Mother’s Day Love at Oakland Cemetery

Historic Oakland Cemetery - Historic Oakland Cemetery

Treat Mom or that special someone to a lovely stroll through Oakland Cemetery this Mother’s Day weekend, when the popular Love Stories of Oakland guided walking tours return. Enjoy an evening among the stunning magnolia-linedsd gardens and elegant mausoleums of Atlanta’s oldest burial ground on May 9 and May 10.

Oakland Cemetery invites families and friends to learn more about the stories of devotion and symbolism (both familial and romantic) found within its hallowed grounds. A costumed guide will tell the stories of a few of the 70,000 people who lie in rest at Oakland, including famous Atlantans and ordinary citizens alike. Read on to get a snippet of a few of the stories you can expect:

Marsh family mausoleum

Oakland’s iconic urns outside the Marsh mausoleum are tributes to the Marsh family’s children, one bearing the inscription: “When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music.”

Historic Oakland Cemetery flowers - Historic Oakland CemeteryMillard Seals monument

This example of motherly love at Oakland Cemetery is evidenced in the obelisk’s inscription describing Millard as “The Model Boy.” Seals died at a young age, and his mother Mary Ellen was so distraught that she couldn’t attend his funeral.

Rawson mausoleum

Two residents of the Rawson mausoleum, Julia Collier and Julian Harris, had a “storybook marriage” that spanned more than 60 years — and the description is especially fitting, as Harris was the son of Tales of Uncle Remus author Joel Chandler Harris.

Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell drew on family lore to develop the characters from her iconic novel, but some of the most touching love stories can be drawn from real people buried in her family plot

Tours will be offered at  5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., and spaces for this limited-time engagement must be reserved in advance. Admission is $12 for adults; $6 for students and seniors 65+ (with valid ID); $28 for families of two adults and two children; and free for Historic Oakland Foundation Members and children under 3. Order tickets online at

For more details, visit or call 4040-688-2107.

Exploring Georgia with Chef Kevin Gillespie


YVE_0786I recently traveled to Atlanta to shoot an episode of my show, ‘Day Off’ for PTA (PlanesTrains+Automobiles) network, a travel network dedicated to the connected contemporary traveler. Having been to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport more times than I can count, I thought I would at least have a working knowledge of the city. The truth was, I knew very little. After a week of filming, I feel that I can speak more intelligently on Atlanta and everything that the peach state has to offer.

Atlanta lived up to many of my expectations. As a frequent traveler, shooting bands and musicians on the road for years, I was weary of getting to know a new city. However I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly, expansive, and rich in tradition Atlanta was. Especially traveling with my buddy Chef Kevin Gillespie, who was born and bred in Atlanta, I was lucky enough to learn the city’s history and see the real Atlanta right before my eyes. It was great to get a real sense of the city and the international influence that could be found there.

YVE_0714One of my favorite locations we chose to feature on the show was the Buford County Farmers Market. Located in an non-descript strip just north of downtown. The BCFM was one of the most impressive markets I’ve been to in the United States. When I am home in Los Angeles, I often find myself having to travel to several different grocery stores in order to locate some of my favorite ethnic treats or obscure ingredients. However, after just twenty minutes, I quickly realized that the BCFM had everything I could possibly want and more. Living in a city like Los Angeles, where time is always at a premium, I was instantly envious of Atlantans and the gem they have sitting in their own backyard.

DAYOFF_EP3_ATL_01The rest of the week was spent shooting and visiting other Atlanta landmarks: The Varsity, the Coca-Cola Archives, and the Belt Line – all with their own unique charm and place in the city’s culture.I can’t wait to be back to further explore Georgia.

You can watch my entire Atlanta exploration here with chef Kevin Gillespie.

noah_headshotFilmmaker & Photographer Noah Abrams spends his life on the road capturing musicians on stage, athletes in action and celebrity chefs in their kitchens. In PTA’s Original Series Day Off, Noah sets the camera aside and connects with friends in cities around the world for a personal tour of their home turf. Whether it’s chef Tyler Florence in San Francisco, musician Nikki Lane in Nashville or legendary skater Tony Hawk in San Diego—in each episode Noah documents a day off in the life of an iconic influencer as they share the under the radar, out of the way or essential stops in their native stomping grounds.

Follow Noah’s Atlanta journey on:

For more upcoming news about Noah and PTA’s Day Off Series, follow PTA on


National Travel and Tourism Week Events in Georgia

National Travel and Tourism Week is May 2 – 10, 2015! Keep reading for a list of Georgia attractions that are offering specials in honor of the occasion.

Road to Tara Museum

Road to Tara Museum

Clayton County: May 2-9 The Road to Tara Museum is discounting tour prices for the museum and historic bus tours. Admission to the museum will be $3.20, and historic bus tour prices will be $32 per two people (or $16 for individual riders).

Coweta County: May 9 the Coweta County RVIC is hosting a walking history tour of the downtown Newnan area. Tour to include stops in some of the local restaurants.

Dahlonega: May 5, 10:30 a.m. Travel Rally Day ceremony, including a ribbon cutting for the Lumpkin County Historical Markers App created by volunteers and an announcement about being the “Wine Tasting Room Capital” of Georgia.

Dalton/Whitfield County: May 6, 10:30 a.m., Dalton Convention Center (DCC). Recap of 2014 at CVB and DCC, big check presentation, and the launch of a new brand campaign.

Douglasville: May 8, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Visitors are invited to join the Douglasville Welcome Center for a Tourism Celebration Day. Enjoy light refreshments, games, giveaways and more.

Gainesville: May 6, 12 p.m. The CVB and Main Street Program present “Blue Skies and Apple Pies.” During a free concert on the square, the groups will roll out the Mobil Tourism Kiosk and give out 100 free fried apple pies from Jaemor Farms.

Helen, Georgia. Photo by Davenport346 via Flickr

Helen, Georgia. Photo by Davenport346 via Flickr

Helen: May 9, 6-9 p.m. Helen will be offering a street dance downtown on the Market Platz. Two bands, food and crafts will be available. For more information, visit

Kingsland: May 1, Kingsland will host the Annual Kingsland Royal Arrest at the Georgia On My Mind Day celebration at the Kingsland/St. Marys VIC.  During the Annual Kingsland Royal Arrest, local police officers pick a random car coming into the VIC, and the town rolls out the red carpet. The city mascot, Kingsley, presents a visitor with a gift basket from the area. There will also be a live radio broadcast on KBAY 106.3 radio.

Macon I-75 RVIC: May 8, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The I-75 RVIC will celebrate National Tourism Week with Macon on My Mind Day. In case of inclement weather the event is canceled.

Peachtree City: May 2-10, the Peachtree City Convention & Visitors Bureau plans to give away two-for-one coupons to the Southern Hollywood Film Tour for visitors who come by the visitor center during the week. In a May 1-8 photo contest, visitors who submit photos via the Visit Peachtree City Facebook Page, Instagram #ptcnttw2015, or email will be entered to win GOPRO Camera, and the winning photo will be used in marketing material for Visit Peachtree City. Photos must contain a golf cart and have been taken in Peachtree City.

Rome - Rome

Rome/Floyd County:
May 2: Free Clocktower and trolley tours
May 3: Free tours continued and launch the Roman Holiday tour season
May 4-7: Recognize Superstars of Service award winners at their work places
May 6: “Adults Run the Bases” at Rome Braves Game and free museum entry at the newly revamped Rome History Museum
May 8: Rome Grown Farmers market/picnic lunch/live music at the Labrynth
May 9: Launch new gamification app “Visit Rome Georgia”

Sandy Springs: May 6, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism is celebrating National Tourism Week with an Open House at the Welcome Center, located in the Parkside Shopping Center -Suite A-118 at 5920 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, Georgia. Directly above the Welcome Center is the Anne Frank Exhibit, which includes 600 photographs and more than 8,000 words that tell the story of young Anne Frank.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Vidalia Onions

Vidalia Onion - GDECD

It’s officially Vidalia onion season! Celebrate with this list of fun facts about “America’s Favorite Onion.”

  1. Mose Coleman of Toombs County accidentally discovered the Vidalia onion during the Great Depression.
  2. Piggly Wiggly was the first retail store to sell Vidalias.
  3. The Vidalias are named after the town they are grown in, Vidalia, Georgia.
  4. The sweet flavor is due to the low amount of sulfur in the soil in which the onions are grown.
  5. It can be called a Vidalia only if it’s grown in one of 20 counties designated by the the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986.
  6. The Vidalia onion was named Georgia’s official state vegetable in 1990.
  7. Farmers grow Vidalias on more than 14,000 acres.
  8. There is a 1,300-square-foot Vidalia Onion Museum that is filled with exhibits that highlight the sweet onion’s economic, cultural and culinary significance.
  9. Vidalia sales now total $90 million, 40 percent of the nation’s spring onion crop.
  10. Around 5-million 40 lb. boxes are shipped out each season!

Learn more on the Vidalia Onion Committee website.

Secret Camping Spots at Georgia State Parks

While pitching a tent at one of the Georgia State Parks is a popular activity, the parks still harbor secret camping and glamping spots and unique accommodations known only to those willing to travel off (or even above) the beaten path.

Panola Mountain State Park – Treetop Bivouac Camping

The adventurous camper can sleep like a log with Panola Mountain State Park’s treetop bivouac camping program, called ZZZ’s in the Trees. Secured by harnesses for the night, campers can safely scale the majestic trees in the park to get to their quarters: canvas “treeboats” (sturdy hammocks) suspended high above the ground. The treeboats are open, not enclosed like a tent, and sway gently in the breeze, providing a relaxing canopy getaway for those comfortable with heights. Reservations for the treetop camping are required and can be made by calling the state park.

Reed Bingham State Park

Reed Bingham State Park

Reed Bingham and High Falls State Park – Paddle-In Camping

Reed Bingham State Park, 20 minutes east of Moultrie offers paddle-in camping on Eagle Island for up to 30 campers. Eagle Island sits in the middle of the park’s 375-acre lake, popular with boaters, fishermen and skiers, and provides privacy from passing boaters. The island is only a 15-minute paddle from the shore, and campers may rent canoes or kayaks or bring their own.

High Falls State Park provides paddle-in camping to a secluded peninsula. The paddle-in takes about 30 minutes. The campsite can sleep up to 25 people and comes with five canoes.

Unicoi Squirrel's Nest Camping

Unicoi Squirrel’s Nest Camping

Unicoi State Park – Squirrel’s Nest Camping

Forget bird’s eye view. Campers can have a squirrel’s eye view at Unicoi State Park, just north of Helen. The park’s 16 squirrel’s nest camping shelters feature raised and covered wooden platforms with open sides that allow campers to spend the night side-by-side with the local wildlife. Each nest sleeps four.

The Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls

The Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls State Park – The Hike Inn

A five-mile hike from the top of Amicolola Falls will bring visitors to the 20-guest room Hike Inn. Guests have access to hot showers, but there are no outlets at this backcountry getaway. The Hike Inn serves breakfast and dinner every day in a family-style setting and is perfect for Appalachian Trail hikers or families looking for a wilder kind of vacation.


Chattahoochee Bend State Park – Paddle-In River Camping and Adirondack Shelters

The new Chattahoochee Bend State Park, near Newnan provides seven paddle-in, riverside campsites for boaters traveling down the Chattahoochee River. The park also offers campers the unique experience of spending the night in a screened Adirondack shelter.

Smithgall Woods Luxury Cottage Camping

Smithgall Woods State Park – Luxury Cottage Camping

If you have never seen a chandelier in the middle of the woods, stay a night at Smithgall Woods State Park’s Smithgall Cottage. Rustically opulent and built of smooth Montana lodge pole pines, the cottage features immaculately decorated rooms, including a great room with a large stone fireplace, an exercise room, a kitchen, a dining room and four bedrooms (2 Kings; 1 Queen; 1 Double/Double) with private baths. Nestled at the heart of the park, the cottage’s large decks overlook the surrounding bubbling brooks and gorgeous forest scenery.

Stephen C. Foster State Park

Stephen C. Foster State Park

Stephen C. Foster State Park – Suwanee River Eco-Lodge

Run by Stephen C. Foster State Park, the Suwanee River Eco-Lodge in Fargo, consists of 10 cottages and a conference room that can seat up to 100 people. Perfect for hunting or paddling vacations, business meetings, retreats, reunions and weddings, the eco-lodge sits just 18 miles from the beautiful Okefenokee Swamp.

Fort Mountain – Back Country Camping

Situated two miles apart from each other deep in the woods outside Chatsworth, Fort Mountain State Park’s four backcountry campsites offer visitors private and secluded campsites. While each campsite comes with a fire ring, visitors must bring all camping gear to these rustic sites. Fort Mountain’s backcountry sites number 3 (called Moonshine) and number 4 (called Rock Creek) offer visitors gorgeous seasonal views looking out over the Chatsworth valley area. Backcountry sites are also offered at many other state parks, including as Tugaloo and Ft. McAllister, which have primitive campsites that do not require a long hike.

Other unique opportunities include:

Yurt at Tugaloo State Park

Yurt at Tugaloo State Park

Yurt “Glamping”

There’s no need to pitch a tent when High Falls, Tugaloo, Red Top Mountain, Fort Yargo and Cloudland Canyon State Parks offer the glamorous camping (“glamping”) option of yurts. Made of wood and canvas, yurts sleep up to six people and come with beds, futons, screened windows and locking doors, as well as an outside deck, picnic table and grill/fire ring. Yurts will also soon be added to Sweetwater Creek State Park.

First-Time Camper Program

For those who have never ventured into the woods, 13 state parks offer loaner gear through the First-Time Camper program. The program’s equipment was donated to the parks by Coleman, REI and The North Face, and, for just $50, first-time adventure seekers can spend two nights in a modern campground with a tent, sleeping pads, chairs, a camp stove, lantern and marshmallow-roasting sticks. Park staff and volunteers can help set up the tents and provide “Camping 101” instructions.