Coffee-ing it up at Spiller Park Coffee in Atlanta

It was a recent early morning in the ATL as my brother and I headed to the Toco Hills part of town. The destination was a recent addition to the rapidly expanding Atlanta coffee shop scene, Spiller Park Coffee.

Spiller Park Coffee, Toco Hills, Atlanta

Upon arriving in this northeastern Atlanta neighborhood we immediately noticed the vast and colorful outdoor seating. The shop sits within the Toco Hills shopping center so parking was aplenty. I noticed the vast garage door in front, which provides a lot of fresh air and light on warm sunny days. We were bundled up this morning so.

Spiller Park Coffee, Toco Hills, Atlanta coffee shop

We sat amongst the modern shop and quiet vibe. You had a mix of people working on their laptops and others enjoying breakfast. This was a true neighborhood shop, with most people were getting their order “for here”. The baristas were nice and engaging. We talked about coffee and other shops as our coffees were coming to life.

Tip: Spiller Park Coffee’s original location is a permanent kiosk, more for the to-go crowd, within Ponce City Market. On the list to experience soon!

Spiller Park Coffee, craft coffee shop in Atlanta, Georgia

Up first was a Macchiato. Creamy, smooth and picturesque!

Spiller Park Coffee, latte, Atlanta

Spiller Park Coffee, latte, Atlanta

Spiller Park Coffee offers a variety of rotating seasonal beans. I next went with a Guatemalan pour over made with San Francisco based roaster The Tide Coffee (Four Barrel Coffee) coffee beans. My experience was both flavorful and balanced. In general I highly recommend a pour over no matter the roaster. The extra few minutes it takes to make are so worth it.

Spiller Park Coffee, pour over coffee - Atlanta, Georgia

Spiller Park Coffee, pour over coffee - Atlanta, Georgia

I went with a liquid, coffee only breakfast getting properly caffeinated! My brother decided to experience the infamous toast. He topped it with avocado and fried egg and was thoroughly impressed. Just seeing the presentation alone was enough for me to know the quality of.

Spiller Park Coffee, toast with avocado and fried egg - Atlanta, Georgia

Spiller Park Coffee offers a variety of espresso and tea drinks, along with hot chocolate, chai lattes and more. THe food menu varies between the two locations. Here in Toco Hills you can get a variety of their toast offerings along with yogurt and fruit.

Spiller Park Coffee - Atlanta, Georgia

Spiller Park Coffee, latte, Atlanta

You can find Spiller Park Coffee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you are ever around the Toco Hills neighborhood, I highly recommend checking out this Atlanta coffee shop.

An Updated Ten Travel Tips for a Day Road Trip

It’s almost time to get out on the open road on a day road trip. Have you planned ahead? Spontaneity and just getting into the car and going can lead to some great trips no doubt. However there are some things that you should take into consideration before and during your roadie.

Day road trip tips - The Adventures of elATLboy.com

It’s been five years since I wrote my original post on this. The basics have stayed the same. A lot has changed though in terms of technology and in me getting more perspective from additional time on the road. Below is an update on my post and the day road trip tips I have found helpful.

1. Check the weather. The days leading up to a road trip and/or right before you get in the car, head to The Weather Channel website or app and check the forecast. You could also do a simple search like “Charleston weather” in Google, quickly becoming informed. Hmmm let’s see… winter storm? Maybe I should venture there tomorrow instead.

Day road trip tips - check the weather

Follow the weather on your phone throughout your adventure as well. You’ll increase the chances of not running into a sheet of ice (been there), high winds or getting caught up in a deluge of rain. You might change course on the spot. Who knows that could lead to an unexpected adventure and you’ll be safer.

Additional Tips: While you are at it check for major construction along with Googling “<NAME OF DESTINATON> traffic”.

2. Get a good night sleep. A day road trip could last a full 24 hours or more. I look at it like this. The longer you make the day, the further you can travel away from home and double back, meaning the more you can see. I love taking advantage of the extended daylight hours in the summer. If the sleep thing doesn’t work out then you are going to need…

3. …fuel, I mean coffee! Bring some from home. If desperate grab some at a travel center or truck stop ha-ha. As the day goes on make sure to refuel at indie, mom and pop coffee shops along the way. At least that’s my philosophy. I love experiencing something new, sometimes getting tips on things to do from bulletin boards or the locals sipping java inside. Drip Drop Drink in Muskegon is my-go when exploring the beach towns along Lake Michigan in Pure Michigan.

4. Charge, charge, charge. It’s not just you that needs to be fully charged. Make sure your Galaxy 7 or iPhone X and camera are ready to go. You will want to have enough juice to take pictures, post to Snapchat, Instagram live stories, ask for advice on Twitter, etc. Have those chargers and spare batteries, along with a portable power pack or two handy. A lot of people have USB ports in their vehicles these days. Bonus for getting extra juice while you are driving!

5. Fully stock your vehicle. Learning from experience, I make sure to have a blanket, bottled water, extra clothes, wind-shield washer fluid, flashlight, jumper cables, spare tire, emergency snack food, etc. Also check your oil and other fluids, along with your tires.

Day road trip tips - have a spare tire, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables

6. Have navigation help. Some people use Gladys (GPS), but many more gravitate to Google maps on their phone these days. The key is to have them available. Back to the word spontaneity. Make sure to put all navigational aids away at times for adventure sake. When I personally seek help I still like having my trusty, old-fashioned atlas alongside. The Waze app can help here as well.

7. Bring cash including change. You never know when you’ll need it for tolls and parking meters. When you call for help to fix a flat tire or for general road-side assistance, a lot of the time cash is the only payment option.

8. Hit the road on an empty stomach. You can snack and have your coffee, but be hungry and ready to eat so you can try some local cuisine. It’s not a day for McDonald’s or hitting up the vending machine at a rest area. How about a stop at Skyline Chili when road tripping through Cincinnati along I-75?! As far as chains go I will allow stopping at a random Waffle House ha-ha. Some of my best day road trip memories started or ended there.

Day road trip tips - stop at a Waffle House

9. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Hopefully there will be lots of getting out of the vehicle to explore. Some jogging, hiking and climbing could be in order. I once traveled fifteen miles on foot while in the heart of Chicago. With the cost of parking in a big city it’s better to centrally park and use public transportation or walk to everything.

10. Even with planning as described in the tips above make sure to have semi-plans. In other words be out there on the open road with an open mind. There it is yet again, my word of the day, spontaneity. Of course there will be places you marked to experience. You must also be willing to get sidetracked with random finds. The unexpected can be the most gratifying.

day road trip tips - lake mead, las vegas, nevada

Checkout my original day road trip tips post.

Any other day road trip recommendations? I can’t wait to see all of you out on the open road.

The 2017 Coffee Moment(s) for Me

Happy Holidays everyone! We have almost reached the end of another calendar year. 2017, as with every year before it, brought a lot of coffee consumption and time in coffee shops. Siphons, Ethiopian V60 pour overs, flavored lattes, coffee cocktails and a lot more coffee was consumed from all around Ann Arbor and Michigan, Northwest Ohio, Atlanta and Las Vegas.

The year in coffee is highlighted in the short Flipagram video below. I love the song I used last year, “Coffee Shop” by Gorilla Zoe, so it is making another appearance. The cover photo honor this year says it all. “Coffee” is spelled out front-and-center on the building upon approach. I get goosebumps every time I see that magical word like I did here at Milan Coffee Works in Milan, Michigan.

As I mentioned a lot of time was spent in Ann Arbor drinking coffee. This year to go along with The Adventures of elATLboy Instagram, many of the photos come from Coffee Ann Arbor. I started this venture on January 1st. The goal is to highlight everything that college town Ann Arbor and the surrounding area has to offer to terms of coffee.

Too many more coffees in 2018! I look forward to seeing you all in Ann Arbor and out on the caffeinated open road. Cheers! Aaron

Check out the great coffee moments from last year in The 2016 Coffee Moment(s) for Me.

The 2017 Edition of Autumn in Pure Michigan

Another Autumn has come and gone here in Pure Michigan and the Midwestern US. Most of Fall was unusually warm. Between that and being out of town during the heart of the season, I wasn’t able to experience the fall colors as much as in years past.

I did have a chance to sneak out and venture around Ann Arbor, Brighton and the western suburbs of Detroit a little bit. It doesn’t matter where you are in the state, it seems the beautiful colors will be right in front of you. Well without further ado:

n 2017 - Huron Meadows Metropark in Brighton

Huron Meadows Metro Park in Brighton. An annual stop.

n 2017 - Out on the open Livingston County dirt road

You never know the scenes that await while driving random dirt roads. From Livingston County.

n 2017 - Out on the open Ann Arbor area dirt road

Off to the dirt roads it is around Ann Arbor.

n 2017 - Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor

Out on the open Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor. My recommended Fall drive in these parts.

n 2017 - Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor

Out on the open Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor. My recommended Fall drive in these parts.

n 2017 - Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor

Out on the open Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor. I’m repeating myself. I just this drive!

n 2017 - Out on the open Livingston County dirt road

You never know the scenes that await while driving random dirt roads. From Livingston County.

n 2017 - Early morning frost

The leaves and I are taking in the early morning frost.

n 2017 - Early morning frost

The leaves and I are taking in the early morning frost.

n 2017 - Early morning frost

The colors were really popping out in Brighton, Michigan.

n 2017 - Huron River, Ann Arbor

The Huron River is on the move to capture Fall in Ann Arbor.

n 2017 - Huron River, Ann Arbor

Argo Park Autumn views along the Huron River in Ann Arbor.

n 2017 - Huron River, Ann Arbor

Argo Park Autumn views along the Huron River in Ann Arbor.

n 2017 - Ann Arbor residential fall scene

Residentaial drives are a must this time of the year in collegetown Ann Arbor.

n 2017

Random dirt road driving is a must during the Fall season.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Brighton State Recreation Area

Reflecting on the season at the Brighton State Rrecreation Area.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Brighton State Recreation Area

Reflecting on the season at the Brighton State Rrecreation Area.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Brighton State Recreation Area

The colors and I are taking in the dawn sky at Bishop Lake.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Brighton State Recreation Area

The colors and I are taking in the dawn sky at the Brighton State Recreation Area.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Huron River in Ann Arbor

Looking down the Huron River at Ann Arbor’s Bandemer Park.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Huron River in Ann Arbor

Looking down the Huron River at Ann Arbor’s Bandemer Park.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Ann Arbor, Michigan Stadium

Michigan Stadium straight ahead. It only take one Fall tree or two to make a beautiful scene.

n 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

It’s a great time for the kids to hit the playground like here in western Wayne county.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

Out on the open Hines Drive in Northville.

n 2017 - Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor

Back to Huron River Drive I go. The route takes you from Ann Arbor to Dexter.

n 2017 - Barton Nature Area, Huron River, Ann Arbor

Starring out down the Huron River at the Barton Nature Area in Ann Arbor.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

Reflecting on the colors of Newburgh Lake in Livonia.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

The Autumn leaves of Hines Drive in Metro Detroit.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

The Autumn leaves of Hines Drive in Metro Detroit.

Check some scenes I captured last year in The 2016 Edition of Autumn in Pure Michigan.

Where have you gone around home or in your travels to capture this years Fall colors?

Hello Downtown Atlanta Skyline from the Jackson Street Bridge

It was a recent Fall morning in Atlanta. My brother and I were heading to Condesa Coffee in the Old Fourth neighborhood. I had been to this coffee shop and part of the city numerous times before. This visit would be different though.

Condesa Coffee sits along Freedom Parkway, knowing that driving westward on gets you straight on shots of the Downtown Atlanta skyline. I’d always pass under the Jackson Street Bridge, a popular skyline viewing spot. Guess what? Until this very day, I had never driven or walked across that bridge.

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

It was worth the wait, seeing a perfect shot of the Downtown part of the Atlanta skyline. I love how Freedom Parkway seems to sit perfectly in the foreground. It was just as beautiful as I had seen on so many Instagram posts. Many of you will recognize this scene as it’s a major part of the movie, “Walking Dead”.

Being the morning, but past rush hour, traffic was limited on Freedom Parkway making it easier to get my camera in focus. It definitely should be on your Atlanta bucket list.

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Looking off to the right, I was able to get a shot of the Downtown skyline with Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper, Bank of America Plaza, just off to the north.

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Downtown Atlanta skyline, Jackson Street Bridge, Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

Tip: When going to Condesa Coffee I usually have no problem parking on John Wesley Dobbs Ave NE just east of Boulevard NE. Make the quick one block track over to the bridge via the Freedom Park Trail, which is something to experience in its own right.

The perfectly blue morning sky made for a great first experience on the Jackson Street Bridge. I look forward to checking out the same view at night and on days with various cloud types in the future.

What other scenic spots would you recommend for checking out the Downtown or other parts of the Atlanta skyline?