Points North November 2017

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Skillfully Southern



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In this November 2017

Issue 210



Celebrating 200 Reasons We Love The Northside

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What’s In Your Salad? Welcome to our new obsession with all things leafy and green – and hydroponically grown. Circle A Farms produces local lettuces that are full of flavor, practically flawless and can be delivered right to your door.

Carolina Cooperage South Carolinian Greg Pierce turned a 25-year beverage sales career into a barrel production business when he noticed a shortage of high quality barrels available for craft distilleries, wineries and breweries in the Southeast.

Abbey of the Holy Goats What do you get when you mix nuns with a few farm animals, East Coast travel and hops? In the span of just a few minutes chatting with Kathy Davis, we found there is a really unique and entertaining story brewing in Roswell.

Aruba’s Adventures Outside the doors of Aruba Marriott Resort on Eagle Beach, tourists can enjoy hair-raising or scenic tours, water sports, relaxation, robust dining and much more. In short, there are plenty of ways to enjoy many adventures this southern Caribbean island offers.



Black Water Barrel’s Greg Pierce and his black lab, Edisto | photo courtesy of Liz Erikson Photography, lizerikson.com

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 42 Holiday Events & Attractions 56 Holiday Gift Guide

30 facebook.com/pointsnorthatl





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Editor’s LETTER

PointsNorth Atlanta Atlanta PRESIDENT / CEO Witt Beckman PUBLISHER Carl Danbury Jr. EDITOR Jennifer Colosimo ASSOCIATE EDITOR Christine Kirk



A New Leaf

ADVERTISING 770-844-0969 sales@pointsnorthatlanta.com

IT’S HAPPENED … pumpkin spice everything is officially back on the shelves, and the leaves outside are spinning vibrant patterns on their way to the ground. I know those triggers might mean something different to you and your family, but for mine, it’s football (Go Dawgs!). It’s the chunky knit throws, oversized collegiate sweatshirts and chips and dip that come along with it, the need for a jacket again in the morning and the ability to enjoy my favorite cup of spiced hot tea in the afternoon. We’re soaking up outside time without the mosquitoes and enjoying more dinners by tea light on our back deck. Tucked into this season touted for activities inspired by nostalgic flair, our issue this month reminds me that there are plenty of new things to experience and perhaps new, amended traditions to consider. My family’s appetites got a little greener, thanks to a new obsession with lettuce (page 10), and for my husband, our beer selection has stepped up its game. That’s in part to one of the most unique business start-up stories I’ve heard to date, from our associate editor Christine Kirk (page 26). I relish my job of researching, writing and reading stories of all tastes and subject matters almost as much as I enjoy this time of year (it’s my favorite, if you couldn’t tell), so that despite my collection of deep-rooted traditions, I’m never afraid of a little change.


ALL POINTS INTERACTIVE MEDIA CORP. 568 Peachtree Parkway Cumming, Georgia 30041 770-844-0969 pointsnorthatlanta.com ©2017 Points North Atlanta All Points Interactive Media Corp. All rights reserved. Points North Atlanta is published monthly by All Points Interactive Media Corp. The opinions expressed by contributing writers are not necessarily those of the editor, the publisher or of Points North Atlanta. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION: Points North Atlanta offers a 12-month subscription for $15. Visit pointsnorthatlanta.com for details.

JENNIFER COLOSIMO, EDITOR jenni@pointsnorthatlanta.com

Please Recycle This Magazine


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Test Toys and Meet Santa at North Point Mall Located in Center Court

November 10th through December 24th N O R T H P O I N T M A L L 10 0 0 N O R T H P O I N T C I R C L E , A L P H A R E T T A

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Counting ON ...




THE LAWN AT BILTMORE IS BRIGHTLY LIT during the holiday season, impressing visitors with an enormous 55-foot-tall Norway spruce illuminated with 55,000 lights, plus another 20,000 more on the surrounding 20 trees that encircle the centerpiece. Luminaries line the driveway and there are 35 additional trees lavishly decorated and spread across the vast property. The display is quite a sight to behold, which keeps it at the top of the list of our favorite holiday destinations. George and Edith Vanderbilt began a Christmas tradition in 1895 that was a display of Victorian wealth and glamour and is still impressive by today’s standards. The days prior were a flurry of activity as everyone worked to make sure every detail was perfect for the unveiling of the Vanderbilt family opus. In one letter, Chauncey Beadle, estate horticulturalist, wrote to estate manager, Charles McNamee, saying “I quite agree with you that we should have a very large tree for this occasion; in fact, I think a 20-foot tree in that large Banquet Hall would be rather dwarfed.” Biltmore staff work tirelessly every year to recreate this tradition, decking the halls with 55 decorated Christmas trees inside the home, the largest of which is a 35-foot Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall. Beyond the collection of trees, 7,527 feet of fresh evergreen garlanding infuses the air with the wintry smell of pine and thousands of bows, wreaths, orbs and poinsettias give the mansion a true holiday wow factor. Everything kicks off on Nov. 1

for the official tree raising, which takes about 50 staff members to accomplish. Throughout this month and next, Santa will visit the bandstand on Saturdays and Sundays, plus you can enjoy the performances of roving carolers and live music nightly at Cedric’s Tavern. A selection of packages also offers guests tailored holiday experiences. Try your hand at creating a gingerbread house with the guidance of the Inn’s pastry chef from Dec. 15-18 at 1 p.m. with the Gingerbread House Tea at Vanderbilt Room at The Inn option. Or go all out with the Enchanted Christmas Package for Dec. 23-26, which includes Christmas Eve and Day dinners, plus events like cider and cookies every day in the library lounge, Christmas Eve carolers, a Christmas Day visit with Santa and more. For something more low-key, you can always stop in anytime for a self-guided tour to admire the grounds. Holiday fun doesn’t end with Christmas, though. The New Year’s Eve Celebration package from Dec. 30 – Jan. 1 lets you welcome 2018 in style, starting with sparkling wine delivered upon your arrival. Finish the year with a four-course New Year’s Eve dinner, followed by family-friendly games and live jazz in the library lounge. You’ll toast at midnight with a glass of Biltmore’s finest bubbly, and enjoy spectacular fireworks that light up the beautiful estate grounds. biltmore.com PN PHOTO COURTESY OF BILTMORE

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Water 155 Number


ADD written & photographed by JENNIFER COLOSIMO

WHEN I SAT DOWN FOR LUNCH AT THE PEACH AND THE PORKCHOP, I didn’t peruse the menu as I normally would. In fact, I wasn’t even letting my stomach do the searching. Instead, I focused only on which dish might best show off this famous lettuce that owner Chuck Staley had been talking so much about. I wanted to see it in all its supposed color and flavor glory … in a salad bowl and how it stacked up on a sandwich. Mostly, I wanted to know why high quality lettuce is such a big deal, because in all honesty (and total ignorance), do we really care about lettuce? I know that statement garners countless winces from both Staley and the owners of Circle A Farms, but whole-heartedly, now, I can reassure them that I do — I absolutely care about lettuce!


That first lunch at Staley’s restaurant didn’t seal the deal. It helped secure it, sure, but the fruits of labor down a short gravel road off Dishroom Road in Cumming are what confirmed my new love for greens. Several crispers later, I haven’t turned back. The story of that lettuce really starts with Jeff Adams. He’s one of two very friendly faces you’ll see when you open the airtight front door at Circle A Farms. Adams grew up around farming and he’ll tell you that as a result, his favorite smell is still that of a freshly plowed field. Since then, he’s leased land, raised cows and farmed in some capacity.

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“I had a passion to do something like this full time,” Adams said. “I read an article about [hydroponic farming], started researching it and after about two years decided, let’s try it. This is a way we could [farm] without owning hundreds of acres. We thought it was a cool idea, kind of like the farming of the future.” He purchased the land in Cumming 15 years ago and construction on what would become Circle A Farms began in the fall of 2011. It included two bays of hydroponic trays (row after row of inconspicuous little seedlings) and the farm’s first harvest was ready by March of the following year. “It’s better this way. You don’t have to be way up in North Georgia to run a farm, because you need tons of land,” he added. The other friendly face at Circle A is Cheryl Howlin. With a degree in dietetics and nutrition, she was looking for her next move when, through mutual friends, she heard about what Adams was doing. Already passionate about eating healthy, she was fascinated by the possibilities of this new kind of crop. Her enthusiasm became obsession, and while she laughs about just how far she’s taken it, she’ll unabashedly keep talking about it. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” she asked. “The footprint that it leaves is very tiny compared to regular farming. You need acres and acres for that. And, there’s so much variability with animals and the weather. Here, we’re removing the elements and the animal factor, and we’re getting a much better product and a greater yield with a much smaller footprint.” “I had no idea really about how much better it was,” Adams said. “I knew it was a great product and superior to the dirt raised product, but …" “I think he just thought it was pretty, and that there wouldn’t be as much waste,” Howlin interrupted. “But truly, once you have this lettuce … I tell people there is one downside to our lettuce. Yes, there is one bad thing. Once you try it, you won’t be able to eat the lettuce from the grocery store again.” “That’s right,” Adams said. “Once you have it, you don’t go back. It’s just better.” “About two years in, we kept hearing the same thing over and over,” Howlin said. “People kept saying, ‘This is the best 12 | POINTS NORTH | November 2017

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lettuce ever!’ They would use those exact words every time. I don’t think that we’re doing anything that special. I just think that this is what lettuce is supposed to taste like. We’re just doing it right.” “It’s not that we have a miracle lettuce here,” Adams added. “It’s just the fact that it’s not two to three weeks old once you get it. That’s why when you open a bag of grocery store lettuce, it goes bad in a few days. They’ve washed it to death, too, washed away all the nutrients. When it doesn’t have proper nutrients, the shelf life isn’t very good.” It’s enough to hear the passion in Adam and Howlin’s pitch, but I got the rare opportunity to go through the farm’s other airtight door and see the farm in action. With no sound but the steady hum of giant fans, it’s peaceful, quite literally organic and instantly inspiring. Now with four bays, the expanse of the warehouse is unified in rows of various maturities of lettuce — some two-foot stalks of Romaine, tiny sprouts of colorful spring mix and overflowing, flawless heads of Bibb lettuce, at first glance. It’s dotted with bright umbrellas shading solitary farmers carefully tweezing seedlings or cutting off fully-grown heads. At one end is a plethora of machinery and computer systems, tubes and storage racks that look, to the layman, like something from a science lab. These are the farm’s intricate systems of mineral-rich water that is carefully measured and monitored and dispersed across the bays and underneath the trays. Everyone dons t-shirts reading, “what’s on your salad?” No one looks harried or overworked. It’s instant job envy — and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t really like to get her hands dirty. Since its inception, the farm has stayed small, but that intimate group of dedicated workers includes a few horticulture experts and several individuals who took up an interest when they started working here. Some place seedlings, some snip with garden shears and others sort, stack and pack the crispers that go straight into the cooler or delivery truck. On my way out, I was overjoyed to take home a box of arugula, Romaine and spring mix, with a promise to myself to come back for the others.

HIGH QUALITY H2O Hydroponic farming means to grow plants without using soil. Instead, plants are seeded in another medium, like the floral foam-like substance called Oasis at Circle A. The roots receive a steady stream of nutrient rich water from under the trays where they grow. In short, it’s a cleaner, healthier environment to grow plants —

which means you don’t lose prep time washing your greens and you get more vitamins and minerals on your plate (or in your smoothie glass). Another perk is the shorter life cycle that hydroponic seedlings have — about a third faster than a traditional farm. At Circle A, a seed is wetted and left to germinate over two to three days. Then,

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12 IN 2016

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“Our best compliment comes from children. Many families report that this is the only lettuce their kids will eat.” CHERYL HOWLIN | Circle A Farms

the tray is moved to the nursery to spend 10 days in nutrient-filled water where the seedlings grow to about an inch high. They are then transplanted into growth trays where they receive a constant flow of nutrients and sun for about a month before they’re harvested. Finally, they are sent to one of the farm’s restaurant clients or packaged into individual crispers for their (informed) Farm-to-Porch delivery subscribers. Some of their chefs will call and ask for more lettuce the night before they need it. Circle A delivers. Currently, they’re growing seven varieties of lettuce — Romaine, spring mix, Tropicana, Bibb, kale, basil and arugula; but they’re also selling micro greens, Mizuna, broccoli and arugula, packed with nutrients and perfect for garnish, extra flavor or as a power boost in your smoothie. Many other things can be grown hydroponically, including tomatoes, peppers, flowers, cucumbers and herbs, but don’t expect to see an expanded menu from Circle A just yet. “We chose to grow lettuce over other produce because we wanted to grow something that would appeal to the widest range of people possible,” said Howlin. “Almost everyone eats lettuce to some degree, either as a salad or on a sandwich. This way our customers could be most everyone.” If you’re not eating Circle A lettuce at a restaurant, which on the Northside includes Colletta and Oak Steakhouse in Alpharetta, Stone’s Cocktails and Cuisine in Johns Creek, The Peach and The Porkchop, Blue Bicycle in Dawsonville, 61 Main in Jasper, HOME at Big Canoe, NIDO Café, Rick Tanner’s and Rendezvous Cafe in Cumming, Kaya Winery and Dahlonega Spa Resort, then the Farm-to-Porch program offers an easy option to quit your grocery store lettuce and answer the doorbell to fresh leafy greens. Within about a 20-mile radius, you order and pay online and Circle A drops your crispers at your door every week. Fair warning though, with such real, personable reasons to eat this local lettuce, it’s going to be very hard to leave salad on your plate. November 2017 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 15

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SCIENCE OF TASTE I asked Howlin and Adams why it is so important for consumers to understand how this lettuce is different and what we are missing with the aforementioned grocery store lettuce. The answer would be on my plate, yes, but it goes even further than that, covering a slew of quality factors and even our future. “It is important to look at the environment that lettuce is grown in,” Howlin said. “If it’s organic, great, because having no herbicides and pesticides is a great start, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. What about the quality of the soil the produce is being grown in? That is dependent on the quantity of the nutrients in the soil. Nutrient-deficient soil gives nutrient-deficient produce that goes bad in just a few days. “Our lettuce is grown in a nutrient-dense environment without harmful herbicides and pesticides,” she reiterated. “Many people love the fact that they don’t have to wash or rinse our lettuce. There’s very little waste, because it has a longer shelf life. Most of our lettuce lasts a minimum of 10 days and up to three weeks for some varieties.” According to Colletta's executive chef, Jason Stern, “The food you make is only going to be as good as what you make it from. We start with the best products available to put the best possible food on the table. A lot of people are just tasting the dressing when they eat salad. That’s not the goal of the lettuce — it’s meant to have a taste, its own flavor profile. At Colletta, we try to educate them on what to look for. Having good product helps us do that.” How the product tastes and its quality are based on a few elements — the cleanliness of the greens (nothing touches it, not even rain water), the fact that they’re harvested daily for optimal freshness and that they’re grown with all 14 nutrients lettuce likes, in the proper pH. Circle A feeds the lettuce what it wants, nutrients like Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus, plus 11 other very small quantity nutrients, including Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Zinc. For anyone missing a chemistry degree, that means it tastes good and lasts a long time, naturally. “Not only does the lettuce thrive with this diet, but our diet gets a boost as well, because the greens alkalize the body while providing a great source of fiber. An alkaline body has been scientifically proven to prevent many common cancers and fiber helps with many of our digestive cancers,” Howlin said. From personal experience, these varieties also have rich texture and taste — a conspicuous crunch from

a stable, vibrant silhouette provides a strong platform for the unique flavors of each type to stand out. The arugula is supremely peppery. The Romaine, light and earthy. The Bibb, I could use the same words I’d use to describe a flawless Chardonnay, it’s so buttery and smooth. “Our best compliment comes from children,” Howlin added. “Many families report that this is the only lettuce their kids will eat. We believe kids taste harmful pesticides/herbicides better than we can (we’ve grown accustomed to them over time). They taste ‘off’ to young palates, so this is a great way for kids to eat healthy foods.” “I want to give my customers the best products that I can find,” Staley, from The Peach and The Porkchop, said. “Using high quality lettuce just goes along with what we do. The taste is truly amazing. It simply doesn’t compare to store-bought lettuce in its color, texture and flavor. The lettuce we use is cut fresh the day it is delivered, there is minimal waste and it has a longer shelf life, so the cost is well worth the quality of the product. [It’s] 100 percent organic and grown 20 minutes from the restaurant. That is so very important to our philosophy.” Still naming pros, most of the lettuce you buy at the grocery store has been washed (an FDA requirement) so much, that the nutrients it had are heavily diminished. Without those natural preservatives, and the fact that it’s often already a week or more old by the time it’s on the shelf, you have to use it almost immediately to avoid throwing any away. Most often, you do anyway. A large part of this is because we get a lot of our lettuce from out west, Mexico or other countries. At some point, our lettuce supply will be greatly affected by the water crisis happening there. “It’s not a matter of if we’ll be affected, it’s when we will be affected,” Howlin stressed. “We have found the solution to the water crisis, since our greens use a third less water than what traditional crops use. Hydroponics is not only a great way to grow tasty greens but also solves how to leave a smaller footprint on the environment in a healthy, nutritious way. “I would have thought I would be involved in who knows what with nutrition,” Howlin added. “And now I’m involved with lettuce? I wouldn’t have guessed it. But everyone hates their lettuce. My gosh, I love solving problems. This is the solution. It’s healthy, it makes people happy and I love it.” PN circlealettuce.com

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Black Water Barrels


Bamberg, S.C. Initial new jobs created: 17 Current number of employees: 23



GREG PIERCE WORKED FOR TWO OF THE LARGEST ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE DISTRIBUTORS IN THE U.S. FOR ABOUT 25 YEARS. Near the end of his sales career, he noticed an alarming trend for some of the distilleries and wineries he was representing — the lack of new American oak barrels, in which certain ­alcoholic beverages like bourbon, rum, tequila, beer, ale, cider, wine and Cognac are aged. “I got back to Columbia, S.C. one night, and my friend Dan and I had a drink out on his back porch,” Pierce explained. “I said, ‘I have this crazy idea, we need to get in the barrel business. There must be a shortage of wood or something.’ But Dan, who has a penchant for woodworking, said, ‘There isn’t a shortage of wood, there’s plenty of white oak, but we’re in the middle of a recession. People aren’t going out and buying really nice furniture right now, so the loggers aren’t cutting a lot of wood.’”


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After their initial conversation, Pierce kept digging for more information. “I was still traveling around in the wine and spirits business, and I was still asking a lot of questions of people I knew in the industry,” Pierce said. “There was indeed a huge demand. The new, small craft distilleries, wineries and breweries were looking for barrels just like all the bigger, more established brands.” Pierce and a group of investors opened Black Water Barrels in the summer of 2016 in Bamberg, S.C., which is an off-the-beaten-tract town of 4,000 folks. Production of 30-, 53- and 60-gallon barrels began early in the year, and today their barrels are rolling into distilleries and wineries in our area. In fact, production facilities for Z Brown Distillery, Kaya Vineyards and Three Sisters Vineyards in Dahlonega have Black Water products, as does Richland Estate, which produces high quality rum just south of Columbus. Lazy Guy Distillery in Kennesaw also has barrels crafted in South Carolina, which is noteworthy since nearly all barrel production facilities are located much further north where white oak trees flourish.

UNLIKELY ORIGIN The company was named for the slow, gentle black waters of the Edisto River, which flows near Bamberg. The town is most notable as being the birthplace of Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Former 1986 World Series hero and N.Y. Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson was raised in Bamberg, too. A once prosperous cotton mill, originally built in 1892, endured to 1969. Wood products such as wagon works, hardwood veneer manufacturing and woodworking were a part of the town’s past. While none of the local labor force had any experience in

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12 IN 2017

barrel making they were adept in other ways. “We’ve got some highly skilled people working with us. They have been learning a new trade and regardless of their ages, they have done an outstanding job. The average age worker is probably 45 years old. When we were set to open, I had 15 jobs available to fill, and I received more than 200 applications within the first two months. That just shows you how [bad] the economy was around here,” Pierce said. Pierce purchased stave cutting, stave planing, stave jointing, hoop trussing, barrel crozing, bunghole drilling and head rounding equipment from Anton, Flensburg, Germany. They built the machinery to Black Water’s specifications and shipped them. From Schoolhill Engineering in Aberdeen, Scotland, Pierce scored a toasting/ charring machine and pressure testing equipment. Other than purchasing the best equipment possible, Pierce said the smartest move he made was contracting with knowledgeable consultants. Those with years of cooperage (barrel making) experience trained his new employees. “I hired, in my opinion, some of the best barrel builders and some other related sources to train the people that we hired locally. One is a fourth-generation cooper from Switzerland. Another gentleman, Craige Roberts, had a hand in managing and operating Napa Valley Cooperage, Demptos Napa Cooperage and Mendocino Cooperage,” Pierce said. A good barrel, whether for the highest quality wine or bourbon, depends upon finding the best staves. For those, Pierce and Black Water Barrels rely heavily upon Rick Taylor of Taylor Stave, Nebo, N.C. Taylor worked at Brown-Forman’s cooperage facility, spent 15 years as a machinist, then acquired more experience as a design engineer in Morganton, N.C., and while working at a pallet shop and sawmill in Florida. The ability to pay close attention to detail is paramount in wood stave selection. Taylor helped train Black Water’s production teams on reading the white oak’s medullary rays, which are large bands of radial cells emanating outward from the center of the log, similar to the spokes of a wheel. In quarter-sawn materials, the wood is cut into boards with the growth rings roughly perpendicular to the face of the board. While the pores found in the growth rings on red oak often are open and porous, white oak has its pores plugged with a plastic– like substance called tyloses. This method makes white oak suitable for watertight vessels like barrels and gives it increased resistance to rot and decay. The importance of selecting the right wood for the barrels is key to longterm customer satisfaction and repeat orders. “We buy quarter-sawn white oak at 1.25 inches thick and it is air dried for a minimum of 12 months. We do some things that are probably not the cheapest way of November 2017 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 21

12 IN 2017

producing barrels, but it is the traditional way,” Pierce stated. Little is wasted during the traditional manufacturing process. “You hate to cut down a hundred year old tree and get one or two cuts and see the rest of it go to waste. We give our sawdust to local horse farmers, and the chocks that are left over, we cut them into blocks and sell them to a local charcoal company,” Pierce said. “I’ve got great partners who were willing to take a chance on the entire concept. It’s a fun business and there is no end in sight for white oak barrels. If you’re in the bourbon business, you can only use the barrels one time, but now they are used for rum and tequila, Cognac, wine and beer, cider, hot sauce, etc.” Aging products in American white oak barrels, rather than stainless steel tanks or other vessels, can add complexity, flavor, nuance and unique characteristics.

TESTAMENT TO QUALITY A craft distillery less than 100 miles from Black Water’s manufacturing facility confirmed Pierce’s concept was sound. Charleston Distilling Company’s co-founder Steve Heilman said the barrels his company purchased early on — prior to the opening of Black Water Barrels — were bought on an allocation basis. “When we opened, it was really hard to find quality barrels. That has eased up some now. Our first year in business, we could only buy a dozen barrels. Then, the 22 | POINTS NORTH | November 2017

next year the cooperage said they would sell us 15. It’s nice to have more options,” Heilman said. “We try to buy as many local products as we can, so it’s nice to finally have a cooperage here in South Carolina. The pricing is fairly standard, but obviously we can cut down on overall costs due to reduced shipping. We bought 30 from Black Water Barrels. They are working great.” Heilman said the plans are to utilize Black Water’s 53-gallon barrels for Charleston Distilling’s two types of rye (Calhoun’s Straight Rye and Calhoun’s Rye) and two types of bourbon.

BL ACK WATER B ARRELS Don Walton, Jr., is an attorney from Jacksonville, N.C., who opened Walton’s Distillery last year. Until Black Water Barrels arrived on the scene, supply had been uncertain. “Larger distilleries only sell their overstock. You may get them one year and never get to order them again,” Walton said. “I try to deal with local suppliers whenever possible, and not having to try to go to Kentucky or Missouri for barrels is a blessing. Black Water is pretty much just across the creek, within a fivehour drive for me. They are pretty quick to fulfill the order, and so far, the quality seems to be pretty good.” Andrew Porter, founder of Doc Porter’s in Charlotte, N.C. currently distills vodka, gin and bourbon. “All of our grains come from local farmers, our corn, wheat, rye and malted barley all come from within North Carolina. Getting as much as we can locally is really important to us. That’s why we were excited that Black Water Barrels was opening,” Porter said. “Before we used cooperages out of Missouri, Kentucky and Minnesota. When I got to visit Black Water’s facility, I was able to see that they were making high-quality barrels. We filled eight of their 30-gallon barrels with our bourbon. We are excited to keep working with them and hope to put some different products in their barrels as well and order more from them. We also were excited to hear that Greg has found a stave supplier in North Carolina, which will give us even more of a regional taste.” Leanne Powell, president and CEO of Southern Grace Distilleries, Mt. Pleasant, N.C., operates the only distillery in America located in a former prison. “I have three sources for barrels. Black Water does my 53-gallon barrels, and I was on the waiting list at other cooperages. There is quite the shortage these days for quality barrels; you can find barrels, it’s more of a problem to find quality barrels. I was very happy to connect with Greg. We did a lot of due diligence on our part checking it out. There is nothing more important than what we are putting our bourbon in, so we wanted to make sure Black Water is a good operation, and it certainly is,” Powell stated.



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Before entering the business, Powell researched all of the distilleries that made the bourbon she enjoyed most. During her trips to Kentucky she learned that good wood and quality construction of the barrels is important, but it is also important as to where the barrels are stored. “The conditions determine a lot about how the bourbon turns out. It is very important to have the ability to develop both the toasting and the char of the barrel that will suit your taste,” Powell said. “We are glad to have a good consistent source we can count on nearby. They are careful how they source the wood and we appreciate that.” Southern Grace began barrel aging in January.

LEARNING CURVES The Black Water team got off to a rocky start. Shortly before Governor Haley and other dignitaries attended the company’s September 2016 ribbon-cutting ceremony in Bamberg, Pierce and his team had encountered equipment problems. “We had tooling issues with the equipment maker, and we had already hired a full staff. Let’s just say we had plenty of time to make decorative barrels while we were trying to get the issues fixed. You can’t just run down to Lowes to get parts for these machines,” Pierce said. “State-of-the-art equipment comes with a learning curve, and if you are one of the first here [in the U.S.] to have it, you have to rely upon the manufacturer for 24 | POINTS NORTH | November 2017

repairs. In this case, the commute from Germany was a bit taxing,” Pierce chuckled. “We are grateful we went this direction and we’ve got everything fixed, however, we were out of commission from making spirits-grade barrels for several months.” The equipment must be precise and it needs spot-on calibration, Pierce offered. Once set, the machines ran as intended but some customers that had pre-ordered couldn’t wait until the issues were fixed. As for the first barrel off the line? “It leaked like hell!” Pierce exclaimed. “Unfortunately, we dropped a sizable bowling ball on our big toe. Some said, ‘We’ll look out for you next time, but we had to move on.’ That happened to us several times,” Pierce admitted. Once the kinks were fixed, the manufacturing process became as smooth as an engraved barrel lid. Customers have come to appreciate the capabilities that Black Water Barrels offer, such as their custom toasting and charring offerings. “We invite our customers to come in, go through the process together and experiment with what will make them successful,” Pierce elaborated. “From a quality perspective, I think we’re going to be successful long term because we test every single barrel. A barrel does not leak when it leaves this building.” From an educational standpoint, Black Water provides instruction for distilleries, wineries and breweries on how to hydrate the barrels before filling, and how to repair small leaks if they occur. They provide direction on crucial barrel storage, as well. “Like the majority of our customers, we make a craft product with the highest quality ingredients. In our case, we start with a high grade of wood. Because of our location alone, customers in the Southeast will save money on freight,” Pierce said. “If anyone has had an issue with a barrel from us, we have worked with them individually to rectify the problem. You’re only new once, and there is no way we’re going to get off on the wrong foot by not fulfilling our customers’ expectations.” PN blackwaterbarrels.com

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�of the


HOLY GOATS written and photographed by CHRISTINE KIRK unless otherwise noted

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157 [ Number ]


HE REFLECTIVE GLASS paneling of the business complex off Northfield Way in Roswell doesn’t give much indication to its contents, but to find paper-lined desks or quiet waiting rooms within would be unsurprising. A brewery, however, is less expected. This explains the signs, bearing the silhouette of a goat, throughout the parking lot that help you find Abbey of the Holy Goats, a small-scale craft brewery specializing in Belgian-style beers. The monastic interior of the tasting hall, which invites you to “commune with your senses,” is an interesting contrast to its office-park exterior. It’s also a reflection of owner and brew master Kathy Davis’ multi-faceted professional (and personal) journey, which led her to embrace her passion and talent for brewing. Davis has an air of quiet determination, a trait her family might lovingly refer to as stubbornness. Such determination fueled her tendency to explore unique interests and career paths. She’s naturally curious, and her background proves she’s no one-trick pony. Davis began as a trained chef, something she had been interested in since childhood. “I started cooking really young. My mom was in the culinary industry, “ said Davis. “Cooking is in my family, just as beer is in my family. I fell in love with cooking. I was cooking at age four. I just wanted to be a chef.” After some time as a chef, however, Davis admitted she got really fed up and burnt out. Some soul-searching led her to consider life as a Buddhist nun. Encouraged by her father, a deacon, to seek out her spiritual path, Davis felt strongly drawn to Buddhism. The interest was strong enough for her to take lay vows with the intention of joining a nunnery. “I was moving to Nova Scotia to join a nunnery up there. Fortunately, my best friend took me to Brick Store Pub and convinced me that you can’t get Belgian beers in the middle of St. Mary’s in Nova Scotia. So I stayed here in Atlanta,” explained Davis. Belgian beers aside, Davis’ search wasn’t over. “After the whole Buddhist nun thing fell through, I kind of wandered around doing many different things. Around 2006/2007, a friend of mine said ‘Hey, I want to open up a goat farm in Maine, there’s this awesome property and you should come up and do it,’” she recalled. A falling out halted those plans, “So the goat farm is up in Maine and I stayed here,” she said. “I still love goats, but as a conciliatory prize, my parents gave me a brew kit. So I started brewing beer, and 12 years later, this came about.”


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12 IN 2017

After excelling in the home brewing field, Davis returned to business school at Georgia State University, developing a business plan for her brewery and winning second place in a business plan competition her senior year. In her amateur brewing days, Davis won several home brewing awards for her creations, with Goats in the Garden being the most praised. This Saison is dry and refreshing, brewed with honey and elderflower. It was originally intended to be a beer with a different sort of complexity, which would appeal to someone who was more of a wine-drinker. “I brewed it for my partner, who really hates beer. So I thought, ‘Well I can brew a beer that tastes like wine, or has wine characteristics.’ So that’s what I designed,” Davis explained. “I wanted a really dry, balanced beer; kind of similar to a Chenin Blanc, or a brut Champagne with elderflower liqueur in it.” Another key aspect to Davis’ brews is the ability to pair her brews well with food. Her culinary background heavily influences her approach to brewing, and each of her creations is meant to complement the flavors and textures of a dish. Goats in the Garden can be paired with pork or pasta. “It actually goes with seared pork loin,” Davis said. “The dryness of that beer will cut the fattiness.” It’s not surprising that Davis is excelling in the brewing world, given her background. “They’re not that different. Cooking is chemistry. Beer is chemistry. The artistry is the same as well. It’s learning how to understand the flavor profiles. You have so many ingredients in a beer, especially Belgian beer. So it’s not just your typical four: malt, hops, water, yeast. It’s also, ‘Hey, can I throw that Belgian candy sugar in there? Can I throw honey in there? What about orange peel? What about elderflowers?’ So there are so many more flavor profiles that can go in a Belgian style beer that really bring out food flavors as well,” she said. Another favorite is a brew Holy Goats just bottled, the Ascension. “It’s a deep, beautiful complex beer with a lot of port-wine notes, vanilla from the oak,” Davis described. “You’ll still get the maltiness from the beer itself.” IPA fans can branch out with The Goat’s Obsession, a dark double-IPA. “It’s a very different IPA; it’s not an American IPA at all,” Davis said. “It has a lot more floral notes to it. It’s

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not piney at all. It’s not citrusy. It’s balanced to me. That’s what I really like in all of the beers that we make — they’re all balanced.” Davis left the boy’s club of the culinary scene to join another in the brewing industry, but she hasn’t had much of a problem paving her way. “For the most part, everyone in the beer industry is really nice,” she explained. “They’re willing to share and all that, but at the end of the day, it’s a male-dominated industry.” Most of the challenge Davis faced stemmed from her reputation as a home brewer. “I got a lot of ‘Well, you’re a home brewer, every home brewer wants to own a brewery,’” she remembered. Alas her determination kicked in. “Quite frankly,” she explained, “that’s driven me to do more. Anyone that says ‘You can’t do it’ is a huge driver for me.” Abbey of the Holy Goats is enjoying its successes, and isn’t going away any time soon. Much like the 3-ton communal table that runs the length of the tasting hall. Built in segments with reclaimed wood by a local artist, the table was assembled inside the tasting hall to foster the kind of communal experience Davis hopes her beer offers. The table is topped with a variety of games, like Taboo, Catan, Cards Against Humanity and even one called Exploding Kittens. Classics, like chess and Scrabble are in the mix as well. In addition to the current tasting hall, Davis plans to expand to 22,000 square feet, hopefully by February. She also intends to eventually build a stand-alone brewery, one that comes complete with her beer’s mascot. “I want some pygmy goats running around,” she said. PN abbeyoftheholygoats.com

November 2017 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 29

Adventures 158 NUMBER


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THE ISLAND OF ARUBA manages to be exactly what you might expect from a Caribbean island as well as nothing like you imagined. I arrived at Queen Beatrix International Airport filled with thoughts of white sandy beaches, coconut palms, succulent seafood and delightful drinks garnished with little umbrellas. I believed, incorrectly, that one of the main attractions of the island would be the famous Eagle Beach at the Aruba Marriott Resort, and that I would be content to adventure no farther than the hotel bar or one of the several in-house restaurants.


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To support that, my first evening in Aruba was spent admiring the beautiful resort and Marriott’s Atardi restaurant for a charmingly upscale, yet barefoot dinner on the beach. While wiggling our toes in the sand and guiltily gorging on delicious local dishes, we learned of the limitless amenities and services the hotel had to offer. The eight-story resort has more than 400 rooms and suites, a pool with cascading waterfalls, nine bars and eateries, the Mandara Spa and the Stellaris Casino, and it overlooks soft white sands, beautifully calm waters and the wistfully swaying palm trees dotting Eagle Beach. This was the scene I expected from Aruba. What more can there be on such a small island, I wondered?

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PANCAKES TO PAINTINGS My question was answered and my perspective began to shift over the next two days, beginning less than a mile from the resort at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes. A favorite breakfast spot for locals and tourists alike, Linda’s has earned a reputation for delightful, daunting and delicious pizza-sized Dutch pancakes. The walnut-stuffed, brie-topped pastry that filled my plate, and then my stomach, was the perfect way to start a day full of adventure with new friends. After breakfast, our investigation began at Aruba Aloe Farm where we learned about the properties and production of aloe on the island. Aloe is one of the main exports of Aruba, as the desert


November 2017 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 33


plant thrives in the dry island environment. We watched workers transform the gel-filled centers into top-tier cosmetic products, tested the mouthwatering sugar cube scrubs and fudge-like soap bars (alongside clear “do not eat!” warnings) and left with our wallets significantly lighter. As we left Oranjestad, the imported palms faded away and tall native cacti began to frame the highway, producing the sense of being transported to another world. It was with this odd feeling we arrived in San Nicolas, Aruba’s second largest city and host to incredibly stunning murals on every street. A visit to The Museum of Industry provided an insightful look into Aruba’s economic past with its simplistic design, eye-catching displays and enthralling stories. The museum offers a unique experience in its circular second-floor room to sit, watch and listen to a group of locals share stories about Aruba’s golden years during the oil boom that took hold of the island for the majority of the 20th century. We learned that Aruba had several economic boons throughout its impressive history, ranging from gold that had once attracted the attention of the Dutch to aloe and then phosphorus. When each boon ended, natives exposed the next raw material to make the island financially stronger, and less dependent. Once the oil refineries closed in the 1980s and Aruba fell on hard times, the people decided to change the island’s image and become the “one happy island” we know today. They opened their doors and beautiful beaches to tourists from all over the world. Once the museum tour ended, we took to San Nicolas’ streets, which reminded me of Miami’s famous Wynwood Arts District. I marveled at the murals painstakingly assembled, composed and painted by international and local artists. On one street, an iguana composed entirely of scavenged material stared across at a gorgeous mosaic of a winged dancer who smiled toward a painting of swallows caught in waves. Each piece was thought provoking and well worth the short walk. Cosecha Creative Center, nestled in the middle of such beautiful walls, works to encourage such


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­ reative displays from locals and tourists. c Half art gallery, half workshop, Cosecha organizes shows for local artists and classes to allow groups to create their own. We finished our tour with lunch at Charlie’s Bar and Restaurant. Since its opening in September 1941, this iconic haunt has been run by the same family and is currently managed by third generation Charlie Brouns III. The walls, tables and light fixtures are completely covered in memorabilia, paintings, photographs and more. Hidden amongst this cluttered assortment of goods is a playful staff and often Charlie himself, whose barbeque ribs could give any Memphis joint a run for its money.

ARUBA-STYLE ADVENTURES The next morning, my fellow adventurers and I piled into the bright yellow De Palm Tours truck that had come to pick us up at the resort. Promising gorgeous views, rustic scenery and a bumpy ride, our guide Sherman ensured we had fastened our seatbelts properly. The palms faded away again as we ventured to the northwestern tip of the island, this time replaced by bent and weathered divi divi trees. From the looming California lighthouse, we left the road and trekked to the Alto Vista Chapel, an old structure first built in 1750, forgotten, then rediscovered and rebuilt in 1952. Surrounded by the tall cacti and looming rocky cliffs, it was as if I had been transported to America's Old West. This feeling was reinforced by our next destination, the Bushiribana Gold Mine. Looking out the window of the ruins, I marveled at the incredible transformation from the resort side of Aruba to this forgotten desert side of the island. The sea that seemed so calm on the western coast crashed angrily against the jagged volcanic eastern coast, erupting like geysers out of the deep blue and summoning small rainbows with each violent crash. After thoroughly exploring the ruins and admiring the view, Sherman whisked us away to Arikok National Park, which is known for its famous natural pool. After entering the park, our bumpy ride began


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in earnest. Clutching our seatbelts, railings and each other, we howled with fright and elation as we were bounced from one side to another. We exited the vehicle with obvious relief and hiked down the stairs to the natural pool. Sheltered from the fierce waves by slippery moss covered rocks, the pool has cool crystal clear water that is home to an astonishing assortment of fish. The pool was crowded with locals and tourists snorkeling, floating and jumping from the tall rocks into the pool. We all enjoyed a well-deserved lunch at Zeerovers (Dutch for pirates) in Savaneta. This tiny restaurant’s menu consists of only five items, but each one is well executed. After grabbing a picnic table with the best view of the beautiful Caribbean waters, we feasted on delicious and inexpensive lightly fried seafood paired perfectly with Aruba’s own Balashi beer and coconut ice cream. While the exhilaration of the morning left me fulfilled, I was desperately hungry for precious moments of relaxation. Mandara Spa provided the perfect opportunity. I enjoyed a relaxing hot stone massage finished with a much needed foot rub while the scent I had personally chosen permeated the room. I left refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge. Having never surfed before, I was nervous and excited to give wind surfing a try. As we walked along Eagle Beach from the resort to nearby Red Sail Sports, I was relieved to see that the water was just as peaceful as my first day in Aruba. The continuous breeze, calm weather and shallow water make wind sports ideal for the east coast. With the help of careful instructors, I quickly went from tumbling off my board with every gust to zipping up and down the beach smiling confidently. It was the perfect conclusion to my three days in Aruba, the island that defied and exceeded my expectations in many ways.

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For an island small enough to drive from one tip to the other in less time than it takes for my morning commute from Dunwoody to Woodstock, it held more surprises than I’d anticipated. Although I saw and experienced much during my short stay, I am already looking forward to my next adventure on this beautiful tropical desert island. PN FOR MORE INFORMATION aruba.com arubanationalpark.org marriott.com mandaraspa.com


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November 2017 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 39

Counting ON ...




I WAS ABOUT SEVEN YEARS OLD when my grandparents gave me a pool table for Christmas. It wasn’t exactly a regulation table and was easily stored or knocked over. It was great fun for a month or two, before the cues got broken or were lost, and my friends no longer wished to be beaten. They still sell those portable pool tables, along with cheaper air hockey, ping pong and foosball tables at sporting goods and some national chain stores. Games of all sorts have always been popular holiday gift items, and the sales consultants at Greater Southern Home Recreation field questions aplenty during the buying frenzy. David Piha, president of Greater Southern and fourth generation in the family business, said his sales consultants strive to educate and inform consumers as well as provide options for customers to consider and care after their purchase. “Air hockey and foosball are very popular, but there is a fine line in terms of quality,” Piha said. “We spend a lot of time during the holiday season trying to educate people on that. At the end of the day, if someone says they only want to spend $200 or $300 on a ping pong table or a foosball table, then you are going to have to go somewhere else to get one. If you buy from a sporting goods store, you really do get what you pay for. At that price point, you are getting more of a toy than something that is going to last you years on end. We won’t sell something that we can’t back up. It’s not worth the aggravation.” Greater Southern, with locations in Atlanta and on Windward Parkway in Alpharetta, elevates its appeal by providing recreational games well above “toy” status. About 10 years ago, Piha said con-

sumers clamored for poker tables before the game’s popularity was washed away on the river so to speak. Now, games that were once popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s have regained momentum. “Pinball is definitely making a big comeback,” Piha said. “The really hot title in that right now is Star Wars Premium. Also, the Multicade arcade games are extremely popular. We have been selling those for years, and they have been doing really well, especially during the holidays. Those provide 60 of the classic games all in one. Games like Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Centipede [and others] with the original type of controls are available in a commercial-grade, Retro-style cabinet.” If you have plans to build a new home, remodel your existing home or repurpose your basement, Piha has a dedicated person for working directly with interior designers to help conceive your multi-functional game room. “We work a lot with interior designers. We rely heavily on that part of the business and have worked hard to cultivate it and retain it. Generally, if a designer has worked with us once, they will come back because they know we will treat them and their customers right,” he said. Greater Southern also sells furniture for home theaters but leaves the electronic aspects to its partner, Harmonic Homes, which has set up a model room in Greater Southern’s Atlanta store. Greater Southern carries pool and shuffleboard tables, darts, jukeboxes and much more to keep you, your family and friends amused. Some financing options are available. greatersouthern.com PN PHOTO COURTESY OF GREATER SOUTHERN HOME RECREATION

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A Twinkle


I KNOW I DON’T SPEAK FOR MYSELF when I dub this as one of the best times of year. Aside from my own family’s traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I love how our entire community comes alive with a certain spirit once the holiday season gets underway. It’s one that celebrates the family through nostalgic adventures, cozy food and, of course, with plenty of shopping to fill in the spare moments. Amidst little room on my family’s calendar this year, there’s one event we’ve moved to the top of the list – Lanier Island Resort’s Magical Nights of Lights. Celebrating 25 years of sparkling showmanship, this popular holiday lights show is more than a colorful 7-mile ride in the car. In fact, Magical Nights of Lights offers one of the most complete holiday experiences for the entire family you can find. For us – with a toddler and his baby sister – getting the most out of every escapade is a priority. Making the experience something to treasure year after year is priceless. This year, the lights show continues to evolve, according to Missy Burgess, director of public relations and sponsorships for the resort. “We have really honed in on the idea of tradition and are focused on doing what we do best,” said Burgess. “We were really the first lights show game in town,” she added. “When we started it back in 1993, we only had about 40 pieces. Now, we have millions of twinkling lights throughout the resort, and we’ve continued to add lots of new sections. Every year, we work toward making it bigger, so that it is truly the best experience in town.” This year, the Magical Nights of Lights includes the addition of a 70-foot Christmas tree as the centerpiece, the return of the crowd-favorite – and sorely missed during its reparation – 12 Days of Christmas display and a brand new Coca-Cola section along Hotel Road. “People love that this is a time they can spend with their family – riding in the car together, singing Christmas carols and really just getting in the mood for Christmas – no matter what size or shape family they have,” Burgess said. “It’s so fun to be able to see all of the lights together and then jump out at the end and continue that fun with shopping, personalizing ornaments, riding carnival rides or roasting s’mores. That complete package is why it’s become an annual tradition for a lot of families. Some of the people here, who now have kids, have been coming since they were kids. They’ve been collecting their ornaments and look forward to it year after year.” Magical Nights of Lights is open daily, Nov. 17 through Jan. 3, from 5 to 10 p.m., with admission beginning at 4:30 p.m. The event costs $45 per car for up to 10 passengers, and you can save $10 by ordering your ticket online at lanierislands.com. There is no additional charge to visit the Holiday Village, but you can buy wristbands or individual tickets to jump on one of the rides or check Christmas card pictures with Santa off of your list. PN



“People love that this is a time they can spend with their family – riding in the car together, singing Christmas carols and really just getting in the mood for Christmas – no matter what size or shape family they have.” MISSY BURGESS | Lanier Islands Resort November 2017 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 43




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12 IN 2017




Blessed Trinity High School

On Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., find that perfect gift and shop at more than 100 different vendors offering many unique items such as home and holiday décor, art, jewelry, pottery, children’s items, accessories and much more. Now in its fifth year, this gift show is completely indoors and has plenty of parking, so no need to worry about weather or having to ride in a shuttle. In addition to vendors, enjoy hourly raffles, a huge bake sale and full-service concessions – all for free admission. Blessed Trinity is located at 11320 Woodstock Road in Roswell behind the Home Depot on Highway 92. 678-277-9083, btcatholic.org

NOV. 10 – DEC. 24 C A L L I N G A L L E LV E S

North Point Mall

Santa’s Toy Factory is an exclusive partnership with the iconic toy manufacturing company Mattel Inc. It is designed to empower creativity through an interactive, immersive experience meeting Santa. Within the 1,600-square-foot space, young guests can put on their very own construction hat before they have the opportunity to “test” toys in Santa’s Factory. After they “test” the toys, they visit different stations to digitally design, assemble and paint toys by Barbie, Thomas & Friends and Hot Wheels. The grand finale, of course, will be meeting Santa himself for photos to capture this memory for the family and receive a special gift from Santa.


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DEC. 1 – 22 S A N TA’ S C O M I N G T O T O W N


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And in celebration of the season, the City of Norcross will host ‘Sparkle! A Celebration of Kids, Creativity and Magic.’ Join in on the awe and excitement of the Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. in Thrasher Park. Santa will be busy checking his list at his workshop in the park and will be available for photos with all the good little boys and girls. Catch Santa’s carriage Dec. 1 – 22 every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in front of Taste of Britain. You can catch Santa at Remax on Jones Street (downtown Norcross) starting on Dec. 5. Continue the joys of the holidays by

listening to the sounds of the season at the First Friday Holiday Concert with the Rhythm Jets on Dec. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Norcross Community Center. Open your imaginations and peer into homes from yesteryear and today during the magical Historic Norcross Holiday Tour of Homes on Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Candlelight Tour from 6 to 9. For more information, visit aplacetoimagine.com

DEC. 2, 9, 10, 15 FA M I LY F U N F O R E V E RYO N E


Celebrate the holidays in Roswell! Kick off the season on Dec. 2 with Breakfast with Santa, Lighting of Town Square, and Santa’s Secret Gift Shop (shuttle available). The Southern Trilogy will join

together for Homes for the Holidays: A Family Christmas on Dec. 10 where the whole family can visit each beautifully decorated home and sing carols, make ornaments and enjoy treats! Run off those holiday calories at the Candy Cane Fun Run in East Roswell Park on Dec. 9. Immediately following the race, the kids can enjoy a pizza dinner and Candy Cane Hunt! On Dec. 15, drop your kids off for a Pajama Party with Santa with snacks, crafts and watching “The Polar Express.” roswellgov.com

DEC. 6, 9, 10, 24 G E T T I N G I N T H E H O L I DAY SPIRIT


Johnson Ferry Baptist Church will host a fun family festival on Dec. 6 from 4 to 7.30 p.m. with more than 20 fun and festive venues, including horse carriage rides, food trucks, music, cake walks, crafts and more. Also, you won’t want to miss The Johnson Ferry Christmas Festival – a 30-year North Atlanta tradition – on Dec. 9 and 10 at 4 and 7 p.m. Join the JF Choir & Orchestra in an immersive worship filled with Christmas favorites, a traditional sing along and captivating story. On Dec. 24, everyone is welcome to enjoy the Christmas Eve candlelight services. Modern services are held at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., while traditional services will be held at these times as well as 6, 8 and 11 p.m. The Shine Special Needs Ministry holds service at 3 p.m. johnsonferry.org

DEC. 14 - 17 F L E E T W O O D DA N C E T H E AT R E ’ S “ T H E N U T C R AC K E R ”

Blessed Trinity Catholic High School

Fleetwood Dance Theatre, Inc. presents their 18th annual production 48 | POINTS NORTH | November 2017


HOLIDAY EVENTS & ATTRACTIONS of “The Nutcracker” Dec. 14 - 17 at the Blessed Trinity Catholic High School Performing Arts Center. The 80-member cast has been rehearsing since August in preparation for this holiday classic. The company dancers spend years training for the opportunity to audition for the lead roles as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dewdrop. It is such an accomplishment to see young girls start in kindergarten as gingerbread dancers and reach their senior year performing the lead roles. The Saturday 11 a.m. performance is for Girl Scout troops to attend. At the conclusion of the ballet, they will have a behind-the-scenes tour of how the technical aspects of the show run. The scouts will also receive a patch. 678-356-2779, fleetwooddance1@gmail.com



From Nov. 9 – Dec. 24, Scottsdale Farms Garden Center, located in the heart of Milton, is the perfect family destination for the Christmas season. You’ll find fresh cut and live Christmas trees, 2’-13’, handmade wreaths and garlands, flocked trees, hayrides, Santa and farm animals. The magical gift barn is decked with ornaments, gifts and home décor. November 2017 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 49



Stop by the Christmas Open House on Nov. 9. Check their website for a ­schedule. 770-777-5875, scottsdalefarms.com H O L I DAYS W I T H MICKEY AND FRIENDS

Wishdrawals Travel

Walt Disney World is so amazing

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during the holidays. The parks are decorated with beautiful trees, wreaths and bows, while Cinderella’s Castle shimmers with millions of white lights that shine down Main Street USA. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party is held on select nights in November and December at the Magic Kingdom and holiday music fills the air as soon as you walk into the park where Mickey, Santa and Friends, are all dressed in

their most festive holiday attire. Don’t forget to stop by and get your homemade cookies and hot chocolate while watching the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade and Holiday Wishes Fireworks show. Disney Cruise Line is another great holiday attraction, as the ships are decorated from top to bottom and special activities are offered for the Thanksgiving at Sea or Very Merrytime Cruises. Enjoy a special tree lighting

The Nutcracker 2017



December 14th: Thursday @ 7:30pm December 15th & 16th: Friday and Saturday @ 8pm December 16th: Saturday @ 11am & 3pm December 17th: Sunday @ 2:30pm For Tickets visit tututix.com/fleetwood For Girl Scout Troops-11 am performance/Backstage tour/patch call 678-356-2779 For general information: email us at Fleetwooddance1@gmail.com or 678-356-2779 ceremony, gingerbread house decorating for the family, meeting Santa onboard, visits with the characters all dressed in their holiday costumes and much more. Let Courtney Palmer at Wishdrawals Travel plan a magical Disney vacation for your family this season. Her expertise is absolutely free to you. wishdrawals.com H O L I DAY T R E AT S AND SUITES


We’re reconnecting food to its roots through our gardens, local farmers and foragers at Beechwood Inn. Our two chefs, winners of Best Chefs America, offer cooking classes, wine tastings and extraordinary farm-to-table wine dinners each Saturday. Advance reservations are required. You can find the prix-fixe menus at beechwoodinn.ws Or, start a White Birch Inn tradition as you cozy up to the fireplace in one of our suites. After an exciting day of shopping and dining, steps away from the inn, enjoy complimentary wine and cheese in the lounge. whitebirchinn.net n




GEORGIA MOUNTAINS “ THE MOUNTAINS ARE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK!” 9 0 m i n u tes f r om Atl a n ta , Gr een vi l l e & Ash evi l l e Thursday Nov 23rd 8am registration/ 9am race begins


the Season


Thanksgiving morning toss the turkey in the oven and bring the entire family to race (run or walk) in the Turkey Trot! The 5k raises funds for the Food 2 Kids program at the Food Bank of Northeast GA. www.claytoncrawl.org

Friday, Nov 24th: 5pm – 8pm


Skip the chaos of the big city and come to downtown Clayton for your Black Friday shopping. This is a wonderful small town event for the whole family. Shops will be open late and offering holiday specials. Streets are lined with luminaries and the big guy himself might stop by to visit!!! 6pm Tree Lighting @ Rock House Park

Friday, Nov 24th – Sat Nov 25th: 10am – 5pm

CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA & FESTIVAL OF TREES Rabun County Civic Center, 706-982-9432

Saturday, Dec 2nd :5pm


www.downtownclaytonga.org AWAR D







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Off the PAGE



As we gear up for the holidays, the Points North team shares our own favorite food memories that celebrate families

“Gluehwein is a German/Austrian winter holiday drink. I first had it years ago in Munich at their famous Christmas Market while on a trip with my mom. I had the opportunity once again in Quebec during Winter Carnival. This festive drink has now become our traditional beverage after neighborhood Christmas caroling. It warms the body and soothes the throat after belting out all those notes!” – Tiffany Willard

and the traditions we’ve grown up with … and they still taste delicious. Visit pointsnorthatlanta.com for more of these recipes and start making your own memories before the hustle and bustle begins.

GLUEHWEIN (Hot Wine for Christmas Caroling) Submitted by Tiffany Willard ¾ cup water

until steaming, but not simmering. Serve in hot

¾ cup sugar

mugs or glasses that have been preheated in

1 cinnamon stick

warm water so they don’t break.

1 orange 10 whole cloves

Tip: I multiply this recipe for Christmas Car-

1 bottle red wine

oling night. I make the syrup mixture on the stovetop, then pour the mixture and the wine

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar

into a crockpot and steam on low until ready

and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce

to drink.

heat and simmer. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into the simmering water.

Tip: I’ve used all kinds of inexpensive red

Push the cloves into the outside of the orange

wine. A fruitier wine works best. Try Merlot,

peel and place the peel in the simmering

Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve also used

water. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes until


thick and syrupy. Pour in the wine and heat

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“The combination of smells in our New Jersey kitchen during the holiday season is firmly entrenched in my nose’s memory bank. I think apples simmering in cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, brown sugar and other ingredients provide a clear and fond reminder of my mother’s apple crisp. Served warm just out of the oven with vanilla ice cream, or fresh whipped cream or even a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, it is a perfect holiday treat when the days and evenings turn cool. “I also have included my mother’s cranberry chutney recipe, which I am fairly certain is a “Yankee” favorite. This recipe has been passed along to my two sisters, but hasn’t yet made an annual appearance in Cumming. But, I think my mother got much use from this recipe, and it might have been one of the reasons she was named president of the Junior League in her hometown 40-something years ago. You can serve it with turkey, chicken and pork, and it makes an intriguing pairing with stuffing.” – Carl Danbury (recipes online)



“Nothing says Christmas Eve like (my) grandma's Peanut Butter Balls. My sisters and I would visit her house about a week before our extended family's traditional Christmas Eve dinner to roll up the peanut butter dough and take turns dipping it into melted chocolate. Once they'd cooled, what we hadn't eaten along the way would get packed into glass canisters and tins to spend their short existence. To this day, I can't eat them except at the holidays, at which time I eat way too many with way too much nostalgia to even think about regret.” – Jennifer Colosimo

“My Grandma died before I was mature enough to record her yeast roll recipe. The last time I tasted them must have been 1977. I remember that she never used a measuring cup or spoons. She eyeballed everything and it always turned out perfect! She churned her own butter from the milk she got from her cows. She made the rolls in muffin tins. It seemed like she made 100 rolls and painted them with fresh homemade butter-it gave them a toasty muffin top. I miss my Grandma. I was her favorite. She was the one that made us all get together every few months.” – Linda Ladd-Roberts


(recipe online)

wax paper. Let balls stand for

Submitted by Jennifer Colosimo 3 cups powdered sugar

20 minutes. Melt the dipping

1 cup peanut butter

chocolate according to package

6 tbsp butter, softened

instructions. Using a toothpick,

2 lbs. dipping chocolate

dip each ball into the melted chocolate and place about an

Mix together powdered sugar,

inch apart on the wax paper.

peanut butter and butter. Shape

Let dry at room temperature.

into 1-inch balls, placing them

Store tightly covered in a cool

on a baking sheet covered with

dry place.


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Off the PAGE


The Track Training Diary of a Not-So-Fast Skinny Kid


Children ages 8 to12 love this funny novel, but moms especially can’t help laughing out loud as the book reminds them of their own sons. Kids love it because it’s not preachy. A LIMITED TIME



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“Tradition speaks volumes and the sounds and smells of the holiday season top that list. When it comes to food, vinegar pie is one of our family’s favorites. I can’t say that this is one of those recipes that has been passed down through generations, crafted with care and made with love; it originated from a historic hotel in Sylva, N.C. called the Jarrett House. Still, there is something about this particular dessert that makes a connection to our past. A word about the name: What!? Vinegar pie? Vinegar. Really? Don’t let the name fool you. It really is delicious. I think you’ll be more overwhelmed by the soft texture and sugar used in the recipe than any other ingredient. The vinegar just gives it a little “tang.” Don’t say you won’t like it until you’ve tried it.” – Robin Harrison


“My mom goes all out every year for the holidays with a spread for a large, hungry group. But the hands-down favorite must be her tater-tot casserole. This dish is serious comfort food! If it doesn’t sound fancy, that’s because it isn’t, and neither are we. This is a real stick-toyour-ribs southern classic that vanishes shortly after she puts it on the table.” – Christine Kirk


Submitted by Robin Harrison 1 stick of butter 1 ½ cups granulated sugar 3 eggs 2 tbsp plain flour 2 tbsp white vinegar 1 tbsp vanilla Combine ingredients, then pour into a pre-made pie shell and bake for 45-55 minutes at 300 degrees.

TATER TOT CASSEROLE Submitted by Christine Kirk 2 lbs. tater tots ½ large onion, chopped 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 can cream of celery soup 8 oz. sour cream ½ cup water 2-3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients (except for the cheese) in a large bowl. Spoon into a 9x14 casserole dish. You can use a smaller, deeper baking dish if desired. Bake for 1½ hours. Sprinkle cheese on top during last 5 minutes of baking. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ROBIN HARRISON; JENNIFER COLOSIMO

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“This baked mac & cheese has become so popular with friends and family that no matter the celebration, dinner party, holidays or just pot luck, we cannot come unless my wife brings this dish.” – George Colmant

BAKED MAC & CHEESE Submitted by George Colmant 4 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 can of stewed or diced tomatoes bread crumbs (plain) milk (to moisten) butter (not margarine) 1 diced onion 1 lb. elbow macaroni Cook the macaroni according to package (al dente since you will also be baking for an hour). Put diced onion in an oven safe dish (we use a large bowl, adding ingredients by layers to make sure everything is evenly distributed). Create the first layer with about ⅓ of the cooked macaroni and then add about ⅓ of the cheese. Sprinkle a little breadcrumbs, salt and pepper – mix all well. Repeat with another layer, then once more until you’ve incorporated all the macaroni and most of the cheese, but make sure you save enough cheese to cover the top of the bowl. When all is mixed well, add can of tomatoes, juice and all. Mix well. Add about ⅓ cup of milk, just enough to moisten the pasta so it doesn't dry out while baking. Put the rest of cheese on top, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and put thin slices of butter on the top (about 10-12). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min to an hour - until top is lightly browned.

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TO GIVE IS TO RECEIVE! This holiday season, purchase a gift certificate of $150 and receive an additional $25 gift card* to treat yourself (or someone else) — it’s Spa Sydell’s gift of thanks to you! Ponder no longer about what gift to buy that special someone — Atlanta’s iconic luxury day spa, Spa Sydell offers a relaxing environment, top-notch service providers, innovative products, and integrative aesthetics—what gift could be better? More than 75 spa and medi-spa services are available including: massages, facials, microdermabrasion, manicures, pedicures, spray tan and waxing; Juvederm, Botox, Volbella and Kybella injectables; state of the art laser treatments; and innovative microneedling and human growth factor treatments using the latest in cutting-edge bioscience technology. Gift certificates can be applied towards any service, series or products available at any Spa Sydell location, but cannot be used for cash, gratuity, taxes or put towards any gift certificate purchase. Shipping is available. * Offer valid through December 24, 2017

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GIVE THE GIFT OF FLIGHT this holiday season. Experience the thrill of a lifetime – every time – safe and fun for ages 3 to 103. Fly as an individual or with your friends and family, we also offer holiday parties for social groups and corporate outings. GIFT VOUCHERS are available online, over the phone, or in person – our gift vouchers can be used at any of our 30 tunnels nationwide and never expire. 27 7 8 C o bb Par kway S E , Atl a n ta 3 0 3 3 9 H 6 78 -8 0 3 -4 3 59 H i fl y w o r l d .c o m / a tl a n ta

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A HEALTHY SKIN EXPERIENCE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON The holiday season is the perfect time to share the gift of healthy, young-looking skin at AYA™ Medical Spa. AYA™ has been serving the Atlanta and Alpharetta metro areas with the finest non-surgical cosmetic treatments for nearly twenty years. Founded by four boardcertified plastic surgeons, AYA™ strives to provide a healthy skin experience with the help of Botox® Cosmetic Injections, Facial Fillers, Laser Hair Removal, and Chemical Peels, as well as some of the most up-to-date cosmetic technology available including Sciton® Laser Treatments, PDO Threads, AQUAGOLD® fine touch™ for Cosmetic Injectables, and CoolSculpting® Non-Surgical Fat Reduction in a soothing, spa-like environment. Present this ad to receive 20% off your next cosmetic treatment or service at AYA™. A gift card from AYA™, good towards all services and skincare products, makes an excellent gift this holiday season. Promotion expires 12/15/17. Services vary by location. Some exclusions may apply. May not be combined with other offers.

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THE MAGIC OF GIVING EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF GIVING at Piper Lillies. Now through Dec. 23, present this coupon to receive 20 percent off any one regularly priced item (limit one coupon per customer). Gift certificates and wish lists are available, too.

LET TAYLOR BROOKS pamper you for all your holiday parties by giving you a dazzling look that will turn heads. They welcome all hair textures. Call today to make your appointment for your hair and makeup fun. Also, get great deals on Redken and Pureology gift sets and gift certificates which make awesome holiday gifts!

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MORE THAN A SPA A TOUCH OF HOPE is a holistic Day Spa with your long-term health in mind, offering massage therapy, skin care, spray tans, waxing, sugaring, eyelash extensions and new services like micro-needling. Each of their highly sought-after therapists are skillfully trained in their area of work and customize each treatment to clients’ needs. They have just added a bridal menu and spa princess parties. Gift certificates available

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A FRESH ADDITION to the downtown Crabapple district, Hello Lovely is your destination for stylish clothing, accessories and gifts. Look for their yellow building at the intersection of Crabapple Road and Birmingham Highway across from Milton’s side patio. Gift Certificates are available. Present this ad for 20% off one full-priced item.

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EXCITING GIFTS THAT EVERYONE WANTS TO OPEN FIRST. ATLANTA HOBBY specializes in remote control aircraft, boats, cars, helicopters and drones. They are a fullservice supplier and offer training, upgrades repairs and maintenance.


TIMELESS STYLES FOR ALL WOMEN. LIVE LOUD. LOVE INTENSELY. CREATE ART. WEAR IT DAILY. 25% off with Teacher, Student, or Military ID. Cannot be combined with other offers.

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These Demilune Candles from the Northwoods Collection is a woody blended fragrance — perfect for the holiday season. They are hand-poured in the USA into recycled, handblown glass. A bonus, a portion of the proceeds from this collection is donated to the World Wildlife Fund to help protect polar bears and their environment. Accentrics Design has plenty of gifts and holiday items to choose from throughout the holiday season, so come see us!

A Fernbank Gift Membership includes unlimited free museum visits, including access to 75 acres of outdoor adventures, plus special exhibits, family events, and discounts in the Museum Store, the Fernbank Café and the Giant Screen Theater.

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168 written & photographed writtenby byBROOKS LAURENMETZLER VASTINE

Nodding to their ever-changing charm and steady draw, we’re highlighting ways to spend 200 minutes in a different Points North Atlanta community for each of our 2017 issues. Whether you spend all 200 minutes in one place or divvy it up to discover several, enjoying your time in this neighborhood starts now.

CONSIDER THE SHOTGUN BUNGALOWS lining Church Street. At one time, these homes surrounding Marietta Square housed workers from Lockheed-Martin, Bell Aircraft and the Brumby Chair Factory, which is now home to stylish loft apartments. Strolling toward the square, you’ll pass the mansions of war generals and businessmen who laid the groundwork for the Marietta we know today. As you continue your stroll, you’ll see longstanding religious institutions like Zion Baptist Church, once a congregation of 88 former slaves that successfully organized in 1866. A few blocks farther, when you reach the square, the 183-year-old hub of Marietta has become a bustling confluence of fine arts, eclectic cuisine and quality entertainment.



















After the Great Depression, Art Deco swept the country. In 1935 Marietta, that culminated in the state-of-the-art Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre. The Strand was a movie house, and its first screening was a picture called “Top Hat,” featuring Ginger Rogers To BURGER’S and Fred Astaire. FARMER’S Even more extraorMARKET dinary than its ➡ To modern marble MCFARLANE NATURE PARK facade was the acoustic sound system, not to mention its fireTo SAGE ➡ proof projection WOODFIRE room and air TAVERN and SOPE conditioning. CREEK The Strand operated as a movie theater until the mid1970s. Its drop in popularity is attributed to the rise of modern multiplex theaters. Today, it is a renovated version of the original






1935 structure, but the theatre may have only lived on in history books if it weren’t for a handful of dedicated locals. Friends of The Strand first met in 2003, determined to revive the vacant building, according to general manager Cassi Costoulas. These passionate community members assembled and eventually raised enough money to renovate the theatre, and it reopened in January 2009. “We’re more affordable than a movie theater, and we have a full bar,” said Costoulas, who claimed that you’ll find a much more engaged audience at The Strand, thanks, in part, to a roster of longtime silver screen favorites. The Strand screens Casablanca and The Princess Bride annually, while silent movies, complete with an in-house organist, are on rotation year-round. In the latter category, moviegoers are encouraged to react to onscreen moments, egged on by lively scores and film jumps worn in over time.

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Downtown Marietta The Strand

Downtown Marietta

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Dining on the Square

Movies aren’t the only thing The Strand has to offer. Each summer brings a Motown Musical Revue, and each winter a Christmas-themed revue is offered. The Strand Ole Opry is a variety show put on several times a year, each time with different acts. Don’t want to wait until the next big production? Every Wednesday is Open Mic Comedy Night, and two bars are open Friday through Saturday. For those who just want to relax with an adult beverage, there are two options. Climb the historic staircase all the way to the fourth floor and enjoy the open-air deck, dubbed Brew with a View. From the terrace, visitors can enjoy local brews from Red Hare along with live music and views of Kennesaw Mountain. If you’d prefer to stay inside, walk down a floor to the Lumiere Lounge, a cinephile-themed piano bar with a laid back vibe.




After catching a movie at one of the oldest establishments on the square, head to one of the newest. Two Birds Taphouse opened in July 2016, but it has the air of a neighborhood watering hole that’s been around forever. “Our idea was to build a bar that we’d like to go to,” said Jeff Byrd. He and his wife Rachel have lived in Marietta since 1987, but it was his son Dan Byrd’s idea to open a gastropub in their hometown. To Jeff and Rachel, “gastropub” means serving local and regional craft beer and “elevated bar food.” A rotating group of 20 craft beers, with a concentrated focus on Georgia brewers, is one of Two Birds’ biggest selling points. Not

only do they stock well-established local names like Sweetwater, Red Brick and Terrapin but also brews from closer to home like Reformation out of Woodstock and Burnt Hickory from Kennesaw. There’s plenty on hand to wash down, though, thanks to chef Justin Balmes, a beloved local talent who appeared on season seven of Food Network Star. His menu is seasonally driven, with lighter fare in the summer and heartier options as the weather cools down. Wildly popular are staples like Mexican Street Corn, an otherwise traditional appetizer brought to life with fresh cheese, manchego, cilantro and lime. Richer and heartier still is the pastured pork loin schnitzel topped with gouda, a “quickled” mix of strawberries, peaches and fennel, jalapeño, charred vidalia, herbs and peanut. Balmes said many ingredients are sourced from local vendors.

Rachel Byrd helped find the property and now helps plan events for the restaurant. The brick structure has served a variety of different purposes since its construction in the late 1800s. “It was nondescript, an office building with dropped ceilings,” Byrd said. When they purchased the property, building inspectors believed it was one snowstorm away from being condemned, she added. Now, roll-up doors flank the street-facing side, and warm light from Edison bulbs whisks meanderers in. Inside, exposed brick and beams tell of the building’s history, while light fixtures made of chicken feeders and tables handcrafted by local carpenters tease its exciting future.




You’ll need more than 200 minutes to take in everything Marietta has to offer, especially if you take breaks to eat. For international fare, try some flaky pastries at the Australian Bakery and Cafe. This unique eatery opened in 2001, when lifelong friends Mark Allen and Neville Steel decided to bring Australian meat pies to the United States. Now, they ship their pies across the country, offering more than a dozen varieties

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features a wide variety of gourmet salads and unique pastas. Guests can expect a similar ambiance and nightly entertainment they may have enjoyed at Sage’s Dunwoody and Alpharetta locations. “Our priority is to ensure that our guests feel like an honored visitor in my family’s home,” said James Liakakos, president of Sage Woodfire Tavern Restaurant Group. Liakakos has a great eye for restaurant design and has put his personal touch and more than 35 years experience into the design of the new Marietta location. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park


No on the traditional pie — homemade flaky crust stuffed with beef sirloin and gravy. Piastra is a quaint Italian bistro created by Greg Lipman and his mother Betty. Greg did a great job at Dal Cuore in Johns Creek and Alon’s in Dunwoody prior to opening Piastra. The menu offers classics like Fettucine Carbonara, Brodetto (a seafood stew perfect for cooler nights), Tagliatelle Vongole (white clam sauce) and rich desserts like Cioccolato Croccante (chocolate cake topped with a hazelnut meringue, blackberries, warm caramel sauce and a chocolate shell). Dine intimately in the upstairs dining room that overlooks the square. For dishes from Seoul and San Juan on the same plate, hop on over to Taqueria Tsunami. Mix-and-match Asada Zing tacos (made with Korean Bulgogi beef and shitake mushrooms) with tempura

fried fish Baja tacos for a truly international meal. For a sweet treat, check out Sweetreats Ice Cream and Coffee House or head over to Miss Mamie’s, a Cupcake Wars award-winner. If you’re in need of a caffeine fix instead of a sugar rush, Cool Beans Coffee Roasters roasts small batch coffees in house. You can watch and smell from miles away as the bright red roaster sitting across from the counter churns beans from far corners of the globe. Marietta’s southeast border creeps near the Perimeter, and while technically boasting an Atlanta address, Sage Woodfire Tavern’s newest location recently opened at the busy intersection of Powers Ferry and Windy Hill roads. Sage is known for its hickory and oak grill preparations of fresh fish, seafood, hand-cut steaks, chops and chicken. Sage also

FRESH AND LOCAL FAVORITES Any day in Marietta is well spent at the farmer’s market, considering this area hosts some of the best local products in one impressive space. This one-stop-shop on Marietta Square has nearly everything you need to thoughtfully stock your pantry from more than 65 vendors. Buying local is not only a smart move — it’s often the tastiest. Capra Gia makes some noteworthy goat cheese in Carrollton, and they bring it fresh to the public every weekend at the market. Authentic sausages are available at Sausage World. They combine local meats with imported herbs and spices to make everything from Jamaican Jerk to English Bangers. Hometown Honey, conceived by Brian

Higgins and his son, Branden, in response to the dwindling wild honeybee population, offers truly natural local honey. Another option is Burger’s Farmer’s Market on Canton Road, which has been providing the area with fresh produce for 44 years, from year-round staples to seasonal vegetables and fruits. They also offer a selection of flowers and plants to add to your garden. Mr. Burger travels all around the neighboring southern states to gather the freshest, highest quality produce and other treats like artisan jams and jellies, breads and farm fresh eggs. He takes care of the daily deliveries to the market, which is now run by his two daughters, Sharilyn and Tina. Burger’s refrigerated section carries popular favorites like Amish butter and local hoop cheese.




Marietta also possesses an entire outdoor oasis waiting to deliver a good sweat in cool fall temps. The variety this area offers in the way of family-specific adventure satisfies interests that sit on two wheels, traverse on two feet or prefer a vantage point from the picnic blanket with a pair of binoculars or a good book. My favorite place to accomplish all three is Sope Creek. Not as bike-heavy as the famous Silver Comet Trail, or as grueling as the popular Kennesaw Mountain hike, a

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mile-long route winds around Sope Creek for a way to mystify the nature-loving minds of both young children and seasoned adults. With minimal gear required, you’ll start your short trek along the sun speckled pathways, stopping often to engage young, curious minds distracted by the sightings of bugs, birds and other skittish wildlife. As the trail meanders on, weave around (and through) the old Marietta Paper Mill’s ruins, descending stacked stone stairs before seeing the small wondrous waterfall that eventually leads you back to the banks of serene Sope Creek. Here, there are ample spots to set up afternoon camp – whether it’s for a picnic packed from your leftovers on the square or a space to discuss both nature and history’s wonders from the trail. McFarlane Nature Park is about 20 minutes from the busy square, but feels like you’ve entered another county. An expanse of land protected in the will of its former owners, its establishment was the first project of The Cobb Land Trust in 1992. Now, its 11 acres of sprawling fields and wooded areas find families and children of all ages deep in giddy concentration trying to complete the park’s nature scavenger hunt or simply enjoying their day. “The park attracts families who like to come and play in the wide open fields,” said Tina Engberg, a member of the park’s Task Force. “Teenagers come fly drones. Younger kids come to ride bikes. We have fields of buttercups in the spring and

play host to neighborhood gatherings from Halloween parties to Scouting campouts and everything in between. “We’re a private park,” Engberg added. “While open to the public, we tend to be more peaceful than some other parks in the area. We do not have playground equipment, so families are free to use their imagination.”




History lovers will relish in Marietta’s important role in the early settlement outside of Atlanta and its place in Civil War history. The Marietta Museum of History contains everything from Native American artifacts to a Homelife gallery, which shows visitors what everyday life looked like in the 19th and 20th centuries. Fans of author Margaret Mitchell won’t want to miss Marietta’s Gone with the Wind Museum. This space, formerly the Old Thomas Warehouse Building, houses artifacts like the honeymoon gown worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in the 1939 film adaptation of the novel. One of the best values of all museums in greater Atlanta is The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art (MCMA), which occupies a renovated historic classical revival building that opened as the Cobb County United States Post Office in March 1910. The museum in its current form opened in April 1990 and

continues to acquire works for its permanent collections. Showcasing American art, the museum features ambitious special exhibitions throughout the year. Executive director Sally Macaulay said the current special exhibition, which ends Dec. 17 and features portraits by Martin Pate, is extraordinary. Macaulay also suggested circling the calendar for April 14 next year, when Dylan Pierce’s Legacy of Hope exhibition begins. Pierce, who is a 31-year-old artist born in Marietta, spent the past several years painting the people of southern Africa, developing an intimate, personal connection to them. Admission to MCMA is just $8

for adults, and $6 for seniors and students under 18. For a tactile experience with history, head a few miles north to Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park. This 2,800acre national battlefield park contains the sites of several Civil War battles, including the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, fought between Tennessee General Joseph E. Johnston and Major General William T. Sherman. The park contains 17.4 miles of hiking trails, which will take you past countless earthworks, cannons and monuments. PN marietta.com mariettasquare.com sagewoodfiretavern.com twobirdstaphouse.com facebook.com/ mcfarlanenaturepark

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FOOTRACE TO FEAST Join hundreds of your Northside neighbors for the Thanksgiving Day Gobble Wobble 5K, 10K and Half Marathon race, benefiting United Way of Forsyth County. You’ll wobble your way across the finish line to earn the right to gobble down turkey and dressing, green bean casserole and cranberry sauces in complete, elasticpants-style excess. Or maybe you’ll eat the pie first. This race happens bright and early on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday Nov. 23 at South Forsyth H.S. in Cumming. unitedwayforsyth.com/gobblewobble

Find more local happenings at pointsnorthatlanta.com/calendar-of-events Send submissions a full two months in advance to calendar@pointsnorthatlanta.com

Gobble Wobble Race

EAT DURING A MONTH MEANT FOR GOOD EATING, warm up your bellies early with a tour of a tasty neighborhood restaurant scene. Sandy Springs Restaurant Week happens this month, Nov. 4-10, with special prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus from more than 20 participating restaurants, including Cibo e Beve, Il Giallo Osteria & Bar, Food 101, Under the Cork Tree and Hammocks Trading Co. In addition, you can savor a handful of exciting promotions, special treats and unique offerings from boutique eateries, such as gift baskets from CalyRoad Creamery, Susansnaps and Nothing Bundt Cakes. visitsandysprings.org/restaurantweek


POST Crabapple Market: We’re loving Points North Magazine‘s October issue — Small Town Stronghold 200 Minutes in Milton. We see several local businesses we know + love, including an awesome write up on Kathleen’s Catch in Milton! If you don’t have a copy yet you can pick one up from Kathleen’s Catch in Milton, Mugs on Milton, or Urban Farmhouse — Crabapple, just to name a few spots! #crabapplemarket #lovecrabapple #4theloveofmilton #30004 #shopsmall #shoplocal @Kathleen’s Catch in Milton

Mary Mayer: Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t share, but how often do you get on the cover of a magazine! Sweet article about Milton and what a wonderful group of Professionals to work with! Thanks, Points North Magazine!

We love to hear feedback from readers! Get in touch by email at editorial@pointsnorthatlanta.com.


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