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!

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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.

Road to a Healthy Atlanta

The Peachtree Road Race opened up registration this past weekend, and for a few minutes the website had so much traffic that it crashed. It was up and running soon enough and registration commenced and was closed last night. If you didn’t get a chance to register don’t worry though. Traditional paper registration is still an option. The registration form will run in this coming Sunday’s paper and 10,000 slots have been held.

The largest race in the United States, the 10k Peachtree Road Race will have 55,000 participants! So Atlantans are getting healthy in preparation. As the weather stabilizes Atlantans will slowly come to surface and litter the pavements in their running shoes. But so much more goes into being able to run a 10k in Atlanta’s July sun. Training involves stamina, not just speed. While the fast time recorded was a Kenyan man clocking in just less than 28 minutes, most people pride themselves in just finishing.

Atlantans will surely start training in their neighborhoods, or gyms but for those of you that need a change of scenery as I do don’t be discouraged. Atlanta is filled with pavement and dirt tracks to clear your head or take in some fresh air. Chastain Park is a beautiful paved trail that has a 2.5 mile loop, while Atlanta Memorial Park has a 1.9 mile dirt loop. http://smcadam.tripod.com/trails/ is a great website to find details on trails ITP and OTP. Another great resource to help you stick your running is a running group. to find one in your area contact the Atlanta Track Club.

Once a routine is fixed for running one should be set into place for diet. Healthy eating can mean the difference between a couple minutes off your time or finishing the race at all. Atlanta actually has a heap of options when it comes to healthy eating. First and foremost is and Atlanta favorite, the Flying Biscuit! The Flying Biscuit has taken traditional southern comfort food and slashed calories, cut down fat, and still kept the entire flavor. Local healthy hot spots also include Green Sprouts, an Asian wonder, R Thomas Deluxe Grill a figure friendly dinner, and Ria’s Blue Bird, a homey little place in the city. Happy trails.

A Little Bit of Romance

Wednesday like every good Atlantans with a flexible work schedule I was out celebrating St Patrick’s Day in true Irish fashion. It was amazing to see how vibrant this city truly is. Q100 sponsored an event at Fado’s unofficial, official Iris pub of Atlanta. Bands started playing in the misty afternoon and but by 6:00pm the light afternoon crowd had turned into a large eclectic mix we call Atlantans. All three floors of Fado’s were packed and as I leaned over the railing of the third floor patio to watch the Irish dancers I was filled with pride for our city. It was so nice to see so many people of such unique backgrounds come together and celebrate a rich culture.

A bit later at Dunwoody Tavern I ran into a few transplants. After explain to them what I do for a living I was asked what a good idea for a date night in the city would be and I am ashamed to say I couldn’t answer him. Not because we don’t have anything to do in the city of course but because I was so overwhelmed with ideas that I couldn’t decide what to tell him. So for the next few weeks we are going to review date night ideas!

First dates should be memorable, romantic and fun. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens is a perfect start. They have the Towers of Flowers, an Orchid exhibit going on right now in addition to their beautiful permanent blooms. And of course it not just flowers; the garden has sculptures as well. On a beautiful spring day or evening there would be nothing more enchanting than a visit to the garden. While this would be a perfectly great date, I think we should go further for the more established couple. Dinner should follow!! Some amazing restaurants near the gardens include Mu Lan Chinese restaurant, Silk, Steel, Repast, and Baraonda. Each of these restaurants have an inviting yet romantic atmosphere, and depending on what you are in the mood to eat they would all be in keeping with the theme of the evening, romance. Keep in mind that we are not done yet. No passionate date is complete without chocolate!! Our end to the perfect evening is of course the Chocolate Bar! With an amazing assortment of desserts, drinks and of course the smell of chocolate encompassing you as you step in, your night will scream fairy tale. We here at the Inn at the Peachtrees wish you good luck in your romancing!

Luck of the Irish Passing Through

Well, rain was predicted all day this past Saturday, and with the luck of the Irish on the side of Atlanta it held off! We are all glad it did because what would Atlanta be without the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade? Atlanta’s strong Irish community and The Hibernian Benevolent Society puts on a marvelous show. As it is one of the oldest St Patrick’s Day Parades in the country we expect no less. This year was no different. The 127th annual parade started at the corner of Peachtree St and Ralph McGill, and the 1.1 mile long parade headed south through Underground Atlanta stopping at MLK Blvd.

The Hibernian Benevolent Society was started in 1858 by Father Thomas O’Reilly along with a few business men to help their fellow countrymen find work in the city. During the mid 19th century there was a surge of Irish moving to Atlanta to escape the slums and discrimination of New York and Boston. Atlanta was a frontier at the time, expanding the railways. With the help of The Hibernian Benevolent, Irish men found work and settled easily. Atlanta has a strong proud Irish heritage. One can easily see, with a tour of Oakland Cemetery, just how deep the Irish roots run in Atlanta.

St Patrick’s Day celebrations have been a part of this country for years and started as political protest against discrimination of the Irish. In Ireland the celebrations didn’t become national until 1996; however since then growing to over 1 million attendees last year with in the now 5 daylong celebration. St Patrick’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1600’s in Ireland as the one break between lent. Hence the reason for the drinking associated with it. St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland was actually born in Brittan. He was then kidnapped by an Irish man and forced into slavery. It’s been said that god told him to escape, and return to Brittan to be ordained and then return to Ireland to do god’s work. He spent over 30 years in Ireland helping to free the Irish. The clover is what he used to explain the Holy Trinity and why it is imbedded into St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Since Irish soldiers on March 17th 1798 started wearing all green to represent the clover, green has been considered lucky on St Patrick’s Day. Before this St Patrick’s Day’s official color was blue.

We here at the Inn at the Peachtrees encourage you, Irish by birth or Irish for one day a year, to enjoy the festivities of St Patrick’s Day this year, as we will be.

Springing Forward!

There are going to be some very lucky little boys and girls this St Patrick’s Day thanks to the Fraternity boys at Georgia Tech. They recently raised over $75,000 for the St Baldrick’s Foundation. At Ri Ra’s Irish Pub there was a huge shaving party held where the brothers voluntarily went under the razor. The Fraternity to raise the most money will be getting a free toga party at the bar, so it was fund raising with a little bit of “Animal House” thrown in. And with their newly cleaned up looks these ambitious men can head down to the CNN center! CNN is auditioning for new talent, most likely looking to fill anchor positions for their morning show which is ranked number two behind FOX. There is talk of a huge change in the lineup at CNN. With some people leaving, their spots are to be filled with the next line of veterans, leaving room for some new blood . There is nothing we like better than to see a success story of this sort. So for all you aspiring anchor men and women out there why not start out on top?

The April showers have come about a month early in Atlanta but we aren’t worried because rationale tells us that if the rains come early, so will the flowers! So flowers we wait for. And this weekend we will be waiting “underground”. Underground Atlanta is throwing their big St Patrick’s Day Parade this Saturday! All of Atlanta will be there staying dry wearing all the green we can round up to be Irish for the day, or the week. Of course here in Atlanta we make an event of everything so St Patrick’s is no exception. Underground will have festivities all day. Visit Kenny’s Ally for great live music including U2 tribute bands. The lower fountain stage will have the best Irish dancers in Atlanta, and of course bring the kids for interactive activities and teach them where this fun filled holiday comes from. Inn at the Peachtrees looks forward to seeing you there!