Woodstock – A City Unexpected

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This past Spring, I got the opportunity to spend a week in Woodstock, Georgia. It is a small city, just north of metro Atlanta. I went there for a business trip, specifically for the Regional Visitor Information Center conference, but ended up experiencing a very cool bleisure trip! (Just what is bleisure? It’s business mixed with leisure!)

The tagline for Woodstock is – A City Unexpected, and unexpected it was!

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According to Money Magazine, Woodstock was named one of America’s 50 Best Cities. It has a world-class trail system, excellent shopping & dining options, and apparently one of the best breweries in America!

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When I first checked into the conference, I looked at two other attendees standing there and asked where they were going for lunch. We decided to pop across the street to Canyon Burger Company. DELISH! Not only did I indulge in an incredible burger, I also made two new friends from Lake Lanier Islands & Dahlonega.

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The trip wasn’t all fun – there was a LOT to learn as far as Welcome Centers go. We were in classes for several days going over everything from brochures to branding, merchandising to events, and so much more!

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Backing up a little, the first night I was there, I had dinner alone at a little Mexican restaurant near my hotel. Hands down some of the BEST beef tacos I have ever tasted!

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Some of the highlights of Woodstock, that I got to see, included:

  • The Greenprints Trail System, a city-wide trail network. (Just a brilliant idea that I need to implement in Sumter County!)
  • The Elm Street Cultural Arts Village (where our conference was held.) Basically, they refurbished an old church and turned it into the perfect conference space.
  • The Downtown Woodstock Shopping & Dining District (which features over 20 restaurants and 35 stores.) Apparently, this community was pretty much nonexistent, and like the phoenix rising from the ashes, so did their downtown.
  • The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, the closest outlet mall to the city of Atlanta with nearly 100 shops

The City of Woodstock folks put us all on a bus and drove us around to see these sights and get a feel of what their city had to offer and the layout of the land. It gave me tons of ideas!

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On one of the afternoons, we stopped by the Historic Dixie Speedway, which is ranked one of the best dirt tracks in America. It seems to be a family owned business, and we were told all of the great NASCAR drivers, at some point early in their careers, got to race here. It was also featured in a movie. It has a 3/8 mile clay oval track, and hosts stock car racing every Saturday night, May through October.

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One of my favorite nights in Woodstock was at a private party hosted by and at Reformation Brewery. I just loved their mission – “is a values-based company that seeks to reform beer culture and liberate beer from societal extremes.” How cool is that?

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The brewery was established in October of 2013 and is located within the renowned Etowah watershed of Woodstock. They offer tours, tastings, and take home beer options. We pretty much had an open bar and were given these fantastic custom designed craft beer glasses. (It’s a hard life.. I know.)

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We had a BBQ catered meal complete with homemade banana pudding. The folks from all over the state of Georgia that run Welcome/Visitor Centers were in attendance.

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One of the coolest things that they did was have an artist on hand to draw each of us! Boy… am I sassy!

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One of the other private parties was at Madlife Stage & Studios. We had a specially catered meal and open bar and got to watch a really awesome band perform.

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After the dinner and drinks, we headed to the VIP room of Stars & Strikes in Woodstock.

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Again – open bar, tons of catered food, and a private bowling alley, unlimited game card, bumper cars, and laser tag!

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I was like a kid in a candy store! I love places like this. All that was missing was Mini Golf!

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Overall, the trip was very informative, I met a ton of awesome people who do exactly what I do, won a bottle of Habersham wine in a silent auction, and explored a city I probably would have never visited otherwise.

If you get a chance, or are passing through Atlanta, give it a try!

Hitting The Reset Button

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Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I suppose I’ve been a busy little bee. From settling into married life and attempting to raise the bar in the world of tourism locally, I’ve been a little scattered and not exactly motivated to write.

But that is about to change.

I’m hitting the reset button this weekend in more ways than one. Not only will I celebrate the beginning of the “summer season,” but I plan to get my personal schedule under control.

If you have followed me over the years, you know I am the queen of setting goals and watching them come to fruition. I used to do a lot of planning because it made me feel good and then there was the whole bragging rights to accomplishing things. But this time, it is more about what I need to do.

So how I am resetting? Well – it’s back to bringing balance into my life. I need more laughter and less planning. (Planning a wedding, honeymoon, move, and even creating a strategic plan for work…) all of these things took my attention away from one of the most important things I needed to concentrate on – myself.

I’ve got my eating plan back. I’ve got my exercise program going on (sporadically: Yoga, Kick Boxing, and Fe Fit.) I’ve got my dream camera. I have my dream guy. I’ve got a pretty cool family. We have designed our home and will start building soon. My job is rocking…

But I’m scattered.

No more, my friends!

Okay, okay… it’s not like I am sitting over here whining and twiddling my thumbs…

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Visiting St Patrick Episcopal Church

We have started visiting churches in Southwest Georgia. Trying to find a place to create our sense of spiritual community is a really big deal. We started with an Episcopal Church in Albany – which I really, REALLY like.

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I got to travel to Dahlonega, Georgia to attend the Southeastern Tourism Society’s Marketing College. I spent the week learning from the best in the business. Knowledge is always a plus!

While there, I got to visit two wineries for dinner (Monteluce & Blue Mountain Vineyards,) ate at the Smith House and visited the North Georgia Zoo. I made tons of friends and learned new tips and trips. I even took myself on a solo trip to Helen, Georgia. Not a bad way to wrap up the Spring!

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I’ve enjoyed spending time with the Grand Daughter! She is getting to that fun age, where she is trying to talk, runs all over the house, and giggles non stop!

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I’ve had a blast building my team up! We celebrated National Travel & Tourism Week and had an absolute blast!

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I spent another week in Woodstock, Georgia studying welcome centers for communities. While there, we visited Reformation Brewery, shopped downtown, visited a raceway, watched a concert at Mad Life Stage & Taproom, and had a blast at a Stars & Stripes Entertainment Center!


Not a bad way to learn! Plus, I made a ton of friends!

Back home, I got to witness the grand opening of a new winery: Wolf Creek Plantation, and even got to be a part of our very first Downtown Americus Hot Glass Craft Beer Festival.

I even took a weekend and headed to my hometown of Macon to celebrate the Cherry Blossom festival with friends!

Tim & I took the girls to Callaway Gardens and went biking (7 miles!) And finally, I have been tearing through some really great books….

 

But here we are… time to reset, celebrate, write more, and concentrate on me.

My first adventure:

 

 

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Yep. It’s time to detox!

Until next time…