Four Adorable Piedmont Park Love Stories

Piedmont Park is a go-to destination for dates, couples photos, weddings and more. Parks have a special way of kindling relationships and creating lifelong memories. This Valentine’s Day season, the Piedmont Park Conservancy rounded up four absolutely adorable love stories.

A Park for All Your Special Moments

“My husband and I were dating back in Dec. 2012. We decided to make it “official” while we were on a date at Park Tavern’s skating rink. Since our first “Skate Date,” as we like to call it, the park has held a special place in our hearts. We have returned almost every December for a skate date since. We used to live in Buckhead and would spend weekends picnicking in the park wishing that we lived closer. In 2014, we took our engagement photos at the park and used them for our wedding save the dates. In 2015, we bought a Goldendoodle with our wedding money and started frequenting the dog park and sponsoring a bone each year. In 2016, we decided to move to Midtown and live near the park, which is where we are now, just two blocks away! We recently had our first child and amidst the pandemic world, found sanctuary walking our baby in her stroller around the park almost daily during my maternity leave and now as a family every weekend since I’m back to work. The park is my favorite place!” – Tyler Keenan

World’s Tiniest Ceremony

“I have been with my partner for six years, and while we were in quarantine, he proposed. But we didn’t want to wait until the end of the pandemic to get married. We decided to plan the world’s tiniest wedding ceremony for the month after. Come October 2, 2020, we were standing in Piedmont Park, overlooking the lake with the skyline as the backdrop. Our parents and one best friend were in attendance, and my now-husband’s best friend since childhood married us. It was the best day of my life, and every time we visit the Park, that lovely memory washes over me.” – Grace Dent

From Dreaming to Fruition

“My husband moved close to Piedmont Park right after we first started dating long-distance. We spent every other Saturday morning (then nearly every one after I moved to Atlanta) walking through with coffees, talking, dreaming and planning. Two years later, I took one of the first photos of my engagement ring in the park with the Midtown skyline in the background. After waffling between venue disappointments, we were again walking through when he suggested that we should be married at Piedmont Park. It was our favorite place, after all! We ended up shooting our engagement photos in the park a few months before the wedding, too. I love that we have photographs of just us bundled up in the sleepy, wintry park and of us with our family and friends enjoying a beautiful spring day. We still visit the Green Market and park just about every weekend – and now we bring a stroller, too. Piedmont Park is so integral to our lives here, and we’re excited for our baby to love it as much as we do!” – Anna Kay Cope

A Piedmont Park Game Plan

“When we first fell in love, she was in Houston and I was in Atlanta. I knew the other half of my heart was in Atlanta, so I set out to convince her that Atlanta was a place she’d like to move. We’d go to Piedmont Park every weekend she visited. We would walk down 10th street and enjoying some wine sometimes but it was always Piedmont Park. People watching in the valley, watching doggies at the dog park, and my secret weapon: the Botanical Garden. Once I unleashed it’s full power, she knew it was futile to resist. She moved to Atlanta, and we continued going to the park every week pretty much ever since. We were married in April 2018 at Park Tavern and all of our family from out of state remarked on how beautiful the view of the park was and how festive it was to have dozens of families in the valley enjoying a park as the back drop to our wedding party. I owe it all to Piedmont Park for being the best place I have ever known to go kill time until the end of the world with ones you love.” – William Smartridge

Looking to host your next date at Piedmont Park?

If you are inspired by these love stories and want to make a love story of your own, check out our self-guided tours and plan a picnic at one of our several lawns. The Piedmont Park Conservancy offers three venues perfect for weddings, proposals and anniversaries, and all proceeds benefit our nonprofit mission to preserve and enhance the Park.

Story Behind Sidney Lanier Monument

In 1866, Sue Harper, a 23-year-old from Brandon, Mississippi with a “shell-like complexion and violet eyes” met Civil War Veteran Livingston Mims from Jackson, Mississippi. They fell in love and were soon married.

The couple moved to Savannah, Georgia in 1876. After visiting Atlanta, Mrs. Mims fell in love with the city and persuaded her husband to move his business, the Southern Department of the New York Life Insurance Company, to Atlanta.  In 1879, the couple moved into their Queen Anne-style house at the corner of Peachtree Street and Ponce DeLeon Avenue.

Guests to their house, named “Heartsease”, included President Grover Cleveland (twice), President William McKinley and Jefferson Davis.

In 1901, Major Livingston Mims became Mayor of the City of Atlanta.

Mrs. Mims’ love of literature guided her to start the first Shakespeare Club in Atlanta, as well as the Browning Society. She also became the first president of the Home for the Friendless which aided deserted children.

Upon her death, Sue Harper Mims bequeathed money obtained from the sale of her jewels be used to erect a monument to Sidney Lanier in Piedmont Park.

Sidney Lanier, a friend of the Mims and frequent visitor to their home, was considered one of America’s greatest poets whose poems expressed the social concerns of that day. His more famous works are “The Song of The Chattahoochee” and “The Marshes of Glynn.”

Author: Patrick Teague, Piedmont Park Conservancy Docent

Sources:

Cover Photo Credit: Marcia Brandes

Three Ways to Turn Piedmont Park Into Your Gym

Piedmont Park is known for outdoor fun and recreation, but have you considered using the Park as a core part of your fitness routine? Fitness partner Saidah Jones of Love You Healthy Fitness shares her top recommendations for infusing Piedmont Park into your health goals.

1) Plan Regular Walks around Piedmont Park

Walking is one of the most important things that one can do for their bone density, heart health and sanity. Walking is a full-body exercise as it requires every body part to be able to step and pull your body forward, which is why walking outdoors is better than walking on treadmills. Incorporating daily and/or weekend walks is the number one way to prioritize your health. Not to mention, walking outdoors is one of the safest forms of exercise during the pandemic.

2) Take Advantage of the Piedmont Park Active Oval

The Active Oval is perfect for walkers and runners of all fitness levels. Tracking time and steps is easy because the track measures slightly over a half mile and it level. In addition there are two sets of stairs that offer an additional fitness boost for those of high fitness levels who want to increase their caloric output. Here is the Piedmont Park Conservancy Active Oval Workout Plan that I often complete with family, and friends of ALL fitness levels.

  1. Walk one lap around the track
  2. Complete 10 pushups on the elevated stone wall by the stairs
  3. Walk five flights of stairs
  4. Complete ten push-ups on the elevated stone wall
  5. Walk one lap around the track to complete the workout

3) Participate in a Group Fitness Class

In addition to using the Park’s pathways and Active Oval for daily movement, try a group fitness class to work on your strength and toning! Piedmont Park Conservancy partners with Love You Healthy Fitness to offer group experiences at Piedmont Park (temporarily offered via Zoom during the pandemic). Adding classes will ensure you are getting a well-rounded fitness routine.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it should be that health matters. Being healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Know that you are capable, understand that you are equipped and realize that your body is ready to be the vision of health that it is meant to be. Take care and love yourself to health in 2021. Oh and don’t forget, hydrate and veg up!

Author: Saidah Jones

Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness regimen or workout plan. 

Seven Ways to Use Piedmont Park in the Cold Winter

As winter rolls around, Piedmont Park transitions from vibrant fall colors to a deep blue and green palette that creates stunning and crisp backdrops for all visitors to enjoy. While most people think of parks with warm weather, Piedmont Park has a lot to offer in the colder months. Check out our recommended list of the top seven things to do in Piedmont Park this winter.

1) Take a Long Walk with a Warm Beverage from Sean’s Heart of the Park

Bundle up and stop by Sean’s Heart of the Park for a coffee, tea or hot chocolate! Then, take some time to explore Piedmont Park’s vast landscapes at your own pace, a perfect way to get your steps in. Explore areas of the Park that you may not have visited before:

You can also try our self guided walking tour! 

2) Look Both Up and Down for Wildlife

During winter, you can spot migratory birds both on the ground and up in the air. Walk around Lake Clara Meer and find the flocks of Waterfowls or bring out the binoculars and find birds perched up in the leafless trees. Make this a family affair with the kids and have a contest on who can count the most birds. If you snap a picture of a cool bird, post it and tag us @piedmontpark. Try our Backyard Birding activity download in English or Spanish!

Photo Credit: Kevin Gaston

3) Jog Around the Active Oval and Surrounding Paths

New year, new you! Whether you are practicing sprints, running for distance or a first time runner, Piedmont Park is a perfect destination for all types of runners. The Active Oval offers a 0.52 mile running track and there are miles of pathways throughout the rest of the Park. Make your run more enjoyable with beautiful views of Midtown Atlanta in the Park’s skyline.

4) Grab a Smile by Visiting the Off-Leash Dog Parks

Set your furry friend free at our off-leash dog parks and watch all their zoomies go away. With over three acres, there is plenty of space to run around! There is a small dog enclosure (<30 lbs) and a large dog enclosure (30 pounds +).  The dog parks also have features such as natural rock seating, trees for shade, agility equipment and water spickets.

5) Practice Photography with Winter Backdrops and Exposed Branches

The cool tones of winter brings unique opportunities for trying new photography. Winter is a great season for abundant lighting and stark tree backgrounds making every photo Insta-worthy. Check out our Photo Guide to Piedmont Park.

6) Meditate or Practice Mindfulness on Quiet Lawns  

Winters tend to be less busy. You can hear more of nature’s sounds. Outdoor meditation enhances your senses, presence and connection to the world. Find your inner yogi, find a spot in the Park and take in the peaceful vibes. Meditate in motion with Tai chi with a series of gentle exercises and stretches. Connect your mind and body by holding a pose with a low-impact yoga sequence. 

7) Learn to Roller Skate or Ride a Bike

Dust off your rollerblades or bike, and brush up on your skills on our spacious pathways. With the Park being much quieter in the winter, it is the perfect place to learn how to ride a bike or skate. Don’t forget to wear a helmet and maybe some knee pads.

It’s too easy to let “dreary” weather keep us from spending time outside. Beat the winter blues by making the most of this season. What other ideas do you have to enjoy Piedmont Park during the winter season?

Looking Back at 2020: A Breath for Piedmont Park

In most ways, 2020 was a bleak year for Atlanta, our country and our world.  COVID-19 jumbled our daily routines and daily pleasures.

While 2020 will be forever known for its challenges and disruptions, one of the bright discoveries last year was the deep recognition of the value of our public parks. For Atlanta, Piedmont Park remained open throughout the entire year for anyone to come and escape their homes, exercise and connect with nature and other people, all at a safe distance.

Piedmont Park remained a top destination in 2020, but in many ways the Park looked different. Instead of visitors flocking from all over to attend one of the many festivals, our neighbors, residents and local explorers re-discovered this beautiful, passive greenspace. We saw more roller skates, picnic blankets and kites, the classic items that pull our heartstrings and inspire us to play. Visitors did not necessarily congregate in any one area, and the impact on the grounds were minimal.

The Park is known for the plethora of activities and events it provides to our city. Some festivals attract upwards to 100,000 people while many others are much smaller. However, cumulative wear and tear occurs when events are set up in the same areas week after week.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy and the City took advantage of the break in events to deep clean and rehabilitate some of the worn areas to both improve the visual appeal and resiliency of the grounds, particularly for the more trafficked areas in the Meadow and Oak Hill. The timing and execution of aeration, fertilization, mowing and other maintenance tasks were based on ideal horticulture and agronomy schedules instead of avoiding events. Many of the areas that had been worn down to dirt are once again covered with beautiful Hybrid Bermuda grass.

The weather also made a big impact. In contrast to the distress of so many other parts of 2020, the weather was near perfect for improving the grounds. Rainfall came in intervals that was frequent enough, but not too much at one time. Thunderstorms helped with nitrogen fixation which is nature’s way of helping to fertilize the Park.

This past year, I have been struck by the physical beauty of Piedmont Park.  The beautiful condition of Piedmont Park is stunning, maybe the most beautiful I have ever seen.

The Conservancy has been able to cultivate Piedmont Park’s landscape in a way we never have before. We hope 2020 will serve as a case study of how beautiful and valuable Piedmont Park’s greenspace can be when provided proper recovery, great weather and a lot of love. Even in festival use areas, proper land rest and turf recovery periods can help the Park stay vibrant and green all year.

Parks are not passive investments, they’re active investments. The festivals and events will eventually come back. We will see a day, maybe not so far away, where Piedmont Park once again attracts festivals, concerts and other large events. We will use what we learned this past year to work with our friends at the City on caring for Piedmont Park for both events and our local citizens. We are proud to be a city partner and know that when conservancies and government work together, public spaces will thrive.

Until then, we are thankful to see Piedmont Park experience a much needed rest, while also serving such a critical role in our daily lives.

Author: Mark Banta, President/CEO, Piedmont Park Conservancy

Learn more about the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Affordable Outdoor Wedding Venues in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park

Piedmont Park, in the heart of Atlanta can transform into the special wedding location of every couple’s dreams. The Park’s three historic venues can accommodate a variety of budgets with a range of wedding packages. In addition to providing an amazing backdrop for your wedding, Piedmont Park Conservancy has affordable and flexible beverage packages along with a wide range of catering partners to fit any budget.

Dockside

Dockside is perfect for an outdoor ceremony, intimate reception or micro-wedding. Lake Clara Meer provides the perfect natural setting as your ceremony backdrop. You can bring in additional decorations, or rely on the natural beauty. The Dock and Lawn are secluded behind the Visitor Center building making the area your own private wedding oasis.

Magnolia Hall & Lawn

Magnolia Hall and Lawn has the perfect balance of indoor and outdoor space, comprised of the original blacksmiths forge, a beautifully landscaped lawn and a large private courtyard. Magnolia Hall offers basic audio/visual, making this wedding venue even more affordable. The mission style lanterns and functional historic fireplace enhance any decor and bring charm to any event.

Greystone

Greystone is perfectly perched between the breathtaking views of the Midtown Atlanta skyline and the natural view of Lake Clara Meer. This historic Atlanta wedding venue is ideal for large wedding parties. Greystone provides room to spread out between the outdoor terrace, South Wing and Main Hall. The neutral color palette can help make any couple’s vision come to life. All you need are candles and florals to create an intimate, glowing wedding reception.

Other Perks for Your Budget

The Conservancy offers affordable rental rates along with flexible beverage packages so couples can budget more for other wedding necessities. All three venues include tables, Chiavari chairs, security guard and a venue event manager to help make your wedding day a breeze.

Atlanta’s Piedmont Park and the Conservancy would love to be a part of your special day to create memories that will last forever. Don’t wait to book your venue as dates fill fast.

For more information about the Conservancy’s wedding venues, contact Jane Rollo at: jrollo@piedmontpark.org.

Fourteen New Trees Planted in Piedmont Park

Thanks to the Georgia ReLeaf grant from the Georgia Tree Council, Piedmont Park Conservancy was able to plant 14 new native trees this past December 2020. Trees provide a plethora of benefits including heat reduction, cleaner air and habitats for wildlife. We thank everyone involved as it was truly a collaborative effort.

“Thank you City of Atlanta Arborists, Piedmont Park Conservancy and Trees Atlanta for all your good work. What a lovely way to round out a horribly challenging year.  Your commitment to our beloved park and city is inspiring. Citizens like me really appreciate it and couldn’t ask for a better holiday gift!” – Rita

All 14 trees came from Redbone Nurseries and were 2-3” caliper, balled and burlapped.

  • White Oak, Quercus alba
  • Scarlet Oak, Quercus coccinea
  • Swamp Chestnut Oak, Quercus michauxii
  • Cherrybark Oak, Quercus pagodafolia
  • Silverbell, Large Flowered, Halesia diptera magniflora (3)
  • Blackgum, Nyssa sylvatica ‘Green Gable’ (2)
  • Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ (1)
  • Tulip Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera (4)

 

1,000 Mile Bike Challenge – Through This Pandemic by Frank Williams

Our hearts were warmed when we heard about Mr. Frank William’s 1,000-mile COVID Bike Challenge in Piedmont Park. At the age of 73, Mr. Frank not only met his goal, but did it in a third of the time he aimed for!

Hear Mr. Frank’s story of how Piedmont Park saved him through the pandemic when all seemed lost.


People of all ages rely on Piedmont Park as their outdoor refuge. Maybe Piedmont Park has also been your sanctuary this year. The Park has plenty of space, and we as the Piedmont Park Conservancy welcome all.

Keep Piedmont Park Your Lifeline

In the most challenging times, Piedmont Park depends on the commitment of the Conservancy, its donors and its volunteers to keep it thriving. If you are able, please make a gift to the Piedmont Park Conservancy and keep Piedmont Park a lifeline for you and so many others.

Piedmont Park Conservancy Supports the Vote in 2020 Election

With over 134 zip codes represented in its visitors, Piedmont Park is a beautiful representation of Atlanta and the surrounding area. Piedmont Park is the most visited attraction in Atlanta bringing people of every age, race and income together which is why the Piedmont Park Conservancy has chosen to use its voice and channels to encourage all Atlantans to vote. This November, Piedmont Park and the Piedmont Park Conservancy will support the vote in many ways including serving as a polling location, encouraging and supporting staff voting, and joining the Georgia Support the Vote Coalition.

Piedmont Park as a Voting Location

On Tuesday, November 3, Magnolia Hall (1320 Monroe Drive) will serve as one of Atlanta’s several voting locations. A well-known location to many locals, Magnolia Hall is conveniently located by the parking garage and sits central in the Park. Additionally, Fulton County placed a Mobile Voting Bus at the Charles Allen Gate entrance in the Park on October 27 as another way to encourage early voting.

Conservancy Encourages Staff to Vote and Volunteer

While Piedmont Park will serve as a polling location, many Conservancy staff members live in other districts. The Conservancy offers three hours of paid time off for voting on Election Day or on other days if used for early voting. In an effort to further engage our team in the vital democratic process, the Conservancy is offering a paid day off for anyone that volunteers as a poll worker or who spends the day with a verified nonpartisan GOTV (Get Out The Vote) organization.

Conservancy Joins the Georgia Support the Vote Coalition

The Conservancy joined the Georgia Support the Vote Coalition, a nonpartisan coalition of over 150 Georgia business and community leaders committed to safe, fair elections. Coalition members are expected to help make it easier and safer for Georgians to vote in November by informing, encouraging and enabling their employees and communities. Share our posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to further promote voting by November 3!

Do Your Part

While we have the right to vote, voting is not always easy. The Piedmont Park Conservancy implemented several measures to both enable the community and its team to more easily cast their ballots in the upcoming election. If you already voted, thank you for doing your part! If you have not voted yet, there is still time! Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3.

Find Your Voting Location

Check Your Absentee Ballet

However you choose to vote, thank you!

Four Best Spots to See Fall Leaves in Piedmont Park

Each year, September 22 marks the first day of autumn which is the also the first day we start obsessing over fall foliage in Piedmont Park. A predominately green park slowly sprouts spots of yellow, orange dark purples and bold reds. By the end of October, we get antsy about catching peak leaf season which can happen at any time into early November. The Park becomes more gorgeous than you thought was possible, and fall photos can be seen in every direction.

Come visit, and be sure to stop by the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s top four recommended places to see fall foliage in Piedmont Park!

Piedmont Park in Fall

14th Street Gingko Trees

Near the Piedmont Driving Club, the adjacent area is called the Front Lawn. Near the gate, you can spot some large gingko trees that will peak a bright yellow. On a nice day, the sun will shine on the trees and create a lovely yellow glow on the ground.

Many tree enthusiasts and Park lovers look forward to this short-lived beauty. If you want to snag a photograph like the one below, you must pay close attention to the leaves changing! These gingko trees will only peak for a few days before the leaves all fall off.

Gingko Tree’s Leaves Changing

Gingko Tree’s Leaves Changing

Park Drive Bridge Fall Leaves

Above the Dog Parks and by the Meadow, Park Drive bridge is another favorite location for peak leaf season.

Look near the water to spot bald cypress, Dawn redwoods and more. The trees will create a beautiful skirt around Lake Clara Meer that makes for fantastic photographs.

Nearby, you will also see a Pignut Hickory that turns a vibrant yellow as well as several other trees that vary in color along the path.

Red Dawn Trees Along Lake Clara Meer

Wide Open Views on Oak Hill

Oak Hill’s linear space offers visitors a wide view of beautiful oaks parallel to 10th Street. Stand on top of one of the hills and you can see gorgeous views and adjacent trees boasting vibrant colors along Piedmont Park and the Atlanta skyline.

Pignut Hickory on Oak Hill

Path Between Mayor’s Grove Playground and the Active Oval

Coming around the south end of Lake Clara Meer, you will find yourself on a pathway between a children’s playground and the athletic fields: Mayor’s Grove Playground and Active Oval. On a walk during peak leaf season, you can find a wide diversity of tree colors on both sides. Go up the stairs a bit to see the Active Oval city skyline with trees sprawling on all sides of the fields.

Sugar Maple Leaves

Red Maple Trees

Enjoy Piedmont Park’s Trees this Fall

Piedmont Park is home to thousands of trees, and each fall offers a new perspective for the Park’s visitors. Pull out your cameras, grab a blanket and come see Piedmont Park’s vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow and green.

Tag us on Instagram @piedmontpark with your latest fall photos. Also, check out Piedmont Park’s virtual tree tours.