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Archive for November, 2009

Atlanta’s historic home tours: The Wren’s Nest


The Wren's Nest is the home of Joel Chandler Harris. AJC file photo

The Wren’s Nest in Atlanta’s West End is our final stop on our tour of Atlanta area historic homes. We didn’t get to all of them, including the Herndon Home, which no longer keeps regular visiting hours, but is available for tours by appointment.

I’d love to hear your your likes, dislikes, suggestions and ideas about historic tours around the area. If there are other tours or sites to visit, let me know in the comments.

Till then, our last home.

The Wren’s Nest

History: Ideas about Joel Chandler Harris and the “Uncle Remus” tales he published have evolved over time, but the author’s Queen Anne Victorian home in the West End has changed little since it became a house museum shortly after his death in 1908. The museum is now led by Harris’ great-great-great grandson, Decatur native Lain Shakespeare, and the site of a growing number of programs for children and teens.


  • The story of the home and its …

Continue reading Atlanta’s historic home tours: The Wren’s Nest »

To do list: November 23

Books: Author Michael Rosen discusses “What Else But Home,” 7 p.m., Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Atlanta. FREE.

Food: The Guy Fieri Roadshow goes live, 8 p.m., Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Atlanta. Read more.

For families: Creature Feature: Homes and Hideaways, 4 p.m., Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell.

Music: “American Idol” winner David Cook performs, 7 p.m., The Tabernacle, Atlanta.

Stage: Twinhead Theatre performs “The Cherry Orchard with Zombies,” 8 p.m., Eyedrum, Atlanta.

Got an event, venue, restaurant or performance in and around Atlanta? Add it to the calendar.

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

Continue reading To do list: November 23 »

New BabyLand General Hospital debuts for Christmas

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Cabbage Patch party! The Kids were out to celebrate Christmas and the new BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland on Nov. 21, 2009. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

After 30 years on Underwood Street in Cleveland, Ga., BabyLand General Hospital opened its new 70,000-square foot building this weekend, just in time for the annual Cabbage Patch Kids’ Appalachian Christmas celebration.

Hundreds of people came to celebrate, explore and to shop/adopt. I was there by 10 a.m. and the 300-space parking lot was already full. No big deal: the overflow lot is across the street, where you get a great view of the new home and its holiday decorations.

I’ll post with the details of the new BabyLand General later this week, but till then, check out photos of the Appalachian Christmas and to get a look at the Kids’ new digs.

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The New BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Ga. was under construction for three years, but opened in time for Christmas.

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on …

Continue reading New BabyLand General Hospital debuts for Christmas »

How do you have fun while holiday shopping?


Shoppers flooded Ambient + Studio in Atlanta for the Indie Craft Experience Holiday Sale Spectacular on Nov. 21, 2009. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Let’s think for a second about the experience of holiday shopping — the exhausting, stressful, maddening lengths we go to land a good deal or satisfy a list of friends and family who will (surely?) love us no matter what we give them.

Some people will never bat an eye at a line out the door or a pile-up of parents atop an electronic hamster. The thrill of a good deal is enough to keep them happy. (I’m looking at you, Rana.) But I don’t think I’m alone when I say I have no patience for shopping around, even for an awesome deal, if it makes me a cranky mess who can’t get the lyrics to “Jingle Bell Rock” out of her head. This is supposed to be a fun time of year!

How do I combat this? When I’m back in Michigan, I shop with my sisters and mom, who is particularly quick with the jokes and unfailing in her devotion to the gods of the Good Deal. …

Continue reading How do you have fun while holiday shopping? »

Review: Professional Bull Riders at Gwinnett Arena

Last week, AJC editor Monica Richardson explained to us why she loves the sport of bull riding. Today, she gives us a look at what happened when she saw it at Gwinnett Arena this weekend:

MonicaRichardson (WinCE)


The competition opens like a concert: an explosion of fire and smoke on the dirt makes way for cowboys, who come out to the field for a splashy introduction. The fresh smell of bull fills the arena as they show off after the cowboys. The bull, you see, is the other athlete that takes the field. The bulls are generally named for their personality. At this competition, there’s Fired Up, Slim Chance, Red Ears, Gray Spot, Poker Face and many others.

After the introductions,  it’s two hours of nothing but bull-riding.

The event Friday and Saturday night had quite a crowd. Not exactly a sell-out, but it drew people of all ages. Sara Broun, spokeswoman for Professional Bull Riders Inc. said 18,000 people were expected over the three-day event that ends Sunday.

One after the other, the …

Continue reading Review: Professional Bull Riders at Gwinnett Arena »

Atlanta’s historic home tours: Rhodes Hall


Rhodes Hall welcomes its Old World Santa in December.

Today’s stop on our Atlanta historic home tour is Rhodes Hall, an unmistakable building on Peachtree Street among office buildings, gas stations and roadways.

So far, we’ve seen Bulloch Hall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home, Margaret Mitchell House and Swan House. Rhodes Hall’s Old World Santa events begin next month, but there are others, too, like the 15-minute weddings on Valentine’s Day.

Rhodes Hall

History: “The Castle on Peachtree” was the home of furniture magnate Amos Rhodes and his wife, Amanda. They moved into the home, designed by architect Willis F. Denny II, in 1904. As other old Atlanta homes along the city’s most famous street were torn down, Rhodes Hall was donated to the state with the requirement that it be used to preserve history. It once housed the state archives, and is now the offices of The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and is available for tours, weddings and other …

Continue reading Atlanta’s historic home tours: Rhodes Hall »

A Cappella Books’ 20th anniversary hopefully won’t be last

It’s quite a year for indie book stores in Little Five Points. Charis Books and More recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, and A Cappella Books, its neighbor across Moreland, turns 20 on Dec. 1.

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Frank Reiss inside A Cappella Books in 2005. AJC file photo

A Cappella will celebrate with an ongoing 20 percent-off sale on used books, and two days of author events on Dec. 5-6 at Opal Gallery.

What kind of events? Two days of superstar local authors gushing about a book and author that influenced them. It’s not the usual reading or cocktail gathering, but it is the perfect way for the store to celebrate.

“If there’s something that’s defined us, what we’ve been about for 20 years, it’s been people who just really, really love books and get unreasonably passionate about it,” owner Frank Reiss said.

The lineup is tremendously fun, with names that readers of many ages and interests will recognize: Laurel Snyder, Hollis Gillespie, Jack Wilkinson and Jessica Handler are all on the …

Continue reading A Cappella Books’ 20th anniversary hopefully won’t be last »

My Scene: Becky Striepe, Glue and Glitter crafter and writer

I see the same complaints over and over in the blog comments: we don’t know where to go to meet people, to have fun with visitors or spend an afternoon alone.

It’s time we help each other out.

So here’s My Scene, a new Inside Access feature to help us get a diverse and personal look at what’s fun around Atlanta. Every other Friday, I’ll feature a local reader’s opinions about the best of what metro Atlanta has to offer. Give these ideas a try and let us know in the comments how it goes!

And if you or someone you know has something to say about where to have fun in Atlanta, contact me at — your scene might be the one we feature next.

And now, our first Scene subject.


This is Becky. You might spot her having fun at the ICE Atlanta Holiday Shopping Spectacular this Saturday.

Name: Becky Striepe

Age: 30

Neighborhood: Edgewood

By day: Indie Crafter at and freelance writer

By night: Vegan cook

Most memorably fun time out in Atlanta: Drunken …

Continue reading My Scene: Becky Striepe, Glue and Glitter crafter and writer »

Atlanta’s historic home tours: Swan House

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Swan House at the Atlanta History Center has several holiday events. AJC file photo

We continue our tour of Atlanta area historic homes today with Swan House, another home that, like the Margaret Mitchell House, is managed by the Atlanta History Center. My colleague, Howard Pousner, explained that even before going on the tour, this home always caught his eye. It’s easy to see why.

You can see the other homes we’ve visited so far in the History category.

Swan House

History: One of Atlanta’s favorite residences, it was designed by celebrated Atlanta architect Philip Trammel Shutze, who adapted Italian and English classical styles in this 1928 mansion for Emily and Edward Inman, heir to a cotton brokerage fortune.


  • The two-story home’s tone of classical symmetry and elegance is well established by the curved, free-standing staircase that dominates the central hallway.
  • The Inmans loved birds. Heir to a cotton brokerage fortune, Edward Inman collected representations …

Continue reading Atlanta’s historic home tours: Swan House »

Professional Bull Riders at Gwinnett Arena November 20-22

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Local cowboy Sean Willingham attempts to ride Simpson & Dennis' Tighty Whitey during the first round of the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals. Photo by Andy Watson.

I knew it was something special when the classiest, best-dressed woman in the newsroom approached and asked, just shy of begging, if she could write something for this blog — about bull riding.

So here it is, rodeo fans, from AJCer Monica Richardson, everything you need to know about the Professional Bull Riders at Gwinnett Arena this weekend:

MonicaRichardson (WinCE)


It’s the most exciting 8 seconds in sports.

Yeh, that’s right, I said it … sports. Bull riding is indeed a SPORT! I added in the italics and capital letters for extreme emphasis on that point to all you nay-sayers.

Hand wrapped, re-wrapped, gloved and anchored tightly into position with a bull rope, the other hand free to whip the air, a rider gets on the bull hoping to avoid eating dirt for 8 seconds…

Those hold-your-breath moments can seem like hours for a …

Continue reading Professional Bull Riders at Gwinnett Arena November 20-22 »