Did you know throughout the Greater Atlanta area there are more than 350,000 kids at risk of going without one or more meals this summer? And that one in five kids in the U.S. today faces hunger? United Way of Greater Atlanta and community partners are working together to eliminate summer hunger for our children through Silence the Growl. You can help in this effort by saying, “Lunch is on Me,” and donating a meal by clicking here. $10 can feed 4 hungry kids a meal.
Since the start of Silence the Growl in 2014, the annual program has raised more than 181,000 meals. So far this year, Silence the Growl has raised more than 58,000 meals and is allowing children to take a break from school during the summer months and enjoy the things kids love to do: swimming, playing in the park, attending summer camps, and more! Help United Way meet the goal of 70,000 meals this year by donating here.
To check and see how the children are doing in your community and how many may be affected by hunger, United Way has created an easy way for you to learn more. Enter your zip code here to see how many children in your community face hunger. With one in five children across the nation who go hungry during the summer, you might be surprised at what you find. (And don’t forget to donate!)
If you know a family in need of help, Silence the Growl proudly partners with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services. Free, nutritious meals are available for children and teens 18 and younger at many locations throughout the nation during the summer while school is out of session. Use the Summer Meal mapping tool to locate a site where your child or someone you know can receive a free, healthy meal.
Georgia is also covered by a network of Feeding America member food banks that provide assistance throughout the state. To find your food bank by county, search here. Food banks do not distribute food directly to those in need of assistance; they provide food to over 2,000 agencies in communities throughout Georgia. You can find other helpful family resources here, or text the word “lunchtime” to 898211 for more family resources.
Now it’s up to you to help #SilencetheGrowl for children this summer and let them do what they do best—be kids. Visit www.silencethegrowl.org for more information.
Find out why Statesboro is the “city that soars” No matter the season, there is always something exciting happening in Statesboro. Stay at one of twenty hotels and choose from more than 140 unique restaurants ranging from family-style to fine dining. Cool off at Splash in the Boro waterpark, catch a bird-of-prey flight show at the Center for Wildlife Education, or enjoy a flight of another kind at Eagle Creek Brewing Company. Whether you’re enjoying a live show at a local theater or exploring a museum exhibit, you never have to look far for fun in Statesboro.
Experience the Altamaha in Baxley Declared one of the 75 “last great places” left in the world, the Altamaha River in Appling County is one of the most biologically diverse river systems anywhere in the Southeast. Various recreational opportunities near the town of Baxley, along with the natural beauty of this wide, meandering river, make the area a primary resource for freshwater fun. Take a refreshing dip in summer, or enjoy a brisk early morning paddle in the fall. Whether you’re fishing for largemouth bass, birdwatching, kayaking, or camping along the banks of the river, this rare natural treasure in Appling County has something to offer family members of every age.
Take to the streets in Cochran and Bleckley Each year, two big events draw crowds to the Cochran-Bleckley area. Biking Bleckley, held on the last Saturday of February, brings people from around the state and as far away as Canada to ride the beautiful country roads around Bleckley County. Five different cycling routes range from easy to moderate. Country Fest, held the third Saturday of October, features lots of fun for kids and adults. Enjoy carnival foods, a wide variety of vendors, and live local entertainment all day. Finish the day with a live band and street dance.
Stroll down Main Street in Lyons
Visitors to the town of Lyons will find great food on Main Street, including five-star cuisine, brick-oven pizza, pecan-smoked barbecue, and homemade ice cream. Be sure to mark your calendar for hometown fun throughout the year: See the award winning folk-life play, Tales from the Altamaha, the last two weeks in April. Cheer on the kids at the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby the first weekend in May. Come back the second weekend in October to tantalize your taste buds and tap your toes at the Real Squeal BBQ & Music Festival. Stop by and pick up a Georgia Grown Trail 1 map to find other treasures.
Be charmed by a classic small town in Fitzgerald
Find out why Fitzgerald, Georgia, is Small Town USA. At the Blue and Gray Museum, discover the heartwarming story of how Yankee and Confederate veterans came together to build a town. Admire the flower-laden plaza parks that center the main streets of one of Georgia’s few planned cities. Enjoy a day of shopping in unique downtown shops. Tour the brick streets of the historic district filled with diverse architectural styles, materials, and ornamentation unique to Southern Georgia. Lunch or dine in one of the oldest downtown buildings and feast on homemade delicacies, or enjoy a sumptuous country buffet, freshly made New York–style pizza, international flavors, or barbecue and burgers. Enjoy an art exhibit in the beautifully renovated Carnegie Center. Enjoy a first-run movie, concert, or live theater performance in the beautiful Art Deco–style Grand Theatre. Marvel over the colorful Burmese chickens roaming shady lawns and throughout the downtown. The annual Wild Chicken Festival, held the third weekend in March in Fitzgerald’s downtown historic district, celebrates these unique residents. If camping is your preference, Paulk Park RV Campground sits right next to the five-acre County Lake fully stocked with bream, bass, and catfish. Paulk Park is home of the Harmony Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Festival, held the second weekend of August and featuring hot air balloons, an artisan market, live music, and family fun.
See Eastman’s renowned homage to radio skits The Magnolia Music and Medicine Show is a unique event staged six times per year in the Magnolia Theater. Focusing on family-friendly entertainment, the Magnolia Theater has a history rich in radio-inspired skits and musical innovation. Located in the heart of historic downtown Eastman, the Magnolia Theater has hosted most of the South’s great musical acts and comedic talents. The Magnolia Sisters, Shannon Whitworth, the Honeycutters, and Grammy Award winners Tim O’Brien and Mike Farris have all performed in the theater. Each show offers two hours of family entertainment that includes talented local Americana musicians; a Moment of Reflection by local pastors or priests; the Magnolia Players, a group of creative individuals recreating the atmosphere of radio skits from times past; and the house band, the Medicine Men.
Get back to nature in Wheeler County Wheeler County is the home of Little Ocmulgee State Park, located just 30 miles south of I-16 on Highway 441. The lodge offers hotel-style guest rooms and a restaurant with golf-course views. There are ten lakeside cabins, 60 lodge rooms, and 55 tent/trailer/RV campsites with cable and TV hookups. The park boasts the 18-hole Wallace Adams Golf Course, selected as the Reader’s Choice golf course in Georgia Magazine. Other outdoor activities for the entire family abound, including miniature golf, volleyball, bike and canoe rentals, a 2.6-mile hiking trail with vulture roost and board walk, fishing, birding, and children’s playground with splash pad. The park also hosts its annual Spanish Moss Festival each September. This arts-and-crafts festival has a wide variety of vendors offering something for everyone along with food, live entertainment, rides, Friday-night concert at the amphitheater, and much more. Leashed pets are welcome. The Friends of Little Ocmulgee State Park organization offers a variety of events throughout the year.
Explore more than onions in Vidalia
When anyone mentions Vidalia, the first thing people think of is the onion. But there’s more to Vidalia than its most famous export. Begin your visit in the downtown historic district, where you’ll find locally owned restaurants offering fusion cuisine or authentic Italian fare, plus retail shops stocking specialty items. Relax in one of three downtown parks before venturing beyond downtown to the TUMI Factory Store for discount prices on the world’s leading brand of luxury travel, business, and lifestyle luggage and accessories. (Did you know TUMI started right here in Vidalia?) Need to cool off? Get your feet wet in the splash pad or at the new Aquatics Center, then head to a local farmer’s market to load up on delicious local produce and the famous onions (in season late April through usually mid-September). Before you head home, visit the Onion Museum and learn the story of the onion’s humble beginning, hear what makes a Vidalia® Onion sweet, learn about protecting the name, and see what it takes to produce this prized commodity. Visitors enjoy seeing the real thing during growing season in the smallest registered “field” at the museum. Don’t miss the Instagram photo opportunity at the Vidalia Onion Fountain in City Park, and don’t forget the Vidalia Onion Festival, always held the last full weekend in April.
… and sample other Vidalia bounty
Visitors to Vidalia are most often looking for the famous crop and want the authentic experience of a farm or at least someone closely tied to the farm where it was grown. Although Vidalia Onions are available only for a short season, usually late April through August, this area is rich with additional produce such as sweet Silver Queen corn, yellow corn, kale, cabbage, sweet potatoes, tomatoes—the delectable list goes on and on. Local farmers markets are not all on the main thoroughfares; the welcome centers in Vidalia, at the Vidalia Onion Museum, and downtown adjacent to the PAL Theatre can point you in the right direction. If you want to venture out on your own, here are a few don’t-miss stops:
Toombs County Farmer’s Market
835 West Liberty Avenue, Lyons, 30436 (Highway 280 between Vidalia and Lyons)
2018 has been a tough year for business on social media. The new Facebook algorithm has made that platform a challenge for many companies. Meanwhile on Instagram, engagement is down by a huge percentage; we gain ten followers and lose nine, and everyone is pulling their hair out. But we assure you, there’s no need to panic.
There are things we can do! Here are five tips from Manu Muraro, founder of Your Social Team, to stay relevant and grow your Instagram following in the current landscape:
With 70 percent of all American businesses, countless influencer accounts, and everyone’s personal profiles on Instagram, the competition for screen real estate is fierce! People follow too many accounts and will only really notice you, follow, engage, and care if you’re providing real value. So make your account a service in its own. Offer tips, resources, or entertainment. Offer them all and you’ll go far.
Invest in content You may have many strategies to grow your account, like giveaways and influencer marketing, but at the end of the day, nothing will help you if you’re content isn’t great. So my tip is to focus on content first (and forever and ever). Work with a photographer whenever possible, improve your phone photography and editing skills, curate beautiful images, create videos, learn to tell a story, and craft better captions to generate real engagement.
Get in front of new audiences
Once your content is top notch, you should focus on collaborations and partnerships. It’s like inviting people to a party: we always want them to arrive after the house is clean, right? So once your feed is ready, collaborate with like-minded brands, work with influencers, go take over someone’s account, host and participate in events. Any actions that will bring new visitors to your beautiful profile will help you grow.
Do more Instagram Stories With the new algorithm hitting our feeds hard, we should shift our focus to stories and all its many tools. Stories can no longer just be an afterthought but a strategic mix of content that both looks great and adds value. Plus, the algorithm favors accounts who use all tools.
Keep up with the new trends Instagram changes at a very fast pace. So be on top of the trends by following great accounts, reading blogs, and never stop learning. Join one of our workshops if you’re interested in learning more.
At first mention, you probably recognize Greensboro as a sports town. It is home base for the Atlantic Coast Conference, which will return its men’s college basketball tournament to the Greensboro Coliseum in 2020. And the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship has played at Sedgefield Country Club since 1938, counting Byron Nelson and Gary Player as champions.
But you only would be partially right, because there’s so much more to North Carolina’s third-largest city. It’s an easily accessible destination that’s filled with family-friendly amusements, adventures and accommodations that won’t empty your wallet. It’s also home to interesting slices of history, starting with one that dates back almost to its founding.
Guilford County Courthouse National Military Park is where 4,500 Americans and the city’s namesake, Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene, fought the British in 1781, foreshadowing the Revolutionary War’s end seven months later. Meet the men and mission in a film and exhibits at the Battlefield Visitors Center. But don’t leave without a map, which details the 2.25-mile park road and well-maintained footpaths that local wildlife share. Both connect points of interest, from monuments to key battle locations, and are explained by a sign or audio clip accessed through your smartphone.
If you’re seeking respite from Atlanta’s hustle, bustle and traffic, you’ll likely enjoy Greensboro’s outdoor spaces, many of which are linked by 90 miles of greenways and trails. Sample more of it at Country Park, which is adjacent to the battlefield. Walk or bike its trails, run your little ones out of energy on the playgrounds or fish its two lakes, which you can cruise by rented pedal boat.
Country Park’s other neighbor is Greensboro Science Center, the rare place where you’ll find an accredited aquarium, museum and zoo all in one complex. It’s also home to SKYWILD, an animal-inspired zip line and rope-challenge course strung over the science center’s zoo. You’ll crawl, swing and leap like the crocodiles, gibbons and other creatures below, grasping lessons and thrills along the way. Your SKYWILD admission grants access to the center’s other attractions, too, so plan time for them before or after.
View otters, penguins and fish at the aquarium, where touch tanks put rays, snakes and small sharks literally within reach, and daily feedings are something to behold. Explore weather, dinosaurs, the human body and your imagination with hands-on exhibits in the museum. Its 30-minute interactive show, “KATS: The Meerkat Musical,” teaches young visitors about these residents of Africa’s Kalahari Desert. A variety of films are shown on its OmniSphere’s 40-foot dome, including laser shows set to the music of The Beatles, Metallica, U2 and others.
It’s easy to find your perfect place to stay. Choose from nearly 90 accommodations, from camping at Hagan-Stone Park to luxurious stays at Grandover Resort including its golf and spa packages. In between, there are plenty of wallet-friendly hotels and motels representing reputable national chains.
Downtown Greensboro is its own destination. Don’t miss the guided tour at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, which is inside a former Woolworth’s store. In 1960, four African-American college students wouldn’t leave its lunch counter after being refused service, sparking months of protests and becoming a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement.
You’ll find more attractions within the surrounding blocks, including Greensboro Children’s Museum. Here, youngsters can participate in all facets of life — from delivering mail to running a market — through the museum’s Our Town exhibits. They can sit at the controls of a real DC-9 airplane, steer a big rig or wheel a race car from Petty Enterprises, whose shop-turned-museum in nearby Randleman prepared cars that won at Atlanta Motor Speedway six times. Let the exploration continue in the museum’s Outdoor Play Plaza, where two 30-foot Neptune XXL Climbers stand, the only ones in the world that are connected by a net tunnel near their peaks.
Gather at one of the city’s family restaurants such as Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill, whose extensive menu is led by two favorites: tender ribs and juicy steaks. Explore at Kris Fuller’s Crafted—The Art of Street Food, where the former contestant on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen creates a world tour using dishes such as Cuban sandwiches and Vietnamese pho. Sample Natty Greene’s Brewing Co.’s locally made sour beers and ales at its Kitchen + Market restaurant at repurposed Revolution Mill, the South’s first flannel factory.
It’s an easy walk from Natty Greene’s downtown brewpub to Ghassan’s, which serves salads, gyros and other Mediterranean dishes. Most regulars return for the steak and cheese sub, served on a toasted roll with house-made dressing. It’s located in LeBauer Park, a downtown oasis that Carolyn Weill LeBauer gifted to the city.
The park’s splash pads make any warm day cooler, and the ping-pong and foosball tables offer an opportunity for friendly competition. Its 73 plant species represent Carolyn’s favorites and Greensboro’s past, when a booming nursery industry led to “The City of Flowers” nickname. As Greensboro became a transportation hub in the late 19th century, it was rebranded The Gate City, which remains appropriate.
Amtrak’s Crescent City train stops daily in Atlanta and Greensboro, and Delta Air Lines has hour-long nonstop flights from Hartsfield-Jackson to Greensboro’s Piedmont Triad International Airport. Driving is easy, too, just five hours up Interstate 85. It’s even better when you bypass Charlotte’s traffic by using Interstate 485.
Driving into Greensboro, you’ll quickly pass the city’s other main arteries: interstates 40 and 73. While they’re vital for reaching attractions, their interchanges are a good approximation for locating Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe, one of the largest water parks in the South. Weekdays are less crowded and often more affordable when you check its website for discount admission and parking passes.
Wet’n Wild offers more than 40 rides and attractions, including Lazee River and Thunder Bay Wave Pool, where nearly 2 million gallons of water create tsunamis perfect for jumping, riding or waiting out on the sandy beach. Older riders should hold tight to their tube on Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror, where a 40-foot drop and high-speed spins await. Young visitors will feel safe using the shallow pools and waterplay elements at Splash Island and Happy Harbor. Lounge chairs and cabanas provide spots to relax or slather on sunscreen. If you forget yours, stop at the onsite store, which also sells swimsuits and souvenirs. It’s near Captain Eli’s, the park’s largest food stand — its fried chicken, burgers and barbecue are kid-approved.
What if every detail of your workplace catered to your comfort and productivity? What if you regularly bumped into entrepreneurs and thought leaders while filling your glass of passion fruit-infused water? More Atlantans are about to experience office utopia thanks to WeWork, the New York coworking company that’s poised for local expansion. WeWork currently operates two locations in Midtown and one in Buckhead (WeWork Colony Square, WeWork 1372 Peachtree, and WeWork Tower Place ). Another location, WeWork Terminus, is opening in Buckhead next month, with a fifth outpost, WeWork Coda, slated to open near Georgia Tech early next year.
If you’re wondering whether there could possibly be enough startups and freelancers to fill those desks, you’re only grasping one part of WeWork’s mission. Companies of all sizes, including Silicon Valley giants, utilize WeWork spaces, which range from single desks to private office suites to custom buildouts of entire buildings. Here’s why so many businesses are choosing WeWork.
1. You don’t have to be a tech startup to enjoy the comforts of a tech startup. (And by startup, we mean one with a splashy IPO.) Ping-pong table? Check. Kombucha on tap? Check. Stylish furnishings and an atmosphere buzzing with entrepreneurial energy? Absolutely.
The vibe varies by location, but count on top-notch design that inspires. At the Tower Place location, which used to be a Crunch Fitness, WeWork transformed a former basketball court into a room of communal desks, preserving the scoreboard and the lofted perimeter track where members now host walking meetings and conquer creative block.
2. The world is your office. No matter what membership tier you choose, be it a communal “hot desk” or a private office, you have access to any WeWork location in the world. That’s 242 locations around the globe and counting.
3. You will get stuff done. With all due respect to coffee shops, WeWork isn’t one. At the core of every location is a network of private offices, which vary in size. Glass walls let in natural light and create a sense of openness. Even members who work in communal spaces have access to private phone booths and quiet seating nooks.
Of course, it’s not just privacy that fosters productivity but also pleasantness. Just ask Dan Westmoreland, inbound marketing director for Atlanta-based software startup Deputy, which operates out of Tower Place and just signed a long-term lease at Terminus. “Deputy used to be in one of those corporate spaces with manila walls and brown carpets. You know the spaces I’m talking about,” he says. “Since moving to WeWork our employees are in the office more and longer—not because they’re forced to be but because the space is relaxing and inviting.”
4. Networking is natural. Even if you never attended the frequent WeWork-staged gatherings (your loss), you’d rub shoulders with fellow members at the coffee bar or printer. Need legal advice? Ask the lawyer across the hall. Looking for a graphic designer? Introduce yourself to the independent contractor whose work you’ve been admiring. A WeWork app also lets members connect electronically.
5. Grow (or shrink) with ease. WeWork’s month-to-month plans allow you to be flexible with your footprint. WeWork is also a no-brainer solution for companies in need of a satellite location. Case in point: Microsoft’s Atlanta hub is in Alpharetta, but the company took over a large corner space at WeWork Tower Place for its Bing sales team, which meets frequently with intown clients.
6. No more dealing with WiFi contracts, ink cartridges, and other pesky office necessities. At WeWork, printing stations and office supplies are available on each floor, and an enthusiastic “community team” handles everything from guest check-in to mailings to technical (and moral) support. They might even babysit your dog while you run out to lunch. Because of course WeWork is dog-friendly.*
7. Two words: community bar. That’s WeWork–speak for the staffed stations on each floor that are stocked with complimentary micro-roasted coffee; tea; cold-brew and kombucha on tap; and pitchers of fruit-infused water. Packaged snacks and drinks are available for purchase in the “Honesty Market,” and you can stow home-brought meals in communal fridges (standard etiquette applies). Craft brews may be coming soon; the Georgia locations are working on their liquor license.
8. The conference rooms are next-level. Members reserve the rooms using monthly credits. Some are furnished for presentations, others for brainstorming, others like a boardroom. The stylish decor (think patterned wallpaper and mod furniture) will score you cool points with clients.
9. Did we mention the perks? For all the focus on productivity, WeWork’s community teams spend a lot of time trying to lure members out of their offices. Free yoga and massages, frequent catered food, lunch-and-learns with successful people, wellness rooms for breastfeeding or meditation, and regular happy hours are just some of the benefits members enjoy.
Visit WeWork.com to learn more about the company, and check out the new WeWork Terminus location opening in Buckhead in June. Schedule a tourat WeWork Terminus before May 31 to get exclusive pre-opening pricing. When you schedule a tour, enter “Terminus” in the notes section and a member of our team will be in touch.
*Some building management companies don’t allow dogs. Furry friends can’t come to Colony Square but are more than welcome at Tower Place and 1372 Peachtree.
The next time you long for a mountain getaway, set your sights on Dillard, Georgia, in Rabun County. Established in 1794 by John Dillard, a captain in the Revolutionary War, this quiet Southern enclave maintains a small-town feel despite its convenient location just two hours northeast of Atlanta via 441. You won’t find any chain restaurants in its two-block downtown. What you’ll find instead is a welcoming, family-friendly place brimming with antique stores, locally owned restaurants, and plentiful opportunities for enjoying nature.
Against the breathtaking backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dillard is surrounded by four state parks and enjoys four distinct seasons, making it pleasurable to visit all year. Whether you prefer leisurely outdoor pursuits or adrenaline-fueled adventure, you’ll find plenty of options to suit your taste.
For the low-key nature lover
If your ideal weekend getaway includes gorgeous scenery and a restorative dose of fresh air, Dillard won’t disappoint. Stay at the historic Rabun Manor, built in 1846, which offers a unique and personal touch, with fine dining and a romantic setting you won’t soon forget. The famous Dillard House Inn offers a variety of accommodations and amenities to please any traveler. Enjoy easygoing mornings on the porch admiring dogwoods, rhododendron, and wildflowers, and don’t miss award-winning Southern-style farm-to-table dining at the Dillard House restaurant. Spend the afternoon wandering downtown Dillard, which boasts 40,000 square feet of antiques and specialty shops. Or venture out to cast a line: try the trout-stocked pond at Andy’s Trout Farm (they’ll hook you up with all the equipment you need and clean your fish, too). Give Dillard House Stables a call to book a fly-fishing trip at nearby trout streams. A visit to one of the three area wineries should certainly be on your to-do list; 12 Spies Vineyards, located in Dillard, offers a beautiful setting for watching the sunset with your favorite taste of wine. Guests of the Dillard House also enjoy free wine and cheese on select evenings.
For the active outdoorsman
If you prefer more moderate activity, grab your hiking shoes: the Appalachian Trail is just fifteen minutes away, and Dillard itself is surrounded by national forests and state parks brimming with hiking trails. One popular destination is Black Rock Mountain, just three and a half miles from Dillard. Trek the two-plus-mile Tennessee Rock Trail on a clear day (rated moderate to difficult) and your efforts will be rewarded with an 80-mile view of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Whether you’re a newbie or an advanced horseback rider, you’ll enjoy the unique opportunity to tromp through the Little Tennessee River when you book a ride with Dillard House Stables. After a long day spent outdoors, wind down with a free tour and whiskey tasting at Dillard’s R.M. Rose & Co. Distillers.
For the fit and fun-loving
Get a great quadriceps workout and tackle steep descents at Tallulah Gorge State Park. Traverse rocks, boulders, and 550 metal steps along Sliding Rock Trail for an up-close view of this natural canyon stretching nearly two miles long and 1,000 feet deep. Permits are required for bouldering and for hiking to the canyon floor, so make sure to visit the park’s Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center (a great spot for grabbing maps, advice about local attractions, and wildlife information). For on-the-water thrills, blast through the class two through five rapids on one of the many rivers in the area, including the Chattooga, Nantahala, Ocoee, or Pigeon. Or rent a kayak for the day instead. To dry off, speed through the air on a zip line at Highlands Aerial Park, just a few miles away.
Dillard is your year-round destination for fun―perfect for antique, wine, and adventure lovers!
In-the-know Atlantans have headed to Athens for fresh takes on food and drink since Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten was named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in 2002. Acheson has gone on to win two James Beard awards, appear on Bravo and Food Network shows, and open restaurants in Atlanta. But Athens is where it all began, and a whole cadre of chefs, craft brewers, and mixologists have been inspired by Athens’ creative energy to create a happening food scene full of discoveries.
It will take more than one Athens getaway to sample all of the delectable food and drink options, but there’s no better time to get started.
Breakfast Athens is known for its live music and late-night scene, which means there must be plenty of good breakfast spots to help you perk up in the morning. Athenians take their coffee seriously, and you can head to the source by visiting Jittery Joe’s Coffee Roaster on Barber Street or its several coffee shops around town. 1000 Faces Coffee in downtown Athens also roasts its own beans on-site and supplies many of Athens’ top restaurants. For those who like hearty fare to start the day, Athens delivers. Super-sized biscuits at Mama’s Boy and omelet specials at the Grit are local favorites. Prefer a continental breakfast? Stop by Independent Baking Company in Five Points for hearth-baked breads and pastries baked from scratch daily, or Ike & Jane in Normaltown for crazy-good donuts.
Lunch Athens insiders know to venture off the beaten path and into historic neighborhoods for lunch. Pulaski Heights BBQ smokes meats daily and prepares inventive sides from scratch including squash casserole, smoked cauliflower, and kimchi. Chef-owner Chuck Ramsey provides plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options throughout the menu. Pulaski Heights BBQ is part of the regional Brews ‘n Qs Trail, as are several Athens breweries, so grab a brochure on the way in and start collecting passport stamps as you make your way around town. White Tiger Gourmet makes its home in a 100-plus-year-old former grocery store and serves fresh selections made from local and organic products. Specialties include vegetarian ciabatta sandwiches, pecan-wood-smoked pulled pork barbecue sandwiches, and smoked chicken sandwiches. Another favorite lunch spot is Heirloom Cafe; housed in a former Amoco gas station, its mission is to create community, celebrate local farmers, and tell stories through food. Each of these spots is also open for dinner and has lovely patio seating.
Happy Hour Athens’ reputation for craft beer continues to grow. Stop by the tasting rooms at Creature Comforts Brewing Co., Southern Brewing Co., and Terrapin Beer Co. to learn how award-winning beers are made and to sample favorites plus new releases. Your new favorite beer awaits! Athens’ brewers are passionate about their craft, so ask them for recommendations and a behind-the-scenes tour. Akademia Brewing Company is the most recent addition, opening its culinary brew pub in October 2017. Keep an eye out for the opening of Creature Comforts’ second Athens location, coming in 2018.
Dinner At Five & Ten, chef-owner Hugh Acheson and chef de cuisine Telly Mazzio continue to serve new interpretations of Southern cuisine melded with French and Italian influences. Fans of Acheson will also want to dine with the chefs—including the aforementioned Chuck Ramsey—who came up through the Five & Ten kitchen: Peter Dale has gone on to great success with the National, which celebrates southern Mediterranean cuisine through a southern U.S. lens. Dale has also opened Seabear Oyster Bar, which offers a casual vibe and a menu of delectable oysters—plus surprising weekly specials such as Ramen Monday and Tiki Taco Tuesdays. Shae and Ryan Sims fell in love while working at Five & Ten and have gone on to open Donna Chang’s, also in Five Points. Donna Chang’s is a small neighborhood restaurant offering a casual-yet-refined take on Chinese-American fare. Mimi Maumus at home.made looks to her roots in New Orleans as well as her decades in Georgia for inspiration in dishes such as tomato pie, shrimp and grits, and New Orleans hot chicken. Plan an early dinner (5 to 6 p.m.) to join in on Maumus’ special Supper Club, just $15 for two courses from a special menu.
After Dinner The night’s still young! Head to Athens’ Normaltown neighborhood to the Old Pal for some of the best craft cocktails in town, or up on the rooftop of the Georgia Theatre for good views, good drinks and good vibes atop the world-famous live music venue. If you had a tough time deciding between restaurants for dinner, you can hit up the National, Five & Ten, or Seabear Oyster Bar for after-dinner drinks, as they all have attractive bars and fine seasonal cocktail menus.
Athens is truly a place to recapture your youth while savoring the finest in food and drink. Hopefully you’ve developed a thirst and appetite for Athens, so make plans now for your culinary getaway by heading to VisitAthensGA.com.
Gulf County sits alongside the Gulf of Mexico in Florida’s Panhandle, less than a six-hour drive from Atlanta. As the county likes to proclaim, it is off the beaten path, but that’s what makes this no-worry, no-hurry piece of paradise worth the drive. The spectacular beaches, friendly population of under 20,000 residents, emerald-green waters, and more make Gulf County feel a world away from the hectic commotion of the big city. Here is why you should add the area to your travel bucket list.
1. An authentic experience
No chain hotels on the beach. Three stoplights in the whole county. Mom-and-pop restaurants and shops lining the streets. If you want to experience a way of life that values people over pretense, Gulf County has what you’re looking for. Start with local oysters at Indian Pass Raw Bar, a Gulf County mainstay. After your meal, browse Joseph’s Cottage for tea towels, soaps, and candles sold by Melissa Farrell, co-author of “Saints of Old Florida,” an ode to Florida Panhandle culture. Toast your purchases at St. Joe Bar, a local watering hole since 1938. Play shuffleboard, throw darts, and sing along with locals to tunes from the old-fashioned jukebox. Want live music? Lookout Lounge offers entertainment from area artists every weekend, plus breathtaking sunset views.
2. Complimentary concierge service
Hosting a family reunion? Hoping to set up a fishing trip? Wondering where to find the best shelling opportunities? Let a Gulf County concierge help—your 20-minute consult is free! Contact the concierge program, and you’ll be paired with a knowledgeable concierge who can introduce you to local guides, offer insider tips, and make sure you have all the information you need right at your fingertips. It’s like having a hotel or resort concierge before you even book a room.
3. Pooch-friendly paradise
If you love vacationing with your dog, Gulf County thinks that’s paw-some. Leashed pooches are allowed on nearly every beach, and you’ll find more than 20 waste-disposal stations conveniently situated at beach access points. Away from the sand, enjoy miles of walking trails with your pup—don’t miss picturesque BayWalk Trail, which offers gorgeous views of St. Joseph Bay. Many local restaurants, shops, and attractions welcome dogs, including the Gulf County Welcome Center, which greets Fido with a water bowl and a belly scratch. While you’re in town, be sure to swing by Bow Wow Meow Beach Shop, which sells doggie life jackets, organic treats, and pet-themed souvenirs.
4. Outdoor Adventure
Whether you love paddling, kayaking, swimming, fishing, or all of the above, you’ll find no shortage of watery diversions in Gulf County. One of the most popular is kayaking the Dead Lakes, a 6,700-acre body of freshwater pierced by dead—but still standing—Tupelo and Cypress trees (hence the name). You can also cool off in the Gulf of Mexico, St. Joseph Bay, Indian Pass Lagoon, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Apalachicola Bay and river basin, and Chipola River—all accessible from Gulf County. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park has been named the best beach in the United States, according to Dr. Stephen Leatherman—AKA Dr. Beach—in his annual rankings.
No matter when you visit, there’s always something happening in Gulf County. May’s Tupelo Honey Festival welcomes you to the shores of Lake Alice where you’ll sample honey harvested from local White Tupelo Gum trees and tap your toes to live music. Blast On the Bay songwriters festival in October showcases the talents of men and women responsible for some of today’s biggest country hits. Holidays are also a special time in Gulf County. On the Fourth of July, expect fireworks shows over the water at both St. Joseph Bay and Lake Alice. Come New Year’s Eve, there are back-to-back fireworks displays during the aptly-named Celebrate Twice event.
Whether your idea of a good time involves exploring the outdoors, listening to live music, indulging in fresh seafood, or getting to know the locals, Gulf County has something for everyone to enjoy on a vacation—unless your idea of a good time includes chain hotels and restaurants, crowded beaches, and lots of pretension. And if a short visit to Gulf County isn’t enough for you, the area is a hot spot for affordable hidden second-home gems. Learn more about all the fun and relaxation to be had, and start planning your getaway at VisitGulf.com. See more photos from around Gulf County:
Honey is nature’s very own sweetener. It has been improving recipes for centuries, providing a clean, unprocessed, and delicious alternative to sugar. In its purest and rawest form, honey is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. Its sweeter-than-sugar flavor even reduces the amount needed in recipes. When added to practically any dish or snack, whether savory or sweet, honey simply makes it better.
This refreshing spring treat, perfect for warm Georgia days, is balanced with the delicious addition of Nature Nate’s Pure, Raw & Unfiltered Georgia Honey, which blends together the local flavors of blooming cotton, gallberry and more.
Nature Nate’s Honey Co., based in McKinney, Texas with a local bottling plant in Valdosta, is excited to work with beekeepers in different regions to create honey that earns its place on family tables around the nation. Founded over 20 years ago by Nathan “Nature Nate” Sheets, the company encourages consumers to “choose real” in every aspect of their life, and not just honey. The company is committed to providing customers with 100% pure honey and products sourced from all-natural ingredients. No additives, no extras, and no fillers: just the simple ingredients that make food great.
Nature Nate’s 100% Pure, Raw & Unfiltered Georgia Honey can be found at your local Walmart, and their full range of honey-based products can be found online.
16 oz. frozen peaches
⅓ – ½ cup Nature Nate’s Raw & Unfiltered Georgia Honey
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Puree in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Freeze until ready to serve. Makes about 3 cups.
Jennifer Hill Booker is no stranger to coming up with fresh, wholesome, kid-friendly meals on the fly since the classically-trained chef and cookbook author is also a busy mom of two girls. On any given day, her schedule might including teaching cooking classes or traveling around the state as she serves as an executive chef for the Georgia Grown program for the Georgia Department of Agriculture and is the state’s Culinary Explorer for the Department of Tourism and Travel.
On a recent spring morning, she demonstrated her latest creation, street tacos, made with Laura’s Lean Beef. “I love big, bold flavors, and I’m sick and tired of cold weather. I wanted some sunshine [in my dish],” she said, smiling. “In my street tacos, you have big flavors and the bright colors of peppers, onions, cilantro, and jalapeños.
“For this recipe, I’m using the 92% lean version of Laura’s Lean Beef. It’s super-lean, which means that it has a really nice texture and mouthfeel,” she explained while chopping fresh bell peppers, onions, jalapeños, and garlic. By adding a hefty serving of vegetables to the mix, she sneaks in extra fiber and nutrients.
Booker heated a large skillet over her gas range and began browning the Laura’s Lean Beef with just a little bit of oil, chatting as she goes about the importance of knowing where your food comes from and how it’s produced. “You need to know where your product comes from,” she noted. “You can really tell the difference in the flavor and quality of the beef.” With Laura’s Lean Beef, consumers can trust that they’re getting an all-natural, vegetarian-fed product, that never contains added hormones or antibiotics. Since discovering it, the two-time cookbook author has begun using it for all of her favorite beef recipes including chili, meatloaf, and hamburgers.
Once the ground beef begins to brown, Chef Booker adds her chopped veggies and a measured mix of chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and garlic powder. The produce she’s chosen to include in this recipe is particularly appropriate for spring and summer in Georgia, thanks to the state’s agricultural bounty. “You’re getting food at the peak of its flavor when it’s healthiest, most nutritious. and inexpensive,” said Booker, a vocal advocate of eating locally and seasonally. “Plus, you’re cutting down on the carbon footprint we create, and then you’re helping your local farmers. It’s a win-win.”
As the stovetop ingredients continue to brown, she whips up an easy pico di gallo, smiling while she chops fresh tomatoes. While made-from-scratch dishes and even condiments are a part of her job she often carries home to her family, Booker is quick to point out that there’s no shame in taking a shortcut here and there. Buying diced onions and bell peppers or good-quality salsa and freshening it up with lime juice and cilantro are easy ways to cut down on prep and cooking time. For her version of street tacos, she uses store-bought corn tortillas.
Booker serves her festive street tacos with queso asadero (mild Mexican cheese), sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, and fresh lime wedges. Part of what makes her dish so kid-friendly is that every member of the family can build their own taco, based on their unique preferences. She suggests turning it into a salad with extra lettuce or into a rice bowl. Regardless, the nutritional mix really works out to be a well-rounded meal, due in no small part to using Laura’s Lean Beef. “We benefit from the big burst of protein we get from eating beef without all the fat,” Booker added.
To turn this easy dish into more of an event for the adults, Chef Booker suggests serving her street tacos alongside a crisp glass of rosé or margaritas.
1 large jalapeno, chopped fine, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups vegetable or beef stock
12, 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed in the oven
12 ounces queso asadero Mexican cheese
6 ounces sour cream
1 large tomato, diced, about 1 cup
1 cup cilantro leaves
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
12 small lime wedges
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the ground beef. Cook until the beef begins to brown, about 10 minutes, breaking the beef into small pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Mix the minced garlic, bell pepper, onion, and jalapeño into the ground beef. Season with chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and garlic powder. Continue to brown the beef for an additional 10 minutes.
Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until the liquid cooks out and the onions are soft, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, and adjust to taste with chili powder and salt.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the seasoned beef on each tortilla.
Garnish with the queso asadero, sour cream, diced tomato, lettuce, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
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