Sunday, May 27, 2012

Quttinpaaq National Park

Was looking at a map, noticed some of the islands of Canada reaching way north and then noticed the Quttinirpaaq National Park way way up north.  Looks like a fascinating place:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Charlotte, NC

When I was researching what to do in Charlotte, I was a little surprised that I found TripAdvisor's list to be the most succinct in giving me the full list of potential things to see.  (I've found TripAdvisor's website to be extremely cluttered, so I haven't been there in quite some time)

Some of the other sites that I checked, either didn't list all of the heavy hitter attractions or didn't prioritize sufficiently what was a must-see vs a nice-to-see: Dayzipping, wikitravel, Lonely Planet, NYTimes,

We did a weekend stay in Charlotte and certainly enjoyed ourselves.  The uptown area, comes across as much newer, cleaner and more walkable than Atlanta.  We also enjoyed a phenomenal meal at McNinch House (if you can afford it, run, don't walk), as well as the following attractions:

Mint Museum Uptown ( - Definitely enjoyed ourselves here.  We particularly liked the modern painting collection, with lesser known, but still interesting artists as well as the craft exhibition, which showcased craft-work in glass, wood, and other materials.  The museum also features a lovely 5-story lobby, which a few of their art installations make use of.

Admission tickets are very affordable and also includes admission to the other location, Mint Museum Randolph, for two days from day of purchase.  (We did not have time to go, but were told that the Uptown location focused more on Modern Art and crafts, while the Randolph was more of a traditional art museum).  Tickets also get you a discount to the neighboring Bechtler Museum of Art (which we also considering, but did not get a chance to see).

McDowell Nature Center  (TripAdvisor link)- It's free to visit, yet the place is very well maintained.  It's got 7 miles total of hiking trails, with clearly marked trailed signs.  There was a friendly staff-member manning the info center, where you can pick up a free trail map and we enjoyed a ~3 mile hike in beautiful mid-70's weather.  As for the actual scenery, well it's quiet and peaceful, but not particularly unique, striking me less as a tourist must-see destination so much as a local's place to enjoy lovely weather.

Double Door Inn ( - We're big fans of Blind Willie's, the blues bar in Atlanta, so we were intrigued by Double Door Inn, being a historical blues club.  We went on a Saturday evening and were rather surprised by the low turnout of people, especially compared to Blind Willie's, where much of the appeal is the alive audience and their desire to dance and interact with the band.  While there was some personalities here: an older gent with a massive hat and an enthusiasm for the music to match, two younger ladies dancing by themselves, much of the spark of the audience was just not there.  That being said, we still had a good time and thoroughly enjoyed the musicians we did see: Sam Robinson and Lefty Williams.

Sleep Poet Antiques - Meh.  Rather disappointing.  I'd rather have a smaller store of really interesting high-quality things than a large one of not so interesting things.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Atlanta Asian Film Festival

Reminder to check this out next year:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yosemite Videos

Cool Yosemite videos.  Definitely makes me want to visit the national park again, especially during the winter

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Atlanta : Things to do

Go for it
Georgia Aquarium : A must visit for anyone.  The giant tank is worth admission alone.  If you're into that and willing to shell out the money, you can also swim/scuba in the tank.

Blind Willie's - A blues bar.  I went on a Saturday night by myself and still enjoyed the place.  The band has got soul and the people inside just want to dance and enjoy the music.  My type of place.

Bennett St - The road needs to be repaved and the electric substation across from the shops isn't exactly a scenic view, but maybe that's why some of the shops seem a little less snooty to non-hardcore antique shoppers like ourselves and seem to focus on selling unique items. Our favorites are Peachtree Bennett (especially for their auctions) and Interiors Market.

Whirlyball - If you've got a big enough group of friends, this is actually quite fun.  (Wikipedia: Whirlyball)

Half-hearted Approval
High Museum - I always come away underwhelmed by the High Museum.  It's not really because of the ticket expense (both of our visits were on  the Bank of America Museum weekends).  I do enjoy some of their content, such as their Picasso to Warhol exhibit and their modern collection, but just not enough.  I think particular, since the museum comes across as large (the large entrance lobby space and the large spiral ramps), yet in proportion the content I do like comes across as quite small.

Silver Comet Trail - Not exactly scenic, but it's unique in its own way (the bridges and overpasses are what I associate it mostly with) and runs all the way to Alabama.  Great for lengthy bike rides.

Art galleries west side (NYtimes): Hit up Saltworks, Kiang and Get This mentioned in the article, which are all small art galleries.  Certainly interesting if you like keeping up with the new, local and non-mainstream.  But I just don't have the interest or time for it; I just want to see the heavies.  If you're like me, worthwhile if you're in the area (perhaps to try out some of the restaurants mentioned in the area).

Coca-Cola Museum : A marketing bombardment.  You get to see all of the Coca-Cola merchandise and advertisements (including some admittedly entertaining tv commercials) over the years, see a small manufacturing setup and of course, taste a number of soda types in their collection from across the world.  Probably fun for kids; it was fun when I went with a group of young-hearted 20-30 somethings, but mostly because it was good atmosphere to joke around.

Stone Mountain - Stone Mountain (like its name implies) looks like a gigantic stone and is essentially the South's equivalent of Mt. Rushmore, with a massive engraving of Southern soldiers on it.  They do have hiking and it did seem nice, but it's a bit of a drive for us and does not offer enough to break our inertia from the closer Chattahoochee River Trails.   Btw, it's strange to me that their website makes it seem like they're an amusement park; they could very well offer those things, but since we do not have kids, we did not explore any of the other things there.

Chattahoochee River Trails - There are actually a number of hiking trails in the Atlanta area.  We have yet to  find one that is so picturesque that visitors *must* go there, but clearly if you're a resident, the proximity of the hiking trails is convenient.

Piedmont Park - It is no Central Park.  It's a medium sized park in the middle of Atlanta and it is nice to see the green if you do live in the metro area.

Don't Go
CNN Tour : Waste of time, not worth the admission.  Not all that informative and you only get to see the TV studios from far away behind glass.

Chateau Elan : I'm not much of a resort guy to begin with and this didn't change my mind.  Wine wasn't so good either.

Scott Antique Market : Perhaps it's better for the hardcore antiquers, but I thought the booths did not offer as much unique things as some of the other antique shops we've visited and things seemed pretty pricey.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Atlanta: Places to swim outside

I like swimming in open lakes and ponds so much more than swimming pools.  I'll add more places below once I try them out.

Lake Acworth

I decided to check out Cauble Park, a swimming beach on Lake Acworth and was rather disappointed that swimming was restricted to the roped off sections.   Granted there was no life-guards to enforce this, but I did not know whether boats and speed-boats were allowed and would rather not risk swimming out into the open water to be knocked unconscious by an unknowing boater.

It being a hot summer day, the water near the beach was like a warm bath.  As you got out the ropes, there were much cooler water towards your feet, but my biggest issue was that it got pretty full.  This is perhaps more fun to come, goof around with your friends and have a picnic than it was to come here to enjoy a peaceful swim away from it all.

Last note, the water was not so clear. Nothing disgusting, but not the most pleasant.

Costs $10 to park.

Cauble Park
2293 Beach St.
Acworth, GA 30101

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marin French Cheese : San Francisco

Just found an old brochure from this place. I stumbled upon Marin Cheese, driving from Napa/Sonoma wine country to the Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco.

Apparently you can take a tour of the place, so if you're a cheese afficionado and are looking for something to do, give it a lookie.