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Hogansville: Relax in Luxury at The Grand Hotel

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/14/21

Only about 40 minutes outside of Atlanta, there’s a cute, small town that boasts a gorgeous Grand Hotel downtown opposite from some small shops, a hometown pub with food and beer, a pizza joint with slices and wings, a market, coffee shop, and a cool little driving range and bar, a short walk away. Hogansville is a small town has all the small town feels and the most charming people you’ll ever meet. We didn’t meet a stranger the entire night! It’s where stories from veterans, movie industry people, factory workers, and farmers all intermingled to create a patchwork of small-town American Life. Phones don’t work very well here, so it was refreshing to get out and actually engage people and learn more about this town and their way of life.

Back at our hotel, stepping into the Grand Hotel, your immediately greeted with a beautiful blue couch with an original, ornate chandelier hanging in the middle of the warm, wood room. The fireplace and mantle sprawl on the opposite wall as the paneling leads into the hallway and the rich, wood stairs lead up to a common room upstairs surrounded by guest rooms. Couches, tables, lamps, inhabit the common room, a spot to relax and chat with your neighbors if you will. This hotel only has about 9 rooms, and is very affordable for a weekend getaway out of the hustle and bustle of the city.

Entering room 2 with an actual key, it’s like staying in another era, a quieter, simpler time where people sat and chatted in their seating area, warmed by the fire, and turned in when the sun went down. This is how The Grand Hotel feels. In our room, you’re immediately in a sitting room with a small desk and decorative couch. To the left is the gas fireplace that emits a warm glow that you can see through the opulent stained-glass window. On the other side of the wall is the bedroom with it’s own fireplace, a large, comfortable king bed, and it’s private door to the wrap around balcony outside.

Coming back down the maze of stairs, you can either go straight into the chess room or travel to the bottom and turn left you’ll immediately move into the 1890 Room. An evening cocktail spot adorned with a beautiful fireplace, it’s very own stained-glass window, and a large piano in the corner. The bar turns out classic cocktails that fit into the hotel’s 1900s feel, like Call Me Old Fashioned with it’s bourbon and booziness, or the 1890 Sour that’s sweet and creamy, to The HVLLE, a classic Tiki cocktail with tons of coconut. If you’re hungry, they have tapas like an amazing charcuterie board stuffed with 4 meats, three cheese, and all the essential accoutrements! They also have fresh empanadas brought in from Atlanta. Even if you just want to grab a beer, that’s on the menu! The bartenders are friendly and enjoy telling stories!

Down the street from the hotel, is Drive Bar. Owned by James, a Navy Vet, is THE spot to try the latest, local craft beer, and hang out in the bays and hit some golf balls. Almost like a small-town top golf, golf aficionados or friends that just like some friendly competition gather to enjoy the company, the beer, and play one of the many games they have online. They use top golf technology for smaller markets and driving ranges so you can see how far your ball goes and can compete with others on a myriad of games like who can drive it the farthest or hit a target. They are by the hour, affordable fun with a great selection of beers from everyone like Line Creek to Wild Leap and food trucks at night for hungry customers.

Other things to do in Hogansville is the Pub for a burger and a wide selection of drinks, there is also Karvela’s pizza where you can grab a slice for lunch or wings, Brett from Drive Bar said, “you can’t do Hogansville without going to Karvela’s.” After a fun night listening to stories, sipping on cocktails, and eating wonderful food, we headed back to the traffic and busyness of the city. We won’t forget Hogansville, though. It’s a great little town to get away from it all.

ACTIVITIES ABOUND AT SANDESTIN, FL

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/6/21

Activities Abound at Sandestin, FL

As the sunsets over the luxurious rooftop bar, the rays hit the beautiful bay water throwing up shades of purple, orange and pink, enveloping all spectators in the final moments of the day’s light. Down below a large stream interconnects with lakes, rivers, and eventually into the ocean where sunbathers sip cocktails under branded umbrellas. There’s also a walkway covered in palms and other lush trees where a couple walk hand-in-hand pass a treehouse and a large bridge with marina views. The rows of boats bob up and down in the water as the blue and purple of the evening sky meet at the horizon. Did you feel that? That’s Sandestin.

Grounds

The gates opened to the Bayside of Sandestin, and we drove around the first traffic circle and exited to the first right. Just to the right is one of our favorite spots on all the grounds, what we call the long walkway! The entrance to the wooden walkway and pier is wrapped in palms and other greenery and as you pass through, the long walkway opens into a breathtaking view of the bay dotted with grasses and lone trees. Go to the end and take in the beauty of the entire space. When you’re done there, keep going toward the Lakeside area, you’ll notice that it’s lined with a canopy of arching trees that create a beautiful dance of contrasting light and dark. It’s worth just driving through it to enjoy the natural beauty. Beyond that, the golf grounds are pristine and lush, the beach is gorgeous, and everything is freshly landscaped. There is not a lack of beautiful spots in Sandestin, so find your favorite locale.

Osprey Pointe – Accommodations

Near the Marina and Baytowne Wharf, the luxurious Osprey Pointe has 2, 3, and 4-bedroom condos that are great for couples, groups, and families. The second you enter the spacious condo, you feel right at home. With all the bells and whistles, the impeccably decorated kitchen has a full group of appliances and everything you’d need to make a meal! The kitchen is open to the living space and looks out onto the beautifully landscaped bay nearby. Out on the patio, you could sit all day and gaze at the bay view! This 2-bedroom has 2 bathrooms, and the master is spacious and has a huge, sparkling master bath with two showers! Beyond the beautiful condo, Osprey Pointe boasts a beautiful pool with a ton of seating, tables, and shade! So, take a dip in the pool, then take a bike ride or walk down to the Marina and Baytowne Wharf. It’s just minutes away. Even if Osprey Pointe isn’t for you, they have so many accommodation options from beachfront to bayfront.

Beach

Speaking of Beachfront, the wooden walkway maneuvers gracefully through the large sandy dunes and opens onto a spectacularly white and pristine beach. Dotted with blue, branded chairs, people lounge in the shade, build sandcastles, and play in the clear, blue-green water. Beyond relaxing and gazing at the beautiful water, there’s so much to do at Sandestin Beachside! You can grab a drink at the beach bar on the beach, lounge in a beach chair and umbrella with a good book, stay for lunch at The Beach House, get a sandcastle building lesson, or even take a ride on a jet ski or kayak.  We’d recommend a key lime daiquiri from The Beach House, then opt for a pair of chairs and an umbrella to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach!

Marina

Rows and rows of all types of boats bob up and down as the water ebbs and flows in the beautiful bay. Diners at the Marina Bar and Grill sip on cocktails and bite into tasty tacos, as they watch the sun set over the boats and disappears into the horizon. The Marina Bar and Grill is a chill little outdoor spot on the Marina with some serious eats like the grouper sandwich and fried fish tacos! Wash it down with a cocktail! Plus, they have a spot that you can bring your own fish, clean it, and they will cook it for you right there!! On one side of the restaurant is the resident Macaw, Mary Ann. She is out during the day when the Marina Bar and Grill is open and is a great photo op for you to catch. She was born in 2010, and did you know Macaws can live 50 years?

Next to the restaurant and set back from the water is the bike rental where a row of bikes are available for Sandestin guests and owners to use at their leisure. It’s so easy to bike around Sandestin, and beyond the golf cart parade we witnessed daily, is the preferred way to get around. On the other side of the lot is where you can rent kayaks and water toys to explore the bay even more.

Our favorite spot at the bay, is the wooden path between the Marina and Baytowne Wharf. Entering next to the Marina Bar and Grill, the thick trees feel like a jungle on one side with beautiful Marina and water views on the other. As you walk, the wooden path winds through the trees and views of the Marina and the boats are stunning. Stop off at the treehouse for the best top views of the entire area! As you find your way around from there, you’ll come upon a long wooden bridge where the marshy grounds turn into a beautiful stream and empties into the bay. It’s gorgeous. You’re reward is at the end with Baytowne Wharf upon you.

Baytowne Wharf

THE spot to shop, dine, and drink IS Baytowne Wharf. Taking a tour in a circle, your greeted with the sound of children laughing on the brightly lit carousel. Beyond that everything a child could want waits for them with an arcade, sweet shops, games, and a ton of activities! If you follow the circle around from there is where the dining and drinking options start. If you like bull riding or country music is your thing, they have it. If you want to sit with the view of the bay while you sip and nosh, they have that too at Hammerheads and Village Door. Village Door has a large 40 oz cocktail with a souvenir cup so you can remember your time there, plus they also have a great spot to eat on the bay. Hammerheads has a fantastic happy hour daily from 4 to 6 pm. We’d suggest grabbing a seat right at 4 pm on the water!

Sandestin doesn’t have a lack of places to see the sunset, so you should stay for the sunset here and walk out to the Wharf Pier and watch the sun disappear into the watery horizon. For the kiddos, they have fish food you can purchase and feed the fish below.

Continuing the circle, there’s a street that mimics New Orleans! That’s our favorite spot in Baytowne Wharf with several food and drink spots like Hartell’s Diner and Fat Tuesday, as well as a row of cute shops! Fat Tuesdays has great deals on daiquiris for $8 bucks and a shot for $1 extra. We’d recommend the Miami Vice or 44 Magnum. Plus if you’re looking for a fun evening out? Start at Fat Tuesday, then head over to Rum Runners for a dueling piano experience. You can pick your favorite songs for the piano players to sing, take a seat, and sing along!

Our favorite restaurant in the Wharf has to be The Marlin Grill. We stopped by there for dinner our first night and we fell in love with the Roasted Duck and the Scottish Salmon appetizer. Please make sure to make a reservation because they’re always busy or cross your fingers for a spot at the bar.

Hotel Effie

Only steps from Baytowne Wharf, Upscale, modern, yet, inviting, Hotel Effie is THE SPOT to stay in Sandestin. She is adorned with Ara Rooftop Bar where a luxurious rooftop pool meets the sky, cabanas, and a stunning almost 360 view of the entire Sandestin grounds. Stop by for a fantastic Toasted Coconut daiquiri and catch the sunset from multiple views! Downstairs, you should also visit the newest and hands-down best restaurant in Sandestin, Ovide. From Atlanta Chef, Hugh Acheson, this lavish dining spot has wonderfully crafted cocktails like the grapefruit forward Sun Kissed or our favorite cocktail, Shore Leave. They have fantastic dishes like the stellar filet mignon, flavorful blackened mahi mahi, uniquely good farm egg, rich prime beef tartare. We’d recommend anything on this menu, it’s that good.

As the gates closed on our time at Sandestin, we reminisced about our favorite memories and thought about all the wonderful food, drinks, and sunsets we got to witness. We felt we actually needed more time to explore even more that Sandestin had to offer. We’d recommend at least 4 nights to get the full experience. What would you like to experience most?

Sandestin, FL is located in Miramar Beach, FL in between Destin and Santa Rosa Beach on the Emerald Coast.

Website: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort | Your Place in the Sun

ANNOUNCING THE 2021 EAT DRINK RELAX EVENT SCHEDULE – ATLANTA AND NE!

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 3/24/21

Coming to a city near you!

We are excited to announce the 2021 Drink Eat Relax Events Schedule!  The Pandemic has presented many challenges over the past year and we are optimistic and excited about getting back to producing events for our guests.

2021 Schedule

Beer Bourbon & BBQ Festivals:                                                   

www.beerandbourbon.com                                    

  Tysons, VA – May 22                                                                                 

  Richmond, VA – June 12                                                                                                                

  Tampa, FL – June 19                                                            

  Charlotte, NC  – July 24                                                                                                                                                   

  Brooklyn, NY – July 31 & August 1                                             

  Cary, NC – September 10 & 11                                        

  Atlanta, GA – September 18

  Timonium, MD – October 29 & 30                                   

  Wilmington, NC –  November 13  

Wine & Food Festivals:

Vintage Virginia Wine & Food – June 5

www.vintagevirginia.com

Wine & Food Festivals Continued:

www.uncorkthefun.com

   Baltimore, MD – August 7

   National Harbor, DC – September 25 & 26   

   Charlotte, NC – October 2                                                   

Tacos ‘N Taps Festivals:

www.tacosntaps.com

  Raleigh, NC (previously Cary) – June 26

  Baltimore, MD – August 21

Chesapeake Crab Wine & Beer Festivals:                                                  

www.crabwinebeer.com

  Baltimore, MD – August 7                                                 

  National Harbor, DC – August 14 

Das Best Oktoberfest – October 16            

www.mdoktoberfest.com

A Portion of All Proceeds Benefit:

The Spirit of HopeChildren’s Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 organization formed and operated for the purpose of providing support and promoting education for children and adults with a mental or physical disability.

For more information on purchasing tickets for any of the 2021 Drink Eat Relax Events, please visit www.drinkeatrelax.com or call 800-830-3976.

3RD ANNUAL RHYTHM AND BREWS FESTIVAL

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 10/6/19

Festival features live music, food, craft beer and wine

Saturday, October 26th at 5:30 pm

GREENSBORO, GA Reynolds Lake Oconee and OPAS (Oconee Performing Arts Society) are excited to present the third annual Rhythm & Brews Festival. The festival will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Reynolds Lake Oconee’s historic Sandy Creek Barn.

Headlining the 2019 festival are five world-renowned rock stars, including Scott Stapp of Creed, Jason Scheff of Chicago, Emmerson Hart of Tonic, Matt Scannell of Vertical Horizon and Don Barnes of .38 Special. Each veteran musician will be accompanied by the Nashville-based band SIXWIRE.

General admission is $150 and includes access to the craft beer and wine tasting, concert and shuttle service. For guests seeking the ultimate Rhythm & Brews experience, VIP tickets are available for $250 and include general admission access plus exclusive VIP amenities including a tasting experience inside the Sandy Creek Barn with special wine offerings, a VIP hospitality suite at the concert with complimentary food offerings, a dedicated cash bar and comfortable seating that includes a reserved seat during the concert.

“With a great music line up and more tasting and food options than ever before, this year’s Rhythm & Brews Festival is the don’t miss event of the fall,” said Ginger DiMascio, Business Director for OPAS.

The beer and wine garden will provide more than 30 craft selections for tasting and several award-winning food trucks will be on-site to provide culinary pairings. Guests must be 21 and older to attend.

Last year the festival brought in a total of 1200 attendees, doubling from its inaugural year in 2017. The festival has quickly become a local favorite event for residents and visitors alike, all while enhancing the cultural enrichment in the Lake Oconee area.

For more information on the festival and parking, visit http://www.opas.org/rhythm-brews.