South Fulton’s hidden oasis within the community of Serenbe is preparing to introduce metro Atlanta to a Disney classic. The cast and crew of Serenbe Playhouse are preparing for the season opener, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Director Ryan Oliveti is thrilled to be making his debut directing role at Serenbe Playhouse with this piece. As an avid Disney fan, this opportunity is a dream come true for Oliveti. Playhouse Founder and Artistic/Executive Director Brian Clowdus spearheaded the idea of taking people’s trash and making it Ariel’s treasure—only the team didn’t stop there. Costume Designer Erik Teague says, “the exciting thing about using household items in unexpected forms is that it can inspire someone to view a commonplace object in a new light. For example, a soda can tab is just a soda can tab until it becomes a bauble on a mermaid’s headdress; a milk jug is just plastic until it becomes the crown of King Triton; and bubble wrap is just for packing until it becomes the suckers on a set of Ursula’s tentacles!” Serenbe Playhouse has been producing hit plays for the past nine years, and this year continues to feature some of Atlanta’s top talent, says Oliveti. When asked about working in environmental theatre, Oliveti says there’s something magical about working within the elements. The ninth season of the Serenbe Playhouse is entitled “VOYAGE: After the Rebellion. We Sail On!” Each show will be in or around water. “The Little Mermaid” Scenic Director, Shannon Robert, stated, “this project is putting a spotlight on and reflecting on what we are doing to our oceans and landscape. I have never done anything at this scale using a physical environment (like a body of water) using materials (that could threaten it and kill the life in it) to create beautiful and treacherous set pieces (with a final objective of making sure it is all recycled at the conclusion of the production).” Robert and the Drama Department team at Clemson University are eager to help create this magical world right here in our backyard. Tickets are currently on sale for “The Little Mermaid,” which opened March 28, and continues with showtimes through April 22. This year homeschool days and day time performances for schools will be available. More information can be found at SerenbePlayhouse.com.
Highlights from Aerotropolis Atlanta The Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance Public/Private Partnership is focused primarily on economic development in the South Fulton and Clayton County Area. The workforce development efforts have successfully completed five cohorts in Construction and Hospitality. Also, they recently hired a full time person dedicated to the workforce development initiatives. The groundbreaking of the College Park Gateway Center, set to open in 2019, will bring more than 500 jobs to the Aerotropolis. The Education Collective recently partnered with Step Up Atlanta (Girls) and 100 Black Men of Atlanta (Boys) to mentor in South Fulton and Clayton high schools. The Alliance recently completed the new formation of a 501(c)(3), which will be chaired by Carol Waddy with Chick-Fil-A. They were approved recently by Urban Land Institute to complete a holistic development and land use action plan for the Aerotropolis area, which will explore a more uniform, cross-boundary land use and zoning plan.
This was in partnership with Samara’s Angels Foundation, a charity based in Haiti with a mission to enhance the quality of life for children and young adults through education and social skills development. The Consulate of Haiti for Georgia sponsored transportation, security and other incentives. PHOTOGRAPHY BY TERRELL CLARK
Get Out There! One of the good things about social media is that you actually have to leave the house to get that perfect shot. I was blessed enough to have a spiritual experience on my first and likely last hike up Stone Mountain on a TAPS widow retreat. Something about being up that high makes you feel closer to God, and standing atop a mountain that’s hundreds of years old gives perspective about how minuscule you (and your problems) are in the grand scheme of the universe. In this issue, you’ll find the beautiful State Parks and Historic Sites just an hour or two from South Fulton, featuring breathtaking views of canyon peaks and waterfalls. Go get out there! If nothing else, do it for the ‘Gram! (Instagram, that is!) In addition, in this Green issue, you’ll see sketches of the costumes and sets of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” presented at Serenbe. This is no surprise. I love Serenbe Playhouse—there’s no traffic, free parking and they put on excellent productions right in the midst of nature. Here’s the twist: the sets and costumes incorporate recycled materials like milk jugs and soda can tabs. Even art can be good for the environment! There’s also a farmer’s market fresh recipe for Artichoke Flatbread and an eco-friendly car review, but my favorite article this month features the costumes from the film “Titanic” at Biltmore Estate. Take a road trip, South Fulton, and make sure to use the hashtags #SoFu and #SouthFultonLifestyle!
Active since 1995, the South Fulton Master GARDENER Extension Volunteers have been actively serving the community. Their mission is to stimulate the interest in and increase the knowledge of gardening, and to voluntarily, enthusiastically and responsibly share this knowledge with others. As a part of The University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences GMGA, est. 1979, they volunteer and hold monthly meetings at the Cooperative Extension Service building at 1757 Washington Road in East Point. According to Master Gardener Debra Mason, some of the tools they use are shovels for digging and filling holes, hoes for weeding and making rows to plant seeds and plants, tillers for mixing and amending soils, rakes for raking debris and smoothing the soil, and trowels for making small holes and rows for planting and getting in tight spaces.
Lush greenery, mountainous landscapes and natural beauty beckon guests to Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites year-round. When paired with a camera lens, photos taken in Georgia’s great outdoors spruce up any social media feed and will send friends, family and followers into a frenzy over the jaw-dropping views. No matter the season or reason, when venturing to any state park, snap a photo and watch as likes and comments soar. In no particular order, guests can take the perfect photo at these top seven Instagrammable Georgia State Parks & Historic Site locations. Magnolia Springs State Park Popular for many state park goers and frequented for the vast wildlife and gorgeous waters, Magnolia Springs State Park’s landscape pops with greenery and crystal flowing waters. A multitude of animals, including turtles, birds and alligators, can be spotted by the naked eye throughout the park. Backdrops of the rustic bridge that stands over the spring and stream are some of the most popular photo ops. GaStateParks.org/MagnoliaSprings Providence Canyon State Park A wonderous Georgia gem, Providence Canyon State Park is a site that will truly leave viewers in awe. This man-made canyon—the result of poor farming practices— provides the perfect dramatic scene for any sort of photo and encompasses the true meaning of beauty. Here, guests enjoy taking photos of the magnificent golden hues and enormous earth formations to share with friends. Perfect for a selfie of epic proportions, no filter is necessary at Providence Canyon. GaStateParks.org/ProvidenceCanyon Cloudland Canyon State Park Head for the clouds and become enamored with the sounds and magic of nature that fill Cloudland Canyon State Park. The glorious views awarded to guests at the rim of the canyon are simply the bread and butter for a great photograph. Here, depending on the season, capture the canopies of colorful leaves, the flowing waterfalls or the sweeping views below. GaStateParks.org/CloudlandCanyon Victoria Bryant State Park Victoria Bryant State Park has open landscapes and calming waters, making it the perfect playground for those who want to take a brisk walk in the woods. Here, guests enjoy taking and posting photos of family, friends and man’s best friend on trails that wind through hardwoods and across creeks. Wake up early to snap a shot as the fog is lifting off the ponds and be sure to keep eyes peeled for wildlife roaming the area. GaStateParks.org/VictoriaBryant George L. Smith State Park Resembling a destination out of a prehistoric movie, George L. Smith State Park provides countless eye-catching scenes at every turn. Be it the vibrant flowers, colossal cypress and tupelo trees draped in Spanish moss or the fascinating bird population, this secluded park is the perfect setting for Insta-worthy shots. The most popular photos taken at this park are from a kayak, where lucky photographers might be photo-bombed by an alligator swimming nearby. GaStateParks.org/GeorgeLSmith Skidaway Island State Park A must-visit for a photo sure to spike the likes is Skidaway Island State Park. Visitors and followers adore Skidaway for the scenic nature paths and wooded walkways that twist through maritime forest and past saltwater marshes. The waspy trees, palms and coastal vibes set the mood for a must-share photo. To get the full effect, venture on a beautiful hike around the park to get shots of the bird life surrounding the island. GaStateParks.org/SkidawayIsland Wormsloe Historic Site Mirroring a scene straight out of a quintessential Georgia film, an avenue lined by live oaks with low-hanging Spanish moss leads way to a former colonial estate, which now serves as Savannah’s oldest standing structure. Setting the tone for a romantic scene worth capturing, visitors to the historic site will barely make it through the archway gate before having to get out to take a photo of the mile-long tree archway. A popular spot for wedding and engagement photos, Southern charm and scenery flourish at this one-of-a-kind Georgia site. GaStateParks.org/Wormsloe
With warmer weather and longer days ahead, it is time to lighten up meal time. Pair this easy-to-assemble flatbread with a fresh arugula salad and a glass of crisp white wine for a leisurely weekend lunch or a light weeknight meal. When selecting asparagus from your local farmers market or grocer, choose firm, bright green spears that have tightly closed tips. Be sure to avoid any stalks that are dry and woody. As with most fresh produce, enjoy asparagus as quickly as possible to take advantage of its natural goodness. Georgia-grown Vidalia onions or any other sweet onion variety make this even more seasonal if they are available in your market. I am a big fan of fresh lemon zest; feel free to sprinkle baked flatbread with a pinch of zest to add that extra pop of flavor to the flatbread before serving.
The first large-scale exhibition of fashions from “Titanic,” the Oscar-winning film that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, launched at Biltmore House in February. “Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie” is on display through May 13, and represents the extensive wardrobes preferred by transatlantic travelers like George and Edith Vanderbilt in the early 1900s. Guests will learn more about the Vanderbilts’ extensive travels while viewing these award-winning costumes. “Titanic,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, won a record 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Costume Design. The exhibition’s 45 costumes will be displayed in Biltmore House, evoking the lifestyle of the era when voyages on great ocean liners of the early 20th century offered luxury on ships known as “floating palaces.” First-class passengers took every opportunity to see and be seen in the fashions of the time, from strolling the promenade deck to dining at elegant formal dinners. And, just like in “Titanic,” the days at sea fostered friendships and romances, including George Vanderbilt’s courtship of Edith Stuyvesant Dresser, who met while sailing on a transatlantic voyage, a veritable “floating palace,” just like when Jack met Rose in the movie. LeAnn Donnelly, Biltmore’s Senior PR manager, recently shared about the wardrobe from the iconic film with the public, especially breathtaking in the Biltmore House. Donnelly noted that the Vanderbilts were initially booked to sail aboard the Titanic, though as fate would have it, they cancelled the trip and scheduled a voyage on the Titanic’s sister ship for a later date. The clothing in the film matches up with the time perfectly. When the Vanderbilts entertained, their guests—who would visit for weeks at a time—would have been adorned in similar attire. The elaborate outfits truly come alive in the space! “Having the fashion from the era really helps you imagine the timeframe,” says Donnelly. The fancy formalwear is what they would have worn for dinner. In fact, the second floor living hall where guests would have gathered to mingle before dinner is the setting for six costumes. They are displayed throughout the house in groupings of one to seven. This is the fourth costume exhibit at Biltmore, Donnelly says, gushing about the popularity of the first one, based on the wardrobe of Downton Abbey. “Costumes bring the house to life even more!” she says. This “Titanic” exhibit connects the Vanderbilts to the time period during which they lived. Love stories intertwine with historical facts and the romance of the movie. You’ve got to visit to experience this in person. Admission to “Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie” is included in the general admission ticket price. For more information about Biltmore, visit Biltmore.com/TitanicFashion.
To garner the classification as “eco-friendly,” there is a very popular misconception that an automobile has to be small, conservative in design, and lacking luxurious amenities. The 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited successfully disproves these assumptions. This large, four-door sedan immediately catches the eye with its aerodynamic frame, tinted windows, curvaceous grille, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power moonroof, HID quadrabeam headlights and long wheelbase that comfortably fits five adults. The interior maintains the Avalon’s attractiveness thanks to plush leather, ventilated seating; a leather-trimmed steering wheel with multi-function controls; a push-button start, complete with a smart key system for effortless departure; power rear-window sunshades; and tri-zone climate control with rear-seat heating also equipped with ventilation. Technologically savvy, this Hybrid’s 7-inch touchscreen vibrantly displays integrated navigation and a fully stocked App Suite, plus a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity amplified by an Entune Premium JBL audio system with 11 GreenEdge speakers to ensure optimal entertainment and convenience. Acknowledging all passengers are precious cargo, there is a plethora of safety features as well—everything from Toyota’s stellar Safety Sense System featuring a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert with steering assist, to a state-of-the-art pre-collision system including smart stop braking to keep the stress levels of drivers low regarding possible dangers on the road. This collective has earned a five-star safety ranking. With electric power steering conducting three available driving modes—EV (totally electric for short drives and reduced noise), Eco for optimal gas conservation, and Sport for a more aggressive acceleration and handling—the feel for the road is still cloud-like. The impressive Hybrid Synergy Drive is powered by a 2.5-Liter 4-Cylinder ECVT Hybrid engine while still maintaining an impressive combined 40 miles per gallon to stretch out station visits on family trips. Ultimately, the Avalon trim has wowed auto enthusiasts since its introduction in 1994, and the 2018 Hybrid proves it only gets better—and more environmentally sound—with time. Base price: $42,800; $44,697 with all options and additional expenses as reviewed Gas mileage: 40 city/39 highway/40 combined For more information, visit Toyota.com.