Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Jekyll Island, Georgia, served as an exclusive destination for wealthy families whose names still grab headlines, such as the Rockefellers, Morgans (as in J.P.), Goodyears, and more. Since money and power go hand in hand, many milestones in American history took place here—the think tank meetings for the creation of the Federal Reserve and the first transcontinental phone call, for example. Lucky for us modern-day folks, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is now open to the public and has kept its old-world charm and pristine landscape. To [... more]

The Heart of Savannah

With quaint B&Bs and intimate inns, Savannah has long been a romantic getaway for couples. But once you’ve chosen a hotel, where do you dine? Locals know that Maxwell’s in Savannah is the place to go for a romantic evening. Besides an upscale atmosphere, there’s a talented pianist/vocalist on site that ups that love-is-in-the-air atmosphere. Maxwell’s keeps the menu choices limited because it offers nightly specials according to what’s in season. Be sure to end your evening on a sweet note…I recommend the key lime cheesecake or [... more]

Simply Sleek

This sleek, modern Atlanta guesthouse and swimming pool were situated on a 60- x 120-foot site once occupied by a tennis court. Along the northern edge, the guesthouse provides a backdrop to the pool and terrace when viewed from the main house. Sliding glass panels and clerestory windows along the Southern facade create an open pavilion aesthetic. Primarily a wood-framed structure, the guesthouse used concealed wood posts and beams to accommodate large window and door openings along the Southern facade. The concealed beams help create a “floating [... more]

Fusion Confusion?

Don’t call Cardamom Hill chef Asha Gomez’s cooking “fusion” as she has a disdain for the word. She’ll quickly tell you it isn’t fusion at all, but simply the food she grew up eating in her native Kerala, India. Unlike in other parts of India, Kerala cuisine doesn’t use heavy sauces. Also absent are the extremely hot peppers used in most Indian cooking, The result? The true flavors and aromas of the food come through. Favorite dishes at Cardamom Hill in Atlanta include the Goat Biryani, Kerala [... more]

In Good Spirits

One of America’s most haunted cities, Savannah, Georgia, offers many ways to experience its ghostly past. One of the best, the Haunted Pub Crawl, lets you enjoy both kinds of spirits (the supernatural and the thirst-quenching sort) as your tour guide recants the tales of horror originating in the very establishments your libations come from. Sip on a Champagne Cocktail in The Olde Pink House or 1790 Mojito in The 17Hundred90 Inn and Bar. Two hours  and “X” number of drinks later (no judgment), you’ll be amazed at the history you manage [... more]

Trailing After Literary Legends

With the silver-screen remake of The Great Gatsby in 2013, a new generation has been introduced to one of America’s greatest writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald. But he’s only one of a handful of big-time 20th century authors who called the South home. Interested in classic lit? I challenge you to plan your next vacation along the Southern Literary Trail, which winds its way through Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. If you don’t have time to visit all of the sites, consider this suggested itinerary: Start your drive in [... more]

A Bistro in the ‘Burbs

Some people say that the northern ’burbs of Atlanta don’t have good spots to eat. Well, I say they’re sorely mistaken. Case in point: Bistro VG in Roswell, Georgia. A proven standby for locals, the restaurant has enjoyed success for decades—an eternity by Atlanta standards. White tablecloths and linen chair-back covers impart a more sophisticated feel than many of the surrounding restaurants. The mostly “modern French cuisine” elevates it as well. Recently, we chose the spot to celebrate my hubby’s birthday. We dined on tried-and-true favorites—the Calamari [... more]

Artistry, Inside and Out

The Savannah College of Art and Design has famously linked itself to the City of Savannah, Georgia, over the years by transforming historic buildings into new functions for entertainment, student life, and design studios. The new SCAD Museum of Art is no exception. The railroad depot, a Historic Landmark, now thrives as an art community with galleries, classrooms, art studios, a theater, and public spaces. I visited the museum last year and recommend first experiencing it at night. The sidewalk approach gently lights up the path while [... more]

Shine On!

The South is experiencing a moonshine resurgence. No longer a backwoods brew, ’shine now shows up on cocktail menus at trendy establishments. One such place, Stillhouse in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, has designed its entire cocktail menu around it. Dressed in low light and dark woods, the bar/restaurant features booths and high top tables made from Troy & Sons whiskey barrels. But, as we found out, the best seats are at the bar. Bartenders artfully craft cocktails using any of the 45 varieties of moonshine on hand. If [... more]

Always the Optimist

Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry, designer Smith Haynes, and architect Tim Nichols whip up an amazing experience for this classic seafood restaurant and oyster bar, named The Optimist. The design has a chic sense of nostalgia as most of the spatial inspiration came from Instagram images of seafood plans and ‘70s Venice Beach surf lifestyle. The building renovation (or more aptly, a rehabilitation) enhances the existing steel truss-work while featuring amazing new custom details such as steel windows, antique wood strips inspired by lobster traps, and glass pendants [... more]