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Eight fun summer activities in Atlanta
Atlanta summers can be brutal—the heat and humidity are unbearable, and sometimes you just want to stay indoors. But summers here aren’t totally bad. The start of summer also brings longer days, late-night outings, and tons of outdoor activities. Plus, many events and festivals are returning after a hiatus due to the pandemic, so this summer is certainly more promising than last. It’s time to beat the heat and make the most of everything Atlanta has to offer—below are eight fun summer activities in Atlanta:
Shoot the Hooch
Shooting the Hooch is a quintessential summer activity for Atlantans—it’s a great way to keep cool during the hot, southern summers, plus it’s cheap. You can rent tubes for $20-25, or you can use your own. There are four entry and exit points to choose from, the most popular being from Don White Memorial Park to Memorial Park. The route is only 1.5 miles, takes 2-4 hours to float, and is perfect for beginners. Be sure to bring a life jacket (they’re required by law), a change of dry clothes, and most importantly, sunscreen.
Cool down at Six Flags White Water
Another popular summer activity is Six Flags White Water. Located in Marietta, this water park is filled with thrilling water slides, a massive wave pool, and various kid-friendly attractions. One-day tickets start as low as $24.99, so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank. You must pay for tickets and parking online before visiting the park. Six Flags White Water operates daily through August 1st and weekends through September 26th.
Alive in Roswell
Formerly known as Alive After Five, Alive in Roswell starts July 15th after a year-long hiatus due to COVID. This popular festival is held on the third Thursday of every month from 5pm-9pm. Hundreds of people pack into Canton Street, the Roswell Square, and Roswell City Hall to partake in live music, food trucks, and vendors. There are various parking lots with free shuttles, first-come-first-serve street parking, and paid parking lots near Canton Street.
Castleberry Hill Art Stroll
Castleberry Hill, a historic, vibrant community, hosts an art stroll every second Friday of the month from 6pm-10pm. It also returns after a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic and begins June 11th. You can partake in a free, self-guided tour of art galleries and murals, plus have a bite at one of the many local eateries. Or, you can sign up for a guided walking tour for $20 per person. Castleberry Hill’s art stroll is a popular activity among locals and for good reason—it was named the Best Art Stroll in Atlanta and the community was listed as one of the Top 10 Art Districts in the Country by USA Today. Information sheets and maps for the art stroll are posted the week of the event and are available at 180 Walker Street SW in front of Bottle Rocket the night of the stroll.
If you’re looking for an indoor activity, Painted Pin is the way to go. Located on Miami Circle in Buckhead, Painted Pin is an upscale, boutique bowling alley in a warehouse space that offers bites, bowling, and more, from bocce and ping-pong to Skee-Ball and shuffleboard. Bowling starts at $30/hour per lane on Monday-Thursday and $40/hour per lane on Friday-Sunday. Each lane holds a maximum of six players. The Painted Pin is 21+ Monday-Friday and after 5pm on Saturday-Sunday and is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Visit a farmers market
Summertime also means the opening of neighborhood farmers markets, and Atlanta has plenty to choose from, like the Green Market at Piedmont Park and the Alpharetta Farmers Market. The Green Market is open from 9am-1pm on Saturdays through November at the park’s entrance on 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue. There are dozens of vendors that offer fresh produce, baked goods, jams and preserves, and artisan goods. The Alpharetta Farmers Market is open from 8:30am-12pm on Saturdays through November at Alpharetta City Center. The farmers market offers nearly 100 vendors, live music, and more.
Take a hike
Atlanta and the surrounding area offers plenty of hiking for all levels with watering holes to cool off afterward. The Vickery Creek Trail at Roswell Mill is a moderate, 4.7-mile trail. It’s scenic and shady, plus meanders through the woods to a covered bridge and the historic Roswell Mill, which was powered by the spillway dam during the Civil War. Vickery Creek’s north bank, next to the waterfall, is the perfect place to stop and take a swim after your hike. Watson Mill Bridge State Park, located just outside of Athens, is home to the largest covered bridge in the state and boasts several miles of hiking trails. You can hike, have an afternoon picnic, take a swim, rent kayaks, and more.
Go blueberry picking
Summer is blueberry season, and there are dozens of places throughout Atlanta and North Georgia that offer pick-your-own blueberries. Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge hosts U-Pick blueberries in June for $12 per person, and DJ’s U-Pick Blueberry Farm offers blueberry picking in June and July. Be sure to call for availability to make sure they aren’t picked over. Once you’ve collected your fresh blueberries, you can make a pie, ice cream, jam, or eat them as-is.
Following dreams with Elaine Burge
I recently had the pleasure of getting to know Georgia native and professional artist, Elaine Burge. She’s as bright and full of energy as her gorgeous paintings. Her artwork can be found at ElaineBurge.com or follow her on Instagram @elaineburgeart to see more of her creations.
A Little Bit about Elaine
Born and raised in Georgia, she loves country living. She describes herself as having a ton of energy, which is one reason the slow pace of country life is so perfect for her and her family. “I love the animals that surround us and the wide open spaces” that change so drastically from season to season.
The Art Start
Elaine has always been creative and inspired by her surroundings. She started painting as a way of income in high school – first as a muralist, then as a muralist painting scenes behind miniature train layouts. She launched Elaine Burge Art in 2011.
Turning a Dream into a Career
Elaine says, “I always dreamed of it (painting professionally), but didn’t know it was possible until my husband told me he believed I could; and so I did! It was his faith in my ability to succeed that gave me the courage to pursue my passion.”
Weighing being a people-pleaser and giving myself what I need creatively can be a challenge.
Being my own boss – I don’t like to be told what to do.
Favorite Piece of Artwork
I don’t have a favorite… It’s always the one that has the freshest paint on it, I think.
A bride named Gia reached out to me and asked if painting her wedding would be something I would consider doing. I said why not? I painted her gorgeous ceremony on the lawn in front of the Swan House. It was such a moving experience that I knew I had to have more!
Where do you find inspiration?
Honestly, there isn’t much that I can’t find inspiration from. My spontaneous creations are kind of therapy for me, where I can let my hands work and my mind relax. It just happens! I love textiles, nature’s color palettes and the way that painting is an outlet for my energy. I feel that I pull inspiration from things I see on a daily basis… like the way the sun hits the grass at a certain time of day… the way a quilter lines up locks of color and sews them with such care… the juxtaposition of a structured fence against a chaotic scene full of splashes of color.
I think the way that you live your day is the way that you live your life… I cannot remember where that quote is from but just to be sure to make today count because your life is made up of a bunch of todays!
If you could only paint with once color forever, what would it be?
It would be Golden Acrylic’s teal.
What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Go for it! It’s harder not to do it if that is what you want. You are the only one holding you back.
What is your favorite thing about Georgia?
There is so much to love, but I think the pace of life, specifically in this area (Riddleville), is my favorite.
Supporting Black-owned small businesses in Georgia
Buying from Black-owned shops, restaurants, and brands is just one of many ways you can support a community that is essential to Georgia’s culture and economy. We rounded up our favorite small, Black-owned businesses across Georgia that offer everything from jewelry and trendy apparel to baked goods and more—below are 19 Black-owned shops and restaurants throughout Atlanta, Savannah, and Albany you can start supporting today.
Boutiques + Markets
the beehive – Atlanta
Deez Jazzi Jewelry – Savannah
Just Add Honey Tea Company – Atlanta
Albany Fish Company – Albany
Back in the Day Bakery – Savannah
The Flint – Albany
Good Times Jazz Bar and Restaurants – Savannah
The Grey Market – Savannah
Le Petit Marche – Atlanta
Popbar – Atlanta
Sisters of the New South – Savannah
Sublime Doughnuts – Atlanta
Tropical Taste Restaurant – Albany
Who’s Got Soul Southern Café – Atlanta
Auntie Renee Story Teller – Atlanta
Brave + Kind Bookshop – Atlanta
Footprints of Savannah Walking Tours – Savannah
Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia – Atlanta
Medu Bookstore – Atlanta
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.
Congratulations to our 2020 Southwest Georgia scholarship winners
Congratulations to our Southwest Georgia scholarship winners! We awarded $1,000 to 23 students selected by a panel of judges who considered: academic record, financial need, school/community service, and an essay. Including the $23,000 committed to this year’s recipients, Georgia’s Own has awarded nearly $140,000 in scholarships to Albany students over the last 16 years. Meet this year’s winners:
Alexis Crimes | University of West Georgia
Alexis Danforth | Georgia Gwinnett College
Amiel Johnson | Wesleyan College
Amiraica Johnson | Albany State University
Annlyn Royal | Berry College
Ariana Drake | North Carolina A&T State University
Ashlynn Wright | Fort Valley State University
Ayanla Dudley | Florida A&M University
Ayanna Newberry | Valdosta State University
Bethany Phillips | Valdosta State University
Elijah Humphries | University of Georgia
Emily McClure | Georgia Southwestern State University
Gavin Baker | Kennesaw State University
Hayley Newberry | Georgia Southwestern State University
Jamia Lofton | Georgia Southern University
Katherine Smith | Truett McConnell University
Kirby Perry | Valdosta State University
Makayla Gay | Shorter College
Michael Harris | Middle Tennessee State University
Lindsey Creech | Georgia Southwestern State University
Rhiannon Belcher | Kennesaw State University
Sarah Mullins | University of Georgia
Tyler Coker | Valdosta State University