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In this May 2015

Issue 180

ISSUE POINTS NORTH Atlanta

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Celebrating 15 Years

The Unforgotten 15 Since 2000, our staff has collectively experienced the good, the better and the best in Atlanta and beyond. Now, we dared to dream further for the future. The result is an assignment wish list of stories we’ve been waiting to share.

The Buzz about Sean O’Keefe Contributing writer Erin Greer experiences the charm, culinary prowess and charitable efforts of event planner Sean O’Keefe firsthand. If “busy as a bee” ever applied to anyone, it would most certainly be him.

Interior Design Redux Four locally based design experts share their insights on this season’s trends for updating your home. As much as Atlantans love to be outdoors this month, you may be inspired to love your indoors just as much.

Exploring by Foot, Bicycle and Fork No previous cycling experience needed to enjoy the pure elegance of Hotel Domestique, a world-class boutique hotel in South Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, so pedal until your heart’s content. Then, we’ll hit the road (this time in a car) heading north on I-75 to explore the mix of urban wilderness that makes Knoxville, Tenn. unique.

DEPARTMENTS 6 72 78 80

Serenbe; Photo courtesy of Jessica Ashley Photography

DUE NORTH NORTHSIDE VIEW

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTIONS 34 Home Sweet Home 62 Guide to Summertime Fun

48 facebook.com/PointsNorthMagazine PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF ALLISON HAVILL TODD INTERIORS; KNOX MASON

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ON THE COVER

EDITOR’S LETTER GUY’S TIME

@pointsnorthedit

@pointsnorthatl


Editor’s LETTER

PointsNorth Atlanta

“If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.”

PRESIDENT / CEO Witt Beckman PUBLISHER Carl Danbury Jr. EDITOR Heather KW Brown CREATIVE DIRECTOR Robin Harrison SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Shannah J. Smith

— UNKNOWN

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Colleen Ann McNally

N

Not too long ago, my 7-year-old daughter asked me what she should be when she grows up. I chuckled and waited a few beats, as a slew of responses immediately came to mind. It was a simple question loaded with possibilities and certainly not an answer we needed to rush. Perpetually searching for the least amount of math and science, I spent years editing films and television shows in Los Angeles before ever sitting down to write a review on a Greek tavern in Buckhead for Points North Atlanta. That was 11 years ago. Since then, I’ve been a chef at the Culinary Institute of America, wrangled cattle out West, mountain biked in Utah, cycled through Alaska and worked on a trout farm — hair net and all — in North Carolina. And I see no signs of slowing down. This month, we’re celebrating the completion of our 15th year in publication — our 180th issue! — and with the milestone, we’re launching our latest look. We think you’ll love it as much as we do, but first, a few navigation notes: Due North now anchors the back of the book while our Calendar has officially moved online. Prior to those pages, you’ll see Guy’s Time, our new department, where Publisher Carl Danbury takes on topics the rest of us won’t. Sounds a little like Sean O’Keefe, our May profile. The consummate caretaker and celebrity host not only raises awareness and millions of dollars for charities, he also dons a beekeeping suit to feed 100,000 resident bees. Not unlike his hive, our office has been abuzz with excitement. Rather than revisiting old favorites like we did for our 10th anniversary, we’re highlighting 15 features we’ve always wanted to write, but haven’t (yet). Check that. Some of them have been written now because, like honey, the temptation was too sweet to resist. Like a butterfly, opportunities often land unexpectedly within reach. May my daughter learn, like the rest of us, when to change direction, when to stay the course and always be ready for change.

HEATHER KW BROWN, EDITOR heather@pointsnorthatlanta.com To send comments and/or suggestions on this or any other subject, e-mail us at: myturn@pointsnorthatlanta.com.

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CONTRIBUTING WRITER Erin Greer EDITORIAL INTERNS Emily Li Nicole McLaughlin Torrie Miers ADVERTISING 770-844-0969 sales@pointsnorthatlanta.com DIRECTOR ADVERTISING SALES Phillip Maxwell SENIOR MEDIA CONSULTANT Karen Poulsen ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE George Colmant Tom Tolbert ACCOUNTING & CIRCULATION MANAGER Tiffany Willard

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the ONES THAT GOT AWAY

(until now) Rather than rehashing old stories, we’re celebrating our 15TH ANNIVERSARY by sharing some of the features still on our assignment wish list. Settle in for a sneak peek of interviews we imagine, places that beckon and would-be features waiting to be written.

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1

WELSH RARE-MISS CARL DANBURY, JR. Similar to missing a straight 2-foot, uphill birdie putt, having to cancel an opportunity to visit Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, about six months prior to where the 2010 Ryder Cup matches were to be held still haunts me. While Wales might be fourth on the list of U.K. territories that American golfers and tourists seek behind Scotland, Ireland and England, its heritage as a Roman Empire outpost, along with its topography, makes it an alluring destination. Celtic Manor, set among 2,000 acres of parkland, was the brainchild of telecommunications entrepreneur Sir Terry Matthews, Wales’s first billionaire, who purchased the original estate — formerly the maternity hospital in which he was born — in 1980. He refurbished the property and opened the Celtic Manor Hotel as a 17-bedroom establishment shortly thereafter. Its capacity expanded to 70 bedrooms in the early 1990s when Matthews encouraged the late golf-course architect Robert Trent Jones, whose family roots extended to the northern Welsh town of Aberystwyth, to help construct two golf courses. After a property visit with Jones, the pair agreed to begin building the original Roman Road course at Celtic Manor. The course opened in 1995. Four years later, the Wentwood Hills course was added, providing splendorous sight lines and immense challenges for professionals when it hosted The Celtic Manor Wales Open from 2000-4. The strenuous topography of its closing holes, however, was unpopular with some players. Designer Ross McMurray created a


new layout that would eventually capture the fancies of both players and fans alike. The 2010 Ryder Cup matches, played on the newly named and created Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor, was a boon for the resort, as well as for Welsh golf, which already boasted such terrific historical golf courses like Royal Porthcawl, Nefyn & District Golf Club and Royal St. David’s among nearly 200 more. Celtic Manor Resort now offers the 330-bedroom Resort Hotel, the 19th-century Manor House with 70 bedrooms and the Newbridge on Usk, a separate country inn with six bedrooms. Just added to the property are 10 luxury Hunter Lodges that enjoy superb views over the lakes of the Twenty Ten Course, amenity-laden executive lodges and an abundance of new leisure facilities including adventure golf, treetop ropes and laser clay shooting. Nearby, history buffs will be agog by the free museums offered in southern Wales, including the National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, which allows visitors to explore life as it was in a far-flung outpost of the mighty Roman Empire. In 75 A.D., the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for more than 200 years. St

LEFT: Celtic Manor golf course; ABOVE: The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece

Fagans National History Museum is one of Europe’s leading open–air museums and Wales’s most popular heritage attraction, boasting one of the country’s finest Elizabethan manor houses, Fagan’s Castle and gardens. Sporting enthusiasts might enjoy a trip to Swansea for a Premier League football match, a rugby union match at Millennium Stadium or a cricket match at SWALEC Stadium. Both venues are in Cardiff. I’ll need no second invitation. The new clubs are in. The new bags can be packed quickly. The old passion for all things Celtic still boils within. celtic-manor.com

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RUN ATHENS HEATHER KW BROWN My ponytail sways to the cadence of my running shoes. My heart races almost faster than my mind. I can tell I am close and as I muster the mettle to pick up my pace … There, suspended in time, is where my

daydream stops. One day, I want to cross the finish line of the original marathon course in Athens, Greece, and finally cross this feature off of my assignment wish list. The idea of running a destination race and writing about my adventures has always been appealing to me. For the non-runners out there … maybe not so much. And then along comes our 15th anniversary and what do you know? We’ve found a way to finagle those features we’ve always wanted to write onto these magazine pages, after all. Following in Pheidippides’ footsteps (minus his immediate collapse) gained even more ground when I tracked down Paul Samaras, an Athens Marathon specialist for 21 years. “The race starts in the center of the town of Marathon and the course takes a lap past the tomb of the 192 Athenian soldiers who were killed in 490 B.C.,” he said.  It is said to be the first battle for democracy fought at the Greek village of Marathon and legend has it that, when the battle was won, the Athenian messenger Pheidippides ran 24.85 miles to Athens,

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CELTIC MANOR; CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / SERRNOVIK

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carrying news of the victory. The modern marathon is said to commemorate this feat — the additional 2.2 was added at the 1908 Olympic Games in London so that the race would finish in front of the royal family’s viewing box. The Athens Authentic Marathon (formerly the Athens Classic Marathon) was also the official course for the 2004 Olympics. As runners make their way through small Greek towns en route to the finish inside The Panathenaic Stadium built in 1896 for the first modern Olympics, they pass several statues including that of Pheidippides. The stadium is a stone’s throw away from the famed Acropolis. The 2015 race held on Nov. 8 offers a marathon distance, a 10K and a 5K. To register for the race and to organize your own trip, the official race website is athensauthenticmarathon.gr. If you’d rather focus on your training while a knowledgeable specialist handles the logistics, visit athensmarathon.com.

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BRING ART OFF THE SHELF COLLEEN ANN MCNALLY An East Cobb resident since 1980 and watercolor artist for as long as she can remember, Coë Steinwart finds unlimited color and subject matter waiting to be painted wherever she looks. She’s no 10 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015

starving artist; she’s one of our community’s true treasures. Even without realizing it, you’ve likely seen her work, either in one of her books or when Steinwart sets up her easel in Marietta Square. Widely known for her illustrations in the bestselling “Elf on the Shelf” and fanfare that followed, Steinwart’s talents are much wider than that. They say art is subjective, so I’ll admit my bias now: her colorful canvases first awed me at a young age when my mother started attending her art classes. Students at Cobb County Schools continue to experience that feeling of awe when Steinwart visits for Art Days. “It’s a terrific program to expose these children to somebody who’s actually working in art,” Steinwart said. “It’s so worthwhile because there are so many kids and how do you know who is going to be an artist someday?” For her, the answer was easy. “I never knew what I would do at the end of the road, but I knew it would be something in art,” she said. She didn’t tell me about the accolades I found online, like when she represented the state of Georgia with a hand-painted ornament on the 2008 White House Christmas tree. Instead, she’s focused on her next piece.

“The best painting you’ve ever done is the one you’re working on right now, and you hope to heck it turns out right. The end result is what really counts,” the 82-year-old said of painting, adding, “I’m glad I’ve hung around long enough to get that all figured out.” coesteinwart.com

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GET A FARMHOUSE FIX HEATHER KW BROWN The resident rooster is interrupted occasionally by fellow farm animals and the crunching of gravel under the tires of passing golf carts. Surprisingly, not a single golf bag is attached. Instead, giddy youngsters hitching a ride with Mom and Dad hang on with one hand and wave with the other. From the screened porch off of Dogwood Cottage, I return the smile, wondering whether my own brood is enjoying their day in Camp Serenbe. Before the feverish pitch of play-by-plays arrive from them, I soak in the solitude of Serenbe’s scenery just a little longer, watching horses graze contently in the pasture. To them, this is home. To my family, it is a much-needed retreat, where distractions come in the form of hikes, an animal


FACING PAGE: “Yellow Umbrella” by Coë Steinwart; Horses in the pasture at Serenbe THIS PAGE: Zac Brown Band; Serenbe

farm-to-table restaurant critically acclaimed by Gourmet and Bon Appétit. After dinner, we follow a trail beyond the bocce ball and croquet greens to the stone labyrinth, where the Serenbe Playhouse was preparing for its last performance of “Man of La Mancha.” The following morning, I mosey into the growing community. The streets are few but more than sufficient with tempting stops such as The Spa at Serenbe, Elite Fitness, The Hil (where Chef Hilary White now dishes her culinary creativity) and the Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop. Serenbe, obviously, is a haven that welcomes wellness, invites inspiration and encourages egress. Head south to celebrate May Day, Mother’s Day and Serenbe’s 10th anniversary this month. serenbe.com village, rope swings and an enormous treehouse that, during our stay, served as an imaginary ice cream shop. To me, it is a reminder of my own childhood, especially when the whippoorwill calls from a nearby tree. My younger sister and I spent hours in a bucolic backdrop best remembered for never-ending games of hide and seek and tall glasses of lemonade. With activities to offer all ages and only 30 minutes south of Hartsfield-Jackson, Serenbe promises memories aplenty. Aside from quaint cottages, accommodations are available in the Main House as well as in the neighboring guest house. Nestled into 900 rustic acres of Chattahoochee Hill Country, the beautiful Inn at Serenbe resides near the Farmhouse, a renowned

5

EAT FRIED CHICKEN WITH ZAC BROWN BAND COLLEEN ANN MCNALLY As a journalist, asking strangers questions is the job du jour. However, the occasional interview makes me fumble my pen and stutter my words, searching for the questions that have yet been asked. I imagine this happening when the subject doesn’t feel like a stranger at all because the public follows their career, relates to their work and can know what he or she ate for lunch via their Instagram feed. I’m talking big name celebrities, specifically Georgia’s own country music crooners.

As I write this, Sam Hunt of Cedartown, Zac Brown Band of Dahlonega, Cole Swindell of Bronwood and Chris Young of Warner Robins hold top spots on the Billboard charts. If I could only pick one of these to interview, I’m going with Brown. There’s never been a better time to pick the brain of the famous guitar picker. The band’s fourth album “Jekyll + Hyde” was released last month, and he returns May 8 and 9 for an annual Mother’s Day weekend performance at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Rather than a backstage experience, I’d join Brown on his back porch in the countryside. We’d eat fried chicken, he’d pass the jar, and I would ask him about the lesser known facets of his creative influence, such as supporting rising singers through his own record label Southern Ground, hosting the Southern Ground Music Festival in multiple cities, creating Camp Southern Ground for children to overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties and cooking up the menu at Southern Ground Social Club in Senoia. Last but not least, I would ask for writing advice. Above all, I admire the artist’s simple ability to put into words how it feels to be raised in the shade of Georgia pines or putting your toes in the clay. No matter where I go, Brown’s songs will remind me of home. The questions will have to wait for now, as his publicist regretfully informed me that Brown is incredibly busy preparing for his tour. So check back in another 15 years. zacbrownband.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF COË STEINWART; SERENBE | ALI HARPER PHOTOGRAPHY; ZAC BROWN BAND | SOUTHERN REEL AND DANNY CLINCH

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6

LOBSTERING WITH THE LOCALS HEATHER KW BROWN LEFT TO RIGHT: Lobstering in Maine; Calling the Red Stag in New Zealand

Bobbing up and down my list of features to write is the art of lobstering. The last time I was in Maine, almost 10 years ago, I ate with abandon at a traditional lobster bake near Penobscot Bay. This time, I’m looking for a waders-in-theboat education on what it means to live the life of a lobsterman. All maritime signs have been pointing back to the Pine Tree State and if my casting proves successful, I might catch more than a trap full of lobster.  The state also boasts whale watching tours, wineries and beautiful lighthouses well worth the effort to climb. My heart is set on the Downeast, where Acadia National Park and its gems await. Current reconnoissance proves tea and popovers at Jordan Pond House is a must. The tradition, dating back to 1895, started when a couple purchased the Jordan Homestead and began catering to wealthy summer visitors. While in the vicinity, I want to drive Park Loop Road, better known as Maine’s most scenic drive, and walk the Ocean Path.  What else would I do given several days to explore? I could learn to sail in the sound or stay in a bed and breakfast stateside then run across the border into Canada. If the oysters in Maine are as memorable as I’ve read, I might only get as far as restaurant tables. If you have suggestions, don’t be shy — send them my way! You just might see your tips tucked among the text of a travel feature soon.  visitmaine.com

7 THE VOICE OF THE BRAVES CARL DANBURY, JR. Former Braves broadcaster Skip Caray died in August 2008. I had once met Caray on a Delta flight to Philadelphia, barged into his broadcast booth at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego when I had a summer internship with the Padres, and said hello on numerous other occasions in the early years of Points North Atlanta. Cynics congregate, and I often felt in some ways we would have gotten along famously. When Caray began broadcasting games for Ted Turner’s SuperStation in 1976, baseball was my foremost passion. At the time, I was still playing, and thirsted to watch, learn and enjoy. When I attended the University of Alabama, replays of Braves games came on during the wee hours of the morning, and if Caray was handling the play-by-play chores at the time, I’d stay up as long as my eyelids would last. He was irreverent, and people from Jonesboro to Juneau, Alaska knew it. He was playful, and listeners from Duluth to Des Moines, Iowa, appreciated it. He knew the game, but more often let the action speak for itself rather than interject his knowledge into the event. Fans everywhere gratefully recognized it.

I tried to interview Caray on a few occasions, but I always got the sense that the interviewer was uncomfortable being the interviewee, even though millions of people watched and listened to him. I should have insisted! He was the son of Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray, and was the father of broadcasters Josh and Chip. Caray really didn’t want to be known in the broadcast booth as Harry’s son, but never seemed to mind being saluted on air as the boys’ father. Caray endured some of the worst baseball ever witnessed in Atlanta, including four straight seasons of last-place finishes to begin his career and the miserable 1988 campaign in which his Bravos lost 106 of 162 games. He also enjoyed the Braves only championship season, 1995, and the team’s long run of division titles and playoff appearances. He was our witness to the action for more than 30 years, and we were the beneficiaries.

8

CALL BIG RED WITT BECKMAN The first time I heard a bull elk bugle and then spotted one up close, I was hooked for life. Typically, I hunt during the rut, the mating season which runs from the first PHOTOS COURTESY OF VISIT MAINE; © CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / JEFFBANKE

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of September through the middle of October, when the bull elk are competing for breeding rights. The bugle is a challenge call from one to another. Hunters can use this to locate bull elk and sometimes call them into very close distances. Using a cow call, the sound of a female elk, can also draw a bull elk into range. Though I’ve been hunting elk for the past 35 years and absolutely love it, I’ve always wanted to hunt red stag in New Zealand. Similar to elk in many ways, red stag are physically comparable in size and appearance as both have huge antlers. Red stag, though, have more points to their racks and they roar. Their rut, more commonly named the Roar, is from midMarch through the end of April. Like elk, hunting red stag is done by calling and returning vocal challenges, then stalking or calling them into shooting range. The wind is a major factor and hunters are always jockeying for position to keep the wind in their face. I’ve chased elk sometimes all day in the mountains of Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico and Utah. It can be very exhausting, but the scenery is breathtaking and the chase is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. When I finally see a red stag in person, it will be during a big-game hunt in Stravon, touted to be New Zealand’s finest hunting destination, as well as in its amazing backyard, the Te Wāhipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Calling Big Red in its natural habitat would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip and arguably the most extraordinary hunting experience on the planet. Maybe one day I’ll get there. stravon.com    

9

BOND WITH BREWERS COLLEEN ANN MCNALLY While I’ve sampled my fair share of craft beer flights, sitting down to share a pint with the founders of a new brewery was an exciting first for me. Turns out, enjoying a cold one is rare for the hardworking team behind Gate City Brewing. Roswell husbands and fathers, Pat Bruins, Brian Borngesser and Garrett Nail each have a day job, but on the weekends, they do much more than May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 13


UNF OR GOTTEN 15 gluten-free items you might find are the chopped Lexington-style barbecue, grilled chicken or hamburger … hold the bun. cookout.com

11

TELL A GOOD STORY HEATHER KW BROWN

ABOVE: Gate City Brewing

drink beer together. Hailing from Portland, Ore., Bruins has honed a longtime love — or what he jokes as an “obsession” — for home brewing, a hobby he shared with Borngesser after the two met through Roswell Rotary Club. Soon their neighbor Nail joined, putting their backyard talk into action using his background as an attorney. After a long process to get licensed, they worked out an alternating proprietorship with their friends at Reformation Brewery in Woodstock — a first for breweries in Georgia. I met Bruins and Nail on National Beer Day for a taste of their “approachable” Copperhead Amber Ale, and the story behind the brews. Also on tap at nearly a dozen eateries centered around Canton Street is their 1864 Indian Pale Ale. Both were created with their demographics’ taste in mind, and the latter’s name references the year General Sherman’s troops set fire to Atlanta during the Civil War. A phoenix on their pint glasses is symbolic of Atlanta’s rise from the ashes and a nod to new beginnings. More big brews are on the horizon, but first, the guys have to keep up with demand as the beer is pouring quickly.

When Gate City finally opens its own doors, I’m looking forward to raising a glass to this rising star. facebook.com/ gatecitybrewing

10

HAVE FRIES WITH THAT CARL DANBURY, JR. Previously unbeknownst to us, Cook Out has been around a lot longer than Points North Atlanta, and while we have steered away from mentioning most fast-food options, we can no longer resist. It was a mere 15 days since Cook Out was opened on Haynes Bridge Road and the familiar lunchtime refrain of “What’ll ya have?” at The Varsity next door was as silent as one of Keats’ consecrated urns. The new kid in town opened in late March, as the expanding network of this burger, barbecue, hot dog, chicken and shake chain, which was founded in the late ’80s in Greensboro, N.C., has taken Atlanta — and elsewhere — by storm. The allure includes fresh, never frozen chargrilled hamburgers and 40 varieties of hand-spun milkshakes served with a side of expeditiousness. Salads? Nope. Calorie-, carb- and cholesterol-counters beware, as the “healthiest” and only

Reading a good story is one thing. Learning to capture and write someone else’s story (well) is quite another. I’ve come to love both. Ruminating this fact and in search of those still untold, I realized one story I’ve always wanted to research is mine. I remember bits and pieces told by family members past and present, but the need to put it all together has steadily grown. My children will miss out on generations of stories if the details aren’t saved. To date, I’ve registered on an ancestry website and have been digging diligently. During one productive search, I stumbled upon StoryCorps, an ongoing oral history project, created by a former public radio documentary producer. “More than chit chat, the point of StoryCorps is two people that know each other having a conversation about something that’s important to them,” said Daniel Horowitz Garcia, regional manager for StoryCorps, located inside the Atlanta History Center. Family and friends prepare in advance, agreeing on a topic they want to record and coming up with 10 to 12 questions. The 40 minutes of raw audio from the interview booth is available on CD as well as the option of archiving it in the Library of Congress. Who would you interview? storycorps.org

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LEARN FROM A CRAFTSMAN HEATHER KW BROWN If you caught the last February issue, you know I’ve been knee-deep in sawdust updating our mudroom. Somewhat skilled or severely lacking doesn’t really matter when it comes to my DIY projects as only a select few will see the result of my PHOTO COURTESY OF GATE CITY BREWING

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13 BE A FARM-TO-TABLE CHEF COLLEEN ANN MCNALLY

ABOVE: PeachDish’s Duck Tacos

tinkering. While I know firsthand what true talent it takes to transform raw wood into furniture that turns heads, the chance to interview a local artisan has escaped me. Owning a farmhouse kitchen table made from old pallets presents a constant reminder of the steady progress I need to maintain as well as nailing home the fact that some local artists are not only highly skilled — many of them are also rebuilding second chances for themselves. I’m still searching for that elusive profile — the craftsman who doesn’t mind sharing his or her story … and maybe a few construction tips with me. Don’t hold your breath; if it goes as quickly as my project, we could be celebrating our next anniversary by then.

Founder Hadi Irvani’s home, otherwise known as The PeachDish “test kitchen,” is where this spunky meal kit delivery start-up perfects recipes, photographs the dishes and plans more outof-the-box surprises for their customers. Established in 2013, the PeachDish team delivers not only the South’s best curated ingredients, made by passionate artisans and grown by hardworking local farmers, directly to your door — fresh, refrigerated and pre-portioned for a gourmet meal at home — but also an educational experience. Never made filet mignon or cooked with curry? Don’t sweat it. The internationally inspired recipes include easy-to-follow instructions and photos as a map to your culinary adventure. Boxes can come with enough ingredients to serve two, four, six or eight people. Choose from two vegetarian menus and two animal protein based menus online before midnight Sunday, and expect an arrival by mid-week. PeachDish also makes it easy to skip weeks if you’re out of town – or have your box delivered wherever you go in the continental U.S. I’m eagerly awaiting my surprise treat of the week. peachdish.com

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GO BACK TO SCHOOL CARL DANBURY, JR. It’s a bit perplexing to me, but I always felt that I had a knack for learning another language. Yet, I took four-and-a-half years of Latin when I was in high school, and only one semester of Spanish in college. Now, 30-plus years later, I have a hankering to learn French or Italian, which is probably

due to my fascination with those country’s wines more so than the language itself. I know many personal language instructors are in our area, but I prefer group interaction and a traditional classroom setting. I know Rosetta Stone language courses are options, but I am shackled to my computer enough each day and would rather not depend upon more electronic interactivity. Best yet, I know Emory Continuing Education (ECE) has an Alpharetta campus, and while most of their foreign language classes are taught at the Executive Park location off I-85 and North Druid Hills Road, a commitment of two hours a week for eight weeks doesn’t seem too onerous. Some of the most popular programs at ECE in Alpharetta include: Enjoying Wine: The Basics and Beyond, Decorating Basics: Principles of Design and Fundamentals of Investing. A complete list of current courses available at the Windward Parkway location can be found at ece.emory.edu/ alpharetta. Grazie mille!

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PLAN OUR PARTY CARL DANBURY, JR. Often during the 180 monthly issues we have published since May 2000, we have asked, encouraged, pleaded and otherwise demanded your participation, commentary and frank opinions about our editorial features. We’re at it again. Send your suggestions on the subject below to myturn@pointsnorthatlanta.com within the next month. We are looking for the best restaurant in the Metro area to celebrate our 15th Anniversary. Our requirements include: 1) a place to converse without raising our voices; 2) intriguing menu with solid entrees $25 and under; 3) a varied wine list that has few, if any, wines found at a grocery store; 4) knowledgeable servers; 5) and finally, a restaurant that, in your opinion, is at the head of its class but the masses don’t really know about it. If your selection is chosen, you and another person will join our celebration, and we’ll pick up the tab! PN PHOTO COURTESY OF LIZZY JOHNSTON; STYLED BY CAROLINE CLEMENTS

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The

Bee Charmer Talented Sean O’Keefe’s events raise awareness too sweet to resist written by ERIN GREER

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H “Hold on one second; I need to take off my bee suit.”

In the minute and 42 seconds I’d been on the phone with Sean O’Keefe of Sean O’Keefe Events, I’d learned that the Canadian-born, once-Hollywood-chef-to-thestars had three wire-haired dachshunds (Justice, Dexter and Mr. Butters) nipping

at his heels and 400 yellow roses and 700 hydrangeas in his home studio, the latter of which still needed to be spray-painted teal for the weekend’s gala. “It’s the ovarian cancer survivor remembrance color,” he said. “Teal, yellow and bright green…should be lovely.” I was attempting to process these rev-

elations – and take copious notes – when he sprung the bees on me. “Yes, I raise honey bees. I have a hive with about 100,000 or so bees in my yard,” he somehow managed to say into the receiver from beneath his very literal bee bonnet.

THE BLACK TIE BEEKEEPER Perhaps it’s appropriate that my first encounter with O’Keefe began with the industrious insect, for, if the phrase “busy as a bee” ever applied to anyone, it would most certainly be the Black Tie Beekeeper, whose talents in food, floral and design are proving honey-sweet for local charities like the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance (GOCA), which credits O’Keefe with its now-signature annual event, the Shaken, Not Stirred Gala. (The spray-painted hydrangeas were a hit, by the way.) Signature events for charities have become something of a trademark for O’Keefe as well. To date, he has designed events for the GOCA, the Child Development Association (CDA), the Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus, Operation P.E.A.C.E., Cure Childhood Cancer and Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, among others. The events, O’Keefe said, raise more than money for these charities – they raise awareness. That awareness is the first step in making a positive difference in the lives of others.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE BYARS PHOTOGRAPHY

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 19


SEAN O’KEEF E

At his core, O’Keefe is a caretaker. He does not tell me this, and he doesn’t have to. “Creating [Sean O’Keefe Events] around the nonprofit community put me into contact with the most amazing people who had all gathered to help other people. And the situations I found myself in – be they classes of children or children’s equestrian therapy programs or working with inner city youth or on environmental issues or within the cancer survivor community – that’s humbled me. And there’s happiness in humility I think,” he said. At his core, O’Keefe is a caretaker. He does not tell me this, and he doesn’t have to. As he prepared breakfast for the two of us - French pressed coffee, peppered applewood smoked bacon, fresh berries, “toad-in-the-hole” (fried egg in toast) and peppered roasted tomatoes with olive oil and finished with champagne vinegar and parsley – he took multiple breaks to make sure Justice (who was once paralyzed but whom O’Keefe nursed back to health), Dexter (“an unwanted pregnancy”) and Mr. Butters (abandoned in a Delta hangar) were peaceful and well. He separated out their daily medications. He told me the tomatoes from the garden will be delicious this year. He credited the bees. When and if he does speak about himself, it is always with reverence to the contributions of others. It’s a trait his charity partners have also noticed. GOCA Executive Director Doug Barron, who met O’Keefe through a mutual contact five years ago, said his greatest strength lies in his ability to unite others around a common cause. PHOTOS COURTESY OF SARAH E DODGE PHOTOGRAPHY; MICHAEL ANTHONY PHOTOGRAPHY

20 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


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SEAN O’KEEFE “He gets vendors to buy in and truly become partners with the organization,” Barron said. “When he works an event, he is an extension of that organization. He’s not just a vendor. He takes pride in becoming involved in the organization and wanting them to succeed.” Barron said it’s O’Keefe’s personal dedication to the charity’s mission, which has grown the Shaken, Not Stirred Gala from 400 people in its first year to 660-plus in its fifth year. Donna Smythe, executive director of the CDA, met O’Keefe by fortuitous happenstance. A Kentucky native, she was missing her precious Derby and wanted to stage one for the CDA. She traveled to local farms to find the perfect venue, but what she found was the perfect partner. O’Keefe, who has a lifelong love of horses, had just moved to Georgia and was working on the farm. “We hit it off instantly,” Smythe recalled. “He has an infectious spirit. He’s a quirky, innovative thinker. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished. There is nothing that will not be spectacular. He just sweeps people up in his vision. As he paints a picture of what an event can be, it’s irresistible.” That same irresistible vision translated into irresistible reality; the CDA Down Home Derby is now in its seventh year and has become, like so many of O’Keefe’s signatures, a must-attend event.

THE BUZZ O’Keefe is the consummate host and has become a local celebrity. In the last year, he has appeared on 11Alive, CBS and The Weather Channel. The exposure – and the path that led to it – remains a source of wonderment and humility for O’Keefe, who grew up fishing, jigging for cod and snaring rabbits with his grandfather in St. John’s Newfoundland. “My earliest memories are [at ages] 3 and 4, being with my grandfather and being left at the pot to stir the jam for an hour,” O’Keefe recalled. “I think he thought it was a punishment, but I loved it.” It was his grandfather that taught him to grow potatoes and to skin a bird. Cooking became perhaps O’Keefe’s first passion; it’s the one that led him to Toronto where he opened his first business, HouseHusband, an in-home food preparation service based on dietary request. It’s the one that took him to Hollywood to serve as personal chef to the industry elite. And it’s the one he sees paving the way for his next ventures. 22 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


“The only difference between me and Martha Stewart is a bad wig, a jail sentence and a sex change. And I can get all of those in Atlanta.” SEAN O’KEEFE

“There’s something very special about being in the kitchen. The kitchen has always been a place of refuge for me. It’s a place I can go and get lost in a soup or stew. It becomes a healing time,” he said, noting that, while Sean O’Keefe Events allows him to manage what comes from the kitchen, he doesn’t have the hands-on opportunities that being a chef provided. “I think I need to do that – get my hands back into the culinary world,” he said. That start may come in the next few weeks, when O’Keefe gets his hands back in the dirt, growing his own tomatoes, onions, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, ghost chilis, eggplant, jalapeños, cucumber, herbs and red, orange and green peppers in his garden. He also grows watermelon, various lettuces and sundries other veggies. He uses his figs to make gifts for clients and friends. “I jam. I can. I make booze,” he laughed, showing me a mason jar of golden amber liquid mixed with figs. “Well, to be fair,” he admitted, “I infuse spirits.” Signature events and signature cocktails – O’Keefe endorses and provides both. And perhaps the only thing more intoxicating than his fig bourbon is his personality. O’Keefe is a beautiful mix of humility, humor and charm: “The only difference between me and Martha Stewart is a bad wig, a jail sentence and a sex change. And I can get all of those in Atlanta,” he joked. I nearly choked on my toad-in-the-hole.

SWEETER THAN HONEY To date, O’Keefe estimated his events have raised more than $8 million for local charities, and, while he isn’t one to think about “legacy” per se, he very much wants to continue to make a positive difference. “I’m not worried about what I will be remembered for or if I will be remembered. I just know that people see what I’m doing right May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 23


SEAN O’KEEFE

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now and want to join me. I want to see immediate things, like I smile and someone smiles back. That’s not legacy stuff, but boy that’s important,” he said. “Moving to Georgia changed me in very many ways. Most importantly, I began to do my work not for the very few but for the very many. The joy that this has brought me has been most humbling … Knowing that I have created for myself a peace of mind because of my charity work makes me happy. Composting makes me happy. Putting my hands in dirt makes me happy. The honeybees make me happy,” he said. We both finished our coffee. He moved to take my breakfast dishes, and I refused. What followed was a heated exchange of attempting to “out-nice” each other: me attempting to “sing for my supper,” he insisting that he’ll allow me to mop the floors on the next visit but that this visit I should sit myself right back down. It was so very…Sean O’Keefe. Not just “do unto others,” but “do unto others without expectation.” “Imagine a world where everyone could do for others without expectation of recognition,” he mused from the den, where he once again checked on the dogs. “My current project, Sound No Trumpet, is a way for a few to change the world – one unnoticed good deed after another. Doesn’t that sound just wonderful?,” he beamed. Breakfast finished, we prepared to tour the gardens and talk returned to the bees. As with the many animals and people in his life, O’Keefe described his relationship with the bees as one of mutual respect and care. “There is a sense of stewardship here that is beyond words,” O’Keefe said, noting that he will soon be able to “split the hive” and “double [his] efforts.” He donned his English beekeeping suit with the ventilated sides – “you can tell it’s English and not American because it provides 360 degrees of visibility” – and schooled me on queen’s cells (he has one!) and his routine of nursing the bees on sugar water until the flowers come in. True-to-humble-form, he credited his fig tree for the bee’s distinct flavor of honey and the bees themselves for the prolific output of his garden. 2015 is going to be a bountiful year. “There will be so much honey; I can’t wait,” he said. PN FOR MORE INFORMATION seanokeefeevents.com pointsnorthatlanta.com/sound-no-trumpet


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THE SEASON’S CAREFREE ATTITUDE ARRIVES IN HOME DESIGN written by NICOLE MCLAUGHLIN

28 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


A

BRIGHT BLUE SKY FILLED WITH rolling white whips of clouds oat languidly overhead as people splash, play and enjoy the warm weather heralded by the month of May. The active lifestyle encourages homes to match the mood. With help from local experts, now is the time to bring that zealousness indoors with updated designs to love where you live all year long.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF AHT INTERIORS; CASHAE INTERIORS

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 29


HOME DESIGN TREND S

A

re cent t rend for i nter ior s i s “approachable design,” as described by Allison Havill Todd Interiors. “Recent projects have included a clear and minimalist look in homes with a no-fuss feel,” Allison Havill Todd said. “People are looking for a calming home space that feels welcoming to not only the family, but friends and visitors as well.” The “very stylish interiors, but not formal and stuffy” theme was especially illustrated in her latest remodeling of a home on Lake Sinclair. See more of Havill Todd’s stunning rooms in her new book, “Interiors for Living: Stylish and Comfortable Home Designs.”

“People are looking for a calming home space that feels welcoming to not only the family, but friends and visitors as well.” ALLISON HAVILL TODD, AHT Interiors

C

atherine Talkington of CaShae Interiors added that renovating older properties is another current trend on the rise. “Some people [are] finding older properties and renovating, and others [are] just updating what they have. In both cases, a simple, less cluttered look seems to [be] most desired,” Talkington said, reflecting on her recent project, a 1981 home in Roswell. With more than 28 years of experience, Talkington has worked with many diverse clients, and has maintained a consistent thoughtfulness within her work that generates warmth, beauty and quality.

“M

ore and more people are shifting to a much more casual way of living,” added Jenny Eid of Southern Comforts Consignments.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CASHAE INTERIORS; SOUTHERN COMFORTS CONSIGNMENTS

30 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


HO ME DESIGN TREND S

“Our homes now center around being in the kitchen with friends and family and having comfortable seating for all to enjoy.” Eid understands that not everyone can purchase new pieces to accommodate the latest trends. Her fix for finicky budgets is refurbishing. One of her customers fell in love with wonderful full-length cabinets, but that choice left little wiggle room in the budget for the huge farm table they so desperately wanted. Solution: the customer found, in her store, a 1980s white-washed oak table with a parquet top that was perfect for refurbishing. “Pairing the preowned with the new can often give that wonderful fresh look that we all long [to achieve],” Eid said.

D

anielle Rollins and Bill Ingram, ADAC’s Southeast Architect of 2013, agreed that comfort is key when it comes to trends in 2015, and in some cases, moving toward a more bohemian inspired coziness and nonchalance that mixes grit with glamour. After all, who wants to just look, and not touch? The Rollins Ingram team cited their collaboration on a recent design space at the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for inspiration. They wanted the space to feel like the room of a Southern gentleman who would be very knowledgeable about antiques, have a collector’s eye and a deep-rooted connection with his Southern colonial past. When incorporating traditional pieces, Rollins and Ingram focus on using them in a youthful, modern way. PN

FOR MORE INFORMATION Allison Havill Todd Interiors 770-887-7612 ahtinteriors.com CaShae Interiors 770-315-9432 cashaeinteriordesign.com Southern Comfort Consignments Alpharetta, Dunwoody, East Cobb and Roswell 770-521-5000 southerncomforts.com Rollins Ingram Atlanta Decorative Arts Center 351 Peachtree Hills Avenue, Suite 503L rollingsingram.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ROLLINS INGRAM

32 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


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Indoors REFLECT YOUR INNER SPIRIT

“We help clients create beautiful rooms, but what really makes a room come alive are the unique, fun items that give a space personality,â€? said Laney McClure, co-owner of Accentrics &GUKIPKP,QJPU%TGGMp9JGP[QWĆ‚PF those pieces that make you smile every time you walk through the house or that start conversations with your guests and friends—that’s when you know your JQOGKUCRNCEGVJCVTGCNN[TGĆƒGEVU[QWT inner spirit.â€? At Accentrics, the family-run team always strives to have those special pieces for customers to discover as they browse through the shop. “It’s so much fun to witness those ‘ooh and ahh’ moments,â€? McClure said. 678-867-0310, accentrics-home.com

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Since 1992 Anthony’s Closets, Shower Doors and More has been providing exceptional quality and reliable service to homeowners, remodelers and builders. Their work is custom made and VCKNQTGFVQVJGGZCEVURGEKĆ‚ECVKQPUVQ maximize space and enhance the home. In addition to a wide variety of OGNCOKPGCPFRTGĆ‚PKUJGFYQQFENQUGV systems made exclusively in their custom workshop, Anthony’s Closets can JGNRĆ‚PFVJGUVQTCIGUQNWVKQPHQT[QWT JQOGQHĆ‚EGCPFICTCIG6JG[CNUQETGate wall units, custom cut mirrors, shower enclosures, bathroom accessories and door hardware. To learn more, visit their Alpharetta showroom or schedule a free in-home consultation. “We believe in providing exceptional quality, reliable service and producing superior results,â€? said founder Anthony Pergola. It’s as simple as that. 678-225-5051, anthonysclosets.com

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City Plumbing & Electric Supply Rug Restoration can help. They’ll come to your home or place of business to assess the damage, or you can drop the rug by their facility in Norcross for a free analysis and estimate of the cleaning or repair for your invest. With more than 42 years of experience, this green company is under supervision of WERCO staff and offers a satisfaction guarantee. 404-462-5326, 770-7159335, atlantarugrestoriation.com

LESS MESS? GO GLASS

Cathy Compton at Chattahoochee Shower Doors in Johns Creek said the most frequently asked question in the business is how to best clean the glass? “If a customer is buying a new shower there are a couple of options,” Compton said. “The best is to buy ShowerGuard glass because it has a permanent sealer made into the glass that prevents spotting and soap scum etching into the glass.” Glass is porous

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and once the soap scum etches into the glass it can’t be cleaned off. The ShowerGuard protection won’t wear off and comes with a lifetime guarantee that the glass will always clean to look brand new. “If they don’t opt for the ShowerGuard glass, the next best option is not to let the water dry on the glass,” she said. “If you squeegee the glass or dry it with a towel you will prevent soap scum etching.” What if you have an older shower YKVJCƂNO[NQQMQTYCVGTURQVUVJCV won’t clean off? Unfortunately, the expert said there is nothing that will clean it up because the soap scum and minerals from the water are etched into the glass. The only option at that point is to buy new glass, and Chattahoochee Shower Doors can help. 770-497-1977, chattahoocheeglass.com

THE QUALITY YOU EXPECT

City Plumbing & Electric Supply Company has been providing the area’s top

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those â&#x20AC;&#x153;need-it-nowâ&#x20AC;? clients, and in the back are vendor samples for fabrics, wallpapers and more. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are a space for designers to come and work on their projects, where they can bring their clients in and hang out,â&#x20AC;? said owner and designer Kim Bray. Here you can design your home, away from home. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also talk Manoirs may open to the public in the futureâ&#x20AC;Ś weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll keep you posted. 770-777-8050, facebook.com/pages/ Manoirs-LLC-The-Design-Resource

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Outdoors PERSONALIZE YOUR POOL

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HIGH The Journey

IS THE DESTINATION AT THIS CYCLING-INSPIRED BOUTIQUE HOTEL written by COLLEEN ANN MCNALLY photography courtesy of HOTEL DOMESTIQUE

48 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


GEAR “Beautiful day for a ride,” a beaming voice greeted me inside the quaint lobby at Hotel Domestique.

Yes, it sure was – sunny and a highly anticipated temperature of 75 degrees for late March in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Traveler’s Rest, S.C. I was thinking how quickly the two-hour drive passed; then I considered she was referring to a two-wheeled ride, as professional cyclist George Hincapie and his equally avid brother Rich intended for the boutique property. For those, like me, in need of a crash course in the sport: “domestique” directly translates to “servant,” but also is the name of the position Hincapie consecutively held on multiple teams. A domestique’s primary role is to assist the team’s designated leaders – in this case, winning riders including Lance Armstrong, Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador – even at the expense of his own individual performance. Now, the Hincapies have extended the same humble approach to the hospitality business, creating a world-class, tour de force destination for anyone wanting the ideal breakaway stage.

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 49


HOTEL DOMESTIQUE

DOWNSHIFTING Bursts of energizing orange, including sunlit hallways, throw pillows in the eclectic library and the scent of Hermès toiletries in the spacious guest bathrooms, are not the only motif throughout the old-worldmeets-new interiors. My crash course in cycling continued, as I soon learned the 13 unique rooms are each named for towns through which the Tour de France passes. Guests often leave their doors open, so I was able to peek at the different suites en route to my own. I was given a metal key for the Portillion room, where I settled comfortably with a view of the picturesque rolling mountainside just beyond the hotel’s terrace and a pre-loaded iPad with digital concierge services. Unpacking my suitcase, I hung my belongings in the high closet and couldn’t help but wonder if the tall and skinny Hincapie had a hand in the design. In his distinguished career spanning almost two decades, Hincapie was regarded as the premier American classics rider of his generation. In addition to 17 Tour de France races and winning three U.S. National Road Race competitions, he competed in a record 17 Ronde van Vlaanderen races and finished second at the grueling Paris-Roubaix, the best ever for any American. Now retired, he is settled in nearby Greenville with his family, remains involved with the Hincapie Sportswear family business and makes regular visits to the hotel.

50 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015

My anticipation mounted for the following morning when I would try to conjure any inner Hincapie I had ... but until then, I would enjoy the pure elegance of the place, beginning with a visit to Restaurant 17. After all, no previous cycling experience is necessary to enjoy the art of leisure.

TOUR DE FARMS With Executive Chef Adam Cooke and Chef de Cuisine Greg McPhee in the lead, Restaurant 17 is quickly making Hotel Domestique just as much a destination as the hilly surrounding roads. I found a table by the fireplace below the eye-catching “bubble”


HOTEL DOMESTIQUE

the roads, Restaurant 17 is best enjoyed at a slower pace and food is more than fuel here.

BREAKAWAY BREAKFAST

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Attend an Experience Domestique “XD” Camp. Already popular are “Climb with George” packages that can provide elite level road bikes, massage therapy, private dinners, Hincapie Sportswear custom apparel and different multi-hour rides each day, led by the legend himself. On the rise are camps that include unique epicurean experiences as well – perfect for accompanying spouses or culinary-curious cyclists that want a taste of all Hotel Domestique has to offer. To make reservations, call 864-516-1715.

chandelier and was presented with the most recent revision of the menu, updated regularly based on the seasonal ingredients the chefs source from more than 10 local farms. My waitress gave a new meaning to farm-to-table when she proudly shared she was also one of the responsible parties behind Eastatoee Farms in Sunset, S.C. With her guidance, my table began by sampling the smoked local trout spread with pickled onion and buckwheat “Wheat Thins” and a small plate of the cornbread panzanella, roasted beets, shaved onion, local greens, ricotta and herbs. All I can say is I had no idea it was possible to like beets that much. Not long after clearing our plates, the herb-stuffed, whole High Valley Farm line-caught trout for two arrived with sides of the Virginia stone ground white grits, fingerling potatoes and, another surprising veggie favorite for me, roasted Brussels sprouts, dressed with pickled mushrooms, scallion, Brewser oats and fish sauce. Unlike on

52 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015

My only regret from indulging in the savory dinner was how full I still was the next morning. We traded the complimentary three-course, French-style breakfast for a bike fitting with Jeremiah Ranegar, fivetime Tour de France soigneur and the staff’s “Swiss Army knife.” Ranegar not only got us the right gear, he eased our novice nerves with a refresher on changing gears and Garmins programmed with a personalized 15-mile down-and-back route along River Road. The downhill start and peaceful two-lane road helped to lift our confidence as we increasingly saw fewer cars and more farm animals in the lush green countryside. We were almost ready to turn around when it started raining, adding incentive to face the uphill climb and return to the cozy fireplace. While a quick ride, the experience was nothing short of invigorating. The following morning, I had plans of stretching and putting the yoga mat I packed to use, but ultimately decided to nama-stay longer in the iron poster bed and indulge in breakfast overlooking the pool. The staff I passed in the hallway greeted me by name, including General Manager Ben Webster, who offered to join me for a coffee. In between big bites of my house-made bagel, salmon lox, pickled onion and capers, I hear more of the property’s history and learn that cycling is “the new golf,” as a platform where business brainstorms happen and big deals are made (although, guests that still truly want to golf can enjoy amenities nearby at The Cliffs luxury communities). As Webster proudly described the Hincapies, I imagined the vision of Hotel Domestique coming to fruition on rides the brothers shared. “Above all, George wants to be remembered as a great teammate,” Webster said of the famous domestique. That may be true, but I won’t be forgetting my stay at the Hincapie’s hotel anytime soon, either. And that was all she rode... for now. PN

FOR MORE INFORMATION 864-516-1715 hoteldomestique.com


W GREET AND GO! We’d been to North Georgia State Parks and we’d seen Chattanooga, Tenn. So, this time we’d drive a little farther north on I-75 to check off another Southern city on the map. Hello, Knoxville!

KEY TO NATURE

Eating and exploring through Knoxville’s urban outdoors written by COLLEEN ANN MCNALLY

54 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015

That was the plan as my gal pals and I loaded up the car at sunrise one Saturday morning. By 10 a.m., we had arrived at Ijams Nature Center, circling to find a spot to park in the already crowded lot. Popular for its 300 acres of protected wildlife habitat and natural areas on the banks of the Tennessee River, with 10 miles of trails, rock formations, ponds, lakes and stunning overlooks, it’s easy to forget Ijams is just 3 miles outside the heart of Knoxville. Park Manager Ed Yost met my crew at the Visitor’s Center for a guided, breezy hike on the Ross Marble Quarry Loop. Along the way, Yost – who has been working at Ijams for more than 20 years – filled us in on the history dating back to 1881. Originally a quarry for Tennessee marble before the Great Depression, the local garden clubs and community volunteers (not just the orange-clad type) joined forces in the 1960s to restore its natural beauty and create the lively, public park. We passed countless happy campers, mountain bikers, runners and paws on the trail near Mead’s Quarry Lake, where River Sports Outfitters rents kayaks, canoes and paddleboards from mid-April through Memorial Day. Another plus for outdoorsy folks: Ijams is part of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness 12.5mile South Loop, connecting recreational, cultural and historical preserves through an initiative by Legacy Parks Foundation. Overall, the city boasts more than 40 miles of multi-use trails, 10 parks and four Civil War sites for an outdoor experience like no other. We paused on a rock bridge with panoramic views of the former quarry site,

PHOTO COURTESY OF IJAMS NATURE CENTER


Health &

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A First for Georgia!

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helsey Park Health & Rehabilitation

will include state-of-the-art PEAC System Technology (Promixis Environment Automation Controller). This technology is aimed at providing some independence for patients with limited mobility or physical disabilities. Programs will be available for short-term and out-patient rehabilitation in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language.

Please join us for an Open House Reception -AYST s PM Take a tour of the ďŹ rst skilled nursing center in Georgia equipped with PEAC system technology that will assist neurological patients. Tours also will be provided highlighting Town Square Rehab a state-of-the-art rehabilitation therapy area. Please park at the University of North Georgia, Walker Parking Deck and a shuttle van will pick-up and return all guests to the designated area.

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KNOXVILLE

now very still and covered in greenery, wildflowers and peace sign graffiti, before discovering what’s under the bridge. The picturesque “keyhole” below moss-covered boulders provides passage to the lower quarry. When Yost sized us up doubtfully and cautioned about mud, we adventured on a little further. “I always thought it would be cool to have a bluegrass concert in here,” Yost said. Silence fell on us as we imagine what the

acoustics must sound like against the rock. We joked he must invite us back if – when – it happens. After all, Southern rock sound is just as ingrained in the land as the limestone.

MIND YOUR OWN BISCUITS In fact, one of my favorite bands, The Dirty Guv’nahs also calls Knoxville home. As we make our way through the downtown

district, I recognize names of streets from songs and pass Preservation Pub, where the band often played in their early days. “It’s one of my favorite places to unwind and see a band play in a loud, small environment,” singer/songwriter James Trimble wrote on the band’s blog of the place. “There’s a magic about Market Square that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Southeast. It’s a communal feeling that is hard to explain, and sometimes late at night I catch that magic when I’m watching a brand new band at the pub.” With their lyrics stuck in my head, we checked out our suite on the 11th floor of the Holiday Inn at World’s Fair Park, changed out of muddy clothes and spotted the city’s iconic Sunsphere from our window before heading down again to curb our accrued appetites. Since the hotel is just blocks from all the fun, we quickly went from lobby with suitcases to lunch with handmade sodas in hand. Aptly addressed at 1 Market Square, we were glad we made reservations at the bustling Tupelo Honey Café. Although the “New South Kitchen” first debuted in Asheville, N.C., a table at the Knoxville counterpart, located jointly to the Oliver Hotel, is prime real estate. No doubt the complimentary biscuits and blueberry preserves have something to do with that. As explained further in the restaurant’s cookbook by food writer Elizabeth Sims and Chef Brian Sonokus, they believe in the transcendent power of PHOTOS COURTESY OF VISIT KNOXVILLE; TUPELO HONEY CAFÉ

56 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


KNOXVILLE

gathering around the table. “Everyone dives in, passing dishes around the table sharing with one another. Barriers are lifted. Transgressions at least momentarily forgotten.” Looking around the sunny yellow dining room designed as if on a back porch, I don’t see any transgressions. Lucky for us, there’s plans to open an Atlanta location this fall. In the meantime, we toted back a cookbook to recreate the tasty carrot and kale slaw with avocado lime vinaigrette and “Shoo Mercy!” (translation: darn good) dishes, and of course, practice our own biscuit-making abilities. The latter is taken, or should I say enjoyed, seriously around here, especially since the debut of the annual International Biscuit Festival in 2009. Happening May 14 and 15 this year, the festival celebrates the heritage of home cooking with vendors, music, a bake-off, Miss and Mr. Biscuit contest and a schedule of stellar speakers who come together in an intimate setting to share their passion for Southern food.

WHERE TO PARK IT After catching Sunsphere cameos in local art shops like Coldstream Market and Nothing Too Fancy, we decided to see the 360-degree view from above for ourselves. Constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair, the observation deck is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. during the summer months. Watching above the crossroads of I-40 and I-75 as the sun trades turns with the lights of the city’s nightlife felt worlds away from the day’s earlier views, but maintains its own unique draw. Wherever we walked

in Knoxville, the structure’s 24-karat gold panes of glass guided us back to the hotel. Although for dinner, we didn’t have to navigate far. After a day on our feet, dinner at Windows on the Park, located on the first floor of the Holiday Inn, was an easy choice. The dishes on the menu are marked by flags of the country that inspired each, but the sense of global influence to World’s Fair Park was just as apparent by fellow patrons visiting for a concert at the Tennessee Theater or the Southern Graphics Print Council International Conference. Located across Henley Street from the Knoxville Conference Center, the hotel is a convenient choice for out-of-towners. The following morning, we strolled down South Gay Street toward the Old City to sample the fare at Knox Mason, where – you guessed it – there are more biscuits on the menu. University of Tennessee and Blackberry Farm alumnus Chef Matt Gallaher creatively reigns the kitchen with seasonally focused and hyper-local menus

that incorporate the finest Southern products available. As I washed down the incredible Heritage Farms pork belly and pimento cheese sandwich with a Shiner White Wing Beermosa, I formed a simple conclusion why Knoxville’s pedestrian and cycling friendly community works so well here: it’s a necessary means to balance out a love of carbs. On the walk back from brunch, we crossed paths with Holiday Inn at World’s Fair Park’s General Manager Marc Bauer on his return “commute” home – just a walk across the street. Retracing my own steps in mind, I realized perhaps the greatest part of this getaway was that once we parked the car at the hotel, we didn’t get in it again until the three-hour drive back to Atlanta. It was a pleasure to meet you, Knoxville. PN

FOR MORE INFORMATION outdoorknoxville.com tupelohoneycafe.com ihg.com/holidayinn biscuitfest.com PHOTOS COURTESY OF HOLIDAY INN WORLD’S FAIR PARK; KNOX MASON

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Among the ambient tones are naturalist guides, all of whom are biologists able to easily explain the ecology of the salt marsh in ways that those of us with lesser science-specific backgrounds can grasp. Need to kick it up a notch? Ocean kayaking is also available.

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Surprisingly still on my Bucket List is the sport of stand-up paddle boarding, better known as SUP.

Dr. Haffner is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist specially trained to treat the dental needs of children. Dr. Haffner is also on staff at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Drawn initially to the fact that it’s a great core workout, I’m curious whether I can even balance on the board let alone paddle my way across the water. Everyone I’ve ever talked to about the sport has put to rest any doubt, assuring me that the boards are more stable than most first-timers imagine and relatively easy to navigate. As popular as the sport has become, I tend to believe them. Imagine then, joining a paddle boarding tour through the salt marsh, which provides the unique

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perspective of seeing straight down into the water. Again, the ocean would be the next step for anyone in search of a challenge. Going beyond the breakers allows for a more parallel ride with the promise of potential pitfalls to keep it interesting. More fun on the water awaits, especially if fishing tours are on the agenda. Fishing tours, like most activities at Kiawah, offer varying levels of intensity depending on what active guests prefer. An inshore fishing charter lasts about four hours and includes fishing for red fish and shark fish; near coastal and reef fishing charters travel approximately 3.5 miles off shore to fish while other options include deep sea fishing, fly fishing, creek fishing and an ecocruise along the Kiawah River. Back on land, biking around the island is another popular way to spend the day, if not the No. 1 activity. With 10-plus miles of hard-packed sand and 30 miles of paved bike trails, beach cruisers are a common sight, not to mention, often the best transportation. Kiawah prides itself on being the first place many boys and girls learn to ride their bike. After all, landing on the sand certainly lends itself to cou-

OUR Summer Collection has arrived

rageously getting back in the saddle to try again. When night falls, the activity level descends ever so slightly as Kiawah offers beach walks beneath the stars as well as turtle walks. On average, 100 to 300 loggerhead turtles call Kiawah home each year. Wouldn’t we all love to call the beach in Kiawah home? PN For More Information kiawahresort.com

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF KIAWAH ISLAND GOLF RESORT

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 61


summertime fun

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LOCAL EVENTS & ATTRACTIONS CITY OF NORCROSS

Love music? Then, historic Norcross is the place to get your groove on this summer with a schedule full of blues, rock and jazz. From First Friday Concerts and Summer Concert Series to the unique Jazz in the Alley and BluesBerry Music Festival events, Norcross will have you swaying to the music and tapping your toes. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to come a bit early to stroll through the unique shops and dine at one of the many wonderful UHVWDXUDQWVLQWKHFLW\b RUJUDE DbSLFQLFWRHQMR\GXULQJWKH

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Days do not have to be ordinary and boating should be an escape rather than a nuisance. Boating should be a way for people to relax, connect with friends and create powerful memories with family. Enter Freedom Boat Club, the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest members-only boating club. A simple alternative to boat ownership, Freedom does all the work: just get to the dock and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have a boat waiting for you, fueled up and ready to go. With 82 locations, including Lake Lanier, Freedom offers DFFHVVWRDĹ´HHWRIERDWVWKDW

come with less stress and a lower price tag than owning your own. They clean, maintain, store and do all the prep work as well as eliminate hassles like dock fees, insurance and trailers. < 770-831-6082, freedomboatclub.com

GIBBS GARDENS

Imagine more than 220 acres of breathtaking gardens adjacent to spring-fed streams, ponds and lakes, surrounded by hillsides covered with mature woodlands. Enjoy this and more, like the fragrance and color of roses, hydrangeas, daylilies, water lilies and crape myrtles at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground. The Japanese Garden, with a large collection of Japanese maples, enchants visitors throughout

the year. New for 2015 are monthly informal garden talks. For music lovers, come for the Twilight series live music in the gardens. Lunch is available at the Arbor CafĂŠ and unique items are offered for purchase in the gift store. The gardens are open for visits from 9 a.m. WRSP WKHJDWHVFORVH at 4 p.m.) Tuesday through Sunday until mid-June, then Wednesday to Sunday midJune through mid-December. Call for more information and to purchase tickets. 770-893-1881, gibbsgardens.com

LE MĂ&#x2030;RIDIEN ATLANTA PERIMETER

Discover your perfect getaway for the warm summer months at the AAA Four Diamond Le


summertime fun

MĂŠridien Atlanta Perimeter. By day, spend your time poolside soaking up the warm Atlanta sun and by night, dine under the lights of Portico Global Cuisine, Perimeterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trendy dining destination with the Suite Summer Packageb2U enjoy a coupleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s massage at Spa Sydell followed by a romantic dinner for two at McKendrickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s with the Stay, Taste, Rejuvenate Package. Choose from an array of unique packages at Le MĂŠridien Atlanta Perimeter, the ideal summer staycation GHVWLQDWLRQb'LVFRYHUPRUHRQ WKHZHEVLWHXQGHUWKHĹ?2IIHUVĹ? tab. < 770-396-6800, lemeridienatlantaperimeter.com

THE COOLER

Beat the heat at the coolest place in town this summer. $W7KH&RROHUĆ&#x201C;WQHVVPHHWV IXQZLWKSURJUDPVOLNHĆ&#x201C;JXUH VNDWLQJWUDYHODQGKRXVHLFH KRFNH\UROOHUKRFNH\YROOH\EDOODĆ&#x201C;WQHVVFHQWHUDQGPRUH Ask about the great party package, too. < 770-649-6600, coolerathletics.com

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THE COLLECTION

6XPPHUFRQFHUWVbDW7KH Collection Forsyth are coming EDFNWKLV\HDU+HOGHYHU\ other Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m., bring a blanket and the NLGVWRHQMR\DFWLYLWLHVDQGOLYH performances in the park from DFWVOLNH/DVW)LYH6WDQGLQJ (June 11), Lance Price Band -XQH 'HDQ%DONZLOO%DQG (July 9) and Cole Thannisch (July 23). Find the full schedule of bands online. < 770-7810333, collectionforsyth.com

DESTINATION EVENTS & ATTRACTIONS BEAUTIFUL BLUE RIDGE

/RFDWHGLQ)$11,1&2817< 90 miles north of Atlanta, Blue Ridge has become a popular destination for people

who want to get away for a weekend or longer in the foothills of this picturesque mountain range. The charming Georgia town includes more than 100,000 acres in the Chattahoochee National Forest, 600 miles of hiking trails and 1,000-plus mountain FDELQVDQGYDFDWLRQKRPHVIRU a great escape. <RXPD\QHYHUZDQW WROHDYHWKHFDELQEXW\RX should take the time to explore the authentic mountain towns of Blue Ridge and 0F&D\VYLOOHDQGVKRSLQ surprisingly upscale specialty shops and galleries that line Blue Ridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Main Street. Hike to a local waterfall or the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. At the end of the day, chill out by the Ć&#x201C;UHSODFHRUHQMR\DIDEXORXV dinner at one of Blue Ridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wonderful restaurants; the choices of dining spots are simply amazing. < 706-632-5680, blueridgemountains.com

With so much to do and H[SORUHZHĹ?YHURXQGHGXS VRPHRIRXUIDYRULWHLGHDV from Points North Atlantaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s partners in the area.

WHERE TO EAT: THE BLACK SHEEP

In a historic home uptown, Black Sheep Restaurant and %DULVFRPPLWWHGWRSURYLGLQJ JXHVWVZLWKJUHDWVHUYLFHDQG DQLQQRYDWLYHPHQXLQDKLVWRULFVHWWLQJ8VXDOO\WKRXJKW RIDVĹ?RXWRIWKHQRUPĹ?RUĹ?WKH RGGEDOOĹ?WKLVEODFNVKHHS VWULYHVWREHGLIIHUHQWWKDQ any other restaurant in Fannin County. They offer a menu of new Southern comfort food such as Asian tuna nachos, BBQ pulled pork, deluxe steaks, tasty sandwiches, Ĺ´DYRUIXOFKLFNHQGLVKHVDQG more. < 706-946-3663, blacksheepblueridge.com

CHRISTY LEEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S COURTYARD GRILLE

'RZQWRZQRQ(DVW0DLQ Street, enjoy beer, wine and cocktails to the sounds of

Gibbs Gardens PHOTOS COURTESY OF DOLLAR PHOTO CLUB; GIBBS GARDENS

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 63


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Class coach. < 877-413-8724, brscenic.com b

RAFT ONE

The top independently rated ZKLWHZDWHUUDIWLQJFRPSDQ\ on the Ocoee River in the &KHURNHH1DWLRQDO)RUHVW5DIW One is sure to be a memorable H[SHULHQFHIRU\RXUJURXS The riverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s class 1 through 5 UDSLGVDUHSHUIHFWIRUVXPPHUWLPHIXQ5DIW2QHDOVRRIIHUV mountain biking and zipline canopy tours. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the outdoor H[SHULHQFH\RXĹ?UHORRNLQJIRU DWDSULFH\RXFDQDIIRUG0HQWLRQ3RLQWV1RUWK$WODQWDIRU SHUFHQWRII\RXUQH[WDGYHQture. < 888-723-8663, raft1.org

GULF SHORES, AL.

Raft One live music in Christy Leeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s casual atmosphere. Stop by to try their bestselling lump FUDEWRZHUVDODGbRUIUHVK bayou oysters. Find them RQ)DFHERRNIRUXSGDWHVRQ more mouth-watering dishes, cocktail specials and local acts on the patio. Call ahead to claim your table. < 706-9465100, christylees.com

WHERE TO STAY: BLUE RIDGE INN B&B

Blue Ridge Inn is the only bed EUHDNIDVWLQGRZQWRZQ%OXH Ridge and is a convenient walking distance to shopping, dining, entertainment and the DUWVb(VFDSHOLIHĹ?VKXVWOHDQG EXVWOHZLWKRQHRIWKHLUZDUP homemade cookies and this summer specialIRUPoints

North Atlanta readers through WKHHQGRI$XJXVW6WD\WKUHH nights and get your third night SHUFHQWRII&DOOIRUUHVHUYDtions (restrictions apply). < 706-632-0222, blueridgeinnbandb.com

SHUIHFW%OXH5LGJHH[SHULHQFH begins with where you stay. /HVVWKDQPLQXWHVIURP $WODQWD%OXH5LGJHLVFDOOLQJ < 1-866-4 CABINS, southerncomfortcabinrentals.com

SOUTHERN COMFORT CABIN RENTALS

BLUE RIDGE SCENIC RAILROAD

7KHVXQEHDPVRIVXPPHU showcase North Georgia at its Ć&#x201C;QHVWWKHVHUHQLW\RIĹ´RDWLQJ your worries away or the exhilDUDWLRQRIZDWHUVSRUWVRQ/DNH %OXH5LGJHWKHOXVKĹ´RUDDQG QDWLYHIDXQDVXUURXQGLQJ\RX LQWKHPRXQWDLQVWKHVZLVKRI \RXUĆ&#x201C;VKLQJOLQHJOLGLQJDERYH the gleaming Toccoa River. (QYLVLRQ\RXUGHOLJKWDV\RX EHKROGWKHFRXQWU\VLGHIURP high above as you zipline. The

WHAT TO DO: Climb aboard the Blue Ridge 6FHQLF5DLOZD\IRUDVLJKWVHHLQJWULSWKURXJKRQHRI WKHPRVWEHDXWLIXOSODFHVLQ WKH6RXWKb7KHURXWHVWDUWV in downtown Blue Ridge and goes to the twin border towns RI0F&D\VYLOOHDQG&RSSHUhill, Tenn. then back to Blue Ridge. You can enjoy the ride IURPDYLQWDJHFOLPDWHFRQtrolled coach, or an open-air car or in our new Premier

$ODEDPDĹ?VPLOHVRISULVWLQH EHDFKHVRQWKH*XOIRI0H[LFR VHWWKHVFHQHIRUYDFDWLRQ memories that will last a OLIHWLPH7KLVIDPLO\IULHQGO\ beach destination has seen JHQHUDWLRQVUHWXUQ\HDUDIWHU year, and with so much to see and do, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no wonder. Beyond WKHEHDXWLIXOEHDFKHVWKHUHĹ?V DZLGHYDULHW\RIDFWLYLWLHVDQG DWWUDFWLRQVIRUDOOLQWHUHVWVDQG DJHVLQFOXGLQJDQXPEHURI DFFODLPHGIHVWLYDOV$QGRI FRXUVHSOHQW\RIIUHVK*XOI VHDIRRG (QMR\WKUHHGD\VRIPXVLF on the beach June 5 through 7, during Flora-Bamaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Shindig on the Sand. Or cruise on GRZQIRUGumbo Key, a Ĺ´RDWLQJFRQFHUWWKDWWDNHV place near the Perdido Pass EULGJHRQ-XQH *XOI6KRUHVDQG2UDQJH %HDFKRIIHUDZLGHVHOHFWLRQRIDFFRPPRGDWLRQV IURPEHDFKIURQWFRQGRV and national hotel chains to private beach houses and IXOOVHUYLFHUHVRUWV:KHWKHU PHOTOS COURTESY OF RAFT ONE

64 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 65


summertime fun

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Imagine Going There

Discover a Different Pace

planning a romantic getaway or large family reunion, there are lodging options for travel parties of any size. Visit their website to request a copy of the 2015 Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacation guide, a 96-page magazine featuring a photographic tour of the area, complete listings of accommodations, things to see and do and great places to eat. < 877-341-2400, GulfShores.com

IMAGINE GOING THERE

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Madison in May Spring Tour of Homes April 30 - May 2 Chamber Music Festival May 1 - June 14 For more summertime fun, visit www.MadisonGa.org or download the App â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Search â&#x20AC;&#x153;VisitMadisonGeorgiaâ&#x20AC;? in the App Store

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One Hour East of Atlanta on I-20, Exit 114

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Congratulations! Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to Disney World!â&#x20AC;? Okay, now what? Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the best Disney resort? Which dining plan? When can I make those dining reservations? Fastpasses? (I need to book early to get the best rides!) How can we see Anna and Elsa? How do I keep all of these reservations from overlapping? How do you work that Disney app? Stop! Take a breath. Planning a Disney trip can seem like a full-time job. Actually,

it is for Imagine Going There Travel Agency in Marietta, and they do all this and more at no cost to you. Disney pays them to make your trip magical. Get their free report â&#x20AC;&#x153;10 Tips for an Effortless Disney Vacationâ&#x20AC;? or call them to take the stress out of your next Disney trip. < 770-282-7070, imaginegoingthere.com

LISA HUGHLEY REAL ESTATE

From Destin to Scenic Highway 30A and Panama City Beach, summertime fun is everywhere! Selling real estate in both Atlanta and Florida, Lisa Hughley has the luxury to work with her clients from $WODQWDWRĆ&#x201C;QGWKHSHUIHFW beach getaway for their families, while supplying them with income projections on how they can purchase a beach property that has the potential WRFDVKĹ´RZLWVHOISURYLGLQJ a personal vacation home for their family use and creating a great retirement option. Buying luxury beach properties at the low end of the market creates a great investment opportunity. The emerald green waters and pristine white sand beaches PHOTOS COURTESY OF IMAGINE GOING THERE

66 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


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May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 67


summertime fun

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are some of the prettiest beaches in the world. Award-winning golf courses and outdoor activities for the entire family create an atmosphere you must experiHQFHZKLOHMXVWKRXUVDZD\IURP$WODQWDb In addition, Hughley, Hollingsworth Real Estate, Keller Williams Realty Partners can list and sell your primary residence here in Atlanta while Lisa Hughley Beach Properties, Keller Williams (PHUDOG&RDVWFDQĆ&#x201C;QG\RXDSHUPDQHQW UHVLGHQFHDWWKHEHDFKb< 678-923-5152, liveandplayon30a.com

MADISON

Listed by Budget Travel magazine as one of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 16 Most Picturesque Villages,â&#x20AC;? there is no questioning this accolade the moment you drive the quaint little town of Madison. A vibrant downtown boasting more than 165 antiques dealers, boutique shops and unique eateries, there is plenty to satisfy DPXOWLWXGHRILQWHUHVWVb$QGZLWKIDOO jam-packed with festivals, go ahead and mark your calendar to come back â&#x20AC;&#x201C; youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll not want to miss the Chili Cook-off and Fall Festival (Oct. 4) and The Bostwick Cotton Gin Festival (Nov. 1)! < 706-3424454, madisonga.org

RABUN COUNTY

Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains is one of the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Seven Wonders: the breathtaking Tallulah Gorge! This year marks the 45th Anniversary of aerialist Karl Wallendaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous tightrope walk across the gorge. From June 19 through 28, Rabun County will host the Tallulah Gorge Skywalk Celebration with 10 days of spectacular events. As a special tribute, Nik Wallenda will kick off this celebration of food, fun and festivities with a book signing and a community meet-and-greet. Rabun County is a real gem and summer is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, lakes, streams and waterfalls. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of rafting, ziplining and kayaking. Featured cultural events include Grammy nominated T. Graham Brown in concert, art tours, wine tasting 68 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


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Tallulah Gorge Skywalk Celebration tours, farm-to-table dinners and the celHEUDWHGŐ)R[ƓUHŐSOD\E\WKHIDPHG)R[ ƓUH%R\V0XVLFEXIIVFDQHQMR\$PHULFDQ FRXQWU\PXVLFDUWLVW-RKQ0LFKDHO0RQW JRPHU\LQGRZQWRZQ&OD\WRQDQGPDQ\ RWKHUPXVLFVW\OHVLQFOXGLQJEOXHJUDVV DQGDUHWURŌVGDQFHSDUW\ ([SHULHQFHKLVWRU\ZLWKWKHIXQRID &KXFN:DJRQFRRNRIIZLWKD:LOG:HVW reenactment of the shootout at the OK &RUUDODQGD1DWLYH$PHULFDQHQFDPS PHQWDORQJZLWKFRZER\SRHWVEDOODG VLQJHUVURSHWULFNVDQGJXQVOLQJLQJ$V DJUDQGƓQDOHWKHŴ\LQFRPPXQLW\DW +HDYHQōV/DQGLQJZLOORIIHUDOLYHFRQFHUW ZLWK7KH7LPH-XPSHUVIHDWXULQJ9LQFH *LOO'RQōWZDLWř*HW\RXUWLFNHWVQRZ < 706-212-0241, explorerabun.com

TOWNS COUNTY

+LDZDVVHHDQG<RXQJ+DUULVDUHORFDWHG LQWKHQRUWKHDVW*HRUJLD0RXQWDLQV /DNH&KDWXJHRIIHUVJRUJHRXVYLHZV ZDWHUVSRUWVDQGODNHVLGHGLQLQJ7KHUH LVDQDEXQGDQFHRIWUDLOVLQWKH&KDW WDKRRFKHH)RUHVWPDQ\OHDGLQJWR EUHDWKWDNLQJZDWHUIDOOVRUWRWKHWDOOHVW SHDNLQ*HRUJLD%UDVVWRZQ%DOG6WRSLQ DW&UDQH&UHHN9LQH\DUGVRU+LJKWRZHU &UHHN9LQH\DUGV SDUWRIWKHQHZ8SSHU +LDZDVVHH+LJKODQGV$PHULFDQ9LWLFXO WXUDO$UHD IRUDWDVWHRIORFDOO\JURZQ ZLQH< 706–896-4966, mountaintopga.com

SHARE THE FUN!

1RZZKLFKZLOO\RXGRƓUVW" Tag @pointsnorthatlLQ\RXU ,QVWDJUDPSKRWRVDQGKDVKWDJ #guidetosummertimefun WRVKDUH \RXUPHPRULHVZLWKXV < PHOTO COURTESY OF RABUN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 69


BLUE RIDGE, GEORGIA

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Guy’s TIME

Horse Racing in Georgia: The Starting Gate Remains Closed written by CARL DANBURY, JR. photography by AMBER CHALFIN, DOWN THE STRETCH PHOTOS

T

The mane on my neck, nearly all the way down to my withers, stands at attention the first Saturday in May when more than a score of 3-year-olds are loaded into the starting gate at Churchill Downs in Louisville. As they begin a five-week odyssey hoping to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed pulled off the miraculous feat in 1978, I paw at the ground in anticipation. As a Georgia resident, however, most times the pawing is from frustration. Because I live here, the thrill of victory — that is, of picking the winner in one of the three Triple Crown races, the Breeders’ Cup or 40,000-plus other races held around the country each year — and cashing a winning ticket is only possible if I travel elsewhere. Yes, I can go to Kentucky or Florida, or a dog track in Alabama to place a wager, or I can engage in illegal offshore wagering or call a local bookie, but I can’t wager legally online from the comfort of home nor at a local track or off-track wagering parlor. As a result, a portion of the revenues that Georgia misses out upon, winds up in the saddle bags of other, perhaps more progressive states. It’s not a big deal to some people, but having the ability to wager on races like the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness or the Belmont Stakes was a part of my silks for years.

72 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015

A TIME FOR REFLECTION A day at the races can be financially rewarding, or draining, or simply a splendid form of entertainment. A thoroughbred racehorse is a magnificent looking species and the setting of some of the tracks where they compete is pastoral, with a county fair feeling rather than that of a stadium. Seasoned handicappers often start their day with a pre-daylight trip to the track for morning workouts to see horses training for future races. A bagel in hand, a cup of coffee in the other and perhaps a Daily Racing Form (DRF) tucked inside an armpit, these purists may not be looking for future tips on particular horses, as much as they are simply watching the horses run, listening to the rhythm of their hooves pounding the dirt or turf and their excitedly noticeable exhales during their morning gallops. Sitting on a bench near the finish line, discussions range from the previous night’s dinner, marveling at a recently witnessed


HOR SE RACING IN GEOR GIA performance or perhaps a little shared knowledge about a horse or an upcoming race. Some pour over the seemingly endless statistics in the DRF or one of the many other available data sources. This is a time for reflection, conversation and studying, as today’s upcoming races are six or more hours later. As I outweighed most jockeys by the time I crossed the third-grade finish line, had no aptitude for training animals and my bankroll has always been more suited to owning a carrier pigeon than a thoroughbred, my lone involvement in the racing industry has been limited to covering races for SportsUnlimited Magazine, and spectating or wagering, though not necessarily in that order. The fact that pari-mutuel betting has been banned by a Georgia constitution amendment since 1992, when former Gov. Zell Miller used the governing law as a bargaining chip to get the Georgia Lottery bill passed, doesn’t sit well with me, or others who have enjoyed the pursuit elsewhere in the States. Despite Miller’s comment some six years prior to the change in law that “a lottery would undermine morals more than pari-mutuel wagering,” the lottery bill was passed, and Miller eventually got the proceeds he sought for lottery revenues to bolster the state’s education system. Pari-mutuel wagering is banned only in Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Georgia, but none of the other states have the combination of population base, weather, location nor the infrastructure that Georgia offers.

REMEMBERING A SIMPLER ERA Greg Barckhoff, owner of SportsFan Properties of Roswell and formerly of the Atlanta Sports Council, the Georgia Dome and SportsUnlimited Magazine, has traveled to seven states that operate live horse racing and simulcast wagering. His favorite tracks are Keeneland in Lexington, Saratoga Race Course in upstate N.Y., and Santa Anita, near Pasadena, Calif. The allure of horse racing for him is the sport more than it is the wagering, and he once even purchased an investment interest in a horse.

“For me, horse racing is about the pageantry, the setting, the history of the sport in the U.S. and the competition. Seeing the best horses, the best jockeys and the best trainers trying to accomplish the same goals is a draw for me.” GREG BARCKHOFF Owner of SportsFan Properties

“For me, horse racing is about the pageantry, the setting, the history of the sport in the U.S. and the competition. Seeing the best horses, the best jockeys and the best trainers trying to accomplish the same goals is a draw for me. Even though there is new technology involved in today’s racing with wagering machines, the Tote board and live videos of the races, horse racing, to me, is a throwback to a simpler era,” Barckhoff said. And while some sharps (bettors) head to the track to make a killing, Barckhoff appreciates the fact that everybody has a chance to win, no matter their budget. “Even a $2 bet, and the chance of

hitting exotic wagers like exactas and trifectas keep it interesting and entertaining for me. I would describe myself as a budget gambler, so that I know I’ll have enough money left to be at the track until the last race. I am not a typical handicapper, though; I actually handicap the handicappers,” he offered. “Everyone has their own method of picking horses, and mine is to try to determine the horses that may have been overlooked by others and that still offer a good wagering value.” Barckhoff believes it’s only a matter of time when the Georgia legislature finally allows horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering to be put up for a public vote.

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 73


HOR SE RACING IN GEOR GIA “Many of our citizens have moved here from states that have horse racing, and many who have lived here their whole lives have traveled elsewhere to enjoy the sport. I think it’s not a matter of if, but when. Let’s face it, fan duels, fantasy sports, filling out your bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament and even buying squares for the Super Bowl are all forms of gambling,” he said. “They have become very popular and people enjoy the interaction with their friends, neighbors, co-workers and customers. They want a part of it. Horse racing can be financially feasible in Georgia if the laws are drawn the right way — the clean way. The state of Georgia can check off a lot of boxes in terms of revenue generation, tax dollars, supporting our state’s owners and breeders by passing this legislation and bringing the sport here,” said Barckhoff, who volunteered his time to the Georgia Horse Racing Coalition (GHRC) in its battle to promote the industry and the pending legislation that was defeated in March.

A STATELY WAGER Suwanee residents Patti and Dean Reeves own 10 horses, including 2013 Breeders’ Cup champion Mucho Macho Man, now retired and standing stud at Adena Springs in Kentucky. They help lead the GHRC’s fight, alongside Woodstock’s Steven Crayne, founder of Starting Gate Marketing LLC and executive director of the GHRC, who said the legislative fight for pari-mutuel wagering in Georgia is like a steeplechase course. “Opposition to this legislation only needs one-third of the vote to defeat it,” Crayne said. “Any legislation must have two-thirds of the vote for it to be introduced. We were just two votes short in the Senate, and there were 10 outstanding undecided votes. Sometimes, you get the impression that some are more focused upon keeping their legislative jobs than they are about creating thousands of jobs and increasing revenues for the state.” There are active lobbying groups opposed to expanding legalized gambling in the state, although other games of chance are widely promoted and legal, like the endless Georgia lottery games and 74 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015


inLove WITH YOUR BE

Keno, which now can be played online with an advanced deposit wagering account. The Georgia Baptist Convention is one of those groups that oppose pari-mutuel wagering and casino gambling. “We stand firm in our resolve that gambling is an immoral effort that creates deliberate risks not inherent in or necessary to the functioning society; and whereas gambling appeals to greed and covetousness and gamblers win at the direct economic loss of others, gambling is contrary to honest work and responsible stewardship, and gambling is highly addictive…” This “Resolution on Gambling” was submitted by Brad Walters, messenger from First Baptist Church, Hazelhurst, which was approved by the Georgia Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, November 2014, and has been displayed under the tab 2014 GBC Resolutions at gabaptist.org/publicaffairs. Supporting scripture passages also are included in the resolution and provides pause for some of us who wrestle with pursuits that may, or may not be pleasing to God. However, as we have seen too many times recently, the separation of church and state has never been more apparent in our lifetime, and legislating ideals of moral conduct haven’t been very successful. In my opinion, if the state has already signed off on the mindlessness of participating in “get-rich-quick” lottery games, Keno and so on, then why would it prohibit skillful pari-mutuel gambling, where the majority of the money attained will come from the morally bereft outside of our state’s borders through wagering on simulcast races in the 43 states that allow it? Equine Commerce, so coined by Dean Reeves in November 2012 during testimony before the Senate Study Committee on Horse Racing chaired by Sen. Jack Murphy, is a collective term that includes horse ownership, breeding, transporting, farming (hay and oats, for example), employment, pari-mutuel wagering, tax revenues and tourism. While it is difficult to determine exact figures of revenue generation associated with pari-mutuel wagering and horse

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HOR SE RACING IN GEOR GIA racing, locals will have the final say as to whether or not they want one or both in their communities. In addition, the GHRC is not advocating for casino gambling, only pari-mutuel wagering opportunities. “When we show legislators our business plan, most say that it’s a no-brainer. There are no public funds required to enact it. Both job creation and needed tax revenues for HOPE scholarship funding are results,” Crayne offered. “Thoroughbred racing is a great sport and Georgia is a great destination for it.”

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As previously determined, I have visited 30 racing venues in the past, with and without my wife and children, and never felt that a day at the races was anything but great entertainment and a wonderful way to spend the day. Compulsive behavior of any kind, whether it is gambling to excess, drinking to excess, or other actions might be considered poor stewardship of time and money. For some, that behavior is a violation of a moral code. In the summer of 2009, I made the conscious decision not to engage in pari-mutuel wagering, playing the lottery and placing bets on sporting events. But that decision was based upon a variety of factors and I don’t look askance or judge those friends of mine who still engage in those activities. Matthew 7:1-2 clearly admonishes those who stand in judgment of others, and I will stand on that premise to say, legalizing pari-mutuel wagering and horse racing in the state has many more benefits than it does detriments. Our state motto is: Wisdom, Justice, Moderation, and if the day comes that horse racing is legal, you’ll find me near the finish line some mornings, just before daylight with my cup of coffee and a racing form. Let’s talk about that beautiful chestnut filly that’s running in the Georgia Oaks in a few days, and maybe the Breeders’ Cup in a few months time. PN FOLLOW THE CONVERSATION @GUYSTIME gahorseracing.org Photos may be purchased at downthestretchphotos.com


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Due NORTH A celebration of illustrations by Mo Willems takes over the Woodruff Arts Center

ABOVE: FROM CAT THE CAT “IT’S A NEW FRIEND! BLARGGIE! BLARGGIE!”; BELOW: © 2008 BY MO WILLEMS. REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION OF HYPERION BOOKS FOR CHILDREN

Get Seriously Silly Anyone with children in their lives, from parents and teachers to babysitters and friends, have most likely already heard the name Mo Willems. Here’s a hint, he’s the author and artist behind the pigeon that finds a hot dog. See? That was easy. Almost as easy as packing up the car with kids and curious minds alike and heading to The High Museum of Art, which will open “Seriously Silly: A Decade of Art and Whimsy by Mo Willems,” on May 23. This exhibition of illustrations by the best-selling children’s book artist and author will run through Jan. 10, 2016, and features more than 100 works by the artist — from preliminary drawings to completed illustrations — that chronicle the past 12 years of his career, during which he has created more than 40 books for children and won numerous literary awards. While you’re there, might as well plan to stay and grab a seat inside the Alliance Theatre, which will present

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Willems’ children’s theater production “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical” from May 27 through June 21. Wondering when the last time the High Museum and the Alliance Theatre collaborated to bring both visual and performing art presentations of an artist’s work to us? Never. This is the first time, so don’t miss out. “Seriously Silly” will be presented on the Lower Level of the High’s Wieland Pavilion and will feature a reading area for young visitors to engage with Willems’ stories in the Greene Family Learning Gallery. For the little ones not quite ready to sit still that long or become familiar with beloved characters like Piggie, Elephant, The Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny, among others, the High and the Alliance will

celebrate the openings of the exhibition and musical during The Woodruff Arts Center’s second annual Toddler Takeover (May 29 to 31). This one-of-a-kind outing for children up to 5 years old will feature Stroller Tours and art-making at the High, performances of six original productions of the Alliance Theatre’s Theatre for the Very Young, the return of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Music for the Very Young, and an interactive play space hosted by Arts for Learning. alliancetheatre.org/knuffle bunny, high.org

Bring on the Beach Bag It’s almost as if she planned to debut her latest novel just in time for packing the bare essentials for upcoming beach vacations. Mary Kay Andrews is back with another summer read sure to keep you glued to your chaise lounge, so go ahead and prepare your sunscreen applications accordingly. Readjusting the overhead umbrella every chapter

or so might work as well, but we make no promises. In “Beach Town,” the protagonist is a struggling movie location scout named Greer Hennessy in desperate need of saving her career after a mishap with the last film crew. Determined to get it right this time, she finds an undiscovered beach town in the Florida panhandle for a big-budget movie. All is falling into place swimmingly, until Mayor Eben Thinadeaux, a born-again environmentalist on a mission to preserve his previously damaged town, becomes an unexpected obstacle. Greer’s hurdle is Eben and as fate would have it, Eben’s hurdle is how attracted he is to Greer. You’ll have to wait to find out whether love can stand in the shifting sand or not. The official Atlanta launch of “Beach Town,” takes place May 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Avalon location of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (5185 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta). Books will be for sale by FoxTale Book Shoppe, and we hear sips and nibbles will be available as well.


PHOTO COURTESY OF R. ALEXANDER FINE ART

May 2015

Gardens and Galleries Wander acres of lush botanical gardens and browse artwork from celebrated international artists at the Art & Cocktails in the Garden series. Hosted by R. Alexander Fine Art, the series includes receptions on May 9 and June 13. The garden includes a variety of hostas, conifers, ferns and Japanese maples with sculptures sprinkled throughout the 2.5-acre plot. This month’s featured event of the series will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Sponsored by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, the event will include an appearance and book signing by James Farmer. Farmer is an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine and a best-selling author who offers a fresh approach on garden-to-table lifestyle. A portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit the Southeastern Horticultural Society, which educates people across the Southeast about the importance of nature, the environment and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. For more information or to order tickets for the events, call 770-6098662 or visit ralexander fineart.com/exhibitions. – Torrie Miers

Chill Out Just in time for the start of summer are a series of performances even Elsa would approve. Disney on Ice presents “Worlds of Fantasy” from May 13 through 17 in the stateof-the-art Gwinnett Center, whose expansive arena is designed to pull off thrilling, edge-of-your-seat stunts that will leave the whole family smiling long after the show. Audiences can indulge their inner children (and real children) with beloved characters, including the old gang from Pixar’s “Cars,” the “ToyStory” team, Tinkerbell and the rest of the Disney fairies, as they reenact everybody’s favorite Disney moments on the ice. Tickets start at $25 and are on sale now at the Gwinnett Center Box Office and online at gwinnettcenter.com. – Emily Li

Pixar’s “Cars,” the “ToyStory” team, Tinkerbell and the rest of the Disney fairies reenact everybody’s favorite Disney moments on the ice.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DISNEY ON ICE

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 79


Due NORTH

PHOTO COURTESY OF MUGS ON MILTON

Latte Love In Jan. 2014, Mugs on Milton opened their doors in downtown Alpharetta offering locals a new reason to perk up. While cozy coffee shops are a dime a dozen, can we actually ever have enough? We vote no, grateful as ever for a change of workday scenery, a hub for meeting friends and for those early mornings when such necessity comes in handy while strolling the Alpharetta’s Farmers Market. Chances are you’ll find owners Jennifer Newton and Gretchen Smith behind the counter, baking, making drinks and engaging with customers. “We try to get to know our customers beyond the beverages they order and help them get to know us,” Newton said. “As owners, we also try to make sure that all of our business decisions keep us true to our core – offer great coffee, espresso and teas, amazing baked treats and a welcoming environment that keeps people wanting to come back.” After repeat visits, it’s fair to

say goal accomplished – and that any excuse to pick up their cheddar biscuits or chocolate chip cookies with your caffeine will do. The community clearly agrees, as the quaint spot is expanding to include a second location in Crabapple, with plans to open in June. Beyond creative varieties of Thrive Coffee (Campfire Latte, anyone?), tea lovers can fill their mugs with top sellers like the White Ginger Pear, Green Mango Peach and Cucumber Mint, or go bold for flavors such as Swiss Apple Blueberry Merlot or Lychee Coconut Orchid Vanilla. For regular menu updates, follow Mugs on Milton on Facebook. mugsonmilton.com

James Beard semi-finalist Jeremiah Bacon’s creations had me salivating during my visit a few years back. Palmer, whose previous Atlanta experiences included Houston’s and Canoe, has made a triumphant return — but this time Alpharetta is the beneficiary – with Oak Steakhouse and Colletta, neatly positioned at 950 and 900 Third Street in Avalon. Although I am more accustomed to smaller, tighter and perhaps less grandiose Italian eateries, Colletta’s aesthetics certainly fit its new environs and its targeted clientele. Designed by David Thompson Architects, Colletta’s space is accentuated by its wood burning oven, a chef’s counter, a magnificent bar and a large patio. Colletta features enthusiastic Italian fare, created by Executive Chef Michael Perez, a significant cocktail list and an all-Italian wine list created

Captured by Colletta Steve Palmer’s The Indigo Road has created a staunch following in Charleston with its storied restaurants, Oak Steakhouse, The Oak Table, O-Ku Sushi, Indaco, and my personal favorite, The Macintosh, where Executive Chef and three-time PHOTO COURTESY OF HEIDI GELDHAUSER

80 | POINTS NORTH | May 2015

by Zach Stewart, who also oversees the list at Oak. Our first luncheon, which was shared among our small group, included a Bianca Pizza with ricotta, San Simon di Costa smoked cheese, braised mushrooms, rosemary oil and pecorino romano. We also sampled Colletta’s melt-inyour-mouth meatballs, its clams accented with oregano, Calabrian chiles, garlic, white wine, smoked prosciutto and parsley served with a toasted Semolina baguette, followed by the very tempting octopus, served with sausage, white beans, parsley and Meyer lemon aioli. There would be no hesitation at all to order them during our next visit. From there, our group became a bit more selfish with their sharing. Bitter greens with fried parsley, croutons and a sensational buttermilk and anchovy vinaigrette was my choice, and I maintain this salad should be considered Caesar’s superior. Another chose pappardelle with pork sugo, herbed ricotta clouds, orange zest and pecorino romano, and I’m fairly certain we heard somewhat muted slurping. The ravioli, made with four cheeses, was enhanced by Roman tomato sauce and prosciutto. Marvelous! And for dessert we couldn’t decide between the Bombolini with cappuccino crema and the pear and almond crostata with Marscapone gelato and brown


May 2015 butter sauce, so we double dipped. Wise choice! collettarestaurant.com

Tales from Two Untethered Travelers Stuck at your desk and wishing you were sipping South African wine, splashing with sea lions or exploring towns both big and small in Europe? Ahhh … to be untethered and fancy free. If you’ve ever wondered what that kind of life is like, wander along with Andrea Butler of “Best World Yet” as she and her other half have decided to “Reside Nowhere. Live Everywhere.” At least for a year, maybe two, during which time they will decide which corner of the world suits them best to call home. Professionals on the move, as long as they have a laptop and an adventure nearby, there’s little stopping them from hopping countries and continents in search of content the rest of us can sit back and enjoy. Follow along via most social media sites as well as their blog or visit online to see travel videos and to answer the question of whether they are “crazy,” which they’ve already answered online at bestworldyet.com. Looks crazy fun to us, and those that love to travel just might use their destination recaps to plan future trips of their own. For more events this month, find our full calendar online at pointsnorthatlanta.com/calendar-of-events Edit Note: The founder of Wigwam Fest as mentioned in our April issue of Due North should have been Jennifer Lingvall.

May 2015 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 81

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Northside VIEW

Rolling out a shiny new look Bob Tewksbury â&#x20AC;˘ Packard At Oakland Cemetery

Each issue this year will end with black and white photography submitted by our readers. All photos not printed will be considered for the December issue, when Northside View returns to ďŹ ll our pages front to back. Want to see your images in here? Know someone else who would? Please send your images of the Northside to editorial@pointsnorthatlanta.com.

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EveryBODY is Beautiful Everybody wants to reach their full potential, and our goal as your surgery partner is to help you get there. At The Swan Center, we believe that even the smallest changes in appearance can drastically change the way you feel about yourself.

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May 2015

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