Exploring: The Atlanta BeltLine, GA

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Last Saturday, after I’d finished work, the weather was beautiful so the German and I decided to take a walk along the Atlanta BeltLine. It was the perfect day for it, sunny but not too hot, spring really is the best time of the year in this city!

So, the BeltLine is a little bit like the HighLine in New York City. It’s an old railway line that has been turned into a public park. It’s currently a work in progress with only sections of the BeltLine completed but, once it’s done it will be 22 miles of trails, parks and transit options that will circle around Downtown Atlanta, connecting many neighborhoods and tourist spots, however, that won’t be until 2030 so there’s still quite a way to go.

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Catching up on life. Vol. 2

Life at this time of the year is usually a little quieter for these 2 expats. Winter means we don’t explore so much, especially when the Atlanta weather has a wild burst of cold and there were a few of those this year. Thankfully though, it looks like those days might finally be over and it’s time to get out and about again!

Our first trip of the year took place last weekend – we kicked off the fun times with margaritas on Friday night, followed by a date night to Veni Vidi Vici on Saturday night. Then, on Sunday the German took me to Providence Canyon, Georgia’s very own Grand Canyon, for a belated Valentine’s Day surprise! He even rocked up with a picnic and bubbly – that beautiful place will be getting a post of it’s own but, for now, here are some pics to wet your appetite:

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Wow, what a year!

I’m back! How was your holiday season guys? Mine was jam packed, hence the absence from this little blogging space of mine! It involved trips to England and Germany and lots of catch ups with family and friends. Despite all my good intentions to give you some updates I just couldn’t find the time. I also wanted to post this earlier this week but, thanks to some sort of deadly virus from England (we’re talking a beautiful 3 week long cough and cold) I just didn’t feel up to it.

But I’m back now and taking a look back at one of the most amazing years ever! 2014 was very, very good to me indeed! I thought I’d pop together a few highlights for you to peruse over and for me to reminisce about.

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Exploring: Monday Night Brewing, Atlanta

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A couple of weeks ago our friend Sven came to stay for the weekend, and, when you have a fellow beer guzzling German in the house there’s only one place to go – a local brewery for a spot of beer tasting and a little tour. As you all know, we’ve already been to SweetWater so we thought we’d head to Monday Night Brewing. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend their Saturday afternoon playing corn hole and sampling every beer the brewery makes?! Exactly.

This place is pretty small and tucked away on a kind of industrial estate but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something special! We rocked up, paid our 10 bucks, picked up our souvenir glasses and 6 beer tokens and we were off. The boys were so excited – beer, beer, beer! We chose our first drinks then went to explore.

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So this isn’t the greatest picture I’ve ever taken but it’s the only one of all 3 of us!

The inside of the brewery, literally where the trucks rock up to take the beer to stores, is turned into a bar on beer tasting days. There are cute mismatched tables and chairs, a fireplace with the signature moustache of Monday Night Brewing on top of it, sofas, a table top slider game and of course, a big screen showing the current football game – you can’t go anywhere in America without a TV screen with some sort of sport on! Oh, and we can’t for get the tie wall – Monday Night Brewing’s trademark is a tie and, if you bring one to the tour and tasting you can tie it onto the wall behind us in the picture. Sadly, the German forgot his but I’m sure he’ll have another opportunity to do it!

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After sinking a beer, we re-filled our glasses and headed outside into the courtyard. If you thought the inside was cute, the outside is even better, especially in the September Atlanta heat! There are tables dotted around, benches, a couple of corn hole boards towards the back and to top it all off, there are strings of lights to make the place look even cuter! It actually reminded me a little of a beer garden back home in England – perfect.

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We spent a little time outside playing corn hole – we had this game at our wedding so Sven knew all the rules. We all played each other, meaning 2 games each. Sadly my skills weren’t their best and I lost both of my matches, the German won both his (good job because that boy hates to lose!) and Sven won one. I blame the fact I had a beer in one hand and a wedding party taking pictures right next to us! Yep, a group of groomsmen had swung by before one of them headed off to get married – see, I told you this place was cool!

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Then came the tour and it began with a line I never thought I would hear – turns out this place was started by 3 guys who met at a 6am…wait for it…bible study group! Not what I was expecting at all! Basically, one of their wives bought a beer brewing kit for her husband for his birthday, he then asked his friends to brew some beer with him on a Monday night – hence the name and the logo of a guy with a tie. They did and it was alright, so they tried again and it got better each time. They starting living for Monday nights and their beer brewing sessions. Eventually, they started inviting their friends around and things got bigger and bigger so they decided to go all the way and start a business and if you ask me, they made a pretty good decision. I’d also like to point out that I bought the German a beer brewing kit for Christmas, so far, it’s still in the box – it needs to be out of the box because that story that you read right there, that my friends, could be Team Richter! In my dreams…

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We finished the tour and headed back for another beer or so, well, for the boys anyway, I was the designated driver! I think they managed to try every beer – my favorite was the Fu Manbrew, the German loves the Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale, it’s forever stocked up in our fridge.

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Sadly, 4pm came around and we had to leave…booo. But, the German has officially added it to the list of places to go whenever we have a visit so I’m sure we’ll be back pretty soon!

Exploring: Wine Tasting in Dahlonega, GA

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Whilst Mama C was in the ATL a couple of weeks ago we thought the perfect bit of exploring for her would be a spot of wine tasting – Mama C is famed for liking a little tipple every now and then! I had better stress that she is not an alcoholic or anywhere near bordering on one, she just likes to have a drink of the alcoholic variety and is always open to trying new liquor like at the wedding in Germany was she dived head first into the rhubarb schnapps and loved it! If that disclaimer wasn’t involved in this blog post my status as best daughter in the world may have just been lost.

So, one hot and sunny Saturday afternoon in September we jumped into the car and headed to Dahlonega. North Georgia, and the Dahlonega region in particular is famous for its vineyards and wine tasting, so, after a little bit of research by yours truly, we made our way to Wolf Mountain Vineyards and it was stunning:

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Rachel got a pat on the back from both Mama C and the German for picking this one! The views were out of this world, you could see for miles, catching glimpses of the mountains in the distance, some of the thousands of trees that make it feel like you’re living in a forest in Georgia and of course those all important vineyards and grapes that make the delicious wine.

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Now let’s face it people, we were there for one thing, the wine. We quickly made our way to the tasting room, figuring we could check out the views and vineyards a little more later, and marched straight to the guy who sold the tasting flights. Priorities people, priorities! Three wine flights were quickly purchased and we were ready to rock and roll.

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1 sparkling, 1 white, 1 rosé and 2 reds later and our tasting flight was over…sad times. But we thoroughly enjoyed it, there were some very tasty wines there indeed. With each sample we were given a little explanation about the type of wine, it’s taste and how it was made and when our flight was over, Mama C and I decided to indulge in another glass, opting for the rosé and a seat outside in the sunshine. The German was our designated driver so he was downing wine glasses of…water!

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We sipped our wine whilst gazing out to the mountains. Just below us, a wedding was about to get underway and guests were starting to arrive – it really was a beautiful place to get married. Given the chance of getting married for a third time to the same man (I really don’t think that is going to happen and I am definitely pushing my luck a little there, twice is more than enough!) I would choose somewhere like that. The mountains in the backdrop, beautiful scenery and a gorgeous little pavilion for the ceremony to be held on. Hey, a girl can dream!

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All in all it was an afternoon well spent. I think the German and I might be heading to a few more vineyards up there win the near future – it would be rude not to!

Life is Good. {September’s Happy Moments}

Life is Good...

So, it seems I’ve taken another unscheduled blogging vacation (holiday for you Brits back home – I’m hanging my head in shame for using that word!) after a busy couple of weeks in the Richter House! The Richter Hotel has been fully booked and with visitors galore I’ve been here, there and everywhere entertaining to the max whilst also fitting in some work! Phew!

I’m back now and celebrating what has bee a fab September by picking out some of it’s best moments that have made life so good this month. I can’t believe it’s October already – where is this year going? It will be Christmas and we’ll be jumping on that plane back to England before we know it! Once again, I’m linking up with the lovely Belinda over at Found Love, Now What so make sure you head over to her fab blog and show her a little love!

{September’s Happy Moments}

The yearly visit of Mama C!
That’s right people, Mama C flew in for her annual visit this month without Papa C (he won’t fly because he has a bad neck 😦 ) for 2 weeks of Mama C/daughter/son-in-law time in the ATL. Thankfully, she didn’t bring the rain with her this year and managed 2 weeks of sunshine, although our planned trip to the beach turned into a couple of days in Nashville because the weather was not looking too bright and sunny down in Destin! It was lovely to have her around though. She came with an empty suitcase and went back with a full to bursting one thanks to a lot of shopping, (the German wasn’t too happy with the high number of shopping bags that came through the door in my hands!), we introduced her to the best BBQ in town, the best burger in town, stuffed our faces with donuts, finally made it up Stone Mountain with her, went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Zoo Atlanta, sampled some wine in Dahlonega, celebrated Oktoberfest in Atlanta, went to a Braves game and generally had some mother/daughter time that you can’t really have over FaceTime. She’s probably crying now reading this – sorry mum!

Stone Mountain / Wine Tasting in Dahlonega / Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Stone Mountain / Wine Tasting in Dahlonega / Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Some exploring with Mama C – Nashville, TN
During Mama C’s stay we were supposed to head to Florida for a few days at the beach whilst the German worked hard and earned the money but, Mama C’s history with the weather and her love of bringing the rain over from England meant the forecast was not looking good and there is nothing worse than being at the beach when it’s raining! So, we quickly changed our plans at the last-minute and instead headed up the Nashville for a couple of nights. It’s less than a 4 hour drive from Atlanta so we hopped in the car and went to Tennessee. We indulged in some country music, checking out the Hall of Fame, sipped some beers to live music in some of the many bars, checked out the Parthenon (slightly random having something Greek in the middle of Tennessee) and strolled around the city, taking in the atmosphere and soaking it all up. I’m already planning a return with the German before the end of the year. We stopped off at Ana Ruby Falls on the way home – Mama C liked that one too!

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Bright lights of Nashville / Exploring the Parthenon / Gold records at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Don’t worry – more detailed Nashville blogging is in the pipeline!

Sven came to stay
Jeez, the Hotel Richter was busy this month! Just a day after a tearful goodbye to Mama C (don’t worry Minimum, it will be Christmas before we know it!) I was back at the airport to pick up our friend Sven from Germany. He’s a childhood friend of the German, they both grew up in little Mettingen and Sven thought he would stop by to say hello on his way to the west coast of America. We managed to pack a lot into the weekend including a Bundesliga Breakfast (the boys, not me), a visit to Monday Night Brewing, dinner and drinks in Roswell, a tour of Turner Field and we ate our way through a mountain of wings! I’d say that’s a weekend well spent! Sven is now living it up at the Grand Canyon before heading to Las Vegas and San Francisco – not a bad trip at all!

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Some corn hole action at Monday Night Brewing / In the dug out at Turner Field

We explored a little more of Atlanta
On Labor Day we checked out the Atlanta BeltLine. It’s kind of like the High Line in New York City – an old train line that’s slowly being turned into a park walkway, eventually it will stretch around the city but for now there’s just a small section open. Artwork is dotted along the pathway and it’s a popular place for cyclists so make sure you stick to your own side! We did however, forget to take into account the boiling hot sun in the middle of the day – an epic European expat fail. To say we were hot and sweaty was a massive understatement! What a beautiful picture I paint for you…! We also finally made it to the High Museum of Art after a failed attempt last year when we tried to go on a Monday only to get there and realize that’s the day it closes. Doh. We checked out the permanent exhibits and looked at the special Dream Cars exhibit (which the German loved) before hanging out in a hammock and taking a stroll around Piedmont Park.

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Strolling along the Atlanta BeltLine / Hanging out in a hammock at the High Museum of Art

Some of September’s small happy moments
We tucked into our first real American milkshakes, obviously with a burger! I had nutella with burnt marshmallows and the German downed a strawberry shortcake, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be having more milkshakes in the future.

The space near our front door was given a facelift with the addition of a pretty plant and a small herb garden. I wonder if I’ll be able to keep them alive…here’s hoping!

I celebrated the start of fall with a pumpkin spice coffee and a slice of peanut butter and pumpkin loaf. Remember my post about how America loves the pumpkin last year – that love has returned, full throttle!

We took a lovely evening stroll along the Chattahoochee. The weather is cooling down now, making it the perfect time to get outside! It also means the jeans have made their way out of the closet again…sad times. Until next spring shorts!

A front door facelift / Pumpkin coffee and peanut butter and pumpkin loaf / A stroll along the Chattahoochee

A front door facelift / Pumpkin coffee and peanut butter and pumpkin loaf / A stroll along the Chattahoochee

September rocked and October is looking pretty amazing too – my oldest and best friend in the whole wide world is coming to visit next week with my goddaughter and I cannot wait to see them walk through those airport doors – there will definitely be tears, from both sides!

Exploring: Savannah, GA

Exploring Savannah

The German added another year onto his life last weekend (Happy Birthday Handsome Husband!) so we decided to explore somewhere new and headed to Savannah, GA. Being in the same state I figured it wasn’t too far away, although it was still a 4 hour drive, I forget just how big this place is!

Savannah is on the coast of Georgia is the oldest city in the state after being established in 1733, so it’s pretty historical in American terms and it’s been on our bucket list ever since we moved here. So, we set off on Saturday morning and arrived just after lunch. We picked a great hotel right in the middle of historic downtown Savannah called Marshall House, imagine a traditional Georgian house turned into a hotel:

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After checking in and unpacking we headed out to explore Savannah. Jeez, this place is beautiful! It’s packed with cute old houses with beautiful staircases to the front door, little squares all around the city offering benches to chill out on and some much-needed shade from the sun (we managed to pick the hottest weekend of the year to visit, temperatures were in the triple figures people!) and the prettiest trees which line the road and grow together in the middle creating some gorgeous archways across the streets.

Savannah 2We spent most of the day strolling from square to square, checking out the beautiful  houses and of course catching a glimpse of the iconic Forsyth Fountain.

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We obviously hunted out the square where Forrest Gump spent hours waiting for a bus – remember that one? ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!’ Yep, that famous bus stop scene was filmed in one of the beautiful squares in Savannah – Chippewa Square. The bench isn’t there now and modifications have been made which I was a bit disappointed about, I wanted to sit on it!

We also strolled into the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a beautiful building both inside and out, right in the centre of Savannah:

Savannah 3After the cathedral we headed to the river where we checked out some shops and of course stopped off for a little drink – it was hot out there! This place has some really beautiful buildings and a lot of history, I loved just walking around and taking the place in. We stopped off at the most amazing candy store – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. If you’re ever in the area you have to check this place out! It was full of delicious treats and they make pralines, taffy and other tasty treats right in front of you! It was sweet heaven – Ma Cook would have done everything in her power to keep me out of that shop when I was little!

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Savannah’s also one of only four places in the US where you can drink on the streets – somehow the German and I have managed to find ourselves in 3 of them in the last 6 months alone! I have no idea how that happened…

After eating dinner at Maxwell’s (you should go there if you’re in the area, we had the best steak!) and taking in a flight of beer or two we called it a day ready for some more exploring (and the German’s birthday!) the following day!

The next day the German got older, finally got his birthday presents after begging from 6pm the following day because it was already his birthday in Germany and we carried on exploring. We went to the SCAD museum, a definite must see, through the city and its various squares (there are so many we couldn’t do them all in one day!) and visited the Candy Kitchen again for some birthday treats for the German!

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Birthday boy!

We walked along the river, got caught in a little shower (damn rain in high temperatures!) visited the cemetery and of course sunk some birthday drinks! Later we went for dinner at a lovely restaurant called Pacci at The Brice Hotel (the cola braised ribs are to die for!) followed by some more birthday drinks for the birthday boy!

The following day before heading back to Atlanta these beach lovers couldn’t leave without a little trip to Tybee Island! Sadly though a tropical storm was hanging around off the coast meaning the beach was pretty windy! We attempted to lay out for a couple of hours but, without any chairs to sit on we were being hit by sand blowing in the wind…not the most comfortable beach trip ever. So, we ditched the towels and took a walk along the beach instead. It’s a pretty place and definitely worth heading to if you’re in the area!

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Have you ever been to Savannah? What were your highlights?