See the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons on the cheap

I have been watching baseball and football since I was a child but sometimes going to the games was not always possible. This is particularly true for NFL games. I am happy that a hot dog at Mercedes Benz Stadium costs $2 or something like that but it doesn’t matter if I can’t afford the admission ticket so I can buy that hot dog.

But I forgive the Atlanta Falcons and the NFL because they have created a great fan experience that costs nothing. You can go and watch your favorite team practice and often the players will sign autographs. How cool is that?  program

My husband and I got up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning to watch the Atlanta Falcons play at their training facility in Flowery Branch, Ga. It was our first time so I am going to give you some information that may help you.

  1. Get their early if you can. Practices begin around 9:30 a.m. but the gates open at 8:20 a.m. You want to be there early to snag one of the parking places across the street, which are the closest ones.
  2. If you don’t get their early, don’t worry. We found a parking lot a short distance away (you can follow the signs). An air-conditioned shuttle bus will drop you off at the gate to the facility. How easy (and cool on a hot summer morning).
  3. You cannot bring alcoholic beverages or big coolers but you can bring a small cooler or drinks. There is security and your bags will be searched.
  4. And you don’t have to worry about paying $4 for a bottle of water. You can purchase food and drink tickets and all items cost $1! I can’t even buy a bottle of water for $1 at Walmart.  food options
  5. You can bring a lawn chair and sit on the hill or you can sit on some shaded bleachers at the top of the hill. Thank you for the shade, Falcons!
  6. You can take pictures but you cannot videotape. I wouldn’t bring a professional camera because there are some rules. Just use your cell phone and you will get some great shots.
  7. They have so many vendors and cool things set up outside the practice facility. You can have your picture taken with a cardboard cutout of Julio Jones and fool your friends into thinking you met the superstar. I was able to snag Freddy the Falcon for a picture and you can get autographs from the Falcons Cheerleaders. julio and me and steve
  8. Open practices usually last about two hours. After that, some of the players will sign autographs for a few minutes. Be patient and don’t be disappointed if you don’t get one. They are getting ready for another season

We mingled and met some cool people. I enjoyed talking to one of the young men who did security for the training camp.  Everyone at the camp from the Falcons personnel to security to the fans we met was so nice. The team has a few more open practices and if you are a fan, it’s worth the drive!

Directions: The facility is just off 1-985, exit 24. If you are coming from the south, turn right onto Phil Niekro Boulevard then take a left on Hog Mountain Road. Drive a short distance and you will see 4400 Falcons Parkway on the left. Of course, if you are coming from the north, take a left onto Phil Niekro Boulevard.

Speaking of Phil Niekro, you don’t want to miss the Atlanta Braves!

Following the Braves is like riding a roller coaster. They can lose three in a row then come back and beat the Dodgers in a one-hitter. You don’t want to miss a game because you never know when you may see something that will make history. And as the 2018 season winds down, the team is celebrating Chipper Jones induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  

You can see the game at a reasonable price and not need binoculars to watch the action. IMG_9747The MLB has a great deal on Mondays. You can upgrade your seats for just $1 each on their app. You can buy a terrible seat in the nosebleeds for less than $10 and upgrade to something on the field or terrace level. The offer is not available on Labor Day, which is a shame because they are playing the Boston Red Sox. But we will be there the next day!

Also, watch the Braves website for special deals. We snagged seats on the Home Run Porch for $10 to see them take on the Toronto Blue Jays. StubHub sometimes has good prices but when the team is doing well, the prices are usually higher than the ones you buy from the team. The three days after Chipper’s HOF induction the team is featuring $15 outfield seats that include a collectible poster. And they are playing the Marlins so there is a high probability of a win.

Hot tip: Buy the parking pass! The closest lot is the Red lot and it is just $3 more than the next closest lot. You get off the parking deck elevator, walk a short distance through the Battery and you are at the gate.

Directions: The stadium is easily accessible for I-285, I-75 at the Windy Hill exit or U.S. 41.  The stadium is located off of Cobb Parkway near Cumberland Mall. I can explain it but you should probably map it out from your area. We come from the north and we can take I-75 South but we enjoy the drive down U.S. 41. We just take a left turn into the stadium and we are there.

FYI, we have seen Braves play in Kansas City and Cincinnati. We were able to score cheap tickets using StubHub but the Cincinnati Reds were not playing well then. We loved the Great American Ballpark. And I got close to Dansby Swanson! Our tickets in Kansas City were courtesy of my sister. Kaufman Stadium is fun, too.

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Let me know your tips for seeing your favorite teams. BTW, I am very interested in seeing an Atlanta United game! And the Atlanta Hawks will be back in action soon. Drop me a line.

 

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Family fun and a history lesson in Calhoun, Ga. for less than $20

Editor’s note: You can see more pictures on our Instagram site. Just look for Southern Family Adventures.

It is one thing to read about history in a book. But to stand in the place where it actually happened is a different feeling. Calhoun, Ga. has two places rich in history that will teach parents and kids more than they can learn in history books. One has been around for more than 50 years while the other opened just two years ago. These sites combined are an inexpensive day trip for those within driving distance or an easy stop for anyone visiting Chattanooga or Atlanta. Both of these sites require some walking (a great way for kids to burn off energy) and you can see both for less than $7 a person. And the sites are just a short drive from each other.

New Echota State Historic Site   IMG_0175

Located just north of the Calhoun city limits, New Echota State Historic Site marks significant developments in Cherokee Indian history. New Echota became the capital of the Cherokee Nation in 1825 and remained so until the Trail of Tears began in the late 1830s. The site has 12 original and reconstructed buildings that tell the story of the tribe. Worcester House, home of Rev. Samuel A. Worcester, is the only original building on the site. It opened in 1962.

One of the most interesting stops is the print shop. Inside you will find a complete printing press and a chart depicting the Cherokee alphabet. The original press was taken by the Georgia Militia in 1835 but a similar press is there. On some Saturdays, you may meet John Tucker in the printing office. He does a great job of explaining how the Cherokees typeset their newspapers with the tiny tiles stored in a drawer. He will then print you off your own copy as a souvenir.  IMG_0134

The other buildings tell the story of how the Cherokees lived. You can peer inside a cabin and see the furnishings. You will also find the Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Courthouse and Town Council House.  If you are lucky you might see a beaver in the pond located at the site.

Fun fact: The Cherokee had their own ball fields long before football or baseball began. They played a game called Anesta, where teams would throw a ball through a goal at the other end of the field. The winner was the first team that scored 12 times. While the location of the exact field is not known, a marker discusses the game’s history.

Why kids will love it: Kids will enjoy going inside the buildings and seeing how the Cherokee Nation lived. A museum also has lifelike figures and displays that highlight the tribe’s history. A film gives greater insight into New Echota’s history.  IMG_0108

Why parents will love it: Admission is only $7 for adults and $5.50 for those ages 6-17. The kids will learn about history and get some exercise while walking through the site.

Directions:  Take I-75 to exit 317. If you are coming south, turn left off the interstate and the site is on the right. If you are coming from the south, turn right off the exit. The address is 1211 Chatsworth Highway NE, Calhoun Ga. 30701

Resaca Historic Battlefield Site

The Battle of Resaca was the first major battle of Sherman’s march through Georgia in 1864. The site was discussed for years and opened in May of 2016. For now, it’s only open Friday through Saturday.IMG_0645

Why you should go: Historical markers tell the story of the bloody Civil War. Get close to nature on one of the site’s nature trails. You can also have a picnic under the pavilion.

Why kids will love it: Special markers just for kids are located throughout the site. The site also has a lot of open space for kids to roam and play.

Why parents will love it: Admission is free and your kids will have fun and learn history. IMG_0634

Directions: Take I-75 to exit 320. If you are coming south, take a right and the site is on the right. If you are coming north, take left, cross the interstate and take a right.

 

Everyone deserves a break

Many people want to explore this wonderful world but many cannot afford it. I think everyone should have an adventure.  My hope is to show you how you can have adventures in your backyard, the South and beyond no matter what your budget is. I believe that every day is an adventure. For us, it can be a drive to the Tennessee River to watch the boats or a major league baseball game. We are always on the lookout for the best travel deals, especially in the South, where we live. And we are looking for things we can enjoy with our family, including the little ones in our extended family.

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By the way, I am Kim Jarrett, an award-winning journalist and freelance writer. Five years ago, while visiting Montgomery, Ala. I felt a call to begin this site. You will get to hear more about Montgomery and our adventures there later.  I specialize in writing about finance and now, travel. My goal is to use my expertise to help you and your family have affordable adventures.

My family has been in more than 100 cities and small towns in the past five years. And we live in beautiful Northwest Georgia, just a short drive away from Tennessee, Alabama, and the Carolinas. We can get to many places in Florida and Kentucky in a day. We will be bringing you the best deals for travel, hotels and attractions. I will be telling you stories of interesting places you may not know but are in your region. Since we are in the South, most of this site is focused on this region. But we have traveled to many places beyond the South so look for stories from there, too. And we will share lots of pictures on our Instagram and Facebook pages so follow us on social media!

You will get to meet all of the family as we continue on the journey. I just wanted to take a few minutes to introduce myself. If you have a story idea, email me at kim@kimberlysloanjarrett.com. Please remember any trip more than 150 miles away from Cartersville, Georgia requires an overnight stay for us.

This site is a work in progress so bear with us and buckle in! It’s going to be a fun ride!