Patrick Dempsey's favorite Atlanta pit stops
Barnsley Gardens Resort, very expensive
(770) 773-7480, www.barnsleyresort.com
Château Élan Winery & Resort, expensive
(800) 233-9463, www.chateauelan.com
Panoz Racing School
(770) 967-6143, www.roadatlanta.com
Our favorite Atlanta pit stops
Emory Inn, moderate, (404) 712-6700.
Located on the campus of Emory University, this three-story motor inn is a pleasant alternative to its neighboring sister hotel, the Emory Conference Center. The rooms are cheaper, yet guests have full access to the center's first-rate fitness complex and on-campus spots, including an indoor track, lighted tennis courts, and a heated indoor lap pool.
Hotel Indigo, moderate, (404) 874-9200.
Slide your card key, step into your room, and you'll be welcomed by rich colors and soothing tunes at this trendy midtown hotel. You'll love, too, the European-style touches, although that also translates to slightly less square footage, particularly in the bathroom.
Agnes & Muriel's, moderate, (404) 885-1000.
It looks like the '50s exploded at Agnes & Muriel's, but the kooky decor only complements the equally fun food, be it the crumbly buttermilk chicken, flaky fried green tomatoes, or creamy banana pudding.
Calypso Cafe, inexpensive, (404) 589-0024.
This popular downtown spot packs 'em in for Jamaican specialties like curried goat and fresh conch fritters. We'd tell you what they taste like, but we never order anything but the jerk chicken, which is the most potent we've ever had, in the Caribbean or elsewhere.
Istanbul Cafe, (404) 320-0054.
A meal here truly transports you. It could be the tempting Turkish dishes, the pillowed seating, the roving belly dancer, or the flavorful fumes from the hookah pipes. Whatever it is, it makes this tiny Decatur dining room one of our area favorites.
As Seen on TV, (404) 389-0825.
Underground Atlanta is one of the city’s top tourist destinations, but we never seem to be able to make it beyond this one store. Its kitschy collection of gizmos and gadgets — like the ronco inside the shell egg scrambler and, appropriately enough, the Gone with the Wind 3D jigsaw puzzle — keeps us entertained for hours.
Your Dekalb Farmers Market, (404) 377-6400.
What? We’re recommending a farmers’ market? Oh, yeah. Covering 140,000 square feet (and air-conditioned, we might add), this place is a virtual food lover’s paradise, carrying everything from pig trotters to freshly ground peanut butter. The kiddos stay occupied, too, checking out the exotic fruit (what exactly is a mountain soursop?), teasing the live crabs in the fish market, and snacking on cupcakes from the well-stocked pastry bar. The cafeteria-style restaurant (where you pay by the pound, not by the dish) is so good, we almost put it in the dining section.
Atlanta Thrashers, (404) 878-3000.
Remember hockey? It’s back, and the Thrashers, led by free agent signee Bobby Holik, hit the home ice starting October 8.
Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, (770) 946-4211.
Nascar greats like Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, and last year’s winner, Jimmie Johnson, go full throttle October 30 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a race for the NEXTEL Cup.