Garden*Hood in Grant Park


, , , ,

Garden*Hood Plant Atlanta | Atlanta

353 Boulevard SE
Atlanta, Ga
(The entrance gate is on Woodward Avenue)
View Website

Garden*Hood Atlanta

It’s time for fall gardens, Y’all! Get the kids involved in planting some veggies this season, or pick up a pumpkin or two! We visited Garden*Hood after a ride on the Beltline recently.  Yes, the prices here are going to be a little higher than Home Depot, but the quality is FAR SUPERIOR to any big box store.  Plus, you’re helping a local business grow and flourish.

I really hadn’t planned on writing about our stop here, but the boys liked it so much! It turned into a great adventure for them…enough so that I want to encourage you to try it with your kiddos.  We bought a large thornless blackberry, plus plenty of veggies for the fall garden. They boys picked out about six different lettuces, three kids of kale, several greens, and some chard.  There are slao beautiful gourds and pumpkins, garden decor, and more!

Garden*Hood Atlanta

Garden*Hood Atlanta

Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta Garden*Hood Atlanta


Disclosure: Garden*Hood didn’t ask me to post or pay me to do it.  Like I said, I wasn’t even planning on posting about them until I saw what a great time the boys had. Hope you do, too. As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal

Tom + Chee in Kennesaw, Ga


, , ,

Tom + Chee | Kennesaw

1200 Ernest Barrett Parkway
Suite 208
Kennesaw, Ga
Also in Alpharetta and Buford

View Website

Tom and Chee Grilled Cheese and Soup

As soon as I learned there was a restaurant that specializes in grilled cheese, we packed up the car and headed over.  Tom + Chee did not disappoint.  Pick from several gournet grilled cheese suggestions, like the Pesto Turkey with turkey, pesto, and Mozerella on sourdough or the BBQ + Bacon with BBQ potato chips, bacon and American cheese on white bread.  I selected from the “Build Your Own”…Gouda, tomato, and bacon on sourdough.  There are also salads…and don’t forget the soup! Always tomato soup plus a daily special. When we were there it was cream of mushroom.  Don’t feel like I big bowl? I love that they have a Souper Dipper, which is a small size perfect for dipping your sandwich into. Yeah!

The kids can enjoy a 1/2 grilled cheese plus soup, chips, or fruit…with a drink…for $3.50.  On Monday night, the same meal is 99 cents. Woot!

We visited in Kennesaw, not too far from Kennesaw National Battlefield Park.  There are also locations in Buford and Alpharetta.


Tom and Chee Grilled Cheese and Soup

Tom and Chee Grilled Cheese and Soup

Tom and Chee Grilled Cheese and Soup Tom and Chee Grilled Cheese and Soup Tom and Chee Grilled Cheese and Soup Tom and Chee Grilled Cheese and Soup

Disclosure: No one offered me a free grilled cheese. No one paid me to write this. It’s grilled cheese, people. Grilled Cheese. Why wouldn’t I share that??? As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal


Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Fall Foliage Ride in Blue Ridge, Ga


, ,

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway | Blue Ridge

662 East Main Street
Blue Ridge, Ga

View Website

Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad

Today, your mission is to purchase tickets for the Fall Foliage Ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.  Southern Living named this one of the best ways to see the fall colors! This special ride is only during October, and tickets go super fast so get yours now.  I wish we had fall photos to show you, but we are not heading there until Oct 25th…and I didn’t want to wait that long to tell you about it.  I’m including some photos here from our summer visit.  You can also read more about our ride, what to expect, and what else to do in Blue Ridge in my post about a Vacation in Blue Ridge.

Blue ridge scenic railway DSC_0124 DSC_0127 DSC_0137 DSC_0147 DSC_0151

Disclosure: We received a complimentary ride on the BRSR while visiting the city this Summer, in order to bring you the scoop.  We are paying our own way this Fall because we loved that ride so much. Reporting on the Fall ride was not part of the deal…if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I have adopted Blue Ridge. I want to share it with you as much as possible.  As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal

Halloween Hayrides at Red Top Mountain in Cartersville, Ga


, , ,

Red Top Mountain | Cartersville

50 Lodge Road SE
Cartersville, Ga 

View Website

PiratesAtRavenwood Redtop Mountain Halloween Hayrides

From the website:It is finally that time again, me hearties!All new this year, pirates are attacking Ravenwood!  The townsfolk need your help defending against a raggedy band of pirates looking for stolen treasure.

As always, we offer a family-friendly experience. While the ride itself is spooky, it is still suitable for most little ones. Our ride loops through the Iron Hill area of Red Top providing riders with a trip through the mythical town of Ravenwood.

Our professional story-tellers will provide a very entertaining mix of spooky stories including some of your perennial favorites.  Plenty of treats and cider are available following the stories for you to enjoy prior to the short walk back to your car.

**Parents’ Guide Available  -  Our hayride is designed for ALL ages and is completely family friendly.  However, what isn’t scary to one person may terrify another.  Parents, please feel free to check out our parent’s guide if you are concerned.  You can also send us an email with any specific questions about your child.  (  We want EVERYONE to be able to enjoy our hayrides and will do what we can to make sure you have a great time!

Our hayrides will run at 7:00pm, 7:40pm, 8:20pm and 9:00pm on the following dates:  October 10-11, 17-18, & 24-25

The cost is $10 per rider.  Children aged 2 and under ride free.  All vehicles must display either an annual ParkPass or a Daily pass.  The cost for a daily pass is $5 and they are available at our gate.

Due to limited volunteer staffing, reservations can only be made through our website.  We regret that we cannot process reservations over the phone.  If you have problems making a reservation or problems with your existing reservation, please contact us.  For the fastest service, reach us by email at  You may also leave a phone message for us at 678-792-9554. Our volunteer staff is small but we will make every effort to respond to your inquiries as promptly as possible.

Hayrides are located in the Iron Hill trail area.  To reach our parking lot, from I75 take exit 285 and follow the signs to the park.  You will pas the Visitor Center on your left and then the campgrounds on your right.  You will see signs for hayride parking.  If you enter the park from Glade Rd., the hayride parking lot is on your left about .5 mile from the park entrance.

We sincerely hope you enjoy your experience this year!  Reservations are being processed through Friends of Georgia State Parks which is how the charge will appear on your credit card statement.

Click here to make reservations

Disclosure: No one asked me, no one is paying me.  I am posting this because it sounds awesome and I think I might take my own kiddos.  Yes, I have received gratis visits from Ga State Parks for reviews throughout the year.  This is not one of them.  Red Top Mountain has some seriously cool programs, and I like sharing them with you. I probably SHOULD try to stay at Red Top and bring you a cottage or yurt review, though….hmmm. {idea brewing} As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal


Halloween Hikes at Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell


, , ,

Chattahoochee Nature Center | Roswell

9135 Willeo Road
Roswell, Ga

View Website

CNC Halloween Hikes

We enjoy Halloween Hikes because the kids can dress up and partake in Halloween activities at night that aren’t scary.  You’ll be assigned a specific time for your hike departure. The group you are assigned to walk the short trails within the park, meeting nature characters along the way.  You’ll learn a little something about the animal or plant, and then kids can fill their bucket with treats before moving to the next character.  After you finish the short hike, make your way to the bonfire for music and storytelling.  There are also crafts, face painting, and more. It is truly a fun time!


CNC Halloween Hikes

Disclosure: No one paid us, no one asked.  We love Chattahoochee Nature Center and the Halloween Hikes, and we wanted to share. As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal

Vacation Deals: Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort


, ,

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort | Hilton Head

4 Queens Folly Road
Hilton Head Island, SC

View Website



Hilton Head is less than five hours from Atlanta, and is a popular vacation spot for those looking to play at the beach.  For many, the desire to bask in the South Carolina sun is great, but they are discouraged because of the cost. The solution is here! Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a Top 25 World’s Best Family Getaway per Travel + Leisure Magazine. Imagine a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom villa with a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and preferred rates and priority access to the golf courses, bike rental, tennis court, kayaking, fishing charters and more.  Some of the villas include pools, gyms, balconies, elevators, and screened porches.  All this for starting at $159 per night now thru March 2015.

Our family is heading here in January to check it out and report back to you. I can’t wait to share the scoop. Despite not yet having first-hand knowledge, I am impressed with their offerings and accolades. I want to tell you about this sweet deal now, incase you want to try it out for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Look at this list of awesome fall outdoor activities in the area. I can’t wait, and I think you’ll like it, too.

Here is the scoop on the deal, straight from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort:

Hilton Head in the Off Season Offers More Bang for your Buck, Villas Start at $159/night

Afraid Hilton Head Island prices are beyond your reach? Think again! Hilton Head Island, especially in the off season, which includes the holidays, may be more economical than you thought.

From October 2014-March 2015, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, one of the biggest resorts on the island, offers rates starting at $159/night — and not for a traditional hotel room, but rather a full villa with many of the amenities of home. Those prices also stay the same during Thanksgiving or Christmas if you’re looking to spend your holidays beachfront.

Starting at $159/night, guests receive a resort view villa with:

  • 2 bedrooms

  • 2 baths

  • Full kitchen and dining area

  • TVs

  • Washer/dryer

  • Wireless Internet access

  • 2 hours tennis court time daily

  • 20% off resort dining and select retail stores with charging privileges

  • Preferred rates and priority access for the resort’s 3 championship golf courses and lessons, tennis clinics, bike rentals, kayak rentals, fishing charters and more

  • Select dog-friendly rentals

Many villas also offer pools, gyms, elevators and screened porches or balconies. Additional bedrooms and ocean views are available for a higher starting rate.

About Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a 2,000-acre resort destination located in the middle of Hilton Head Island, S.C., bounded by 3 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other. Named to the top 25 World’s Best Family Getaways by Travel + Leisure in 2013, the resort features three world-class golf courses, an award-winning tennis center, an 11-mile inland salt-water lagoon system for kayaking and fishing, and Hilton Head Outfitters for bike rentals, canoes, kayaks, fishing and much more. The Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour, Hilton Head Island’s largest deep-water marina, located right across from Palmetto Dunes, features waterfront shopping and dining and a wide variety of charters, including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing and fishing. For information about activities or reservations, please call 877-567-6513 or visit

PalmettoDunesFamilyKayaks-LoRes PalmettoDunes3125VillamarePool-LoRes PalmettoDunes46SeaLaneFront-LoRes rp_Palmetto_Dunes_Oceanfront_Resort




* Thank you to Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort for all the photos.

Disclosure: My family and I were asked to come review Palmetto Dunes Resort, and we agreed.  In exchange for our upcoming stay, I offered them some exposure on my site, which includes sharing this fall/winter deal with you all. After significant research I believe this resort is worthy of your attention. I am drawn to it because of the accolades, family-friendly ammenities, and fun outdoor activities.  As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal

Richard B Russell State Park in Elberton, Ga


, , ,

Richard B Russell State Park | Elberton

2650 Russell State Park Drive
Elberton, Ga

View Website

Richard B Russell State Park

Richard B Russell‘s primary draw (arguably) is the park’s 18-hole Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course. I visited this past winter with the kids and learned there is much more for families here.  The park marks home-base for the 1996 Olympic rowing team’s training facility.  Even with the Olympics far behind us, rowers regularly use Lake Russell for training. We enjoyed watching them on the water. We also played disc golf, rented bikes, and hiked much of the 6-miles of trails onsite.

I recommend getting a cabin here.  With more time at the park you can try the Blackwell Bridge Trail and Cottage Loop Trail.  You can rent a pontoon boat to explore the lake. You’re also not too far from Watson Mill Bridge State Park or the Georgia Guidestones.

Richard B Russell State Park

Richard B Russell State Park Richard B Russell State Park Richard B Russell State Park Richard B Russell State Park Richard B Russell State Park

Disclosure: Georgia State Parks  provided my family and me a free stay at the Cottage here in order to review it and the park for another website. They did not ask me to add it to this site; my opinions are always my own. As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal

Historic Halloween at Atlanta History Center in Atlanta



Atlanta History Center | Atlanta

130 West Paces Ferry Road NW
Atlanta, Ga

View Website

Magic Mondays at Atlanta History Center

When my oldest was a toddler, we made Magic Mondays at Atlanta History Center a priority each month.  Each month we learned about a new topic – trains, bees, etc.  We did it with games, stories, art projects, and more.  Atlanta History Center consistently offers a solid program.  Don’t miss their Hallween fun. Last year my son won the costume contest (nope – they didn’t know we were from 365 AF.)

Here’s the info from the website:

This monthly program for toddlers and preschoolers (18 months to five years) engages our youngest visitors in activities that introduce them to history in creative ways. Each Magic Monday has a unique theme and includes a guided exploration of one of our exhibitions, historic houses, or award-winning gardens, as well as demonstrations, arts and crafts projects, and story time. Join us for another exciting year and connect with old friends while meeting new ones.

Kids can show off their favorite costumes in a Halloween parade, costume contests, and trick-or-treating throughout the museum.  Crafty creatures make Halloween-themed art projects and listen to spooky tales.

Members are admitted for free. Admission is $6.50 adults; $5.50 children. 

Halloween Magic Mondays Atlanta History Center Halloween Magic Mondays Atlanta History Center

Disclosure: No one asked us, no one paid us. We just love Magic Mondays and Atlanta History Center. As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal

Zone of Light in Atlanta, Ga



Zone of Light | Atlanta

1174 Zonolite Place
Atlanta, Ga

View Website

Zone of Light

Zone of light Studio offers high-quality, affordable art instruction and special events for children and adults.  Our expert educators provide creative inspiration for people of all ages to tap into their inner artist, learn new skills and create unique works of art.  With access to Zonolite Park’s trails and creek, our eclectic, upbeat warehouse space is located in the Floataway Community near Virginia-Highland.

Disclosure: Zone of Light asked me to share their Family Fun Day with you, but I was off line for that so I am sharing their studio instead. I’m sure they will have other awesome activities in the future. They did not pay me. Also, I have never been. It just seemed like a fun place to share with you. As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal

Fall Celebration at Smithgall Woods in Helen, Ga


, , , ,

Smithgall Woods State Park | Helen

61 Tsalaki Trail
Helen, Ga

View Website

Smithgall Woods State Park

No bones about it – Smithgall Woods is my favorite state park in Georgia.  I love how the temperature drops a few degrees as you drive through…how the moss collects on the rocks…how the hardwoods tower overhead.  The stream is peaceful, and filled to the brim with trout. (That was a pun. Get it?)  Everything about this parks just slows my blood pressure, and makes me smile.  

Today they are celebrating Fall! There will be hands-on pioneer skills exhibits, hayrides through the park, traditional craft vendors, mountain music, and apple cider from a hand-cranked press. The celebration is free; just pay the $5 parking fee, as always.

If you have an opportunity to stay at the park, I highly recommend it.  You can see my cottage review here. And don’t forget, people. This is Helen. In October. FUN! Make a full day of it.  See Anna Ruby Falls, Unicoi State Park, eat some German food, ride the horse and carriage in town.  You’re not too far from Sautee Nacoochee, where you can see the newest Ga State Historic Site and visit the Old Sautee Market….my favorite place for lunch in the mountains. You can hike to Dukes Creek Falls or Whitley Gap. There’s even more Helen hikes (5+) in the 52 Destination Hikes article. Take a look!

Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen

Dukes Creek Falls, very close to Smithgall and an easy hike

Dukes Creek Falls in Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen