Exploring Atlanta

by Alfred Falligan


From the Editor: Al Falligan lives and works in Atlanta. He is working hard to make the best convention arrangements yet for our first ever visit to Atlanta. Here is what he has to say this month:

We trust that you are coming to Atlanta expecting a great time. We are anxious to get together with the family again and catch up on the news since we were in Dallas, Texas. Of course there will be new people to meet and opportunities to deepen existing friendships. This article provides additional information to make your stay even more enjoyable. But first here are a few reminders.

By the time you read this article we expect to have only a few tickets left for the Tuesday evening, July 6, Atlanta Braves/Florida Marlins baseball game. They are $12 each and can be ordered by sending checks for the number of tickets ordered to Al Falligan, P.O. Box 2124, Atlanta, Georgia 30301. Be sure to make checks or money orders payable to the NFB of Georgia, not to me.

Also, if you have not yet made your travel arrangements and room reservation for the convention, you should do it today. This year's gathering with its memorial events for Dr. Jernigan, its plans for the future, and its opportunities to get your hands on tomorrow's technology will be absolutely unforgettable. It won't be the same without you, and you will always regret your absence if you don't decide to join us. To make your travel arrangements and take advantage of our special airline rates, contact Sue Kable at Glyndon Square Travel, (800) 875-9685. Convention room rates this year are singles, $57; doubles and twins, $59; triples, $61; and quads, $63. The room tax is 14 percent, and nothing will be charged for children in the room with parents if no extra bed is requested.

For 1999 convention room reservations write directly to Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, or call (404) 521-0000. Do not use Marriott's national toll-free number. Reservations made through this national number will not be valid. They must be made directly with the hotel. The hotel will want a deposit of $60 or a credit card number. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $60 check. If a reservation is cancelled prior to June 4, 1999, $30 of the $60 deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.

The Marriott Marquis Hotel is at the northern end of an area of Atlanta filled with hotels, restaurants, and shops. The north boundary of the Marriott property lies along Baker Street. The south side is bounded by Harris Street; south of Harris and also running east and west is International Boulevard, then Ellis Street. East of the hotel is Courtland Street, running north and south. The Hilton, our overflow hotel, is straight across the street from the Courtland Street entrance of the Marriott. West of the Marriott and parallel to Courtland is Peachtree Center Avenue, not to be confused with Peachtree Street, which is one block further to the west. Resign yourself to finding that you're standing on Peachtree something-or-other just about any time you turn a corner in Atlanta. This Peachtree Street is the city's main thoroughfare.

Atlanta's famous statute of baseball immortal, Hank AaronThe Peachtree Center Mall is located in the square block southwest of the Marriott. It is bounded by Harris, Peachtree Center Avenue, Ellis, and Peachtree Street. But it is not necessary to walk out into the steamy Georgia summer to reach this shopping Mecca. You can get there directly from the lower level of our hotel, and the Georgia affiliate is preparing directions for you in print and Braille for doing just that. Here are a few of the things you will find in the Peachtree Center Mall:

Food Court, Gallery Level, includes the following:

American Lunch, Atlanta Bread Company, Auntie Anne's, Big Easy Cajun, Blue Chip Cookies, Cafe du Jour, Chick-Fil-A, Coffee Station, Cosimo's Pizza, Dairy Queen, Dressed to Grill, Dunkin' Donuts, Gorin's Homemade Ice Cream, Gyro Wrap, J. Brenner Grill, Kameel's Cafe, KFC, Oriental Express, Roman Delight Pizza, Subway, TCBY, and Wall Street Deli. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, everyone will find something here that hits the spot.

But maybe you are in need of a little more substantial evening meal before you hurry back for an important meeting. The Mall has several restaurants you'll want to know about.

Azio Downtown, a popular upscale Italian bistro, (404) 222-0808, Peachtree Street Level.

Benihana, entertaining tableside presentations of Japanese cuisine, (404) 522-9627, Avenue Level.

Charlie & Barney's Bar and Grill, casual atmosphere featuring its famous chili, a fully stocked bar, and a dance floor, (404) 688-0928, Gallery Level.

For those necessary souvenirs and remembrances you will want to take home, try Touch of Georgia, offering a variety of Georgia food products, theme gifts, T-shirts, mugs, and potpourri, (404) 577-6681, Gallery Level.

Everyone who travels knows the occasional necessity of finding a drugstore, grocery store, hair salon, etc. Here are some shops you may want to find:

Continental Hair Design, a full-service men's and women's salon, also offering manicures and pedicures, (404) 577-6511, Gallery Level.

Executive Shoe Shine, complete leather care service for ladies' and men's shoes, briefcases and other accessories, Gallery Level.

The Flower Garden, a full-service flower shop with traditional and tropical blooms, plants, and balloons. (404) 522-5212, Avenue Level.

La Grande Convenience Store, assorted grocery items including beer, wine, fruit, snacks, and general merchandise, (404) 688-2254, Avenue Level.

The Pharmacy, a complete drugstore for prescription and personal needs, (404) 522-1492, Gallery Level.

Ticket Pros, memorabilia from and tickets to the hottest seats in town for sport, theater, and special events, (404) 614-1766, Gallery Level.

Wolf Camera and Video, one-stop shop for cameras, video equipment, accessories, and one-hour photo processing, (404) 614-1766, Gallery Level.

If you want to travel world-famous Peachtree Street and visit places like Planet Hollywood, the Sundial Restaurant (seventy-two stories up), the Hard Rock Cafe, Macy's department store, or McDonald's, you can leave the Marriott from the main entrance on Peachtree Center Avenue and turn right. Walk to the corner, which is Baker Street. Cross Peachtree Center Avenue. If you then cross Baker, you will find yourself facing a cluster of restaurants at the northwest corner of the intersection. If you travel one block west to Peachtree Street instead, you can turn left and walk south on Peachtree Street. There you will find McDonald's and the rest. Those exiting the hotel onto Courtland Street should turn right and walk to the corner. Turn right on Harris, walking west for two blocks, and take a right onto Peachtree Street. In that two-block stroll you will find Steak and Ale; Hoops, a soul food restaurant; Mick's; Sho's, an Oriental restaurant; and a number of other restaurants.

One of the truly memorable areas of Atlanta is Buckhead, about six miles north of the Marriott. Take a taxi or the MARTA rail system to this up-scale city within a city. Youthful recreation and sophisticated charm are to be found in this community, which is now 160 years old but looks practically new. You will find twenty-four-hour night life, all the major retail chains, exquisite dining, some of the largest churches in America, beautiful homes shaded by an extensive tree canopy, places to visit like the Atlanta History Center and the Governor's Mansion, and much more. Residents are a mixture of old-timers and new kids on the block from throughout the country and around the world.

Here's a quick Buckhead fact: There are more than 100 restaurants and nightlife spots within the two and a half blocks surrounding the intersection of Peachtree Road and West Paces Ferry Road. If you're looking for entertainment day or night, Buckhead is the place to be. At the northern end of Buckhead, on Wieuca Road, Chastain Memorial Park is a favorite Atlanta gathering spot. It's home to Chastain Park Amphitheater, where touring jazz, rock, and adult contemporary artists play during the summer.

Buckhead truly sparkles after dark, and the choices for entertainment are endless. Stroll through the Village, the intersection of West Paces Ferry and Peachtree Roads, and see what catches your fancy--there are lots of bars and clubs on the east side of Peachtree, and you can club-hop to your heart's content. On weekends the area resembles a giant block party as thousands of people crowd the sidewalks. You'll find food, drinks, darts, and of course pool at Buckhead Billiards at 200 Pharr Road. Try Fado Irish Pub for the ambience of an authentic Irish pub; visit John Harvard's Brew House at 3039 Peachtree Road to experience a mellow brewpub; or head to Havanan Club at 247 Buckhead Avenue for live Latin music in a cigar-bar atmosphere, with more than 100 brands of stogies available.

Tongue & Groove at 3055 Peachtree Road is a great place to celebrity-watch. Open Tuesday through Saturday, this nightspot resembles an upscale cocktail lounge and attracts a slightly older crowd. Just a short drive away is the plush Goldfinger at 3081 East Shadowlawn Avenue, where you can choose from twenty martinis--all named after James Bond movies.

Swing dancing is as much of a craze in Buckhead as it is across the nation. Romantic duos have several venues to choose from, including Swingers at 3449 Peachtree Road, which offers free dance lessons nightly at 10:00 p.m. Sambucca Mediterranean Cafe & Jazz Bar at 3102 Piedmont Road also plays swing on Monday nights.

A couple of long-standing establishments are perennial favorites among an older crowd. The elegant Otto's at 265 East Paces Ferry Road is a singles club featuring contemporary dance music, while the more casual Johnny's Hideaway at 3771 Roswell Road caters to a more mature audience, with dancing to mellow Big Band dance music and tunes from the past sixty years.

Buckhead is served by three MARTA transit rail stations: Lenox, Buckhead, and Lindbergh.

The Fourth of July is a memorable day of celebration in Atlanta, and this year the holiday falls on our convention's half day. The Peachtree Road Race begins early. First staged in 1970 with 110 runners, the ten-K race has grown to 50,000 participants. The event is popular, not only with the athletes it attracts from around the world, but with the more than 200,000 spectators that line Peachtree Street; call (404) 231-9064 for more information. That night at around 6:00 p.m., guests start arriving at the Lenox Square parking lot to enjoy a picnic and live music and to await one of the country's top fireworks shows at dusk. The twenty-minute choreographed display is set to top-forty and patriotic music and includes more than eleven tons of fireworks.

With all this and more to choose from, Buckhead is guaranteed to keep you entertained. Hurry on down!

Georgia, Georgia, no peace I find.

Just an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind.