Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 2009 Atlanta Holiday House Tour

Hi! It’s Valarie Edwards ready to head out to the 2009 Atlanta Holiday House Tour! Our photographer extraordinaire Charlene Fisk, production assistant and editor superb Renee Burton and I pile into the Traveler van and dutifully following the printed directions, we wind up at the WRONG place. But, tah-dah! Char whips out her trusty I-Phone and we’re on our way again. Turns out we were 20 minutes away from the office.

Bruce Patterson greets us at the door of this 22,000 (yes, that’s twenty two thousand) square foot home off Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta. This year’s tour benefits the ‘Save a Smile Foundation.’ Bruce is the group’s director. The ‘Save a Smile Foundation’ helps kids born with either a cleft palate or a cleft lip. Turns out 1 in 700 children are born with this birth defect. Surgical costs to repair this hereditary disorder can top more than $250,000. Bruce was born with a cleft palate and tears come to his eyes when speaking of the psychological effects of craniofacial disorders on children. Bruce is wearing striped pj’s a
nd a red Santa hat. It’s just about story time and several kids have come to hear a reading of one of my holiday favorites, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’

All is going well ‘til the kids start opening the fake gifts the decorator has placed around the room. Then, one little girl starts crying. One sister reminds another to get her Christmas list to Santa, or else. And, more than one mom is surprised to hear her child wants a puppy for Christmas. OK, everyone turn around and smile! We shot this scene at least three times and you can tell it was nap time for some. Including me!

I wish I could tell you I have a favorite room but even the laundry room is fantastic! There’s the master bedroom on the first floor, done in shades of silver, white and pale blue (think a lighter shade of Tiffany’s famous blue). But right off the master bedroom is the master bath. At least six people could fit comfortably in the shower and the closet space (OMG!), one for him, and one for her.

There’s a kitchen any top chef would die for, a wine cellar, an entertainment room, a full-size basketball court, a salt water pool, and a man cave complete with a pool table and a GIGANTIC plasma screen.

When you visit, tell them you heard about it on Georgia Traveler. And, bring your camera …turns out decorators like it when you snap pictures of their rooms. The three level French style estate is located at 3410 Ridgewood Road in Atlanta. For more information, visit And, check out the Holiday House gift shop to find some of the same decorative items you’ll see throughout the house.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This Weekend in Georgia

Thanksgiving is over and you've gained five pounds from turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie--it's time to get out and see Georgia!

Antebellum Christmas at the Old Governor's Mansion
December 5 - 24, 2009
Milledgeville, Georgia

Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville is the epitome of the Antebellum charm of old Southern homes. Beginning December 5th, the Mansion puts on its mid-19th Century Christmas decorations for Antebellum Christmas at the Old Governor's Mansion. Take the time to visit this treasure of Georgia's past during this festive time of year. The Mansion is located at 120 South Clark Street in Milledgeville. You can get more information by visiting

Festival of Trees

December 3 - 6, 2009
Unicoi State Park, Helen, Georgia

See some of Georgia's most festively decorated trees and wreaths at this year's Festival of Trees. For seven years this annual event has benefitted the United Way, and this year approximately 38 trees and 24 wreaths, decorated with various themes, will be on display. Don't miss the silent auction! The bidding area is located in the wreath display area. Bid on your favorite tree or wreath to take home for the holiday season. For more details on this exciting event, visit the Festival's website.

Holiday Island on Jekyll Island
November 29 - December 31, 2009
Jekyll Island, Georgia

Festivities highlight the history of the island and include the Jekyll Island Museum's Holiday's in History tours. For information on these events and more throughout the holiday season, visit the Holiday Island on Jekyll Island webpage. Holiday Island will be featured on the upcoming Georgia Traveler Holiday Tour of Georgia, which will premiere December 18 at 9 PM on GPB. Keep an eye on our website for more information.

And those are just a few ideas for things to do in the Peach State this weekend. For more ideas, visit, a great website operated by our production partners at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.