2020 Holiday Activities Around Atlanta

Who can believe the holidays are here already?  I can’t believe it, but so looking forward to it.  2020 has thrown us for a loop but who’s to say we can’t end the year with a little magic and holiday fun! For those families looking for holiday activities, please enjoy and share this fabulous list of “outside” places to visit, “inside” places to visit, and of course some holiday activities to do with your family right at home. Start mapping out your month of cheer and make the most of your final month of 2020. Happy holidays!

Places to Visit and Holiday Activities Outside:

  • Ice Skating at Atlantic Station (timed entrance)
  • Lakeside Lights at Lake Lanier Islands (drive thru 2020)
  • World of Illumination at Whitewater (Drive Thru Lights – new in 2020)
  • Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens – stay in cabin
  • Stone Mountain Park Christmas
  • Blue Ridge Holiday Train Ride – open 2020 at half capacity
  • Drive Through Nativity at High Point Baptist – others listed here: https://365atlantatraveler.com/live-nativity-scene/
  • Atlanta Botanical Gardens Lights (timed tickets and limited entry 2020) – https://buytickets.atlantabg.org/webstore/shop/viewItems.aspx?CG=glhn&C=glhnnon
  • Christmas Light Drive with Hot Cocoa + PJs
    • “I Like Your Lights” printable neighborhood drive (tape on mailboxes of your faves!)
  • Spread Cheer in your Neighborhood “Boo” style – but with a holiday surprise!
  • Take a care package to the fire or police station
  • Jungle Bells at Zoo Atlanta (12/12 2:30-6pm)
  • Avalon Tree Lighting + Fireworks (7pm nightly 11/22-12/1)
  • Christmas in the Country at Southern Belle Farm
  • Country Christmas Nights at Rock Ranch (cancelled 2020)
  • Victorian Holiday and/or Holiday Scavenger Hunt at Oakland Cemetery
  • Nutcracker by Atlanta Ballet (offering Drive In or Streaming experience for 2020)
  • Christkindl Market at Centennial Olympic Park (cancelled 2020)
  • Candlelight Nights at Atlanta History Center (unclear if this is happening)
  • Holiday in the Park at Six Flags (open 2020)

Places to Visit with Holiday Activities Inside:

  • Ritz Lake Oconee Christmas activities (smores, santa, ice skating)
  • Holiday Tea at the Ritz or St Regis (both hosting in 2020)
  • Polar Express Train – Bryson City or Blue Ridge (open in 2020)
  • Madeline’s Christmas at Horizon Theater (a favorite – don’t see info on 2020)
  • Roswell Cultural Arts Winter Puppet Shows (happening in 2020 with spacing)
  • Stan the Lovesick Snowman at Puppetry Arts (open for 2020)
  • Very Grinchy Christmas at Infinite Energy Center (11/20 + 11/21)
  • The Biltmore / Grove Park Inn Gingerbread Houses (Asheville, NC – doing some virtual events)

Things to do at Home (Plan something fun every night to make this season magical for you and your family!):

  • CHOA Christmas Parade (TV only in 2020 – recap of last 40 years. 12/6 1:30pm WBTV)
  • Open new Christmas PJs
  • Open new Christmas Book
  • Open new Ornament
  • Christmas Movie Night (cocoa + popcorn with red + green M&Ms mixed in!)
  • Holiday Ice Cream Flavor Taste Testing
  • Tell the story of the Nativity with figurines
  • Shop for Angel Tree child / Wrap Angel Tree presents (can be same or different days)
  • Bake Christmas Cookies
  • Shop for Sisters / Mom + Dad
  • Make Christmas Cards for Teachers
  • Make Paper Snowflakes with coffee filters
  • Make Gingerbread Houses
  • Make ornaments (peppermints or birdseed – really easy!)
  • Giant color on Gingerbread House from Amazon
  • Make a snow globe
  • Family Christmas Dance Party
  • Hot Cocoa Tea Party
  • FaceTime Christmas Carol to family + friends
  • Christmas Book Story time
  • Random Act of Kindness
  • Cottonball Snowman Art
  • Make your Christmas List
  • Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt (hang all around yard – like an Easter Egg hunt)
  • Make a snow scene out of marshmallows
  • Make a snack basket and card to put out for delivery people
  • Make Handprint Christmas Trees
  • Holiday Scavenger Hunt where they have to solve a riddle at each step


Top 3 Recommended New Home Builders in Milton

Residential new construction is booming in in Milton. Today’s new homes offer more benefits than ever before; in terms of technology, energy efficiency, and style. New construction nowadays generally reflects an open design where rooms serve multiple purposes. Many buyers are drawn to new construction because of open floor plans, which encourage a more modern relationship between what was once designated as a family space and a defined separate space to welcome and entertain guests. Buyers are choosing to build or buy new construction because of desirable locations, low maintenance and Home Warranty, and energy efficiencies. And at the end of the day, you are getting exactly what you want for the phase of life that you are in.

I have had the privilege of working with a number of amazing builders across the metro-Atlanta area and want to highlight 3 who specialize in the Milton area:

  • Anker Custom Homes – Anker Custom Homes, founded by Marty Anker, is proud to build custom homes in North Fulton, South Forsyth, Cobb, Gwinnett and Cherokee counties.  They are a premier luxury home builder with communities such as The River Club, Sugarloaf Country Club, The Manor Golf & Country Club, Deerhaven Preserve, Greystone and Meadowood. They are able to provide opportunities to build your dream home in the most desirable locations. They are also able to build custom homes on a homesite or land that you may currently own or may purchase to build your new home.

See more at https://ankercustomhomes.com

  • Capstone Building Group – Steve Laboda has over 30 years of home building experience and is the head of Capstone Building Group. Steve oversees each project personally, and his knowledge is priceless when it comes to foundation, design, layout and efficiency. He has a particular gift for setting a house on a piece of property in which the home and its environment work together, and his creativity and flexibility are a huge asset to the home building process. Steve is also very gifted in turning unwanted elements into desired features.  Capstone Building Group tailors their strategic solutions and creative expertise to each project and focuses on meeting and exceeding the expectations of their clients. Over many years of practice, Capstone has perfected a building process that is precise, timely, enjoyable and educational.

Custom Home Neighborhood in Milton by Capstone Building Group: www.bethanypreservemilton.com

  • Cole Construction – A very well-known Atlanta native, Jason Cole, is the founder of Cole Construction. He began completing higher end renovations and additions to homes in the Buckhead area. His commitment to quality, familiarity with the local area, and consistent positive client feedback were a winning combination and in 2004 he founded his company. Today, he’s still at the helm, specializing in custom home builds and larger renovations, as well as commercial construction. Quality built homes by Cole Construction can be found in the upscale Buckhead community as well as higher end North Fulton neighborhoods. Their core values – honesty, integrity, and transparency – are the backbone to each and every custom project.

See more at http://www.coleconstructionga.com

Highly Anticipated Market District at Crabapple

The pandemic hasn’t slowed the highly anticipated Market District at Crabapple. In fact, all of North Fulton is surging and mixed-use projects are popping up bringing office, restaurant, retail, and residential to the growing and affluent cities that make up this end of Fulton County.

Market District at Crabapple, along with many others, reflect a demand for the walkable, urban feel with dining and shopping, all in a mixed-use environment. You know, the live, work, play mentality that so many love – rural meets urban! This development is driven by the area’s affluence and ever growing population.

Both Milton and Crabapple are getting looks from in town consumers, restaurants and shop owners. Similar demographics across both areas and the trend of people moving to the suburbs make this development a sweet spot and highly desirable.

Located in the center of downtown Crabapple in Milton, Market District at Crabapple is under construction on the east side of Birmingham Highway and just south of Crabapple Crossing Elementary School. Super easy walk and close proximity to popular restaurants like Milton’s, Olde Blind Dog, Cans, Peace Love & Pizza, Vintage, Campania, and the community centric “Green” in Crabapple Market close to Milton City Hall. Buildings 1 and 2 set to be complete by the end of 2020 and total buildout will likely take 3-4 years. This unique development boasts high-end residential units with restaurants and retail.

This project will include office and restaurant space, a food hall including a mezzanine and 42 condo units, in which 80% of those units are specifically targeting the active adult 55+ demographic. These luxury residences are close to everything you know and love, while also enjoying the convenience of one-level living. The single level residences have new, innovative floor plans and are tastefully appointed. Partners include companies like Bosch, Marvin, and Moen – unparalleled value. Pricing for these residences range from the $500’s-900’s. Delivery/move-in dates proposed for Summer 2021.

Right now the development has a locally owned Starbucks and a jazz bar/speakeasy under contract in buildings 1 and 2. There are still commercial and residential opportunities within these first two buildings.

It is clear that Crabapple is making its mark and developments like Market District will continue to make this a gem of an area! We are looking forward to hearing more about the businesses who choose to make Crabapple their home!

13432 Hipworth Way Milton, GA 30004

UNDER CONTRACT: Buyer and Seller Side of 13432 Hipworth Road (sold off market)

Incredible! Nestled on Lake Haven’s 8 acre Lake with custom pool, sport court, outdoor kitchen, covered/uncovered spaces. Inside is breathtaking with designer touches everywhere, two story impressive foyers with open staircase to the upper and lower, gourmet chef’s kitchen, fireside keeping room, family room, additional large play room/office, covered and screened fireplace patio, 1st floor guest suite and two mud rooms. Upstairs boasts huge Master with sitting area, spa-like bath, additional 3 rooms have their own bath, loft room for play or teen lounge. Basement is amazing with bright living spaces flowing out to the pool area, billiards room, custom marble bar and 2 additional bedrooms with full large bath.  Automated /Smart home. Welcome home! 

2020 Kicking off in High Gear

The 2020 real estate market is already in full swing and it’s only January 5th! 2019 was a time of low rates, low supply (in most areas and price points) and high demand. My guess is that rates stay the same or even slightly lower this year. No one has a crystal ball but, in talking with my favorite mortgage brokers, this is the common thought. This should also help buyers choose homes in early spring, vs waiting. In years that rates are great, buyers are nervous that rates will increase and want to take advantage of locking in early. You have to be under contract to lock your rate, so this will be a motivating factor when looking in early Jan-Feb.

There is a major lack of inventory at entry level pricing in all areas based on varying factors including the cost of build materials and land and the uptick of millennial buyers (1980-1988 birth date) getting out there and buying homes. They are the largest group buying nationally at a rate of 37% of 2019 sales. They typically want walkability (to shopping and schools), smaller homes and clean/modern vibe. They are internet savvy so online presence is key to marketing with millennial buyers.

Our office was buzzing this past week with new contracts and home staging dates. It was this way last year and the one prior so let’s hope it’s another positive year. Cheers to 2020!

Thompson Hotel coming to Buckhead

A new, mid-priced hotel is under development in Buckhead Village. Two Atlanta developers, Loudermilk Companies and Regent Partners LLC, are pairing up to open a 10 story hotel with around 200 rooms at 415 East Paces Ferry Road near the Shops at Buckhead. The hotel will be designed by Atlanta-based Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio LLC and managed by the Thompson Hotel collection of Denver-based Two Roads Hospitality, LLC whose other locations can be found in Manhattan, Nashville, Chicago, Seattle, and Toronto. Slated to break ground sometime in 2019 with a predicted opening date in early 2021, the hotel will feature a rooftop chef-driven restaurant and bar as well as around 6,000 square feet of meeting space. The building will be constructed on the site that is currently home to State Bank & Trust Co. on East Paces Ferry Road.

Piedmont Park is Expanding

The Atlanta City Council gave the yes on spending $20m on three acres of land. The entire project with end up around $100m when complete and will end with a border of the park at the corner of Monroe Drive and Piedmont Avenue.

Envisioned with this project is a new gateway arch along the Beltline’s future route. Per Mayor Kasim Reed, the gateway arch will “provide a landmark gateway entrance to the crown jewel of our park system”.

For the near future, shops and restaurants located there will be paying rent to the city.

I’m wondering how this will effect the traffic on this already busy corner! Let’s hope they are smart there and property route everything in and out as well as tie properly into the traffic pattern and current lights/turn signals.

Excited to see how this turns out as it would be a pretty entry with the Botanical Gardens right behind.  If you have not been to those lately, they have a new children’s garden:  http://atlantabg.org/explore/children-s-garden

Expansion art from City of Atlanta:

Tips for Landscaping Lighting

If landscape lighting is on your summer to-do list, a quick trip to the local home store will leave you with lots of choices and maybe some confusion.

To narrow down the choices, decide if you want solar or wired lighting.

Solar lighting is easy to install and probably less expensive. The downside is that it won’t work well in areas with no sunlight. The LED lights are often not as white or bright as wired lighting.

Low voltage electric landscape lighting is usually the choice of professional landscapers, according to DoItYourself.com. They look professional and offer superior illumination and timers, something you won’t get with solar lights. The downside is wiring, which usually is not that difficult but might require a professional to install.

Once you decide on the electronics, placement is the next consideration.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, landscape lighting falls into three categories: Space, task, or accent.

Space lighting illuminates places like gazebos, decks or patios.

Task lights provide safe access along paths or steps.

Accent lights highlight architectural features and are used to wash a wall with light and accent plants.

No matter what kind of lighting you need, the first rule of thumb is that less is more, according to ThriftyDecorChick.com.

Too many lights distract from the beauty and too-high wattage looks and feels garish.

For wash lighting on the side of the house, use a wide beam. Pay attention to the shadows the lights cast and whether the lights shine too severely into the house.

With wired lighting, wait a couple of days before you bury wires. You will almost certainly change your mind on the light locations and even the number of lights. Experiment with positioning.

The idea behind great landscape lighting is to create safe areas and layers of light.

Avoid creating a runway effect with lights placed in a straight line.

Use lower-wattage wide beams focused upward to wash your home in a delicate glow. Make sure it doesn’t shine in the neighbors’ eyes.

Uplight interesting trees.

Downlight patios and decks. Make sure you can turn the light off if you want just candlelight.

Best time of year for intown condos!

I do not blog much on here but always this time of year, I see the same thing occurring so worth a note. Agents and homeowners with a desire to move want to wait until spring to list their homes based on the ‘market being better’. Yes there are more buyers then but there are also many, many more listings. In Atlanta, there are always people relocating at any time of year. Particularly to intown condos/townhomes, this time of year always feels the ‘time to sell’. Intown condos/townhomes are not typically driven by school timing so why not take advantage of the lower inventory and catch those buyers looking now. Your home will stand out. Also, I see more cash buyers this time of year for whatever reason. In showing this ‘time of year’ works, this past month, I have listed two Buckhead condos (Buckhead Grand 1 bedroom and Paramount 2 bedroom) as well as a townhome in Sandy Springs (ITP by the hospitals). All three we had priced ‘just slightly over all past same home sale prices’. All three sold in the first week and a half on market with multiple offers. This happens each year at this time. Just found that interesting and worth sharing for those of you both realtor friends with clients and intown home owners ‘waiting until spring’!