The first seeds were sown in 1970, but the story of Smith-Gilbert Gardens actually starts almost 150 years ago. Though the 16 acres of emerald landscape features wooded paths, evocative sculptures, and more than 3,000 species of plants, the jewel in the garden's crown is the Hiram Butler House, an Italianate and Greek Revival blend built by a celebrated 19th century railway man. Today, the house is just one of many points of interest on the estate. An explosion of color greets visitors to the Perennial Garden, where daffodils, bearded lilies, and vivid asters mingle together and sometimes sing a capella. The conifer garden features small and slow-growing bushes and trees that thrive in the Southeastern United States, while the Japanese Maple Grove features more than 30 varieties of this ornamental tree. Other must-see spots include the Cedar Field and Rose Garden, where a single sylvan sentry stands guard over a grassy expanse, and the Bonsai Garden, one of the only gardens of its kind in Georgia.
Father-and-son team Robert and Fred Lee worked as homebuilders for years before going into business selling lights in 1965, so they knew how quickly something impressive could rise from a humble foundation. Sure enough, Lee Lighting, their small family company, grew to include a vast online retail shop and one of the largest lighting dealers in Texas. They've even purchased Savoy, a company that designs fixtures to bring cheer to dining rooms and make rooms full of ventriloquist dummies less terrifying.
Lee Lighting stocks shelves with a diverse selection of indoor lamps from brands including ELK Lighting, Quoizel, and Hudson Valley. Staffers certified by the American Lighting Association move beneath the dazzling crystal sprays and faux candles of chandeliers. They suggest outdoor lighting to transform backyards into regal terraces. They also stay abreast of lighting trends to help patrons select lights that will stay in style.
At Play It Again Sports, knowledgeable equipment masters outfit athletes of all sports with new and used gear from major-league brands such as Nike, Callaway Golf, and Adidas. An ever-rotating inventory keeps lockers stocked with spare balls, dressers filled with run-ready shorts, and secret laboratories populated with gleaming treadmills. Proud recipients of the Gold Standard Store award, amiable staffers stand ready to answer questions or assist with fittings, ensuring that each athlete leaves with the appropriate helmet, bat, or free-weight set. The shop also doles out cash or credit for trade-in gear, completing the ethereal circle of sports.
The staff at Blush Kennesaw love talking clothes with their customers. Whether it's face-to-face in their cozy shop, or through their Facebook page, they leap at the chance to share the latest dresses and tops with other fashionistas. And with an ever-changing stock of colorful sundresses, trendy knit tops, comfortable shorts, and glimmering accessories, coupled with a penchant for 1920s sports trivia, they always have something exciting to chat about.
Mia Canada has an eye for style that goes way beyond tying the perfect bow. Once upon a time, Mia coordinated events and designed her own stationary. Eventually, her passion for fashion and interior design inspired her to channel her talents into an avenue for stylistic flair that had been overlooked: gift design.
As head gift wrapper at That’s a Wrap!, Mia makes sure each box’s exterior mirrors the care that went into selecting its contents. She travels to homes or workplaces, and customers trek to pop-up locations in Atlanta malls where she and her staff work their magic. From the Premier Collection’s preconceived designs with classic papers and satin ribbons to the Mia Line’s completely personalized looks—created from unique paper, velvet, organza, or even leather—each of their masterpieces tells a story.
The Grande is often booked for weddings thanks to its elegant ballroom, scenic courtyard, and talented staff of chefs and florists. However, the venue also welcomes everyday visitors to a tearoom to partake in the British tradition of parlor teatime. Servers embellish tiered trays with fresh scones and pressed sandwiches with pimiento cheese, braised pork, and other savory ingredients. They also steep leaves of varieties such as oolong or vanilla rooibos in teapots. Guests can dress up in traditional hats and gloves or classic American garb such as prom dresses.