Category Archives: Things to Do in Atlanta

GA 400 Trail in Sarah Smith School District

This proposed trail will greatly enhance the outdoor enjoyment options in the Buckhead area running through the Sarah Smith School District neighborhoods.

The Georgia 400 Trail

The Georgia 400 Trail

A planned 5-mile multi-use path weaving its way through Buckhead will become the backbone of a new green space plan for Atlanta’s ritziest office and shopping district.

It’s also going to help Buckhead work toward ending an unflattering distinction — it has the least green space of any intown office market.

The Georgia 400 Trail, a proposed multi-use path for bicyclists, skaters, walkers and runners, will connect to parks, trails, schools and Buckhead’s business district, an amenity that Buckhead, the most suburban of the intown office markets, has lacked, its leadership says.

It’s also the most high-profile project within the overarching plan to add 106 acres of green space in coming years. The initiative is known as The Buckhead Collection, a mix of plazas, parks, trails and greenways, and street and sidewalk improvements.The Georgia 400 Trail will add 13 acres by itself, plus another 17 acres of additional parks along the trail.

The trail is in the early stages, though preliminary design just began. Livable Buckhead, an organization that focuses on sustainability, has started meeting with homeowners along the trail to discuss their concerns about the project.

It could be started by 2014.

Search for homes in the Sarah Smith School District

Atlanta Spring Break Activities

With spring break approaching, many families may be staying close to home but looking for ways to have fun with the kids.  The article below from Atlanta Business Chronicle    by Giannina Smith Bedford, Contributing Writer  offers plenty of fun ideas.

From the Fernbank Museum of Natural History to the Georgia Aquarium, there are many family-friendly attractions drawing visitors to Atlanta from across the country and giving local parents several options in ways to entertain little ones. There are also many under-the-radar programs and destinations that offer a new take on family fun. As Atlanta continues to develop as a destination, there seem to be more family-friendly options being added every day.

“Atlanta certainly has a very robust group of attractions with family appeal. While for decades Atlanta had been considered by many to be a city offering amenities primarily for business and convention travel, in recent years our leisure market offerings … have increased dramatically and truly broadened Atlanta’s appeal for all ages,” said Scott Higley, vice president of marketing and communications for the Georgia Aquarium, where about 65 percent of the visitors attend as a family unit.

At the aquarium, exhibits like the animal touch pools and shows like the recently opened Dolphin Tales are specifically geared toward families and at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, nearly all the programming — from the crafts, games and activities to the mini-musicals and shows — is aimed at children age 9 and under.

“We have a concentration of very family-friendly attractions, some of which are condensed in the downtown area and you can also branch out into other areas of town,” said Mark Vaughan, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau executive vice president of sales.

Atlanta’s numerous family attractions, both big and small, are regularly explored and uncovered by Sue Rodman, who writes a blog called “Field Trips With Sue” about things to do in Atlanta and the Southeast with kids. Rodman also hosts a segment on CBS Atlanta discussing the blog topics and is the author of “100+ Free and Cheap Things to do in Atlanta with Kids.”

“When people think of attractions they automatically think aquarium, zoo, World of Coke, which are definitely fantastic attractions, but there are so many other things within the city and even close around the city as well,” she said.

Atlanta Botanical Garden and the High Museum of Art are two intown attractions Rodman said aren’t always top-of-mind for children, but feature arrays of worthwhile programming geared towards families.

With nearly 40 percent to 45 percent of its visitors being families, Atlanta Botanical Garden offers a Children’s Garden with puppet shows and story-telling as well as events like “Scarecrows in the Garden” that are popular with families. During the holidays, the Garden hosts a Holiday Model Train Show and recently debuted “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights,” which proved to be a big draw for families.

“Now Garden Lights is a huge attraction for families. We are cooking s’mores. We have live entertainment. It is all about the young and the young at heart,” said Atlanta Botanical Garden Executive Director Mary Pat Matheson.

Rodman said one of her favorite things about Atlanta Botanical Garden is the education both her and her children garner from its rotating art exhibits.

“I’ve learned more and I think my kids have learned more about art at the Botanical Gardens because they always have those fantastic art exhibits that come in that started with Chihuly,” she said.

The High Museum also offers an array of kid-specific pursuits, Rodman said, including Toddler Thursdays and the Greene Family Learning Gallery, which has five hands-on activity areas for children from pre-school through 10 years of age. One of Rodman’s favorite kid-centric programs at the High is Discovery Backpacks, a rolling backpack filled with art projects, puzzles, books and games aimed at helping parents and children connect with the art in the galleries.

“It’s actually a great way for kids to engage with the museum and allows parents a structure for interacting with their children and the art,” Rodman said.

Open in 1978, the Center for Puppetry Arts teaches about the art of puppetry. With a large portion of its programming aimed at hosting school field trips, the center also offers a family series of theater programming that includes a create-a-puppet workshop themed around the show.

“You see the show, you tour the museum and then you go upstairs to the educational department and you build a puppet to take home,” said Daniel Summers Jr.,Center for Puppetry Arts marketing director.

For some more off-the-wall Atlanta kids activities, Rodman points to the Dragon*Con Parade that takes place in September, offering a unique people-watching opportunity. Sunday in the Park Festival in Oakland Cemetery in October also provides a different take on family fun, allowing teens to learn Atlanta history on a cemetery tour while younger children can take part in activities like Teddy Bear Tea.

“Another thing I would say is really great about Atlanta is a lot of the outdoor attractions. The Georgia State Parks have some really fantastic family-friendly programming and it’s inexpensive fun,” Rodman adds. “There is just so much to do whether you are inside or outside in Atlanta. It is really great.”

Buckhead Private Schools offer Summer Camps

I can’t think of a better time to start planning for summer than on a rainy Monday in January. Registration is now open for summer camps and activities at the Buckhead private schools.  While summer vacation is meant to offer more freedom and less structure, the sounds of “I’m bored” are heard too often.  Three of the Buckhead private schools offer summer camp programs for all ages appealing to a wide range of educational and recreational interests and are open to all children in the commuity.  See the links below for specifics and registration forms.

The Westminster Schools

The Lovett School

Pace Academy



Favorite Gym Near Morris Brandon Elementary

A couple of mornings a week I head out early to my gym.  I drive past Morris Brandon Elementary School and the surrounding neighborhoods passing children walking to school, many with friends, moms and dads, loyal pets, carrying science projects and overloaded bookbags.  A friendly crossing guard is safely guiding them across the street with a familiar smile. Older children that were lucky enough to get to raise the flag are performing their duty with great pride.  The big yellow buses are bouncing along the streets with little bobbing heads waving goodbye to parents, coffee cup in hand heading home to start their day.   It’s such a wholesome sight a good Realtor couldn’t have staged the scene any better.  Just beyond the neighborhood near the corner of Collier Road and Howell Mill is a great little hidden secret, Power Circuit Fitness owned by Scott King.  He has just come into the technology age with a new website.  Most of his clients have been coming to him for several years, some for almost 20 years.  It’s somewhat like the Cheers of gyms, “where everybody knows your name”. Instead of perching on a bar stool, grab a stairmaster and catch up with friends. The workouts are a combination of cardio and weight training so every routine is different.  It doesn’t have the hyped up beautiful people feel of many Buckhead gyms, yet still delivers a serious workout. Check out Scott’s website and stop by to get started on your New Year’s resolutions.


Buckhead Teams Play in Holiday Tournament at Westminster

From Patch Reports

Pace Academy’s boys and girls teams and Lovett’s boys will be among schools competing in Westminster’s annual Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament.

Eight boys teams and eight girls squads will play in the event Dec. 27-29 in the varsity and auxiliary gyms in Turner Gymnasium on the Westminster campus. Games will begin at 9 a.m. each day, with the last game at 7:30 p.m.

The boys teams include Athens Academy, Grady, Jefferson, Pace, Lovett,  Paideia, Wesleyan and Westminster.

On the girls’ side, the teams are Athens Academy, Grady, Kennesaw Mountain, Pace, Pope, Shiloh, Paideia and Westminster.

For additional information contact Westminster boys head coach Tray Malloy, 404-609-6385, or

Click here to see article in Buckhead Patch

Neighborhood Schools Can Win Big From Holiday Decorating

Each neighborhood has its favorite homes that go all out on the Christmas decorating. One of my old neighbors had every possible blow up Christmas character or symbol possible in their yard.  There was lots of buzz about how tacky it was, but I always silently applauded them for being brave enough to put it all out there, celebrating the season with reckless abandon.  Patch, a great source for local knowledge in Atlanta neighborhoods now has a way for local schools to win $100,000 this holiday season with the Patch, Deck the House contest by nominating your own house or one of your neighbors.

Click here to see how it works

Click here to see all the neighborhoods in and around Atlanta served by Patch

Atlanta Thanksgiving Tradition

One of my favorite Atlanta Thanksgiving traditions is the Atlanta Half Marathon that takes place on Thanksgiving Day.  I love starting off the day with about a 1000 calorie deficit and a festive morning with good friends.  I’m thankful for my friend Beth who introduced me to running about 8 years ago after her sisters, Julie and Lee Anne got her addicted. After many running trips together and training runs they’ve become more like sisters to me.  We’ve solved many of the world’s problems, and a few of our own out on the road.  If we’d only taken notes along the way, we could probably publish a best selling novel by now or a few self help books. We’ve run through some of Atlanta’s most beautiful neighborhoods and experienced the glory of the changing seasons and many mornings the rising sun. We’ve been chased by dogs, honked at by angry carpoolers, heard the thumping music from a bar rocking into the wee hours of the morning, skinned some knees, hitched a ride from a van of Jehovah’s Witnesses, ran fast some days, but slow most others, got that elusive “runner’s high”, but mostly just enjoyed feeling free for the moment.  Whatever traditions you hold dear, Happy Thanksgiving!

See more here on the Atlanta Half Marathon

Atlanta Half Marathon

Pilgrims and Turkeys will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day at the Atlanta Half Marathon