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Vol. 17 No. 2 • Display until Sept. 20, 2016

NORTHEAST GEORGIA VIEWS Melissa Herndon Publisher/Chairman/Editor-In-Chief




A.W. Blalock Brenda Ritchey CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Lynda Abernathy Mollie Herndon Pamela A. Keene Sydnah Kingrea Sara Powell William D. Powell Phil Pyle M.J. Sullivan Melissa Tufts CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Pamela A. Keene Sydnah Kingrea William D. Powell Phil Pyle M.J. Sullivan

Life is an adventure ...



and you hold the compass that will guide your experience to the best that Northeast

Mollie Herndon

Georgia has to offer this summer. There are trails to explore, events to attend, homes to


Mollie Herndon

tour and so much more. ◆ Unleash the adventurer in you while day-tripping to the


Biblical History Center in LaGrange. Challenge yourself in the great outdoors while bik-

Sydnah Kingrea

with Thai dishes full of summer-fresh ingredients. Enjoy the abundance of the season and know that life is great in Northeast Georgia! ◆ Thanks for sharing your time with us.


Melissa Herndon

Melissa returns a vintage bicycle after finishing the photo shoot for the Summer cover.

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Rock Creek Greenway special photo; Melissa Herndon by Mark Herndon

ing on one of the many trails available in Northeast Georgia. Tantalize your taste buds

◆ We invite you to share your views on Northeast Georgia Living. Please mail your comments to P.O. Box 270, Franklin Springs, GA 30639, or email us at Visit us at NortheastGeorgiaLivingMagazine. Northeast Georgia Living, ISSN 1545-5769, is published quarterly in Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter by Marketing & Media Resources at 454 College Street, Royston, GA 30662. 706-246-0856. Subscription price is $14.00 annually. USPS Number 021-578 at Royston, GA 30662. Postmaster: Send address changes to Northeast Georgia Living Magazine, P. O. Box 270, Franklin Springs, GA 30639-0270. The cover and contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. Reader correspondence and editorial submissions are welcome. However, we reserve the right to edit, reject or comment editorially on all contributed material.

LETTERS LEFT NORTHEAST GEORGIA ABOUT three years ago and moved to Panama City Beach, FL. Still subscribe to your magazine and look forward to its arrival every quarter. Makes me want to come back and visit often. Keep up the excellent work. John Skelton Panama City Beach, FL

BACK ISSUES CATCH UP ON Northeast Georgia. Back issues of Northeast Georgia Living for Fall/Winter 2000 through Spring 2016 are available in limited quantities for $5 per copy. (Sorry, Spring/Summer 2002 is no longer available.) Send your name and mailing address along with a check or money order payable to: Northeast Georgia Living, P.O. Box 270, Franklin Springs, GA 30639. Please specify the issue(s) and quantities desired.

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In This Issue

60 Arts: Matt Zbornik



THERE ARE CONTRACTORS. THERE are craftsmen. There are artists. Somewhere in the middle of them all, though, is a hybrid of sorts – people who can only be described as functional artists – and Athens is home to one of the most original, creative and innovative functional artists in the state. By Phil Pyle

Trails: Biking


NORTHEAST GEORGIA HAS A vast offering of scenic biking trails, both paved and unpaved, alongside mountains, rivers, dense forests and rolling hills. Take advantage of the warm summer months and feel the breeze on your face as you speed along one of our area’s bike trails. By Sydnah Kingrea

RESTORATION WARRIORS 50 CLASSIC WOODEN BOATS WERE built of beautifully varnished mahogany until the mid-20th century, when aluminum and fiberglass became the building materials of choice. Sadly, over time many old wooden boats were left out in the weather to deteriorate and rot. However, all were not lost, as a small number of restoration warriors have rescued these timeless classics and restored them to their former glory. By William D. Powell

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Distinctive Thai Cuisine



THAI FOOD HAS RICH depths of flavor created by the perfect combination of distinctive ingredients like soy, fish sauce, chilies, garlic, coconut milk and a variety of fresh Asian-style vegetables. If you are feeling creative, try a few of our simple but exotic Thai recipes. By Sydnah Kingrea

Lake Hartwell

SUMMER LAKE HOMES SHOWCASE 40 EVER DREAM OF LIVING on the lake, with long vistas, deep-water docks and gently sloping walks to the water? On Saturday, July 16, you’ll have your chance to tour eight fabulous properties on Lake Hartwell at the Summer Lake Homes Showcase. By Pamela A. Keene

DEPARTMENTS Made in Georgia Summer Favorites


ENJOY OUR SHOWCASE OF wonderfully crafted food, art and more created in Georgia. This issue features Bangles by Mollie, Southern Wind Artwear and Terminus Threads. By Mollie Herndon


Spotlight Northeast Georgia Summer Hits

CHECK OUT OUR TOP picks for festivals, food, art, music, performances and summer fun in Northeast Georgia. By Mollie Herndon

Gardening Urban Agriculture



THE LOCAL FOOD MOVEMENT has taken off in directions we could never have expected – on rooftops, up the sides of buildings and in abandoned lots. By M.C. Tufts

Antiques The Antique Pottery of W.J. Gordy


WORKING FOR MORE THAN 60 years as a potter – mainly in Georgia – Bill Gordy produced unique styles of art pottery and developed a reputation for his specialty glazes. By M.J. Sullivan

Vines CeNita Vineyards and Winery


DEVELOPED OVER SEVERAL YEARS following a carefully thought-out plan, CeNita Vineyards and Winery offers estate wines sold from their old-world tasting room, while The Venue at Cenita provides a beautiful mountain setting for weddings and large gatherings. By M.J. Sullivan

Eat, Drink & Be Merry Girasoles 18


A BRIGHT ENTRANCE AND Chef Jose Zambrano’s bright smile welcome guests to Girasoles in Watkinsville, where fresh ingredients and made-to-order dishes create a “wow” factor for each customer. By Phil Pyle

Books The Wild Treasury of Nature


PHILIP JURAS’ LATEST BOOK delves deeply into the beauty and natural history of one enduring barrier island off the Georgia coast: Little St. Simons. The book is illustrated with his paintings of the island’s “remnant” landscapes. By Melissa Tufts

ˆ Destination Chateaux, Rivers and Wine


A RIVER CRUISE IN the Bordeaux area of France brings visitors up close to cities, villages, markets, vineyards and, of course, wine. By Sara Powell

Let’s Go Somewhere Today Day Trip




Let’s Go Somewhere Today Events


SUMMER EVENTS INCLUDE FIREWORKS, festivals, fairs and food. By Mollie Herndon

Reflections ... on the best times of our lives


THOSE SUMMER EXCURSIONS SOLIDIFIED the foundation of our family. My mom and dad knew it would, but we children were too young then to realize that those times were the best of our lives. By Lynda Abernathy


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Georgia has an abundance of human and natural resources. Here are a few of our favorite examples of entrepreneurship that result in products you will want to become familiar with this summer.

Southern Wind Artwear

Bangles by Mollie

Bangles by Mollie, a small jewelry business based in Royston, is your source for gorgeous handmade jewelry at an affordable price. It all started in 2014 when Mollie Herndon, the designer, became frustrated with the high prices of jewelry. That’s when she decided to begin making her own, and what began with wire bangles has now grown to include necklaces, rings, earrings and more! Each piece is handcrafted from quality materials and incorporates unique beading and stones. Some of her most popular items are pearl bangles, leather and freshwater pearl necklaces, stackable stretch bracelets and long beaded necklaces. For further information on these fabulous products, please visit or call 706-296-0639.

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Terminus Threads

If you’re looking for eclectic, made-in-the-South fabrics, Terminus Threads has the perfect product for you. This Atlanta-based company offers high-quality pocket squares, handkerchiefs, table napkins, coasters and placemats, all handmade in Atlanta! The items are individually designed and made in small batches, so your purchase is sure to be unique and nearly one-of-a-kind. What also sets this business apart is its attention to preservation; they have made it their mission to rescue and repurpose all unwanted fabrics and scraps. Hurry and order a stylish pocket square or a new set of placemats for those summer events and parties! For further information on these products, please visit

Special Photos

Based in Hartwell, Southern Wind Artwear delivers truly unique shirts that are also intricate works of art. Artist Taylor Dubeau, the mastermind behind these shirts, draws her inspiration from everything we love about the South — from fishing to pecan pie to patriotism. Each shirt features hand-painted designs and is made right here in the South from 100 percent high-end Pima cotton, so you can be sure you are getting a high-quality product! Grab one in time for those summer vacations and trips to the lake. For further information on these shirts, please visit





July Fourth Fireworks Celebration

July 4, 2016 Do you want to celebrate Independence Day with an exciting fireworks display in the mountains? Be sure to attend the July Fourth Fireworks Celebration at Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee! Bring the entire family for a fun night under the stars. Fireworks will begin at 9:45 p.m. For further information on this event, please visit

20th Annual AthFest

June 22-26, 2016 Come enjoy one of Athens’ largest and most popular festivals! Located in the heart of the Classic City, the 20th Annual AthFest music and arts festival attracts thousands of visitors each year and is sure to be a fun time for the entire family. Enjoy live music, outstanding art, food vendors, downtown shopping and more! For further information on this event, please visit

July 16, 2016 Experience the best in lakeside living by touring eight breathtaking homes in Hartwell. You may begin the tour at any of the homes and visit as many as you wish from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served on the tour. This event is sponsored by Northeast Georgia Living Magazine, Hart County Chamber of Commerce and Pinnacle Bank. For further information on this event, please call 706-376-8590.

Mountain Branch Distribution Center Grand Opening

July 23, 2016 The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia will unveil the new mountain branch distribution center in Clayton, which houses a state of the art teaching kitchen and utilizes a flashfreeze process for fresh local produce. A ribbon cutting will be held at 10 a.m. and will be followed by informational tours of the new facility and family friendly activities until 2 p.m. Come enjoy learning about this great cause! The new center is located at 40 Plaza Way in Clayton. For further information on this event, please visit

Crush Fest

September 3, 2016 If wine tasting, food trucks, grape crushing and olive oil tasting sound like a great time to you, then head over to Crush Fest at Yonah Mountain Vineyards near Cleveland! This all-day event takes place in a beautiful mountain atmosphere from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is dedicated to the love of wine. Make sure you don’t miss the grape crushing; you can take off your shoes and participate in the fun tradition yourself! For further information on this event, please visit

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S p e c i a l P h o t o s ; A t h F e s t b y P o r t e r M c L e o d ; H a r t w e l l L a k e H o m e s b y W i l l i a m D . P o w e l l ; Yo n a h M o u n t a i n V i n e y a r d s b y M . J . S u l l i v a n

Lake Hartwell Summer Lake Homes Showcase


Urban Agriculture


rban agriculture ... an oxymoron that can make us squirm. What have we come to that we humans need to be growing food on the sides of tall buildings, along hot rooftops, in abandoned warehouses or imprisoned indoors, far away from the natural systems of life that abound on our farmlands? Are we really at a point in human evolution that here, on our onceabundant continent, we cannot provide ourselves with sustainably grown produce and sources of protein? The whole idea of urban agriculture may be anathema for those of us fortunate enough to live in Northeast Georgia, where the land and water resources remain mostly intact and the residents still hold on to an understanding of the ways of food production. For the most part, our children still know that milk comes from a cow, that chickens lay eggs whether or not there’s a rooster around, and that collards can be planted in February. But even here, where just a generation ago most people made their living off the land, our capacity to produce our own food has been limited by changing lifestyles and priorities. Development and environmental degradation from past errors have cost us a lot in both resources and know-how. Yet in rural Georgia, where it’s still fairly easy to put in a small vegetable garden (whether you own the land or not), there are people suffering terrifically from the lack of access to decent food. There are portions of our rural counties that are considered “food deserts,” areas where people with little means or no car cannot buy fresh vegetables and safely raised meat products. Hunting and fishing are compromised by suburban sprawl, and we are faced with the effects of periodic extended droughts and climate change. Local food banks remain in constant need of donations. Our young people leave the rural life for more lucrative professions in the towns and cities, and we lose their 12 Northeast Georgia Living

energy and strength, which is so needed for running successful farm operations. These challenges can be rather daunting, but at least in rural Georgia we still have the resources and knowledge base. These are precious, and we must be diligent in their preservation. Even in large urban centers in the U.S., much of that knowledge was lost or left behind a few generations ago, and city dwellers became completely dependent on industrial agriculture, which could provide food from far away, relatively cheaply. A kind of amnesia set in, and people who once had at least a small kitchen garden or some fruit trees in the back yard turned their attention to other distractions. Thank goodness for the recent farm-to-table movement and the realization back in the 1970s that food needed to taste good and be nutritious at the same time. A whole generation of small farmers and market growers re-emerged in the 1990s, and the local food movement took off in directions we could never have expected. Now urbanites in downtown Atlanta are enjoying beekeeping, community gardens and local breweries and are buying Georgia wines from the northern part of our state and olive oil from the south. Schoolyards and abandoned lots have small gardens flourishing, and many in the new immigrant population have brought with them skills for raising delicious greens, herbs and tubers. Market gardens abound around Atlanta and Athens, and a new generation of “farmers” is trying its hand at raising delicious things to eat. It was a close call, but it looks like the independent American

spirit and Americans’ love for the land may have succeeded in creating communities that can raise and market produce in an urban setting. So what’s this about growing vegetables on the sides of buildings and lettuces in stacked towers, indoors, where they never see the light of day? No doubt the prospect of seeing most of humanity now living in urban areas has gotten some people thinking about how to incorporate food production into the urban fabric. Rather than leaving our vegetables and eggs entirely to the industrial farmer or the local food movement, some people are designing “farms” that can produce fresh food in local neighborhoods in somewhat unlikely places. It’s hard to get past the idea of all that city pollution settling on one’s kale, but we should take this trend seriously because these folks may be on to something. Restaurants can benefit from herbs planted right down the street in a community garden, schools can show children the joy of pulling real carrots out of the ground, and retirees can share stories about ways to cook a potato. All of which brings us around full circle to the beauty of the community of food, which for too long has been the domain of rural farmers. For the foreseeable future, cities cannot produce decent food on the scale that is needed. We will always need our real farmers, but it’s nice to know that people in the city are finding ways to reconnect with their roots, so to speak. For an interesting glimpse into the urban agriculture movement that is growing in America, see the book Carrot City: Creating Places for Urban Agriculture, published by the Monacelli Press. ◆


Art From the Earth

The Antique Pottery of W.J. Gordy


illiam J. “Bill” Gordy was born in Aberdeen, Ga., on May 18, 1910, into a family of established potters. It was not surprising, therefore, that shaping vessels from the earth eventually became his vocation. He practiced his craft, which ultimately became his art, for over six decades and has been heralded in the Encyclopedia Britannica as “the foremost potter in the southeastern United States.” In 1932 he married Jewell Futral of Hickory, N.C., and moved with his bride to her hometown. While in North Carolina, he was employed at several potteries, including Hilton Pottery, Kennedy Pottery and Smithfield Art Pottery. During this period he worked with a variety of different glazes. Gordy also began experimenting with a more decorative style of pottery instead of just making utilitarian pieces like butter churns and whiskey jugs. After returning with Jewell to Georgia in 1935, he opened his Georgia Art Pottery shop on Old Dixie Highway a few miles from Cartersville. There he focused on producing the unique style of art pottery for which he ultimately became famous. Some of these unusual forms were his red-eye gravy boat, ring jug and double-sided jug. Life was not easy for a potter during the early half of the 20th century. The process 14 Northeast Georgia Living

was much as it had always been. Before clay could be turned on a treadle-powered wheel, it was dug by hand and then ground in a refining process involving a millstone and mule. Simple glazes were formed by mixing water with ash acquired from stove and fireplace residue. After glazing, pieces were fired in a wood-burning kiln. Making pottery was backbreaking and laborious. But it was work at which Gordy excelled. By 1940 he had the honor of having pieces of his work displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. While Bill was establishing his business north of Atlanta, his father, “W.T.B.,” and

W.J. Gordy developed a reputation for his specialty glazes like the blue pastel above. Gordy’s work is on display at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee Nacoochee through December 2016. his brother, “D.X.,” were creating a unique style of artistic pottery in Primrose, near Warm Springs. Their pottery is generally marked with the designation “Gordy’s Pottery” and should not be confused with

Bill’s work, which is also clearly marked. When identifying Bill Gordy’s work, collectors should look for pieces signed “W.J. Gordy” – with or without a date – or a mark that says “Georgia Art Pottery.” According to Gordy’s grandson, Darrell Adams (who is an established potter himself), Gordy developed a reputation for specialty glazes, which he produced in a wide range of colors. “Among the glazes he developed were the first copper reds in Georgia, and pastels, including yellow, pink, orange and blue. In 1950 he added a new gas kiln and around this time developed his best-known glaze, which he called Mountain Gold.” Chris Brooks, director of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee Nacoochee, recalls Bill Gordy as a humble man. “Even though his work ultimately made him one of the most popular potters in Georgia, he never sought the limelight. After the work of the Meaders family, Bill Gordy is the most asked-about potter here at the museum.” Currently, a private collection of his work is on exhibition there through December 2016. Echoing similar sentiments is potter Ron Cooper of Canton, who as a young man apprenticed for five years with Bill Gordy. Cooper is now a 71-year-old potter and well-known in his own right. He remembers Gordy with fondness. “We spent long, hard hours working together.

He was more like a family member than an employer. Although I know he had an influence on my style as a potter, he affected more than just my professional skill. His greatest influence on me was observing his character and the integrity of his work ethic. He devoted himself to producing a quality product, which required long hours of dedicated labor. ‘Do good work and treat people with respect; the rest will take care of itself ’ was his simple philosophy,” says Cooper. Bill Gordy, who worked for over 60 years as a potter (and who also served a stint on a U.S. Naval destroyer during World War II), passed away in 1993 at the age of 83. Although his pottery may still be found at an occasional flea market or antiques store, the best way to score a piece is to search online at eBay or attend a local auction here in Georgia. For a comprehensive look at the potter himself, check the library or search online for Evolution of a Potter by Lindsey King Laub. The book is written in an interview format and offers an in-depth picture of Bill Gordy. ◆ For information regarding the W.J. Gordy Exhibit, contact the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia at 706-878-3300. To contact Gordy’s former apprentice, Ron Cooper, visit R.J. Cooper Pottery in Canton, Ga. For directions and exact hours of operation, call 770-479-1536.

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CeNita Vineyards and Winery eNita Vineyards and Winery was birthed from a business plan that Greg and Carol Crumley formulated back in 2007. At that time the couple began devising a strategy to plant a vineyard and eventually build a winery and tasting room on land they owned in Cleveland. Long-range plans also included an events venue. By 2008 they had begun planting the wine grapes that would one day become CeNita Vineyards and Winery. They chose the blended name “CeNita” for their ventures in honor of Greg’s parents Cecil and Juanita. In 2011, a year after Greg’s father died, Greg and his siblings, Beth, Donna, Alan, Janice and Joe, decided to construct a wedding and events center on part of a 60-acre tract that their parents had generously given to them. The facility was graciously financed by Juanita and dedicated to Cecil’s memory, and it was agreed that the name would be “The Venue at CeNita.” The Venue is an impressive 4,80016 Northeast Georgia Living

square-foot structure in post-and-beam style with a vaulted ceiling and stackedrock fireplace. Able to accommodate large gatherings and wedding parties, a spacious open-air section of the building features Eisenglass curtained sides that can be drawn down to protect guests in case of

Guests relax outside the CeNita Vineyards and Winery tasting room overlooking The Venue at CeNita, available for weddings and other large gatherings. Greg and Carol Crumley (left) chose the blended name “CeNita” in honor of his parents, Cecil and Juanita. inclement weather. An inside space houses the serving/prep areas, restrooms and large private dressing rooms. The Venue furnishes all of the accessories necessary to facilitate a wedding reception, corporate event, family reunion or other celebrations. Sisters Donna and Beth manage this enterprise for the family and are responsible for scheduling activities, helping coordinate events and advising private event planners. Strategically placed at the highest elevation on the property, the beauty of the The Venue’s setting is intensified by a 360-

Vineyard by Carol Chambers Crumley


and The Venue at CeNita

degree panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, including the winery and vineyards. On the expansive front lawn, a platform, used as a stage for outdoor ceremonies, is complemented by a wide-angle view of Yonah Mountain, providing a spectacular natural backdrop for any occasion. During the first few years, CeNita Vineyards sold their grape harvests to Hue and Jane Rainey, owners of SauteeNacoochee Vineyards and Winery. In 2013, when Hue and Jane graciously offered the couple the use of their winemaking equipment, Greg and Carol accepted. With the Rainey’s assistance, they processed and bottled their first vintage. In 2014 another phase of the development plan was implemented when construction was begun on a winery and separate tasting room owned jointly by the couple and Greg’s brother Joe. The tasting room, designed and decorated to exude an “old world” ambience, was opened to the public on Aug. 1, 2015. Resident winemakers, Greg and Carol are also responsible for the care and maintenance of their vineyard. After carefully choosing the types of wine grapes they wanted to use when creating their wines, they planted the following varietals: the Italian vinifera, barbera; chambourcin; cabernet franc; traminette; and vidal blanc. Presently with 3 acres devoted to grapes, the vineyard produces in the neighborhood of a thousand cases a year. Although they craft the wines themselves, Greg and Carol appreciate the invaluable input they have received from winemakers Ariel Padawer of Kaya Vineyards and Winery in Dahlonega and Joe Smith of Serenity Cellars in Cleveland. Currently CeNita is offering six wine selections, both varietals and blends. Until now, all of the grapes used in processing were their own except for a pino blanc used for blending. However, with the completion of CeNita’s winery, that is about to change. According to Carol, “Going forward, CeNita’s wines will now be considered Estate Wines because they will be grown, processed, bottled and cellared here.” The tasting room is open on Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Check their website at www.cenita for updates and scheduled events, or you may phone them at 706-8786829. For information regarding The Venue, contact Donna at 706-892-7399. ◆ Summer 2016 17




he slogan “Automatic for the People” was made famous around the Athens area by local restaurant Weaver D’s (and by R.E.M.’s album of the same name), and the concept of being “automatic for the people” is exemplified in the way Chef Jose Zambrano treats his customers at Girasoles restaurant in Watkinsville.

ing. It is the customer who is taking the opportunity to try your food, and you must value and appreciate that.” Jose began his journey in the restaurant world in 1979 working as a dishwasher at Chanticleer, a French restaurant in South-

“I’ll try to make anything my customers ask for, whether it is on the menu or not,” says Jose, who has as much love for food as he has for his customers. “Everyone who walks through that door is a V.I.P., no matter what they do for a living or what car they drive.” Jose’s deep respect for his customers and his dedication to his work are grounded in his upbringing in rural Mexico. He grew up in a poor family, and his father, who was a butcher, taught him early on a valuable lesson that would stay with him throughout his career. “My papa was the best teacher and a very generous man. He taught me how to value people and appreciate work18 Northeast Georgia Living

ern California. Thanks to his work ethic and diligence, he learned quickly and worked fast, quickly making his way up the chain and establishing a solid reputation in the kitchen. After seven years, Jose was named the restaurant’s first “Employee of the Month,” soon to be followed by being named “Employee of the Year.” Not long after, however, Jose made a career decision to take a position at another restaurant and gave his two weeks’ notice to his manager. One might have expected his manager to take offense at Jose’s desire to leave. Instead, the manager asked him to stay just a little bit A bright entrance and Chef Jose Zambrano’s bright smile welcome guests to Girasoles in Watkinsville, where fresh ingredients and made-toorder dishes create a “wow” factor for each customer.

longer. That “little bit longer” changed Jose’s life forever. “They respected me and my work so much that they hired an attorney to get my green card approved,” explains Jose. “I was so grateful. That is why I am here today.” With his U.S. residency in hand, Jose ultimately left California in 1998 to pursue his dream of opening his own restaurant in Georgia. He had a long-time friend in Athens whom he had visited before, and Jose found himself in love with the area and the community. Admits Jose, “My first restaurant, La Estrella, served good food but was in a poor location.” Girasoles’ location in Watkinsville, on the other hand – as the past 11 years will attest – has worked very well for him and has allowed Jose to mold the restaurant into the vision he had always dreamt of. “The location is perfect, and for the restaurant itself, I have tried to make it feel like customers are walking into their home. That is how I want them to feel, like they are home. And of course, I want them to feel free to order whatever they want to eat like they are at home,” says Jose. Freshness at Girasoles is part of Jose’s creed. From the breads made from scratch to fresh wild fish to local produce, Jose uses every fresh natural ingredient necessary to create a “wow” factor for each customer. Customers’ favorites include his steaks, seafood and shrimp & grits, and if a customer has a taste for alligator parmigiano, Jose will serve it. Unlike many chefs, Jose is not secretive with his recipes, but what makes his dishes stand out is what he refers to as his “three fingers” method of seasoning: a self-measured pinch. “Customers will ask for a recipe, and I’ll gladly give it to them but tell them not to expect it to taste like they just had it here. The difference? It’s all in the three fingers, and that is not something you can write on a recipe.” After 11 prosperous years with Girasoles, Jose still faces each day with the goal of making his customers happy. “Customers are the best asset, and they must be respected with great food and great service,” Jose explains. “It makes me so proud to make a customer happy, and that is the reason I come to work every day.” Girasoles is located at 24 Greensboro Highway in Watkinsville and can be found online at Summer 2016 19



hilip Juras, who grew up in Augusta and prefers to spend his time exploring the wilds of his native Southeast, is a painter and author dedicated to our natural environment. This dedication is not in the Romantic vein, although his paintings are clearly inspired by the great American landscape painters of earlier centuries. Rather, Juras has steeped himself in the environmental history of his surroundings, looking at their detail and grandeur through the eyes of an ecologist interested in getting at the “facts” of Nature. His earlier books include essays and paintings tracking the great 18th-century naturalist William Bartram, but his latest book delves deeply into the beauty and natural history of one enduring barrier island off the Georgia coast: Little St. Simons. Published by the University of Georgia Press and underwritten by the Wormsloe Foundation, The Wild Treasury of Nature: A Portrait of Little St. Simons Island is a dramatic compendium of studies, paintings and thoughtful essays that explore the essence of this fairly undisturbed landscape. The author/ painter presents us with compelling glimpses of what are called “remnant” landscapes – landscapes filled with native flora and fauna that existed before humans settled the area. The artworks include interpretations of the diverse island habitats: teeming marshes, mysterious creeks, enticing tidal pools full of life, dramatic vistas of the ever-changing dunes and beach, and the shady interior engulfed in live oaks and pines and shrub thickets. Clearly, Juras has done more than just visit these places as a temporary guest. He has roamed their shadowy nooks and crannies, immersing himself in details of the native grasses and palmettos while taking in the grandeur of the blue skies over the Atlantic. Like the landscape painters of the 19th and early 20th centuries, who framed our notions of wilderness with their powerful paintings of the Hudson River Valley or the American West, Juras has asked us to imagine our world without people – or to imagine, at least, a world where humans 20 Northeast Georgia Living

do not dominate the landscape or define it with buildings and culture. While I respect the finished paintings, the smaller studies – especially the paintings he did at the sites of wildfires – really pull at one’s emotions, getting to the essence of the place, and ask us to experience Nature’s power and drive. He describes painting at a wildland fire this way: “... I was fascinated to see the varied behavior of the flames in this shrubby grassland. Patches of muhly grass and broomsedge combusted beautifully, but with little wind that day, the flames died instantly upon reaching the far less flammable patches of dog fennel or flattopped goldenrod or the wax myrtle hedges.” So we haven’t just seen a dramatic splash of light and color on his canvas; we have joined him in his detailed knowledge of the ecosystem. Little St. Simon’s Island is located just north of the familiar vacation island of St. Simons, at the mouth of the Altamaha River, and is accessible only by boat. In the scheme of barrier islands along our magical coast, Little St. Simons is a very “young” island, having formed only about 5,000 years ago. (Many of the larger islands closer inland have cores that were formed about 65,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene era.) Juras has had exhibitions in the Morris Museum in Augusta and at the Telfair Museums in Savannah and holds degrees in painting, drawing and landscape architecture from the University of Georgia. The book is available at local bookstores or online from the University of Georgia at An exhibit of Juras’ paintings from the book will be on display at the Marietta/ Cobb Museum of Art from July 9 to Sept. 11, 2016. ◆


Chateaux, Rivers and Wine ˆ A River Cruise In the Southwest of France

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associated with a vineyard is classified as a ˆ chateau. Almost all of the arable land in Bordeaux is planted in grapes, and from these grapes come several distinct varieties of wine: Médoc, including the Rothschild vintages, among others; Graves, an ancient variety mentioned by Samuel Pepys and acquired by Thomas Jefferson; Sauternes, a sweet dessert wine; ´ and Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. Each kind is produced from a particular type of grape or blend of grapes. One of the advantages of traveling on a riverboat – in addition to only having to unpack once – is that it docks right in the town, providing easy access for exploring the surrounding area on foot in addition to the excursion tours offered. The city of Bordeaux’s wonderful esplanade runs for more than a mile along the river and is enjoyed by both residents and visitors. We arrived on a weekend, and the esplanade was thronged with walkers, runners, bikers

A river cruise in the Bordeaux area of France brings visitors up close to cities, villages, markets, vineyards and, of course, wine. Passengers enjoy dining on the deck of their river boat and are only steps away from the sights of southwestern France.

and skateboarders. On Sunday there was a fascinating market to stroll through, the children’s playground and skateboard park were busy, and the tram that runs periodically into the city center was well-utilized. Our tour of the city had stops at a museum, at a park with a commemorative monument and at an enormous flea market and drove us past the submarine “garage” built by Germany during World War II. The Allies sent a Seal team in an

Photos by William D. Powell


hink of the good life and your thoughts immediately go to France: gourmet cuisine, fine wines and joie de vivre – the French expression for the joy of living. We recently took a ˆ weeklong Chateaux, Rivers & Wine trip on Viking River Cruises. It began and ended in Bordeaux, France, and gave us a “taste” of all three. Bordeaux, in the Southwest of France, is a delightful city that vies with Marseilles for being the second largest city in France. Both a modern and historic city, its location on the Garonne River only a short distance from the ocean has placed it in a strategic position, both for commerce and during times of conflict. The Bordeaux area of France is known worldwide for its wine production, and we were told that there are close to 10,000 vineyards in the region. Another interesting fact is that, although there are many ˆ “grand” chateaux, any building that is

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unsuccessful effort to destroy it. The city now plans to turn it into an art gallery. The next stop was Sauternes, where we learned about the viticulture there, then on to the town of Cadillac, a very old walled village. Antoine Cadillac, born near this town, founded the American city of Detroit, and a well-known luxury car shares his name. In the evening we sailed down the Garonne River and made our way up the Dordogne River, where we docked at another walled town, Bourg. Libourne, where we docked next, is home to a large outdoor market and a modern supermarket. Among the intriguing offerings in the latter was rabbit, which was displayed with its legs and head so that customers would know that it was not a cat. Later that day we entered the UNESCO World Heritage town of ´ Saint-Emilion through one of its medieval gates, visited a church almost literally hewn out of the yellow limestone on which the town is built, then strolled in and out of several wine shops. Our tour also included visits to Blaye and Pauillac on the Gironde River where it nears the Atlantic. We visited several ˆ chateaux and even had dinner in one. We learned more of the history of the area and about the various wines. There were additional excursions, such as one focused on truffles, that others on our cruise took advantage of, and on the river boat there were educational and entertainment options. Most of our fellow guests were also American, and it was delightful to get to know some of them, joining them for a meal or on one of the tour buses. River cruises are an increasingly popular way to see tourist destinations in an up-close and comfortable manner. We have enjoyed several of these journeys, and our latest experience was excellent. With ships of any size, stateroom locations and amenities will vary with the price, but the public areas are open to all and are where most of the on-board time is spent. Food is plentiful and delicious, and since our tour focused on wines, different wines were featured at both lunch and dinner. Several lines, such as Viking, Uniworld, Grand Circle, Avalon and Vantage, offer similar river cruises throughout Europe usually lasting from a week to 10 days. For a memorable holiday, consider this delightful way to travel. ◆ 24 Northeast Georgia Living


Day Trip

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we put out a call across the eastern United States for a location that could provide funding for our vision,” he says. “The Callaway Foundation contacted us, and that’s how we decided to locate the America sister facility in LaGrange.” Wandering the 10-acre site, guests can explore a goat-hair tent like those used by the Nomads for thousands of years, a village and city gate that replicates life more than 20 centuries ago, tombs like those of Abraham and Jesus, and catacombs like those that were used by the early Christians as places of worship. “The Biblical History Center has the largest collection of artifacts from the National Treasures of Israel in the world outside of the museum in Jerusalem,” Dr. Fleming says. The 250 artifacts are on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Visitors to the Biblical History Center in LaGrange, Ga., walk through settings that replicate life more than 20 centuries ago. The Center also has the largest collection of artifacts in the world outside of Jerusalem’s National Treasures of Israel museum. Other destinations in the area include the Hills & Dales Estate and gardens (above).

“We are very privileged to be one of only seven museums in the world to have such a collection.” Displays in the Biblical Life Artifacts

Special Photos


id you know you can take a trip to the Holy Land without leaving Georgia? It’s true. This gem of a destination, which recreates life at the time of Christ, is located in LaGrange, just off Interstate 85 in west Georgia. The Biblical History Center, formerly known as Explorations in Antiquity, opened 10 years ago thanks to a grant from the Callaway Foundation in 2005. The center’s founder and CEO James Fleming has dedicated his life to Middle Eastern studies, living for more than 40 years in Israel, where he helped coordinate a dozen significant archeological excavations. He is renowned as an archeologist, professor and educator. “When we were seeking to expand and bring an antiquities museum to the U.S.,

Gallery are organized by life-settings, such as shepherd life and fishing life, and include farming and nautical exhibits. Plan your visit around mealtime to get a full understanding of ancient life. With advance reservations, visitors can partake in a Biblical meal consisting of multiple courses of 15 different typical food items from the time of Christ, including soup, yogurt, nuts, fruit, main course and dessert. Learn about ancient meal practices, hear the explanation of the order for seating guests, and enjoy hummus, nuts, dried fruits, meats and sweet treats prepared the same way the ancients made them. Then be sure to leave ample time to sample other destinations of note in LaGrange. It’s the 100th Anniversary of the Hills & Dales Estate, and this property, which includes the 13,000-squarefoot 30-room home of the Fuller E. Callaway family, is one such possibility. The estate’s historic dwarf boxwood parterres along the terraces were planted more than 175 years ago by Sarah Ferrell, wife of the property’s first owner. It is considered one of the finest examples of a 19th-century garden. View a short film about the estate before taking a selfguided tour of the home and gardens. LaGrange is home to several excellent museums, including Bellevue, a Greek Revival home built in 1855 by Sen. Benjamin Harvey Hill; the LaGrange Art Museum, which showcases Southern art; and the Legacy Museum on Main, with its replica of works by bridge builder and slave Horace King. In the center of town, LaFayette Square, with its statue of Marquis de LaFayette and large fountain, is a must-see; the town was named for his country estate in France. LaGrange is also home to LaGrange College, the oldest private college in Georgia. Its chapel displays stained glass windows from the First United Methodist Church that date from the late 1800s. ◆ GETTING THERE LaGrange is located north of I-85 at Exit 18 in west Georgia. For more information about LaGrange’s attractions, museums and dining, visit www.lagrange Biblical History Center: Hills and Dales Estate: Summer 2016 27

SUMMER SAMPLER HART COUNTY Pre-Fourth Fireworks Show: June 25, Big Oaks Recreation Area, Hartwell. Don’t miss this year’s Pre-Fourth Fireworks Show! Bring the entire family. For further information, please visit

ELBERT COUNTY Fireworks Show at Lake Russell: July 1, 5-10 p.m., Richard B. Russell State Park Beach Area, Elberton. For further information, please call 706-283-5651.

JACKSON COUNTY Downtown Fireworks: July 1, 6-10 p.m., downtown Commerce. For information, please visit

RABUN COUNTY Lake Burton Fireworks: July 2, 9-10:30 p.m., Lake Burton. For information, visit

RABUN COUNTY BBQ & Fireworks in Sky Valley: July 3, Sky Valley Pavilion. For further information, please visit

OCONEE COUNTY July Fourth Fireworks: July 4, 6:30-10 p.m., Veterans Park, Watkinsville. For information, please visit www.oconee

UNION COUNTY Independence Day Fireworks: July 4, 9:30 p.m., Meeks Park, Blairsville. For information, visit www.downtown

Celebrate Independence Day in Northeast Georgia at a fireworks display near you!


Summer 2016


BARROW COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 706-549-6800; Convention & Visitors Center: 706-357-4430 or 800-653-0603) (Chamber of Commerce: 770867-9444; Auburn: 770-9634002; Bethlehem: 770-8670702; Carl: 770-867-1308; Statham: 770-725-5455; Winder: 770-867-3106)

Athens Farmers Market: Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, Bishop Park, Athens. For further information, please visit 20th Annual AthFest: June 22-26, downtown Athens. Enjoy one of Athens’ largest and most exciting festivals! This festival features music, food, art and more, all in scenic downtown Athens. For further information, please visit Classic City BBQ Festival: Aug. 19-20, Classic Center, downtown Athens. For further information, please visit

Kids’ Drama Camp: June 20, Winder Cultural Arts Center. This event will be hosted by the Winder-Barrow Community Theatre. For further information, please visit www.winder “Alice’s Wonderland Adventure”: July 15-17, Colleen O. Williams Theater, Winder. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. For further information, please visit

DAWSON COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce & CVB: 706-2656278 or 877-302-9271)

Sparks in the Motorsports Park: July 4, all day, Atlanta Motorsports Park, Dawsonville. For further information, please visit 4th Annual ‘Shine Pedalers Metric: July 30, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, Dawsonville. For further information, please visit or call 706-265-6278. Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch: September-November, 4520 Highway 53 E, Dawsonville. For further information, please visit www.uncle CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

28 Northeast Georgia Living

Summer produce is abundant at farmers markets throughout Northeast Georgia.

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SUMMER 2016 EVENTS ELBERT COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 706-283-5651; Main Street: 706-213-0626; Bowman City Hall: 706-245-5432)

“On Golden Pond”: July 8-10 & 15-17, Elbert Theatre, Elberton. Show times are 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. For further information, please visit 19th Annual Cruise-In & Classic Car Show: July 9, downtown Elberton. For information, please call 706-283-5651. Theatre Camp: July 18-22 & 25-29, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Elbert Theatre, Elberton. For further information, please visit “Peter Pan Jr.”: July 29-30, 6 p.m., Elbert Theatre, Elberton. Enjoy the Summer Theatre Camp’s production of “Peter Pan Jr.” For further information, please visit Granite City BBQ Cook-Off: Sept. 10, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., downtown Elberton. For further information, please visit

FORSYTH COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 770-887-6461)

Food Trucks in Forsyth County: June 20, 5-8 p.m., Forsyth Conference Center, Cumming. For information, please visit July Fourth Festivities: July 3, 6-11 p.m., Cumming Fairgrounds. Enjoy a dancing contest, food, music and more! For information, visit Annual Steam Engine Parade: July 4, 10 a.m.-noon, town square, downtown Cumming. For further information, please visit “Leader of the Pack”: July 21-Aug. 14, 8 p.m. & 3 p.m., Cumming Playhouse. Enjoy this Tony Award-nominated musical at the Cumming Playhouse! Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m., and Sunday shows begin at 3 p.m. For further information, please visit

CONTINUED ON PAGE 32 30 Northeast Georgia Living

SUMMER 2016 EVENTS FRANKLIN COUNTY (Franklin County Chamber of Commerce: 706-384-4659; Royston DDA: 706-245-7577; Lavonia DDA: 706-356-1923)

The “Land of Spirit” Folk Life Play “Aunt Annie’s Amazing Attic”: June 1726, Lavonia Cultural Center. For further information, please call 709-356-1926. Children’s Craft Day at the Farmers Market: June 18, the gazebo in downtown Lavonia. For further information, please call 706-356-1926. Movie Night: June 18, July 16, & Aug. 20, the gazebo in downtown Lavonia. For information, please call 706-356-1926. Main Street Music & Magic Show: Aug. 5, the gazebo in downtown Lavonia. For information, please call 706-356-1926. Night Time Astronomy: Aug. 20, 6-9 p.m., Tugaloo State Park, Lavonia. Look through telescopes with members of the Atlanta Astronomy Club. For information, please visit Tugaloo Triathlon: Sept. 10, Tugaloo State Park, Lavonia. For further information, please call 706-356-1926.

HABERSHAM COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 706-778-4654; Better Hometown-Cornelia: 706-778-7875; Clarkesville City Hall: 706-754-2220; Cornelia City Hall: 706-778-8585; Demorest City Hall: 706-778-4202)

Farmers Market: Saturdays, 9 a.m.noon, Clarkesville. For further information, please visit Friday Night Live: July 15, 6-8 p.m., downtown Clarkesville. Enjoy extended shopping, kids’ activities and more! For further information, please visit Friday Night Flicks: July 15, dusk, Pitts Park. The featured movie is “Cinderella.” For further information, please visit Movies on Main: Aug. 6, 7-9 p.m., Habersham Community Theater, 32 Northeast Georgia Living

Clarkesville. The featured movie is “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” For information, please visit Friday Night Flick: Aug. 19, 8:30-10:30 p.m., Pitts Park, Clarkesville. For information, visit Taste of Clarkesville: Sept. 24, noon-3 p.m., downtown Clarkesville. Enjoy tasty food, beer, wine, entertainment and more! For further information, please visit

HALL COUNTY (Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce: 770-532-6206; Convention & Visitors Bureau: 770-536-5209; Main Street Gainesville: 770297-1141)

A Taste of Gainesville and Craft Beer & Wine Festival: Sept. 24, 6 p.m., Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, Gainesville. For further information, please visit

HART COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 706-376-8590 or; DDA: 706-376-0188)

First Saturdays: first Saturday of each month, 6 p.m., Swamp Guinea Restaurant, Hartwell. Enjoy live entertainment by the lake! For information, please visit Dancin’ on Depot: June 24, downtown Hartwell. For further information, please visit Pre-Fourth Craft Extravaganza: June 25, downtown Hartwell. Enjoy the many arts and crafts on display at the Pre-Fourth Craft Extravaganza! For further information, please visit Lake Hartwell Summer Lake Homes Showcase: July 16, Hartwell. Tour eight breathtaking homes in this year’s showcase! Please call 706-376-8590. Wet & Wild Weekend: Aug. 13-14, Long Point Recreation Area, Hartwell. Visit FarmFest: Sept. 17, Hartwell. For further information, please visit


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SUMMER 2016 EVENTS JACKSON COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 706-387-0300; Commerce DDA: 706-335-2954; Jefferson Better Hometown: 706-215-3345; Jefferson City Hall: 706-367-7202; Braselton City Hall: 706-654-3915)

Fourth of July Festival/Parade: July 4, 59 p.m., Braselton. For further information, please call 706-654-3915. “Alice in Wonderland”: July 8-10 & 1517, Jefferson High School. Watch the magic of the timeless childhood story come to life on stage! For further information, please visit www.jefferson Movies Under the Stars: July 9, Aug. 13 and Sept. 10, dusk, Braselton Park. For further information, please visit Braselton’s Centennial Celebration: Aug. 20, noon, downtown Braselton. Help celebrate Braselton’s 100th birthday in the new Town Green located at the Braselton Brothers Department Store building. For further information, visit

LUMPKIN COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 706-864-3711 or 800-231-5543; Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Visitors Center: 706-864-3513)

Georgia Wine Country Festival: Saturdays & Sundays in June, noon-5 p.m., Three Sisters Vineyards, Dahlonega. For further information, please visit July Fourth Celebration: July 4, downtown Dahlonega and UNG’s Drill Field, Dahlonega. For further information, please visit Dahlonega Trail Fest: Sept. 9-11, town square, downtown Dahlonega. Enjoy authors, speakers, beer & wine, food and more! For further information, please visit Savoring the Square: every Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 2-5 p.m., downtown 34 Northeast Georgia Living

Dahlonega. Enjoy the different tastes of restaurants in Dahlonega on a walking tour! Book your spot online. For further information, please visit www.savoring

MADISON COUNTY (Danielsville Chamber of Commerce: 706-795-3473)

Colbert July 4th Celebration: Saturday, July 2, downtown Colbert. Parade begins at 9 a.m. followed by arts & crafts, food and entertainment. For more information, call 706-788-2311.

OCONEE COUNTY (Oconee County Chamber of Commerce: 706-769-7947; Welcome Center: 706-769-5197)

7th Annual Retro Run 5k: July 23, Oconee County Civitan Club, Watkinsville. For further information, please visit

RABUN COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 706-782-4812; Civic Center: 706-212-2142)

Rabun Georgia Half Marathon: June 21, 7 a.m.-noon, Sky Valley. For information, please visit 5th Annual Georgia Mountains Farm Tour: June 25-26, various farms in Rabun County. Explore the many beautiful farms in the north Georgia mountains! For further information, please visit Folk on the Mountain Festival: July 1, 9 a.m., Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center, Mountain City. For further information, please visit The Rabun Rumble 5k/10k: July 2, 7:30 a.m.-10 a.m., Lake Rabun Pavilion, Lakemont. For further information, please visit Wooden Boat Parade: July 3, 10:30 a.m.12:30 p.m., Lake Rabun Pavilion. For further information, please visit CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

SUMMER 2016 EVENTS Clayton Crawl: July 16, 6-9 p.m., downtown Clayton. For further information, please visit Mountain Branch Distribution Center Grand Opening: July 23, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 46 Plaza Way, Clayton. This event is sponsored by the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. For further information, please visit or call 706-782-0780.


TOWNS COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 706-886-2132) (Chamber of Commerce: 706-896-4966; Towns County Tourism: 706-896-0589)

Sage Market: second Saturday of each month, downtown Toccoa. For further information, please visit Ida Cox Music Series: Saturdays, 7-10 p.m., downtown Toccoa. For further information, please visit

Music on the Square: June 25, 6:30-8 p.m., town square, downtown Hiawassee. Bring family and friends to enjoy great music! For further information, please visit July Fourth Fireworks Celebration: July 4, 9:45 p.m., Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Hiawassee. For information, visit 66th Annual Georgia Mountain Fair: July 15-23, Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Hiawassee. For further information, please visit www.georgia Georgia Mountain Moonshine CruizIn: July 29, Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Hiawassee. For further information, please visit www.georgia

UNION COUNTY (Chamber of Commerce: 877-745-4789 or 706-745-5789)

10th Annual Mountain Fling: June 2526, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., North Georgia Technical College, Blairsville. Enjoy a two-day juried art show featuring fine art, ceramics and more! For information, visit Lake Nottely Boat Parade: July 4, 11 a.m., Lake Nottely Marina, Blairsville. For further information, please visit Independence Day at Vogel State Park: July 4, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Vogel State Park, Blairsville. Visit 18th Annual Butternut Creek Festival: July 16-17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Meeks Park, Blairsville. Enjoy beautiful fine art, food, music and more! For information, please visit Mountain Heritage Festival: Sept. 3-4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Mountain Life Museum, Blairsville. For information, please visit Mountain Music and Arts & Crafts Festival: Sept. 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Vogel State Park. For further information, please visit CONTINUED ON PAGE 38 36 Northeast Georgia Living

SUMMER 2016 EVENTS 4th Annual Celebrate Autumn Arts & Crafts Festival: Sept. 17-18, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., North Georgia Technical College, Blairsville. For information, please visit

WHITE COUNTY (Convention & Visitors Bureau: 706-878-5608; Helen Welcome Center & Chamber of Commerce: 706-878-1619; White County Chamber of Commerce: 706-865-5356)

Fourth of July Celebration - Wild America Tours: July 2-4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., North Georgia Zoo, Cleveland. Please visit Cabbage Patch Tea Party: Aug. 13, BabyLand General Hospital, Cleveland. For further information, please visit Crush Fest: Sept. 3, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Yonah Mountain Vineyards, Cleveland. For further information, please visit Folk Pottery Museum 10th Anniversary Show & Sale: Sept. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, Sautee Nacoochee. For further information, please visit www.folk Georgia’s Spirit of Appalachia: Sept. 17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hardman Farm, Sautee Nacoochee. This food, wine and art festival features creations by some of Georgia’s best chefs, artists, craft breweries and vineyards. For more information, visit ◆

LIST YOUR EVENT! To list events in future issues, send an email to or mail hard copies to P.O. Box 270, Franklin Springs, GA 30639. Deadline for the Fall 2016 Events Calendar is July 10, 2016. Please include events covering the period from Sept. 20, 2016, through Dec. 1, 2016. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our listing of scheduled events. For additional information and for confirmation, please call either local sponsors or chamber of commerce offices.

38 Northeast Georgia Living

Summer 2016



July 16, 2016 EVER DREAM OF LIVING on the lake, with long vistas, deep-water docks and gently sloping walks to the water? On Saturday, July 16, you’ll have your chance to tour eight fabulous properties on Lake Hartwell at the Northeast Georgia Living Magazine Summer Lake Homes Showcase. Sponsored by the Hart County Chamber of Commerce and Pinnacle Bank, the event takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Read on to learn about the distinct features of these homes, selected to showcase the variety of options available. Start at any of the homes using the map on page 45

Lake Living Can Be Yours On Beautiful

for a self-guided tour and pace yourself to allow time to visit all eight homes for a glimpse of luxurious living on beautiful Lake Hartwell. Other sponsors include Charlene Lee Realty, Coldwell Banker Fort Realty, Spot on the Lake - Keller Williams Lanier Partners, and Exit Landmark Realty. Admission is free, and refreshments will be available throughout the tour. Be sure to


sign up for the raffle and your chance to win great prizes. For information, call 706-376-8590 or visit

HARTWELL DAM BY WILLIAM D. POWELL 40 Northeast Georgia Living

1 71 Dogwood Lane

Situated on a 1.6-acre corner lot on the deep-water Lightwood Road peninsula, this updated, charming 3-bedroom, 3-bath home has a brand new lighted covered dock, two master suites, a wrap-around deck, an unfinished space in the basement that would make an ideal workshop, and a detached 3-space carport. Beamed ceilings throughout the main floor give the open floor plan a mountain cottage feel. A large flagstone fireplace in the great room is flanked by custom built-ins. The dining area between the updated kitchen and the great room opens onto an inviting screened porch with access to a lake-facing deck. The oversized master on the main level has a sitting area and space for a home office. The terrace-level master features a wood-burning stove. $397,500 Charlene Lee Realty • Charlene Lee 706-436-1112

2 136 Grandview Court

With a classic front porch and several spacious decks, this home in the Stillwaters subdivision has a large master suite on the main level and an inviting open floor plan. Light hardwood floors throughout the kitchen, great room and dining room create a bright setting for entertaining. Custom light wood cabinetry in the island gourmet kitchen allows for generous storage and convenience. The spacious covered deck off the kitchen and dining room offers gorgeous views of the cove and beyond to the lake. Upstairs, two bedrooms share a full bath; a second living area opens to another open deck. The detached two-car garage features plenty of additional storage space. A covered dock with a party deck and a separate swim platform are easily accessible via a level walk from the house. $450,000 Charlene Lee Realty • Charlene Lee 706-436-1112

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3 679 Hidden Point Road

Endless lake views make this incredible 2,765square-foot home at the end of a quiet street ideal for livability and retirement. There are lake views from every room on the main floor including the great room, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and 20-foot-high tongue-and-groove wood ceiling. The main level features solid oak wide-plank flooring plus a graciously appointed master suite and a separate office. Two additional bedrooms with private baths and walk-in closets have balconies that afford long views down the lake to the dam six miles away. The 1,400-square-foot terrace level includes a nearly finished workshop; a stubbed-in bathroom and additional space provides flexibility for finish-out. The gently sloped paved walkway leads to the deep-water dock and more breathtaking views every season of the year. $599,000 Coldwell Banker Fort Realty • Georgeanna White 706-436-3320

4 85 Manor Court

Enjoy breathtaking lake views from multiple locations in this 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath Craftsman home. Nestled beneath tall pines on a half-acre lot, this 3,400-square-foot home is filled with distinctive features, including soaring vaulted tin ceilings, timber beams and pine floors. The gourmet island kitchen has stainless appliances, custom cabinets and granite countertops. It’s open to the great room, where a stacked-stone fireplace and plenty of windows create an inviting environment for relaxing. Two outdoor living areas, both accessible from the great room, offer the choice of screened-in comfort or an open area for grilling. The spacious master suite is also located on the main level. Two bedrooms on the upper level share a Jack-and-Jill bath. A third upstairs area can be used as another bedroom or as an office or media room. The daylight terrace level features a second kitchen and bath plus walk-out access to the lake and the deep-water single-slip covered dock. $549,000 Coldwell Banker Fort Realty • Reese Oglesby 706-436-3083

42 Northeast Georgia Living

5 440 Nursery Road

Stunning lake views from a row of two-story arched windows in the great room are just the beginning of the flair of this 5,500-square-foot home. The oversized master suite on the main floor features an octagonal tray ceiling and his-and-her vanities, an oversized shower and a soaking tub. The home’s large gourmet island kitchen is perfect for entertaining. Upstairs, two graciously sized bedrooms have their own full bathrooms, and the finished bonus room above the garage makes a fabulous game/media room. The walk-out terrace level is completely built out with a second full-service kitchen, recreation room and plenty of storage for lake toys. A stamped concrete patio leads to a short path that connects to a deepwater covered-slip dock. $725,000 Spot on the Lake • Tom Miller • 678-469-9917

6 48 Ponderosa Trail

Soaring ceilings on the main floor and two stories of windows bring in the sunshine in this 2,912-squarefoot 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath lakefront home. Two main-level master suites, both with well-appointed master baths, are located off the wide-open living area, which features hardwood floors throughout. The kitchen has an eat-at bar that opens to the great room and a separate dining area. The full finished basement’s two bedrooms are complemented by a large open recreation room with a doubletray ceiling and a second kitchen and bar. For outdoor living, the spacious main-level deck runs the full length of the house; the patio on the terrace level extends well beyond the home’s footprint and includes a stand-alone rock fireplace. Follow the concrete cart path to the single-slip covered dock. $525,000 Exit Landmark Realty Christy Chitwood • 706-717-1557

Summer 2016 43

7 246 Reed Creek Heights Trail

Behind the wonderful exterior, this fabulous 3,500square-foot home is all you could ask for or dream of for lake living. And best of all, it’s amazingly energy-efficient, with 6-inch exterior walls and upgraded insulation throughout. Located on a perfect deep-water cove lot with a picturesque lake view, this 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath two-level home has an open and inviting floor plan that showcases spectacular views from a large screened rear porch that also has a fireplace and tile floors. Hardwood floors, custom cabinets and upscale appliances are just part of the story. Enjoy evenings in the great room in front of a double-sided fireplace that’s shared with the master suite, which has an oversized dressing-room walk-in closet, a double shower and a spa soaking tub. The terrace level has a second mini-kitchen with a refrigerator, wine chiller and icemaker, along with ample storage. Be sure to check out the covered slip dock and boat lift located along the home’s 147 feet of waterfront. The home comes with a home warranty paid for one year past the closing date. $665,000 Keller Williams Lanier Partners • Bob Bedgood 770-778-4040

8 75 Yacht Club Pointe

Fine appointments make this 3,416-square-foot upscale Craftsman home an ideal full-time residence. With five bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths, it features custom millwork and deep crown molding throughout. Beautiful knotty pine site-finished floors on the main level and a two-story great room with a coffered ceiling and a stone fireplace create an inviting environment for family time or entertaining. The gourmet kitchen has custom cabinets, stainless appliances, a separate breakfast nook and granite countertops. The main-level master suite’s windows – which include a large picture window – provide morning lake views. The master bath features an oversized shower with glass walls and a jetted soaking tub. There are two additional main-level bedrooms; two more bedrooms are located upstairs. A recreation and media room on the terrace level opens to a covered patio. The boat dock provides easy access to deep water and has a covered deck. $595,000 Exit Landmark Realty • Christy Chitwood • 706-717-1557

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Summer 2016 45



here are contractors. There are craftsmen. There are artists. Somewhere in the middle of them all, though, is a hybrid of sorts – people who can only be described as functional artists – and Athens is home to one of the most original, creative and innovative functional artists in the state. A native of Ohio, Matt Zbornik graduated from Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College with a degree in Art History. With that degree and experience, he found himself behind a desk at an art museum in Miami. “After only a few months, I was ready to explode from behind a desk,” remembers Matt. “I’ve always felt the need to build and create, use my hands, so a desk job was not for me. I had to quit and move on.” Working as a freelance contractor and 46 Northeast Georgia Living

general handyman, Matt picked up various trades from job to job, such as masonry, carpentry and welding, all of which he would later incorporate into an artistic career in Athens. “A good friend from college was living in Athens while his wife was finishing her Ph.D., and I had visited them a few times from Miami,” he explains. “I had a feeling Athens would grow on me. I’d lived in Philadelphia, New York and Miami. Not only was the metro appeal fading for me, my dream was to own land to build my house and studio. That was so much more possible and appealing here in Athens. I was first in a rental on the east side, and the first thing I did was build a tree fort. Hadn’t had that opportunity since I was 16.” Since then, Matt’s work has grown far beyond backyard tree forts. In fact, his work

has unknowingly been seen and used by thousands of people around Athens. The bars at The National, DePalma’s (west Athens location), the Georgia Theatre and Farm 255 (now closed) are all Matt’s handiwork. His work can also be seen in the lobby at Hotel Indigo, at a post-modern bus stop in East Athens and in the sign and other property amenities at the Courtyard on South plaza on South Milledge Avenue. One particularly unique project was the construction of a multipurpose field house for the Apalachee River Project. Matt explains, “In laying out the foundation for the site, we realized the area was a former rock quarry. I decided to use these indigenous rocks as part of the structure, so what you see in the stone floor and the fireplace were all pieces quarried from right there. It just organically happened and added a

Special Photos; Matt Zbornik by Phil Pyle

Where Steel Meets Stone

Matt Zbornik in his Jackson County studio

Apalachee River Project field house

Summer 2016 47

special element to the project.” That attention to a specific space’s needs is exactly the approach Matt brings to each project. Although Matt’s work – whether it is an entire hotel lobby in Athens or a pool table commissioned by a client from Montana – is clearly recognizable as his, he does not approach projects with the aim of imposing a particular style upon a space or place. “I prefer to let the space or place determine what it needs rather than try to fit some predetermined style into it,” he says. Such an approach to design does present challenges. Moreover, even though he has already tackled many different materials and concepts, he still likes to dive into new territory. “I don’t like to approach a project designed specifically for my skills. I determine a point A (concept) and point B (finished project). If getting to point B involves a new skill, therein lies the challenge, and not only do I figure it out, I gain something from it that I can apply to the next project.” Surprisingly, Matt’s business is built solely on word of mouth; no self-promoting marketing plan has been required. “The attitude of business in America is focused on growth and expansion, but I prefer to stay small,” explains Matt. “For a long time, I didn’t even have a name for my company, so for business purposes, I just called it Zbornik Designs.” Describing his approach to succeeding by not growing, he says, “I subcontract out as I need to. This way, I have control over materials, and I am personally on site overseeing construction or working on it myself.” The Zbornik Designs studio, which adjoins Matt’s home, is a piece of work in itself; both it and the house were built by Matt himself. True to his vision, he acquired an acreage at the end of a gravel road in Jackson County, far from the madding crowds of Miami. The vaulted wooden ceilings and perfectly aligned floor-to-ceiling iron and glass windows and doors in his home and studio are quite impressive. Says Matt, “It is still a work in progress. My next project is to put an island in the kitchen, which I already have the materials in mind for. But overall, this is my dream fulfilled, to be doing what I feel I was meant to do in a place I built with my own mind and my own hands.” ◆ View more of Matt’s work online at www. 48 Northeast Georgia Living



Beautiful Boats of Wood

ohn Keats’ sentiment, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” certainly holds true for classic wooden boats. Pleasure boats were built of beautifully varnished mahogany until the mid-20th century, when aluminum and fiberglass became the building materials of choice. Sadly, over time many old wooden boats were left out in the weather to deteriorate and rot. However, all were not lost, as a small number of restoration warriors have rescued these timeless classics and restored them to their former glory. Many of these old boats were derelicts behind shops and sheds. Others were 50 Northeast Georgia Living

what are called “barn finds” – a long-forgotten boat owned by a parent or grandparent and rediscovered years later. Most of these boats spent their lives in Ohio, Michigan or the Finger Lakes area of New York. In the South it was only after the building of power-generating lakes such as Hartwell Lake that boats became popular in our area. The restoration of a wooden boat that is now well over 60 years old is a daunting challenge. Many owners of classic wooden boats do not have the skills to restore and maintain their boats. Fortunately there are skilled craftsmen in Northeast Georgia who keep not only their own

boats but also the boats of others in likenew condition. Al Olsen, Bob Churchill, Steve Blanchard and Jim Grant are some of these craftsmen. Al Olsen of Hartwell spent the winter restoring a 1951 Chris-Craft 22-foot Sportsman found in Michigan and refinishing a 1960 24-foot Sportsman for a friend. Al’s boat required the fabrication of new frame members, hull boards and decking, as a previous owner had neglected the boat for years. The upholstery, engine, gauges and chrome are outsourced. Al’s friend’s boat was a restoration completed four years ago. The boat was still in nice condition, but the owner wanted

a slick new finish for the start of the 2016 boating season. Bob Churchill, who lives in Braselton, has been a wooden boat enthusiast since he was 12, when he got his first small patched wooden boat and enjoyed it on the Hudson River. For the past 58 years, Bob has been a hobbyist and restorer of wooden boats. In 1998 Bob built a Ziff outboard wooden boat from plans for his then 15-year-old daughter. The Ziff is presently in his shop undergoing a full restoration. Bob is also restoring an early ‘60s 14-foot Rhodes Bantam wooden sailboat. Since retiring four years ago, Bob has worked diligently in the restoration of his

Al Olsen (top) restores wooden boats from the ground up. Above, he applies the high-gloss finish that makes the wood sparkle. Jim Grant (inset) works on the restoration of Miss America IX – the first boat to reach 100 mph. A restored Chris-Craft (opposite page) plies the waters of Lake Hartwell. Summer 2016 51

eight wooden boats. He assists friends with the restoration of their wooden boats, even teaching classes in wooden boat restoration. Upon completing a 10-month course of study at the Landing School of Boat Building & Design in Kennebunkport, Maine, Jim Grant opened Grant’s Wooden Boat Works in Hartwell in 1997. Since then Jim has completely restored 15 wooden boats and refinished many more. Typically he has six to eight boats in his shop for repairs or restoration. One of the things that makes Jim unique among restorers is that he can also rebuild the engines. Engines in these boats are generally marine conversions of automobile engines of the period. Since childhood, Jim says, he has enjoyed working with his hands. He likes taking something that is broken or in bad shape and bringing it back to its original condition. It was Steve Blanchard’s passion for wood that led him into wooden boat restoration 25 years ago, and he has been restoring boats professionally for the past 20 years. “As a kid I was constantly building things from wood. That love of woodworking has led me to the love of making old

52 Northeast Georgia Living

boats new again. The finished boat is worth all of the work and effort,” he says. Many boats are almost completely rotted away. These “pattern boats,” as Steve calls them, form the basis from which he can craft a new boat. His most recent restoration is a 1948 20-foot Chris-Craft Custom. Steve also restores wooden canoes. He has restored approximately 20 wooden boats in his Dawsonville shop. Restoration involves cutting and fitting new mahogany wood to replace rotten wood in the hull, rebuilding a long idle engine, and doing other things necessary to bring the boat back to life. While a complete restoration can take months, or even years, a refinish takes a matter of weeks. Refinishing a wooden boat is a straightforward process. The structural integrity of the boat is thoroughly inspected to insure it is solid. The interior and hardware are removed before all surfaces are lightly sanded. Three base coats of marine-grade varnish are applied by hand over successive days. Then comes another light sanding and cleaning before two finish coats of varnish complete the job. The high-gloss finish that makes the wood sparkle is thus five layers of handapplied varnish. The finish on a boat protects it from the weather and has a useful life of eight to 10 years, Al Olsen says. The portion of the hull below the waterline is finished separately with a copper-based marine-grade paint. While most of these boats are pulled from the water after each outing, some sit in a boat slip for the boating season, and it is important for the bottom of the hull to be sealed properly. There are clubs dedicated to the restoration and enjoyment of antique boats. One of the largest and most active clubs in our area is the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society. There are several events in Northeast Georgia where wooden boats are featured. Among them are the Lake Hartwell Antique Boat Festival in April and the Lake Chatuge Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous in June. Come see the beautiful wooden boats at one of these gatherings next year. While there, have a Walter Mitty moment picturing yourself behind the wheel of one of these beauties as it rides the water while you listen to the throaty sound of the engine. Who knows, you just may want to restore one of your own! ◆


Rock Creek Greenway

The Rock Creek Greenway is an easy-to-maneuver paved path that stretches from downtown Gainesville to Lake Lanier. The trail has entrances at four separate parks – Rock Creek, Ivey Terrace, Wilshire Trails and Longwood – and passes through all of them. Each park provides picnic pavilions, grills and playgrounds. Parts of the Greenway follow an abandoned railroad corridor that includes the historic crossroads trading post known as Mule Camp Springs. During the hottest summer days, you will appreciate the cool shade provided by this 2-mile path; you can even take advantage of the revitalizing waters of Lake Lanier once you reach the end. 223 Northside Drive, Gainesville; 607 Ridgewood Terrace, Gainesville; 849 Wilshire Road, Gainesville; 20 Pearl Nix Parkway, Gainesville; 770-531-2680 54 Northeast Georgia Living


Special Photos

ew people realize how much adventure they are missing by not getting out and exploring Northeast Georgia. Whether you are road biking or mountain biking, one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with what the Northeast Georgia environment has to offer is by propelling yourself through it on two wheels. While biking is commonly associated with wellknown “outdoorsy” states like Colorado and Oregon, Georgia too has a vast offering of scenic biking trails, both paved and unpaved. Biking is excellent cardiovascular exercise, and riding alongside mountains, rivers, dense forests and rolling hills is a great way to enjoy lovely views of the Northeast Georgia countryside. Take advantage of the warm summer months and feel the breeze on your face as you speed along one or more of Northeast Georgia’s bike trails. If you are interested in trying out some of these biking trails but don’t have a friend to invite along, you can join Georgia’s Muddy Spokes Club. This organization goes on group rides that challenge mountain bikers and that give casual cyclists the pleasant experience they are looking for. The club’s cyclists cover 68 miles of trails through 11 state parks during the warmer seasons, and they welcome those interested in exercising while enjoying the north Georgia scenery. While cycling this summer, don’t feel limited to the trails mentioned here. There are even more bike trails out there, and we encourage you to explore all the trails Northeast Georgia has to offer.

Unicoi State Park

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Unicoi State Park

Your family will be fond of the distinctive biking experience offered at Unicoi State Park & Lodge. Whether you are looking for an easy, quick loop or a longer 8-mile mountain biking adventure on singletrack, Unicoi has a trail for you. Ranked easy to experienced – depending on which path you choose – these picturesque mountain trails provide astounding views of a placid lake and Anna Ruby Falls. If you take the less challenging lake loop, bring your swimsuit so you can enjoy a refreshing splash at the lake’s swimming beach. At Unicoi, you can bring your bike and then switch things up midway through your day and rent a canoe. If you want to have an outdoor adventure followed by a quick indoor lunch or some light shopping, you can ride down a 3-mile trail to downtown Helen. The 8-mile trail is reserved for avid mountain bikers who are comfortable traversing rough terrain with narrow passages. Traveling around its figure-eight loop will definitely give you an excellent workout, and it will provide you with the opportunity to enjoy a few scenic overlooks. 1788 State Route 356, Helen; 706878-2201;

Tallulah Gorge, a 2-mile-long and 1,000foot-deep canyon, is one of the most striking and memorable canyons in the eastern United States. While walking and hiking are very popular here, it is hard to beat biking along the smoothly paved Rails to Trails path, also known as the Shortline Trail. You can also test your endurance by mountain biking along the 10-mile Stoneplace Trail or the 3-mile High Bluff Trail. The Rails to Trails path is a 1.7-mile trail through the forest, across a suspension bridge over the Tallulah River and past views of waterfalls. A more arduous ride, the Stoneplace Trail runs 5 miles from the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center to Tugaloo Lake and 5 miles back up. While the downhill portion is an effortless, fun ride, the uphill portion demands your remaining energy to summit. Be prepared to take in amazing views of Tugaloo Lake encircled by blue mountains. The Stoneplace Trail requires a free pass from the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center. If you would like a lighter mountain biking trail, you can take the High Bluff Trail, a brief 3-mile trail. Beginning in the parking area, it includes a 1.5-mile loop with a stream crossing and rock gardens. The High Bluff Trail is ranked moderately difficult. You can also enjoy a casual guided cycling experience this summer during the Hike Bike Bash, which will be held on Saturday, July 9, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Road, Tallulah Falls; 706-754-7981; TallulahGorge Summer 2016 55


Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Watson Mill Bridge State Park is a great location for a long day of outdoor activities with family or friends. Boasting the longest covered bridge in the state, Watson Mill Bridge extends 229 feet across the South Fork River and is one of the few remaining covered bridges in Georgia. Here you will find an easy-tomoderate mountain biking trail that covers about 5 miles, with some winding segments and a few rocky areas. During one part of your cycle, you will be treated to the musical ambiance of the river as you follow its path through the woodlands. This is a great trail for kids if they are comfortable pedaling up a few hills. After your ride, you can rent a canoe or kayak, stay the night in the campground and then spend the next day playing in the shoals or picnicking. 650 Watson Mill Road, Comer; 706-783-5349; WatsonMillBridge

Smithgall Woods State Park

61 Tsalaki Trail, Helen; 706-878-3087; 56 Northeast Georgia Living

Jud Turpin, Paynes Creek Trail Coordinator and Volunteer

Hart Outdoor Recreation Area & Paynes Creek Campground

During the summer months, Hart Outdoor Recreation Area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Not only can you can swim, boat, fish and hike, you can also take a peaceful ride on the 1.5-mile designated biker/hiker path, as well as on some of the nature trails, as long as there are no posted signs prohibiting cyclists. Most cycling in the recreation area includes wide-open views of Lake Hartwell. A short distance from Hart State Park is Paynes Creek Campground, where you will find a nearly 10-mile long mountain biking trail that is commonly used for events like single-speed races and mountain bike races. This trail is suitable for beginning to intermediate cyclists and includes hilly terrain, multiple views of the lake and light woodlands. It is easy to reach high speeds on this trail; because is also used by hikers, beware of those on foot as you speed through.

Hart Outdoor Rec. Area: 330 Hart State Park Road, Hartwell; www.gastate; Paynes Creek: 518 Ramp Road, Hartwell; 888-893-0678

Jud Turpin by William D. Powell; Watson Mill courtesy Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Smithgall Woods State Park and Dukes Creek Conservation Area offer unique biking opportunities on a 12-mile road. The trail includes both asphalt and gravel portions for easy to moderate riding. You will ride next to trout streams for the majority of the trail, and you will have the opportunity to test your endurance on a few steep inclines. If you sped through the scenery too quickly to fully take it in, after your ride you can enjoy a cool-down hike through the park’s 5,663 acres of woodlands and enjoy views of the surrounding mountains and the Cottage Garden, or you can take advantage of the trout fishing at Dukes Creek Watershed.

TRAILS BIKING North Oconee River Greenway

Athens, Ga., was once ranked number six on Outside Magazine’s list of the top 16 places to live in America, and we know why. This town has everything to offer, from savory food options and a thriving music scene to the perfect trails for cycling. The North Oconee River Greenway is a wide paved trail covering 3.5 miles, from Sandy Creek Nature Center to Dudley Park, all alongside the North Oconee River. This trail is shared by runners, walkers and cyclists and has picnic spots and playgrounds at several points along the way. There are also educational stops that provide information about the history of the area. This trail is easy and is suitable for any type of bike. You can enter the greenway for free from Sandy Creek Nature Center. After spending the day cycling and exploring the outdoors, indulge in the excellent local cuisine and brews of Athens. 205 Old Commerce Rd., Athens; 706-6133801; greenway

Boasting about 10 to 15 miles’ worth of trails for the leisurely cyclist, Victoria Bryant State Park is a great location to visit for a quick and enjoyable but not-toochallenging spin. The main trail is an easyto-moderate loop of three connecting paths. It is also available for use by hikers and trail runners, so be careful about barreling around curves. Your journey will take you alongside a beautiful stream, past two ponds, across a few creeks and through hardwoods. One portion of the trail passes an observation tower, where you can stop to watch wildlife feeding in the park’s food plot. If you have children, there is supervision available at the playgrounds, and they can be left there as you ride. Following your excursion, your entire family can then enjoy a picnic at the park’s tables and grills. ◆ 1105 Bryant Park Road, Royston; 706-2456270; 58 Northeast Georgia Living

Special Photo

Victoria Bryant State Park


DISTINCTIVE Thai-Style Chicken Recipe on page 62



oday in the United States, Thai cuisine is influenced by popular American culture. Downtown areas and upscale neighborhoods are home to many Americanized versions of Thai restaurants, where patrons enjoy a muchneeded flavorful addition to their diets once or twice a week. It is still challenging to find authentic Thai restaurants that have not adjusted their dishes to suit the western palate, but when you do discover the real deal, it is impossible to revert back to the Americanized, watered-down version of this interesting and inspiring cuisine. While many of the other, more well-known varieties of Asian cuisine are well-established in this country – having been introduced to North America in the 1800s during the settling of Chinese immigrants in California – it has not been until fairly recently that Thai food has gained widespread popularity. Thai food did not become mainstream until the 1970s; before that, there were only a handful of Thai restaurants in the United States. Among the first Thai eating establishments in this country were restaurants located in Denver and Los Angeles in the late 1950s and 1960s. Now the best Thai restaurants can be found in small “hole-in-thewall” locations that hold a dear place in the hearts of the locals. If you find it challenging to locate a truly gourmet Thai restaurant near you, you can always try your hand at these simple but exotic dishes at home. Thai food has rich depths of flavor created by the perfect combination of distinctive ingredients like soy, fish sauce, chilies, garlic, coconut milk and a variety of fresh Asian-style vegetables. If you are feeling creative, try a few of these basic Thai recipes, and don’t be afraid to add a twist of your own by tossing in a few extra vegetables or more spice.

Traditional Pad Thai IF YOU VISIT ANY Thai restaurant, Pad Thai is a dish you will almost certainly find on the menu. This simple dish is loved by many and can be diversified by using different vegetables each time you make it. It is a basic recipe that more depth can be added to based on your palate. Servings: 4-5 Base: 2 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil 4 cloves garlic or 2 teaspoons jarred minced garlic 1 pound chicken breast 4 eggs 1 thinly sliced carrot 1 box or bag of rice noodles or other noodles of choosing Sauce: 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white vinegar 2 teaspoons crunchy peanut butter or 1/4 cup crushed peanuts 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/4 teaspoon sesame seed oil 3 tablespoons sugar or 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 1/8 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more, to taste) Add-Ons: One 14-ounce can bean sprouts 3 green onions, chopped

1 lime cut into wedges for garnish Cilantro for garnish, if desired In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter/oil and cook garlic with chicken pieces until chicken is nearly opaque. Add eggs and mix around with spatula as they cook. Once eggs have cooked, add thinly sliced carrot last and let cook until soft. In a separate bowl, combine vegetable oil, vinegar, crunchy peanut butter, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame seed oil, sweetener and crushed red pepper. For traditional Pad Thai, use rice noodles. Follow the instructions on the rice noodle box until the noodles are softened, then add the noodles and sauce to the pan with the chicken and stir-fry for a few moments. Once the sauce is heated thoroughly, add the bean sprouts. Instead of rice noodles, I sometimes use whole wheat noodles. To make the dish this way, mix the sauce and add it to the pan with the chicken while preparing the whole wheat noodles on the side. Then, once the noodles are finished, put them on a plate and top with the remaining ingredients. Add green onions, cilantro and lime wedges for extra flavor and garnish. As with any recipe, there is room for improvement. If you prefer your Pad Thai spicier, feel free to add extra red pepper or garlic. Many people like to double or triple the sauce.

More recipes on page 62 Summer 2016


Tom Kha Gai (Spicy Coconut Soup)

Tom Kha Gai, also known as Spicy Coconut Soup, is one of my favorite Thai dishes. This soup is great as an appetizer, or it can be poured over whole grains for a main course. Some people like to add shredded carrots for a little more substance. The soup has a light, creamy texture with a distinct lemongrass flavor. Servings: 2-3 One 14-ounce can coconut milk One 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth or 14 ounces of broth from a carton 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 2 tablespoons lemon grass paste or 1 stalk fresh lemongrass cut into pieces 1 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into small chunks (or 1 pound raw shrimp) 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms 1 tablespoon lime juice 1 tablespoon fish sauce 1/2 teaspoon red curry paste 1 tablespoon dried basil

Tom Kha Gai 1/2 tablespoon dried cilantro Optional: chopped green onions, crushed red pepper flakes In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, chicken broth, ground ginger and lemongrass paste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Next, add chicken or shrimp, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce, red curry paste, dried basil and cilantro. Reduce heat and allow soup to simmer about 10 minutes. If you are using shrimp, simmer until shrimp are opaque. If you used lemongrass stalk, remove the pieces after cooking is finished. If desired, garnish with chopped green onions or add crushed red pepper flakes for extra spice. Serve immediately.

Chicken, a dish with a delicious, refreshing lemony flavor that will please even those who are hesitant to try new foods. I serve it over brown rice with a side of Asian-style vegetables. Servings: 3-4

Thai-Style Chicken (Thai Basil Chicken)

My best friend, Maria Ellenberger, grew up as a missionary in Malaysia, where many different types of Asian cuisine are eaten daily. Thai food is still one of her favorites. She provided me with this recipe for Thai-Style

1/4 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos 3 tablespoons lemon juice 3 tablespoons dried basil 2 tablespoons plain yogurt 3 garlic cloves 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

First, prepare the marinade and marinate the chicken by mixing all liquid ingredients and spices, reserving 1/4 cup of the mixture for later use. Pour the remainder of the mixture into a Ziploc bag and add the chicken to the bag. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight. Heat the oven to 375 F. Discard the liquid from the bag after marinating and place the chicken in a nonstick baking pan. Cover the chicken with the remaining 1/4 cup marinade and bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Thai Red Curry If you have heard of Thai Red Curry and Green Curry, you may wonder what the difference between the two is. Besides differences in the spices used, the main difference is that Red Curry is made with red chilies, while Green Curry is made with green chilies. Thai Red Curry is generally thought to be the milder option between the two. While you can make your own curry paste for this dish, it is much easier to purchase pre-made red curry paste. The basic ingredients in the red curry paste are red chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, Thai ginger, coriander, shallots and lime. For the sake of time, I have simplified this recipe by using the pre-made paste. Servings: 4 One 14-ounce can coconut milk 1/2 cup chicken broth 1-2 tablespoons red curry paste (depending on how spicy you like) 1 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into chunks (or 1 pound raw shrimp) 2 cloves garlic 2 teaspoons soy sauce or liquid aminos 1 teaspoon rice vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar or sweetener, to taste 1 cup mixed Asian-style vegetables Mix coconut milk, broth, and red curry paste and heat. Add chicken and cook 5 to 10 minutes. If using shrimp, cook until shrimp are opaque. Add garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sweetener. Simmer for a few more minutes. We enjoy serving Thai Red Curry over jasmine rice with Asianstyle vegetables like water chestnuts, peppers and sugar snap peas. â—† Summer 2016 63


... on the best times of our lives


he thermostats are climbing as the sweltering Georgia sunshine announces the arrival of summer. The season always draws me back to my childhood – when summer stood for freedom – and brings an onslaught of memories associated with those adventures. At the end of every summer, my family would weigh down our sedan with tents, coolers, bug spray and fishing poles. My brothers and I would argue over every little thing while my parents smiled at each other and shook their heads. They knew something we had yet to learn. Our elbows would bump in the cramped back seat as we colored with markers or kept up with which state different license plates were from. We fussed as we spilled all the tiny pieces of our portable checkers game into the floorboard carpets. We would whine when we needed to stop for a bathroom break or if we got thirsty. My mom would pass us sandwiches cut diagonally and stored in plastic baggies, and cans of cola, dripping ` from the cooler, that we would inevitably spill on ourselves. We sang along to oldies and laughed heartily when one of our voices cracked or someone sang the wrong lyrics. Heaven forbid “La Bamba” come on the radio. We would finally arrive at our destination, and we kids would get to pick which space we liked best. My dad would park 64 Northeast Georgia Living

the car, and we would all pile out in our shorts and flip flops, grabbing at our bags in the trunk, fighting with each other when the straps got crossed. We would always unpack the tent first, arguing over who has to hold what and who packed the tent stakes, and that it needs to face this way, not that. But once our canvas home was set up, the fun began. The boys would throw their fishing poles over their shoulders and seek out the nearest body of water to begin their hunt. We knew better than to mention it when they’d come back empty-handed. My mom and I would go for a walk to get our bearings. Between the clicking of our flip flops, I’d catch her up on all of the most important things, like what my crush had said before summer break or why the neighbor girl and I weren’t friends anymore. She listened patiently and smiled at my ramblings. Every one of us would claim a “spot” of our own, propping our vintage folding chairs in our proprietary two-foot square.

It didn’t stop us from tossing sticks and rocks at each other or annoyingly hovering outside each other’s spaces, causing the other to complain that we were breathing their air (with the instigator arguing, “I’m not touching you!”). We would form a circle around our small folding table, and my dad would produce a deck of cards. We would have raucous matches of slapjack or intense games of gin rummy. I realize only now how often my parents let us win. As the sweltering sun started to slide behind the horizon, my brother would perform a barbaric dance around the campfire he was so proud of having created. We would roast hot dogs and make s’mores, patiently listening as my dad told yet another rendition of the same old ghost story. With full bellies and mosquito-bitten bodies, we would zip ourselves into our tent for the night, drifting into sleep to the sound of my family’s peaceful breathing. I think back now, and that dreaded road trip and forced family time compose the most beautiful memories of my life. How lucky we were to have a family with whom to argue and vacation destinations to visit and the freedom to go on such trips. Those summer excursions solidified the foundation of our family. My mom and dad knew it would, but we children were too young then to realize that those times were the best of our lives. ◆

Northeast Georgia Living • Summer 2016  

Northeast Georgia Living, 2016 Summer issue.

Northeast Georgia Living • Summer 2016  

Northeast Georgia Living, 2016 Summer issue.