Black Meetings and Tourism

JAN/FEB 2012

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EAST POINT AREA GUIDES SMALL TOWN CHARM WITH BIG CITY SOPHISTICATION Next door to the world's busiest air- port, East Point feels a world apart. It's easy to forget Atlanta's bustling metrop- olis surrounds you while exploring this simple yet sophisticated community. With 40,000 residents East Point surpris- es with welcoming locals who've created a sweet slice of small town heaven. The 124-year-old city straddles the railroad; the lifeblood of Atlanta's past and present. Today, East Point serves at the first MARTA stop from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Air- port. Travelers hop off in the updated city center of East Point's historic down- town. The community also sits at the apex of three major interstates, making it even easier to get into town. In the heart of historic downtown, the grassy Commons area serves as the soul of this welcoming community. A block from the city hall and across the street from a vibrant playground, the Commons serves as the gathering spot for festivals such as Taste of East Point, a Fourth of July hometown party, the celebrated Possums drag show, and weekly farmers markets. This small town packs enough activity and diversity into its annual schedule Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre to please travelers looking for tradi- tional as well as out-of-the-ordinary fun. Most day-visitors come to East Point simply to eat. The center of town sits within five miles of 323 Zagat- rated restaurants. Visitors find every- thing from Southern comfort food at Thumbs Up Diner and Qs Cafeteria to smoldering barbecue at the aptly named Shack on Main to irresistible sweets at E'Van's Bake Shop. East Point nurtures diners with healthy eat- ing too. Lov'n it Live may be the only raw vegan eatery in Georgia and Atlanta's own Arden's Garden juices are concocted in East Point. After din- ner, climb the stairs to the Corner Tavern and sip one of the 16 specialty beers on tap on the tavern's breezy covered porch. East Point knows how to turn on the action, too. Dick Lane Velodrome sports bicycle races on its 1/5-mile banked oval track. The only Velodrome in the US with a tree and stream in the infield, skilled riders develop speedy edges at races on weeknights from April through September. Kids learn the sport too in Bicycle Little Leagues, while the public cheers on the swiftest riders at the Pro Race Series and Regional Champion- ships. Soccer scores with families over at the new Georgia Sports Park. With six professional quality fields — and plans for 16 more — the 100 acres of green space has become a gathering spot for practice, games, and tournament play. The closest shopping area to the air- port and its attendant Georgia Inter- national Convention Center, Camp Creek Marketplace spans 1,400 acres with more than 100 name-brand shops and restaurants. The Marketplace's hotel chains provide affordable lodging with an average of only $98 a night. Whether you visit for a meal or stay for a weekend, you'll find small town charm with big city sophistication in East Point. For more information, visit www.- Dick Lane Velodrome is the only one in the US with a tree and stream in the in field, East Point. Black Meetings & Tourism January/February 2012: 57 Photo Credit: Arlanta CVB Photo Credit: Arlanta CVB

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