Dante’s Down the Hatch Atlanta

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A special treasure is docked in Atlanta. Dante’s Down the Hatch, comes with an unparalleled atmosphere; live jazz streams from the inside of an 18th century sailing ship, ‘Atlantis,’ six nights a week. Dante Stephensen, a former navy pilot, began generating the idea for his elegant and cozy restaurant while serving America overseas. But his work experience starts long before.

I sat down to chat with Dante, setting out to learn how he came up with the unique idea. But he wanted to start with an off the wall fact. “I own a fire truck,” Dante told me. My sirens whirled. This guy will set the sails on this interview, and I was ok with that. Ok, Dante let’s take it from the top.

The youngest of six kids, Dante grew up in the Chicago suburbs.  He credits his drive to his Montessori education and actively involved parents. Even as a child, he had a strong work ethic. His first paycheck was a mere eleven pennies but put him in gear to start saving to buy a bike.

He describes himself as a born ham; he even scored the lead role in a school play. Now, he carries on his thespian expertise as the main character of his restaurant. “Have you been here before?” Dante asked a child mesmerized by the magical makings of the ship. The kid shook his head no. “Well, why not?” Dante pressed before breaking out into a grin and starting a conversation with the tot.  He remembers being a kid in restaurants and feeling ignored, so he set out to change that. Dante engages customers and is in the restaurant nearly every night.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Dante’s Down the Hatch. In the 80′s a space heater ignited a fire, completely destroying the restaurant. It took seven months to re-build but 53 of the 55 crewmates were ready to cast the sails to the wind once it was rebuilt.

The ship is surrounded by a medieval village and filled with memorabilia and antiques. There is even a complete barbershop all the way from Sheffield, England in the basement. Whether you settle into a seat on the wharf or inside the ship you are sure to have an excellent cruise.  Oh, and the food is tasty too, of course!

Intrigued by his colorful character, I asked for one last piece of advice. Without so much as hesitating Dante told me “You must learn to laugh at yourself, the only easy day was yesterday.” Gallery not found. Please check your settings.

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Sundial Restaurant, Atlanta

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The Westin Hotel in Downtown Atlanta is iconic not just because of it’s massive height and cylindrical shape but because it offers a unique way too see the Atlanta Skyline you can’t find anywhere else. Without even taking a step, you will see every inch of the 360-degree panoramic views of the city. The floor revolves so smoothly you won’t even notice you are on the move. Take a seat in the lower level at the restaurant to make a rotation every 60 minutes, or just a step above in the full bar which completes the circle every 30 minutes.

This is the 2nd tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere and of course the tallest in Atlanta. The glass elevator boosts you to the 73rd floors too experience views that become more sweeping every second. Whether enjoying dinner or a drink, taking the high ride 723 feet above the city is an Atlanta Tradition that should not pass by.

To see a drink menu or the eats visit: www.sundialrestaurant.com

Gallery not found. Please check your settings.Betchya didn’t know, the hotel was featured in the 1981 film, Sharky’s Machine, starring Burt Reynolds.

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The Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta

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The Georgia Aquarium has a new reason for veteran visitors to come back, and newbie visitors something to add to the experience. The Dolphin Show combines

actors, music and lights, to make a Broadway type show. See these animals perform all the tricks that make them so lovable and watch in awe as they whip around the tank at lightning speeds.

The Georgia Aquarium is the world’s largest, holding more than 10 million gallons of water, making a home for thousands of animals. A tunnel under the main tank and a moving walkway allows a unique way to see whale sharks, manta rays and grouper.

This aquarium is the only place outside of Asia to house whale sharks. The sharks were purchased under Taiwan’s annual fishing fill quota, which has since been abolished. If the Georgia Aquarium didn’t purchase them they would have been killed. The sharks and several other animals were flown here in specially designed cases all the way from Taiwan.

You can also see Beluga whales, hammerhead sharks, electric fish and bottlenose dolphins. Or look straight into the eyes of a penguin by crawling through a tunnel that leads to an encased tube looking into their habitat.

Whether visiting for the first or adding to the many times The Georgia Aquarium reinvents itself to give everyone to come back. Gallery not found. Please check your settings.

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Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta

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Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park remains a legacy to the 1996 Olympics. During the games it was used as a central gathering spot.The 21-acre park now celebrates Atlanta’s success in hosting the games. The park revitalizes an area of town that was once run-down and forgotten.

23 flags fly high to represent the countries that have hosted the Olympic games. A reflection pool surrounds the ‘Quilt Plazas’ used to memorialize all things Olympics and also the victims of the bombing that happened during the games.

Statues are situated throughout the park to pay tribute to paralypmic athletes, the founder of the Olympics and the man who fought so hard for Atlanta to host the sporting event.

Today, the park keeps visitors entertained with plenty of events. Local bands perform mid-day during ‘Music at Noon’ and ‘Wednesday Wind Down’ during rush hour. 251 fountains light up and sync up with pop music and lights during ‘The Fountain of Rings Show.’

Visit the website for show times: http://www.centennialpark.com/ Gallery not found. Please check your settings.

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CNN Studio Tour, Atlanta Georgia

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CNN has set the standard of many aspects in TV news. The network was the first to offer news programming 24 hours a day. When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, killing the seven on board, CNN was the only broadcast news organization to cover it. They set the trend for live news when in 1986 a child fell down a well in Texas. CNN didn’t wait for this story to conclude, they told it as it was happening. During the 9/11 attacks CNN was the first to break the news and just hours later confirmed it was the result of terrorism. This is a serious network and having the chance to tour the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia is not an opportunity that should be passed up.

The tour starts by taking a ride up the world’s fastest freestanding escalator. That’s just a party favor though, the real fun starts when you see behind some of the greatest moments in news history.

Take a seat inside the control room theater and hear directors talking with reporters and other crew members during a live broadcast. Stand in front of a green screen and learn how special effects are created. Look into the bustling newsroom and see the roles behind the scenes. You will also take a look into studios and the talent at work.

To get your anchor read on visit :http://www.cnn.com/tour/atlanta/atl.tour.home.htmlGallery not found. Please check your settings.

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