Friday, December 31, 2021

wanderlust ATLANTA's 2021 Photo Review

Where to begin...where to begin?!  2021 was quite the year, to say the least. You know I like to keep things upbeat, so here goes...The Atlanta Braves won the World Series! Theatres that had been only operating online for 18 months are now beginning to reopen. Legendary restaurants have closed forever and new restaurants are popping up all over the place! We have a new mayor. And there's so much more...

Dogwood Bench in Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Dogwood Bench in Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I forget every year how much I enjoy writing this annual post. Not because it's initially fun, but once I start reviewing it I realize just how much I've done and get to relive some awesome bits that I otherwise might not have. It's truly my favorite post to write, I just forget. 

This year, given "everything" that was going on, my posting was light so the photos I'm sharing here are from the blog as well as its social media channels. I expect posting to return to "normal" in 2022, though, so stay tuned!

Hero Doughnuts | Travis Swann Taylor selfie
Hero Doughnuts & Buns | Travis Swann Taylor selfie

One of the incredibly exciting things that happened to me this year was being nominated for 2021 Author of the Year, 'Specialty' category, by the Georgia Writers Association. I didn't win—the competition was phenomenal—but I can still say "nominee" until perhaps one day I do win. Never say never, right?!

Among my early 2021 posts were some places in bustling Summerhill, now growing exponentially! Hero Doughnuts & Buns is a fun destination, especially for this doughnut-loving guy. I have to limit myself otherwise I'm "taste testing" everything in the window! 

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo Travis Swann Taylor
Hot Dog Pete's | Photo Travis Swann Taylor

My very first post last year was from Hot Dog Pete's which shares a patio with Hero Doughnuts & Buns. I've been back to both and have even attempted to replicate Hot Dog Pete's loaded fries at home...they were good, but theirs are the best!

I'll share some more of my other dining adventures—from luxury to comfort—a little further down.

The Flair | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
The Flair | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I received my first two vaccinations at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the U.S. Army was on hand managing logistics and administering the vaccines! "Thank you!" to MBS and the Army for doing this for Atlanta! I later got my booster at my doctor's office. Not as exciting but what a relief having it done!

I snapped the above photo of "The Flair" in Georgia International Plaza, next to the stadium, but didn't realize that it looked like "he" was getting his vaccine too, courtesy of the Westin Peachtree Plaza, until after I was home.

Daffodil Days at Oakland | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Daffodil Days at Oakland | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Spring is beautiful in Atlanta! This year I got to go to Historic Oakland Cemetery during Daffodil Days at Oakland. Already a beautiful cemetery, the bright yellow flowers made it even more special.

Carmen and Colomba | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Carmen and Colomba | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

My dear friend Carmen (left) visited from DC and bought her delightful and wholly fun friend Colomba who was visiting from the Dominican Republic. We visited a number of places! They stayed at The Georgian Terrace (my recommendation) and we had dinner at TWO urban licks, a personal favorite that they too enjoyed.

SUPERnatural at the Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
SUPERnatural at the Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

We went to see SUPERnatural: Glass Art in Bloom at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I would return to see it a number of times throughout the summer.

Federal Reserve Bank Atlanta | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

The two days we had together was a super packed, fast-paced tour of Atlanta. Some of it was a driving tour but we also got out and walked a bit. Pictured above is the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and we also saw the nearby Margaret Mitchell House.

Mumbles the Rhino at Zoo Atlanta | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Mumbles the Rhino at Zoo Atlanta | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I got to go to Zoo Atlanta a few times this year and one of the highlights was seeing Mumbles, the zoo's first Southern White Rhinoceros, one of the newest residents. One of my Zoo visits was to a fundraising gala with my friend Peggy. There's something quite special about being 'dressed to the nines'...at the Zoo!

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

A fan since Downton Abbey hit the airwaves, seeing Downton Abbey: The Exhibition was mesmerizing! I saw it in October and will be going again soon before it leaves, this month I think.

Battle & Brew | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Battle & Brew | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

After seeing the Downton exhibition with my friends MaryJo and Michelle, we tried to go to one of my favorite sushi restaurants in Sandy Springs but they were not yet open. Across the parking lot was Battle & Brew, a video game and gaming bar and restaurant. It'd been on my list for years and it did not disappoint! Such fun and great service! And that Tardis in the photo above...that's all the bathrooms, so it is bigger on the inside! 

Bank Street Cafe | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Bank Street Cafe | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

MaryJo and Michelle live in Griffin and I spent a long weekend with them this summer. They took me on a whirlwind tour of the city, including drinks at Bank Street Cafe—awesome service! I'll be going back, to see MJ and Michelle but also so I can blog about it! This place is really happening!

Blood Orange Mimosa at Babs Midtown
Blood Orange Mimosa at Babs Midtown

I've done interviews on the blog throughout the years, but have been doing quite a few more in recent years and I very much enjoy them! Here are some that I did this year:

I have others in the works so keep an eye out!

Evereman | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Evereman | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I'd seen the "Evereman" image for years and even seen this sculpture many times, but never knew the story behind it until I was walking through Castleberry Hill with my friends Patti and Eric. I highly recommend exploring a city on foot...you'll see so much more!

This year also saw the first annual "111 Places Day", a global celebration of the 111 Places series of books. You'll remember that I had the great honor and pleasure of writing the 111 Places Atlanta book. I took this opportunity to do a video discussing my (growing) 111 Places books and how I have or plan to enjoy them. Lots of fun...I was having so much fun, in fact, that I forgot to brush my hair before recording the video, LOL! 

East Point Historical Society Museum | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
East Point Historical Society Museum | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Speaking of my book, I had my second in-person book presentation and book signing of 2021 at the Senoia Area Historical Society Museum and it was awesome! Several friends from around the area came and one friend, on his way from Nebraska to Tampa, timed his trip so that he could be there for my presentation—a wonderful surprise! And the mayor was there, too!

And just last month I was so honored to be the keynote speaker at the East Point Historical Society Museum's Open House event not long ago. Another success! I've been there a number of times now and will keep going. I used to live in East Point, just down the street as it turns out!

I also had a virtual book event via the Wren's Nest, historic home of Joel Chandler Harris and today a museum. And I did a radio interview with John Clark on iHeart Radio which was broadcast on more than 170 radio stations throughout Georgia! THAT was fun!

Coq Au Vin at Aria | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Coq Au Vin at Aria | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

If you've never been to Aria in Buckhead before, put it on your list! I went with some dear friends and the chef prepared specially for us Julia Child's recipe for Coq Au Vin. I'm salivating as I type this. I could have bathed in that dish! So incredibly delicious. The whole experience was elegant, warming, and one that I'll remember for a very long time.

Flat Iron Restaurant & Bar | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Flatiron Bar & Restaurant | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Flatiron Bar & Restaurant, in East Atlanta Village, is THE place to go for comfort food. And it's not your typical, overdone comfort food either! They're one of the "tips" in my book but they could be a chapter! They could be a whole book, actually!

Inman Park Police Box | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Inman Park Police Box | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I've read about and driven by it hundreds of times, but I had never actually seen the Inman Park Police Box! Finally I made it a point to find it and there it was...in plain sight!

SUPERnatural at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
SUPERnatural at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

One of my visits to the Atlanta Botanical Garden this year was to see SUPERnatural: Aerial Art in Motion. It was magnificent. Mary Pat, the CEO of the Garden, is truly visionary. I can hardly wait to see what she does next!

Scarecrows in the Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

My autumn just isn't complete without seeing Scarecrows in the Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It's so much fun! This year was different, but in a good way!

Food That Rocks 2021 | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Food That Rocks 2021 | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph a couple of days of this year's Food That Rocks event in Sandy Springs. Such a fun and delicious event...with live music! It's from the creator of Taste of Atlanta so you know it's fun! I've actually photographed both events in the past...I truly do enjoy it!

Family Photo Book for Theresa | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Family Photo Book for Theresa | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

As you know, I was also the photographer of "111 Places in Atlanta That You Must Not Miss". Even though I'm not the caliber of many of my photographer friends, I have been a paid photographer for many years. This year I got to do a family coffee table book for my dear friend Theresa and her family—such a fun day! We started at the Millennium Gate and finished in Piedmont Park.

Last but certainly not least, in 2021 I hit the 1,000,000 views milestone! So, "Thank you!" to everyone who has been a fan for more than 11 years and to everyone who's ever shared a link or complimented a photo...I'm grateful to you all!

I wish that something wonderfully remarkable happens to each of you in 2022. A lof of somethings wonderful, in fact! Also, I encourage you to look back at last year with a sense of gratitude at some of the great things that did in fact happen and let's carry gratitude exponentially into 2022...let's make it a fantastic year, together.


Sunday, November 7, 2021

INTERVIEW: Luc Helterbrand, Author & Illustrator

To borrow a saying from my friend Chef Virginia Willis, the person who introduced me to my editor..."I love it when good things happen to good people!" My friend Luc Helterbrand is a published author!!! His book, written and illustrated by Luc, is a delightful children's book that gifts the magic of shared memories...and a recipe!

Luc Helterbrand, Author, Illustrator, "Baba and Billy and the Chocolate Banana Bread"
Luc Helterbrand, Author, Illustrator, Photo courtesy Moruso Studios

The book is "Baba and Billy and the Chocolate Banana Bread". Luc has generously granted me an interview so that we can share with you more about the book, its inspiration, and Luc's path to becoming an author and illustrator. Enjoy...

wanderlust ATLANTA: Please share with us a little about who you are, where you're from, and how you came to live in Metro Atlanta.

Luc: I am the fifth of six children and grew up in a small rural Italian community in central Missouri. My mother was from France and through her and my father's mother, I learned to love baking. As children we often enjoyed French desserts from my mother and classic American desserts from my grandmother. We were very lucky children and only as adults can we appreciate how good we had it. 

I went to college for Architecture at Drury University and shortly after graduating, I moved to Chicago where I married my college sweetheart and we had one child. We did get divorced, but we wanted to make sure that we shared in the upbringing of our son and when she received a wonderful professional opportunity, we all moved to Atlanta.

wanderlust ATLANTA: You're a first-time published author! Congratulations! Please tell us a little about the book.

Luc: Baba and Billy and the Chocolate Banana Bread is a short story about a grandfather who is taking care of his grandson for the day and as a treat decides to have Billy make a dessert to share with his mom and dad.

wanderlust ATLANTA: What was the catalyst for wanting to write a book and why this particular theme?

Luc: I love children and I love baking. I also hope to one day be a grandfather and I want to share moments with my grandchildren and hope to pass along some of the desserts that I grew up enjoying. I want to promote the idea of grandfathers as caregivers. I also want to promote the family construction; love is the most important element. In this story, grandpa and grandson are of different races, but their love and affection are what I hope people recognize and focus on and emulate.

Illustration in "Baba and Billy and the Chocolate Banana Bread" Photo courtesy of Moruso Studios
Illustration in "Baba and Billy and the Chocolate Banana Bread"
Photo courtesy of Moruso Studios

wanderlust ATLANTA: I already knew that you are an architect but did not know that you're also an illustrator. Is that a passion? Where do you hope that brilliant talent will take you?

Luc: The only reason that I am an architect is because of my drawing talents. I have been drawing since I was very little. My mother was also a wonderful artist and she always encouraged me in it. Writing a book is something that she and I discussed when I was young too. She always said to write what I know. I hope to write many more books for children and young adults. I hope to be writing and illustrating books and images for the remainder of my life and that I can encourage others to share their interests and more importantly, their time, with those they love. 

wanderlust ATLANTA: The title characters are awesome, but some might wonder where is grandma?

Luc: I want my characters to have backstories even when they aren't obvious parts of the main story line. My parents passed away when I was young, my father when I was ten and my mother when I was nineteen. In showing an image of grandma in the story, but not having her as an active character, implying that she had passed away, was my tribute to my parents. We carry our loved ones with us wherever we go, whether they are here or not. This story was inspired by the love of my mother and my grandmother and other people of whom I have shared fond memories.

wanderlust ATLANTA: Is the recipe for the chocolate banana bread in the book? Why this particular dish?

Luc: Yes...the story is the instructions and at the end are the ingredients. I have been instructed by my doctor to eat a banana every day. Well, that's a lot harder than you might think, so at times I have bananas that go past the point of ripeness that I want to eat them, so I needed to find a good way of using up all those overripe bananas. I like plain banana bread at times, but chocolate makes everything better, so I did some experimenting and developed this recipe. Everyone seems to really enjoy it and it makes for a very nice moist dessert.

Chocolate Banana Bread made by Luc, Photo courtesy Moruso Studios
Chocolate Banana Bread made by Luc, Photo courtesy Moruso Studios

wanderlust ATLANTA: What was your favorite childhood book and why? What children's book authors have inspired you?

Luc: I grew up in a large farmhouse that didn't have that many rooms so being in a large family, we had to share bedrooms. At night my mother would read to us at bedtime when we were little. My favorite books were the adventures of Winnie the Pooh. She did all the characters. She had a soft French accent and when she read to us, it was magical. 

I'm inspired by many children's books authors. I love a simple honest story that is more images than words. I've been truly impressed recently by Oliver Jeffers. His books are beautifully simple stories but are incredibly powerful in message.

wanderlust ATLANTA: This is your first book. May we look forward to others? Is this a series? What other book ideas can you share with us at this time?

Luc: There will definitely be more. I am not sure that there will be more "Baba and Billy" but this theme of grandparent and child is one I do enjoy. That relationship is very important and special. 

I have a second book written and I am generating character sketches right now. It's a story of a grandmother, "Mimi" and her two grandchildren who come to spend the weekend with her and help out in the garden.

Illustration in "Baba and Billy and the Chocolate Banana Bread", Photo courtesy of Moruso Studios
Illustration in "Baba and Billy and the Chocolate Banana Bread"
Photo courtesy of Moruso Studios

wanderlust ATLANTA: Where can future fans get your book? Do you have any book signing events coming up?

Luc: You can get my book at Archway Publishing, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, or order from your local book store. At present I do not have any signings setup, but I hope to soon. I would love to do some book signings at libraries or bookstores and do some book events, too. The book has only been available for a month, and this is my first book, so I am just now getting my author legs.

wanderlust ATLANTA: Is there anything I haven't asked that you would like to share about yourself, your book, or the writing experience?

Luc: I hope everyone enjoys the story and that it inspires parents, aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and children to spend time together, to find those little things that create lifelong bonds. They say food is love, but spending time together, sharing in our lives, is real love.

"Billy and Baba and the Chocolate Banana Bread" by Luc Helterbrand
"Baba and Billy and the Chocolate Banana Bread" by Luc Helterbrand

"Congratulations!" to Luc on becoming a published author! Friends and fans, please consider adding Luc's book to your holiday shopping list or buy it for your own kids, nieces and nephews, or your grandkids! Which loved ones will you be making chocolate banana bread memories with?

Be sure to follow Moruso Studios, Luc's illustration brand, for announcements of book signings and Luc's future books!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021

This is the final week to see this year's Scarecrows in the Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden! Remember that they're doing timed-entry tickets. They will take walk-ups, but this close to Halloween I recommend buying your scheduled tickets ahead of arrival to ensure you get to see this wonderful exhibition. This last day to see them is Sunday, October 31.

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"The Fay Myceliana" by Whitney Brown & Janice Upson

There are some magnificent scarecrows this year, as always, but it's wonderful to see an event all these years later still presenting brilliant creativity! 

On this particular visit, I was there only to see the scarecrows and make photos of some of them. I did not know that they had changed the locale of the scarecrows, so I was thinking that there weren't that many this year, having only visited the entry pathway and Children's Garden where they've been displayed for years. 

NOW, the scarecrows are in those locations as well as in the Crepe Myrtle Allèe and all the way to the Skyline Garden! There are LOTS of them! 

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Hurloween" by Erica Evans Patton

Some are larger-than-life and some and teeny-tiny! 

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Rosie the Vaccinator" by Assistance League of Atlanta

The Assistance League of Atlanta is back! 

If you've been to Scarecrows in the Garden before, you just might recognize this "face", but as different charcters. She once even wore a blue dress, ruby slippers, and carried around her little dog in a basket. There's some truly delightful creativity at the Assistance League of Atlanta and they have an awesome thrift shop

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Mr. Le-crow" by Buzzell-Holmes Family

Here's your chance to enjoy some awesome Lego creativity without the possibility of stepping on one. Great news, right?!

Speaking of evenings, Fest-of-Ale is also going on through the rest of the month. It's the Garden's annual "beer festival" (try their exclusive "Garden Beer"!), evenings 5pm-8pm. If you go to Fest-of-Ale and want to see all the Scarecrows, go early because the Children's Garden closes at dusk/dark, but if you don't make it early there are still plenty to see on the other paths! 

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Illumi" by Zoo Atlanta

Illumi is interactive! Take a photo and then take another one with your flash on. This one is in the Crepe Myrtle Allèe.

Illumi is also an advert for Zoo Atlanta's upcoming and brand new IllumiNights at the Zoo, presented by Georgia Power. It's a Chinese Lantern Festival that opens to the general public November 22, 2021 through January 16, 2022. This nighttime event will feature more than 80 animal lanterns, some of them up to 20 feet tall!!!

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Venus

You'll find "Venus" at the entry to the Canopy Walk. I think she's brilliant! You can see some live Venus Fly Traps over in the Skyline Garden. 

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Dr. Frankenstein" by MSE at GT

While you're there, and also closing this Sunday, October 31, are SUPERnatural: Aerial Art in Motion and SUPERnatural: Glass Art in Bloom, so you have many great reasons to go to the Garden this week!

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Bee Love" by Alexander, Jacob, Buz and Dianne Smith

Love this one! It's in the Children's Garden near an active, educational beehive. 

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Don't Make Me Put My Foot Down" by Mountain View High School

When I saw where the grilling flamingo's are is when I realized that the display areas have been expanded. 

At first glance I wondered if they were Australian flamingos—because of the "shrimp on the barbie"—but, alas, there are no flamingos in Australia, not anymore. So, they're just having a great time grilling out! The detail on this display is brilliant...great job Mountain View High School!

Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Scarecrows in the Garden 2021 | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

"Tyranno-STRAW-rus-Rex" by The Howell Family

If you're thinking about entering a Scarecrow in next year's event, involve the whole family! "Tyranno-STRAW-rus-Rex" was created by the very clever Howell Family.

Remember to get your tickets online to see Scarecrows in the Garden to ensure you don't show up to a sold-out day or evening, especially if you're wanting to go Halloween weekend!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition

Recently at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina—the largest private residence ever built in America and very castle-like—Downton Abbey: The Exhibition is now on display in Atlanta, specifically at Perimeter Pointe in Sandy Springs, but only through January 2022.

If you're a fan of the award-winning, highly-acclaimed television show, Downton Abbey, and/or the blockbuster movie, this is an exhibition not to be missed. There is much more here than I had expected and it's all wholly delightful!

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

You know you're at the right place because there's a huge "Downton Abbey: The Exhibition" sign on the building. It's the same place where "Friends: The Experience" was recently.

I arrived a few minutes before my friends and waited just inside because of the day's blistering wind (where did that come from?!). While there I got to chat with the very friendly welcoming host who was enthusiastic about the exhibition and quite thorough in his delivery of the welcome speak. 

Part of what he or she will tell you is where to have your tickets scanned and that there's a table inside where you can purchase soft drinks, beer, wine, and bubbles! There's also a photo-op, which I recommend doing. There's no obligation to purchase the photo and you get to choose from four backgrounds (in the gift shop at the end). One friend had a beer, another had a glass of wine, and I had bubbles...it's Downton Abbey after all!

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

The exhibition is presented in eight (8) different rooms, some of which include the Mrs. Patmore's Kitchen, the Crawleys' Dining Room, the Library, and Mr. Carson's (the butler) Pantry. Noted in the series, in that time all maids and cooks were "Mrs." whether or not they were married.

This show goes far beyond satisfying a lover of period films. History buffs too will love it for its insights into the Industrial, Edwardian, and Post-War eras. While the families and story in the series are fictional, the creator of Downton Abbey insisted that as much as possible be historically correct.

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

While the more-than-50 costumes are a significant draw, the Kitchen is a fan-favorite, as well. It's one of the backgrounds you can choose for your keepsake photo, too—the one we chose. As big a foodie as I am, of course I love this room! 

We noticed that there are no chairs at the heads of the table. Evidently, during that time the heads of the household sat in the middle chairs on the long sides of the table with the highest-ranking guests next to them.

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

The first gallery in the Exhibition features highlights of many characters in th show along with props including clothing, jewelry, books, documents, letters, and so much more! Hopefully most of the display drawers will be pulled out, but be sure to look for those that are not so that you don't miss something you wish you'd have seen. 

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

There is more than 40 minutes of video throughout the Exhibition, including a welcome video and a farewell video, all featuring cast members from Downton Abbey. One of my favorites is motion-activated and features Mr. Carson, toward the end of the Exhibition.

The Library, one of the eight rooms in the Exposition, is made up of three walls of animated video with clips from the series. This immersive experience is a personal favorite and was enthusiastically discussed in our lunch conversation.

Speaking of video, after our Exhibition visit, we lunched at nearby Battle and Brew, a video gaming bar and restaurant, and a total H.G. Wells-ish pivot from where we'd just been. The service, food, and atmosphere here are fantastic! I'm a total geek who loves history and all-things-British (there's a giant TARDIS at the restaurant!), so this was a stellar day for me!

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

The series, which begins in 1912, bravely addressed homosexuality (illegal and punishable by death in most of the UK until 1967), Women's Rights (approximately two-thirds of Britain's women were legally able to vote by 1918), and racial prejudice. Some examples of this are highlighted in the first gallery of the exhibition.

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

A personal and fan favorite character in the series is Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham portrayed by phenomenal actress Dame Maggie Smith. At social gatherings and or around the dining table, if Downton Abbey is mentioned there's always a Dowager Countess one-liner, or several, in the conversation.

One scene that makes me laugh out loud every time is when she's sitting in a swivel chair. (You'll know what I mean if you've seen it.) Turns out she's quite a good sailor. (Moment #6 in this video) Here are a few more Dowager Countess quotes for your entertainment...

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

I imagine every fashion fan will be delighted by the costumes, perhaps even more so by the vast number of jewelry and accessory props...there are so many! I've been a fan of the Roaring Twenties since I was a kid, so the ones from that era are particularly fascinating. 

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

While there is considerably more variation in the women's costumes, jewelry, and accessories, the Exhibition is brilliant at showcasing more than a few of the men's costumes and accessories. 

As I mentioned, there is a lot more here than what I expected. It's an order of magnitude greater than the Star Wars costumes exhibition I saw in St. Petersburg a few years ago. I think this exhibition does more of a deep dive, which absolutely fascinates. 

Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Sandy Springs, GA | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Downton Abbey - The Exhibition | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition is elegant, exquisite, and exciting! It's been here for a while and will go away in January 2022, so you don't have the passing of another era to see it. If you've never seen the show, it's currently on Netflix. Whether you binge before you go or go just for the experience, I predict that you'll have a roaring good time!


Monday, August 30, 2021

"Ancient" Police Lockup Box in Inman Park

In a 1935 article in The Atlanta Constitution, a reporter theorized that the "interesting relic", "ancient lockup box" in Inman Park, which had not been in use for more than 35 years at the time of that article, would likely be dismantled due to leaking and damaging stored parcels and coats.

This is one of those rare incidents where preservationists in Atlanta have persevered and saved an artifact from old Atlanta, now at least more than 130 years old! Various reports tell that these lockup boxes were used in Atlanta from 1890 until around 1905.

Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

Speaking of 1890, that's about the time that Inman Park was established and it was Atlanta's first suburb. Today it's certainly not considered an "outlying district" but it is an historic neighborhood—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—with an amazing annual festival, an abundance of charm, delicious and delightful dining destinations, and a unique police lockup box!

Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

The photo accompanying an article in The Atlanta Constitution, dated June 30, 1935, shows patrolman M. R. Dodd standing next to this lockup box. Dodd said that his father, Asa Dodd, also a policeman, had used this same box 47 years prior.

Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

The Atlanta Constitution reported July 16, 1935, that Atlanta banker and collector John K. Lottley was purchased the police lockup box for $1. Following the death of Lottley, this box was on display at the Cyclorama, in the basement, when the Cyclorama was in Grant Park.

Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

According to Celestine Sibley in a 1974 article in The Atlanta Constitution there was once a marker that accompanied the Lockup Box. The marker, dated 1935, read: "Many a miscreant got his first taste of Atlanta hospitality when he was lodged in this lockup box to await transportation to roomier quarters. 

"Nearly 50 years ago before the advent of telephone and motor-driven patrol wagon, the City of Atlanta installed four of these lockup boxes at various points. Arresting officers would confine their prisoners in the depositories while they would await the horse-drawn Black Maria which would make its rounds to collect human cargo as regularly as the postman does to collect mail. 

"These boxes also served as lockers in which police would store their helmets, night sticks, raincoats and other belongings. This particular lockup was located at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Delta Place and although its use was abandoned by the city about 25 years ago, it remained there until acquired for this collection in July 1935."

Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

I've found no record of what happened to the other three lockup boxes, but this one was returned to its original spot, where it sits today in Delta Park, in time for the 3rd Annual Inman Park Festival & Tour of Homes held in late April 1974.

Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Police Lockup Box in Inman Park | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor

A couple of blocks down the street is The Trolley Barn, once the home of the first electric streetcar system in the United States! Do check out the beautiful, vibrant, and historic Inman Park neighborhood. But first, go to Delta Park and step inside this piece of history, perhaps the last of its kind in the whole of Atlanta!