring two days of bigname acts—in recent years, it’s hosted the likes of Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Lorde and the Zac Brown Band. The festival takes place in September at Piedmont Park. Now in its fourth decade, Atlanta Pride is one of the longest-running gay pride festivals in the country. Held in October in Piedmont Park, it features live music, literary events, a parade, a dance party and more. Enjoy a bratwurst and a stein of beer during Oktoberfest, a celebration of German food, drink and music. The festival runs from midSeptember through October in Helen, Ga., a charming replica of an Alpine village just 90 minutes from Atlanta. The city’s leading food festival, Taste of Atlanta offers the chance to sample bites from more than 90 area restaurants. Held in October, the event also features a full menu of cooking demonstrations, competitions and seminars featuring some of the top chefs, bartenders and farmers in the region. Some dates are not yet finalized, and all dates are subject to change. Check websites for updates. | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 29 | Newcomer

Ray’s on the River boasts upscale ambiance and a gorgeous view of the Chattahoochee River.

Romance in Every Bite

Atlanta’s Top Romantic Restaurants By Muriel Vega

You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day or some other special occasion to enjoy a romantic meal. That’s especially true in Atlanta, which is filled with restaurants that are conducive to a night of amour. We’ve selected an eclectic mix of ideal date destinations, from fine-dining establishments to intimate neighborhood eateries. Whether you’re looking for a spectacular setting, an awe-inspiring view or simply a dark booth with dim lighting, you’re sure to find the right spot—and lots of delicious cuisine, as well. | 30 || Newcomer NewcomerMagazine Magazine |

PHOTOS: (Top left) Jeff Moore; (Top Right) The Reynolds Group; (Bottom) James Camp.

TOP LEFT: A masterfully prepared salmon dish at Aria. TOP RIGHT: Quail Three Ways at Bacchanalia. BOTTOM: The dining room at Rathbun’s.

Aria Chef Gerry Klaskala offers up a refined New American menu filled with such savory staples as Niman Ranch Berkshire pork shoulder, herbcrusted fillet of red snapper and more, served in a gorgeous black and white setting, accented with attention-getting canine sculptures and a one-of-a-kind chandelier. The warm goatcheese cheesecake is a favorite of many patrons, and the perfect dessert to split for two. 404233-7673,

Bacchanalia This Midtown restaurant is consistently named one of the best in the city, and that recognition comes with high expectations. Fortunately, Bacchanalia meets those expectations. This former factory space mixes an industrial feel with un-

Bacchanalia is often named one of the best restaurants in Atlanta. derstated elegance. The five-course, fixed-price menu ($85) features such expertly crafted dishes as North Georgia rainbow trout, Gulf crab fritter and wood-grilled prime New York strip. 404-365-0410,

Bocca Lupo A relative newcomer on a quiet corner of Edgewood Avenue, Bocca Lupo is an Italian-Ameri-

can kitchen offering up authentic flavors with a subtle twist. This cozy space, dominated by neutral colors with wood and metal accents, is the perfect spot to share some wild mushroom kale kimchi pasta with a cocktail and a dessert of huckleberry panna cotta to wrap things up. Try the outdoor patio for extra ambiance. 404577-2332,

King + Duke Recently ranked No. 5 on GQ magazine’s list of the nation’s best new restaurants, this Buckhead spot offers a stylishly casual space and a menu of seasonal, hearth-roasted fare. Take a seat near the restaurant’s centerpiece open hearth, in a private booth or on the patio, and enjoy such offerings as North Georgia trout, Mississippi rabbit or the Duke, a burger made of house- | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 31 | Newcomer

TOP: The view from the Sun Dial Restaurant. BOTTOM: The Wrecking Bar’s goose egg with cured goat prosciutto.

ground chuck and dry aged cuts. The mood lighting and quiet acoustics make this place a great spot for conversation. 404-477-3500,

at dinner, to match the spectacular sights you’ll enjoy as the restaurant rotates 360 degrees. The menu of traditional and New American favorites revolves with the seasons, with such offerings as bone-in prime rib, roasted salmon and a Berkshire pork chop. 404-589-7506,

Rathbun’s Chef Kevin Rathbun is an Atlanta institution, and one visit to his namesake restaurant will show you why. The décor is elegant without being fussily formal, perfect for a night of great food and conversation. The extensive menu features such skillfully prepared dishes as creole mustard crab tart, 20-ounce rib eye and charred corn with Gouda. 404-524-8280,

Wrecking Bar

Ray’s on the River Situated on the Chattahoochee River in Sandy Springs, Ray’s on the River delivers an upscale dining experience for special occasions. Large windows offer beautiful views of the river, which diners enjoy while savoring such classic options as shrimp cocktail, prime cut steaks and fresh seafood fare. Order a glass from the extensive wine list and settle in for a night to re-

member. 770-955-1187, www.raysrestaurants. com/raysontheriver.

Sun Dial Restaurant This recently renovated landmark atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel boasts an unbeatable view of the Atlanta skyline. Attire is formal

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Located in a memorable, early 20th-century house, this brewpub offers a cozy, informal and somewhat rustic atmosphere with dim lighting, brick walls and a distressed wood bar. Pair items from the upscale pub food menu—like braised beef short ribs or pan-seared Copper River salmon—with a well-crafted cocktail or one of nine craft beers brewed on-site. 404221-2600, Dishes mentioned or represented here may not be available when you visit, as many menus change seasonally or even nightly. | Newcomer Magazine | 33




Fantasy in Lights Now in its 22nd year, Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens has become a favorite attraction not just for Georgians, but for those across the Southeast as well. National Geographic Traveler even named it a Top 10 Place to See Holiday Lights. And for good reason: Fantasy in Lights features 8 million lights in 15 dazzling scenes, all accompanied by festive music—some even with lively animation. Plus, in the resort’s Christmas Village, you can take pictures with Santa, have story time with Mrs. Claus, take a Christmas train ride or hear a holiday organ concert. Through Dec. 30. 855-923-7580, “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.


HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS 10 Spectacular Seasonal Celebrations

More than 1 million twinkling lights. A leaping, twirling Mouse King. Victorian homes beautifully decorated for the holidays. These are just some of the things you’ll find across metro Atlanta and Georgia this holiday season. Here’s a roundup of our best bets. By Anna Bentley 34 NewcomerMagazine Magazine | 34 || Newcomer |

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights With all-new colors for its fourth season (think vibrant, bold reds, oranges and yellows), the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s annual holiday event covers the attraction’s 30 acres with 1.5 million glittering lights. This year, favorites from the Imaginary Worlds exhibit get a twinkling makeover, including the unicorn, frogs and giant butterflies. The Radiant Rainforest, Glittering Galaxy and Orchestral Orbs also return, offering a different take on animated holiday sound and light shows. Through Jan. 3. 404-876-5859,

HISTORIC HOMETOWNS Victorian Christmas in Thomasville On Dec. 11 and 12, downtown Thomasville transforms into a Victorian winter wonderland. This 28th annual celebration features carriage rides with sleigh bells, revelers dressed in periodappropriate finery, and joyous carolers singing holiday favorites throughout the downtown area. Other highlights include a live nativity scene, a Victorian museum and craft village, and a special play area for the younger visitors. 229-227-7020,

Christmas in Roswell Each holiday season, Roswell’s trio of historic homes—Bulloch Hall, Barrington Hall and Smith Plantation—undergo a festive transformation, celebrating both the holiday season and the homes’ unique histories. For instance, Barrington Hall will host a reenactment of the wedding of Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and Mittie Bulloch, which took place on Dec. 22, 1853. Other highlights include self-guided tours, breakfast with Santa, Christmas high teas and a concert by the Joe Gransden Big Band. 770-640-3254 or visit www.

Christmas 1886 with the Gordons Savannah’s Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace— childhood home of the founder of the Girl Scouts of America—allows visitors to explore holiday customs of the Victorian era during this ongoing event. The National Historic Landmark will be decorated for the season in 1880s Victorian style with the dining room table set for Christmas dinner, a vintage “Game of Merry Christmas” on display and stockings hung on the mantle. Through Dec. 30. 912-233-4501,


Celebrate a Victorian Christmas in Thomasville, Ga.

Stone Mountain Christmas It’s a busy holiday season at Stone Mountain Park. See one of the park’s four performances, including Forever Christmas, Holly Jolly Cabaret, Toyrific! and A Crossroads Christmas Carol. Visit Santa and hear Mrs. Claus tell her Mistletales at the Gingerbread House. Board the Singalong Train to hear your favorite Christmas tunes, or catch Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas 4D. Have your picture taken with the Snow Angel and her Toy Soldiers, and enjoy a nightly Christmas parade and fireworks display to wrap up the

night. Through Jan. 4. 770-498-5690, www.

Winter Wonderland Learn about religious cultures and customs from around the world at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Winter Wonderland. The exhibition returns for a fifth year with displays and trees celebrating global holidays and traditions, including Christmas, the Festival of Lights and

Hanukkah. While you’re there, check out the museum’s permanent and special exhibits, including Dinosaur Plaza, A Walk Through Time in Georgia and the Star Gallery. Through Jan. 11. 404-929-6300,

Lanier Islands Christmas Lake Lanier Islands Resort combines favorites from its famous Magical Night of Lights with new additions to create a new seasonal celebra- | NewcomerMagazine Magazine || 35 | Newcomer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

tion. Enjoy free skating at the Coca-Cola Polar Rink, carnival rides overlooking the lake, holiday fare at the resort’s restaurants, and a new, extended walking tour of its dazzling light show—not to mention a visit with Santa and his elves. $30 per carload, through Dec. 31. 770-945-8787,

This year, the Center for Puppetry Arts celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 television special, as well as the fifth anniversary of its own adaptation of this timeless tale of acceptance. Directed by Jon Ludwig, this family-friendly production uses rod and body puppets to recreate the stop-motion animated adventures of “the most famous reindeer of all.” Through Dec. 28. 404-873-3391, www.puppet. org.

Holiday in the Park Even Six Flags Over Georgia is getting in the holiday spirit this year. This new event complements the theme park’s thrilling roller coasters and kid-friendly rides with more than 1 million lights, holiday shows, dozens of Christmas trees, great food and, of course, Santa himself. Make sure to stop by the 1910 Riverview Carousel, which promises an impressive light display and walk-through experience “never before seen in Atlanta and the Southeast region.” Through Jan. 4. 770-739-3400,

HOLIDAY THEATER Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker

Catch “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker” at the Fox Theatre.

holiday classic to life with dazzling visuals and stellar choreography, made all the more magical thanks to live accompaniment courtesy of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. Dancing dolls, waltzing snowflakes, an army of mice and the Sugar Plum Fairy—thrill to the sights and sounds that have entranced generations of Atlanta children and adults. Dec.11–28, with two showings on Saturdays, Sundays and select weeknights. 404881-2100,

Breakfast or Supper With Santa Train Enjoy a train ride with jolly old St. Nick over Lake Blackshear on the SAM Shortline, featuring air-conditioned vintage rail cars. 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 20. 877-427-2457,

Enchanted Garden of Lights Explore holiday light scenes, meet characters including Santa, Jack Frost and Inara the Ice Queen, and enjoy live entertainment at this Rock City Gardens celebration two hours from Atlanta. Through Jan. 3 (closed Dec. 24). 800-854-0675,

PHOTO: C. McCullers

A Christmas tradition for many Atlanta families, Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker brings the timeless


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THERE Driver’s License

Out-of-state drivers are required to obtain a Georgia driver’s license within 30 days. You will need to provide your current out-of-state driver’s license, as well as documentation showing your identity, residential address, Social Security number, and U.S. citizenship or proof of lawful presence in the United States. You will also need to pass a vision exam at the time of issue, and $20 (for a five-year license) or $32 (for eight years). For locations and other information, call 678-413-8400 or visit

Mass Transit

One way to avoid long commutes is to take advantage of the city’s local transit system, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Offering both train and bus service, MARTA is a convenient way to travel to downtown or the airport. The fee for traveling one way is $2.50 including transfers. Riders must have a Breeze Card to ride; a new Breeze Card costs $1 in addition to the cost of the fare. For fares, schedules, routes and other information, call 404-848-5000 or visit

38 | Newcomer Magazine |

Car Tag

MARTA Rail Service

You must register your car within 30 days of residency. Bring with you the following information: 1) Car title, name and address of lienholder, or copy of lease agreement; 2) Current tag registration; 3) Mileage reading of vehicle; 4) Proof of insurance; 5) Emission certificate (if applicable). There is an approximate $20 fee for your tag. In January 2006, the state began charging sales

GETTING STARTED Patrick Killam, Publisher on vehicles. Your tag office will provide the amount of sales tax on your vehicle. For770.992.0273 information on a Office specific county, contact the appropriate county’s 770.649.7463 Fax Tax Commissioner’s Office.

Vehicle Emission Inspection

Vehicles dating from 1985 through 2006 model year must be checked each year for emission standard compliance. Visit a statedesignated inspection station for the service. Call 800-449-2471 or visit

ad Size: issue: december/January 08

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Driving Tips

The Georgia DOT provides daily updates of road work, road closings and traffic delays, which are helpful when commuting. Updates can be obtained by calling (toll free) 1-877-694-2511, by dialing 511, or by visiting

tHird Page Horizontal 4.75"x 4.812"

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COUNTY INFORMATION EDUCATION pUBLIC schools Bartow County Schools Board of Education: 770-606-5800 Elementary Schools Middle Schools High Schools Career Academy Per-pupil expenditures: School & bus information

Bartow County

12 4 3 1 $8,311 770-606-5873

Tellus Science Museum ADAIRSVILLE

Avg. SAT Scores Bartow Co. 1440 Georgia 1452 National 1498 pRivate schools Visit our Web site at for a list of private schools in this county.

UTILITIES & CONTACTS Electricity City of Cartersville 770-387-5631 Georgia Power Company 888-660-5890 Gas Georgia’s natural gas market is deregulated. For a list of providers for this county, visit

Telephone AT&T Residential 770-382-9743 Water Bartow County Water Department 770-387-5170 Cable TV AT&T 866-271-9724 Comcast 800-266-2278 Hospitals Cartersville Medical Center 770-382-1530 Emory Heart & Vascular Center 404-778-8400

the county seat after nearby Cassville was largely destroyed by Union General William Sherman. Located within the hills of North Georgia, Cartersville boasts several museums, including the Tellus Science Museum, the Booth Western Art Museum, the Rose Lawn Museum and the Bartow History Center. It is also home to the Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site, featuring prehistoric mounds dating back more than 1,000 years. Natural attractions including Lake Allatoona, Red Top Mountain State Park and the Pine Mountain Trail provide residents with outdoor recreation options and other familyfriendly activities. Today, Cartersville boasts a population of more than 19,000 residents, and has its own school district made up of five schools, from pre-K to high school.

WHITE Originally named Cass County, BARTOW Bartow County was renamed after CARTERSVILLE Colonel Francis S. Bartow in 1861. EMERSON Rich in Native American history, the county was created from part of Cherokee County in 1832. The county saw great devastation during the Civil County The first Georgia War, which was especially Neighborhoods town to be registered in tragic after the prosperous the National Register of antebellum period the area had Historic Places, Adairsville enjoyed. Union General William Schools Sherman burned nearby Cassville, was named after Chief John Median household income: $49,060 the original county seat, to the Adair, a Scottish settler who Median age of residents: 35.6 ground in 1864; the county married a Cherokee Indian Population: 100,661 seat was moved in 1867 to girl. The Western and Sales tax: 7% Cartersville, where it remains. Atlantic Railroad played Chamber of Commerce Though Cassville never a central part in the city’s 770-382-1466, recovered from the war, the growth in the mid-1800s, as Property Taxes county and Cartersville benefited local businesses flourished Per $1,000 of assessed value is: from the area’s natural resources around the depot. SixtyUnincorporated Bartow County, $27.73 and transportation. Mining and five miles from both Atlanta Cartersville, $30.73 agriculture became important and Chattanooga, the city Adairsville, $32.66 parts of the local economy along is perfect for an overnight Tax Commissioner: 770-387-5111 with textiles, corn and cotton. stay, especially at the . Today, the county offers a Currently, the county employs a nearby Barnsley Gardens tight-knit community, with a great sole commissioner form of government, Resort, which offers spa treatments, school system and affordable housing. and is the largest county to have such a gardens, restaurants, golf and In addition to Cartersville, the county government in the state. Georgia is the beautiful English cottages sure to is also home to the cities of Adairsville, only remaining state to allow for sole take your breath away. Kingston, Euharlee and Emerson. commissioner governments. Adairsville is also an antiques Attractions include the Euharlee lover’s dream, with the Georgia Covered Bridge and History Museum, North Antique Mall and the 1902 the Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Stock Exchange shop both in the Center, the Civil War Museum in small downtown area. N Kingston, the world’s first Coca Cola outdoor advertisement and abundant For more counties and neighborhood Incorporated in 1850, Cartersville nature trails in such spots as Pine Top information, visit our Web site at is full of history. The city became Mountain and Red Top Mountain.

40 | Newcomer Magazine |






pUBLIC schools Cobb County Schools Board of Education 770-426-3300 Elementary Schools 71 25 Middle Schools High Schools 16 Magnet 6 Charter 6 Special 4 Per-pupil expenditures $8,816

Cobb County

Photo: Georgia Dept. of Economic Development

White Water



One of Family Circle magaCobb County came into zine’s “Ten Best Towns for Famibeing in 1832 when the state lies,” Kennesaw takes pride in its County redistributed land once part small-town atmosphere and boasts Neighborhoods of the Cherokee Nation. abundant parks and green space, Named after Thomas exceptional recreational programs Welch Cobb, the county and top-notch schools, includ experienced a devastating ing Kennesaw State University. Kennesaw’s Historic Downtown setback during the Civil War when most of it was features shopping, dining and atSchools destroyed during the Battle tractions such as the Smithsonian at Kennesaw Mountain. affiliated Southern Museum of Median household income: $65,123 Today, Cobb County, Civil War and Locomotive History, Median age of residents: 35 located north of Fulton the Smith-Gilbert Arboretum and Population: 698,158 County, is one of the fastnearby Kennesaw Mountain NaSales tax: 6% est-growing counties in the tional Battlefield Park. Chamber of Commerce nation. With a diverse ecoCobb County nomic base that includes 770-980-2000, Rapidly defining what’s new jobs in the service, retail, Property Taxes and progressive in quality of life aerospace and technology The property tax is $28.75 per $1,000 of assessed and citizen services, Smyrna sectors, Cobb County ofvalue. Tax Commissioner: 770-980-2000 delivers an amazing sense of style fers a quality of life unsurand love of life. The new Market passed in the Southeast. More than $770 million has been spent luxury apartments and condos near Village, home to fabulous restaurants, on transportation improvements in Cumberland Mall, secluded sub- bars and upscale shops and services, recent years, allowing residents easy divisions in East Cobb and horse is the final piece of a master plan for access to Atlanta and the commer- ranches in the northwest corner success. Call it “Main Street USA” or cial districts of Vinings Overlook, of the county. The small towns of “Disneyland,” but don’t overlook its Cumberland Parkway and the pres- Marietta, Vinings, Smyrna and Aus- charm and ability to offer the best in tigious “Platinum Triangle” in the tell still retain their Southern charm fresh, trendy lifestyle options. N Galleria area. amidst urban settings. According to For more counties and neighborhood A variety of housing options the Census Bureau, the median valinformation, visit our Web site at exist in Cobb County, including ue of homes in 2006 was $205,200.



Marietta City Schools Board of Education


Elementary Schools 7 Middle Schools 1 1 High Schools Sixth-Grade 1 Magnet 1 Per-pupil expenditures $9,061 School and bus information 678-594-8000 Avg. SAT Scores

Cobb Co. 1534 Marietta City 1514 Georgia 1460 National 1509 pRivate schools Visit our Web site at for a list of private schools in this county.

UTILITIES & CONTACTS HOME SERVICES Cobb Energy (Electricity, Security, Telephone and Satellite TV) 770-429-2222 ELECTRICITY Acworth Power 770-974-5233 770-429-2100 Cobb EMC Georgia Power 888-660-5890 770-942-6576 GreyStone Power Corp. Marietta Power/ Columbia Energy 770-794-5100 GAS Georgia’s natural gas market is deregulated. For a list of providers for this county, visit TELEPHONE 888-436-8638 AT&T Comcast 404-266-2278 770-541-7235 MCI Worldcom Outside Georgia 800-356-3094 WATER Austell Water Cobb County Water Systems Marietta Water Powder Springs Water Smyrna Water

770-944-4300 770-423-1000 770-794-5100 770-943-8000 770-319-5338

CABLE TV Bellsouth Multimedia 770-360-5000 Charter Communications 888-438-2427 Comcast 404-266-2278 HOSPITALS Emory Adventist Hospital 770-434-0710 WellStar Cobb Hospital 770-732-4000 WellStar Kennestone Hospital 770-793-5000 WellStar Windy Hill Hospital 770-644-1000 | Newcomer Magazine | 41

COUNTY INFORMATION EDUCATION public schools Cherokee County Schools Board of Education 770-479-1871

Cherokee County QUICK INFO

Elementary Schools 22 Middle Schools 7 Intermediate Schools 1 High Schools 6 Alternative 1 Evening 1 Per-pupil expenditures $8,578 School & bus information: 770-720-2112

County Neighborhoods Schools

pRivate schools Visit our Web site at for a list of private schools in this county.

UTILITIES & CONTACTS HOME SERVICES Cobb Energy (Electricity, Security, Telephone and Satellite TV) 770-429-2222 Electricity 706-276-2362 Amicalola EMC Cobb EMC 770-429-2100 Georgia Power 888-660-5890 770-887-2363

Sawnee EMC

Gas Georgia’s natural gas market is deregulated. For a list of providers for this county, visit Telephone AT&T 888-436-8638 ETC Communications 678-454-1212 TDS Telecom-Nelson 770-735-2000 Ball Ground Windstream 800-501-1754 Water Cherokee County Water Authority City of Ball Ground City of Canton City of Waleska

770-479-1813 770-735-2123 770-704-1500 770-479-2912

City of Woodstock


Cable TV Charter Communications 888-438-2427 Comcast 404-266-2278 ETC Communications


Hospitals Northside Hospital-Cherokee 770-720-5100 Wellstar Kennestone Hospital 770-793-5000

Photo: Georgia Dept. of Economic Development

Avg. SAT Scores Cherokee Co. 1560 Georgia 1460 National 1509

Median household income: $63,518 Median age of residents: 34 Population: 210,529 Sales tax: 6% Chamber of Commerce Cherokee County 770-345-0400, Property Taxes Per $1,000 of assessed value is: Unincorporated Cherokee County, $26.80; Incorporated Cherokee County, $24.06. Tax Commissioner: 678-493-6400

Cagle Dairy Farm, Canton

Located northwest of Atlanta, Cherokee County gets its name from the original inhabitants of the area, the Cherokee Indians. The county seat, then called Etowah, was established in 1833 and renamed Canton in 1834. Today, the city is enjoying its greatest economic boom in its history since more than $60 million was invested in residential and commercial development in 1998. Despite developing its own industrial base, Cherokee County remains idyllic and serene. Farming, especially poultry processing, remains a leading industry. Canton and the neighboring community of Woodstock have seen tremendous growth as subdivisions crop up to accommodate newcomers. In fact, nearly 60 percent of the county’s population are commuters. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median value of homes in 2006 was $194,900. Homes for well over $1 million can be purchased in such neighborhoods as Bradshaw Farms, Bridge Mill and Town Lake Hills. Interstate 575 and Ga. Highway 92 traverse the county, affording residents easy access to Atlanta and the nearby attractions of Town Center Mall, Lake Allatoona and the North Georgia Mountains. Other great places to live,

42 | Newcomer Magazine |

Ridge Mountains and along the banks of the Etowah River, Canton is prime location for development.


work and play in Cherokee County include the cities of Ball Ground, Holly Springs and Waleska.


Canton Canton was incorporated in 1833 and renamed in 1834 at the request of two founding fathers who had visions that the town might become a silk center similar to what existed in Canton, China. Canton did become famous for its “Canton Denim,” known worldwide for the high-quality denim produced by Canton Cotton Mills. Today, Canton is attracting new industry and residents. As a result, the city is re-investing in its downtown. As part of its “Streetscapes” program, downtown Canton will be restored to its historic look and features a newly designed theater on Main Street. Located at the foothills of the Blue

Twelve miles south of Canton, Woodstock is the fastest-growing city in Cherokee County. With a growth rate of 70 percent over the past 10 years, the city has doubled in size. Residents enjoy easy access to Interstate 575 and Ga. Highway 92, allowing short commutes to Cobb and Fulton counties. While affording convenience to big-city attractions, Woodstock still maintains its small-town appeal. Buildings dating back to 1879 characterize the downtown, where antique and other specialty shops are located. Various golf courses are located in Woodstock, including Arnold Palmer’s Eagle Watch, a course with wooded countryside views that is considered to be one of the top places to play in Atlanta. The 11,860-acre Lake Allatoona provides additional recreation. Woodstock is also convenient to more than 13 state parks. N For more counties and neighborhood information, visit our Web site at | Newcomer Magazine | 43


PUBLIC SCHOOLS Fayette County Schools Board of Education 770-460-3535

Avg. SAT Scores

Fayette Co. Georgia National

1550 1431 1483

PRIVATE SCHOOLS Visit our Web site at for a list of private schools in this county.

UTILITIES & CONTACTS HOME SERVICES ELECTRICITY Georgia Power Company 888-660-5890 Coweta-Fayette EMC 770-253-5626 GAS Georgia’s natural gas market is deregulated. For a list of providers for this county, visit TELEPHONE AT&T Residential


WATER Fayette County Water 770-461-1146 Comcast

CABLE TV 404-266-2278

HOSPITALS Fayette Care Clinic 770-719-4620 Piedmont Fayette Hospital 770-719-7000


Old-fashioned community pride mingles with a progressive sensibility on the streets of historic downtown Fayetteville, where antique stores and boutiques sit side by side in refurbished buildings. Boasting a population of approximately 16,000 residents, Fayetteville is home to the Fayette County Historic Society, Research Center and Museum. A haven for family fun, Dixieland Fun Park offers an assortment of activities for young and old alike. The HollidayDorsey-Fife Museum provides a fascinating link to the past thanks to its association with several historical figures, including Margaret Mitchell and "Doc" Holliday. The 1,500-seat Southern Ground Amphitheater attracts national touring acts with its annual summer concert series.

17 6 5 1 1 $8,359 770-460-3520 Photo: Courtesy of the City of Fayetteville

Elementary Schools Middle Schools High Schools Alternative Open Campus Per-pupil expenditures School & bus information

Fayette County


Starr's Mill in Fayetteville

Located southwest of Atlanta, the land comprising Fayette County was ceded from the Creek Indian Nation in 1821, thus creating Georgia’s 49th county. The county seat, the city of Fayetteville, was established in 1823 and contains the oldest courthouse in the County state, built in 1825 and located Neighborhoods The area now known on Fayetteville’s historic town as Peachtree City was square. Both the county and city Schools originally settled by were named for the Marquis de Woodland Era Indians LaFayette, who fought alongside Median household income: $82,216 Median age of residents: 42.4 several thousand years ago, George Washington in the Population: 107,104 and ceded to the Federal Revolutionary War. Sales tax: 6% government in 1821 by Author Margaret Mitchell Chamber of Commerce Chief William McIntosh, Jr. spent many summers at her 770-461-9983, Comprising some grandfather’s home in Fayette 12,000 acres, Peachtree County, which helped to inspire Property Taxes Per $1,000 of assessed value is: City was chartered in the locations in her novel Gone With Unincorporated Fayette County, $30.70; 1950s as a masterplanned the Wind. Fayetteville, $31.64; community of five separate Today, the 199-square mile Peachtree City, $34.54. villages. Today, the area area is renowned as a thriving Tax Commissioner: 770-461-3611 is linked by a 90- mile economic center that features network of trails and golf numerous attractive incentives for businesses, including the 2,200From 1984 to 1994, Fayette cart paths connecting homes, acre Peachtree City Industrial Park, County was the fifth-fastest growing businesses, schools and parks. Gol carts, bicycles and walking are the which features its own Foreign Trade county in the U.S. Zone, which allows merchandise to Fayette County boasts several preferred modes of transportation enter from or exit to foreign countries golf courses and two amphitheaters, among its 35,000 residents, who without a formal U.S. Customs entry among other attractions serving a enjoy its wooded scenery and or payment of duties. In addition, family-oriented population of more wealth of parks, playgrounds and Fayette County maintains a rural, than 106,000 residents. Single-family recreational areas. N . small-town allure, and has been housing in Fayette County ranges For more counties and neighborhood recognized as one of the nation’s from the $50,000s in moderateinformation, visit our Web site at most attractive communities for income areas to more than $2 million corporate family relocation. in affluent neighborhoods.

44 || Newcomer | NewcomerMagazine Magazine |


Peachtree City


Fulton County

filled with high-rises, upscale restaurants, the Governor’s Mansion, the historic Swan House and the Atlanta History Center. Buckhead is also an entertainment and dining hotspot. With more than 200 restaurants, bars shops and luxury hotels, the Buckhead area is a magnet for young professionals.

pUBLIC schools Fulton County Schools Board of Education 404-768-3600 Elementary Schools 58 Middle Schools 19 High Schools 17 Charter 8 Centers 4 Per-pupil expenditures $9,561


Buckhead is “where old money lives and new money parties,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. With its mixture of mansions and uniquely styled homes, Buckhead is a favorite among architecture and history buffs. Convenient to Georgia 400, Interstate 85 and MARTA, it’s

Avg. SAT Scores Fulton Co. 1567 Georgia 1452 National 1498 pRivate schools Visit our Web site at for a list of private schools in this county.


One of metro Atlanta’s most vibrant and affluent cities, Alpharetta is home to approximately 62,000 residents, according to 2012 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. They're drawn to its mix of big-city vitality and small-town charm, as well as its many amenities and affordable housing options. Homes range Median household income: $57,664 from large apartment comMedian age of residents: 34 munities to elegant subPopulation: 977,773 Sales tax: 7%, Atlanta City: 8% divisions, with a median value of $324,300. Chamber of Commerce Alpharetta offers a vaGreater North Fulton 770-993-8806, riety of parks and outdoor Metro Atlanta attractions, including the 404-880-9000, Big Creek Greenway trail. South Fulton Shoppers flock to North 770-964-1984, Point Mall for a multiProperty Taxes tude of retail options. The The property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value is: city’s historic downtown $44.12 for the City of Atlanta; $29.13 for incorporated area boasts an appealing Fulton County; $41.60 for unincorporated Fulton town square surrounded County; $33.75 for Johns Creek; $33.86 for Sandy by restaurants and shops. Springs. Tax Commissioner: 404-613-6100 The Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre hosts big-name The neighborhood also offers numerconcerts each summer. N ous antique stores, art galleries and For more counties and neighborhood mall shopping at Lenox Square and information, visit our Web site at Phipps Plaza..

County Neighborhoods Schools


Elementary Schools 52 14 Middle Schools High Schools 20 Charter 15 Alternative 6 Per-pupil expenditures: $13,069 School & bus information: 404-802-5500

Downtown Atlanta skyline



Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education

Photo: Georgia Dept. of Economic Development.

Fulton County serves as the center of the metro Atlanta area. With 90 percent of the city of Atlanta, including the state’s capital building, located within its borders, it sits at the hub of the area’s financial, transportation, retail, communications and cultural services. A number of Fortune 500 companies, including the Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines and UPS, are headquartered here. More than 970,000 people live in Fulton County, drawn by its convenience to Interstates 75, 85 and 285 and Georgia State Route 400. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median value of homes in the county is $246,200. Fulton is home to many of Atlanta’s signature neighborhoods, including its bustling downtown district. Older neighborhoods like Inman Park, Grant Park, Candler Park and Virginia-Highland offer affordable housing, pedestrianfriendly layouts and plentiful parks and recreational options. Midtown Atlanta is the heart of Atlanta’s cultural scene, with the Woodruff Arts Center (home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art) and the historic Fox Theatre, as well as a host of art galleries. Midtown’s Piedmont Park, the city’s most popular green space, hosts many outdoor festivals and concerts.


UTILITIES & CONTACTS Electricity City of College Park 404-669-3759 City of East Point 404-270-7010 City of Fairburn 770-964-3481 City of Palmetto 770-463-3322 Georgia Power 888-660-5890 Gas Georgia’s natural gas market is deregulated. For a list of providers for this county, visit Telephone AT&T 866-271-9724 Comcast 404-266-2278

Fulton County



Cable TV Charter Communications 887-906-9121 Comcast 404-266-2278 Hospitals Atlanta Medical Center 404-265-4000 Atlanta VA Medical Center 404-321-6111 Center for the Visually Impaired 404-875-9011 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding 404-785-9500 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite 404-785-5252 Emory University Hospital Midtown 404-778-2000 Grady Memorial Hospital 404-606-1000 North Fulton Regional Hospital 770-751-2500 Northside Hospital 404-851-8000 Piedmont Hospital 404-605-5000 Shepherd Center 404-352-2020 St. Joseph’s Hospital 678-843-7001 | Newcomer Magazine | 45

COUNTY INFORMATION pUBLIC schools Gwinnett County Schools Board of Education: 678-301-6000 Elementary Schools 72 Middle Schools 24 High Schools 20 Alternative 6 Open Campus 1 Per-pupil expenditures: $8,338 City Schools of Buford Board of Education:


Elementary Schools 1 Middle Schools 1 High Schools 1 Academy 1 Per-pupil expenditures $10,198 Avg. SAT Scores Gwinnett Co. 1526 City of Buford 1455 Georgia 1460 National 1509 pRivate schools Visit our Web site at for a list of private schools in this county.

UTILITIES & CONTACTS Electricity 770-945-6761 City of Buford City of Lawrenceville 770-963-2414 770-448-2122 City of Norcross Georgia Power 404-395-7611 Jackson EMC 770-963-6166 770-887-2363 Sawnee EMC 770-972-2917 Walton EMC Gas Georgia’s natural gas market is deregulated. For a list of providers for this county, visit


Telephone 888-436-8638

Water Buford 770-889-4600 Dacula 770-963-7451 678-376-6800 Gwinnett City Water Lawrenceville 770-963-2414 770-448-2122 Norcross Cable TV Bellsouth Multimedia 770-360-5000 Charter Communications


Comcast 404-266-2278 Hospitals Emory Eastside Medical Center


Joan Glancy Memorial Hospital 678-584-6800 Gwinnett Medical Center


Gwinnett Women’s Pavilion 678-312-4770 Summit Ridge Center for Behavorial Health 770-822-2200

Gwinnett County

Photo: Georgia Dept. of Economic Development


Some of Duluth’s neighborhoods include Edgewater Estates, Sweet Bottom Plantation, and Riverbrooke. Affluent estates with antebellum architecture can be found as well as apartment communities, older brick, ranch-style homes and subdivisions. Duluth still retains some of its original small-town businesses, along with chain businesses, many accessible by Ga. 400 and I-85.


Suwanee is named after the Shawnee Indians who settled here Mall of Georgia in the latter part of the 18th century. Following the official founding of Originally part of Georgia’s the city in 1837, Suwanee became Native American territory, Gwinnett a railroad stop along the Southern County was created by the State Railroad route. It remained a small Legislature in 1818 and named after country town well into the ’70s when Button Gwinnett, the third signer of construction of I-85 and U.S. 23 the Declaration of Independence and brought easy access to the region. a former state governor. Since then, Suwanee has exWhile the county was perienced tremendous once largely rural with small growth, from 2,000 resiCounty towns, country stores, farms dents in 1990 to more Neighborhoods and forests, today it is home to than 10,000 today. To more than 245 international help manage growth, companies and 450 high-tech the city has developed firms. With an average of 260 a comprehensive developSchools new professional and industrial ment plan that promotes companies relocating to the pedestrian-oriented deMedian household income: $64,005 county each year, attracting more velopment and mixedMedian age of residents: 33 than 6,000 new jobs, Gwinnett use zoning. Designated Population: 789,499 County remains in the top 10 a Tree City USA for more Sales tax: 6% ranking for growth nationwide. than 10 years, the city Chamber of Commerce The county supports many is committed to preserving Gwinnett County cultural events, restaurants 27 percent of its land as 770-232-3000, and shopping opportunities, green space. Property Taxes including the Mall of Georgia. Such foresight has The property tax in unincorporated Gwinnett Gwinnett County remains allowed Suwanee to retain County is $31.77 per $1,000 of assessed value. affordable for renters and first-time its old-fashioned charm Tax Commissioner: 770-822-8800. home buyers, many of whom find while providing contemhomes in the communities of Doraville, in Metro Atlanta and is home to porary convenience. Only 35 miles Lawrenceville and Snellville. The median some of the best golf courses and from downtown Atlanta, Suwanee is value of homes in 2006, according to private tennis clubs. There are close to big-city attractions, business numerous parks for recreation and districts and shopping. Many anthe Census Bureau, was $193,100. participatory sports, including tique shops and historic structures, Bunten Road Park and “Shorty” including several Victorian and reHowell Park. Two major malls, gional farm-style homes, are located Gwinnett Place and Northpoint, near downtown Suwanee. N are located near Duluth. The Southeastern Railway Museum, Amidst the pristine setting of which preserves and operates old For more counties and neighborhood Gwinnett County, Duluth has some railroad equipment, is a must-see information, visit our Web site at of the most exclusive neighborhoods for any railroad aficionado.




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8 SCOTTDALE 10 R ockbridge Rd 45 29 29 Mariett DRUID a PIEDMONT VIRGINIA HILLS ATTRACTIONS t 16 PARK HIGHLAND 6 Av de Leon Avondale Rd GEORGIA 12 1. Atlanta History Center C-3 MIDTOWN W . Po n c e 10 TECH 31 2. Botanical Gardens C-4 44 Ponce de Leon Av 278 78 North Av v A AVONDALE 8 3. Civic Center C-4 JIMMY CARTER ege ll o 10 10 DOWNTOWN C PRESIDENTIAL MADDOX AGNES ESTATES 4. CNN Center C-5Red e n R d 11 LIBRARY PARK SCOTT 3 WORLD Simpson St 7 CONGRESS Dekalb Av COLLEGE 5. Cyclorama C-5 DECATUR w 4 43 k P ia m r CENTER o 6. Fernbank Museum & Science Center D-4 d 36 o MARTIN 4 F ree m LUTHER Me 15 24 7. Georgia Aquarium C-5 155 33 D t r KING JR. e c S D a r t u r J 154 tin Luther K ing NATIONAL r 8. Georgia State Capitol C-5 a GSU M 13 HIST. SITE MOOREHOUSE Memorial Dr 9. Governor’s Mansion C-3 154 COLLEGE SPELMAN 8 20 COLLEGE 278

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upcoming EVENTS

Fleetwood Mac, Philips Arena The legendary classic rock band, known for such hits as “Go Your Own Way,” “Sara,” “Rhiannon” and more, performs. Dec. 17, 800-7453000,

Star 94 FM Jingle Jam, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre The Script, Lindsey Stirling and Echosmith perform at this annual concert hosted by local radio station Star 94. Dec. 18, 800-745-3000,

Newsies, Fox Theatre

Theater & Concerts Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!, Fox Theatre Your children will delight in the antics of their favorite television characters Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee and Plex as they take part in a brand-new show, “Music is Awesome!” Dec. 3, 855-285-8499,

John Oliver, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre The actor and comedian, currently host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” and a former “Daily Show” correspondent, performs. Dec. 4, 800-7453000,

David Benoit Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown, Ferst Center for the Arts The celebrated contemporary jazz pianist pays tribute to the classic Christmas tunes of Vince Guaraldi made famous by the television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Dec. 5, 404-894-9600,

Usher, Philips Arena The Atlanta-based pop and R&B singer, who is also known for his acting and his stint on the singing competition “The Voice,” performs. Dec. 9, 800-745-3000,

PHOTO: Deen van Meer

Power 96. 1 Jingle Ball, Arena at Gwinnett Center Calvin Harris, T.I., Fall Out Boy and Jessie J headline this third annual holiday concert event. Dec. 19, 888-929-7849,

Justin Timberlake, Arena at Gwinnett Center The popular singer and actor brings his 20/20 Experience Tour to Gwinnett for an evening of hit songs and energetic choreography. Dec. 20, 888-929-7849,

Celtic Company, Rialto Center for the Arts

The Grammy Award-winning rock and blues duo performs in support of its latest album, Turn Blue. Dec. 11, 800-745-3000,

The Celtic Company presents “Celtic Christmas: Music, Dance and the Soul of the Season,” a family-friendly celebration featuring performances by fiddlers, dancers, singers and much more. Dec. 20-21, 404-413-9849,

Disney Junior Live on Tour! Pirate and Princess Adventure, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Marvel Universe Live, Philips Arena

The Black Keys, Philips Arena

Take the little ones to this all-new show featuring characters from the hit Disney Junior series “Sofia the First” and “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” Dec. 13-14, 800-745-3000,

Join some of Marvel’s biggest characters, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, the Black Widow, Wolverine and Spider-Man, as they come together on an epic quest for the Cosmic Cube in this thrilling adventure. Dec. 20-22, 800-745-3000,

Suwanee’s Jolly Holly-day Celebration, Town Center Park

Hunter Hayes, Arena at Gwinnett Center The country music artist performs songs from his acclaimed albums Hunter Hayes and Storyline. Dec. 6, 888-929-7849,

So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 Tour, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre The top 10 finalists of the televised dance competition perform. Dec. 6, 800-745-3000,

48 | Newcomer Magazine |

A Christmas Carol, Alliance Theatre Celebrate the Alliance’s 25th anniversary staging of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic with an all-Atlanta cast. Through Dec. 24, 404-733-5000,

Newsies, Fox Theatre Broadway in Atlanta presents the smash-hit musical, based on the movie of the same name, about a turn-of-the-century newsboy who leads a band of kids in a strike against powerful newspaper publishers to fight for what’s right. Jan. 20-25, 800-278-4447,

Frida and Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting, High Museum of Art

Tuck Everlasting, Alliance Theatre A young girl who dreams of adventure meets a family with a fabulous secret in this wondrous world-premiere musical based on the acclaimed novel. Jan. 21-Feb. 22, 404-733-5000,

Exhibits & Events Lilburn Tree Lighting, Lilburn City Hall Be part of the tradition as the City of Lilburn lights its official tree on Main Street, with a performance by the Lilburn Middle School Chorus. Dec. 2,

Suwanee’s Jolly Holly-day Celebration, Town Center Park Enjoy music, merriment and more at this festive event. Guest of Honor Santa Claus will be on hand to listen to the wishes of good girls and boys. Choruses from local elementary schools will perform beloved holiday tunes, and cookies, s’mores and hot chocolate will be available while supplies last. Free and open to the public. Dec. 5,

Arctic Adventure Family Nightcrawler, Zoo Atlanta Spend the night in climate-controlled facilities and learn about the wildlife of the polar regions with interactive family activities. Then enjoy a continental breakfast and an exclusive zoo tour. Dec. 6, 404-624-5600,

Lilburn Christmas Parade, Lilburn “Christmas Around the World” celebrates the many ways Lilburn residents observe the holiday season. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and follows Main Street from First Baptist Church of Lilburn to City Hall. Dec. 6,

Festival of Lights, Chehaw Park During the holiday season, this sprawling, 700acre park in Albany, Ga., is decorated with brilliant light displays at every turn. Take a car ride through the park or a magical train ride on the Wiregrass Express to view all the spectacular lights. Admission is $15 per vehicle. Dec. 6-8, 11-24, 18-23,

Christmas High Tea, Bulloch Hall

Keeper for a Day: Birds and Reptiles, Zoo Atlanta Spend the day with the zoo’s fine-feathered flyers, and then help care for some amazing reptiles. Dec. 13, 404-624-5600,

Gone With the Wind Screening, Marietta Performing Arts Center The Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum hosts a screening of the beloved cinema classic on the 75th anniversary of its premiere. Dec. 15, 770-794-5145,

Peach Drop, Underground Atlanta Atlanta’s signature New Year’s Eve event, billed as the largest New Year’s celebration in the Southeast, is an all-day affair with children’s activities, live entertainment, a spectacular fireworks display, and an 800-pound peach dropping at midnight. Dec. 31,

Sustainable Shelter, Museum of Design Atlanta Subtitled “Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature,” this exhibit explores the way humans and animals have adapted to different environments through an amazing diversity of structures. Jan. 18-April 5, 404-979-6455,

Brain Teasers 2, Tellus Science Museum Sharpen your problem-solving skills as you work your way through 20 different challenges that range from mathematical conundrums to mind-boggling block puzzles at this handson science exhibit. Jan. 24-May 3, 770-606-5700,


Smoky Mountain Winterfest, Sevierville, Tenn. View millions of twinkling lights arranged in festive displays, and enjoy shopping, shows and attractions like Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland. Through Feb. 28, 888-738-4378,

Suwanee SculpTour, Suwanee Downtown Suwanee’s walkable, outdoor public art experience returns with 14 new sculptures created by artists from across the country.


10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Closed Sunday



Scarlett on the Square

Through March 2015,

Bodies the Exhibition, Atlantic Station

Relax and enjoy this holiday tradition as ladies in period dress serve a two-course high tea. Also includes a tour of Bulloch Hall in Roswell. $45 per person. Dec. 9, 11, 16 and 18,

This exhibit offers an unmatched view of the human body and how it works, with more than 200 actual bodies and specimens providing a look at our skeletal structure, musculature, nervous and reproductive systems, and more.


Ongoing, 404-496-4274,

Original Gone With the Wind memorabilia on display from the private collection of Dr. Christopher Sullivan. Gift Shop, facility RentalS annual eventS

770-794-5576 | Newcomer Magazine | 49


LEFT: Children let their creativity flow. RIGHT: The “Outside the Box” exhibit, which runs through Jan. 25.

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta


ocated in the heart of downtown, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta offers a fun, energetic environment that stimulates learning and provides hours of fun. Designed for children 8 years old and younger, this entertaining museum features a number of hands-on, interactive exhibit spaces, open yearround, that encourage exploration, movement, discovery, education and imagination. Fundamentally Food teaches children how By Sheila Cosgrove food gets from the farm to the kitchen table. Kids can clamber aboard a John Deere tractor (to get a sense of life on a farm), prepare a meal in the make-believe kitchen, or load a food delivery truck with a forklift. The Let Your Creativity Flow exhibit allows kids to explore their creative sides, as they paint on walls, make music on a PVC pipe organ, create sand sculptures and even put on a play, which enhances their communication skills. Tools for Solutions focuses on creative problem-solving, as older children go exploring underground; plant flowers in a garden; build houses, castles and high-rises; and, with the help of pulleys, levers and wheels, solve complex problems while learning the value of teamwork. In Leaping Into Learning, kids engage in imaginative play as they crawl through a make-believe forest, go fishing, and explore a tree house and even a waterfall. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits, like Outside the Box, which runs through Jan. 25. Boxes are transformed into extravagant bridges and everyday cylinders are made into high-tech rockets, as children think “outside the box” to discover the building blocks of math, engineering and technology. The exhibit features a different theme each month: In December, it’s “Boxes & Bows,” allowing kids to make festive presents, crafts, and more, while in January, “Boxed Lunch” focuses on food with fun activities. Other features at the museum include Crawl Space, a padded area for toddlers with soft blocks and tunnels, and the Imaginators, a group of actors and educators. So if your children start to seem restless, or you find yourself wondering how to keep them entertained for an afternoon, take them to a place filled with imagination and discovery, where fun and learning are synonymous. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta is located at 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive. For hours, admission and more information, call 404-659-5437 or visit

50 || Newcomer NewcomerMagazine Magazine | |

PHOTOS: Jeff Roffman Photography

Where Learning Is Fun

Newcomer Magazine | December/January 2015  

Atlanta’s new resident relocation guide for businesses and families moving to Metro Atlanta.

Newcomer Magazine | December/January 2015  

Atlanta’s new resident relocation guide for businesses and families moving to Metro Atlanta.