“Now You Know”

The Hawks, who bounced around as much as the Braves before settling in Atlanta share much of the Braves’ history. After brief stints in Milwaukee they both caught the attention of bigger markets, eventually landing in one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Both teams were also owned by Ted Turner and experienced their best years in Atlanta under his leadership. Most importantly though, both teams are bouncing back to the caliber they should be at, making Atlanta proud this past weekend.

The National Basketball League added the Buffalo Bisons in 1946, which after a lucky 13 games moved to Illinois to become the Tri-city Blackhawks. The Blackhawks had a winning team and went on to become one of the 17 original teams of the newly formed NBA, even winning the playoffs the first year in 1949. The move to Milwaukee didn’t fare as well. After the move in 1951 the Hawks became known as one of the worst teams in the NBA. That and the loss of fans to the Milwaukee Braves helped fuel the decision to move the Hawks to St. Louis in 1955. It was here that things finally started to turn around for the team.

The time in St Louis truly was the heyday for the Hawks. In 1957 they made it to the finals for the first time, only to lose to the Celtics in game 7 after what is known as one of the best games in the NBA. They finally fell after double overtime, only to come back the next year and take the Celtics in game 6. They followed up with a few more visits to the finals when it was realized they needed a bigger arena. St Louis however wasn’t ready so the Hawks finally moved to Atlanta.

Since coming to Atlanta in 1968 the Hawks have had their ups and downs. Their best performances were while Ted Turner was owner, however they never made it back to the finals. After falling short consistently in the semi-finals the Hawks fell into a cycle of mediocrity that we are finally pulling out of. We have a team that is strong enough to go all the way. But why did they take so long getting to the semi-finals? The Hawks need a challenge and that’s what they are going to get with the Orlando Magic. The play their best under pressure. Its’ their time and they will show us what they are made of! We here at the Inn at the Peachtrees look forward to the winning season as well as pregame events next season after our renovation is complete.

How Does Your Garden Grow

Tomorrow the Atlanta Botanical Gardens will be doubling in size. The previously 30 acre garden nestled into Midtown Atlanta has added an Edible Garden, a Canopy Walk, and a Cascade Garden to their already lavish gardens and ever changing exhibits. Celebrating tomorrow with a Grand Opening which kicks off at 10 a.m. there will be a little bit of something for everyone.

With a mission to “develop and maintain plant collections for the purposes of display, education, conservation, research and enjoyment” the Atlanta Botanical Gardens incorporated as a non profit in 1976. Nearly 35 years later they are living up to the mission with their newest expansions. The Edible Garden transformed from a parking lot is intended to encourage visitors to grow beautiful healthy food. They go a step further as well by having guest chefs come in and teach visitors how to cook with home grown fruits and veggies, with leftovers to be donated to local shelters.

The Canopy Walk is the first one of its kind designed to completely respect its surroundings, as it allows visitors to roam through the trees of the Storza Woodlands. As it structurally disappears into its surroundings you will feel like you are walking on clouds as you look down at tree tops and other native plants. This is truly going to become a destination for visitors and we are lucky enough to have it in our back yard.

With the Grand Opening also brings a new welcome way, the Cascade Garden. The peaceful waterfall and tropical plants, including about 50 varieties of ginger, add dimension to the entrance transforming it into a Hawaiian post card.

This weekend’s date suggestion, of course, is an afternoon at the botanical gardens followed by the Braves game. Our boys need some encouragement now that they are finally home. Tickets start at $6, and they need the help to end the losing streak! Besides there is nothing better than a spring afternoon at the ball park.

Going Green!

“It organized itself” Senator Gaylord Nelson claims humbly, but every big events starts with a small idea and passion to follow through. For that vehemence we should thank the Senator because it was that which brought about this awareness campaign and took it global. There are now celebrations in over 175 countries.

For years Senator Nelson was making conservation tours trying to raise awareness of the environmental degradation issue and have it put into the political agenda to no avail. In November of 1962 he met with Robert Kennedy and discussed with him the need for conservation and the government to get involved. Robert Kennedy agreed as did President John F Kennedy. In September of 1963 President Kennedy even went on an 11 state conservation tour but the politicians still didn’t take notice. Senator Nelson didn’t give up. He continued speaking about the adverse effect we had on our environment. The first Earth Day, April 22 1970, was meant to be a form of grassroots protest. Senator Nelson got the idea in the summer of 1969 while on an environmental awareness tour. He noticed the anti-Vietnam “teach-ins” and how engaged the college students were and realized that this was the push the politicians needed to put global awareness on the forefront.

At a conference in Seattle in September of 1969, Senator Nelson announced that “protest” for the following spring. About a month later the New York Times ran an article about the event and the necessity of action. When Senator Nelson claims it organized itself he gives credit to the thousands of schools and communities and over 20 million people that took part to make that Earth Day a success!

Why April 22? Well that was no accident. It was very strategic on Nelson’s part. Nebraska already regarded it as Arbor Day and had been celebrating since 1885. But Nelson also took into account that since his key was to engage the college students he had to work around their schedules. The week did not conflict with any exams, breaks, or holidays, and it promised pleasant weather. And he chose Wednesday because it wouldn’t have to compete with as many programs. I say we thank Senator Nelson for letting Earth Day organize itself.

So what are you doing to “Go Green”? It can be as simple as taking your own mug to the coffee shop to as large as changing out your appliances. We at the Inn at the Peachtrees are about to undergo an extensive renovation and are heading in the right direction to preserve our planet for future generations. We will replace our bathroom fixtures to conserve water, invest in energy efficient appliances and lighting and are looking forward to reducing our carbon footprint.

This weekend to wrap up Earth Week the Inman Park Festival will be the destination spot. While Atlanta has many festivals this is the one that you should never miss. It is truly a local festival that celebrates the Inman neighborhood. With hundreds of artist and merchants and the best food Atlantans would be crazy not to be there. And as any good festival does of course there is a parade, but not just any old parade. This one is lead by the Inman Park Butterfly! Live music of all genres and a dance festival wrap up the reasons why this is my favorite festival of the year and the best date spot for this weekend. And since you will already be at Inman Park check out the Pacific Kitchen and see how much flavor organic food brings to the table!

Weekend at the Park

Atlanta is not known to have much of a spring. We tend to go from winter to summer, however mild the winter may be. We always have a rapid weather transition that goes from lows in the 20’s to highs in the 80’s in a matter of weeks. There for while I would like to say this is a perfect spring weekend for the outdoor festivals I can’t. Better yet I’m going to say we are going to enjoy beautiful summer weather all weekend long. No pesky wind, but don’t forget the sunscreen. This weekend is jammed packed with events so get out there and see what Atlanta has to offer!

The spotlight event this weekend is the 74th annual Dogwood Festival. Back at Piedmont Park this year it is expected to be bigger than ever with something for everyone. The Dogwood Festival was originally founded in 1936 by Walter Rich who was the founder of Rich’s department store. He wanted Atlanta to be international recognized for its dogwood trees. He launched a beautification of Atlanta project planting dogwoods in parks, around businesses, and along the roads. The Junior League then started holding pageants, parades, and carnivals and the festival grew. There was a brief hiatus due to WWII that started in 1941. By 1964, however, under the guidance of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce the Dogwood Festival became the largest civic celebration in the Southeast including fashion shows, light shows , and symphonies. In the 70’s hot air balloon races, regattas, and home tours were added. By 1987 The Dog Wood Festival became a month long event including around 40 events. This year it is a 3 day event and includes Artist Markets, Kid’s Activities, and Eco Village, and International Village, Food and Wine Tasting and more than can be explored in one day!

Sweet Water 420 Fest is a newer festival in Atlanta that has exploded into one of the most anticipated of the city. The 6th annual Sweet Water 420 Fest is going to be at Chandler Park this Saturday and Sunday. The proceeds go to benefit the Chandler Park and the community. The 420 fest is attempting to raise environmental awareness. So along with the great live music and the hoopla of children’s activities there will also be seminars on how we can take little steps to improve the health of planet earth. While you’re there check out the confessional, and cleans yourself of all your wrong doing to the environment as you take the first step to becoming part of the solution.

By far hands down the best date night idea this weekend is the Dogwood Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival coming together this Saturday for Movie on the Meadow at Piedmont Park. They are brilliantly presenting Alford Hitchcock’s Psycho! So bring a blanket and get ready to cuddle up under the stars!

Technology and Our Future

If you look back at our daily lives in 1989 when the FIRST Robotics Competition was first conceptualized by inventor Dean Kamen and MIT mechanical engineering professor Woodie C. Flowers it’s hard to imagine. Kamen, while most known for the invention of the Segway, made most of his impact with inventing the Auto syringe, a mobile dialysis system, an insulin pump, as well as an all terrain electric wheel chair. In 1989 Kamen and Flowers, realizing that the future laid in the hands of the youth, set out to find a way to engage and inspire students to explore engineering. Since then The FIRST Robotics Competition has expanded in to a worldwide event with 48,000 students coming from every state as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The FIRST Robotics World Championships has 4 leagues. The main event is the FIRST Robotics Competition. This year’s challenge is to make a robot that can shoot balls into a goal. The teams will compete in tournament form and the highest scoring robot moves forward. Each match is 2 and ¼ minutes long. In case we forgot these robots are designed and produced start to finish by 14-18 year old high school students. If this weren’t impressive enough the first half of the match the robots perform on a preset automatic mode and the second half they are to be controlled by remote! Each team starts with a $6000 starter pack and can only spend an additional $3500 on their robots. The terms are released the first Saturday of January and the teams have 6 weeks to collaborate and innovate and produce.

Produce they do. So much so that the competition has expanded to include 3 other leagues. FIRST Lego League in which kids between the ages of 9-16 build hand held robots to compete in the same form as the FRC. Junior FIRST Lego League also follows the same theme for kids ages 6-9 building robots with at least one movable part. Lastly the FIRST Tech Challenge was added as a more affordable option for schools to build robots at an intermediate level. Last year these robots used Bluetooth technology to power the driver.

In 2008 former President George H.W. Bush came to Atlanta and spoke at the competition. That year $9.8 million in scholarships were handed out to participants. This year we are excited to see who will come and experience the friendly competition and meet the future trailblazers, and pioneers of our world. Inn at the Peachtrees looks forward to accommodating these brilliant little minds. Be on the look out for pictures next week of the kids and robots we have staying with us on our facebook page!

The Dream Lives On

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is a true legacy that one cannot fully verbalize. Although many have tried they all seem to stop shot of aw when trying to put into word how much hope Dr. King gave this country in a time of turbulence. On this day in 1968 he was laid to rest right here in Atlanta, where he was born, and where his dream was conceived.

Atlanta has not forgotten Dr. King nor have we forgotten his dream. The King Center is in fact dedicated to making Dr. Kings famous dream into reality. In Atlanta this week we went a step further. At Atlanta’s Ebenezer Church community leaders attended the ground breaking of a financial resource center. Dr King like his father before him and his son after him knew that without economic equality there couldn’t be social equality. The purpose of the center is to empower and educate people about homeownership, entrepreneurship, and even banking. The center for financial literacy and economic empowerment could not come at a better time either. With the country slowly attempting a recovery to the recession, Atlanta hopes to lead the way because “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

As for date night this weekend Inn at the Peachtrees can’t stop talking about the Fernbank Museum! Martini’s at Imax is a weekly Friday night event they do where you can take in their current shows and enjoy tapas and drinks, but today if you visit Groupon.com you can get half off a year membership! It’s a great idea! Two adults and up to four kids, this opens up possibilities all year long!

The Home of the Braves

As we Atlantans get ready to say goodbye to Bobby Cox, it is hard to imagine the Braves without him. Cox’s leadership lead us to an unparalleled 14 consecutive division titles, advancing to the world series five times and winning in 1995! The Braves have seen many successful years in their long history but nothing compared to what we have experienced with Cox and Atlantans everywhere are hoping that “America’s Team” goes all the way for Cox’s last season.

The Braves actually started as the Boston Red Stocking in 1870 and are the longest continuously running team in Major League Baseball. Changing their names to “The Beaneater” in 1883, the team was trying to avoid being confused with the Cincinnati Reds, and tie their kinship to Boston. Obviously the name didn’t stick but finally in 1912 “The Braves” did. The Boston Braves had roller coaster seasons but none stood out more than what is known as the Miracle Season. The Braves were looking bleak by July 4, 1914 with a record of 26-40 by the end of a losing double header. Suddenly though July 6 something clicked and their luck began to change and a hot streak begun! By August 12 they had moved up to second place from last place on July 18. The miracles didn’t stop there. Even though they were considered the underdog at the world series they went in with their heads held high and swept the Philadelphia A’s at Fenway Park! The winning season was followed by inconsistency and Babe Ruth was acquired in hopes of a turnaround. While the plans didn’t quite pan out Babe Ruth did hit his record breaking home runs as a Brave and retired as one as well.

In 1953 The Braves moved to Milwaukee where they never had a losing record! How could they with power houses like Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, taking them all the way winning the World Series again in 1957. Mathews playing in all three cities The Braves were based in, and Aaron actually ended up beating Ruth’s home run record in Atlanta Stadium. After a long successful run in Milwaukee the Braves were looking for a broader television market leading them to our beautiful city in 1966!

That is exactly what they got in 1976 when Ted Turner bought The Braves! He is accredited with making them “America’s Team” by airing all the games up to the 2008 season on TBS. Bobby Cox’s first run with The Braves was managing the 1978 season but he was fired in 1981. While they had a winning season in 1982 there was a decline until Cox returned in 1986 as general manager and then 1991 as dug out manager, bringing us to today.

As you head over to Turner Field to enjoy the days ahead take in a piece of history. While the stadium may have changed and great players have come and gone, what always remains is the pride we Atlantans have in our Braves. With one World Series tucked neatly under our belts in Atlanta we at the Inn at the Peachtrees are looking forward to 2010 starting the next line of consecutive winning seasons!

Atlanta’s Rose

This week Atlanta has lost one of the most consistent faces of the city. No not Ted Turner, or Mayor Reed; Robert Hiestand, otherwise known as “Robert the Rose Dude”. Robert Hiestand passed away Tuesday at the age of 55, but for the last 20 years Hiestand has diligently stood at the corner of West Paces and Northside making everyone’s day a little brighter as they pass by. Hiestand’s goal in life was never to sell flowers on the side of a road. He actually was passing through Atlanta going from South Carolina where he studied welding to Alabama where he was to start a job. He happened to run out of gas in Atlanta and the rest as they say is history. When interviewed in 1994 Hiestand said that he said with no regrets, that he was glad to have a job he enjoyed and could make friends with and was still was a successful business. As Thomas Jefferson said “I find the harder I work the luckier I become” and Hiestand did work hard. Selling flowers was no day in the park. He was out there in the pouring rain and the cold only holding back on days the weather could damage the flowers. Many nights he stayed till 3 am until his last flower was sold, but all the hard work did come with rewards. Hiestand had countless stories of Governors, each one in office since he started, as well as the rich in famous stopping to say hello. Robert Hiestand is an Atlanta son and will truly be missed by all of us here at Inn at the Peachtreees.

This weekend brings with it Easter weekend and a sense of renewal. Families gather and celebrate faith and the coming spring and this week in Atlanta is going to be a great one to enjoy outside. With the weather in the lowers 80’s and Easter egg hunts all weekend long it would be insane to stay inside. So where are you taking the kids of any age? Zoo Atlanta is having their Gorilla Egg Hunt Saturday while across town indoors the Fernbank is holding a Dinosaur Egg Hunt! Both Egg Hunts are free with admission. Atlantic Station is also having an Easter Egg Hunt in their central park that will have a fair like atmosphere free of charge with games and food as well.

This takes us to date night! Any of these three places would be perfect on their own for some quality time. You have your pick from shopping, natural history or animals, but on any good date you gotta eat! And on a great date you gotta eat great food! This weekend at Valenza Chef Matt Swickerath is creating an Italian Easter masterpiece that can’t be missed in addition to his already amazing daily selection. For this one I would recommend reservations!

Bouncing back!

It’s no secret the country is in a recession. In the cyclical economy we live in, it was inevitable. The positive of this is that the bounce back is inevitable as well. In the past what helped was a rise in consumer spending. The theory behind the trickledown effect was just that. Give big businesses money to spend and then slowly they will create jobs and pass the money along to the consumer and boost the economy. However in Atlanta there are still 5 applicants for every available job. The situation in Atlanta is much more positive than in other cities.

For the fifth month in a row the country did see a rise in consumer spending. The margin was minimal and was focused more on clothing and food and not larger items. The climb was slowed last month because of the unusual weather and snow storms in the north east but it is a great sign none the less! Still forecasters, the economic ones not the weather ones, are saying that the key to our bounce back is job creation and travel! Of course here at the Inn at the Peachtrees that is EXACTLY what we believe as well. So we are doing our part.

We would like to welcome the new face at our Front Desk, Crystal. As we get ready to embark in our renovation there are many more changes to come. We look forward to adding a full restaurant as well as renovating our banquet hall to accommodate larger gatherings and of course our rooms will be getting a facelift and we fully expect to double our staff by the end of summer. So come by and visit, that a spring break, and check out our progress when you are in next in Atlanta!

Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Festival Season is Upon Us!

Atlanta’s festival season has officially begun! With a few new additions to the local favorites, this year is off to prodigious start. Some of the new comers include the Earth Day Family Fun Festival in Atlantic Station, and the Life & Limb Oyster Fest at Park Tavern. They will be fighting with some the more established Bacon Fest at Dad’s Garage, and of course the Cherry Blossom Festival which is in Conyers and also in Macon. It’s going to be hard to decide which one, or ones to attend this weekend.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a long standing tradition not just in Georgia but Nationally, one that is followed closely by the Dogwood estival. It actually signifies positive relations between the United States and Japan. Nearly 100 years ago, March 27 1912 to be exact, First Lady Taft, and Mrs. Chinda the wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first Yoshino cherry tree in the West Potomac Park. 15 years later we gifted the Japanese with the Dogwood in appreciation. It wasn’t until 1937 that the first Cherry Blossom Festival was held, but suspended during World War II when tensions increased. All was water under the bridge by 1947 when the festival resumed in Washing D.C. Now it attracts 700,000 visitors over 2 weeks.

The Cherry Blossom Festival wasn’t brought to Conyers until 1981 and Macon until 1982. In Macon what started out as a 3-day festival but has grown into 2 weeks with something to please everyone, from a fashion show to hot air balloon rides, concerts to parades everyone in the family goes home happy. No wonder the Macon and Conyers Cherry Blossom Festivals have been named in the top 20 in the South, and Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival has even been named top 50 in the country!

What about date night? As I promised we are exploring Atlanta and focusing on couple. So in keeping with the festival theme why not the Atlanta Comedy Festival! Well to be honest the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival is over, but the spirit isn’t. Plus is a great place to chill out and loosen up. They have Ryan Stout in town this weekend and it will be impossible to be nervous after a night watching him. Stout has hosted MTV shows like “Shot at Love with Tela Tiquila” and “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF”. Be prepared for the unexpected. After a night of burning calories laughing your skull off, head over to the Vortex! The Vortex is a local favorite and if you aren’t familiar be sure to read the rules online before you go! The food is amazing with surprisingly healthy options. As you walk into the skull shaped building any dating nervousness will be washed away. They serve food right up till an hour before closing so after the comedy show you and your date will have plenty of time to get to know each other.