Atlanta’s Best Kept Secret

It’s summertime again, or maybe finals time, if you are like me. Honestly, I am to the point where my brain is feeling simply fried and I absolutely need to unwind, but I also need to study and kind of want to have some summer fun, too. There is only one true solution to all of these problems…. Its about time I shared with you what may be Atlanta’s best park.

Grant Park is absolutely a fairytale. Its ancient trees make it shady and cool when it starts to warm up around here, but you can also always find a sunny spot on its rolling hills, where you can lay out a blanket of a towel and hit the books or catch a nap.

I should also mention that it is generally very empty. It is not eerie, or creepy, like you might find in some smaller parks, but it is peaceful. On some days it is so quiet you can even hear the lions roaring in the nearby zoo. That’s right, I wasn’t kidding when I said fairytale.

The park isn’t trying to “make a buck” on you either. If you want to splash in the park’s pool as the city slowly starts turning into “Hotlanta,” you can do it for free from 1:30 PM until 4:00 PM; prime swimming time.

Not only that, but as many of you many know the famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) Peachtree Road Race is rapidly approaching, and if you or a friend/ family member is looking for somewhere to train, don’t hit the gym, hit the park! Grant is very well known among runners for being great for light hill conditioning and varied terrain. Plus, it’s downtown, so you can get used to running in the city, and outdoors.

Of course you are probably busy, but there is no way, especially in the up and coming summer months, that you will be too busy to visit Atlanta’s most underrated park. It is about time for some “you” time, and time you checked out Atlanta’s best kept secret, Grant Park.

 

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Chastain Park

You may have recently visited a park or two, but I know from personal experience that when I choose a smaller park, I often have to pick between two good things.

For example, I may have to choose between location and atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, parks are still my favorite places, but sometimes the compromise of a “perfect park” seems just out of reach.

Chastain Park is the epitome of this “perfect compromise.” Nestled in a quiet neighborhood, you can easily avoid having to be around busy exhaust ridden streets, but it is also walking distance from cool restaurants and places to hang out; restaurants like Fellini’s Pizzeria. (Which is pretty good, and also inexpensive, I must say).

Chastain is also huge! The sheer number of amenities that are available to members and non-members alike is insane. You can go for a swim, play tennis walk on the trails or, if you are willing to shell out a couple extra bucks, you can take horse-riding lessons!

Another thing I love about Chastain is the space it covers. The park is incredibly spacious. You will never feel crowded on a field at Chastain, unless it is the green of Chastain’s popular amphitheater.

If you want to listen to live music but can’t afford a ticket, Chastain Park is even listening distance from the amphitheater! So you can grab a picnic blanket and enjoy. You can even bring some friends and have your own sort of mini concert party.

It does not matter what you are looking for, if it involves parks you can find it at Chastain. The park is so big that you can go for a peaceful walk at one end, and listen to a rock show in another part. It is ideal for running swimming and tennis. It is truly the best of both worlds.

OnAir says: What are your favorite green spaces in your community? Leave us a comment about your favorite parks and what you like to do there.

Photo credit: PATH Foundation

Arbor Day

So the last Friday of every April is Arbor Day! (Arbor Day = trees, fyi.) We celebrated by taking a walk around our OnAir offices and capturing some of the greenery in downtown Atlanta.

Like…

and…

The greenery around here really makes Atlanta even more beautiful. And it helps improve the air quality!

What did you all do for Arbor Day? If you live in a sprawling city like Atlanta, did you try planting a tree? Let us know in a comment below!

Listen up, Atlantans: Earth Day Cleanup on April 23!

Who’s got big plans for Earth Day? Looking for something green to do? Look no further. Join the 2nd Annual Earth Day Cleanup Challenge!

On April 23, you can join a bunch of other eco-warriors in helping to make Atlanta beautiful. Join with your class, your club, or even on your own to pitch in and work some enviro magic!

Want details? Of course you do. Click here and join in:

Mark Your Calendars for the Second Annual Earth Day Cleanup Challenge 

 

And guess what else?  Volunteering is a great way to earn AirCreds! Click through to learn more!

Good, Green, Music

Have any of you guys wondered about the stance your favorite bands and artists are taking on the environment? Do your favorite rock bands do more than just write lyrics about trees and the evils of pollution? Does your favorite singer travel exclusively in biofuel tour buses, and release her albums in biodegradable materials only?

Well just in case you’ve been wondering, the music industry has been increasing its efforts to be more environmentally friendly, an example being Warner Music Group. One of the “Big Four” of record companies, Warner Music Group has been releasing its work with DVD liner notes made of 30% recycled paper that was taken from carefully selected wood chosen by the Forest Stewardship Council. It also runs a nationwide recycling program that has found success in decreasing waste, with a total of almost 4,000,000 pounds of waste removed.

In addition to the record companies themselves going green, the artists themselves have also been increasing efforts. Reverb, a non-profit, environmentally focused Portland, Maine organization has played a huge part in this. Reverb focuses on partnering with artists and fans to make concerts and tours more eco-friendly, and to inspire people to become more invested in the environment.

Green Music Group, a project of Reverb, is made up of some very high-profile artists from The Roots to Willie Nelson that, according to their website, are aiming towards:

1. Creating an engaging online community of musicians, music industry leaders, and music fans all committed to addressing our greatest environmental concerns.
2. Facilitating large-scale greening of the music community through touring, venue, and label standards, resource development, green grants mentoring, and viral video and public service campaigns.
3. Providing environmental nonprofits with a megaphone for their cause, allowing them to expand their reach and support base.
4. Creating a sustainable green music guild to support and inform the efforts of the music community and position leaders in the music industry as voices for change, working to shine a light on the most pressing environmental issues of our time.”

From human pedal-powered concerts (!) to musicians bringing representatives from environmental organizations to their concerts to educate fans, environmental awareness is very present in the music world. Here’s a Rolling Stone article on some of the most eco-friendly bands and artists; you may be surprised by a few of them.
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/the-15-most-eco-friendly-rockers-20101216

http://blog.wegowise.com/blog2/bid/122506/Greening-the-Music-Industry-Eco-friendly-bands
http://greenmusicgroup.org/who-is-gmg/all_members/

5 Eco-Friendly Holi-dates

Now that the semester is winding down, you’ve finally got some time to ask out that classmate that you’ve been eyeballing over the past three months. I know, I know, you’ve got a crippling fear of rejection and/or you’re worried that he/she won’t like you. So instead of asking your crush out, you’ve put it off, and put it off by telling yourself that you’re too busy, or that you really need to focus on school right now.

But guess what? The time is now. And once you’ve gotten the courage to ask this person out, you don’t want to botch the whole thing by planning a terrible date. We don’t want that either.

And now, thanks to your favorite earth-friendly blog, it doesn’t have to happen. Why? Because we’ve put together 5 awesome date ideas that you (our favorite eco-warrior) and your date are sure to enjoy. Regardless of whether he/she is into saving the planet too.

1. Take a trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

If walking around at night through some of the most beautiful gardens in Georgia, in awe if thousands of brilliantly shining LEDs, doesn’t spell romance, then what does? It’s packed with those air-purifying trees, of course, AND it’s MARTA-accessible, which makes for a great air-friendly trek to romance. Not to mention it will probably be a bit cold, giving you a convenient excuse to snuggle up against your date. Tickets range from $17-20, so it’s not super cheap, but definitely worth the cash.

2. Ice skating in Centennial Olympic Park

There aren’t a whole lot of dates more fun (or potentially humiliating) than going ice skating. For the low price of $10 each, you can get an hour and a half of rink time and skate rental. Remember to dress warm and be prepared to fall. Added bonus: if you go at night, you can take in the Christmas lights around Centennial Olympic Park. Keep in mind that it’s an outdoor rink, so the ice doesn’t get zambonied every couple of hours (read: it can get rough).


3. Stone 
Mountain Park

There is a ton of stuff to do at Stone Mountain Park. You and your date can hike the mountain, visit Snow Mountain, walk the trails, or experience any number of the other attractions. We suggest a romantic mountain-top picnic sometime near sunset. You’ll just have to bust it down the mountain before dark.

4. Bike to your favorite park.

Bring your date to your favorite park. Fill up a backpack or two with a nice picnic, hop on your bikes, and go on a nice bike ride. (We don’t have to remind you why biking is eco-friendly, do we?) It’s a great way to get some exercise and experience nature together. If you both don’t have a bike, you could always walk. That’s a great opportunity to get to know each other even better. Once you get to the park, scope out a good picnic spot and have a nice meal together. Your date wants to know what you’re interested in, so why not bring them to one of your favorite places?

5. Take a trip to your local farmer’s market.

The Farmer’s Market is an incredibly cool place. They’ve got all kinds of locally grown produce, and a huge variety of responsibly produced goods. And remember: locally grown food is good for the air–because it doesn’t have to burn a bunch of gas traveling in from the farm. Take a trip (clean commuting, of course) to your local farmer’s market with your date, and bring back some supplies to make a delicious, home cooked meal. This is a great way to work together to create something that you both will enjoy and be proud of creating. Not to mention it’s a great chance to impress your date with your killer cooking (or recipe following) skills. I highly suggest the Dekalb Farmer’s Market because it’s MARTA accessible. But I hear great things about the Buford Highway Market, and there are tons of smaller, local markets to be found with a quick Google search.

So there you have it: 5 ways to totally impress that guy/girl that you’ve been daydreaming about all semester long. Now all you’ve got to do is go and ask them out!

 

Battling the Cold on Your Bike

Winter is coming. Your clean commute is looking more and more menacing. Soon you will face a tough decision: to push on with your clean commute, suffering through the cold in the name of walking, cycling, or jogging – OR – to give up. To let the elements win, and abandon your environmental quest to keep our air clean, just for the sake of warmth and ease. Winter is coming, and you have a decision to make.

I know, you are a resilient group of tree-huggers who would never give up your hard-won (and air-friendly) clean commutes. However, in case surrendering to the elements has crossed your mind, we’ve packed some reinforcements.

It’s not that serious.

All drama aside, biking in winter is hard. As a matter of fact, doing pretty much anything outdoors in winter is hard. But pedaling uphill, into the wind on a particularly brisk day can be enough to make even the toughest clean commuter call it quits. So we at OnAir have put together a few tips to keep your body warm and your commitment strong enough to last through the winter.

First off, you need a good, warm wind-stopping jacket. Personally, I recommend the Mountain Hardwear Alchemy Jacket. This thing is the bomb. It’s light-weight, super warm, and most importantly it pushes away wind harder than the prom queen rejects the captain of the chess club. It’s a bit pricey, though, so check out some of the other Mountain Hardwear coats with the same basic functions.

All that toasty warmth won’t mean squat, though, if you can’t feel your fingers after 5 minutes. That’s why you need gloves. No, not “tough-guy biker” gloves, but some biking gloves that are actually useful (and fashionable). For that, I suggest these awesome Novara Stratos bike gloves. They not only will help you train your Star Trek “live long and prosper” sign, but they’ll keep your hands pretty toasty. They’ve got a padded palm for grip and cushioning against those pesky Atlanta potholes, and even have fleece thumb pads for wiping of sweat (or more likely snot…gross.)

Wearing your best short-shorts in the middle of January is probably your best bet to get pneumonia. So while you may want to show off those dynamite legs you’ve developed from biking everywhere, it’s probably best to keep them covered when it’s cold. Some simple running tights will do the trick. But if your legs are easily chilly, or you’ve got some extra cash, I highly recommend the Columbia Midweight Tights with Omniheat. They are lightweight and super warm, not to mention contour tightly to your legs so you can still show off your killer muscles.

If pants aren’t your thing, and you really need to show some skin, you could always give DZ Nuts leg cream a try. It keeps your legs warm for hours, and keeps you lookin’ good too.

Keeping your face warm is important too. For this, facial hair is awesome. Now I know how hard you worked to grow it out for Movember, but sometimes that’s just not enough. So if you can’t grow a beard for any reason (ladies?), you can still have something cool to keep your face warm. The Beard Cap – it keeps your head and your face warm at the same time. It’s probably the only beard that you can put on and off whenever you want.

But let’s be real, folks. We live in Georgia where the weather never really gets that cold. So you really don’t need all of this fancy stuff. Yes, it keeps you super toasty, and looking good, but the same outcome can be achieved without making big purchases. Just make sure to dress appropriately and in layers when it gets really cold. You can always add your own flair to your riding outfit. Just find something that reflects your style and keeps you warm simultaneously.


Running to Brook Run

What do dogs and skateboards have in common? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the latest viral Youtube video. Still haven’t got it? It’s Brook Run Park! Brook Run Park in Dunwoody, GA is actually two separate parks. The first is a 4-acre dog park. The second is really cool skate park.

The Dog park is completely free. You can bring your buddy, and meet other loving pet owners such as yourself. There are trails and benches and you can bring toys. It is a great way to spend a Saturday and your furry friend will be forever grateful.

The skatepark is also a great way to spend time, and meet lots of cool people. It accommodates not only for skateboards, but also BMX bikers, and in-line skaters. It costs $3 for minors, and $4 if you are over 18. The crowd In the park is mostly teenagers, and everyone is very friendly.

I highly recommend visiting both websites to read all of the fun things the parks offers, as well as get your release forms for the skate park and read the reasonable regulations. Especially now that the weather is getting cooler, I’m sure you want to be inside with the heater cranked up but remember that you can stay warm, stay fit, and help keep our world cleaner if you get outside and get active!

Historic Fourth Ward Park

Hi guys! So, a while back I posted about Historic Fourth Ward Skate Park.  But did you know that the skate park is just a tiny piece of one of Atlanta’s largest and greatest public parks?

Located on the Atlanta BeltLine, Historic Fourth Ward Park is one of the first sections open of the BeltLine project. This project plans to build multiple parks and trails on over 22 miles of old train track. It will encourage more people to get out and get active without polluting the air!

Historic Fourth Ward Park is a beautiful example of the great things to come from the BeltLine project. The park is wonderfully scenic with a wildflower meadow, an urban forest, a lake, a stream and even waterfalls. It’s like going on a road trip without leaving the city!

Among the lawns and scenery there is also a “splash pad,” which is basically a set of fountains for you to cool off in on hot days. Plus, you are not far from a thriving part of town.

Old Fourth Ward is an historic area, which has recently undergone lots of changes, making it a much cooler, safer place to hang out. The park is definitely one of them.  Along with new, recently opened condos, the Masquerade (a concert venue), and some interesting new restaurants, it is succeeding in bringing a whole new caliber of fun, young people (such as yourself) to the area.

Another great thing about the park is its location. From the park it is just a short walk or bike ride to downtown, midtown, Virginia Highlands or the Little Five Points/ Inman park area.

There are no excuses not to stop by!

City Cycling 101

In light of our Bike to School challenge, we want to offer up a few tips (courtesy of Intown Bicycles) to help make your clean commute easy, less stressful, and most importantly safe.

Now we know that it can be scary riding on roads alongside speeding cars, but if you use your head, stay focused, and be smart, you can avoid nearly all major issues.

Tip #1: Be Visible. Now this may seem like an obvious one, but you may be surprised at how many cyclists and pedestrians don’t follow this advice. Make sure that you are wearing bright colors, and that your bike has an appropriate number of lights and reflectors. When you’re on your bike, you want car drivers to notice you from as far away as possible, so that they can plan to safely pass you. This is especially important at night. Wear yellow, it is the most eye catching. Do not wear grey, it’s the color of the road.

Tip #2: Be Predictable. It’s important to be as predictable as possible so that other drivers can know what to do. Follow the rules of the road. Stop at all red lights and stop signs; signal when turning; yield to oncoming traffic; ride on the right-hand side of the road, and turn left from the left lane. Essentially, ride your bike as if you’re driving a car.

Tip #3: Beware of Hazards. A lot of things that are bad for cars (pot holes, road plates, construction zones) are bad for bicycles, but there are additional things to watch out for when biking in the city. Watch for cars making left turns in front of you, and look for cars pulling out from side streets and driveways.Watch for cars that pass you and then make a right turn in front of you.

Also watch for sewer grates, railroad tracks, and gravel or other road debris. These items can cause you to lose traction and fall, particularly if you hit them at high speeds or going around turns.

Be aware that drivers cannot see the holes, debris, and other hazards that you have to negotiate. Signal drivers, if possible, before making any unexpected moves to avoid hazards.

Tip #4: Plan Your Routes Ahead of Time. Putting a bit of time in to plan your route can pay off big time. Not only can you avoid the busiest roads, but you can find out which roads have bike paths, which traffic signals don’t recognize cyclists, etc. Make sure to utilize bike paths as much as possible. It is technically illegal to ride on the sidewalk (unless you’re under 13), however there are some situations where it is way safer – so use your best judgement.

Tip #5: Be Prepared. First off, you should always have the proper safety equipment. Always wear your helmet (even for short trips), and wear reflective or bright clothing, as we mentioned earlier. It’s also important to carry some tools and supplies in the event of a problem. We recommend a spare tube for your tires, a patch kit, and a multi-tool, to help fix general mechanical issues.

Tip #6: Pay Attention. This is another no-brainer. Make sure that you are constantly aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately this means no listening to music. It’s important to use all of your senses to be aware. Don’t even think about trying to text while riding your bike. Not only are your eyes not on the road, but your hands aren’t on the handlebars, and you have no way to avoid a problem. It’s not worth the injury or the broken phone.

For a full guide to bycicling in Georgia, see the DOT’s Georgia Bike Sense. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition also offers courses on city cycling, and bike maintenance.

 

 

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