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Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

Do Georgia State Parks need more camp sites, cabins?

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Tugaloo State Park could add to its 113 camp sites and 20 cottages on the shores of Lake Hartwell. AJC/Brant Sanderlin

Some Georgia State Parks could get new campsites, cabins and cottages — good news for anybody who has waited for a spot during peak season in spring, summer, fall or on any holiday.

The Department of Natural Resources hopes to float $5 million in bonds for the building projects, and Gov. Sonny Perdue supports the project. As the story, “Lawmakers could put $5 million into campsites, cabins for state parks,” by AJCer Nancy Badertscher explains:

The idea is to make the parks more self-sustaining, says Becky Kelley, the DNR’s director of parks, recreation and historic sites. The system brings in 69 cents for every dollar it spends …

The strategy of investing in more cabins and campsites for the state parks is based on history, she said.

State parks make the most money “when people spend the night with us,” Kelley said.

It explains that the Richard B. Russell …

Continue reading Do Georgia State Parks need more camp sites, cabins? »

PHOTO: Botanical Garden walkway construction continues

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Workers continued construction on the Atlanta Botanical Garden's Canopy Walk, scheduled to open this spring. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

On a walk through the Atlanta Botanical Garden yesterday, I could see serious progress on construction around the garden, including the new Edible Garden and Canopy Walk. Those, along with the Cascade Garden, are scheduled to open in May as part of the garden’s $55 million expansion projects

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Here's what the Canopy Walk should look like by May. Hopefully there will be more green by then, too.

The Canopy Walk project was scheduled to open last year, but was on hold after part of collapsed in December 2008. One man was killed and 18 others were injured. Construction resumed in October.

Till then, the rest of the garden remains open, including the Orchid Daze: Tower of Flowers exhibition, which is the center of its yummy Valentines in the Garden event this weekend.

Take the trip up to the garden slowly, and you can get an eyeful of the construction work …

Continue reading PHOTO: Botanical Garden walkway construction continues »

ING Marathon registration rolling, Peachtree starts March 21

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Nice view! ING Marathon runners crossed Jackson Street last year. Registration is open now for the race. AJC file photo

Deep in the heart of winter, we must be eager to get outside. A press release yesterday from organizers of the ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon said race registration is 20 percent higher this year than it was at this time last year.

The March 21 races take 18,000 runners past Atlanta landmarks and through neighborhoods like the Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park, Decatur, Druid Hills, Virginia Highland and Midtown. (For those looking for a lighter race, the Publix 5K and Kids Fun Run is March 21 in Grant Park.)

And that’s not the only thing happening March 21: that same day, online registration for the AJC Peachtree Road Race opens at 1 p.m., open to 45,000 runners. Another 10,000 runners will be randomly selected from all applications, including the paper ones printed in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on March 28. We’re already starting to hear about some …

Continue reading ING Marathon registration rolling, Peachtree starts March 21 »

What do you miss about the Tour de Georgia bike race?

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Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong surrounded by onlookers during the Tour de Georgia in 2005. AJC file photo

The 2010 Tour de Georgia is off, canceled late last month after bike race organizers failed to find a big-time sponsor in this rough economy. This is the second year without the race, upping the risk that it will never come back.

A story by AJCer Jim Tharpe, “Can Tour de Georgia bike race be saved?” goes into more detail about its economic impact here ($30 million per year) and what the race needs to make a comeback ($3.5 million from sponsors.)

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Suwanee 2nd graders cheer on the pack of competitors during the 2008 Tour de Georgia. AJC file photo

For six years, the race was a blockbuster. It had a great reputation as a precursor to the Tour de France and hundreds of thousands of spectators watched. It went on hiatus last year, and organizers announced in December that they’d cancel the 2010 race, too, because of the economy.

When the race is on, it gets money flowing, …

Continue reading What do you miss about the Tour de Georgia bike race? »

Botanical Garden: ‘Moore’ ends, ‘Orchid Daze’ begins Feb. 6

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"Orchid Daze: Towers of Flowers" opens on Feb. 6 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. AJC file photo

Before you stake your claim on a spot for the Peach Drop, please scoot over to the Atlanta Botanical Garden for the last day of “Moore in America.”

I understand that “go see a garden” is not a reasonable command when it’s sleeting outdoors. For more convincing, check out this post from October, which links to more reviews and stories about it. I wrote that post when the show was first scheduled to end. It was extended through the end of the year, but now we really have to say good-bye. (This will also be the last chance to see the Garden’s holiday displays and families might dig the New Year’s Across the Globe event today, too.)

So what comes next? The Botanical Garden’s annual orchid show, “Orchid Daze,” returns, this time with a “Towers of Flowers” theme. Here are some photos from last year’s show. It opens Feb. 6 and runs through April 11.

Want to go? “Moore in America” ends …

Continue reading Botanical Garden: ‘Moore’ ends, ‘Orchid Daze’ begins Feb. 6 »

Stone Mountain becomes Snow Mountain Dec. 26-March 7

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Stone Mountain Park becomes Snow Mountain Park! AJC/John Spink

Here’s something to cheer you up on this decidedly gray, rainy day: there’s snow on the way. Don’t you feel better already?

What I’m talking about, though, is the best kind of snow — fluffy stuff that will never back up traffic, but happens to be perfect for tubing. As of Dec. 26, Stone Mountain Park becomes Snow Mountain Park, complete with tubing on the laser lawn, snow play areas for building igloos and snowmen, special spots for little kids and areas to take it all in or warm your feet by the fire.

Like in past years, Snow Mountain uses a closed-loop system that chills snow from Stone Mountain Lake. They’ll take several weeks to pile on layers, creating a nice slick for the daredevils who arrive on opening day. Here are some photos of Snow Mountain construction, shot yesterday by AJCer John Spink. The attraction opens a little earlier this year, catching that post-Christmas crowd that so badly needs to get …

Continue reading Stone Mountain becomes Snow Mountain Dec. 26-March 7 »

Garden’s ‘Moore in America’ extended through Dec. 31

After my lament about the last weekend to see ‘Moore in America‘ at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, here’s some good news: I spoke too soon! The sculpture exhibition now will stay in Atlanta through Dec. 31.

From a short story by Howard Pousner in today’s AJC:

The two-month extension also constitutes good news for the Botanical Garden, where attendance is up 11 percent, to 145,000, over the same May-October period last year, when it hosted “Sculpture in Motion.” And memberships have climbed 19 percent, to 16,120, since the debut of “Moore,” the largest outdoor exhibit of the late British artist’s work.

The show of 20 sculptures, mainly bronzes, was to have returned to England, but the Henry Moore Foundation changed plans and will continue the U.S. visit. It will now open at the Denver Botanic Gardens in March.

The Botanical Garden’s annual Scarecrows in the Garden exhibit is through, but next up is Holidays in the Garden, which includes the Holiday Train Show. There’s …

Continue reading Garden’s ‘Moore in America’ extended through Dec. 31 »

PHOTOS: Atlanta Critical Mass-querade Halloween bike ride

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Hey drivers, watch for that clown, chef, Boy Scout and guy wearing a parrot. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

And so, Halloween weekend begins.

Or rather, this is how Halloween weekend began at Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta. The last-Friday-of-the-month ride didn’t draw the same crowd that last year’s Halloween ride got, but there were still a couple hundred people in crazy costumes heading up Peachtree Street by 6:45 p.m.

As one rider put it, “This is the only time people actually like us.”

How could you not smile when you see Rainbow Brite pedaling down the road?

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The Mighty Beardapus is mighty, but not above accepting help on his bike cam.

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Sergio Garzon of Atlanta can, indeed, fly. On a bike.

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Pippi Longstocking helped Spider-Man prep for the ride.

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And they're off!

Continue reading PHOTOS: Atlanta Critical Mass-querade Halloween bike ride »

Book your Oakland Cemetery Halloween Tour tickets early

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Gene Ramsay plays Edwin Marsh during the Oakland Cemetery tours. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Rain is ultimate foe of fun outdoor activities –  unless it’s a graveyard tour.

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Crowds arrived for Oakland Cemetery tours, rain or not.

I arrived at Oakland Cemetery last night while the sky had that swirly gray look that Hollywood uses to add forboding to horror movies. Despite the forecast, there was an umbrella-ready crowd in line for the sold-out Halloween tours. Any other place without a roof, I would’ve predicted thin attendance. Not here.

We heard a basic cemetery history from our guide, Andrea Janssen: Oakland was founded in 1850 on six acres that had been a family farm. The orignal entrance was off what is now Memorial, near Six Feet Under.

For those that want to plan ahead:  Oakland Cemetery still has about 14 funerals there per year, but you’ve got to get on the list for a plot. And if you’re considering a marker, Janssen recommends granite. After more than 100 years, guides can …

Continue reading Book your Oakland Cemetery Halloween Tour tickets early »

Atlanta Botanical Garden 2009 ‘Scarecrow’ winners, favorites

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"The Urban Scarecrow" by Druid Hills High School's Urban Art Club was the non-professional winner for "Scarecrows in the Garden." AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht.

I don’t know how many crows hang out around the Atlanta Botanical Garden on a usual day, but it will be crow-free at least through the end of October.

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"Gong with the Wind, Horri-belle" a combo wind chime and scarecrow by Rixart, won for the professional category.

This year’s “Scarecrows in the Garden” features 107 of the field dummies, all created by businesses, schools, non-profits, families and individuals seeking bird-fright glory.

These two, the cockroach and the bell-e of the Botanical Garden, were this year’s winners.

As an AJC story explained this week, there’s a lot going on in the themes of motherhood and helping the environment,  and there are plenty of other stunning and hilarious entries poste.

By the way, admission to the the Atlanta Botanical Garden is free this weekend for Bank of America customers. Here …

Continue reading Atlanta Botanical Garden 2009 ‘Scarecrow’ winners, favorites »