Points North September 2016

Page 1

In this September 2016

Issue 196



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Celebrating 16 Years & Counting

The Way of the West For the third installment of our Tried and True series, we went to the other side of the tracks. West Midtown has evolved — and endured — as one of our city’s sought-after districts for shopping, dining and design.

Picky Eaters Welcome To many Atlantans, September starts with an annual trek to North Georgia’s favorite U-Pick farms. Darling Down South blogger Cynthia Hoyt shares her delicious account.

Leaps and Bounds Before Frogtown Trail Challenge runners rally in Cumming next month, we look back — way back — at tales that tie one family to the land, as well as stories of strength from those that test themselves upon it.

Rambling to Reality A camping trip might make you wonder about life in the wilderness, but what happens when an urban family actually makes the move? Meet a Rabun County couple that did just that, inspiring others to get outside too.

Carolina Calling From Hendersonville to the Yadkin Valley, North Carolina mountain towns offer vistas that are as mesmerizing as their vineyards and orchards are memorable.

DEPARTMENTS 6 58 62 66

ON THE COVER Mercier Orchards’ U-Pick apple season in full swing | Photography courtesy of Lindsey LaRue, lindseylarue.com

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTIONS 30 Cancer Awareness 46 Favorite Fall Festivals and Destinations

38 facebook.com/pointsnorthatl






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Editor’s LETTER

PointsNorth Atlanta PRESIDENT / CEO Witt Beckman PUBLISHER Carl Danbury Jr. EDITOR Heather KW Brown CREATIVE DIRECTOR Robin Harrison

The Road Less Traveled



WHILE I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO CHOOSE A SINGLE QUOTE, narrowing my favorites is easy. One of them, by John Muir, is “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” This month, we’re taking that notion to heart as we wander in, out and around the Northside, sharing stories often found in places you might otherwise not look. Ever heard of Frogtown, for instance? This generations-old land in Cumming is home to plenty of history and a race called the Frogtown Trail Challenge. Last year, a couple of close friends volunteered me to help sweep the course, following the last few runners as they made their way to the finish line. Along the way, we circled a meadow, traversed rolling hills and slogged through a sandy creek. Afterward, I met the family members and heard tales of runners that return year after year, including Christine Steck, whose bout with breast cancer only motivated her to keep the Frogtown tradition alive. From Cumming, we move north to orchards and U-Pick farms where, a bounty of fruits and vegetables await as another means of outdoor entertainment. An ideal family outing, Mercier Orchards is packed with homemade apple turnovers and enough farm fresh produce to satisfy appetites of all ages. Leaving city life for the mountains is a notion fully embraced by the husband and wife team behind Wander North Georgia, a blog they’ve created to share where to eat, sleep, shop and explore around our state’s mountains. Their story of retreating into the woods might inspire you to do the same. Prefer a temporary escape? Head to the North Carolina mountain town of Hendersonville or to the Yadkin Valley. In both locales, it’s a tough call to decide whether the palate-pleasing options or the scenic panoramas are the bigger draw. Trading sierras for skyscrapers, Colleen Ann McNally faced a similar dilemma when choosing which of the many West Midtown venues are worth the drive downtown in our latest installment of Tried and True. It’s safe to say she did a fair amount of ambling, albeit not aimlessly. Ah, wisdom from good old J. R. R. Tolkien immediately comes to mind. Might be overused but sometimes it helps to remember: “Not all those who wander are lost.”

HEATHER KW BROWN, EDITOR heather@pointsnorthatlanta.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jennifer Colosimo Cynthia Hoyt Matthew Jordan Linley Mobley Paris Wicklin EDITORIAL INTERN Lauren Vastine ADVERTISING 770-844-0969 sales@pointsnorthatlanta.com SENIOR MEDIA CONSULTANT Karen Poulsen ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE George Colmant CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Tiffany Willard

ALL POINTS INTERACTIVE MEDIA CORP. 568 Peachtree Parkway Cumming, Georgia 30041 770-844-0969 pointsnorthatlanta.com ©2016 Points North Atlanta All Points Interactive Media Corp. All rights reserved. Points North Atlanta is published monthly by All Points Interactive Media Corp. The opinions expressed by contributing writers are not necessarily those of the editor, the publisher or of Points North Atlanta. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION: Points North Atlanta offers a 12-month subscription for $15. Visit pointsnorthatlanta.com for details. Please Recycle This Magazine


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While we love to call the Northside home, we like to keep an eye on the neighborhoods that make our city diverse. In this quarterly series, we’re covering some of our favorite spots, whether time-honored or on the rise and a few new hotspots worth the drive.

Westside Provisions District

8 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016



WHERE TO PARK? Surface parking is available


throughout WSPD. They offer free parking in the deck, located

ON A RECENT FRIDAY afternoon, I had just sat down for a routine visit to my regular nail salon when I overheard the woman next to me enthusiastically plotting her evening plans into her cell phone. “Let’s meet at The Optimist,” she said. “I’ve been really wanting to get back down there.” Me too, I thought, a tad wistfully. Tucked off Howell Mill Road in Atlanta’s West Midtown neighborhood — also known as the Westside — local favorite restaurateur Ford Fry’s chic oyster bar/fish camp-esque eatery opened in 2012, but continues to rank high on praise from national media as well as from suburban dwellers who are not only nonplussed by extra mileage for a special meal; they crave it. Many nights, we are more than content to stay in our neck of the woods or cozy up at home. Then there are evening plans that inspire a fresh manicure, or days that call for browsing one-of-a-kind boutiques, where the experience of shopping is as exquisite as the merchandise. But, let’s be real — if those

underneath the White Provision

are the qualifiers, Atlanta is replete with options of similar caliber, right? Why the Westside?

Residences at 1100 Howell Mill Road/ Gratuity-based valet service is also available in the side lot by JCT Kitchen, in the lot behind 1170 Howell Mill Road and in front of O-Ku.

OPENING NEW DOORS It’s a question we posed to the owners of Little Barn Apothecary + Co., who opened its flagship concept shop inside Westside Provisions District (WSPD) — West Midtown’s centerpiece of an eclectic and bustling community — last month. Little Barn Apothecary co-founders Brad Scoggins and Joshua Morgan debuted their Atlanta-based luxurious line of self-care goods in January 2015 and built a strong following for their pure, plant-based items online as well as at more than 200 spas, hotels and shops around the world. They seemingly could go brick-and-mortar anywhere, but they see WSPD as a pioneering shopping and dining destination that they love to visit in their spare time. “It’s a dream come true to be part of it, and to be among such great brands in the neighborhood,” the duo wrote via email. I imagine for their

neighbors, ranging from Anne Quatrano’s Bacchanalia and Star Provisions, mainstays of Atlanta accolade-amassing dining scene dating back to 1999, to fashionable names like Sid and Ann Mashburn, and oh, so many more, the feeling may be mutual. Scoggins and Morgan spent months researching top products from around the globe to create a retail experience unparalleled elsewhere in the city. The exploration bar is a relaxing and nurturing space that gives customers the chance to try nurturing remedies firsthand, and in addition to their collection from Little Barn Apothecary,

many brands offered in the shop are available in Georgia for the first time. Half a mile down Howell Mill, past The Optimist, bibliophiles will find their curated haven in the artfully arranged shelves at Cover. Warning: this is not a place to enter if you’re short on time, unless you secretly want to be late. What makes Cover different isn’t just its meticulous, museum-like design; the store only carries works of nonfiction, especially in the categories of food, wine, art and design. “The store is surrounded by the types of people and


September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 9

culture that inspire the books we carry,” said owner Katie Barringer. “There’s a real cohesion between what is inside the space and outside the doors.”


Little Barn Apothecary

Little Trouble

Cooks & Soldiers

JCT Kitchen

West Midtown didn’t become this hip cultural center overnight. Branded reminders throughout WSPD date back the collective to 2008, however its story starts much earlier. Once home to Atlanta’s first modern meatpacking facility, the area had fallen on hard times by the late ’90s. Due to a partnership between two adjacent developments, Westside Urban Market and White Provision, the latter in part by Jamestown, at the heart of WSPD, you’ll find a footbridge above still-active train tracks linking the north and south ends. “WSPD was conceived as Atlanta’s ‘design main street’ and that concept has stayed with the district,” said Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown, who is nationally recognized for his ability to build distinctive urban communities and credited as a driving force behind several adaptive reuse developments, including New York’s Chelsea Market and Industry City, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, Calif. and Ponce City Market. Regardless of which way you turn, you’re headed toward “Really Good Stuff,” according to signs also marked with the outline of a pig, nodding back to the area’s roots — as do the brickwork backdrops and industrial aesthetic. I noticed a common appreciation for the old and timeless, whether in the vintage trinkets at Brick+Mortar,

a leather jacket at Billy Reid or the sound of train rambling by, reminiscent of early Atlanta’s rise as a railroad hub. Despite its affinity for nostalgia, there’s definitely still a sense of movement to what’s next. One can’t miss the construction fences heralding the coming of a new Design Within Reach (DWR) location, just as devout foodies wouldn’t miss headlines that Quatrano’s Little Bach has closed and Bacchanalia is moving, although not away from the Westside altogether. “We are excited to complete the new DWR space, which will add a great collection of home goods to WSPD and create ease of access with improved parking,” Phillips said. “[Quatrano] will continue to have a presence with her Star Provisions outpost while we implement our longstanding plan to create a more open and engaging courtyard for our community.” He also said that as the Westside continues to evolve from its origin with improved infrastructure, new developments and institutions like The Masquerade concert venue moving to the neighborhood, WSPD is at the heart of these changes. Or, we could also say, it’s at their stomach. Considering Phillips also serves as the lowercase vice-chairman for the James Beard Foundation, it is no surprise this vibrant community center has attracted some of our city’s most beloved chefs and people that enjoy their meals. “WSPD is home to some of the best food Atlanta has to offer,” Phillips said. “People want experiences when they shop today, so our goal is always to create


10 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

an environment that allows people to engage and interact with the retailers and their products, with food as the common factor that brings people together.�

NO RESERVATIONS With an overwhelming number of options, and signs pointing you to goodness in all directions, where should empty bellies go ďŹ rst? An appropriate start is the place that speared Fry’s famous forage into Atlanta’s dining scene: JCT Kitchen. Executive Chef Brian Horn was Fry’s ďŹ rst culinary employee, and looked around with a smile when he commented on how much

WHAT TO DO? PAELLA ON THE PORCH is a new Friday tradition at Cooks & Soldiers, where guests can enjoy $9 plates of paella on the patio. The restaurant also has several exciting events coming up this October. The ďŹ rst week of October, Cooks & Soldiers will host two special events in celebration of CHG Restaurant Week including a J.C. Vizcarra wine tasting Oct. 5 and pig roast Oct. 7. The restaurant will also host James Beard Award-nominated chef

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the full buzz of Westside’s chefs and local food fans is during the WSPD Farmers Market. Filling the lane behind YEAH! Burger each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Dec. 18, expect live cooking demonstrations on ways to use seasonal


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he’s seen the area change in less than a decade. One thing that hasn’t is his simple approach to cooking in a part of the country where seasonal vegetables are practically religion. The popular JCT Fried Chicken plate served with collard greens, to-die-for buttermilk biscuits and homemade hot sauce is as much a crowd-pleaser for out-of-town guests as local aficionados. The kitchen turns out an impressive number nightly, both in the main dining room as well as from the upstairs bar menu. So, why would the chicken cross Howell Mill Road? Our best guess would be to dine at Cooks & Soldiers. Northside residents have long known the comforts from a Castellucci Hospitality Group kitchen — the esteemed family of restaurateurs trace back to the now-closed Roasted Garlic restaurants and the casually elegant Sugo in Johns Creek. While the skyline, wine lists and faces may change, the level of excellence guests can expect holds true at their Basque-inspired venture. Owner Fred Castellucci points to some of Atlanta’s affluent neighborhoods like Midtown and Buckhead, Downtown tourism and conventions, and Georgia Tech’s campus as reasons why the Westside was the only area he considered for the restaurant. Perhaps the adjacent college campuses, as well as The Goat Farm and Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, are to thank for its tangible pulse of energy. There’s also the considerable number of coffee shops-per-square mile like Brash, Octane, Revelator

12 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

to consider. Choosing which is responsible, however, seems as complex as the classic chicken-before-the-egg argument. Oh, and that reminds us to add West Egg Café to the evergrowing list of worthy restaurants. Whether you come to experience their brunch or Oddbird hot chicken pop-up, held the second Wednesday of each month, is a win-win dilemma. Though shop doors might start to close as the sun lowers in the West, that pulsing energy cranks up a notch around the bars — many that serve late-night menus — including Ormsby’s, a tavern tucked below Room & Board offering a wide range of traditional games and not-so-traditional tavern fare; Little Trouble, known for cocktails, a neo-noir atmosphere and Asian street foods; Marcel, yet another helmed by Fry and Horn; and more. In fact, one could stay up all night and still have more tables to try. For those that simply want to soak up the sunset, take a seat on O-Ku’s spacious rooftop. Inspired by its sister restaurant in Charleston, O-Ku Atlanta provides a fresh and innovative take on Japanese sushi and cuisine. From the perch’s unique vantage point, I saw a different perspective of the Atlanta skyline: the Westside view. What a fabulous way to spend a Friday night. PN

FOR MORE INFORMATION westsideprovisions.com littlebarnapothecary.com cover-books.com fordfry.com o-kusushiatl.com

14 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

Pick of the Patch



written and styled by CYNTHIA HOYT | photography courtesy of LINDSEY LARUE unless otherwiae noted

As autumn peeks over the horizon and Atlantans start craving all things cool, there is undeniable electricity in the air, calling for traditions with friends and family in tow.

Each year, a fall bucket list is typed and meticulously checked off as the season progresses. My list, like many others, includes cheering at a collegiate football game, visiting a winery and harvesting my own produce at some of North Georgia’s favorite U-Pick farms.


September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 15


FIELD TRIP Up Interstate 575 to Highway 76 is where you’ll find apples in all directions, specifically at Mercier Orchards. Just 20 minutes north of Ellijay, Mercier has been a family-owned and -operated farm since 1943 and hosts more than 35 varieties of apples for picking in the fall. We were welcomed by humidity-free air and the smell of something sweet and syrupy. Inside Mercier’s store, we made a beeline straight to the bakery line, where fruit-filled hand pies were being pulled from the oven and placed onto bakery racks in the glass-protected shelves. With a warm apple hand pie in one hand and my farmers market tote in the other, I filled my basket with artisanal preserves, honeys and baking mixes ready to be whipped up for breakfast one morning. Depending on the season, you might also find produce ranging from peaches, apples and berries to onions, squashes, okra and tomatoes. For those interested in fermented fruit, Mercier has a tasting room dedicated to their hard ciders (be sure to try the Grumpy Granny) and wines made from peaches and blackberries.


September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 17


SEASONAL SELECTIONS Focusing on the fields, our pace quickened. We passed families coming in with sticky berry juice-covered children and teens whose smiles weren’t a result of cell phones glued to their hands. While U-Pick farms are a great opportunity for photo ops, most participants find that picking – and eating – requires two unburdened hands and their cameras soon are discarded in favor of fresh fruit from a tree limb. Guests are welcome to pick apples on weekends from September to November, depending on the harvest and weather conditions. It is, by far, their most popular U-Pick season.


If you need a guide

on what to pick and what is in season in

Georgia, check out pickyourown.org/ga.htm. It’s a great online resource that has a list of all U-Pick farms in Atlanta by county, fruit, region and highlights popular destinations with user feedback.

September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 19



SECOND STOP When you find yourself still in the fall spirit after a morning spent picking apples, you can head 30 minutes east of Ellijay to Burt’s Farm. Likely you’ve heard of it, or have had a friend’s photo next to a 2-foot high pumpkin pop up on your social media feed. Burt’s has been an Atlanta tradition since 1972, when the family first started growing pumpkins. During harvesting season, the operation attracts thousands of visitors who indulge in a hayride around the property and wade waist-deep in pumpkin patches between appeasing their appetites on treats in the onsite store. The goal, of course, is the perfect gourd to adorn with a ghoulish face for their front door step come Halloween. At the end of the day, with stains on my hands and small wisps of dirt across my dress, I happily drove home, completely recharged in spirit and mentally refreshed for the weeks ahead. My time in the orchards was just the escape I needed. PN FOR MORE INFORMATION mercier-orchards.com burtsfarm.com



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beautiful sunflowers at the end of September and early October! Besides a sea of yellow, guests to the Fausett Farms Horse Trails, which is privately-owned and operated since 1858, can also look forward to smoked barbecue, homemade apple pies, homemade ice cream and muledrawn wagon rides. Located along Highway 183 in the heart of Dawson County, the trails travel more than 30 miles through the foothills of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains over eight different trails. Bring the family or the horse for a fun day outdoors! fausettfarmshorsetrails.com


20 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

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In the duration of summer’s

ridiculous highs and thick blankets of humidity, unless my feet were in the baby pool or a sprinkler crossing my path, my family spent the majority of our late afternoons indoors. Now that it’s feasible to face the great outdoors again, many locals have their sights set and their calendars circled for Cumming’s annual Frogtown Trail Challenge. If the image of lacing up those sneakers isn’t motivation enough, how about the excuse to buy new ones? As veterans know, Frogtown, which takes place this year on Saturday, Oct. 8, is not your average, everyday race. It’s 4, 6 or 10 miles of muddy hills, knee-deep creeks, impossible inclines and organic obstacles (i.e. tree branches, tree trunks,


stumps) with a convenient shoe swap station right on the course. It’s also a community event, starting the night before with fellowship, music, bonfires and camping onsite that carries into race day with more than 100 volunteers, hundreds of runners and plenty of support teams. Maybe unbeknownst to many of those attendees is that the land they’re treading upon is as fascinating as their competitors’ — particularly one cancer survivor’s — dedication to it.

THIS OLD HOUSE The history actually starts about 4,000 years ago, as a recent surveyor found etchings on rocks sitting deep in the woods. They’ve since been sent to The University of Georgia’s archaeology

department and landed back in Forsyth County as an annual highlight of the county fair. It was quite a surprise, considering the land has been used by generations of farmers — meaning despite tilling, sowing and reaping, ancient history lives on. In the early 1800s, the Groover family established their homestead on what was then known as Frogtown. Many were farmers and some were founding members of the still-standing Mount Tabor Baptist Church. Their lineage included individuals who operated saw mills and donated lumber for the local schoolhouse, worked on the gold mine, fought in the Civil War and even one who held a county bailiff position, chasing rumrunners out of nearby Dawsonville. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRIS GARMON; TRUESPEEDPHOTO.COM

22 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016


History September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 23


“The terrain out there is just beautiful. My favorite part is this long stretch of flat trail that runs alongside the creek. I remember being out there thinking, ‘I could do this all day.’” RICHIE TAYLOR | Cumming Resident

Perhaps that love of the chase and the spirit of giving back to the community is something in their blood, and therefore somewhat responsible for what birthed the idea for the present generation to start their trail race — one that gives 100 percent of its net proceeds to a charity of choice. Chris Garmon, the oldest of the Garmon brothers and great-grandsons of Frogtown’s Mary Elizabeth Groover (later, Harris) said, “[My great-grandmother, Meme] was the only relative on that side of the family I knew growing

up. I remember being 7 or 8 years old and riding with her from Marietta to Mount Tabor Baptist church for dinner on the grounds.” Garmon, now 46 and married, recounted the drive past the family’s property, including “The Old Frogtown House” where “Meme” was born in 1900. She lived there until the 1930s with her husband, Louie Mashburn Harris, and two children until farming took a hit along with the rest of the economy, and they moved to Marietta. For two generations, the property sat untouched, PHOTOS COURTESY OF TRUESPEEDPHOTO.COM

24 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016



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FR OGTOWN LEFT: Just as she waded through the muddy waters of cancer, Christine Steck sloshes through Frogtown’s creek with determination and persistence en route to a hard-earned triumph.

but eventually Forsyth County would call Garmon’s family back. That call came in 1996 with Garmon prepping to move to the property with Meme. He was in his 20s and starting a career in real estate and banking, and despite Groover-Harris passing before she could move back, Garmon felt like it was still the right decision for him. Although he no longer lives on the property (his younger brother, Patrick, does), he’s stayed in Cumming ever since. As you can imagine, with 400-plus acres untouched for almost 100 years, plenty of investors and land developers approached them to sell. Vision Atlanta, a former organization for underprivileged inner-city kids proposed building their new campsite on the property. That was perhaps the most tempting offer, but giving up a vast history with so much potential for just one great cause didn’t feel right. It did, however, give them an idea. They decided to launch an annual trail race benefitting several great causes. It left the property to Mother Nature, put the family back in touch with their roots and has become a tradition that Garmon said lets them continue giving back to the area, just as their ancestors did.

“... That race changed me. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, but I am in love with that mountain. I really am.” CHRISTINE STECK | Cancer Survivor

TRAINING DAYS That first year, they hosted a race to benefit Vision Atlanta. Thirty-five people came out to the Race for Camp Grace and proceeds helped build the organization’s campsite south of the city. A few years later, in 2009, it was time to make the race official. Partnering again with 26 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

Fall in Love WITH YOUR

Orion Racing, they launched Frogtown Trail Challenge, a 4- and 10-mile trail race that attracted hundreds of runners and raised money for Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes. Every year since, they’ve chosen a different charity and improved both the course and its details with help from sponsors and beneficiaries. “It costs about $12,000 to put a race on,” said Garmon, who spearheads the family’s efforts. “We’ve learned a lot every single year about how to make it better.” While Garmon said they take pride in never cutting corners, the family quite literally does cut the actual trails themselves with hacksaws, mowers, blowers and more. They spray for poison ivy, hunt down yellow jackets’ nests and clear the fields for parking, camping and emergency transportation. The land only gets used once a year, so the work starts in late summer and goes right up until race day, where a maximumoccupancy 1,000 runners is the goal. They inventory plenty of Porta-Potty rentals, tons of water along the course and an impressive swag bag for runners. This year, the race will benefit Cumming Civitan Club and local troops of American Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA. They added the 6-mile course option so that 4-milers no longer have to miss out on the beloved 4,000-foot creek romp. Runners come from near and far, as many make it a weekend experience via trailers, tents and sleeping bags the night before. “I did road races for several years and it got kind of monotonous just running on a street with a bunch of people,” said Richie Taylor of Cumming, who plans to race for the second time this year. “Trail races are much more tactical. Plus, the terrain out there is just beautiful. My favorite part is this long stretch of flat trail that runs alongside the creek. I remember being out there thinking, ‘I could do this all day.’” “It’s a true trail race,” added four-time runner, Jason Howard of Roswell. “A lot of other races are mostly obstacle-based,



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but this one is just a great run through beautiful property in the woods. My wife and I love the family atmosphere, the variety that the course offers and we’re even camping this year.” As a 4-miler in years past, Howard is doing the 6-mile race this year, changing up his route a little, but still mentally preparing for a long, steep uphill that inspires him to “never look up. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

REWARD BEYOND THE FINISH LINE In the spirit of never giving up, runners that return to tackle this trail challenge every year are just as inspiring as the history and hard work from the Garmons. In particular, there’s Christine Steck, a participant since 2012 who plans to celebrate her 50th birthday this year on the trail. Steck’s first Frogtown race was on the 10-mile course. She wasn’t an avid runner, but prepared with plenty of cardio, had previous experience with trail races and had a support group signing up with her. “That race is hard,” Steck said. “I


mean, it’s really hard, and I struggled. There were times when I was out there alone and it became spiritual for me … It’s long, and it’s intense. My mom had passed away not long before and I talked to her a lot, and of course, I was praying to God to just get me through it.” She remembers going to her gym the following Saturday when her trainer asked what she thought about her experience. “I told him, that race changed me. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, but I am in love with that mountain. I really am.” About six months later, Steck was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was early but aggressive, so the next few months included back-to-back surgeries, long recoveries, draining chemo treatments and radiation. Steck never stopped working out during those months. In fact, she finished radiation and chemo just weeks before the 2013 race — and she still ran. With her doctor’s permission, she even did the 10-mile course again. If that isn’t impressive enough, she came in first place in her age group. “Honestly, I never felt stronger,” Steck said. “I was on top of the world

CATCHING WIND OF ANOTHER incredible achievement by a

running that race. There were just so many people around me, encouraging me or smiling at me. It’s full of just good people.” Last year, Steck completed the 4-mile course and has registered to run the same distance again in October. “It’s just part of a sense of normalcy,” she said. “You have to do what makes you feel normal, and what makes you feel good. I wanted to be in control of this and, for me, that meant staying active, staying strong.” There’s more than the usual fitness challenges used as motivation when it comes to Frogtown. Running this race means dipping those sneakers (the old ones) in hundreds of years of gorgeously illustrated history — a legacy that is still alive today — inspiring goodwill and helping runners conquer personal obstacles. Or, hey, in honor of that one family bailiff, modern-day rumrunners can do this chase simply for the fun of it. PN

FOR MORE INFORMATION frogtowntrailchallenge.com

to live an active life.” Diagnosed at the age of 51

two years. His tumors have shrunk, his lymph nodes are

Georgia athlete diagnosed with

with no history of smoking,

currently clear, and he is able to

cancer, we wanted to share the

Smith was a very healthy runner,

race and train at a high level.

story of Kirk Smith.

triathlete and cyclist. He learned

In 2013, Smith, a resident

that his cancer was caused by

“Lung cancer research receives the least amount of mon-

of Athens, Ga., was diagnosed

a genetic mutation called ALK+.

ey of the top three cancers, yet

with Stage 3B lung cancer,

After the initial diagnosis, Smith

it is the biggest killer, causing

which has a 5 percent five-year

began taking the relatively new

the death of more people each

survival rate and is not curable.

targeted therapy drug, crizotinib

year than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined,” Smith

Next month, he will be partici-

(Xalkori), a drug developed

pating on team Free to Breathe,

specifically to combat the ALK+

said. “I want to use the platform

a lung cancer research and ad-

mutation. It was working for the

of IRONMAN to show what the

vocacy organization dedicated

first four and a half months of

new medications are capable

to doubling lung cancer survival

his treatment but he was also

of, and to educate people that

by 2022, in the PPD IRONMAN

experiencing some adverse

these new medications don’t

North Carolina triathlon.

side effects that were going

happen without financial sup-

to prevent him from taking the

port for lung cancer research.”

“This is not about raising

If you want to follow Smith’s

awareness — we’re all aware

medication much longer. Then,

of cancer,” Smith said. “This is

another drug, ceritinib (Zykadia),

about educating people that

was approved by the Food


research makes a huge differ-

and Drug Administration and


ence. Research saves lives and

he switched. Currently, Smith


allows cancer patients like me

has been on the drug for almost


progress in the race, visit


28 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 29


Cancer Awareness


The Cancer Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center is accredited by the Commission on Cancer. CoC accredited cancer programs are dedicated to providing the best in patient-centered care. CoC accreditation provides value through improved patient outcomes across all domains of care: access and service, satisfaction and well-being, quality of

They don’t just treat the cancer; they treat the individual. That’s why patient care is a major component of your treatment at Gwinnett Medical Center.

care and cancer outcomes. They don’t just treat the cancer; they treat the individual. That’s why patient care is a major component of your treatment at Gwinnett Medical Center. As part of your cancer treatment, they offer you the services of a patient resource navigator. Whether you need help post-treatment, want tips for pain management or just need a shoulder to cry on, their navigators are here for you. They offer the area’s top oncologists, radiologists and cancer treatment experts who specialize in the treatment of all types of cancer. They offer a full range of advanced, comprehensive cancer-fighting services, including:

30 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

• Screening and early detection programs • A dedicated lung cancer screening program • Diagnostic imaging • Interventional radiology • Infusion services • Gwinnett Breast Center —

• Healthy lifestyle programs • Rehabilitation services including STAR oncology rehabilitation Pain • management • Nutrition services • Complementary and alternative medicine Chaplaincy •

accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers

• Surgical procedures • Radiation oncology services • Medical oncology services • American Cancer Society services • Support groups • Supportive services

Discover all the ways Gwinnett Medical Center can help you win your battle against cancer at



Cancer Awareness


One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

results may impact treatment options and future screening recommendations. Dedicated women’s imaging is available at Northside locations across the state. Northside was the first in Metro Atlanta to introduce 3-D mammography. Northside offers this

At the Northside Hospital Cancer

premier technology at its locations

Institute, thousands of women have received extraordinary care through their cancer journey, so they can take the first steps into their cancer-free life. Northside is one of the nation’s leading providers of breast care services, diagnosing and treating more

in Atlanta, Alpharetta and Cumming.

“We are committed to providing high quality breast care on every level and to making access to that care as convenient possible.”

breast cancer cases each year than any other program in the Southeast. They provide extensive education and

benefit from personalized and attentive care including individualized surgery suites, a specialized oncology

compassion and guidance along the

and partnerships to ScreenAtlanta

of services, the latest technology,

mobile screening mammography

leading-edge clinical research and

and Northside’s Hereditary Cancer

compassionate support. Northside’s Hereditary Cancer Program is the largest in the South-

high quality breast care on every level

east and is led by board-certified

and to making access to that care as

genetic counselors, who help women

convenient possible,” said Patti Owen,

assess, understand and reduce their

M.N., R.N., director, Northside Hospital

risk of developing genetically influ-

Cancer Institute.

enced cancers. Counselors evaluate each patient’s personal and family

offer a multidisciplinary team of ded-

history and determine if genetic test-

icated, specially trained professionals

ing is appropriate. They also explain

in addition to a comprehensive scope

the test results and discuss ways the

32 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

Patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer at Northside Hospital

who answer questions and provide

health – from community awareness

Northside’s strength is that they


dietitian and breast nurse navigators

cancer risk and maintain good breast

“We are committed to providing

accredited by the American College of

treatment plans, dedicated breast Patti Owen, MN, RN, director, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute

resources to help women learn their


All of Northside’s imaging centers are

way. In addition, patients can turn to the Cancer Support Community-Atlanta and a survivors’ Network of Hope for inspiration, as well as A Woman’s Place at Northside Hospital, a boutique offering specialty health care products just for women.


northside.com/breastcare to learn more.






Tucked away in the mountains of Rabun County, inside a small red cabin along a dirt road, you’ll find a family who decided to sell almost everything they owned and leave the life they led in Athens, Ga., to focus on family, life and adventure. THE CITY LIFE Josh and Alex Brown had a successful life in Athens. They’d just started their family, they had a nice house, they owned a popular community center — you could definitely say they were living the dream. “It just wasn’t our dream,” Alex said. “Our business was basically running us.” “Instead of working a 40-hour week, where we could still enjoy our lives, we were working about 60 hours a week,” Josh said. To balance their hectic schedule, the Browns would drive out to North Georgia every weekend and explore a different area, using these small getaways as way to decompress and relax. The couple had always talked about moving to the mountains, and they even 34 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

looked at houses each time they would make the trip, but at that point, their dream still seemed far fetched. “Then the stars just kind of aligned for us,” Alex said. They saw a house in their neighborhood sell quickly, so the Browns decided to give it a try and see if they’d have the same luck with their home. After only a week, their house sold at asking price, and Josh and Alex saw that their goal was within reach.

THE MOUNTAIN LIFE “Two days after our house in Athens went under contract, this house we’d had our eye on came back onto the market,” Alex said. Everything continued to fall into place, and the Browns made the move to the mountains right after Christmas. In preparation for moving from a 2,000-square-foot home to their 900-square-foot cabin, the couple sold over half of everything they owned, including one of their cars, almost all of their clothes and most of their furniture.

“Having to do that really makes you more conscious of what you do and do not need,” Josh said. “We realized that most of the stuff we had in our old house, we didn’t use anyways.” “Now we literally use every square inch of this house; everything we own has a purpose,” Alex said. “It’s very utilitarian.” It’s tough for anyone to make a big transition, and the Browns are no exception. “Our friends and family thought we’d lost our minds when we first moved,” Alex said. “And there’s definitely been some culture shock; the way of life up here is just totally different.” But tough transitions can lead to good experiences. The Browns enjoy the simpler life and feel very fortunate that they’ve been able to chase their dreams into the North Georgia mountains. “It’s like being on vacation all the time,” Josh said. “It’s a much less stressful way of life.” Both Josh and Alex now work from home for their graphic design business, DayBlind, so they get to spend much more time September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 35


If you happen to post any photos from your adventures, be sure to use the hashtag #wandernorthga for a chance to be featured on their Instagram account.

together as a family. “We also feel like we’re raising a wild child,” Josh said about their son. “The other day I was sitting at my desk and watched him run outside naked with a stick in his hand and chase a possum up a tree.”

WANDERING AND WILD Once they made the decision to move, they got the idea to create a blog called Wander North Georgia — “a project focused on the North Georgia mountains and the communities that call them home.” The blog, wandernorthga.com, is home to many articles that highlight everything from different types of trails to the best local Airbnb spots. The blog also has an Instagram account, @wandernorthga, which is a collaborative effort with their followers and is mostly made up of photos the Browns have re-posted from those who use the hashtag #wandernorthga. “We were just kind of messing around when we started this, 36 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

but we were able to grow a loyal following quickly,” Josh said. “Our dream come true would be to make Wander North Georgia our full-time job.” With that objective in mind, they have spent time working with the State Parks and National Forests as well as trying to partner with local businesses to host a variety of outdoor events. To find out what events Wander North Georgia has lined up, you can visit northgeorgiasocialclub.com. “The so-called mission behind Wander North Georgia is just to get people [away from] their screens,” Josh said. “If we can get people to [get outside], then we’ve achieved our goal.”

SO … GET OUTSIDE! If you want a day tailored to you and your family, shoot Josh and Alex an email through the blog and they’d be more than happy to create an itinerary for you. If you’re just looking for some expert suggestions, here are just a few of their ideas.

12 IN 2016 LINLEY’S FIELD NOTES My husband and I love to get outside and have a good adventure. Here are a few places we’ve been: Indian Seats Trail at Sawnee Mountain We love this hike because it’s easy and the view at the top is incredible! It’s a great spot to hang up a hammock and enjoy the scenery. The only bummer? No dogs allowed. Benton MacKaye Trail at Springer Mountain We hiked a 5-mile loop that meets up with the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and found some pretty amazing views along the way. Amicalola Falls State Park Climbing 600 stairs to get to the top of the falls is no joke, but it was so worth it! The falls are beautiful and the view at the top is pretty amazing, too. Laurel Ridge Trail at Buford Dam We love this trail, mostly because it leads to a great view of Buford Dam. The river rushing between the cliffs and the goats on the hillside just make you feel like you’re in another country. Lake Lanier We love getting out on the water. We have a kayak and a paddle board, so one of our favorite things to do on the weekend is to paddle out to an island in the lake and hang out all day with our books and have a picnic.

CAR CAMPING The Browns’ favorite spot for car camping is Raven Cliff Falls outside of Helen. It’s a (free!) primitive campsite (no running water, but yes, there’s a bathroom), and it’s minutes away from another great hike at Dukes Creek Falls. If you need groceries, check out Betty’s Country Store; or if camp cooking is intimidating, eat at Village Tavern for the “best pizza in the world.”

A DAY ON THE WATER Escape the heat by visiting one of Rabun County’s many lakes or rivers. Rabun Boathouse, also known as “Hal’s Boathouse” on Lake Rabun offers boat rentals and fishing trips, or rafting down the Chattooga at Bull Sluice. Minnehaha Falls, Angel Falls and Hemlock Falls are must-sees in the area. For a unique shopping experience, check out Personify in Lakemont, and if you’re hungry, head into Clayton and visit the Universal Joint, Clarks’ on Main or Fortify Kitchen & Bar. If it’s a kids-free trip, end the day at Tiger Mountain

Vineyard and try their nationally recognized, award-winning wines.

RIGOROUS HIKING If you’re looking to “rough it,” start with a section of the Appalachian Trail (AT). The best scenic or day-hike option is to go up Blood Mountain from Neels Gap. Be sure to check out Mountain Crossings outfitter at the base of the mountain, as it is the only place on the AT that is covered (the trail runs through their building). You can also try the approach trail to the AT at Amicalola Falls State Park for a scenic waterfall view. The Bartram Trail offers nearly 40 miles of North Georgia trails before running into North Carolina. PN

FOR MORE INFORMATION wandernorthgeorgia.com

September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 37




Escaping to the foothills, I started my sojourn in the heart of Hendersonville: downtown Main Street. The zigzagged road is lined with local shops, restaurants, attractions and bears. Yes, bears. Eleven statues are scattered amongst the street blocks, and while I found many Hendersonville hotspots to be charming, such unexpected surprises behind every corner redrew tradition’s usual hard lines.


I made my own bear tracks down the noticeably spacious sidewalks, window-shopping as I went. During horse-and-buggy days, drivers wanted to be able to make a quick U-turn when needed, so the roads were made extra wide. Now, a buggy-less but vibrant scene unfolded around me. Unique storefronts hinted at the personalities of each shop, with their doors propped open begging a peek inside at the treasure trove of trinkets my eyes would soon find. The sense of community was palpable as people of all ages spent their afternoon on Main Street. One suggestion, stop in to the recently opened Flat Rock Cider Works for one of their locally picked and pressed pints on tap — you won’t be disappointed. Not far from Main Street is their famed Flat Rock Playhouse that sits, well, on a flat rock. Expanding the length of the parking lot is a large piece of rock that gave the playhouse its name. It's a simple backstory that has led to widespread success. Offering Broadway-style entertainment,



September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 39


Flat Rock Playhouse is the official state theatre of North Carolina. Priding themselves on quality, the actors, some having auditioned in New York, don their expertly made costumes and perch upon skillfully built props as they pull you into their performance. I was treated to a rendition of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” and all I have to say is that the standing ovation at the end was well deserved. Outside the playhouse, imagination takes another turn, down hidden trails that wind through dense forests, over a white wooden bridge and up a steep slope to the Carl Sandburg home. The all-white house stands out like a ghost amongst the canopies of green and is one of Hendersonville’s historic gems. Known as the “poet of the people,” Sandburg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and social activist. The peacefulness of the property and breathtaking mountain views were enough to inspire Sandburg to complete more than a third of his life’s work on the Hendersonville estate. Moving into the home in 1945 with his wife and daughters, the walls were, and still are, a writer’s paradise. With floor-to-ceiling bookcases in nearly every room and windows unobstructed by curtains to reveal rolling mountains, the effect is so hypnotic you may find yourself picking up a pen and writing into the early hours of the morning just like Sandburg. While the estate includes approximately 30 acres, Sandburg’s wife claimed they had bought more than just that; they had bought “a million acres of sky.” When her husband passed in 1967, she turned the home over to the National Park Service so his legacy could live on. The home is currently under renovation and will hold a grand re-opening for the 50th anniversary in 2018.

BUSHELS OF VIEWS Leaving the home where the walls whisper poetry, I couldn’t help but recall work of another favorite author who could turn a blank page into a looking glass for fantastical adventures. Imagine walking into a small room with a single wardrobe. Now open the wardrobe doors, push aside the coats and see an entire world unfold before you. It’s not Narnia, but the orchards and vineyards of Hendersonville. One morning, when the sun had been up long enough to cast a golden hue over the hills, I made my way to the apple orchards.

40 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock welcomed me with the sweet aroma of their famous apple cider doughnuts baking beneath an open window. Sitting on 100 acres, this U-Pick farm is one of the largest in the Southeast. With a farm-first mindset, the owners consider themselves a “back-to-earth” couple. Sky Top uses limited pesticides on their more than 35 varieties of apples that grow just behind their open-air market. They want their orchard to be a place where families come year after year, but Sky Top also offers a wide variety of products for guests to take home, including (but nowhere near limited to) pies, jams, juice and applesauce … and you can’t forget the doughnuts. If the baked goods don’t catch your eye, the orchard will. What seems quaint at first glance actually opens out into the orchard fields and panoramic mountains, framed with strung lights hanging from the ceiling and a wall of wicker baskets for apple picking. With seemingly endless rolling hills and picturesque acreage, the views were better than fiction.

LIQUID GOLD The next day, we added a little kick to our apples and bellied up to the bar at Bold Rock cidery in Mills River. This place knocked it out of the park from my first taste of their local hard cider blend, Carolina Apple, followed by their Carolina Draft, which was a close second. Both were a mixture of sweet and dry, and 100-percent refreshing. Co-founder and New Zealand native Brian Shanks described it as the “perfect drink for a warm Carolina day.” Being the brainchild behind Bold Rock, Shanks had no hesitation explaining his passion for cider, and how he had pondered the question, “How can I make a drink people will like?” Sourcing apples from the area, Bold Rock doesn’t use any artificial products. Grab a seat at the Tasting Bar that grants transparent views into their assembly warehouse where the cider is made and bottled. Trading apples for grapes, Burntshirt Vineyards was my next stop. With its name stemming from local mountain lore, the vineyard is one of the best in the state. There's an extensive list of awards on their website, including North Carolina's Winery of the Year from the 2015 New York International Wine Competition

– and it's no surprise why. The property touts a main house for My time at the vineyard even treated me with a taste of home. tastings, a winery, a cottage, an expansive event room and so I happened to run into a native Alpharetta couple that was passing much more. Their spacious outdoor patio features corn hole and through on a wine-tasting exploration. It was wonderful to share live music with unobstructed views of the vineyards that span 19 our stories over rich wine, further clarifying to me that the heart acres. Inside, the cozy main house is overtaken by a wrap-around of Hendersonville is its people. Whether resident or traveler, it’s tasting bar, where visitors can sip on 14 different wines. Starting common ground for good brews and good memories. from dry reds and ending with sweet whites, my favorite was HarI ended my sojourn 3,000 feet above the ground at Jump Off vest Gold, their ultimate dessert wine. Upon its Rock, taking in serene views of the Blue Ridge first pour, the wine was described as “a consisand Pisgah mountain ranges. It was just before tency like olive oil, it’s so potent.” A quick swirl sunset and the clouds were low, weaving FOR MORE INFORMATION of my glass and sniff to my nose, my senses between the rolling pastures below. One could visithendersonvillenc.org were overwhelmed with floral and peach see for miles. flatrockciderworks.com aromas that followed with flavors of honey and Sitting on an exposed rock, staring out, I flatrockplayhouse.org melon. Definitely didn’t reach for the dump reflected on my few days spent in Hendersonnps.gov/carl bucket that time. Harvest Gold is their sweetest ville. I came to understand that the hospitality skytoporchard.com wine because its grapes stay on the vine until here is as fine as a glass of wine, leaving you boldrock.com mid-November. Having all that extra time in with an aroma that’s so evocative of a perfect burntshirtvineyards.com the sun makes it produce more sugar, resulting mountain hideaway, it keeps you coming back in pure decadence. through the seasons. PN PHOTOS COURTESY OF SCOTT TREADWAY/TREADSHOTS; SAM DEAN; LAUREN VASTINE; ASHLEY BOWEN

September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 41


the Valley


T H E V I N E YA R D S O F YA D K I N VA L L E Y, N . C . written by PARIS WICKLIN


estled away in the northern section of North Carolina are vistas full of vineyards and local wineries. Despite my claim as a native North Carolinian, I had not ventured to the Yadkin Valley, home to decadence such as the southern cobbler-like treat called Sonker, until recently. Lured to the area to sample wines harvested across Yadkin County, I found Herrera Vineyards and the JOLO Winery and Vineyards to be two of my favorite escapes. Both venues offer an array of wines as well as exquisite restaurants, providing the perfect opportunity to pair a nice pour and a fine dinner.

FIRST FLIRTATIONS An initial feel of freedom emerged as I slowly drove down the gravel paths to JOLO and Herrera. Temporarily swapping the fast-paced world of paved roads and

restaurant chains for fresh air and irresistible aromas proved to be a welcome trade. JOLO was the first destination on our tour and what a great first impression it made. Walking down a dusk-lit path, surrounded by rows of growing grapes with a breathtaking view of Pilot Mountain, PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOLO VINEYARDS

42 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016


HEARTFELT MEMORIES Similar to JOLO, Herrera Vineyards is an elegant addition to any Yadkin Valley itinerary. Located in Dobson and currently owned by two sisters, Herrera was started by their father and began bottling wines in 2007. May 2015, they were able to acquire their new location and open to the public for tastings. Only 10 miles from the town of Elkin, Herrera’s immense venue has a farmhouse feel, a sense of class cascading from waterfalls that encompass the winery

and simple beauty revealed through its red-roofed architecture. While visiting Herrera, I tasted much of what they have to offer, including three reds and three whites. Their Carolina’s White, which had a strong pear flavor and their Solera red, with its hints of blackberry, were two of my favorites. Herrera’s expertise resides in more than wine alone; in fact, they are quite the culinary crew. Dinner at Herrera was the quintessential ribbon, wrapping up an

already memorable day. From Southern-influenced macaroni and cheese balls to seared tuna atop a crispy rice cake, the decisions were all delicious. The same could be said of the Yadkin Valley itself — the options are many, but it’s hard to go wrong. JOLO and Herrera Vineyards are a must-see and within an hour radius, many more venues are open for visitors to experience, as are various culinary venues not specifically related to vineyards. Venturing through the valley includes all that Surry County has to offer, such as the aforementioned treat known as Sonker at Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies, local jams and salsas at Peeled Poplar Farm and countless outdoor adventures found kayaking down the Yadkin River. All in all, it’s easy to fall in love here. PN

FOR MORE INFORMATION visittheyadkinvalley.com jolovineyards.com herreravineyards.com PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRIAN JOHNSON

44 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016





September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 45


FALL favorite


autumn “ GOLD seasons CARRIES MORE


46 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

FALL favorite


Hendersonville, N.C.


The Blue Ridge mountain town of HENDERSONVILLE, N.C., welcomes fall travelers with a vibrant downtown, abundant apple orchards and sweeping scenic views. Once a sleepy locale overshadowed by nearby Asheville, the town has emerged with its own blend of arts and culture. Hendersonville’s Main Street is among the most welcoming destinations in Western North Carolina with a variety of shops, boutiques and restaurants. The streetscape has been transformed to include wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks framed by benches and gazebos. Each Labor Day weekend, the North Carolina Apple Festival fills downtown with four days of fun. The Apple Festival’s street fair covers nine blocks with more than 200 vendors. Other highlights include live entertainment and a parade. Henderson County leads the state in apple production. Apple season stretches from August through mid-October.

Vinings Gallery

Many orchards open to visitors during the season, inviting families to pick apples, take a hayride or enjoy fresh apple products, such as apple-cider doughnuts or apple pie. Roadside markets throughout the county also sell fresh apples and fall staples, such as pumpkins and gourds. Driving the back roads of Henderson County is a treat as the leaves begin to change. Favorite destinations for leaf peepers include Jump Off Rock, DuPont State Recreational Forest and the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. visithendersonvillenc.org

48 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016


“A Place to Imagine” is also a great place to play! Join your neighbors in historic NORCROSS for what has the makings of an awesome autumn with events such as the 16th Annual British Car Fayre and Boot Sale on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when hundreds of classic British cars and motorcycles help rev up the fall festival season. For the second year, it’s a British take on the “yard sale” from the “boots” (aka trunks) of participating cars. aplacetoimagine.com

16 - 18

VININGS GALLERY ON CANTON is pleased to celebrate the grand opening of its second location in Historic Roswell the weekend of Sept. 16 through 18. On Friday, Roswell Mayor Jere Wood will assist with a ribbon cutting and later that evening the gallery will host a reception for collectors and the public with an array of artists. San Diego artist Gloria Lee’s series, “Floral Splendor” celebrates the giving life force of the flower. Loose brush strokes, simple forms and vibrant colors

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION characterize her art. Lee paints what she feels. She paints her emotions, her passions and her interpretation of what the flowers represent. Local sculptor Chad Awalt has chosen wood as the medium of choice for his captivating figures. Imbued with rich pattern and warm wood tones, Awalt’s sculputres begin with a felled log or found tree. Once a rough profile is cut, Awalt sculpts the figure down to its final form. The wood is then kiln dried, sanded and finished by hand, producing a highly polished surface. With his bold use of color and whimsical, emotional characters, Fabio Napoleoni infuses his work with emotional value. His paintings could each have a thousand titles, and every one would be fitting for the image he has created; but one thing is sure, there is a beautiful heart in every piece of his work. Napoleoni’s greatest inspiration comes from his daughter who suffered a serious heart condition at birth and went through many surgeries in order to survive. Roswell artist Zheng Li uses rich color on canvas, creating work that

brims with strong feelings of effortless freedom and deeply expressed intensity. He enjoys the cultural differences in the world but his love for his homeland of China and his ability to unite Eastern and Western cultures, allows him a unique perspective. John-Mark Gleadow’s precise technique, coupled with imaginative subject matter piques the viewer’s interest and brings a very real sense of life to his artwork. While one might classify Gleadow’s work as contemporary, the subject matter speaks to a wide walk of life and experience offering something for everyone — an almost classic commentary on everyday life through thoughtful creativity. All five artists will be in attendance during the celebratory weekend to engage collectors and dedicate their work. Receptions are both Friday and Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. and again on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. viningsgallery.com


Experience fall at its finest in the North Georgia Mountains. Autumn is the

best time to get outdoors in FANNIN COUNTY, Ga., about 90 minutes north of Atlanta via Interstate 575, especially for Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Music Festival on Sept. 17. Admission to the event’s full day of blues music and BBQ costs $5 and is held in the downtown Blue Ridge City Park. stayinblueridge. com/blue-ridge-blues-and-bbq-festival Gateway International Food & Music Festival in NORCROSS on Sept. 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. allows you to sample from international fare, enjoy cultural music and dancing and celebrate the diversity that makes this community such a wonderful place to work, live and play. aplacetoimagine.com

17 - 18

Fall is a wonderful time to experience the history, architecture, art and culture that give ROSWELL distinctive character. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 17 and 18, Roswell Arts Festival celebrates 50 years on Town Square. roswellgov.com

22 - 25

The Duluth Fall Festival takes place Sept. 24 and 25 in downtown DULUTH. More than 350 arts and crafts and food booths await you at the 34th annual event and last year’s was voted as the best all-round, large festival in the Southeast by the Southeast Festivals and Events Association. This family-friendly festival includes a parade, music and entertainment at two major venues, a 5K Road Race, “Man’s Corner,” a Town Green Sunday worship service and much more. The fun actually starts a few days earlier in Duluth, when the Gold Medal Shows Carnival opens Sept. 22, and continues through the end of the Festival on Sunday. To find one of their shuttle bus pick-up lots visit their website. duluthfallfestival.org

24 - 25

On Sept. 24 and 25, the SERVICE LEAGUE OF CHEROKEE COUNTY presents the 32nd annual Riverfest, featuring more than 200 arts and crafts exhibitors, entertainers, children’s activities and concessions at

September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 49


FALL favorite


Boiling Park in Canton. Admission is a $5 donation with proceeds benefiting needy children in Cherokee County. serviceleague.net Celebrate the beauty of 140 varieties of waterliles blooming against the backdrop of the GIBBS GARDENS’ Monet Bridge during the Monet Waterlily Festival, held Sept. 24 and 25 as well as Oct. 1 and 2 (Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Enjoy a French market and art gallery on Saturday and Sunday. The French market will feature a variety of locally sourced products including breads, desserts, crepes, cut flowers and more. Fine artists and artisans will be selling their works in a variety of mediums, including oils, watercolors, clay, fiber, leather, glass, metal, wood and photography. On Saturdays, enjoy a classical accordionist, and on Sundays, strolling classical musicians including flutes, violin and harp. Mimes will entertain you and Madeline’s Coast 2 Coast offers French fare for purchase. The Arbor Café will also be open. The admissions price is half the regular cost during the festival – $10 for adults and $5 for children. gibbsgardens.com

Gibbs Gardens

facilities and you get the allure that is uniquely Roswell. visitroswellga.com October finds vibrant Canton Street lined with “Boo Y’all” scarecrows and an Oktoberfest; Chattahoochee Nature Center’s family-friendly Halloween Hikes; a chance to meet and drink ‘spirits’ on the award-winning Roswell Ghost Tour’s Beer Crawl or tour a local brewery. Combine these with the Chattahoochee River, a thriving arts scene, more than 200 restaurants, an event filled calendar, accommodating lodging

50 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016


October in MILTON means festivals, football, food and fun. Join them at Crabapple Fest on Oct. 1, an arts festival featuring more than 100 juried, local antique and art vendors, kids’ activities, local musicians, fantastic food and more, is brought to you by the City of Milton and Crabapple Community Association. Spend the day shopping for one-of-a-kind items and enjoying all

Milton has to offer. crabapplefest.com


With a hint of fall in the air and bursts of color sitting atop trees, you know it’s time for the 36th annual Georgia Marble Festival. Held Oct. 1 and 2, the city of Jasper and the Marble Valley of Pickens County celebrate the history of Georgia Marble with a full weekend of activities, from the 5K Run/Walk road race Saturday morning to Georgia Marble Quarry Tours, sponsor showcase, live marble sculpting, chainsaw carving,


children’s area and more. georgiamarblefestival.com NORCROSS Art Splash on Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and again on Oct. 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. is a fabulous artist market-meets-“Kidz Zone” with live music and fantastic festival food. Discover why this event draws 50,000 attendees each year. aplacetoimagine.com The ARTS COUNCIL OF HENDERSON COUNTY’s 57th annual Art on Main Fine Art / Fine Craft Festival will be presented Oct. 1 and 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, in historic downtown Hendersonville, N.C. Enjoy fine art and fine craft, in traditional and contemporary styles, during this art filled weekend in the cool North Carolina mountains. acofhc.org The second weekend of the GIBBS GARDENS’ Monet Waterlily Festival, continues Oct. 1 and 2. gibbsgardens.com

7 - 15

Look forward to the 2016 Georgia Mountain Fall Festival. With its mild temperatures and beautiful scenery there is no better place to be than the North Georgia Mountains in the fall. Each October, the nine-day event — held this year between Oct. 7 and 15 — features exciting musical performances, arts and craft vendors, educational demonstrations, a flower show and the ever-popular Georgia’s Official State Fiddlers’ Convention. The festival offers free parking and admission is $12 (children ages 12 and under are free). georgiamarblefestival.com


Cook, compete or just come to eat at the 5th annual BROOKHAVEN Chili Cook Off on Oct. 8 from 12:30 to 6 p.m. This year’s event will feature more than 75-plus restaurants and amateur cooking teams all competing for bragging rights, plaques, medals, cash and prizes totaling more than $2,500. Each team will be cooking up chili or Brunswick Stew that can be tasted by ticket-goers. If you don’t want to sit on the sidelines you can join by entering your family recipe into the competition and let the judges and the public see what you’ve got! Other activities within Brookhaven Park will include, a kids-zone area, corn-hole and great food from some Atlanta food trucks if you’ve had your fill of chili. A limited amount of chili tasting spoons tickets will be available in advance on the website and is on sale now. A portion of the proceeds benefit Atlanta Fundraising Foundation, whose latest project are aimed at keeping impaired drivers off the streets of Atlanta. Brookhaven also hosts 12 great hotels so make your plans today to stay and play. brookhavenchilicookoff.com There is something for everyone in HABERSHAM COUNTY on Oct. 8. Start your morning with an exciting 5K race and fun run at beautiful Lake Russell. The race and fun run are on certified courses and are

September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 51


FALL favorite


professionally timed. Register now at raceentry.com, as collector T-shits are guaranteed for all pre-registered adult runners (ages 13 and up). Then, make your way to downtown Cornelia for the 29th Annual Big Red Apple Festival. The festival is from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and features arts and crafts vendors, an apple dunk, an apple pie competition, a car show, a fabulous kids zone, live entertainment from Country Music Association recording artist Scott Brantley, a hayride to Chenocetah Tower and more. corneliageorgia.org


Held in downtown BLUE RIDGE Oct. 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fall Arts in the Park costs $5.00 for entry to experience fine art, great food and fall colors on the trees and on the canvases. blueridgearts.net/arts-in-the-park.html Save the date for Chalktoberfest this Oct. 8 and 9. The MARIETTA COBB MUSEUM OF ART has brought in approximately 50 professional artists who will be painting the streets near Marietta Square. Enjoy your afternoon sampling from more than 100 craft

beers, listening to live music from local artists, watching professionals chalk the streets and eating great food. Admission is free. chalktoberfest.com


If you spend the day downtown in the CITY OF BLUE RIDGE on Oct. 15, bring your pet for Paws in the Park. Enter the parade, demonstrations, prizes and take photos with your pet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. blueridgemountains.com/cgi-bin/eventshow2.pl?id=693

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The BROOKHAVEN Arts Festival features painters, photographers, sculptors, wearable art, glass, jewelers and more. You will see artist demonstrations of silk dyeing, live music, a children’s activity area and festival food and beverages from local food trucks. Kids and canines stroll up and down the street with parents and grandparents, where 125-plus artists come from as far away as Maine and as nearby as a city block. In the music area, young people dance and hula-hoop, while everyone enjoys a variety of music genres and bands. The 2016 Brookhaven Arts Festival is held on Apple Valley Road (behind the Brookhaven MARTA Station) and organized by the Brookhaven Community Foundation, partnering with Discover DeKalb. MARTA generously makes their lot available to them for the festival, so parking is onsite and plentiful. Private sponsors help make the event come to life, and they appreciate them very much. brookhavenartsfestival.com

52 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016


See the artistry of Atlanta’s top design talent at the Magnolia Design Show House Tour in CARTERSVILLE. The house opens with a VIP Cocktail Preview Party on Oct. 15 at the Smithsonian-affiliated Booth Western Art Museum. The show house will open to the public Wednesday through Sunday of each week beginning Oct. 19 and ending Nov. 13. Tickets are $20 and benefits Advocates for Children. Visitors to the show house can enjoy an abundance of dining, shopping and attractions only a short distance from the home in historic and charming Cartersville. Special symposiums will also be held on various design aspects with special guest speakers and panel discussions at the Booth Western Art Museum on Oct. 15 and 29 as well as Nov. 5 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. visitcartersvillega.org


BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) and meet at Broadwell Pavilion in MILTON for Carvin’ in Crabapple on Oct. 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. They’ll have carving kits and painting supplies to create spooky or silly Jack O’ Lanterns for Halloween, pumpkin bowling, storytelling, and more. cityofmiltonga.us


Next in NORCROSS on Oct. 29 from 3 to 6 p.m., Boo Fest is a costume parade and contest for the kiddos, with a hot dog feast for all. For a list of additional events including Italian

Car Day, Sparkle, Movie Mondays and more in Norcross, be sure to visit the online Calendar of Events. aplacetoimagine.com

MARK OF THE POTTER Driving up Scenic Highway 197 North from Clarkesville, you will stumble upon Georgia’s oldest craft shop, Mark of the Potter. Celebrating 47 years of quality functional stoneware pottery and other artful items in “an interesting shop of contemporary crafts,” Mark of the Potter is a must-see in Northeast Georgia and in Habersham County. See the insides of Grandpa Watts’ old gristmill and feed the protected trophy-sized trout. markofthepotter.com ROYAL PEASANTRY Honor your creative nature with our mystical vision at Royal Peasantry Design House in Asheville, N.C. For more than 16 years, they have been embellishing personal styles. Their clothing designs and statement pieces are for the true fashion and art collector. On your next adventure, find their boutique and style gallery downtown at 80 N. Lexington Ave. Everything is made in-house in Asheville. Enjoy free personal shopping and styling services by contacting them and setting up a one-on-one appointment. Let them help you indulge your creative side and nurture your true self. Shop their online collections now. royalpeasantry.com


BLUE RIDGE BLUE RIDGE INN BED AND BREAKFAST Formerly the Kincaid House, this charming B&B is located in one of the oldest residences in Blue Ridge. Built in 1890s, the three-story Victorian inn features eight rooms, 12-foot ceilings, original hand-carved woodwork and heart pine floors — all just one block from the downtown antique shops and local restaurants. blueridgeinnbandb.com

RACHEL CALLIHAN COWART FOR HARRY NORMAN REALTORS A native of Fannin County, Rachel Callihan Cowart’s family was one of the first to settle there. There are two mountains, a book and a creek named after them. She grew up riding her horse along the beautiful trails of Cashes Valley, and also grew up in real estate and construction, as her dad sold a lot of mountain properties, so she naturally has a good working knowledge of the locally built cabins. Already well-known for its fishing, gold, horseback rides and the famous Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train that winds its way through the mountains, now the Blue Ridge area is booming. New shops continue to open, restaurants continue to thrive and the way of life here continues at a peaceful, joyful pace. Come experience it for yourself. harrynormanblueridge.com

SOUTHERN COMFORT CABIN RENTALS Fall in love with Blue Ridge. Surround yourself with the natural beauty of the North Georgia Mountains. From rushing waterfalls to breath-taking vistas of fall foliage, the escape you deserve awaits. With the autumn crisp air abound, enjoy the many fall festivals throughout the area. See their ad in this edition for a unique promo code offering discounts, complimentary upgrades and more. The perfect Blue Ridge experience begins with where you stay. Find your place less than 90 minutes from Atlanta; Blue Ridge is calling. Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals offers a wide portfolio of privately owned homes near the town of Blue Ridge, Ga. southerncomfortcabinrentals.com

BLUE RIDGE FLY FISHING Explore the “Trout Fishing Capital of Georgia” with a guided excursion from Blue Ridge Fly Fishing. No experience is necessary; they are well prepared to give September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 53






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clients at the most basic level; as well as seasoned, experienced fly fisherman everything they want and need to get out on the water. Open seven day a week from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the fall, Blue Ridge Fly Fishingoffers classes, guides and the right gear, from boots and waders to rod and reel, for their trips. Even flies are provided at no additional cost and — these guides think of everything — a cooler with ice for any food or drinks the client may wish to bring. To avoid a missed fishing time, a valid Georgia fishing license with trout stamp should be purchased by the client in advance of the scheduled trip. Why not get your feet wet with a simple two-hour introductory class that will cover everything from choosing a rod and reel, tying the knots, making the cast and presenting the fly? Classes start at $150, but cost just $25 more for each additional student up to six anglers. blueridgeflyfishing.com

MERCIER ORCHARDS Family-owned and –operated for 73 years, this orchard is now in its fourth generation. Boasting more than 35 varieties of apples, the orchard also grows several types of berries and fresh produce. There are many U-Pick opportunities throughout the year. Also available is a deli, a farm winery and a bakery offering famous fried pies and so much more. Check out what’s happening online and like them on Facebook for the most current info. mercier-orchards.com

NOONTOOTLA CREEK FARMS Welcome to Noontootla Creek Farms, a place where “beautiful waters” defi nes this pristine mountain stream, and where trophy-sized Rainbow, Brook and Brown trout abound in the 2.5-mile private waters. Walk through the whispering pines or trod through their cornfields following the nose of tried-and-true bird dogs to hunt quail or pheasant. Enjoy a competitive round of sporting clays at their 12 shooting stations, visit the new 3-D archery course and much more. Let Noontootla Creek Farms help you plan your big Blue Ridge Mountain adventure. ncfga.net

BLACK SHEEP/ CHRISTY LEE’S Located in Blue Ridge, The Black Sheep Restaurant and Bar & Patio and Christy Lee’s Courtyard Grille each serve great food in their own unique way. Downtown at Christy Lee’s, enjoy beer, wine and cocktails to the sounds of live music in a casual atmosphere. Meanwhile in a historic home uptown, Black Sheep is committed to providing guests with great service and an innovative menu in an authentic setting. Call ahead for reservations because you won’t want to miss either one. christylees.com; blacksheepblueridge.com

TOCCOA RIVERSIDE RESTAURANT/ MORGANTON GRILL It started as a dream: Living in the mountains, serving great food in a spectacular riverside setting… Toccoa Riverside Restaurant. Now, for nearly 20 years, the restaurant has hosted thousands of folks, locals and visitors alike, who come for the great food, peaceful riverside setting and just plain family fun. In 2012, a tragic nighttime fire swept through the restaurant, burning it to the ground. Thankfully nobody was hurt, but they had to start over. With a vision to make the Toccoa Riverside even better than ever, in 2013 the doors opened to an all-new dining experience along the banks of the river. Twenty minutes away, another dining experience awaits at their sister restaurant, Morganton Grill. “Your Hometown Eatery,” Morganton Grill serves breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week — they are closed Tuesdays so that we can enjoy the lake, mountains and rivers in and around Morganton and Blue Ridge. toccoariversiderestaurant.com; morgantongrill.com 54 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

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ESCAPE TO Blue Ridge


y family was one of the ďŹ rst to settle Fannin County in the early 1800s. I grew up riding my horse into the beautiful trails, and also in real estate as my dad sold a lot of mountain property. Now it’s my specialty. This is my town and I would love to be your realtor. 2015 AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS BLUE RIDGE OFFICE: #2 INDIVIDUAL – TOTAL CLOSED VOLUME #2 INDIVIDUAL – TOTAL CLOSED UNITS COMPANY WIDE #5 INDIVIDUAL – TOTAL CLOSED UNITS

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ESCAPE TO Blue Ridge


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Guy’s TIME



Dancing in September The lasting meaning of meaningless lyrics written by CARL DANBURY, JR.


One of Earth, Wind and Fire’s (EWF) most

popular songs in the ’70s was the 1978 release of “September,” an alluring dance number that transcends any potential generation gap. Jeff Peretz, a faculty member of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, Third Street Music School Settlement, The New School University and Marymount Manhattan College, told National Public Radio (NPR) in 2014 that the song’s very structure keeps listeners dancing and wanting more.

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“There are four chords in the chorus that just keep moving forward and never seem to land anywhere — much like the four seasons,” he said a few years ago. “It’s the end of summer. It’s the beginning of fall. It’s that Indian summertime. It’s the transition from warm to cool,” Peretz said. When originally released, the song also marked a transition for then unknown songwriter Allee Willis, who was summoned by EWF’s bandleader at the time, Maurice White and guitarist Al McKay, to help write the song’s lyrics. Prior to then, Willis had written songs for Patti LaBelle, Bonnie Raitt, Debby Boone, Herbie Hancock and Rita Coolidge, but “September” became her springboard to the mainstream pop audience. “I think the best compliment a songwriter can get is that a song has changed someone’s life, or that it makes someone so happy whenever they hear it,” Willis told Angie Romero for Broadcast Music, Inc. in 2015. “I get both of those a lot. Every


“There are four chords in the chorus that just keep moving forward and never seem to land anywhere — much like the four seasons.” – JEFF PERETZ, Music Scholar

single weekend, I get sent at least a couple videos of people at parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc. dancing to ‘September,’ [which] makes me feel great. That song seems to defy the laws of gravity and gets bigger every year. That, ultimately, is the best compliment a songwriter could ever receive.” According to a post on Willis’ Facebook page, Justin Timberlake has recently cut his version of “September” for the upcoming DreamWorks film “Trolls.” “Dat’s ba-de-ya to my ears!” she wrote in the post.

WHEN THERE’S A WILLIS, THERE’S A WAY Willis grew up in Detroit and was heavily influenced by the Motown sound she often heard. Interestingly, she had no formal training and never really learned to read or compose music. She felt her way through it, much like she later would do as Bubbles the artist, and as an Internet guru with partner Mark Cuban. But those are stories for a different day. “Do you remember, the 21st night of September? Love was changing the mind of pretenders, While chasing the clouds away …” This opening line of “September” harkens us to whimsically remember, and

September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 59

Guy’s TIME

then provides us with a very specific date, which according to Willis, had no specific meaning at all. It just sang best of all of the dates they tried, starting with the first day of the month. The chorus didn’t have much meaning either.


“Ba de ya, say do you remember Ba de ya, dancing in September Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day …” Willis became frustrated after a month or so with the song’s memorable chorus, and finally summoned the courage to ask

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White about the meaning of the lyrics that he contributed. White curtly dismissed the questioning. And thus, Willis learned her greatest lesson ever in songwriting from White, which was simply, “Never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.” And from then on, she didn’t. She wrote many songs that became part of popular culture, including EWF’s “Boogie Wonderland,” “In The Stone,” “the Pet Shop Boys,” “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” as well as co-wrote “Stir It Up” and “Neutron Dance” for the 1985 film “Beverly Hills Cop.” She also co-wrote the contagious theme for the popular NBC sitcom “Friends” titled “I’ll Be There For You,” which was performed by The Rembrandts in 1994 and became a No. 1 hit. Although it received a ton of airplay, it was never officially released as a single, so Willis received no royalties from its sales. Willis also co-wrote the songs for the Broadway musical “The Color Purple,” with Brenda Russell, Stephen Bray and Marsha Norman, which had an impressive threeyear run in New York. “The great thing about Allee is, she writes for the actual artist. It’s not like one shoe fits all,” EWF singer Philip Bailey once said. Writing a song for a particular artist and not getting hung up on one ingredient of an entire recipe enabled Willis to write songs for 41 years, including her most recent “The Little Things,” co-written with Toto’s Steve Porcaro. So, it really doesn’t matter if you’re a gal or a guy, one project in your life doesn’t define your entire body of work. If that were so, you might have missed Willis’ point: “Ultimately, it’s the feel that is most important … there’s no such thing as failure. Use everything as a lesson. If it’s not working, change course and never do it like that again. But you had to go through it once to learn.” It might be on the 21st of September. Ba de ya. PN


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Due NORTH Not only did Tender Tanks resonate with breast cancer survivors, Largent received orders from customers who had shoulder surgery, breast-feeding moms and elderly women who needed the ease of getting in and out of their tops.

sold them to a larger market through Amazon Exclusives. Not only did Tender Tanks resonate with breast cancer survivors, Largent receives orders from customers who had shoulder surgery, breast-feeding moms and elderly women who needed the ease of getting in and out of their tops. As a former second grade teacher, perhaps it was in her nature to be resourceful when helping others, but Largent’s recognition as a Model of Courage for Ford’s Warriors in Pink program is far from common. “It’s my way of trying to positively impact others through my cancer journey,” she wrote in her testimonial on her website. tendertanks.com


Wear FOR CAROL LARGENT of Kennesaw, the story started out like so many other women we know or hear about – something didn’t feel right. She’ll never forget sitting in her oncologist’s office, fears confirmed and frustration flooding in when she heard the words “Cancer is just a

bump in the road of life.” Now, four years later, Largent has turned that bump into a new business venture called Tender Tanks designed intentionally to help women in a similar position. Through her own experience, Largent noticed a lack of clothing that she could dress herself in without assistance, post surgery and in between appointments – something that allowed room for treatment tubes and let her avoid stripping down while waiting for doctors. With a combination of an oversized, store-bought tank top, scissors and Velcro, she improvised. Down the road, when Largent regained her strength, she set out to secure a designer, began delivering prototypes in care packages to women with breast cancer and

ADDED TO THE LIST of Windward Parkway’s dining options is Black Walnut Café. Opened last July, this marks the Texas-based privately owned restaurant concept’s first Georgia location, with plans for more in the works. With a menu that offers

something for every appetite and occasion, Black Walnut Café blends the easygoing efficiency of counter service with the warmth and upscale flavor of fine dining, offering its guests an elevated dining experience that makes the most of their time. The Alpharetta location offers several new regionally inspired dishes such as the Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs, Grits & Grillades and – the one we had to take a bite of ourselves – the Chicken & Waffle Sandwich. Whether you place a to-go order, get cozy with a seat at the bar or linger over weekend brunch, served until 4 p.m., we think you’ll find quite a few reasons to return. One of our favorites? Black Walnut Café’s commitment to supporting the local community, which they kicked off with a $2,250 donation to The Drake House following their grand opening. With breakfast, lunch and dinner served seven days a week as well as catering and curbside options, there are plenty of chances to discover your own favorites, too. blackwalnutcafe.com


62 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

September 2016

Go JUST IN CASE you didn’t snag your ideal summer vacation, get ready to satiate your taste for travel with Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s (GET) 24th season, inspired by the spirit of wanderlust. Following last year’s incredibly successful record-breaking season, GET aims to raise the bar even higher. This year promises to take the audience on an odyssey through foreign lands, time, life and death that will leave you on the edge of your seat. It all starts this month with the Southeastern premiere of newly adapted “Ghost The Musical,” running Sept. 15 through Oct. 2. Along with its five-production Mainstage Season, GET is producing a four-play Theatre for Young Audience season and a

four-concert Joe Gransden Big Band Series that are sure to entertain. As a Roswell-based production company, GET provides the north metro Atlanta area with first-class productions and theatrical educational opportunities throughout the year. get.org – Matthew Jordan

Smile BERT’S BIG ADVENTURE is an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that grants all-expenses paid, five-day adventures to Walt Disney World for children between the ages of 5 and 12 with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families. Bert Weiss, the host of All the Hits Q100’s “The Bert Show” on 99.7 FM radio, cofounded

September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 63


the nonprofit in 2002. In order to announce recipients in January 2017, Bert’s Big Adventure is now accepting applications and nominations for its 15th year of bringing smiles and joy to children’s faces. All entries must be postmarked or submitted electronically by Oct. 13. In addition to the annual February trip to Walt Disney World, Bert’s Big Adventure gives year-round assistance through programs such as Reunion Adventures for the nominated children and families, as well as the Fairy Godparent volunteer program. The trip and programs build a community of families that establish lasting friendships with others facing similar challenges, and the smiles created are nearly magical. bertsbigadventure.org – Matthew Jordan

Wag TWO LEGS OR FOUR LEGS, come one or come all to Atlanta Humane Society’s (AHS) largest fundraising event of the year: Walk for the Animals – Saving & Celebrating Georgia’s Pets. The second annual 5K will be held at Atlantic Station in Midtown on Oct.

16. AHS President and CEO Cal Morgan invites “all animal lovers in the community to come out with their dogs and walk with us to end animal cruelty.” AHS helps more than 25,000 animals each year, including placing more than 8,300 adoptable pets into loving homes. Before the weather takes a dive, help AHS get homeless animals off Atlanta’s streets by supporting the cause. There’s no registration fee for the walk, but friends and family are encouraged to create fundraising webpages to gather donations. atlantahumane.org/events – Lauren Vastine

Sightsee WELCOME TO ATLANTA, one of the most bustling, happening cities in the U.S. With so much going on, a guide to the best of what the city has to offer is worth flipping through before your next trip down the interstate. Sarah Gleim’s “100 Things to Do in Atlanta Before You Die” is just that guide book, and she has released a second edition with updated hotspots for dining, history, adventure, arts and more. sarahgleim.com – Lauren Vastine PHOTO COURTESY OF ATLANTA HUMANE SOCIETY

64 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

THE SAVVY CELLARS now has its own tasting and special events facility, LE GOÛT, which is the only facility in Sandy Springs with a license to pour wine, beer and liquor under one roof. Come experience the difference of LE GOÛT, “the taste” in French, for regularly scheduled, hosted wine, beer and spirits tasting events and dinners. LE GOÛT is also pleased to accommodate your personal and business-related special events, including: Anniversaries, Birthdays, Business Meetings, Club Meetings, Holiday Parties, Office Outings, Pre-Wedding Parties, Private Wine Classes, Professional Gatherings, Rehearsal Dinners, Social Gatherings, Showers, Team Building Events and whatever else you envision for a fun event. Choose from more than 700 Wines, 300 Beers and 500 Spirits and extensive catering options for all budgets. Please visit our website or our Facebook page (thesavvycellars) for information about LE GOÛT’S GRAND OPENING TASTING EVENT, which is being planned for late September and will be co-sponsored by Points North Atlanta.

THE SAVVY CELLARS You Provide the Occasions, We Provide the Memories.

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September 2016 | PointsNorthAtlanta.com | 65


What signifies the


of FALL for you?

“When hunting season rolls around ... Dove season opens the first week of September and archery season for deer opens Sept. 10. I also go elk hunting out West, usually around the middle to end of the month, which is something I really look forward to every year. ” — Witt

“When I can step outside in the middle of the day and know that the heat of summer has dissipated and that it has been replaced by a crisp, clean breeze. Add to that the sounds of the local high school football teams and bands practicing for their upcoming game, and I know fall has arrived.”

— Robin

“When the first batch of ginger creams come out of the oven.”

— Colleen

“I love when the light changes. The beautiful golden glow is magical.”

— Shannah

“Smell that? It’s probably pumpkinflavored [insert food or drink of choice here]. While the domination of the seasonal squash on every menu can be a nuisance to some, I see it as a big ‘Welcome Back’ sign that promises cool weather, stunning foliage and cozy sweaters are just around the bend.”

— Lauren

Share your answer with us on social media using #PNAfterThoughts

66 | POINTS NORTH | September 2016

“When toe meets leather, as former Georgia Tech announcer Al Ciraldo once said. In other words, college football!”

— George