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Five things to do during spring in Atlanta
It’s finally spring, which means it’s the return of (mostly) sunny days, warmth, and all the ventures that come with it. Tired of being cooped up? Here are five ways to end the winter woes and enjoy spring in Atlanta:
Dine on a patio
Springtime is prime patio weather. Atlanta offers some of the best patios to choose from, and nearly every neighborhood has a restaurant with a patio—some with skyline views. Whether you’re looking for fine dining or a relaxed environment, there’s something for every palate. Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall is one of our favorites. The camp-themed eatery, self-nicknamed “home of the three-day weekend,” is located on the Beltline, so it’s the perfect way to start—or end—your trek. The patio has fire pits, lounge chairs, and tents for private parties. Empire State South in Midtown is another fan-favorite, boasting a massive covered patio equipped with a bocce ball court—perfect for spring days. JCT Kitchen rounds out our top picks. It has sensational views, live music and is an excellent spot to kick back and relax. All three Atlanta localities have incredible food, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Picnic in the park
Nothing is more serene and nostalgic than relaxing in a park with a picnic basket in hand. With dozens of places to choose from, you can’t go wrong with a classic picnic during spring in Atlanta. Some of our favorite parks include Piedmont Park, Freedom Park, and Historic Fourth Ward Park—so there’s plenty of room to find the perfect, shady spot. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even head up to North Georgia, where there are plenty of hiking and picnic spots.
Unleash your adrenaline
Six Flags Over Georgia offers thrills to unleash your adrenaline with heart-stopping, stomach-dropping roller coasters and other thrill rides to test your limits. Not into roller coasters? There are several family-friendly rides! You must reserve your visit, and tickets are as low as $34 for a single day. The park is open on weekends through May and opens fully after Memorial Day.
Visit the Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is quintessential when it comes to celebrating the start of spring in Atlanta. It’s the perfect way to view exquisite, blooming flowers and embrace the warmer weather. There are numerous events held each month that cater to everyone’s interests. Whether it’s an orchid care course, an art class, or a garden party, the Botanical Garden offers something for people of all ages. If you want to stroll through the gardens, you can do that too! Admission is only $21.95 for adults, so it won’t break the bank.
Ride a bike
Riding a bike is a fantastic, environmentally friendly way to get out and explore. If you want to experience the city, the Beltline is your best bet. Biking along the Beltline is a fantastic way to view street art, enjoy local eateries, or switch up your exercise routine. Don’t have a bike? No problem! There are various bike rental shops near the Beltline, with some charging as little as $5 per hour. If you’re looking to get a break from the hustle and bustle, the Silver Comet Trail is a terrific option. The trail is 61 miles long, beginning in Smyrna and ending at the Georgia/Alabama state line, so it’s one of the best ways to immerse yourself in Georgia’s natural beauty.
We’re eager for spring’s return and everything that it brings. Grab a group of friends, your brunch buddy, or whoever, and get out and enjoy Atlanta’s most incredible season.
Georgia’s Own Healthcare Heroes
As part of our Georgia’s Own Hero series, we’re honoring Georgia healthcare professionals who have been working bravely and tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Below are five extraordinary women who play an integral part in Emory Healthcare’s role in fighting COVID-19.
Colleen Kraft is an infectious diseases specialist at Emory and has spent her career studying and treating communicable diseases. She was on the frontlines caring for Ebola patients at Emory and is now a vital part of a team responsible for protecting hundreds of healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic at Emory’s hospital network.
Deena Gilland is vice president and chief nursing officer for Emory Healthcare’s ambulatory patient services. Her knowledge of ambulatory clinical nursing deployment has played a significant role in her ability to lead and influence the mobilization of the COVID-19 vaccine for eligible groups in the hospital network.
Marybeth Sexton is an infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist at Emory Clinic. Sexton is a key member of a team that leads COVID-19 preparedness efforts for the entire Emory Healthcare system.
Sharon Vanairsdale is the program director of the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit at Emory. Vanairsdale applied some of the critical lessons learned from the successful treatment of Ebola patients at Emory to help set rigorous standards for provider safety when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Christy Norman is the vice president for Emory Healthcare Pharmacy Services. She led the complicated vaccine storage and distribution protocols for the COVID-19 vaccine for the state’s most comprehensive healthcare network. She also administered the first vaccine at Emory to a frontline worker in December.
To these brave women and every healthcare worker courageously fighting the pandemic—thank you. We appreciate everything you do to keep our communities safe and healthy, and we are grateful for your guidance and leadership during this time.
Five ways to celebrate the holidays in Atlanta
The holiday season is in full swing, and for most people, celebrating everything merry and bright is the best annual tradition. While many large-scale events are canceled because of the ongoing pandemic, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience Yuletide cheer. Ready to have a holly, jolly holiday? Keep reading below for five ways to safely celebrate the holiday season in Atlanta.
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Kick off the most wonderful time of the year by visiting the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. Thousands of lights illuminate the gardens and sculptures from their new exhibition, Alice’s Wonderland Reimagined. While the characters twinkle throughout the night, you can bask in the holiday glow. Plus, enjoy Nature’s Wonders, the world’s largest curtain of choreographed lights and sound. Their prized Ice Goddess also returns with all-new colors. This dazzling exhibit is sure to wow everyone of all ages, and it’s the ultimate way to commemorate the holidays. Tickets are available online only and start at $21.95 for children ages 3-11 and $24.95 for adults.
Holidays on the Roof at Ponce City Market
What better way to celebrate the holidays than on a rooftop overlooking the city? Ponce City Market’s Holidays on the Roof is back and better than ever. Whether you’re with your significant other, your family, or friends, there’s something for everyone to love. Atlanta may not have the classic frozen pond to skate on, but a rooftop with bounding views is a close second—the Roof becomes a winter wonderland with a full ice rink so you can become the figure skater of your dreams. For only $30 per person, you’ll receive access to the Roof plus re-entry, skating for 50 minutes, skate rental, and unlimited gameplay at Skyline Park. There’s even a live DJ on the weekends so you can skate the night away. If ice skating isn’t your thing, reserve a private igloo and take in extraordinary views of the Atlanta skyline. There’s plenty of fun for the family, too. Family-friendly igloos are available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, plus performances by the resident Ice Queen.
Stone Mountain Christmas
Stone Mountain is transformed into a Christmas village straight from a Hallmark® movie during the annual Stone Mountain Christmas. Lights and trees decorate the park while you partake in magical moments with your family—marvel at the Snow Angel as she floats through the park in their Christmas parade, or enjoy the new Christmas laser show. And, there’s one thing you don’t want to miss: Santa himself flying above in his sleigh during the nightly Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony. Plus, tune into the renowned Tinseltone Carolers as they sing classic holiday favorites—or, experience the wonder of The Polar Express in a thrilling, 4D film format. Tickets start at $29.95 for children ages 3-11 and $31.95 for adults.
Six Flags’ Holiday in the Park
Looking to bring out your adventurous side? Six Flags’ Holiday in the Park is the perfect way to commemorate the holidays, all while experiencing an adrenaline rush. Feel the joys of the holiday season with dozens of trees, millions of lights, and garland adorning the park. Experience the most popular, thrilling rides the park has to offer while simultaneously taking part in holiday festivities. If rides aren’t your thing, there are plenty of shows, tasty treats, and more. Tickets start at $34.99 per person.
License to Chill Snow Island at Lake Lanier
While a white Christmas isn’t always guaranteed here in Georgia, there’s no shortage of snow at License to Chill Snow Island at Margaritaville® Lanier Islands. There’s plenty of fun to be had with snow tubing, snowball fights, and more. Home to one of the longest snow rides in North America, Parrot Mountain is a 575-foot-long, eight-story snow slide that is perfect for snow tubing pros and beginners alike. Or, play in the snow, challenge your friends to a snowball fight, and make snow angels at Snowball Alley. And although Lake Lanier’s Magical Nights of Light is no more, you can enjoy the new Lakeside Lights, allowing you to walk through thousands of brilliant lights—with plenty of photo ops. Ticket prices vary.
Filming in Atlanta: lights, camera, action!
With Gov. Nathan Deal reporting that the film industry contributed to Georgia’s bottom line to the tune of a whopping $2.7 billion in direct spending in 2017, as well as being at the epicenter of filming in the state, is it any wonder Atlanta is being referred to as the “new Hollywood”? According to georgia.org, Georgia’s Entertainment Industry Investment Act provides a 30% tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production and post-production in Georgia, either in a single production or on multiple productions. Of course, you cannot speak about filming in Atlanta, or the state of Georgia, without mentioning Tyler Perry!
After moving to Atlanta in the early ’90s, a young Tyler Perry worked jobs as a bill collector and used car salesman to aid in saving the $12,000 that he would use to put toward his first major performance, I Know I’ve Been Changed. Fast forward, Perry would go on to sign a 100-episode deal for his sitcom Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. He then went on to partner with Oprah Winfrey to bring scripted television to her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Afterwards, he would strike a deal with ViacomCBS that included new, original content, featuring both sitcoms and dramatic series.
When asked during the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit what drove him to build his empire, Perry responded, “My father was a guy who was a carpenter—he would come home, make $800, and be really excited. But I would always see the guy who sold the house after he had built it right, and he would make $80,000. So, I was always more interested in being the guy who actually sold the house rather than the guy who was out building it…Also, I like the creative freedom…so I needed to be in a situation that fostered my ability to be able to do that.”
And what empire would be complete without a proper kingdom? In 2015, Perry acquired the 330-acre Fort McPherson and converted the former military base into Tyler Perry Studios. Located in the heart of Atlanta, this state-of-the-art studio, which happens to be the first studio to be owned outright by an African American, comes complete with 12 soundstages, each named after Black entertainment icons such as Harry Belafonte, Whoopi Goldberg, Denzel Washington, and Halle Berry. Since opening the gates, Tyler Perry Studios has been available for filming to blockbuster movies such as Black Panther, Bad Boys 4 Life, and the upcoming Coming to America 2, as well as being the home for AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead.
And there’s more to come—after Georgia passed the controversial “heartbeat bill,” Perry told the Associated Press that he can’t just “up and leave” filming in Georgia. With a host of new content being created such as The Oval and Sistas, both dramatic series respectively showing on BET, Perry stated, “Atlanta has been the dream. It has been the promised land. So, when I got here, this whole state and city has been amazing to me, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Also, I put $250 million in the ground here and in the studio. So, when you have a quarter of a billion dollars sat down in the ground, you can’t just up and leave.”
Five fun, fall-related activities to do in Atlanta
Summer has come and gone, and fall has finally arrived. We’re thrilled about everything that accompanies this season—from cooler weather and bonfires to Halloween and more. Even though this fall may look a little different, there is still plenty of fun, socially distanced activities for you to enjoy. Ready to celebrate spooky season? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading below for five ways you can commemorate fall in Atlanta.
Visit a pumpkin patch
What’s fall without a trip to the pumpkin patch? Grab your kids, partner, or your favorite friends and venture up to Dawsonville to visit Burt’s Farm. You’ll be greeted by a sea of hundreds of pumpkins, with some weighing as much as 150 pounds. You’re guaranteed to find the perfect pumpkin to bring home and carve. In addition to their pumpkin patch, Burt’s Farm also offers a hayride for the whole family to enjoy. Burt’s Farm is open daily from 9am-6pm, and their hayride is open from 9am-5pm. Admission and parking are free, and hayride tickets are $6.
Go apple picking
Apple picking is another quintessential fall activity, and B.J. Reece Orchards in Ellijay offers more than 100 acres of farmland, so you can partake in fall traditions while remaining socially distanced. So, grab a basket get picking! When you’re finished for the day, haul them home and bake some old-fashioned apple pie or even homemade apple cider! B.J. Reece Orchards’ apple picking season runs daily through October 31st, or until they’re picked out. The orchard is open daily from 9am-5pm.
Celebrate fall at Stone Mountain’s Pumpkin Festival
Soak in everything fall has to offer by attending Stone Mountain’s Pumpkin Festival. Enjoy a family-friendly day at the park with attractions ranging from an obstacle course, a 4D movie, plus a train ride around the park. The festival even features a pie-eating contest! And, after the sun sets, the park is transformed into its “Glow by Night” experience with flickering lights, massive jack-o-lanterns, rolling fog, a nighttime parade, and more. The Pumpkin Festival takes place every weekend through November 1st from 2pm-9pm.
Explore a corn maze
It’s not fall until you visit a corn maze, and Copper Creek Farm in Calhoun has just that, and so much more! The farm offers a massive corn maze for the whole family to enjoy, plus pig races, steer roping, a petting zoo, wagon hayrides, and dozens of other activities to commemorate the fall season. And, if you’re feeling brave enough, try your luck at the haunted corn maze—you’re sure to have a hauntingly good time. General admission is $16.83, and the haunted farm experience is an additional $5. Opening dates vary, so visit their website to view their calendar.
Get spooked at Six Flags Over Georgia’s HALLOWFEST
There’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than by going to Six Flags’ HALLOWFEST. Experience family-friendly activities by day, including magic shows, games, Halloween-themed games, and stories. But, by night, the park is transformed into a spooktacular nightmare that’s guaranteed to give you a fright. Hair-raising characters are unleashed and creep and crawl around the park, leaving you wondering what’s lurking in the shadows behind you. Reservations are required to visit the park. Ticket options vary, so visit their website to view availability and deals.
How to help small businesses during COVID-19
Many locally owned businesses are struggling because of COVID-19. With social distancing measures in place, small businesses are either drastically changing how they operate or shutting their doors altogether. However, there are various ways you can help local businesses stay afloat. Here are five things you can do to help small businesses in your community survive:
Purchase gift cards
Gift cards are a great way to support small businesses while maintaining social distancing. By purchasing a gift card, you’re still contributing to local businesses, and you can shop or go out to eat at a later date. This especially helps places that have had to completely shut their doors, like nail and hair salons or boutiques. Most places allow you to purchase gift cards on their website.
Continue to shop online
Shopping online is another fantastic way to practice social distancing and continue supporting local businesses. Despite closing their doors to foot traffic, many small businesses are still open and operating, offering curbside pick-up or delivery. Even if some businesses don’t have the option to purchase online, you can often shop by simply messaging them through social media sites like Instagram or calling the store and placing an order directly.
Many local restaurants offer takeout or curbside pick-up. Most restaurants are also waiving delivery fees or offering no-contact delivery—meaning the delivery driver leaves your order outside of your door. If you plan having your food delivered, try to order directly from the restaurant, so you know they’re receiving 100% of the profits. A majority of food delivery services take a portion of the profits for themselves or charge restaurants high fees.
Contribute to a fundraising campaign
If you don’t feel comfortable ordering from restaurants, you could contribute to a fundraising campaign. Many restaurants and other small businesses are starting fundraisers for their employees who aren’t working their full hours or aren’t working altogether. Most post the fundraisers on their social media pages—all you have to do is donate online. However, do your research to be sure that what you’re donating to is legitimate. And, if your favorite restaurant doesn’t have a fundraising campaign, you could even start one for them.
Share on social media
If you’re not in the place to contribute financially, that’s okay. You can still help small businesses by solely sharing their posts on social media. Share a local restaurant’s menu or a local boutique’s post about their virtual styling appointments—either way, a simple share goes a long way, and it’s greatly appreciated by many small businesses.