Holiday Edition 2022

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COBB’S FAMILY LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE DEC 2022 / JAN 2023 ourtownmonthly.com PRESORTED STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT #2118 TAMPA, FL Happy Holidays!

Georgia Food + Wine Festival celebrates the best of Georgia and the South, from its culinary superstars and beverage experts to its farmers, artisans, live musicians and more. A variety of events for all taste buds starting with Cobb Life Magazine’s “Best of Cobb” event and the legendary barbecue event, “Fired-Up” an all-inclusive, food and drink tasting event. Saturday’s main event, “Savor” offers hundreds of unlimited beer, wine and spirits tastings, a Georgia Celebrity Chef Stage, VIP Lounge, artisans, and live music. “Sunday/Funday” is the budget friendly and family-friendly day, with Kids Zone, VIP Lounge Oyster Roast, live music and more. Savor the Flavors!

FRIDAY MARCH 24 TH FIRED-UP DECEMBER $55 WINTER (JAN/FEB) $75 MARCH/GATE $85 SUNDAY/ FUNDAY MARCH 26TH FAMILY FRIENDLY DECEMBER $15 WINTER (JAN/FEB) $20 MARCH/GATE $25 SATURDAY MARCH 25 TH SAVOR DECEMBER $59 WINTER (JAN/FEB) $79 MARCH/GATE $99 SUNDAY MARCH 26 TH OYSTER ROAST VIP LOUNGE DECEMBER $55 WINTER
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$75 SATURDAY MARCH 25 TH VIP LOUNGE AT SAVOR DECEMBER $125 WINTER
$150 MARCH/GATE $165 Buy Early &$ave!
Food, drink, music & more! GEORGIAFOODANDWINEFESTIVAL.COM
MARCH 23 - 26, 2023
THANKS TO OUR PARTNERS Media Sponsors Presenting Media Sponsor Corporate Sponsors Produced By JRM Management Services, Inc.
(JAN/FEB)
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The
Georgia Food and Wine Festival
JIM R. MILLER PARK, MARIETTA, GEORGIA
Ready to sell? Looking to Buy? Now’s the time! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Each Keller Williams Realty Office is individually owned and operated JOANNIE BATES, REALTOR® KW Mega Agent / Top 10% Producer Cell: 678.788.6465 Office: 678.631.1700 joannie@joanniebatessells.com JOANNIE BATES, REALTOR® 678.788.6465 jb Our Town 770.805.9977 4500 W. Village Place Suite 1011 / Smyrna : Structured learning for children ages 6 weeks - 12 years Pre-K4 Accredited Kindergarten & 1st grade programs

“We’re honored that both Sterling Estates Communities have been recognized as ‘Best of Cobb’ for Retirement Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care again in 2022. I’m proud to say that it’s the 4th year in a row we’ve won these awards and an awesome tribute to our staff members. We’ve been serving seniors in greater Atlanta for over 25+ years now...we invite you to come and experience what sets us apart.”

- Marshall Gill, COO & Partner, Sterling Estates Senior Living Communities

Our Town
Large living and
areas to gather with friends and loved ones
Award
outdoor
• Life enrichment center for residents to gather for art classes, lectures, games, etc. • Certified Parkinson’s Delay the Disease Programs • Wellness Centers & Programs On Site (Sterling Recreation Therapist and Exercise Specialist) •
Winning food. Spacious dining areas overlooking courtyards
The time has never been better to join the Sterling Estates Family! 2022 Voted Again, Cobb’s Best Retirement, Assisted Living & Memory Care STERLING ESTATES Independent, Assisted Living & Memory Care SterlingEstatesWest.com SterlingEstatesEast.com WEST COBB 3105 Dallas Hwy Marietta, GA 770-255-7000 Lacey & Sherry EAST COBB 4220 Lower Roswell Rd. Marietta, GA 678-946-4454 Shelly STERLING ESTATES Senior Living Communities SAFE SOCIAL COME SEE WHAT SETS US APART!
6 Food Healthy Holiday Side Dishes Travel Top Travel Ideas 2023 In This Issue DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 Cover Photographer: Alison Stephens................................................8 Talkin’ Sports How a Softball Game turned into a Moment of Awakening......................................................11 Cover Story: Welcome to Holbrook of Acworth..................15 Looking for a lighter version of your Favorite Holiday Foods? Sara Fudge has some recipes for you.............18 Home Town Hero! Community Veterinary Care...........................21 The Club Pilates Difference....................27 Is Travel on your Mind for the New Year? Travel expert, Heather Meliski, has some destinations you may want to think about.....32 A New Family Concert Tradition...........34 My Favorite Time of the Year...............37 Mark Your Calendars: Georgia Food + Wine is back........................41 Real Estate Our Town’s, Deborah Ratchford, has the latest information as the Housing Market Makes a Shift this Winter.............................46 Cover Story - Holbrook Acworth 11 Talkin’ Sports Softball Moment 21 15 Home Town Heroes Community Veterinary Care 37 Seasonal My Favorite Time of the Year! 32 18
Graphics and Design Terry Tanner Tanner Graphics, Inc. Account Executive Sara Young,
Feature Photographer Contributing Writers Publishers/Editors Linda Demery & Lori McLinden Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in the West Cobb Area. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town reserves the right to edit and or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyright 2018 by Our Town Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher. Our Town Monthly 109 Anderson Street Suite 109 Marietta, GA 30060 678-337-7844 Fax: 678-337-7825 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com Monthly F AMILY L IFESTYLE N EWS M AGAZINE Our Town Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in Cobb County. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town reserves the right to edit and or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyright 2022 by Our Town. Reproduction
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the publisher. PUBLISHER/MANAGING EDITOR Tara Hill Hanover EDITOR/SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR Justin Hanover DIGITAL EDITOR Kimberly Watkins-Swenk GRAPHICS AND DESIGN Jules Fandos ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES West Cobb Sara Young sara@ourtownmonthly.com Smyrna/Vinings/Galleria/Cumberland Misty Flanders-White misty@ourtownmonthly.com FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHER Alison Stephens CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sara Fudge Club Pilates West Cobb Heather Meliski Beckham Hanover Deborah Ratchford PO Box 813610 Smyrna, GA 30081-8610 (678)337-7844 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com FB: Our Town Monthly IG: @our_town_monthly Our Town 7
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in whole or in
from

is a bittersweet decision, especially because of all the amazing

and employees who have been with me through the years. In October 2021, I lost my life partner and best friend to cancer. Being the sole caregiver for Perry during the entirety of COVID, while trying to keep the stores operational, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. To process, I took a yearlong sabbatical while my employees held down the fort and did an amazing job! Surprisingly, I discovered how to really enjoy life during my grief journey and also that I’m ready to start my next chapter. Thank you for all the support over the years, I truly appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you to Perry Goodfriend, my sweet, kind man who still shows me how to be a better person and who whispers in my ear, “Go travel the world just as we planned; I’m here with you. The best is yet to come!”

Much love and gratitude, Carole

Feature Photographer

ALISON STEPHENS

lison Stephens, founder of HK Images Photography is an East Cobb, Woodstock, and Marietta-area senior, child, and family photographer. Inspired by her own children, Alison is known for her black and white personality portraits, which capture kids at their authentic best. Alison also uses natural light to capture beautiful family photos in a variety of outdoor locations.

Follow HK Images on Instagram @ hkimagesphotography and Capture It All!

Expires 1/31/23 Expires 1/31/23 Love Street Gifts & Garden 1275 Concord Road Smyrna 770.434.8578 @lovestreetlife Heart & Sole Boutique 1295 Concord Road Smyrna 678.238.0130 @heartandsolesmyrna After 23 years, I have decided to semi-retire! This
customers
RETIREMENT CLOSEOUT! EVERYTHING MUST GO! HURRY IN! 8 Our Town helping home Buyers & sellers full service - low fees John Lula Stacey Lula lularealty@gmail.com - 678-773-2195 - www.lularealty.com 3739 MILL LAKE DR 3739 MILL LAKE DR MARIETTA 30060 MARIETTA 30060 128 RADFORD CIR 128 RADFORD CIR MARIETTA 30060 MARIETTA 30060 4 Bedroom Home with great backyard! $445,000 4 Bedroom ranch with screened deck! $389,000 Properties are subject to availability and were in Active Status in the MLS when submiited to publisher.
A
Our Town 9 JAN 10 – 15 • BroadwayInAtlanta.com We provide the highest quality, comprehensive dental care with the utmost comfort. l Accepting new patients of all ages l General and implant dentistry l Advanced cosmetics and imaging l Complimentary laughing gas for all appointments Dimple Patel, DMD Radha Patel, DMD 3475 Dallas Hwy. SW, Suite 310 Marietta, GA 30064 770.425.2001 LeadingEdgeDentistry.com $89 New Patient Special (includes complete exam and X-rays) $290 value, does not include a cleaning, restrictions apply Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours! Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours!
PAGE 10 Our Town

Lead and They will Follow

Every now and then, no matter how old or experienced we feel we are, and in any walk of life, there are life awakening moments. This article is going to go into detail about one of those moments.

My daughter was in her Middle School softball semifinal game at North Cobb Christian, up in Kennesaw in early October. It was a “big game” as they played an NCC team that finished the regular season in first place and the winner of this one would make it to the prestigious Champion ship game. We would be the underdog going in but the game certainly did not play out that way.

Her team played its best game of the season scoring runs in the 1st and 2nd innings, two more in the 3rd and then three apiece in the 5th and 6th innings en route to a phenomenal 10-2 victory. It was an amazing game and an amazing victory and one that the girls would rightly cele brate in a major way.

You may be asking: A random 10-2 win was a “life awakening moment”, Justin? Huh?

No, of course not. Let me dig in a little deeper as to how this day made the impression it did.

Every time our team did something good, whether it be drive in a run, move a runner over or make a great defensive play (and it happened a lot on this day) you would then pretty much immediately see a player from North Cobb Christian celebrating that success by giving a high five to one of our players. The first time it happened I didn’t quite understand what I just saw and somewhat brushed it aside. Then it happened again and again and again. It was a truly amazing thing to witness.

I think I am a good sport and try and be a gracious loser (try) but this was beyond that. This was a life lesson for all in real time. The other team was the top seed and only had one loss in the entire regular season. They always won and I’m sure expected to win. What didn’t they do in this up set loss that so many of us probably would have done? Hang their heads, show poor body language, squint their eyes and noses in frustration, etc. They were basically happy for our success despite it single handedly leading to the end of their season.

After the game the other coach even came over to our girls and with a gigantic smile and a glow about him spoke to all of our players, congrat ulating them. Again, I just could not fully believe what was going on. Was this really happening? Their season just ended in tough fashion and they were beyond gracious and it all was a reflection of this man, their seem ingly amazing Coach.

That evening I drove home and felt compelled to find out who this guy was. I just had to reach out and compliment him and his team on what just occurred. Luckily, I was able to match up the name to the face on the school website and fired off an email. Within minutes I received a reply: “Thank you for the email and the kind words Justin. That means more to me than the score of a game. Through all my years of coaching I have tried to model sportsmanship and integrity to my teams during the good

times and the bad. I am not always successful with that but I try my best”, signed “Cary Edwards”.

My first thought was, wow, I need to become more like Cary Edwards. I am about to begin my seventh season at Campbell High School as the boys JV soccer coach and almost feel bad that I have not gone to these sportsmanship lengths. No matter how cut throat you are, his style is right, it just is.

I knew at some point I would write about this experience as I have been replaying the memory of that day for a while. I just had to. Therefore, I reached back out to Coach Edwards to learn a little more and could not have been more impressed.

This man, who is the community coach at NCC as well as the head coach for a 14u fast pitch travel team, started coaching at the age of 15. After getting married and starting a family he found West Cobb Girls Softball when his oldest daughter was 9 years old and instantly found himself back in the dugout. His five daughters have all played softball at WCGS and he has coached and been a board member there since it started back in 2007. Somehow, he also had some time to coach his only son for sev eral years in both flag and tackle football.

He would tell me, “I certainly don’t consider this a profession but more a calling. For me youth sports is more about life than it is sports. It may be cliché to say that there are many life lessons to be learned from sports, but it is absolutely, 100% true. So, for me, if I am able to impact even one life in a positive manner on the field then I have glorified my God by serving others.”

This incredible coach continued on by saying, “I have long been a student of Coach John Wooden who defines success as knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. If my only point of emphasis is the scoreboard, then I have failed the student-athlete in preparing them for games and life. As Coach Wooden said, you can outscore a team but still lose the game and you can be outscored and still win the game. It just depends on what your definition of success is. Every game has a winner and a loser, your team will be on both sides of that but if your only standard is the scoreboard, especially at the youth level, then you have failed to properly serve your athletes.

Cary’s final sentence to me: “Have I always succeeded, heck no, but I will never stop trying to put the best version of me on the field in front of my players. Lead and they will follow!!”

Wow, just wow. Thank you, Cary, for making me and probably many others a better coach and a better person.

Justin Hanover is a sports reporter/ana lyst who has worked in the business since 1996. His stops have included ESPN, CNN, 790 The Zone, 680 The Fan and the Atlanta Falcons. He has also done playby-play analysis and color commentary ranging from the high school level all the way through the professional level. Justin lives in Smyrna with his wife and three children.

Our Town PAGE 11
Talkin’ Sports Talkin’ Sports
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Holbrook Acworth is an Active Adult community within walking dis tance to Lake Acworth and the city’s downtown area. Holbrook is a $100-million development campus with 181 apartment homes and 26 cottage homes. The seven-acre campus includes Dogwood Forest of Acworth, our detached Assisted Living and Memory Care.

When you walk into Holbrook Acworth, you immediately feel as though you’ve stepped into a high-end luxury hotel. You are greeted by an entire concierge team where hospitality and a positive customer experience is most important. The environment includes an onsite, 10-foot waterfall feeding into a large, natural fish pond. The community also boasts private dining rooms, a secluded wine cellar venue, an outdoor fire pit seating area, an outdoor entertainment pavilion with full bar and grilling ame nities, a billiards room, an oversized saltwater fish tank and a Center for the Performing Arts.

“We have spent decades developing a design that is timeless and listens to customers’’, states Al Holbrook, founder of The Holbrook. “This in cludes state-of-the art architecture, such as a full building water filtration system, UV lighting in the common HVAC system to kill viruses, and neg ative ion emission to lift moods.”

Holbrook features a full service spa; Men and Women’s hair and nails, massages, facials, reflexology and private steam rooms. Holbrook is the only community offering a heated saltwater pool and a Hydrotherapy pool in the area. The Hydrotherapy pool is an Aquatic Therapy pool with an underwater treadmill. It is perfect for anyone looking to improve their balance, gait and recovering from injured hips and knees. Our pool has changed the lives of residents suffering from neuropathy, strokes and Parkinson’s Disease.

Holbrook Acworth offers multiple dining venues throughout the com munity. Whether you are looking for something light and casual, a made to order pizza from our Woodfire Pizza Oven, a full robust dining menu with our Chef’s Daily Special, catch of the day or our Sunday Brunch, we have it all. Our culinary team is led by renowned Chef, Tom McEachern (James Beard Foundation). “Chef McEachern takes our brand to the next level by integrating well-being protocols that change lives forever” (Al Holbrook).

Holbrook Acworth is hands down the most “Active” Community of its kind in Cobb County. Thanks to the robust amenity offering, Holbrook Acworth has over 350 scheduled activities a month!

Holbrook Acworth features individual apartment homes, ranging from studios to one and two bedrooms. Each apartment home is purposely de signed, with full kitchens, walk out porches and patios, walk-in showers, custom closet options and more. Our free standing cottage homes are

“There is something for everyone”, says Linda, a Holbrook resident. “I have lived here for two years and still have not tried everything on the calendar. I wake up in the morning and head downstairs for breakfast. We refer to it as the ‘Breakfast Club’. What better way to start your day than a healthy variety of your choice of a hot made-to-order breakfast or a light continental breakfast with a group of friends. Before moving to Holbrook I was married 48 years. I miss my late husband but I’m thankful to The Holbrook. When I moved in, I spent my first few months doing activities that I was familiar with - mostly Bingo, Trivia and Bridge. I slowly started trying new things. Now, every morning, I take the fitness or water aerobic classes, I’ve joined the book club, take a weekly art class (by an amazing instructor), I’ve joined the Holbrook professional chorus, attend bible study, do volunteer work, attend regular lectures and the writing society. The day goes by so fast, because before you know it, it’s time for Happy Hour! This is such a great time to catch up with my neighbors and friends. We share stories about our past or we share about all the offerings and activities at The Holbrook. I still can’t believe that my next door neighbor went ziplining and skydiving on The Holbrook Bucket List trip!”

“If you were to ask my daughter, she would call or text me every day worrying about me, because I do not answer my phone. I explained to her how it is not polite to answer your phone in the middle of a Wine Tasting or during our Chili Cook-Off! I am blessed to have 4 children and 8 grandchildren. They call Grandma’s house Granny’s Mansion. They love to come to dinner with me, swim in the pool and play games in the billiards room. One night my 8 year old grandson spent the night with me, and woke up hungry at midnight. We went downstairs in our Holbrook robes and bought ice cream in the store! He thinks I have the ‘coolest’ place to live, and so do I. All the staff here are so accommodating and open to our suggestions. Today, I requested a trip to the mall in the community Mercedes Van. I need something to wear to our upcoming New Year’s Eve party…who would have thought!”

described as large, spacious and bright. We offer two and three bedroom cottage homes with oversized garages. Our cottage homes are purposely appointed with porches, gas stoves, stainless steel appliances and over sized master bathrooms and closets.

We are thrilled to offer our Dogwood Forest Assisted Living and Memory Care on the same campus featuring 92 apartments. This is perfect for those that flourish with 24 hour oversight and care. We have caregivers on staff 24 hours a day and nurses on staff 7 days a week. Our Holbrook residents and families are reassured by having an “age in place” campus.

4491 S Main St, Acworth / www.HolbrookLife.com / 404-987-6347 4461 S Main St, Acworth / www.DogwoodForest.com / 678-628-9274 COVER STORY
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HEALTHY HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and that means it’s time to start thinking about what you will be serving at your family dinners and other festivities. Aside from spending time with loved ones, many holiday events revolve around food that tends to be on the heavier side. While one in dulgent meal after another is likely to leave you feeling tired and sluggish, these reinvented side dishes are here to prove that you don’t have to sacrifice any flavor to experience a lightened up version of your classic favorites.

When it comes to holiday entertaining, many would argue that side dishes are just as important as the main course. These healthy holiday side dishes are not only delicious, but they will impress your guests. Planning your holiday menu doesn’t mean that you need to push your health goals to the wayside. With a few simple substitutions, you can still enjoy the indulgent side dishes you’ve grown to love during the holiday season. Even better, these reci pes are easy to prepare and will please a crowd.

SQUASH CASSEROLE

There is just something about squash casserole that people can’t get enough of, and this healthier version does not disappoint. Opting for reduced fat cheese and light sour cream allows you to experience the same cheesy, comforting casserole you’ve loved since you were a kid. When you make this lightened up option, you can happily enjoy this indulgent side dish any time of the year!

What You’ll Need: Yellow squash, onion, cooking spray, garlic, salt, pepper, vegetable or chicken stock, light sour cream, plain nonfat Greek yogurt, panko bread crumbs, and reduced fat shredded cheese

Find The Full Recipe: https://cookingwithfudge.com/healthy-squash-casserole/

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

Creamy, comforting, and cheesy with subtle hints of sage, rosemary, and thyme, this Butternut Squash Risotto is certain to make an appearance alongside your holiday meals for years to come! The butternut squash adds an extra layer of warmth and richness while the freshly grated parmesan cheese garnishes the dish with a nice nutty flavor, giving a unique twist to your classic “tried and true” risotto.

What You’ll Need: Cooking spray, light butter, shallots or onion, dry white wine, arborio rice, vegetable or chicken stock, butternut squash, parmesan cheese, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper

Find The Full Recipe: https://cookingwithfudge.com/butternut-squash-risotto/

ButternutSquashRisotto

SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PINE NUTS AND CRANBERRIES

This delightfully simple side dish combines savory and sweet flavors to satisfy all of your taste buds. The tender Brussels sprouts paired with the pop of flavor from the dried cranberries is sure to delight any dinner guest. Better yet, you can have this dish on the table in only 15 minutes from start to finish, which means you have more time to socialize with your family and friends.

What You’ll Need: Cooking spray, Brussels sprouts, pine nuts, reduced sugar dried cranberries, salt, pep per, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes (optional)

Find The Full Recipe: https://cookingwithfudge.com/shaved-brussels-sprouts/

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

GarlicPotatoesMashed

These Garlic Mashed Potatoes are full of flavor, and they taste exactly like what you would find at your favorite southern restaurant. By making a few simple swaps like using light sour cream and a lower calorie milk option, you can still enjoy a hearty and delicious side dish with fewer calories and fat. In fact, you won’t even notice that you are enjoying a healthier version.

What You’ll Need: Potatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, almond milk, and light sour cream

Find The Full Recipe: https://cookingwithfudge.com/healthy-garlic-mashed-potatoes/

AIR FRYER FRIED OKRA

Air Fryer Fried Okra

A FEW PARTING NOTES

Our hope is that these recipes will in spire you to think outside the box when it comes to your holiday entertaining. If you have health goals or dietary restric tions that you need to consider, you can feel encouraged that you can still enjoy your favorite recipes by making a cou ple of simple substitutions. The holiday season is about togetherness with loved ones, and when you pair that with deli cious food and memory-making, that’s what life is all about.

GET THESE RECIPES AND MORE

Is there anything better than fried okra? While the classic version calls for the okra to be breaded and deep fried, the invention of the air fryer has completely changed the game when it comes to this southern favorite. Skipping the oil certainly reduces the fat and calories of the tried-and-true tradition, you will not be missing out on anything by using an air fryer instead. This Air Fryer Fried Okra still comes out delightfully crispy, and we would be willing to bet that no one notices a difference!

What You’ll Need: Fresh okra, eggs, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cooking spray

Find The Full Recipe: https://cookingwithfudge.com/air-fryer-fried-okra/

Sara Fudge has lived in West Cobb for over 30 years. As a wife to James and a mom to four boys, Sara is passionate about creating family-friendly meals that are easy, healthy, delicious, and budget-conscious with today’s ever-increasing grocery prices. Sara publishes her recipes on her website, Cooking With Fudge, and on Instagram (@ cookingwithfudge).

To find the full recipes for these healthy holiday side dishes, be sure to check out cookingwithfudge.com.

Squash Casserole Shaved Brussels Sprouts w/Pine Nuts + Cranberries
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PAGE 20 Our Town

Home Town Hero Q A&

If you are an animal lover, then this Hometown Hero is going to give you all of the feels.

Dr. David Wolf grew up in Buffalo, New York before attending Cornell University Veterinary School. He would meet his wife, a client at the time, during his first job in Alexandria, Virginia. Then after some early life travels, including four years in Florida, the couple finally ended up here in the North Atlanta area.

Dr. Wolf would own a local Cobb County Veterinary practice for several years before selling it in 2003 in order to be more involved in his local church. Seven years later, in 2010, Community Veterinary Care was born. We wanted to learn more about CVC and finally caught up with Dr. Wolf after months and months of trying. Our Town believed this hero wanted to avoid the spotlight and getting the praise he rightfully deserves, but we wouldn’t let that happen.

OTM: What is Community Veterinary Care?

Dr. Wolf: CVC is a local non-profit Christian veterinary mission existing to help those who cannot help their sick or injured pets due to financial hard ships in the North Cobb and South Cherokee County areas of Georgia.

We want to accomplish this mission in two ways: first, to provide pro fessional veterinary care for loved pets owned by financially needy wid ows, single moms and others who have suffered financial hardship, and second, to offer biblical guidance to these pet owners if they seek it.

OTM: How did CVC come about?

Dr. Wolf:

I was thinking about how the Lord created us each uniquely and has given us each unique life experiences, so I asked Him, “Lord, how can I serve you and bring glory to you most effectively in whatever years you have remaining for me?”

The idea to “use my training and experience, both as a veterinarian and as a Christian, to help those who love their pets but can’t afford to care for them” was His answer to me. Community Veterinary Care was born from that “conversation”.

OTM: Where and how does this incredibly giving practice operate?

Dr. Wolf:

My original plan was to locate at various churches in the area, but most had concerns, so I locate at the church I attend, Community Bible Church at 200 Chastain Road in Kennesaw. I, along with other volun teers from our church, see clients on Saturday mornings and do surgery or see more clients one to two days a week - usually at a local animal hospital I used to own.

OTM: How can anybody interested in helping CVC go about it?

Dr. Wolf:

We are a small practice. As an elder in church, CVC is a part time minis try and I am able to see only a small fraction of the huge need. We can’t see stray animals, foster animals, shelter animals etc. only families in severe need with one or two personal pets. We actually don’t need more volunteers presently, we need Christians to pray that the Lord would bring the people to us that He desires. People can also help us through donations to help us purchase medicines, supplies and payments for use of surgery rooms/anesthesia, etc. Donations also provide opportunities for us to send surgeries or cases that we are unable to take on, to spe cialty practices who give us gracious pricing.

My greatest desire in helping you with your pet is that you would rec ognize that this was God’s idea! He has created and sustained CVC because of His love for you. I am simply privileged and thankful to be a part of it.

Dr. Wolf, we are privileged and thankful for you. You are a true home town hero!

Please check out CVC’s website and Facebook page: https://communityveterinarycare.org/ https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064666540661

Our Town 21
PAGE 22 Our Town Composite Fillings Porcelain Crowns Dental implants Veneers Botox Cosmetic Bonding Anxiety Free Dentistry Teeth Whitening NOW OFFERING BOTOX! Welcome Home... ...to DayBreak Village, your warm and friendly home nestled in the heart of historic Kennesaw. DayBreak Village provides our residents with the lifestyle they want, services they deserve and care they need! Schedule your tour today, call 770-218-6166 3056 Cherokee Street • Kennesaw, GA 30144 www.daybreakvillage.com “Where your next chapter of wonderful begins…” INDEPENDENT LIVING • PERSONAL CARE • RESPITE • HOSPICE • 24/7 STAFF NOW DEDICATEDHIRINGSTAFF training available APPLY IN PERSON
Our Town PAGE 23 BEAUX ARTS HOME WEST 2960 Olympic Industrial Dr. SE Atlanta, GA 30339 678.882.1362 NEW WAREHOUSE NOW OPEN FRIDAY + SATURDAY ONLY 10AM - 6PM I-285 S.ATLANTARD OLYMPIC IND DR CHURCH ST. / PLANT ATKINSON RD Just of off S.Atlanta Road, inside I-285, Facing Builder’s Surplus DESIGNER BRANDS 40-80% OFF! FURNITURE LIGHTING ART ACCENTS RUGS

Oaks at West Cobb

Family-operated senior living community cultivates person-centered lifestyles.

The Salabarria family created Oaks Senior Living in 1998 to provide person-centered care to elders who can no longer live safely at home. The family operated executive team has been faithfully providing senior living in Georgia and South Carolina. Oaks Senior Living strives to create a vibrant, life-affirming environment where each person matters and everyone has opportunities for growth, regardless of age or abilities.

Oaks at West Cobb, an Oaks Senior Living managed community, embod ies the values set in place to create the best home for your loved one. Located in Marietta, GA and only a short drive from Atlanta, Oaks at West Cobb features luxury assisted living and memory care apartments with various care service options tailored to fit your needs.

The Thriving Lifestyle of an Oaks at West Cobb Resident

At Oaks at West Cobb, each resident’s community experience is tailored to their individual needs and desires. The flow of one resident’s day may not be the same as another, being individual care needs vary per resident. Take a few moments to join the journey of a typical day in the life of an Oaks at West Cobb resident.

Many of our residents begin their day with a freshly prepared meal by our Executive Chef, with the option of having specialized meals or al ternate dining choices depending on dietary need. Meals continue to be prepared for lunch and dinner; however, residents have the option to eat at any point during the day as they would in their own home due to our all-day dining service

Residents then have the freedom of joining devotional time led by our Lifestyle Director. Spiritual, educational, physical, and social activities continue throughout the day and residents have the option of attend ing all that interest them. Our daily activities create freedom of choice for residents so each day has new possibilities! Through our partnership with Parker Chase, residents can also enjoy offsite activities, engaging with young students in arts and crafts, performances, etc.

While dining and activities are fundamental parts of the Oaks Senior Liv ing mission, person-centered care is our main priority. Each day, the resident is always the focus. Our management team works together to provide the exact care plan that you need to create the most abundant

Our Town 25
26 Our Town THE DALLAS THEATER JANUARY 8th/3PM $40 -$42 For decades, the unforgettable caricature of veteran comedian JAMES GREGORY has stood grinning: his shirt untucked, his arms outstretched, a carefree welcome to a down-home, hilarious comedy experience. It’s storytelling at its best. The trademark caricature is the essence of humorist James Gregory’s comedy: rib-tickling reflections on life from the front porch. events 208 Main Street, Dallas, GA 30132 / 770.445.5180 For more information on Tickets, Acting Classes, Auditions, Free Movies and All Our Shows, visit our website! DALLASTHEATERGA.COM THE NUTCRACKER FRI, DEC 9th/7PM SAT, DEC 10th 3PM/7PM SUN, DEC 11th/3PM $12 -$15 FRI, DEC 16th/7PM FREE Admission! Concessions Available JANUARY 21st/7PM $18 -$20 Dallas favorites, The Ultimate Oldies are back! You’ll experience the birth of rock, that got America rockin’ around the clock! Don’t wait to grab your seats! This group always sells out!
$18 -$20 SKYNFOLKS delivers totally authentic, accurate renditions of the music on the first 5 Lynyrd Skynyrd albums. It’s been a labor of love for this band to provide the kind of high-quality, authentic experience that honors the legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd. 2023 COMING MARCH 3rd-5th, 10th-12th!
FEBRUARY 3rd/7:30PM

Experience the Club Pilates Difference

Opened in 2018, by an Occupa tional Therapist specializing in movement disorders, Club Pilates West Cobb has been the leading provider of Pilates for the West Cobb and Paulding County area. Since then, we’ve provided over 140,000 workouts to our dedicated members…and we’re not slowing down anytime soon!

True to Joseph Pilates’ original Reformer-based Contrology Method, with mod ernized group practice and expanded state-of-the-art equipment, Club Pilates West Cobb offers high-quality, life-changing training at an affordable price. Open 7 days a week and with the largest schedule available in the state, the ability to access 2 ad ditional studios in the East Cobb area, AND 10 highly trained instructors, we have something to fit everyone’s schedule and fitness level!

Who is Club Pilates for?

The Club Pilates Method is for anyone looking to build strength, increase flexibility and improve range of motion as well as the traditional enthu siast. Improve your golf game, hone your tennis serve, or just tone your entire body – this is a true way to strengthen your core.

What will you gain?

As you gain core strength, flexibility, and enhanced mind-body connec tion, you’ll feel the benefits ripple through your daily experience. A bal anced life, with sustained energy through your whole day and feeling more capable within your own body – what could be more empowering?

What will you experience?

Our comprehensively certified instructors will guide you through our 7 different class formats and 4 class levels, while ensuring that you feel safe and secure in your practice, even if you’ve never tried Pilates. With spe cialized equipment including the Reformer, TRX system, Bosu, Spring board, TriggerPoint, and Exo Chair you’ll never take the same class twice!

Boost your practice with Private Training:

In addition to our small group classes, Club Pilates also offers Private Training. Throughout your Private Training journey, a knowledgeable Instructor will evaluate your fitness level, any current or past injuries, and overall health to build a Pilates workout specifically tailored to your needs. This is a great option if you’ve never tried Pilates before or are looking for a more intimate experience!

What if you are injured or recovering from limited mobility?

When the body is balanced, working out becomes easier and goals are obtained more quickly. Strengthening your smaller supporting muscles improves posture and reduces injury. Joint pain or back pain makes mov ing difficult for many people. Pilates caters to these needs and allows one to workout without further stress to the body!

The Community

Once you begin your Club Pilates West Cobb journey, you’ll find a sup port system to keep you accountable and ensure you reach your goals! We’ll also be there to tell you, “Yes you can!” From our top notch, com prehensively trained instructors to our knowledgeable, friendly front desk staff, everyone at Club Pilates West Cobb is on your team and our goal is always helping you reach yours!

Our Town 27 when you mention this ad at the fo tudios before 1/31/23 when you mention this ad at the fo tudios before 1/31/23 Club Pilates East Cobb Club Pilates East Cobb 678.647.6220 | eastcobb@clubpilates.com 678 647 6220 | eastcobb@clubpilates com 2960 Shallowford Rd Ste 200 Marietta GA 30066 2960 Shallowford Rd Ste 200 Marietta GA 30066 Club Pilates West Cobb Club Pilates West Cobb 678 310 1020 | westcobb@clubpilates com 678 310 1020 | westcobb@clubpilates com 3805 Dallas Hwy Ste 810 Marietta GA 30064 3805 Dallas Hwy Ste 810 Marietta GA 30064 Club Pilates Merchants Walk Club Pilates Merchants Walk 770 755 5077 770 755 5077 | merchantswalk@clubpilates com | merchantswalk@clubpilates com 1311 Johnson Ferry Rd Ste 532 Marietta GA 30068 1311 Johnson Ferry Rd Ste 532 Marietta GA 30068
Our Town 29 MARS HILL RD BROOKSTONEDRNW STILESBORORD A BROOKSTONE WALK NW Arnett’s Jewelry and Designs 678-402-5186 In the Brookstone Publix Shopping Center 1727 Mars Hill Rd / Suite 203/ Acworth 30101 arnettsjewelry.com/ga Let Your Love Shine Brighter from Arnett’s Jewelry & Designs 3625 Dallas Hwy Marietta Ga Ave West Cobb 770-575-5420 GIBNEY’S gibneystavern.com OPEN TUE-THU & SUN 11AM-9PM FRI & SAT 11AM-10PM Private Dining Room (seats 12 max) Private Party Space (50 seated) Buffet or Plated Choices Curated Menu to Our Client’s Needs BOOKINGS: events@gibneystavern.com Book your Holiday Party with Us! Modern Dining Meets a Classic American Tavern Amazing Daily & Weekly Specials
PAGE 30 Our Town VRS relies on donations to provide rehabilitation services to those living with blindness or vision loss. These services are NOT covered by insurance. Employment opportunities available for COMS and CVRT, or related fields Make a Difference Today... SUGGESTED DONATIONS: $50 White cane or glare guard $100 Magnification device $250 Four hours of vision rehab or Personal Adjustment Counseling $500 A low vision evaluation (LVE) l Donate l Add VRS to your Employee Giving Campaign l Submit VRS as an Employer donation Match eligible organization l Invite VRS to speak about our services at your business or service organizations l Call us regarding specific volunteer needs VRS is a 501(c)3 not for profit founded in Smyrna, GA 39 years ago, serving individuals of ALL ages.
Experience the Magic of Holiday in the Park! November 19 – January 1, 2023 Visit sixflags.com/overgeorgia for the best offer. Make merry memories with millions of luminous lights, festive foods, and your favorite thrilling coasters. From coasters to cocoa, it’s a holiday spectacular for the whole family. NEW FOR 2022! • Enjoy hometown, festive fun at the NEW Six Flags Holiday Market with festive petting zoo. • Indulge in a VIP Experience at Blue Ridge on Peachtree with private heated igloos, family-style meals, reserved show seating and more! • Experience all NEW festive shows of both nostalgic and modern holiday favorites with NEW!

Once the festivities of the holiday season are over, it’s time to start planning vacations for the new year. Where are the hot destinations for next year? Read on for my top choices for 2023.

Top Overall – The United Kingdom

This is Travel + Leisure’s destination of the year for 2023, and for good reason. The UK has the perfect combination of history, culture, fantastic accommo dations, great food, and beautiful scenery. Whether you want to sightsee in a big city like London, check out the natural beauty of Wales, play world-class golf and visit world-class whisky distilleries in Scotland, or visit other worldly Game of Thrones filming lo cations in Northern Ireland, there is something for everyone in the UK. This destination is great for a first-time European vacation – it’s easy to get to from the US, they speak English in the UK, and they have a similar culture to the US.

Family Vacation – Ireland

If you’re looking to take an epic family vacation in 2023, look no further than Ireland. There’s some thing for everyone in the family here – historic cas tles, breathtaking landscapes, beautiful countryside, quaint small towns, and gorgeous coastlines. And of course, Guinness. There’s plenty for the kids and the adults to enjoy, so you don’t have to worry about anyone being bored. But the best part about Ireland is by far the people – they are friendly and welcoming, and make everyone feel at home in the Emerald Isle.

Culture – Egypt

If you’re looking for a vacation full of culture or you’re a history buff, it doesn’t get any better than Egypt. There is no shortage of stunning places to visit - the Pyramids of Giza, Abu Simbel, Karnak Tem ple, Cairo, Saqqara, Valley of the Kings, Alexandria, St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, the Red Sea, Aswan, and both the Temple of Kom Ombo and Ed fu’s Temple of Horus while cruising the Nile. And 2023 also brings the opening of the much-anticipat ed Grand Egyptian Museum which will house about 100,000 ancient artifacts including over 4,500 arti facts from the tomb of King Tutankhamun.

Foodies – Sicily

You can never go wrong with Italy for a foodie des tination. But if you’ve visited Italy before and are looking for something new and a little more off the beaten path, then Sicily is a great choice. Sicily has a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, amaz ing local architecture, fantastic local wineries, and gorgeous coastlines. Visit Palermo, Mt. Etna, ancient Syracuse, and Taormina as you explore age-old ru ins and remarkable landscapes. And don’t forget the amazing food – caponata, arancini, artichokes, all things citrus, as well as Gambero red prawns and Modico chocolate. You can also pair Sicily with Malta for an extended vacation.

Mix of Old and New – Japan

Now that Japan has reopened to international visi tors, travel there is booming and is expected to grow even more in 2023. Japan offers a fantastic mix of old and new, bustling and serene, historic and modern. I recommend combining the busy city of Tokyo with the calm of Kyoto to get a feel for this contrast. While in Japan, make sure to visit the Imperial Palace, his toric temples and shrines, see the ancient castles, stay in a ryokan, explore one of the many Japanese gardens, enjoy the teahouses, and take the bullet train. If you have time, make sure to see Mount Fuji, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and Miyajima (The Shrine Island).

Adventure – Australia

Another destination that has recently reopened is Australia and it is shaping up to be very popular in 2023. Australia offers a wide variety of experiences – Sydney Harbor and Opera House, the Blue Moun tains, the Outback, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, and cities like Brisbane and Canberra – so there is some thing there for everyone. This is definitely a destination for a longer vacation due to the amount of travel time and the time difference.

Nature – South Africa

If a safari is tops on your list for 2023, South Africa has you covered. This is a great destination for a first visit to Africa since you can combine safari, city, and coast. Make sure to visit Cape Town to see Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, and Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of his 27 years in prison), as well as Johannesburg to see the Apartheid Museum (a must-see) and Soweto. When you’re ready to head out on safari, visit one of the many private game reserves (some of which are malaria-free and perfect for families with young children). Build in time to visit the Cape Winelands and drive the Garden Route. I also recommend com bining South Africa with Zimbabwe to experience Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

I’m currently planning trips for 2023 for each of these destinations, and I visited several of them in 2022 (England and Egypt), so I can confirm their popularity. Make sure to keep reading my articles in the new year to see which of these amazing destina tions I travel to in 2023.

Happy holidays and I wish you the best in the New Year!

Meliski writes Our Town Travel keeping us in the “know”. Heather is a travel agent specializing in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe, Australia, the South Pacific, cruises, theme parks, and more. She lives in Smyrna with her husband and two sons. Heather@ yellowshoetravel.com FB @heatheryellowshoetravel IG @yellowshoetravelheather

32 Our Town
Heather
TOP TRAVEL DESTINATIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR: 2023
Our Town 33 “You only live Once. Book the Shoot!” 404.316.4482 21 W. PARK SQ. SUITE 200 MARIETTA HUSHEDCHERRYBOUDOIR.COM l Located in the Historic Marietta Square Female Owned and Operated Private, Discreet Studio $100 OFF your photoshoot! PROMO CODE: cherrypie

Christmas Back Home – A New Family Concert Tradition Classic Christmas hits with a delightful twist!

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. A time when family and friends come together in the spirit of the sea son and the whole world seems a nicer place. From the twin kling lights to the sound of Christmas music to the smell of bal sam fir and freshly baked cookies, it’s a time for miracles and excitement.

For Scott Thompson, founder and producer of the much-loved Christ mas Back Home concert series, fond memories of family holiday celebra tions were the inspiration for creating the show.

“Christmas was always magical to me as a kid growing up in Marietta, GA, and it still holds that same magic for me today. It’s my favorite time of the year,” says Thompson.

A Marietta native, Scott attended Sprayberry High School before moving on to Young Harris College to study theatre. In the early 90s after a few years living in Colorado, Scott began playing music around the Atlanta area, building a career as a full-time professional musician that has spanned over two decades.

With his warm, easygoing personality, powerful voice, and fresh style of Americana songwriting, Thompson pulls from his Southern roots. He writes from the heart and speaks to the soul with songs influenced by his dad’s record collection of James Brown, Sam Cooke, The Beatles, and Otis Redding. A prolific songwriter and captivating performer, Thompson combines a southerner’s knack for storytelling with a dose of southern charm making lifelong friends and loyal fans wherever he goes.

Playing 150+ shows per year, Thompson has gained the reputation of being one of the hardest-working musicians on the circuit. But the one thing he felt was missing was an affordable, family-friendly traditional Christmas concert featuring his favorite Christmas classics.

“In December 2016, my wife and I were driving home from dinner and I was talking about the kind of Christmas show I’d like to see. It didn’t exist in our town, so she said, why don’t you just do it?”

From that small suggestion, Thompson began to put together what has become a new holiday tradition for families in Georgia and North Caroli na. He called the show Christmas Back Home as a reminder of his early family Christmas gatherings in his childhood Marietta home.

“I knew I wanted a horn section and fun, upbeat arrangements spanning multiple genres. We like to say it’s classic Christmas songs with a twist,” Thompson smiles. “Marc Johnson, our Musical Director, and member of The Clocktower of Power brass ensemble has done an amazing job with the arrangements. Marc is a key influence in the growing success of the show. Our all-star band of amazing musicians, some of whom I’ve been friends with for years, are the best in the business. Their talent and enthu siasm definitely shine through on the stage.”

Now entering its 6th season, Christmas Back Home blends a delightful mix of traditional Christmas songs along with original tracks written by Thompson in collaboration with band members that are sure to become modern classics. From rock to reggae and jazz to country, you’ll toe-tap and clap your way into the Christmas spirit.

“Nothing can replace the traditional Christmas standards like The Christ mas Song sung by Nat King Cole or White Christmas with Bing Crosby. We play those like the originals because they are just so timeless. It’s hard to improve on perfection.

But there’s a need for fun new Christmas songs that will stand alongside our old favorites,” Thompson says. “Original songs like Tell It to the Elf, Every Day is Christmas with You, and Christmas Time in New Orleans have become audience favorites. There’s always room for more great mu sic in the world!”

This has proven to be true as the concert series will do ten performances this season starting the day after Thanksgiving and ending with a final performance on December 22nd at The Grand Theatre in Cartersville, GA.

“We were excited to add Marietta, Macon, and Cartersville, GA, to our tour this year,” beams Thompson. “Except for 2020 with the pandemic, the show has grown every year.”

Scott Thompson and the All-Star Band are looking forward to sharing this Christmas season with your family and becoming part of your new holiday tradition.

Bercher Homes present Christmas Back Home at the Marietta Performing Arts Center on Saturday, December 17 at 7:00 p.m. To view tour dates and purchase tickets, visit www.ChristmasBackHome.com. Use coupon code OURTOWN for 10% off your total ticket order. See you at the show!

Photo Credits: Frank Cardamone Photography
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Photo credit: Debbie Marvel
christmas back home Classic Hits with a Delightful Twist Featuring Scott Thompson and an All-Star Band SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17 @ 7 PM MARIETTA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER 1171 Whitlock Ave. NW, Marietta, GA General Admission: $20 | At the Door: $25 Use coupon code OURTOWN for 10% off your ticket order. For tickets, visit www.ChristmasBackHome.com presents

OPENING IN EARLY 2023

AGE IN PLACE

At Varenita, residents can “age in place” comfortably and securely. One of the main benefits of choosing Varenita of West Cobb is that residents can stay in the same community and, in many cases, the same “living area” even as their health care requirements change. This means that once you or your loved one moves into our beautiful community, it’s home. No matter how much needs to change over time.

ASSISTED LIVING

The perfect option for independent seniors who want support with daily tasks and personal care.

Varenita of West Cobb’s personalized assisted living care is designed for primarily independent seniors looking for a rich and rewarding lifestyle with an enhanced level of support. Guided by compassion and clinical expertise, our highly trained team members offer residents the gentle, individually focused support they need to flourish while retaining their independence.

Personalized Care for All Stages of Aging

TRANSITIONAL CARE

This specialized program is ideal for those living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early memory loss. Our industry-leading transitional care program is built around an inclusive “open campus” model. It is specifically designed for residents experiencing the early symptoms of memory loss or MCI but may not require the full attention or secure environment of a traditional memory program. Residents who are appropriate for transitional care continue to reside in the Assisted Living area of the community while receiving additional support with daily activities.

MEMORY CARE

An enriching and supportive program designed for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.

Based on the latest research, Varenita’s memory care program offers a truly compassionate approach to care designed for those residents living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. This living option combines an engaging, secure memory care neighborhood with a stimulating, person-centered lifestyle often missing from other cognitive care programs.

Three attractive living options in one unique community.

ON-SITE THERAPY SERVICES

Unlike many other senior living communities, Varenita offers comprehensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy services for all our residents without the hassel of having to leave the community.

FIVE-STAR RESTAURANT-STYLE DINING

Varenita offers residents and their families an impressive mix of delicious cuisine and rich dining experiences. Our accomplished chef and culinary team create an ever-changing menu of delicious entrees made with organic, locally sourced ingredients across three beautiful dining venues. These include vegetarian, gluten-free, and specially designed dishes for residents with specific dietary needs. In addition, we have a registered dietitian available to help with residents’ nutritional needs.

THE VALUE OF CONNECTION

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• Arts & Crafts • Daily Gardening • Group Outings • Move & Dance • Animal Activities • Cooking Classes • Music & Song • Live Concerts • Exercise Classes • Family Events • Guest Speakers
At Varenita, we offer an impressive mix of activities, classes, and events that foster engagement, stimulate the mind, and provide a rewarding sense of purpose.
of West Cobb | 1979 Mars Hill Road, Acworth, GA 30101 | 470-750-3500
Varenita

The holiday times are my favorite time of the year because I get to hang out with my family. I luckily celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah and get to watch New Year’s on tv.

This year Hanukkah starts on Thursday, December 7th and will end on Friday, December 15th. Our parents help us light the Menorah. On some days we get gifts and on other days we spin the dreidel, go places to see lights, or cook donuts with oil. It all depends on what we pull from our Hanukkah board that Mom makes. My dog, Pam, participates in the game Dreidel with her nose. It is fun to watch her play.

Christmas is on a Monday this year and our Elf Lucy came the day after Thanksgiving. She surprises us where she hides. She goes to the North Pole every night and comes back in the night in a new place. My favorite hiding place for Lucy has been in a pretzel jar.

On Christmas Eve my grandmother and great grandfather come and eat dinner with us. After we finish, we leave cookies and milk out for Santa Claus. The next morning my sisters and parents wake up at 7am and put on our onesies. We look over our railing and we see what presents are down in the living room. Then we go downstairs and wait for our grandmother and great grandfather to come back over. When they arrive we open our presents.

We go to two families’ houses and celebrate the holiday. At Grannies’ house we eat breakfast food. I like her grits and eggs. And then after opening some more presents we go to our Aunt’s house for some more fun. We eat lunch there and play games like Cornhole. I enjoy my cousin’s homemade chocolate chip cookies and my great grandfather’s special pasta salad. Of course, we open up more presents before we leave to go home.

New Year’s Eve is also fun as we sometimes celebrate the New Year at my grandmother’s and some times celebrate at home. I am now old enough to stay up and watch the ball drop at midnight. I get to drink a sparkling cider that night.

I can’t believe that 2023 is already here!

Beckham is 8 years old and is in the 2nd grade. He enjoys playing baseball, flag football and spending time with his family and friends.

Our Town 37
My Favorite Time of the Year!
Please Join Us for “Cocoa & Questions” Saturday, January 7th at 9am
38 Our Town WE OFFER: • Short Term Stays • Studio & 1BR Apartments • On-site Rehab • Robust Activities & Programs • 3 Miles from Local Hospitals • Pastoral Chaplain as we are a Faith-based Company For information, please contact Lori Ghassedi at: 678-624-9274 | www.dogwoodforest.com 4461 South Main St. l Acworth, GA 30101 Home is where the heart is at Dogwood Forest Acworth Assisted Living & Memory Care and so is the CARE. We love our residents like family and you can visit our website and hear from family members why they love us, too.
Our Town 39 707 Whitlock Avenue A-41 l Marietta GA 30064 770-966-2999 oneenergywellnessspa.com CONSIDER A GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Buy any gift certificate, get a 15 minute hand treatment! Offer expires January 31, 2023 ONE ENERGY WELLNESS SPA We invite you to trade Winter for Winter Wonderland! Now Through Feb 14th, with each of the following services, enjoy a COMPLIMENTARY Hand Treatment and a STEAMING CUP OF HOT CHOCOLATE! European Facial For an ultra luxurious experience, receive all the benefits of our customized Signature Facial, PLUS an ultrasonic cleansing to release debris from pores. Hot Stone Massage European Facial from the Entire Our Town Family
40 Our Town Independent and Assisted Living Call 770-738-4143 to learn more! 100 Whitlock Avenue, Marietta - One block from the historic Marietta Square - Learn more at www.WinnwoodRetire.com or scan our QR code! The only thing we’re missing is you! JAN 27 – 29 • BroadwayInAtlanta.com

2nd Annual Georgia Food + Wine Festival

Announces Dates, Events and Advance Discount Tickets On Sale December

1st March 23-26, 2023 | Jim R. Miller Park | Marietta, Ga.

A world-class culinary and beverage celebration will take place this spring in Marietta, March 23 - 26, 2023 at Jim R. Miller Park. The Georgia Food + Wine Festival will be a showcase of cuisine, beverage and culture that showcases Georgia celebrity chefs, local chefs, celebrity winemakers/vintners, artisans, farmers, local craft spir its and beers, along with renowned wine, spirits and beer brands from around the globe. The festival offers a wide variety of events for all tastebuds and budgets, with a variety of tasting events, shopping, live music, and more.

JRM Management manages and produces fairs and festivals throughout Georgia and South Carolina, including the North Georgia State Fair, The Great Anderson County Fair, the Big Shanty Fes tival, Smyrna Jonquil Festival, Taste of Smyrna, Taste of Acworth, Taste of Kennesaw and numerous other events. The festival will again partner with a local non-profit to bring funds back into the community.

The festival organizers look forward to bringing this top-tier culinary event to Cobb County. The Georgia Food + Wine Festival takes place at the centrally located Jim R. Miller Park, in Marietta, at 2245 Callaway Road, SW which is minutes from The Battery Atlanta and Truist Park, just off I-75 and Windy Hill Road.

Early Bird advance discount tickets will go on sale Thursday, December 1st, with up to 40% savings on festival events, with limited ticket availabil ity for a short time. There are limited Early Bird advance discount tickets available for most events through December 31, 2022. Georgia Food + Wine Festival Schedule of Events include (events and talent subject to change).

Thursday, March 23 - “Best of Cobb”, presented by Cobb Life Magazine and the Marietta Daily Journal, 5:30 - 8:30 pm, Jim R. Miller Park

The “Best of Cobb” is a showcase of Cobb County, Georgia’s best. More than 1,000 people gather to eat, drink and recognize the county’s favorite businesses and service providers. Cobb Life Magazine and the Marietta Daily Journal’s Best of Cobb 2022 celebration recognized winners of a reader-decided contest that had more than 460,000 votes. The Best of Cobb is a partnership event with the festival, tickets are sold directly by the event and will be on sale soon.

Friday, March 24 - “Fired-Up” 7:30-9:30pm, Jim R. Miller Park

Tickets: $55 December Special Pricing, $75 Winter Rate (Jan/Feb), $85 March/Gate

This BBQ Extravaganza is a showcase of the southeast’s most celebrated Pitmasters and grill masters with wine, beer and spirits - live music and more. Enjoy unlimited beverage tastings in a souvenir glass, along with delicious grilled, smoked and roasted gourmet BBQ bites – all included with ticket price.

*FREE parking, 21 & older only event, no pets allowed.

Saturday, March 25, 1 – 4 pm, “Savor, Georgia Food + Wine Festival”, Jim R. Miller Park Tickets: $59 December Special Pricing, $79 Winter Rate (Jan/ Feb), $99 March/Gate

A fun afternoon of culinary and beverage tastings, with live music, celebrity chef demonstrations, interactive stations from several world-re nowned beverage experts. Tickets include a souvenir glass for unlimited beverage tastings from hundreds of wines, beer and spirts exhibitors, and each guest will receive $10 in Tasting Credits and can be used to pur chase additional credits throughout the festival. Savor will also feature a

variety of exhibitors, from an artisan market and farmers to live music stages. Some of the local area and South’s best restaurants will offer a wide variety of culinary options. Guests will enjoy the Georgia Celebrity Chef Stage. This stage will feature chef demonstrations, with lim ited tasting sampling available. The stage will feature opportunities to learn from Georgia’s most celebrated chefs. *Stage tastings limited to the first 100 people in attendance for each stage session. The Marietta Daily Journal Music Stage will showcase some outstanding lo cal and regional live music, schedule to be determined. A fantastic Silent Auction will feature a variety of items and services, from luxury and beauty, to travel and one-of-a-kind en tertainment and dining opportunities. The Silent Auction will benefit our non-profit of choice. *FREE parking, 21 & older only event, no pets allowed.

Saturday, March 25, 12 – 4 pm, “VIP Lounge ~ at Savor, Georgia

Food + Wine Festival Tickets: $125 December Special Pricing, $150 Winter Rate (Jan/Feb), $165 March/Gate

VIP Lounge tickets include early access to the festival and VIP Parking and crystal souvenir tasting wine glass. The VIP Lounge, presented by Atlanta Magazine is an exclusive, fully catered VIP Lounge experience with special SWAG bags, restrooms, open bars with cocktails, live music and more, limited number of tickets available. The VIP Lounge ticket also includes full access to the general admission area of Savor. Each ticket includes $10 in Tasting Credits and can be used to purchase additional credits throughout the festival.

Sunday, March 26 12 – 5 pm, “Sunday/Funday” (Family-friendly event)

Tickets: $15 December Special Pricing, $20 Winter Rate (Jan/Feb), $25 March/Gate

A fantastic festival finale with live music and a variety of delectable restau rants, farmers, artisans, and food trucks, and a variety of beverages for purchase. A family friendly event with something for everybody in the family, including a free Kids Zone. There will be a variety of beverages available for purchase for 21 and older - including beer, wine and cock tails. The Sunday/Funday Lounge will feature specialty drink stations for purchase: Mimosas, Sparkling Wines, Bloody Mary Bar and Frose’ (Frozen Rose’) with a souvenir cup! Each ticket includes 10 Tasting Credits. Chil dren 12 & under are FREE, free parking, no pets allowed.

Sunday, March 27, 12 - 3 pm, “Oyster Roast, VIP Lounge” (Family-friendly event)

Tickets: $55 December Special Pricing, $65 Winter Rate (Jan/Feb), $75 March/Gate Enjoy sipping and shucking the afternoon away while listening to live music and enjoying unlimited wine, beer and spirits tasting stations with unlimited buckets of oysters and BBQ. Oyster Roast, VIP Lounge tickets include admission to Sunday/Funday from 12 am – 5 pm and VIP Lounge parking. Each ticket includes 10 Tasting Credits. Children 12 & under are FREE, free parking, no pets allowed.

Some fantastic savings on the Georgia Food + Wine Festival Early Bird Ticket Packages are now on sale for a very limited time. The Georgia Food + Wine Festival will take place March 23 - 26, 2023 with culinary, wine, beer and spirit tasting experiences, with schedule events and talent sub ject to change. The most up to date festival information is available on the Georgia Food + Wine Festival website and the festival’s social media channels: Facebook, Instagram. Please contact Missy Miller missy@geor giafoodandwinefestival.com for festival information, festival photography and assets.

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Our Town PAGE 45 #CN209995 From our family to yours, we wish you and your family a safe, memorable, and warm holiday season! 770-818-4339 CallBartlett.com Expires Jan 31, 2023

Don’t Forget the importance of Pre-listing updates as the Housing Market Makes a Shift this Winter

With interest rates going up more than 4 times this year, the residential real estate market is starting to look a bit different. These days, home buyers have more challenging times obtaining mortgages than in previous years. While fewer lenders are approving mortgages, house prices are still relatively consistent. Even with fewer buyers in the market, more inventory, and competi tion among sellers, home values are still high. Most homeowners stand to make a sizable profit if they adapt to market conditions before selling this year. So, despite these shifting conditions, home buyers, sellers, and real estate agents can navigate the mar ket successfully with some foresight and strategy.

Here’s What Sellers Should Think About

As conditions shift from catering to sellers to giv ing buyers a slight upper hand in the second half of 2022, homeowners and real estate agents must adjust expectations and listing strategies, but thankfully, not too dramatically. Compared to the past few years through the pandemic, there’s a more heightened need to update homes and market listings competitively. Homes that sell at top prices always require these efforts, no matter what the market conditions are.

With that said, before getting on the market…. Take a hard look at your house’s condition and curb appeal and bring it up to date before going on the market. If you’re a homeowner or real estate agent and your goal is to increase your home value as much as possible, pre-listing home im provements are essential. Don’t forget that even small investments like new paint or refreshed flooring will make your house more appealing. Exploring and planning for necessary renovations is wise if your house requires more extensive repairs.

Dealing with the Wintertime Housing Market

If You are a Buyer: This winter, you can enjoy a slow er-paced market, more inventory, fewer multiple offers on one home and in some cases, a slowdown in rising home prices. Because competition is a bit steeper for homeown ers, you’re likely to see newly updated and livable homes.

If You are a Seller: Focus on curb appeal and home im provement updates before listing and not after you are on the market because the first buyers looking at your house are most ready to make an offer on your house. It’s so import ant to make sure your interior and exterior walls are fresh, the flooring is immaculate, and your home’s fixtures and appliances are modern. Every repair and update you make will translate to a higher selling price and less time on the market. Be mindful of the timelines for obtaining required permits to remodel homes. Some permit offices do not pro cess paperwork for months, so build this into your pre-list ing prep. The staging and photography of your house are very important to create a great listing.

The Winter housing market has fewer buyers and more inventory

This winter’s housing market is driven by higher interest rates that make mortgages more expensive and harder to obtain. The buyers’ ability to qualify for home mortgages has decreased. Also, they can afford less than they would have recently since increases to interest rates make monthly payments substantially higher (by hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars). With fewer buyers competing for inventory, the pace and profitability of the housing market aren’t as fast or advantageous for homeowners. This winter’s market translates to longer property listing times and more inventory than in previous months and years. As fewer buyers browse the market and the number of homes in local markets increases, pre-listing home improvements and upgrades are critical for any homeowner who wants to sell relatively quickly with upmarket profit margins.

Prospective home buyers who qualify for mortgages will have more op tions to choose from and may have a bit more bargaining power. Buyers should ask their loan officers about interest buy down programs which will bring their monthly payment down and, in many cases, a motivated seller will pay for the cost of an interest rate buy down.

Adapting to this Winter’s Housing Market Conditions

This Winter housing market can still be advantageous for buyers, sellers, and real estate agents. The expectations have changed; sellers with solid pre-listing home improvement plans will be rewarded. Don’t forget to consult with an experienced real estate agent for the best guidance on making their house as appealing as possible.

Keller Williams Realty Cityside 678-570-4779 / Debratchford@kw.com

PAGE 46 Our Town
Deborah Ratchford
Deborah M Ratchford Keller Williams Cityside 3350 Atlanta Road Smyrna, GA 30080 C: 678-570-4779 O: 770-874-6205 SOLD IN SMYRNA! In Just 2 Days! Looking for Listings and Buyers! Call Today! 678-570-4779 barry.butler@rate.com / O 404.474.3974 C 770.365.7179 125 Townpark Drive Suite 300, Office 23 / Kennesaw, GA. 30144 Barry Butler Branch Manager/VP of Mortgage Lending NMLS ID: 658820 www.guaranteedrate.com/barrybutler NEW PRICE IN WOODSTOCK! Beautiful 3 Level Home! NEW LISTING IN MARIETTA! Great Condition! SOLD IN SMYRNA! In Just 5 Days! SOLD IN MABLETON! In Just 3 Days! Call the agent that knows the market and how to get over the asking price. Results Driven!!! Call today for your FREE market analysis. All information is believed to be accurate, but not warranted. Each Keller Williams Realty Office is individually owned and operated. Again! it DebDid SOLD IN SMYRNA! In Just 4 Days! Call today about the New Buy Down Program with Guaranteed Rate Mortgage that will Save 2% on your Home Purchase interest rate!