Atlanta, Georgia Walking Tour

Wednesday June 11, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

"CNN" "Atlanta" "Georgia"

Discovering Atlanta, Georgia

Being a competitive ballroom dancer I am able to explore new cities all the time. I recently competed at the Atlanta Open in none other than downtown Atlanta, Georgia. I had never competed in the Atlanta Open before or even been to the South, so my mother and I decided to take a few extra days after the competition to explore the 1996 Summer Olympics host city with our own Atlanta, Georgia walking tour.

We checked into the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta late on a Thursday evening. Because of the time I expected the hotel to be quiet and the check-in process to be quick and easy. The check-in went smoothly but the hotel lobby looked as if it was hosting its own party. The entire lobby was packed with guests, the hotel’s restaurant Sway was closed but the bar Twenty-Two Stories was full of chatty businessmen, dancers and Atlanta natives.

The hotel had a large open concept with four elevators that looked as if they came right out of the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The all glass elevator allowed us to watch the people in the lobby get smaller as we ventured up to the 19th floor.

Of course room service was available for us in the morning, as we tend to cozy up in our beds in the morning rather than get dressed up to dine in the restaurant downstairs. The menu from Sway was filled with Southern comfort food. Grits, a Georgia delicacy I had never tried, along with Georgia Peach yogurt parfaits, cornbread, warm biscuits and gravy were all potential options for our morning feast. Of course we did not try everything in one meal but eventually we got around to tasting every bit of the South that we could.

"Margaret Mitchell House"

Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta, Georgia

Discovering Atlanta, Georgia
We had hoped to visit the historic Sweet Auburn Village but our cab driver accidentally dropped us off at the opposite side of town. Being the spontaneous women that we are, we decided to walk around the area for a bit, that small walk turned into a 3-mile trek back to our hotel. If the hot sun and humidity is something you can handle throughout the day it is completely worth venturing through downtown and midtown Atlanta. We saw almost ever nook and cranny of the Atlanta streets that one would completely miss by catching a cab. Historic treasures such as the Georgian Hotel, Fox Theatre and the Margaret Mitchell House (the place Gone with the Wind was written) were just some of the old Victorian buildings that were hidden by modern-day skyscrapers.

"Coca Cola" Atlanta, Georgia

Coca Cola Factory in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Southern comfort

After our hike through downtown, the only energy we had left was used to walk across the street to a five-star restaurant where we could rest our feet. White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, located on Peachtree St., is a gourmet Southern Comfort restaurant. The atmosphere is that of a rustic yet classy Southern home. We dined on braised beef, homemade tomato soup and warm whole-grain bread for our appetizer. Since we were celebrating Mother’s Day, my wonderful mother decided to treat herself to a Filet Mignon steak, which was perfectly cooked and full of savory flavors. A side of mashed sweet potatoes was served in a small cast-iron skillet along with her meal. I ordered the baked chicken, which was yet again perfectly cooked and full of sweet Southern flavor.

CNN Newsroom

CNN Newsroom, Atlanta, Georgia

CNN studio tour in Atlanta

Our next day of adventure included the renowned Coca-Cola Factory, a tour of CNN and a walk through the Olympic National Park. We arrived at the Coca-Cola factory at about the same time as 100 elementary school children. We felt as though we had just become chaperones on an end of the year field trip. We quickly escaped the crowd of little humans and ventured through the factory on our own. Filled with copious amounts of historic Coca-Cola memorabilia, an inside look at the bottling process, a small museum on the history and even a tasting room, this Atlanta staple is a not to miss attraction. The tasting room was where we found all of the children so we ventured back down to the museum where we both got to hold the 2014 London Olympic Torch, as Coca-Cola is the Olympics’ largest sponsor.

For a more serious tour, thinking it wouldn’t be filled with more children, was the Inside the Studio CNN Tour. Being a journalism major myself, you could imagine my excitement as I walked into the international epicenter of news. I assume I felt the same way those kids did in the Coca-Cola tasting room. Walking into CNN you can feel the buzz of a newsroom, but the tour is where we really got a feel for the news station. We toured three of the recording studios, took a turn reading off the teleprompter, viewed the news rooms of CNN and HLN and even saw Monte Ball recording his “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” top picks for the season. Because of our love for 24/7 news, my mother and I decided to have lunch at CNN, underneath the giant TV screen and pretended we were journalist, just for the afternoon.

"Atlanta" Georgia

Downtown Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta’s Olympic National Park

We ventured out once again into the sticky Georgia air to end our day with a stroll through the Olympic National Park. On our way there we couldn’t miss the Atlanta Skyline Wheel of Excellence, 3-story Ferris Wheel. Our quick decision to ride the Ferris Wheel came as we noticed storm clouds rolling in and realized we had a short time frame before we were stuck in a glass bubble 40ft off the ground during a thunderstorm. Once my mother got over her brief fear of heights, we saw Atlanta in a way I would have never imagined. Just the other day we were walking down every street in downtown and now we were seeing the whole city from the sky. Located next to the National Olympic Park, the Wheel of Excellence gave us a more than perfect view of the architecture of the park that held hundreds of Olympians only 18 years earlier.

With its rich history, unique culinary taste and importance to the entire nation, Atlanta was truly a city to experience. Even after four days of an Atlanta, Georgia walking tour, there was still so much more to discover in this sweet southern city.

This is a guest post by Natalie Crandall. Natalie last wrote about Oahu, Hawaii.

Barbecue Grilling Tips

Friday June 6, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 3 Comments


Barbecues at Barbecue University at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs

“Keep it hot, keep it clean and keep it lubricated,” that was the mantra chanted by grilling authority and PBS TV host Steven Raichlen while teaching Barbecue University at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Over three smoking-hot days, Barbecue University students learned the difference between barbecue and grilling, direct and indirect grilling and too many barbecue grilling tips to recount.


Barbecue at The Broadmoor

When I say “smoking-hot days” I’m referring to the chimney starters on the rows and rows of barbecue grills at The Broadmoor’s Cheyenne Lodge. The weather at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado could not have been better. This was my first visit to Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor Hotel and I am now a BBQU (Barbecue University) groupie. I have sipped the Kool-aid (flavorful Trivento wines were served at this three day event), tasted the barbecue sauce and licked my plate clean. I am not proud of my behavior, but I did pass Steven Raichlen’s Great American Barbecue Quiz and I have my graduation certificate to prove it!

"Steven Raichlen"

Steven Raichlen on grilling & smoking at Barbecue University at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs

Barbecue University attracts barbecue aficionados

There’s no denying that there were some serious barbecue aficionados in attendance at Barbecue University. I know a Weber gas barbecue from a Little Chief Smoker (we have both brands at our home in California) but I’m not yet able to sing the praises of a “Big Green Egg” for making smoked apple crisp with candied bacon or rave about Trager’s Pellet Grill for producing the ideal cherry-glazed baby back ribs with cherry barbecue sauce – a few of the many innovative recipes we received in our Barbecue University binder, along with our Barbecue University apron and rubber ducky.

"barbecue university"

Lunch is served at Barbecue University at The Broadmoor

If you love grilling, learning new recipes, spending time bonding as a father and son or simply enjoy sharing gourmet meals with 50+ new friends, you’ll love attending Barbecue University at The Broadmoor. It’s also the ideal place to test drive a Japanese smoker, Brazilian rotisserie, Indian tandoor or Weber Ranch – among many others – before laying out the big bucks for some fine piece of equipment delivered to your backyard.

I interacted with a lovely Southern doctor from Tennessee, (she’s been coming to BBQU for over 10 years) an engineering couple from Utah who traveled to Colorado Springs with their dogs (The Broadmoor is very dog-friendly) and a multi-generational family from Florida who love to cook together. I also saw several San Francisco bay area couples who didn’t expect their wives to get so excited about learning new barbecue recipes and grilling tips. Believe me, you will be the sought out neighbor at the pot luck gathering or head honcho at your next tailgate with your Barbecue University degree.

barbecue, "Barbecue University"

Barbecue University underway at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs

Barbecue University at The Broadmoor package

Barbecue University is a popular dining package at The Broadmoor. The three day, three night interactive grilling course is open to guests with no prior grilling experience (that would be me) to those who know the difference between lump charcoal and briquettes or can spot a Fire Magic Echelon gas supergrill compared to a Horizon offset barrel smoker…you know who you are.

Afternoons are open to enjoy The Broadmoor’s Spa, one of several golf courses on property, go horseback riding in the Pike National Forest or hike around the Gardens of the Gods.

Barbecue University at The Broadmoor packages start at $2,100. for three nights based on double-occupancy. Check the website for current pricing and dates.

"Big Chief Smokehouse"

Big Chief Smokehouse, Hood River, Oregon

Insider Tip
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown as well as @Sraichlen and @TheBroadmoor on Twitter for future Barbecue University information.

If You Go:
Barbecue University with Steven Raichlen (855) 634-7711
The Broadmoor
1 Lake Avenue
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906

You might also like: Restaurants at the Broadmoor

Article, video and photos by Rookie Grill Master Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of The Broadmoor for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Whobert’s Path — A Traveler’s Treasure

Wednesday June 4, 2014 at 8:08 AM | 0 Comments

Whobert's Path, free from Grio Games, is a great traveling companion.

Whobert’s Path, free from Grio Games, is a great traveling companion.

Parents traveling with kids — picture this scenario: You’re at a crowded airport gate. The flight attendant just announced that your flight is delayed, again. Your kids are bickering over what to play on the iPad. He wants Angry Birds. She wants Candy Crush. You’re sick of them playing these mindless games over and over. You reach for the iPad and open Whobert’s Path. Moments later they are playing the challenging memory/concentration game and your guilt is assuaged.

Whobert’s Path, developed by Grio Games is a free, exciting new memory game with gorgeous graphics and pleasant music (seriously), focuses on matching tiles to help Whobert, a lost wizard, regain his memory and get home.

It’s not just for kids either. Casual gamers bored with gem-swapping and runner games will find Whobert’s Path thrilling, challenging and addictive. Why not give your brain a workout while playing a beautifully designed game.

Whobert's Path develops concentration and memory.

Whobert’s Path develops concentration and memory.

Whobert’s Path has 10 themed episodes (like nautical and mystical adventures) with constantly changing obstacles on 126 increasing levels!  It’s fast-paced, fun, and tricky.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of downtime when it comes to traveling — long car, train, and plane rides, lines, and delays. And when traveling with kids, wouldn’t it be put to better use feeding those cerebral cells?

It’s a free download at the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android. Check out the rave reviews!

This post was contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion or Friscomama. I work with Grio Games to get the word out on Whobert’s Path (and play it myself!).

Photos courtesy of Grio Games.

Whobert's Path is challenging and beautiful to look at.

Whobert’s Path is challenging and beautiful to look at.