Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shoppers – Start Your Engines and Head to Roswell

As the infamous “Black Friday” approaches, have you mapped out your shopping plans for this gift-giving season? Ready for miles and miles of parked cars? How about standing in long lines to pay for your goodies? Hmm, sounds like too much work for me.

How about something more laid back? How about gifts as unique as the family members and friends on your shopping list?

Roswell is a shopper’s paradise from the period storefronts of the historic district to the eclectic treasures throughout the city. A great selection of items in a delightful setting, mixed with friendly service and warm smiling faces, makes shopping in Roswell an experience to remember. We invite you to enjoy the variety and great prices you will find in the Shops of Roswell. The perfect gift at the perfect price awaits you.

First on your list: Stop in the Roswell Visitors Center (617 Atlanta Street) and pick up your FREE Find It All Roswell VIP Card. Roswell’s merchants have great special offers to anyone presenting the VIP card. Offers change weekly, so make sure you have the current list of offers before heading out. The current offers list can be downloaded from There are even restaurant specials on the list and we all know that power shopping requires great food for fuel to keep you going.

From Thanksgiving week through New Years, Roswell is decked out for Christmas and full of special events at venues all over the city to celebrate the season. Christmas in Roswell has been featured as a Top 20 Event by the Southeastern Tourism Society for several years. For full details, check out the brochure at:

Several of Roswell’s shopping opportunities are featured in this year’s brochure:

December 3
From 7 – 9 pm, The Chandlery will donate 10% of all proceeds to the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

December 4 & 5
Picture with Santa at The Chandlery on Canton Street. From 2 – 5 P.M. Have your picture, your child’s picture or your family’s picture taken with Santa surrounded by Christmas wonder. Enjoy shopping while you wait. 770-993-5962

December 4 - 6
Works In Clay Holiday Show & Pottery Sale at Art Center West; 1355 Woodstock Road. Show features work of over 45 ceramic artists and highlights collectible wheel-thrown functional pottery, figurative sculpture and affordable gift items. 10 A.M. - 8 P.M. on Friday; 10 A.M. - 5 P.M. on Saturday; Noon – 5 P.M. on Sunday. 770-641-3990;

December 5
Back to Nature Holiday Market and Festival at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. 10 am to 4 pm. Shop over 40 vendors selling local, handmade products including candles, knits, unique bags, preserves, jewelry, toys, one-of-a-kind gifts, coffee, teas and more. Activities for the children including arts & crafts, face painting, scavenger hunts, hikes an animal encounters. Fee with admission to CNC.

December 5 & 6
Dr. Seuss Show at Ann Jackson Gallery on Canton Street. The Secret Art collection of the whacky Dr. Seuss. Show includes sculpture, book illustrations, and the political work. Saturday from Noon – 9 P.M.; Sunday Noon – 5 P.M.; Show will continue on display through January. 770-993-4783.

December 5 & 6
A Classy Clutter Christmas Open House at Classy Clutter on Alpharetta Street. 10 A.M. – 6 P.M.; browse the unique and affordable collection of gifts for the holidays. Refreshments & Surprises await you. 770-587-4599

December 11 & 12
Canton Street Merchants Holiday Open House Weekend. Merchants will be open late just like they do for Alive After Five. Shopping, food, and beverage specials.

December 12
Christmas at the Coffee House. Live acoustic music, Christmas tree lighting, special holiday drinks and desserts, Christmas gifts and gift boxes on sale and book signing at Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee, 352 South Atlanta Street. General audience, family friendly, date night appropriate. 7-11 P.M.; 770-645-1149

All of this has given me some great ideas for those on my gift list. I just can’t wait to get out and get started. See you in Roswell!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Bicycling Fun in Roswell!

Is off-road bicycling your thing? RAMBO (Roswell, Alpharetta Mountain Bike Organization) shared the following as a supplement to last week’s BLOG:

The City of Roswell’s “Bike Friendly Community” status is also due to Roswell’s Big Creek Park Mountain biking trails. These mountain bike trails have been built and maintained by RAMBO, a 100% volunteer group that is chapter of SORBA/IMBA. Over 7000 volunteer hours have been spent and continue to be spent on these trails. We have all levels of riding and all 6 or so miles of single-track trails are very well marked. Big Creek trails also boasts it own “freeride” area with jumps, berms and the infamous “gully run”.

Big Creek Park is located at 1600 Old Alabama Road in Roswell. At the park there is access to the Big Creek Greenway. Roswell’s greenway boasts about 2 miles of concrete greenways and boardwalks which boarder a wetlands area. Roswell’s portion of the Greenway is now connected to City of Alpharetta’s 6 miles of greenway. There is also another RAMBO mountain bike trail at the very north end of the Alpharetta Greenway (called Mt Adams). We dare you to try and ride them all.

Please visit the RAMBO website ( for directions, trail maps and info about meetings, rides, camping trips and the ever popular “trail work party”! or a least check out the photo gallery to see all the fun you have been missing!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cycling Fun in Roswell Georgia

Whether your current bicycle harkens back to the days when a Schwinn with balloon tires was cool or you have a high-tech mountain or road bicycle, Roswell has the trails, bike lanes, and group bicycling activities for you.

A Bicycle Friendly Community
Roswell is the first bicycle friendly city in Georgia! This designation is awarded by the League of American Bicyclists to cities that have demonstrated their commitment to all aspects of cycling. Bicycle trails, both on-road and off-road, allow cyclists to enjoy the beauty of Roswell. From river trails, the Big Creek Park, and miles of bike lanes, the city encourages bicycling for health, an alternative mode of transportation, and recreation.

Roswell Cycling Festival… Alive & Rolling!
Each year, Roswell is host to the Roswell Criterium, a race of high-speeds on short laps along a course that loops through the Historic District. This race course provides spectators the opportunity to view top professional and amateur cyclists in a format that is often called the most spectator-friendly form of cycling. High speeds and challenging turns provide thrills for spectators and cyclists alike. Drawing top contenders in the professional and amateur divisions, the Criterium is host to large crowds who enjoy the competition. There is something for each member of the family.

The day of bicycling fun begins with the Mayor’s Recreational Ride. This popular ride offers a 6-mile jaunt around Roswell’s Historic District or more challenging 20 and 40 mile options for experienced cyclists. The Mayor’s Ride is a great way to start the day prior to the chills and thrills of the Roswell Criterium.

Criterium Day in Roswell offers something for everyone – and that includes children. A Kids Bicycle Safety Rodeo, an organized class where children learn about cycling safety and bicycling handling skills, is part of the day’s events. Afterwards, the children will have an obstacle course to navigate in order to “graduate” and be eligible to race in the Kids Races held on the same race course as the Pro races. Children must participate in the Safety Rodeo in order to participate in the races.

Hospitality Highway Century Ride to benefit Georgia Transplant Foundation
There is nothing like it as thousands of riders mount their bicycles to ride on Georgia’s official Hospitality Highway – Georgia 400! Once cyclists exit Georgia 400 the ride course winds through beautiful areas of cities in North Fulton County, areas of Cherokee and Forsyth Counties. For those who are not up to the full 100 mile Century, there are shorter routes available, giving all levels an opportunity to be part of an exciting event that benefits Georgia Transplant Foundation. Routes include rest stops, complete with bathrooms, full technical support, and a variety of snacks and drinks.

Georgia Rides to the Capitol
Each March, this motorcycle escorted ride encourages bicycle friendly legislation, raises awareness and promotes bicycling as an alternative source of transportation. Gather with bicycle enthusiasts in Roswell to begin this ride that ends at the State Capitol in Atlanta.

In Roswell, two organizations support Bicycling and provide opportunities for cyclists to gather with other cycling enthusiasts for activities including classes and rides.

Bike Roswell Georgia
From recreation to sport to alternative modes of transportation, Bike Roswell strives to actively promote safe cycling, provide an advocacy platform for Roswell citizens and implement programs to encourage participation with improved parks, roadways and cycling facilities. Bike Roswell offers weekly road rides and a variety of rides and events throughout the year, for all skill levels. For a schedule of Bike Roswell events and rides, please visit

RAMBO: Roswell Alpharetta Mountain Bike Organization
Affiliated with the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association, RAMBO organizes mountain bike rides for all levels of experience on a scheduled weekly basis and augments these with day trips and weekend outings. For information and schedules:

While riding in Roswell, please obey all bicycle laws in order to ensure the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

If you currently ride in Roswell we’d love your input to our survey about the economic impact of Bicycling in Roswell. Just go to our home page and click on the survey link at the top of the page:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You Veterans!

My earliest Veterans Day remembrances are of a day off from school, which is a special treat to almost every child I know. That was long before I realized just what a Veteran was. As I progressed through my American History courses, I slowly began to realize that everyday men and women had answered the call through many wars to serve their country. Today, we honor those men and women for their sacrifices to ensure our freedom.

Throughout my life, I’ve been privileged to know veterans of all wars since WWII. Many served their time, came home, and for years didn’t speak about their experiences. My dad’s cousin served in WWII in Europe and only began to speak about the war in the past 10 years. My aunts and uncles served in WWII and the Korean War but I mainly only know their branches of the service and maybe where they were stationed. I didn’t know until fairly recently, that my mom was an airplane spotter during WWII. Do you know your family Veterans History?

The Library of Congress American Folk Life Center has an exciting project to “collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.” If you have a veteran in your family, consider checking out this project and encouraging your family member to add their memories to the project. More information can be found at

One of the hidden treasures of Roswell is the “Faces of War Memorial” on the grounds of City Hall. This fourteen by twenty feet bronze monument captures 50 faces showing the fear, grief, and courage of people in war. One figure in the sculpture is a soldier who reaches out of the memorial to clasp the hand of a little girl who is in front of the sculpture. It’s a great place to remember and be thankful for our veterans.

Take a moment today to thank a veteran. The best things we can do for them are very easy:
1. Acknowledge their sacrifices. Even if they didn’t see a single minute of battle, they spent time in a strange place far away from family and friends.
2. Listen to their story. Many of our older veterans, especially, hunger for someone to hear about their experiences.
3. Let them know that you appreciate all they’ve done for you.

And now for my fellow history buffs, here’s some information from the Veterans Affairs website about the history of Veterans Day.

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. In 1954, the holiday was officially renamed Veterans Day by Congress.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grave Matters

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been fascinated with cemeteries. I love reading the inscriptions on the tombstones and trying to catch a glimpse into the lives of the people laid to rest there. In my genealogy research it’s been more exciting to actually see the cemeteries where my ancestors are buried instead of just reading a piece of paper where their names and dates are listed. I’ve enjoyed visiting cemeteries that range from one with graves that predate the Revolutionary War to reliving Georgia History on the Georgia coast to falling over a cowboy boot left on John Wayne’s grave in California.

Apparently, I’m not alone in my quest to visit cemeteries. According to a 10/30/09 article on titled Cemeteries Breathe Life Into Tourists, “For visitors who seek out headstones, this sort of destination travel is about more than death and grief-seeking. It can be a form of entertainment and inspiration, a history and architecture lesson, a cultural appreciation course, a genealogical journey and a source of relaxation.”

For lovers of, Roswell Georgia’s modern Greenlawn Cemetery is the final resting place of AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion “Ravishing Rick Rude” (Rick Rood) and major league baseball player, Harold Lewis “Corky” Valentine. Corky played for the Atlanta Crackers minor league team before heading to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1950s.

For those of us who love older grave markers, Roswell is a treasure trove with four historic cemeteries.

Founder’s Cemetery (1840)
Founder’s Cemetery was the original municipal graveyard, established by Roswell King, the founder of Roswell, for use by the community. It contains the graves of some of Roswell’s founding families, including Roswell King, James Bulloch (grandfather of President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt), and John Dunwody. Burials occurred from the 1840s through the 1860s. Twenty-eight graves have formal markers which include headstones, die in socket, table tombs, and obelisks, plus two granite markers. Sixty-seven known unmarked graves are indicated by fieldstones. Local history says that some of the fieldstones are original and others were added during a 1984 geophysical survey. Unmarked graves are generally agreed to be house servants and mill workers who could not afford formal headstones.

The cemetery is located on Sloan Street. Parking is available at the entrance to the cemetery.

Presbyterian Church Cemetery (1840)
The Presbyterian Cemetery was established by the Roswell Presbyterian Church. The church was organized in 1839 by 15 charter members, representatives of the founding families of Roswell. The church was built in 1840. At that time, the cemetery would have been part of the church grounds. Later construction of Atlanta Street separated the cemetery from the church. The church was used by Union troops as a hospital during the Civil War. Many of Roswell’s prominent citizens are buried here, including Smith Plantation’s owner Archibald Smith, his wife Anne Margaret McGill Smith, and Reverend Francis R. Goulding, inventor of the first sewing machine.

At least one of the graves tells of tragic love. John Henry Lang, of a prominent family in England, is buried in the King Family Plot so that he could be close to the family for eternity. In 1884, he came to Roswell to be the manager of the Roswell Manufacturing Company and was soon courting Fannie Baker, great-granddaughter of Roswell King. The family approved of him but before their marriage, he was killed supervising an installation at the mill.

The Presbyterian Cemetery has a large variety of monument types and materials including headstones, footstones, die on base, die in socket, die, base & cap, bedsteads, lawn makers, raised top, obelisk, pulpit marker, and ornately carved monuments. This cemetery is still active.

The cemetery is located at the intersection of Atlanta Street and Oak Street. Parking is available at the Presbyterian Church or at the Shops on Oak Street shopping center.

Old Roswell Cemetery (1848)
The Old Roswell Cemetery was originally affiliated with the Mount Carmel Methodist Church, which was established in 1836. When the church expanded and moved to a new location, the cemetery was opened to the public. It was officially renamed the Old Roswell Cemetery in 1975.

The Old Roswell Cemetery has a large variety of monument types and materials including headstones, footstones, die on base, die in socket, die, base & cap, bedsteads, lawn makers, raised top, obelisk, pulpit marker, and specialty stones like Modern Woodmen of America tree stumps and intricately carved monuments. This cemetery is still active.

The cemetery is located at the intersection of Alpharetta Street and Woodstock Road. Parking is available on Woodstock Road near the water tower.

Pleasant Hill Cemetery (1855)
Pleasant Hill Cemetery was established when African American members of the Lebanon Baptist Church organized their own church. Burials continued until the early 1960s. The first Pleasant Hill Church site was on the south side of the cemetery. The current church is located in Roswell’s historic district on Pleasant Hill Street. As Roswell grew, a commercial district sprang up around the cemetery. Many pass by its fenced boundaries, surprised to see headstones on the road leading into a shopping center and probably wondering who is buried there.

The cemetery is located off Old Roswell Place, half way between Holcomb Bridge Road and Old Roswell Road, behind the Roswell Town Center shopping area. Parking lots are adjacent to the cemetery.

Cemetery Etiquette
Due to the fragile nature of historic grave markers, gravestone rubbings are not encouraged. Photography and sketches are great ways to take home your memories of Roswell’s historic cemeteries.

Preserve America Historic Cemetery Project
Roswell is one of only thirteen communities in Georgia designated as a Preserve America community. Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage.

In 2006 the City of Roswell, with the support of the Roswell Historical Society, applied for and received a Preserve America Grant for Cemetery Preservation. Available only to Georgia's Preserve America communities, this one-time-only grant program provides funds for activities related to the historic cemeteries in their communities.

As part of this grant, a professionally prepared assessment and conditions report is complete. The City is seeking additional funding for a walking tour brochure and additional interpretive signs for each cemetery.

Volunteers from the Roswell Historical Society have compiled data on Founders, Presbyterian, and the Old Roswell (Methodist) cemeteries. In about a year this data will be in a database that will allow researchers to search for family names and locate graves. The plan is to expand the recording process to additional historic cemeteries in the Roswell area.

Extra Credit: Roswell, Georgia Genealogy Research Source
For those who just can’t wait until the Roswell cemetery data is online, the Roswell Historical Society/ City of Roswell Research Library and Archives is a great source of information. They are located on the second floor of the Roswell Cultural Arts Center at 950 Forest Street, Roswell, GA 30075, and are open Monday & Thursday, 1 - 4:30 pm.