On your mark, get set, go, Intown runners!

Guest post submitted by Laura, a resident at N. Highland Steel Apartments

This past Saturday, March 31, I was able to take part in the Atlanta Track Club’s Atlanta Women’s 5K.  One of the main reasons I chose to run in this particular race is that it took place in the neighborhood adjacent to mine, so I was literally able to walk to the starting line from my apartment at N. Highland Steel!  While running, I was reminded of some of the things I love most about living in town — I saw a few people I knew out on their porches, plenty of Intown neighborhood dwellers walking their dogs, and several non-race runners simply enjoying the morning’s beautiful weather. It was a great way to start the day – and running down Moreland through Little Five Points was quite the experience! Continue reading

Free BeltLine bus tour illuminates Atlanta’s bright future

The BeltLine project is pretty much the biggest thing happening in Atlanta right now.  In fact, it’s actually the largest urban redevelopment project currently happening in the country.   So, about a month ago, when I saw the Facebook post come through announcing that March tour dates had opened for the FREE Atlanta BeltLine bus tour, I immediately went to the website and reserved two seats.   If I remember correctly, by the following day, the March tours were booked.  (PS – the April dates that opened last week are booked as well.  Like the BeltLine on Facebook to make sure you are alerted when May dates open!  New dates open on the 15th of each month for tours the following month.)

This past Friday morning, a colleague and I boarded the luxury, air conditioned tour bus at 9:30am at the Inman Park Marta station and met our tour guide, Derek Duckworth, a realtor and big time BeltLine enthusiast.   Derek greeted the group and we set off on our drive through 45 Intown neighborhoods along the 22-mile BeltLine Corridor. Continue reading

Live MLK’s legacy all year long – Volunteer!

Martin Luther King, Jr.Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Atlanta.  We hope you are enjoying your day and using at least some of it to reflect on the legacy of MLK, Jr. and think about how you can better incorporate his values of nonviolent social action, equal treatment of all people and charitable giving in to your own life.

If you were not able to participate in today’s MLK Jr. Day of Service, or even if you were, know that there are so many ways to contribute to our community every day of the year.  To get an overview of the volunteer opportunities in and around Atlanta, we recommend visiting the Hands On Atlanta website.   The site aggregates service opportunities for more than 400 nonprofit organizations and schools around the city – and there really is something for everyone.  You can tutor children, clean up a park, type medical records, sort donated food, spend time with seniors and so much more.  In addition to helping improve your community, you’ll meet new people, learn new things and feel good about the contribution you are making.  Volunteering is good for the soul in so many ways.

If you need some extra inspiration, we urge you to visit our own Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change (449 Auburn Ave. 30312 – about ½ mile from the Pencil Factory Flats & Shops).  You’ll be overwhelmed and energized just thinking about how one person can make such an indelible impact on the world.

Happy Snowiversary, Atlanta!

Today marks one year since Snowpocalypse 2011 shut down Atlanta for a full work week.  And though it seems a bit funny to be thinking about this when today’s forecast calls for a high of 67 degrees, we were curious.  What has Atlanta done to make sure we are better prepared for the next big snowstorm?

In a December 2011 guest column published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Mayor, Kasim Reed notes how important “collaboration and communication” among city and state government agencies are to keeping the city up and running during winter weather.  He vows, “This coming winter, we will put aside boundaries and jurisdictions.  If there is a major street within city limits that needs to be cleared, city employees will take responsibility for it.”

Additionally, Mayor Reed notes that the city has invested about $1 million for new snow and ice equipment which increases the city’s inventory from the four snow plows and eight sand spreaders we had in winter 2011 to the now 44 plows and 35 sand spreaders we have in 2012.  That’s a big jump and should make a huge difference in ensuring major roads and bridges are cleared efficiently during the next winter storm.

While we are of course glad the new storm response plan will make it easier and safer to get around the city, many of us enjoy the zany, unexpected day snow typically brings Atlanta workers and students alike.   As an Atlanta native, I have fond memories of waking up early the morning after a predicted snowstorm to look out the window to see if the illusive snow had, in fact, arrived in my neighborhood.   My family then proceeded to watch the local news intently to see if our county was among those closing school for the day.  (Cut to me and my sister jumping for joy upon confirmation.)  The news coverage continued with familiar video of empty milk and bread shelves at the grocery store and people clearing out the firewood at the hardware store.   And there was always the interview with the guy from the northeast who commented on how he can’t believe the city shut down for one inch of snow.   There’s a part of me that’s a bit sad our new equipment may mean fewer true snow days, but I know it also means increased safety for our growing city.   So for all my fellow snow day dreamers out there, here’s a look back at how things looked and felt one year ago today in Inman Park near the shops at N. Highland Steel.  Enjoy the unseasonably warm weather… for now!

Resolve to embrace Atlanta in 2012

This weekend, many of us will reflect on the year that has passed and resolve to do things differently in the year to come.   We’ll promise to exercise more and eat better, to spend more time with family and less money on things we really don’t need.   All of those are great goals to have, but we at ATLIntownLiving have some Atlanta-specific resolutions we’d like to add to your list.

Support local businesses – As you may know, Small Business Saturday was a huge success in Atlanta and across the nation.   But it doesn’t have to be just an annual event.  Let’s resolve to think local all year long.  Stop by a local boutique, like Lila in the N. Highland Steel neighborhood, when you’re looking for the perfect new outfit, or patronize a locally-owned restaurant, like the Prieto family’s Caramba Café near the Pencil Factory Flats & Shops next time you make dinner plans.   And get to know the small business owners that run the establishments.  It’s a great way to support your neighbors and build a sense of community.

Experience more of what the city has to offer – It’s easy to get caught up in the grind during the week and then just catch up on errands or sleep away the weekend.   Sometimes it does take a conscious effort to get out there and experience the city.   But every time we do it, we love it!   Atlanta offers so much to see and do.

Get outside – One of the best things about Atlanta is the significant amount of green space the city has maintained even as its infrastructure continues to expand.    Current projects, like the BeltLine, are even making green space a priority.    Resolve to visit Atlanta’s best parks in 2012.   You no doubt know about Piedmont Park, but we urge you to check out the new Historic Fourth Ward Park and other smaller spots like Candler Park.

Learn about Atlanta’s past and future – Speaking of the BeltLine project, resolve to keep up with Atlanta’s development plans in 2012 – like the exciting plan to create Ponce City Market at the site of the former City Hall East.   And educate yourself on Atlanta’s past.   Visits to the Atlanta History Center and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center are a must.

Give more – Local charities and non-profit organizations need our help now more than ever.   Whether it’s the Atlanta Community Food Bank or the Atlanta Humane Society, resolve to support a cause you feel strongly about in 2012.

It’s going to be a great year, Atlanta!

Holiday Weekend Survival Kit (In case of emergency, click links.)

We made it to the weekend!  Hanukkah is underway, and with Christmas coming Sunday, many of us will be spending time with family and friends at home.  If you’re looking for some ideas to make holiday memories, we’ve got you covered.

  • TBS will play 24 hours of the holiday classic, “A Christmas Story,” starting Saturday, December 24 at 8:00 pm, running repeatedly until the last showing Sunday, December 25 at 6:00 pm.
  • B98.5 continues its 24 hours of Christmas music through Christmas day.  Listen on the radio or stream the holiday tunes online.
  • Santa tracker!  Watch Santa travel the world and deliver gifts to all the good boys and girls from the comfort of your home computer – and this year even on Google maps for mobile!  Beginning Christmas Eve, you’ll be able to watch Santa’s journey on Google Earth.   If you have kids with you for the holidays, they will get a big kick out of this.
  • Nothing says holiday time like a delicious meal or sweet treat.   And the internet is overflowing with great recipe ideas.   Take a look at Allrecipes.comFoodnetwork.com and Marthstewart.com for some tasty meals and desserts.  Cooking with family and friends is a great way to pass the time.   And if you need to get out of the house for a bite, Parish Foods & Gifts at N. Highland Steel is open all week except Christmas Day.  They also sell great snacks in the market for you to enjoy at home.
  • Break out the board games!  Playing games is a great way to spend time indoors.  Bring back your old childhood memories with a classic game like checkers or Monopoly, or have a good laugh with a more modern game like Scattergories or Taboo.

Enjoy your time and have a happy, safe holiday!