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|
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 & 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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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 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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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:
- Randy Adler, Babs Midtown
- Luc Helterbrand, author and illustrator
- Janet Montgomery, "From My Big Eyes"
- Marykay, Decatur Alpaca Cottage
- Corrina Sephora, Metal Artist (publishing soon!)
I have others in the works so keep an eye out!
|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|
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|
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.
|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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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.