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!

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.