An Atlanta Weekend Hootenanny!
This weekend, my college girlfriends are coming to town for a visit! And, I’m SO unbelieveably excited!
We’ve been getting together a few times a year ever since we graduated from Texas, mostly for weddings (as pictured above), but since no one’s gotten married this year, we planned a little reunion weekend instead + are going to Dahlonega to visit the Georgia Wine Country! My total + complete heaven…
It’s going to be so nice + relaxing!
If we weren’t planning to be in Dahlonega, we would DEFINITELY be spending Saturday @ Cabbagetown’s 2010 Chomp + Stomp Chili Cook-Off + Festival + 5K Run!
Cabbagetown’s Chomp + Stomp was created to celebrate the heritage and local flavor of the neighborhood, as well as benefit Cabbagetown Park. Slick + CK + I went last year and had so much freaking fun! It really is very deserving of its Creative Loafing Award for “Best Intown Hipster Hootenanny” (greatest word ever? i’m thinking so…)!
More info on Chomp + Stomp here: EAT UP!
Whatever you’re doing this weekend – bring a thick jacket! It’s getting really chilly in the A! Burrrrrrrrr!
Tags: ,blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol, careful cowboy!, Christine!, comfort food, day drinking, I'm just saying..., j chait, LMR, michelle (flounder!), More culture than frozen yogurt!, oh so hipster, PLU, see and be seen, Shauna-na-na-na, slick, Texas Texas yeehaw!, Things that are awesome..., Things we love!, vay-cay, very important people, You Can Find Me in the A
Smart Summer Travel Tips
I usually travel about two weekends each month, but July is completely out of control. By the time July is over, I will have spent at least part of every weekend in another city…
(Love things + people + awesomeness from New Jersey as much as I do? If so, you may want to know about Jersey Shore’s Mike “the Situation’s” first stab at literary excellence: http://tiny.cc/gj75j! I digress…)
I’ve learned a few things here and there throughout my travels, and I am confident that I can reduce some travel-related stress with just five points to remember below:
5- If you are flying out of or connecting in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport and need food or want to waste away a few hours at a bar while waiting for your departure, head directly for Terminal E. They have my favorite food selections, including some healthy options, and a really great wine bar located right next to the duty free store = dangerous. Also, Term. E has the only fine dining restaurant in the airport, One Flew South, for you fancy-pants travelers, you.
4- Go through security in the first class + medallion gate. I am a Delta medallion flyer and always go through the security gates all the way to the back of Delta’s check in area, and I have NEVER had anyone ask me to show them proof of my status. Don’t be a schmo, if you are in a rush to make your flight, take advantage of a faster line for security. I promise I won’t tell on you…
3- Need a last minute mani/pedi before the big trip, but don’t have much time? No problemo. Head on over to the XpresSpas in Terminals A + C for some quickie pre-flight spa services.
2- Why waste $30 to check your bags when you can just be a thoughtful packer and save yourself some dough? Carry on your baggage whenever possible – particularly if you are flying Delta, which has the highest incidence in the airline industry for losing traveler’s baggage. Slick lost his luggage on Delta five times out of the last eight flights he’s taken. Fact.
Ladies: Do not EVER pack your make-up or a bridesmaid dress. Trust me – it’s never worth the risk.
1- Talk to your neighbor(s) on the plane – at least for a little while. You never know who you’ll meet. I’ve had friends who have met people who have set them up on dates, helped them to network for jobs and made some pretty cool random connections – even if it’s just a new book recommendation. Who knows, you may even find a friend to chow down w/ at One Flew South in Terminal E…
Just, please, watch out for snakes. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you, oh weary travelers…)
Safe travels this summer. See y’all around Hartsfield-Jackson!
One Flew South
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
600 N. Terminal Parkway (Terminal E)
Atlanta, GA 30320
Tags: ,careful cowboy!, Dana Dana Dana, fancy pants, I'm just saying..., LMR, Moxie? We got it., obsessed with all things jersey, slick, vay-cay, very important people, You Can Find Me in the A, Yowza.
Outlet Shopping for Spring
It took us about 45 minutes going up 400 N to get to the NGPOs from Buckhead. We easily spotted the NGPOs from the highway, and we were excited to park across from Off Fifth(Saks Fifth Ave. outlet) to begin our mini-spree. Thanks to the grande Starbucks ice coffee I finished during the ride up, in less than ten minutes flat I was standing in the check out line at Off Fifth with an incredible lined winter coat (for next year) and a very-Lindsay-style gold bracelet. And like a flash, we were off again…
In the interest of keeping your attention, I won’t break down every stop we made. However, I will tell you that my favorite stores at the NGPOs were: Cole Haan, Burberry, Coach, Off Fifth, Kate Spade, Juicy, Polo, BCBG, Michael Kors and J. Crew. We were afraid to step foot into Pottery Barn or Nike – which were absolutely swarmed with eager shoppers. Even though it wasn’t a holiday weekend, we found excellent deals everywhere! Coach was running a one day promotion for 20% off of the entire store, and Jenny and I walked away with adorable new purses. Polo had some noteworthy deals, too, convincing Dana to stock up on shirts for her wonderful fiance who is in Iraq until May. Overall, I thought the shopping was great.
Here are a few tips on efficient outlet shopping that I picked up during our mini-spree:
1- Wear flats or comfortable shoes. You will regret it if you don’t. However, if your feet begin to hurt while you are shopping – you can run into Adidas, Nike or Cole Haan (love their shoes with the Nike technology) and purchase yourself a brand spankin’ new pair.
2- Go to the bathroom prior to standing in line for a dressing room. Lines can be long and there is nothing worse than nature calling while you are trying to shimmy your way out of a pair of skinny jeans…
3- Eat before you go – or bring snacks. I wasn’t impressed with the food options at the NGPO’s – or the lack thereof.
4- Develop patience. The lines are long for the dressing rooms, registers and bathrooms…there’s really no way around it. And, there were a ton of slowly walking people w/ strollers. Just keep that in mind…
5- According to a colleague, the best time to go outlet shopping is the week(end) prior to a holiday – so for instance the week before Black Friday or Fourth of July. Apparently, the outlet stores will already have their stock out for the holiday weekend and start running their sales early.
6- Bring an umbrella. The weather happened to be gorgeous on Saturday and we were fine – however it’s important to note that not all of the walkways between stores are covered. It would be a shame to drive all the way out to the NGPOs and not be able to visit all the stores on your list because you’ve become a drowned rat in a rainstorm.
Four hours later on our drive home, we realized we were absolutely famished. So, at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday we sat down for a three hour sushi meal complete with sake bombs! Yea!
We went to Yu-Ka Sushi Bar – right next to the disco Kroger in Buckhead. I did not care for the sushi or the atmosphere at all, but the service was good and the sake bombs hit the spot. I called it an early evening and ventured home with my bags upon bags of outlet loot and redboxed The Hurt Locker + A Serious Man (both nominated for Best Picture @ the Oscar’s – The Hurt Locker won). I really enjoyed both.
What a Saturday! I’m already looking forward to heading back to the NGPOs in a few months to stock up on summertime gear…
North Georgia Premium Outlets
800 Highway 400 South
Dawsonville, GA 30534
The Secret to Life.
Slick and Stuart were very sneaky over the past few weeks…
Somehow these amazing (but never plan-oriented) boys pulled together a very thoughtful + incredibly romantic, surprise V-Day getaway for Stacey + me @ Chateau Elan!
Here’s the Q+DD on Chateau Elan:
Chateau Elan is the largest winery in Georgia and is located in Braselton, 40 miles north of Atlanta. It was founded in 1982 by Dr. Don Panoz who came from the pharmaceutical industry. Their wines have won many regional awards including 19 from the Atlanta International Wine Festival, two from The Dallas Morning News Wine Competition and numerous Florida State Fair awards. The facility is 3,500 acres, but only 50 are dedicated to the vineyard. Georgia wines are marked “Founder’s Reserve,” but other bottles with the Chateau Elan label can include grapes from a sister property in California. (www.wikipedia.com)
Once we found out where we were going, we expected to drink a lot of mostly locally grown wine and RELAX RELAX RELAX. We did not, however, expect to learn “the secret to life” from an enthusiastic Chateau Elan employee.
The Chateau Elan wine tour was just one of the many fun events the boys had planned for us during our “V-Day Extravaganza,” but it was the most memorable. We learned all about CE’s grape harvesting, wine making and bottling process, and then got to taste a few of their signature wines.
After the tasting – in hopes of scoring another heavy pour – the four of us stuck around to chew the fat with some of the CE wine experts + employees. We spent the majority of our time talking to a particularly friendly, white-haired wine pourer. Much to our surprise, he told us that he was 77 years old. Shocked, we asked him how he looked so young and had so much energy. (This gentleman was in remarkable shape.) In a beautiful accent, he informed us that “the secret to life” is eating like a diabetic, or watching what you eat at each and every meal, and marrying your very best friend. Just a little something to think about…
We enjoyed a really nice four-course dinner at Cafe Elan that evening, took advantage of the hot tub at the Spa and treated ourselves to a delicious brunch at Le Clos on Sunday morning (wearing our robes and all), but still, my favorite part of the trip was our brief + incredibly enlightening conversation with the Australian wine expert at the tasting.
What a memorable little trip! Stacey and I were very impressed with the boys, and we can’t wait to see what may be up their sleeves in the future!
100 Rue Charlemagne
Braselton, GA 30517
Tags: ,blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol, Festive, I'm just saying..., Lets hear it for the boys, LMR, More culture than frozen yogurt!, slick, Staceyyyyy!, The Shapiros, Things that are awesome..., Things we love!, vay-cay, very important people
A Day in the Georgia Wine Country
Just about an hour and 15 north of Atlanta lies the lush country town: Dahlonega, Georgia. It is widely known for it’s famous gold rush – but these days the focus has been on it’s wine. The Dahlonga Plateau, shadowed by some of Georgia’s highest mountains, offers cool temperatures and excellent grape-growing conditions for the city’s four wineries.
I’ve been on dates and to bachelorette parties in the Georgia Wine Country – and I have to tell you, it is heaven. You feel like you are in Napa, but really, you are only a little over an hour from Lenox Mall!
We made the trek to Dahlonega this past weekend for Anjali’s bachelorette party and it was a perfect choice for a laid back Saturday afternoon. We arranged for a party bus to pick us all up in Midtown, drive us to Dahlonega and cart us around from winery to winery all day. We just have to be the most responsible alcoholics ever. FYI: Paddy’s Taxi offers great rates: 706.300.7143.
We only had time to visit two wineries, but because I like you, I will give you information on all four. If you have more time, I recommend making a night out of it and going up early on a Saturday, tasting all day at the four wineries, dinner in downtown Dahlonega and staying at one of the city’s adorable B&Bs. (Come on guys – it’s not THAT girlie. Even T.O. stays at B&Bs!)
Named after the Frogtown area of Lumpkin County, this particular winery is notable both for the wine, and the building itself, built with no nails and every piece cut by hand. The winery serves as both the tasting room, and a location for weddings amidst the Georgia mountains. Owner Craig Kritzer is proud that the winery has garnered 18 medals in just over 2 years of wine competitions. But as gorgeous as it is, it is a winery first, he says. We designed the winery and then designed the building on top. With 22,000 grape vines encompassing about 17 different varieties, it is clear this is indeed a serious winery. Frogtown produces dry wines, described by Kritzer as “food wines” that “cleanse the palate.” They also have a secondary label, 13th Colony, as well as the Frogtown Cellars label. The tasting room is currently open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Plus on selected Sundays visitors can enjoy Winetaster Brunches – 3 courses with wine pairings and desserts.
BlackStock Vineyard, planted in 1997, was the first to grow grapes in the Dahlonega area. Oddly enough this vineyard is in White County which is dry but owner David Harris was able to get permission for the farm winery to make and sell wine. Their open airy tasting room overlooks the mountains and approximately 90 acres, with 40 planted in vineyards. BlackStock and the Harrises are also suppliers of grapes for other southern vineyards. In fact, it is only in the last few years that BlackStock has started to make its own wine. They also make an unusual White Merlot that is based on the merlot grape, but the grapes are grown somewhat differently, with the red skin is removed early in the processing allowing the clear juice to ferment into a delicious light and fruity wine. Enjoy their live music on Saturday afternoons and their Barbeque Seminars, as well as other special events. BlackStock offers two levels of tasting at different prices.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards
In addition to their tastings, Wolf Mountain Vineyard is also a place for a wedding, as well as delicious gourmet lunch with a beautiful view of the mountains. Wolf’s wines are all blends, enabling them to adjust their wine slightly from year to year to take advantage of the natural ups and downs of wine growing. They focus their vineyard on red wine grapes and buy BlackStock whites for their white wine blends. In addition to tasting Thursday through Sunday they have an educational cellar tour and tasting Saturday and Sunday. Their Vineyard Café also Thursday through Saturday is in their elegant spacious dining area overlooking the vineyards and mountains. They also have special events involving music, wine and food.
Three Sisters Winery
Named after the mountain known as the Three Sisters, this vineyard sits on 180 acres in the Frogtown District. Established in 1996, it’s one of the original vineyards in the burgeoning wine region. Owners Sharon and Doug Paul have planted over 8000 wine grape vines covering thirteen-plus acres. They also grow a grape indigenous to America called Norton that is hardy in colder temperatures. It’s sometimes called by the more lyrical name Cynthiana-Norton. Open for tastings Thursday through Sunday, they offer a complimentary tasting of three of their wines, or a 5-wine sampling that comes with a keepsake wine glass for a charge. This is a warm friendly welcoming place and a wonderful way to learn about wine. And to enjoy a bit of Georgia folk art which decorates the tasting room. If your passion for wine includes ice wine, their Vidal Blanc icewine is wonderful. In addition to European style wines, they also have the Walasiyi Wine Company that features traditional southern style wines described as “sweet & fruity.” It is certainly both.
A visit to the Georgia Wine Country needs to be at the top of everyone’s bucket list. With the economy in the tubes and work/ life pressures becoming increasingly more stressful and demanding, it is sooooo nice to spend a day in a relaxing, peaceful and alcohol-induced ABSOLUTELY heavenly dream-land.