Category Archives: travel

Atlanta: A Million Skyline Looks.

The skyline. Anyone who follows me on this blog or on social media knows I like to capture city skylines. With that I got excited starting the A Million Skyline Looks series.

Toronto, Chicago, Auckland and now it is Atlanta’s turn. The unofficial capitol of the South has distinct skylines in both Midtown and Downtown.

Photo opportunities to capture both from parks, bridges, high up-top sky rises and from right out on the open road (as a passenger of course) have presented themselves, along with many more. Coming up with a million skyline looks of a place I’ve lived in and visited a lot is easy. Well without further ado:

Atlanta skyline - from The Varsity

Eat a burger from this ATL institution, the Varsity, while capturing the city.

Atlanta skyline

Sometimes random Atlanta city skyline shots just present themselves.

Atlanta skyline from immy Carter Library and Museum

Head to the park behind the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood.

Atlanta skyline from immy Carter Library and Museum

Skyline trying to peek out from the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.

Atlanta skyline from near Turner Field

The Downtown skyline and state capitol from near Turner FIeld.

Atlanta skyline from near Turner Field

The Downtown skyline and state capitol from what was once Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium.

Atlanta skyline from World of Coca-Cola

Downtown helping to protect the World of Coca-Cola.

Atlanta skyline from up-top The Sun Dial restaurant

Midtown view from 73rd floor of The Westin Peachtree Plaza at The Sun Dial restaurant.

Atlanta skyline from up-top The Sun Dial restaurant

View from 73rd floor of The Westin Peachtree Plaza at The Sun Dial restaurant. SunTrust Plaza is standing tall.

Atlanta skyline

Love looking straight up in a big city.

Atlanta skyline from up-top The Sun Dial restaurant

View from 73rd floor of The Westin Peachtree Plaza at The Sun Dial restaurant.

Atlanta skyline from Piedmont Park

Midtown standing tall from Piedmont Park.

Atlanta skyline from Piedmont Park

The skyline is playing peekabo in Piedmont Park.

Downtown Atlanta skyline from the Downtown Connector

Exit for the Downtown ATL skyline anyone?

Midtown Atlanta skyline from the Downtown Connector

One Atlantic Center, the tallest building in Atlanta, standing in Midtown.

Midtown Atlanta skyline from the Downtown Connector

Heading right into the heart, northbound on the Downtown Connector (I-75/I-85).

Atlanta skyline from the Downtown Connector

Heading southbound on the Downtown Connector (I-75/I-85). Skyline hugging the guard rail.

Midtown skyline from the Downtown Connector

Heading into the city from the south. Can you see the Georgia State Capitol?

Atlanta skyline from Piedmont Park

The pond and spot to grab a city shot within Piedmont Park.

Atlanta skyline from Piedmont Park

Midtown will greet you at the end of a climb in Piedmont Park.

Atlanta skyline from Piedmont Park

Midtown in Autumn, straight ahead at Piedmont Park.

Atlanta skyline from Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Good reason you think to pull off the road on Boulevard NE in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood?

Atlanta skyline from Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

More Atlanta skyline opportunity out on the open road in Old Fourth Ward.

Midtown skyline from the Downtown Connector

Heading off the interstate and into the heart of the Midtown skyline.

My favorite place to capture the ATL skyline is the 17th Street Bridge, my peaceful place.

Atlanta skyline from the 17th Street Bridge

Many, many, many lanes heading into the city from the 17th Street Bridge.

What other spots would you recommend capturing the Atlanta skyline from?

The 2016 Coffee Moment(s) for Me.

Happy Holidays to all! Another caffeinated year is in the books. 2016 brought more memorable coffees and coffee shop experiences. Lots of lattes, pour overs, nitro brews and cold brew coffees were consumed from all around Michigan, Chicago and Ohio. Some of these were enjoyed alongside my son and first child, who was born this year. 🙂

The year ib coffee is highlighted in a short video snippet. The background song is the appropriately named “Coffee Shop” by Gorilla Zoe. The cover photo is a Military Latte from Sawada Coffee in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. I would easily say this is my favorite coffee drink and moment of the year.

Too many more coffees in the new year! Hope to see you all out on the caffeinated open road. Aaron 🙂

Check out the great coffee moments from last year in The 2015 Coffee Moment(s) for Me.

Walking Atlanta’s Historic Oakland Cemetery

When researching places to go in a big city, the cemetery is not a place that readily comes to mind. After making a couple of visits to Oakland Cemetery in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta, I’ve completely changed my tune.

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery represents the Old South. It takes you back into history when within. It’s the oldest cemetery in Atlanta founded in 1850. It sits on six acres and has roughly 70,000 graves. Past mayors, governors of Georgia and famous Atlantans rest here, along with many soldiers dating back to the Civil War era. The famous golfer Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Mind, also reside here.

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Marvel at all the various architecture featured throughout. Oakland Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places which helps with the upkeep and preserving.

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Along with being a cemetery it’s also a vast botanical garden and park with beautiful colors all year long. I was lucky to make a trip here in Autumn and being able to experience the Fall colors throughout.

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

This Grant Park neighborhood cemetery is also a beautiful spot to capture the downtown Atlanta skyline from. Always keep the camera out when walking the grounds!

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Grab a coffee from Octane Coffee across the street and head in in the early morning hours. The park has many entrances, I recommend going in from Oakland Avenue. Your feet will take you onto the red bricked paths of many named narrow streets throughout. I walked around on my own, but guided tours are also available.

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Some additional info:

  • Being a public park, Oakland cemetery is open dawn to dusk every day of the year.
  • No fees to enter.
  • Go on an official self-guided tour. Download the Android or iPhone app.
  • Guided tours are available every weekend during the warmer months and for tour groups and schools.

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

Tip: When on the Northeast end of the cemetery checkout the Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills plant off in the distance.

What other historic cemeteries would you recommend checking out?

Chicago: A Million More Skyline Looks.

I’ve made it no secret through this blog and on Twitter and Instagram that I love the Chicago skyline. The Windy City was highlighted in my ongoing A Million Skyline Looks series earlier in the year.

A few months back I made my annual summer time trip to Chi-town which meant more skyline photo opportunity. Each trip brings with it the same tried-and-true spots along with new roof top bars, new neighborhoods and different vantage points. It was not an issue finding a million more skyline looks! Well without further ado:

Chicago skyline from alongside Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue at the Chicago River, enough said.

Chicago skyline from Michigan Avenue looking towards Lake Michigan

Looking down the Chicago River towards Lake Michigan, between all the tall buildings.

Chicago skyline from Hyatt Regency Chicago

Looking at all the skyscrapers due north from up-top Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Chicago skyline from Grant Park

Plenty of cityscape awaits the visitors of Grant Park.

Chicago skyline from alongside Adler Planetarium and Lake Michigan

Chicago skyline from alongside Adler Planetarium and Lake Michigan.

Chicago skyline from Grant Park

There you are whenever I need you Willis Tower from Grant Park.

Chicago skyline from Grant Park

Looking straight towards Chicago Union Station. Where are you Amtrak?

Chicago skyline from up-top The Godfrey Hotel

Enjoying the night-time city views from up-top The Godfrey Hotel in the North Loop.

Chicago skyline from up-top The Godfrey Hotel

The Godfrey Hotel rooftop in the North Loop.

Chicago skyline from the 26th floor and Vertigo Sky Lounge

Hanging out at the Vertigo Sky Lounge brings with it city views in all directions.

Chicago skyline from the 26th floor and Vertigo Sky Lounge

Dusk up-top the Dana Hotel & Spa at Vertigo Sky Lounge.

Chicago skyline from the 26th floor and Vertigo Sky Lounge

The 26th Floor and Vertigo Sky Lounge equals lots of Chicago skyline beauty.

Chicago skyline from the riverfront and along Michigan Avenue.

The Chicago Riverfront brings with it beautiful city views.

Chicago skyline from Hyatt Regency Chicago

Looking to the south from up-top Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Chicago skyline from up-top ZED451 in North Loop

Chicago skyline from up-top ZED451 in North Loop

Besides capturing the vastness of the city on this trip I decided to play a little peekaboo with the Sears, I mean, Willis Tower. It always seems to be in view. A great navigational tool in fact if you ever get lost.

Chicago skyline from Grant Park

The skyline is always making its presence known within Grant Park.

Chicago skyline from the Green Line in South Loop

The Willis Tower and skyline are standing tall from the Green Line in South Loop.

Chicago skyline from alongside Millennium Park

Sears, I mean, Willis Tower is playing peekaboo along Michigan Avenue.

Chicago skyline from the Green Line in the West Loop

Enjoying the skyline view as I await the Green Line train in West Loop.

Chicago skyline from the West Loop

Willis Tower is standing tall from West Loop.

Chicago skyline from the West Loop

You can see the Willis Tower is everywhere. Walking along West Randolph in West Loop.

Where do you like to capture the Chicago skyline from?

Things Learned After Spending Time in New Zealand

Up until 2009 I had traveled a lot, but it was confined to places all over the United States and Canada, with a little time in Mexico. All of this changed that year when I headed abroad for the first time. In fact I was headed to the other side of the world and New Zealand for an extended period of time.

Auckland skyline from afar in New Zealand

Upon arriving at Auckland Airport I immediately started noticing not just the big differences compared to home in the states, but the small. During that trip and my subsequent time in New Zealand here are some of the things that I have learned:

  • Gotta make sure to look to the right first before crossing the street.
  • Hitchhiking is common a way to get around and a pretty safe one. Picked one up, helping them get from A to B, with a lot of great conversation in-between.
  • To do the above, had to experience driving on the other side of the road. That was the biggest transition.
  • I’m not walking into a convenience store to grab some drinks and snacks, but a dairy.
  • A New Zealand Dairy in Auckland

  • Speaking of dairies, them along with gas stations and in every other place it seems you will find a display case of meat pies ready for consumption. The steak and cheese yum!
  • New Zealand meat pies

  • You want to wash that pie down with a V Energy Drink a.k.a. fuel for more road tripping. Why don’t they carry those outside of NZ and Australia haha?! 🙂 🙂
  • When getting a different kind of fuel, Burger Fuel, the fries you are getting are Kumara, not sweet potato.
  • I’m not grabbing a beer at the restaurant/bar, but a pint. To this day even at home when I want a beer I find myself asking for a pint.
  • When at the restaurant/bar there is no tipping, you don’t give payment to the waiter and there is no seating available at the bar.
  • Continuing on with the food, it’s frites not fries. Oh and can I have some aioli with those! What’s ketchup? People call it tomato sauce.
  • When I visit I am not on a vacation, but on holiday.
  • Here a sheep, there a sheep, everywhere a sheep sheep.
  • More mingling with the New Zealand sheep

  • It’s rugby, rugby, rugby over here. I quickly got drawn in to the All Blacks National rugby union team. Was very excited when they won the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London.
  • The further south you go the colder it gets.
  • It’s January and the sun is out until after 9 pm.
  • I quickly Learned not to not close your eyes when road tripping, the terrain changes fast. We’re in the rain forest, wait the mountains, wait the prairie, wait I see a glacier.
  • It is really as pretty and magical as Lord of the Rings depicts it to be. You never know what lies straight ahead.
  • Heading towards the Franz Glacier in New Zealand

  • I discovered for myself what all the chatter was about involving the Queenstown Fergburger. Delicious.
  • Roundabouts you are starting to see here-and-there in the states, in New Zealand they are just a way of life.
  • I’ve already said it a couple of times in this post, people refer to the US as “The States”.
  • Stay at hostel, not a hotel. Who knows who you’ll meet, where they will be from and what kinds of great memories you will make.
  • Most importantly, everyone is so friendly. I don’t recall ever having a bad interaction with anyone.

It was great learning about, experiencing and seeing the differences between home and somewhere outside North America. I look forward to uncovering more in New Zealand and beyond.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? If so, what are some of the differences you noticed from home?