Callanwolde Art Festival Showcases Atlanta Art & History

By Eileen Falkenberg Hull

Photo courtesy of Callanwolde Fine Arts Festival courtesy of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Photo courtesy of Callanwolde Fine Arts Festival courtesy of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Located in the heart of Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood, the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center serves as a cultural hub of the community, offering classes and workshops in the visual, literary, and performing arts throughout the year as well as special events for families, including the Callanwolde Arts Festival.

Running January 23-25, 2015, the festival will feature a peer-selected, jury-approved group of 86 painters, photographers, sculptors, metalworkers, glass artists, and jewelers on the grounds of Callanwolde.

Photo courtesy of Callanwolde

Photo courtesy of Callanwolde

The historic estate was built in 1920 by Charles Howard Candler (1878-1957), a former president of The Coca-Cola Company, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Emory University, and son of The Coca-Cola Company founder Asa Candler. Of the original 27, 12 acres of the estate designed by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted remains intact in addition to the Gothic-Tudor style mansion, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the house served as Casa Italia, the official hospitality headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee, and in more recent memory, the site has been part of the filming of numerous movies and television shows.

Enjoy and explore the grounds during the festival, which will also include live entertainment, food, and alcoholic beverages for sale.

5 Must-See Civil Rights Landmarks in Atlanta

MLK Birth Home - ©2015, Kevin Rose/

MLK Birth Home – ©2015, Kevin Rose/

Atlanta is known as the cradle of the civil rights movement, and as the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walk in King’s footsteps along Auburn Avenue, reflect on the Dream at The King Center and relive the movement at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. There’s no better time than MLK weekend to explore Atlanta’s most inspiring civil rights landmarks.

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site: Start your journey at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, a 35-acre area encompassing historic landmarks including King’s birth home and Ebenezer Baptist Church. Start at the birth home and take in family stories of young King while imagining life in Atlanta’s bustling Sweet Auburn neighborhood during King’s day. Visit the church where Dr. King served as minister, Ebenezer Baptist Church. Hear audio of King’s sermons on love and nonviolence in the very pews frequented by the King family. Finish your visit by reflecting on the Dream at the tomb of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. The couple’s massive final resting place is etched with the words, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”
  2. APEX Museum - ©2015, Kevin Rose/

    APEX Museum – ©2015, Kevin Rose/

    The APEX (African-American Panoramic Experience) Museum
    Atlanta’s APEX Museum traces history from prominent African civilizations to the period of slavery in America, and onto the civil rights movement. Much of the Museum is dedicated to the history of Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, the main thoroughfare for African-American business and civil life from the mid-1900s to the 1960s. Step inside the Museum’s replica of Yates and Milton Drug Store, one of Atlanta’s first black-owned businesses. After, step aboard the museum’s Trolley Theatre, a historic reproduction of the streetcar that ran up Auburn Avenue during the 1900s.

  3. Sweet Auburn Curb Market - ©2015, Jay Jordan/

    Sweet Auburn Curb Market – ©2015, Jay Jordan/

    Sweet Auburn Curb Market
    Sweet Auburn Curb Market is situated in the heart of the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, King’s boyhood neighborhood and the hub of African American life in Atlanta during ‘40s and ‘50s. Established in 1924, the Market was segregated at its start with white patrons browsing inside and black patrons shopping at curbside stalls; a phenomenon that dubbed it the “Curb Market.” The surrounding Sweet Auburn neighborhood was so influential in subsequent years that it was named a National Historic Landmark. Today, Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a downtown hotspot frequented by local business people, students, creatives and foodies. Grab a bite from popular stalls like Bell Street Burritos and Grindhouse Killer Burgers. Take home an edible souvenir from Sweet Auburn Bakery.

  4. Paschal’s - ©2015, Paschal’s Restaurant

    Paschal’s – ©2015, Paschal’s Restaurant

    Paschal’s Restaurant: Brothers James and Robert Paschal opened Paschal’s Restaurant in 1947 on Atlanta’s Westside. At the time, it was a small, 30-seat diner. The restaurant grew to be Paschal’s Motor Hotel and Restaurant, a 120-room hotel, restaurant and lounge –a venue that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used as a home base for the movement. Paschal’s quickly became the place for leaders of the civil rights movement to eat, meet and strategize – the brother’s secret recipe fried chicken served as fuel for the activists’ bodies and souls. Today, Paschal’s has a new location in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill neighborhood and remains a mainstay for the city’s movers and shakers. Take a seat and feast on the famous fried chicken enjoyed by the likes of John Lewis, Dr. King and Jesse Jackson, to name just a few.

  5. Center for Civil and Human Rights - ©2015, J Glenn Photography

    Center for Civil and Human Rights – ©2015, J Glenn Photography

    Center for Civil and Human Rights
    The Center for Civil and Human Rights is the newest civil rights destination in Atlanta. The Center utilizes compelling exhibits paired with audio and motion to immerse guests in the journey of the civil rights movement. Sit in protest at a simulated lunch counter, or join in the march on Washington. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection gallery which features a rotating selection of King’s artifacts, papers and hand-written notes. Complete your visit by learning about today’s movements from global human rights activists and challenge yourself to get involved.

Guide to Dining in Alpharetta

Pure Taqueria. Photo Credit: Alpharetta CVB

Pure Taqueria. Photo Credit: Alpharetta CVB

Shocking to my fellow friends – mostly the ones who are living up the singles scene in the city or maintaining their hipster vibe sans minivan, the suburbs are happening, too, when it comes to the foodie scene. Nearby, Alpharetta, easily accessible, just north of Atlanta and in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, along Georgia 400, the state’s “Hospitality Highway,” is undeniably suburban, but with 175 dining options, this locale makes for one mean menu.

Pared down, here are five picks for a palate pleasing meal, whether the suburbs scare you – or a Suburban is the only way to lug your crew around.

  1. For local flavor, South Main Kitchen, located in the heart of Alpharetta’s Historic Downtown District, offers a fresh and unique kitchen-inspired dining experience that is distinctly ingredient driven. The restaurant, housed in a historic building built in 1902, features an open kitchen, inviting dining room, communal seating and rooftop bar and, under the direction of executive chef Christy Stone, focuses on the social aspect of dining and the true artistry of food with farm-to-table flair and a frequently changing menu. An extensive beer menu complements taste bud ticklers like edamame with mint fleur de sel and unique twists on classic southern ingredients like boiled peanut hummus with blackberry jam, fig compote, brie and goat cheese. It’s even rumored the Brussels sprouts here are above all else.
  2. Smokejack BBQ. Photo Credit: Alpharetta CVB.

    Smokejack BBQ. Photo Credit: Alpharetta CVB.

    Another locally-owned and operated Alpharetta restaurant to add to the tasting menu: Smokejack Southern Grill and BBQ, serving smoked, hand-pulled pork, moist tender ribs, signature beef burnt ends…is your mouth watering yet?

  3. Whipping up winning eateries, the Sedgwick Restaurant Group has several players on the Alpharetta scene including the escape-from-the-normal Vinny’s on Windward where menu highlights include risotto, gnocchi and tiramisu, transporting guests straight to Italy.
  4. Another Sedgwick spawn, Pure taqueria, offers authentic Mexican cuisine – think corn, seafood and slaw – as well as killer margaritas. Chris Sedgwick, long time Alpharetta resident and successful Atlanta restaurateur, was looking for a new way to express his style and his love of food when he opened the original PURE taqueria at the site of an abandoned 1920’s era Pure Fuel Oil station. The small stone building on the corner (now used for storage) was part of the original gas station, but the main restaurant was built from scratch, with Chris designing, decorating and doing much of the construction himself. Since 2005, PURE taqueria has grown into a local institution, and a successful franchise company with five locations in the ATL.
  5. New to the culinary scene, Oak Steakhouse at Avalon is reserved for occasions as special as the food. From grilled swordfish to cornmeal crusted grouper to melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon, along with sides like bone marrow bread pudding and truffle frites, coupled with exceptional service and a sophisticated ambiance, this is the place where memories are made.

Can’t get enough? Add these foodie events to your calendar and fill up on good times:

Concerts at Matilda's. Photo Credit: Alpharetta CVB

Concerts at Matilda’s. Photo Credit: Alpharetta CVB

Taste of Alpharetta – May 7; Join the Southeast’s premier dining festival attracting over 50,000 festival-goers each year. Satisfy taste buds with specialties from more than 60 restaurants. Expect cooking demonstrations, chef competitions, three entertainment stages, art exhibits and a Kids Korner. A Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event for 2015.

Alpharetta Summer Brew Moon Fest – June 6; Gather your friends and celebrate summer with beer, wine and delicious food from some of Alpharetta’s best restaurants.

Craft Beer Festival & 5k Road Race – June 20; Run the 5K and then stick around for the party. Over 100 beer vendors from around the U.S. will set up in Downtown Alpharetta for an awesome street party filled with live music and awesome food.

Farmers Market – Seasonal, April through October; Shop local at the Alpharetta Farmers Market featuring food vendors including produce, grass-fed meats, cheese baked goods and more.

Food Truck Alley – Seasonal, April through October; Feast on the street every Thursday evening at Alpharetta Food Truck Alley. This weekly gathering will have a variety of 6-8 rotating food trucks and music each week. Stroll the streets, eat delicious food, listen to some great music and kick off the weekend a little early.

katieMom-on-the-go and Laurie Rowe Communications PR pro Katie Reeder graduated at the top of her class from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University with a degree in Communication Studies. Katie resides in Cumming, Georgia – between the beautiful mountains of North Georgia and the lights and action of nearby Atlanta.

Best of Atlanta Metro for Families with Preschoolers

Tellus Museum

Tellus Science Museum

Traveling with a preschooler comes with its own set of special challenges. You need engaging activities, with opportunities for kids to use all their senses.  Below are twelve picks for the Atlanta Metro, both for families visiting the area and for those that call Atlanta home.

Fail-proof options for vacationing families

  1. Tiny Towne (Alpharetta) Children ages 3-15 drive high-tech miniature cars in a realistic environment. Follow road signs and traffic signals, and have a fun time in the process.
  2. Dunwoody Nature Center

    Dunwoody Nature Center

    Dunwoody Nature Center (Dunwoody) Explore the boardwalk, play hide-and-seek in the treehouse, traipse the short trails, or play on the playground. On warmer days, the creek calls for frolicking, with shallow water and pebbles for tossing.

  3. Center for Puppetry Arts (Midtown Atlanta) Take in one of the masterful puppet shows, which always exceed expectations. A children’s puppetry workshop follows most shows. Kids will also enjoy the Jim Henson exhibit or the puppetry museum.
  4. Children’s Museum of Atlanta (Downtown Atlanta) “Shop” in a grocery store, catch fish, climb the treehouse, or explore machines with pulleys and levers. Rotating exhibits with hands-on kiosks add to the fun.
  5. Tellus Science Museum (Cartersville) It’s easy to spend hours in the My Big Backyard children’s exhibit. After that, walk with the dinosaurs, or pose with a replica of Sputnik. Kids are sure to enjoy fossil hunting and gemstone mining, free with admission.
  6. Yellow River Game Ranch (Lilburn) Meander the trail through this 24-acre park to see sheep, bunnies, cougar, bear, and more. The back meadow holds the largest herd of buffalo this side of the Mississippi! Pet the deer, and feed the sheep and other kid-friendly animals. Don’t forget your camera.

Must-do preschool programs for residents

  1. Atlanta History Center

    Atlanta History Center

    Magic Mondays at Atlanta History Center (Buckhead Atlanta) Once-a-month programs include crafts, games, stories, and a learning activity. Move at your own pace through the sessions, and be sure to finish with a visit to the farm!

  2. Theatre for the Very Young at Alliance Theatre (Midtown Atlanta) Professional performances that kids as young as 18 months will enjoy. Shows engage children and parents, allowing kids to become part of the experience.
  3. Adventure Cubs at Zoo Atlanta (Grant Park Atlanta) This monthly adventure features hands-on programs for three and four year olds. Take a Zoo tour, play at the learning stations, and meet a special animal ambassador.
  4. Southern Railway Museum

    Southern Railway Museum

    2nd Thursday Preschool Program at Southeastern Railway Museum (Duluth) The cleverly designed program includes circle time, songs, activities, and a craft. Each month’s topic covers a different mode of transportation including hot air balloons, ice cream trucks, and of course trains!

  5. Mommy and Me at Southern Museum (Kennesaw) Free with admission, Mommy and Me includes story times, crafts, and hands-on games. Every week offers a new topic.
  6. Booth Cahoots at Booth Western Art Museum (Cartersville) Kids learn about works of art on display at the “cowboy museum,” and make their own art inspired by those artists. Pre-registration is required, and participation is free with admission.


Lesli is the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration to local families. She is also the Official Family Travel Ambassador for the state of Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for several online publications.  She enjoys being a homeschool mom to two young boys and bonus mom to two teenagers. From her home base of Atlanta, Lesli spends her time life-learning with the kids one adventure at a time, and sharing her experiences along the way.


Roundup: First Day Hikes at Georgia State Parks

Seminole State Park in Donalsonville

Seminole State Park in Donalsonville

Georgia State Parks invite the public to get a head start on their New Year’s fitness resolutions with their First Day Hike program. On January 1, 2015, more than 35 Georgia State Parks will be hosting hikes and outings. Use our guide to help find a First Day Hike near you.

Middle Georgia

A.H. Stephens State Park First Day Hike: Get started with your New Years resolutions with a pet-friendly, ranger-led hike.

Elijah Clark State Park’s First-Day Fitness Hike: Ring in the New Year with a revitalizing lead hike on a three mile trail that includes a beautiful view of Clark Hill Lake.

First Day Fitness Hike at George L. Smith State Park: Join the fun on New Year’s Day for a hike down a 3-mile nature trail.

1st Day Hike on Blue Mountain Bike Trail at Hard Labor Creek State Park: This 6-mile guided hike is the perfect winter outing for the first day of the new year.

First Day Hike at High Falls State Park: This staff-led, 3.5-mile moderate hike will take you past several scenic and historic sites including the falls, the old powerhouse, and through a mixed pine/hardwood forest.

First Day History Hike at Indian Springs State Park: Join a park ranger for a journey through time. Discover the history of Indian Springs State Park, sample the famous spring water, and tour the park museum. This moderate hike will involve some steps and hills.

First Day Hike at Mistletoe State Park: Discover nature’s winter wonder along the Cliatt Creek and Rock Dam trails.

Atlanta Metro

First Day Hike at Panola Mountain State Park: Hike to the top of the mountain to symbolize all the great things you will accomplish in 2015. Finish with s’mores and hot chocolate around a campfire.

“Bark in the Park” Dog Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park:  Bring your four-legged companion on this moderate mile long hike to the rapids of Sweetwater Creek and to the five-story Civil War era New Manchester Mill ruins. Ages 6 years and older. Sturdy, closed toe shoes required.

Native American Heritage Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park: Take a two-hour, moderate hike focusing on the first inhabitants of the area, the Native Americans or American Indians.

Historic New Manchester History Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park: This mile-long hike (easy to moderate) will lead to the five story ruins of the Civil War-era New Manchester textile mill and focus on the history of the Sweetwater Creek Valley.

North Georgia

First Day Hike at Cloudland Canyon State Park: Start the New Year off with a hike around the top loop of the West Rim that includes some of the best overlook views in the park.

First Day Hike on Lake Lanier at Don Carter State Park: This 2 mile cross country adventure will follow old road beds, ridges, hills and valleys. Moderate to strenuous.

First Day Hike at Fort Mountain State Park: Start the year off right with a First Day Hike to the Stone Wall, Fire Watch Tower and West Overlook at Fort Mountain State Park. This is a moderate rocky 1-mile hike, closed toe shoes required.

First Day Hike at Fort Yargo: Bring in the New Year with a brisk 1/2-mile hike around Bird Berry Trail. No minimum age and ADA Accessible.

First Day Hike at James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park: Start your New Year off right with a ranger-led hike (one and 1/2 miles) around the Lower Lake to view the flora and fauna that call James H. Floyd State Park home. Participants will see one of the best views found in the park, as well as, getting a bit of history. This hike is good for all ages and the difficulty is easy.

First Day Hike at Red Top Mountain State Park: Meet at the Visitor Center for a moderate 3.5 mile hike on the scenic Sweetgum Trail.

First Day Hike at Richard B. Russell State Park: Take a pet-friendly, naturalist-guided, half-mile fitness hike on their brand new Fitness Trail.

First Day Hike at Rocky Mountain Recreation & Public Fishing Area:  Start your first day of the New Year with a ranger -ed hike around the Nature Trail. The trail is one mile long and is considered easy.

First Day Hike at Smithgall Woods State Park: Hike a monderate 1.3 miles on flat roadway to Smithgall’s beautiful cottage facility. Staff will lead the hike to one of the cottages where hot cider will be waiting.

First Day Hike at Tallulah Gorge State Park: Join a ranger on a moderate 3.5-mile hike along the rim and through the woods. Children must be 8 yrs. or older.

First Day Hike at Tugaloo State Park: Welcome the New Year with a 1.2 mile moderate hike on the Muscadine Trail.

First Day Hike at Victoria Bryant State Park: Meet at the office for a Ranger led hike on the Victoria’s Path trail. This trail follows along Rice Creek which runs through the middle of the park.

First Day Hike- Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park: Ring in the new year with a 4-mile hike along the Bear Hair Gap Trail. The hike will be lead by Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.

Georgia Coast

First Day Hike at Crooked River State Park: Greet the New Year with a “First Day” hike on the Bay Boardwalk trail. Vistas include wetland habitats plus our unique long leaf pine/saw palmetto ecosystem.

First Day Hike at Fort King Georgia: Enjoy a twilight “Hike into History” at Fort King George. Visitors will be guided through the half-mile nature trail as they encounter various Fort King George historic figures.

First Day Hikes at Fort McAllister: Arrive at 10:00 a.m. for a 3-mile nature hike with Ranger Rowe on the Redbird Creek Trail. This hike is medium difficulty and requires sturdy shoes and water. At 1:00 p.m. there will be a History Hike. An Interpretative Ranger will walk you through the past and tell you about the daily life at Fort McAllister during the war.

First Day Hike at Fort Morris: At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. site interpreters will present soldier talks, musket demonstrations and a guided walk around the historic remains of the Revolutionary War fort, Fort Morris (Sunbury Fort).

Laura S. Walker First Day Hike: Enjoy a 1.3 mile ranger-led nature hike along the Big Creek Nature Trail. The trail is approximately 1.3 miles.

First Day Avian Loop Hike at Skidaway Island State Park: Enjoy an guided hike through the marsh.

West Georgia

First Day Hike at F.D. Roosevelt State Park: Hike in the New Year with park staff and Pine Mountain Trail volunteers on the Mountain Creek Trail. Geared towards ages 8 and older.

First Day Hike at Kolomoki Mounds State Park: Take a ranger-led hike through the woods at dusk followed by a hike up the Temple Mound. This is a night hike so please dress appropriately with closed toe shoes and bring a flashlight.

New Year Hike at Reed Bingham State Park:  Wind down with a relaxing night hike on the Upland Loop Trail followed by a bonfire with s’mores.

First Day Fitness Challenge at Seminole State Park:  The event will begin with a 2.2-mile, guided First Day Hike at 10:00 a.m. Other challenges will include mini golf, canoeing, kayaking and more!

Stephen C. Foster State Park’s First Day Hike: Take a hike on the 3/4 mile Trembling Earth Nature Trail.

South Georgia

First Day Hike at General Coffee State Park: Take a ranger-guided birding hike on the 1.5 mile Gopher Loop Trail.

“First Day Hike” Swamp Bay Nature Trail at Gordonia-Altamaha State Park: Learn about the park’s animal and plant life while enjoying a 1-mile hike on the Swamp Bay Nature Trail.

First Day Hike at Magnolia Springs:  At 11:00 A.M., enjoy a Camp Lawton history tour led by a Park Ranger. At 2:00 p.m., take a guided hike of the 3-mile fitness trail.

First Day Hike at Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area:  Kick off 2015 with a visit to Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.”