Showing posts from 2011
A friend of mine posted on Facebook, “Lovin’ the cool weather” in mid-July in an above-average hot summer in Hotlanta. It was no joke. We received the respite that I was wishing for only days earlier. The cool-down greeted the metro area after a quiet downpour on a Thursday night leading into a Friday morning. The pleasantness hit me when I was done with work on Friday afternoon. The breeze was like something that we typically experience in October. I always tell my daughter, “Embrace the moment when it’s here.” I know that it doesn’t sink in now as she listens to the modern pop music on her Droid phone which seems to do everything but make quality calls. But, perhaps my fatherly philosophical speeches will one day sink in when she finds out that time fights us. I know this because I have a good memory and from that, I know that she’s much like me in so many ways. Over 30 years ago, I recall the endless summers of adolescence when I was too old for camps and too young to work. I reme

Experience The Big Creek Greenway Trail

I was there about six years ago and my memory was being challenged. I don’t remember it being long, winding, hilly, shady and well-maintained. Welcome to Alpharetta’s Big Creek Greenway . This 8-plus-mile paved trail that peacefully co-exists with Alpharetta’s Big Creek is a great little exercise respite in the Atlanta metropolitan area. During the hot summer months, I recommend driving over to the trail on a weekday morning. You can breathe somewhat in the morning and the crowds are not there. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of walkers, joggers and rollerbladers, but they’re fewer in numbers and easy to get around. For me, going downhill on the Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway gives me resistance and going uphill, gives me a good push. The cool breeze from that push is complimented by the awesome scenery on this well-preserved trail that wends its way through the lazy pines. No sound emanates from the still creek, but the American Robins, Blue Jays, Bluebirds and Cardinals fil

Post-Fourth of July thoughts

"There’s a lot of tension this morning," the TV reporter announced on the recent Fourth of July morning. Where was the tension? It wasn’t on the New York Stock Exchange’s floor. The markets were closed for the day. In fact, very few things were open for business on the country’s 235th birthday. No, the reporter was talking about the tension at Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest on New York’s Coney Island. Apparently, every Fourth of July, competitors gather to stuff their faces with these so-called famous hot dogs within minutes. I still wonder where the infamous hot dogs reside. Just trying to imagine human beings attempting to swallow these things made me want to regurgitate my breakfast. The reporter was bantering with the anchors about a man named Joey Chestnut who seems to be a "the-guy-to-beat" at this contest. Last year was a bit of an off year for Chestnut: he downed only 54 hot dogs, but still walked away with the Mustard Belt due to a lack of compe

"Super 8" really hits home

When I first heard about a film titled Super 8 was coming to theaters this summer, my eyes and ears perked up. Like thousands of kids across the U.S. in the 1970s and 80s, Super 8 filmmaking was an integral part of my youth and adolescence. I finally got the chance to see the film this past week and it seriously hit home. I felt as if Writer/Director J.J. Abrams, who is around my age, got a peek into my life when I started making home movies in Ohio in 1979. Abrams pretty much got the entire look right in Super 8 even down to the Kodak Ektachrome film cartridges that my friends and I used in our cameras. I confess that the first camera that the characters in Super 8 used was a brand that I dreamed of owning. Our first cameras were Bell and Howell. A few years later when the Super 8 format was being pushed out of department stores in favor of the newly-crowned VHS video cameras, I begged my dad to purchase a nice Sankyo camera that was able to record sound as well as switch to fra

Feast at Inman Park's Savi Market

I just read that pizza chains’ sales are up in this recession. We’re talking about Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John’s. A recent ABC-TV report said that in this sluggish economy, cheap sells. To me, that’s a bit of a shame. I like to support my locals who put their original interpretation on a dish like pizza. I hope the neighborhood restaurants are doing well because in these tough economic times, it’s tough to eat well and local. It’s all too tempting to hit a fast-food chain when the food is quick and cheap. The folks at Savi Urban Market have done something about eating what's good for you while being affordable. No, Savi is nowhere near here. I asked the owners to think about locating a unit in Peachtree Corners. They’ll think about it. The closest market is in Inman Park. If you’re looking to buy local, fresh and easy-to-prepare food, make the trek to this neighborhood market in a well-preserved brick building on Atlanta’s Elizabeth Street. High quality affordable gour

Three feet over

Our governor recently signed a bicycle bill which requires drivers to stay three feet away from road cyclists. Indeed the intentions are good, but just how do motorists judge that distance? It’s a tough call to make from the driver’s seat. Do automobile operators have to get out their measuring sticks? Is there an “app” for this requirement? All kidding aside, I love recreational cycling with an emphasis on recreational. I wish I could write that my bike will replace my car to get to work, the grocery store and doctor’s appointments, but I’m just not comfortable with sharing main roads with a Ford F-150 or worse yet, an 18-wheeler. I don’t mind riding on the side streets, but to be honest, the roads are not big enough for all of us. The busy straight and windy roads in the metro area are not wide enough for the SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans which have been popular in this region for years. I’m a big fan of bike lanes and paths. If I ever share the road, I prefer less busy times,

Calm after the storm

As I entered the neighborhood on a rainy, gloomy Thursday evening in late May, a plethora of tree limbs, leaves and branches met my wet, well-worn tires. I encountered more debris as a power truck passed me by on the other side of the road. The crunching sound of my automobile smashing twigs and pine cones mixed with the rain made my heart pound a bit. After I was away at my daughter’s gymnastics class for just one hour, I quickly discovered that a massive rainstorm plowed through the area. “This couldn’t be good,” I thought to myself. When I came upon the road leading into my subdivision, there was a fire truck blocking its entrance. A tree had fallen on the one line that feeds power to the subdivision in which I live. I know this drill all too well. I’ve been living in this house for 17 years and in the state for 22 years respectively. Once something like this hits, it takes the dedicated workers at the power company several hours to restore electricity. Believe me; I have worked c

Visit South Carolina for the summer!

It was a gorgeous spring day in the Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta. I rarely get the chance to visit this area even though I have been working around the corner from here for well over two decades. On any given weekday, I typically run back home in the ‘burbs to do all the household chores and get ready for the next day. Welcome to my boring normal weekday routine. Before I know it, the year is over. I love it when the routine gets broken, especially on a gorgeous low humidity day. On this particular day, the nice public relations folks from all over South Carolina invited me to a place called The Trolley Barn to tell me and scores of other journalists about all the great things that have been happening in the Palmetto State these days. Since I have been doing a lot of travel writing in my spare time over the years, public relations specialists enjoy meeting writers and editors alike to “sell” their destinations. To be honest, with South Carolina, I was sold on the state as a d

The time is right for cycling

Studies show that Americans are sedentary. Sometimes I wonder about those so-called studies when I’m driving around my metro Atlanta, Georgia neighborhood. Whether it’s in the dark mornings, late afternoons or early evenings, this place looks like an outdoor gym at times. Cyclists on $800-$1,000 bikes sporting professional gear complete with helmets, reflective spandex and flashing lights whiz by in those wee hours when the dew is saturating our thirsty lawns. Walkers and runners with or without dogs crowd the sidewalks at all hours. The challenges to getting exercise in the great outdoors are great. From spring pollen to summer sweat to wind gusts, beginners and veterans alike know that even with those obstacles, a dedication to exercise will be good for their health. Seeing all of these folks hit the pavement – and sometimes grass -- inspires me to get on my bike and explore my area's numerous subdivisions. On every bike ride, I never have a plan. I spontaneously decide where

Jimmy Meet World

Jimmy Baron is a radio show host, actor, writer, animal rights activist, dad and most of all, world traveler. Over the years, Jimmy has appeared on hit television shows including Facts of Life , M*A*S*H , and Heart to Heart . In Atlanta, Jimmy was the host of radio station DAVE-FM's morning drive-time show with Yvonne Monet and Crash Clark. From 1993-2006, he co-hosted WNNX radio's The Morning X . The Morning X - considered one of the most successful shows in the country during its tenure - won countless local and national awards from the radio industry and fans alike. Baron has sat face to face with everyone from The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and President Bill Clinton to Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Hank Aaron, and Buzz Aldrin. Since "The X Days," Jimmy has been keeping busy with writing and television projects. Jimmy supplied us with his favorite destinations: For Beaches: Turks & Caicos For Diving: French Polynesia For Golf: Palm Springs For Ins

Go Yolo!

There I was in the dead of summer on a north Florida lake kneeling on a surf board sporting a life jacket while holding a paddle. I wasn’t training for a new Olympic aquatic competition; I was learning how to “YOLO.” “YOLO” can be described as stand-up paddling. The rider stands on a larger version of a surfboard while negotiating the water with one paddle. It’s a water sport that’s taking the Florida Panhandle by storm. Since it’s all the rage here, I decided that I must try it out not only as a story for this blog, but for my own “bucket list.” As I embarked on my maiden Yolo voyage on Santa Rosa Beach’s Eastern Lake, I was a bit apprehensive. “How can I possibly balance myself on a surf board while rowing?” I asked myself. “I doubt I’m as good as the young lady I saw on the lake the day before who was happily paddling along with her dog on the front of the surfboard.” I was intimidated by that scene and the fact that I had trouble balancing as a kid on the balance beam. I had to t

Sightseeing in Macon, Georgia

Everywhere I looked, I was surrounded by beauty and tranquility. The sun was working its way up in the southern Georgia sky as it was trying to peak through the magnificent trees over me. The sounds of robins and thrashers only intensified my experience as I dined on my breakfast in the courtyard of the 1842 Inn located in the heart of Macon, Georgia. What seems like only a stone’s throw from my home in Atlanta, Macon was always a town to pass through on the way to its popular Georgia sister city, Savannah. How sorry I have been all these years for thinking that this was just a place to grab a quick lunch and gas up the car. Macon is a Peach State jewel filled with architecture, music, history and charm. All of those qualities can be found in the 1842 Inn. Built by the city’s former mayor John Gresham in 1842, this stately property boasts 19 spacious, ultra-comfortable and well-appointed rooms bearing such names as Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Georgia Governor George Wal