Lake Norman CURRENTS Magazine May 2024

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Sponge rollers, pierced ears and perms, oh my!

Hopefully, Mother’s Day hasn’t snuck up on any of you and you won’t have to live down the shame of having overlooked the most important observance in May. Granted, it could easily be eclipsed by National Clean Up Your Room Day on May 10 (all moms love a clean room) or even clash on the same calendar spot as National Limerick Day (“There once was a mom from Lake Norman ...”). But woe unto the poor schmuck who forgets to at least acknowledge with a phone call on May 12 the woman who bore them in agony.

And yes, that’s how my mom describes her childbirth experience with me – heck, as a nearly 10-pound baby, it’s a miracle she still speaks to me. Yet she does, and I am so fortunate to still have her in my life. Even after all the torture she put me through. That’s right, I said it.

Truth be told, what I refer to as torture was probably just what most moms who were beauticians by profession (back in the days before we called them hairstylists) did with their daughters – after all, she had a real live doll she could dress up and primp at will. And she did.

The problem is, I was by nature a total Tom boy. The last thing I wanted to deal with was long hair that needed to be put up in pink sponge rollers or pulling on itchy wool tights on the days she decided I had to wear a dress to school. I had my ears pierced at around age 7, my first perm not long after that and I think she first frosted my hair when I was in junior high school.

She tried to make me act dainty and ladylike, even though all I wanted to do after school was tear off those tights, put on a T-shirt, shorts and tube socks and run amok in the neighborhood with the boys. I could throw a football, shoot hoops or play street hockey with the best of them, and relished the fact that I was always the first girl to be picked to be on someone’s team.

But I did play along with my mom’s “dress up” desires because I loved her and I loved being special to her. As the only girl sandwiched between two brothers, we became fast allies against the icky boys in the house and we carry that bond to this day. She will forever be more blinged out and dressed up than me – hair, nails, makeup, the whole shebang, even if she’s just headed to the grocery store. At 84, she is a vision to behold, and I should be so lucky in time to pull it off as well as she has.

This Mother’s Day is a little more layered for me, as I learned last Christmas that I’m going to be a first-time grandmother this year. And it’s going to be a girl. With apologies in advance to my mom and my daughter-in-law, I can’t wait to teach her how to catch frogs in a pond, climb a tree, dribble a basketball and serve an ace on the singles court. I can still show her how to French braid her hair if she wants or paint her fingernails, but every girl needs to know how to throw a tight spiral.

Anyone know where I can get a six-pack of tube socks, size 0?

— LH
Helms Editor
The magazine by and for the people who call Lake Norman home Carole Lambert Lauren Platts Advertising Sales Executives Trisha Robinson Beth Packard Sharon Simpson MacAdam Smith Design & Production idesign2, inc Contributing Writers Trevor Burton Kathy Dicken Mickey Dunaway Allison Futterman Vanessa Infanzon Karel Bond Lucander Bek Mitchell-Kidd Tony Ricciardelli Abigail Smathers Advertising Director Publisher Social Media Specialist Alison Smith Event Coordinator LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | MAY 2024 8
Contents CHANNEL MARKERS Movers, shakers and more at the lake 18 News around the Lake Spring things to do 20 Live Like a Native Say ‘Hello’ at music & arts festival 22 Best of the Lake Spotlight Nina’s Boutique 24 Bet You Didn’t Know Nostalgia Chocolates in Huntersville DINE + WINE Eating, drinking, cooking and fun Wine Time Rhone rangers and renegades Tasty Bits Skewered chicken with a ‘bang’ Nibbles + Bites Fin & Fino – Birkdale Village On Tap Wine tasting at The Hidden Bin FEATURES 26 Mom Moments In honor of Mother’s Day 28 What to plant in May Glad to be gardening 38 Young Leaders Siblings with caring spirits 40 Weekend Getaway Luxurious lazing at Horse Shoe Farm 42 Nonprofit Spotlight Purple Heart Homes DWELLINGS How we live at the lake 31 A Lakefront ‘Face Lift’ Cottage kitchen gets a modern makeover SPECIAL ADVERTISING FACES of Lake Norman About the Cover: Don’t let Memorial Day pass without giving thanks to those who gave all in service to our country for the freedoms we enjoy today. LIMITLESS A section for LKN residents 55+ 62 Moment in Time Grandmother’s Day 66 Limitless Learning Steppin’ out for Alzheimer’s research Lake Norman CURRENTS is a monthly publication available through direct-mail home delivery to the most affluent Lake Norman residents. It also is available at area Harris Teeter supermarkets, as well as various Chambers of Commerce, real estate offices and specialty businesses. The entire contents of this publication are protected under copyright. Unauthorized use of any editorial or advertising content in any form is strictly prohibited. Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine is wholly owned by Oasis Magazines, Inc. Mission Statement: Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine will embody the character, the voice and the spirit of its readers, its leaders and its advertisers. It will connect the people of Lake Norman through inspiring, entertaining and informative content, photography and design; all of which capture the elements of a well-lived life on and around the community known as Lake Norman. 31 74 LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | MAY 2024 12 | MAY 2024 13 RANDY MARION ACCESSORIES WWW.RANDYMARIONRMX.COM 704- 235-6800 209 WEST PLAZA DR. Mooresville NC 28117 M-F 8:00am-8:00pm Sat 8:00am-4:00pm Please visit us online at Across from Randy Marion Chevrolet West Plaza Dr Talbert Rd All Specials Expire May 31st 2024 OFFERING ADAM’S CAR CARE PRODUCTS ON ACCESSORIES COSTA SUNGLASSES NOW AVALIABLE VP RACE FUEL PRODUCTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE. 10% OFF WEATHER GUARD TOOLBOXES 10% OFF WESTIN SIDE STEPS 10% OFF WEATHER TECH PRODUCTS 10% OFF ALL IN STOCK LIFT KITS 10% OFF CORSA CAT BACK EXHAUST PRODUCTS 10% OFF AMSOIL PRODUCTS 10% OFF COSTA PRODUCTS $50.00 OFF SPRAY IN BED LINERS UP TO 50% OFF ALL OAKLEY BRANDED PRODUCTS UP TO 50% OFF ON ALL IN STOCK ARE TRUCK BED TOPPERS. NEW OEM TAKE OFF WHEEL AND TIRE PACKAGES STARTING AT $799.99. WARMING UP TO SAVINGS!

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Join AR Homes® for the grand opening of Davidson Farms’ newest luxury model home—the Dawning Sip, savor, and be one of the first to tour this modern masterpiece and meet with the team of experts behind its stunning design and impeccable construction.

SATURDAY, MAY 18, 11AM–4PM BBQ, Craft Beer, Music & Games


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Grand Opening Event © 2024 All rights reserved. Monterey Bay Construction Charlotte, LLC, LIC#100460, is an independently owned and operated franchise.
More Information | MAY 2024 15
or to RSVP, Contact Dawn Wilkinson 704-960-0667 |

Channel Markers

Movers, Shakers, Style, Shopping, Trends, Happenings and More at Lake Norman | MAY 2024 17
‘Bean to bar’ specialty chocolate arrives in Huntersville

May Is Calling

And she wants you to come out and play

Time to get ‘social’

The Town of Davidson has finally made it official – they will join the likes of other Lake Norman area towns who have established their own “social districts,” a concept permitted by the state since 2021 and one initially approved by the town’s board of commissioners back in May 2023.

Two social districts have been launched in Davidson – the Davidson Main Street Social District and the Davidson Circles Social District. According to the town’s recent announcement, the social districts are designated areas (to be clearly marked with official signage) where individuals aged 21 and older can purchase alcoholic beverages from licensed establishments such as bars, breweries and restaurants, and consume to-go drinks within those areas as well as within participating businesses. Drinks must be contained in specially marked cups or cans with the social district’s logo. Hours of operation will be seven days a week between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m.

“Having social districts in Davidson is a welcomed opportunity to invigorate the economic development of the town,” said Davidson’s Economic Development Director Kim Fleming in a recent press release. “This is a great way to encourage patronage of local businesses by our residents and visitors.”

To learn more, visit the town’s website at SocialDistrictsinDavidson.

Music in the park

As spring has now firmly taken root and the urge to get outside to enjoy our beautiful Lake Norman weather is irresistible, consider a trip to Mooresville’s Liberty Park for a free concert courtesy of Maestro Eduardo Cedeño and the Lake Norman Philharmonic. The group will perform Sunday, May 5, from 4 to 6 p.m., offering a family-friendly concert of both classic and modern masterpieces. Guests are permitted to bring chairs and blankets to better enjoy this outdoor event. Liberty Park is at 255 E. Iredell Avenue.

CHANNELL MARKERS - news around the lake
Check out Davidson’s new social districts while you shop.

While the performance is free of admission, donations are appreciated to support the Lake Norman Philharmonic and its mission of bringing exceptional music to the community.

Learn more about this nonprofit, all-volunteer organization and its upcoming performance schedule by visiting

Fridays are ‘Fri-YAY!’

If it’s May, it must be time for the return of the “2nd Fridays Street Festival” series, sponsored by the Town of Cornelius. Held monthly through October, festival goers will enjoy live music, food trucks, breweries, activities for kids, vendors and more at this family-friendly event. Held at the Oak Street Mill in Cornelius (19725 Oak Street), festival hours are 6 to 10 p.m., and admission is free.

Learn more about the festival on its Facebook page or contact Jessica Boye at 980.208.8933 or

Welborne, White & Schmidt EXCELLENCE IN DENTISTRY 9700 Caldwell Commons Circle | Cornelius, NC 28031 Tel: 704-896-7955 | Website: Providing More Than Beautiful Smiles | MAY 2024 19



Music and arts festival takes center stage

If you’ve never been to this truly hometown afternoon of fun, you’re in for a treat. And for those Lake Norman natives who look forward to the return of the annual music and arts festival, you’ll find your fan favorites at this year’s Hello Huntersville event.

Spanning Veterans Park in downtown Huntersville (201 Huntersville-Concord Road), the all-local celebration on Sunday, May 5, takes advantage of the expansive greenspace, and of course the iconic red caboose-anchored IceHouse Stage.

This beloved event has been running for more than two decades and showcases the best Lake Norman-based artists and vendors. New for 2024 is an increase in performances.

“This year we are leveling up with more entertainers and IceHouse stage performers,” says Maria Cepeda, the Town of Huntersville’s Downtown Events and Facility Coordinator. Starting at 1 p.m., those taking to the stage include the Hopewell High School Band, Cornelius Youth Orchestra, the Tim Cook Band and more. Performances will continue until 6 p.m.

Typically drawing a crowd of more than 8,000 visitors, the event is the perfect family outing with something for all ages, including everything from candlemakers to bakers. The fun has a homegrown town feel but with a big city vibe, given the quality of offerings.

Veterans Park in Huntersville comes alive for an afternoon of musical performances, arts and crafts vendors

“We will have more than 40 arts and crafts vendors, food and beverage trucks including dessert vendors and a kids entertainment zone,” Cepeda says. Plan on spending the entire afternoon supporting all of the exhibitors, art stations and strolling entertainers.

“The better the weather, the more people come,” she says. “Most people either stay the whole time or come to the later part of the event. The final performer on the IceHouse stage this year is ‘Al G & Friends.’ They were here last year, and it was awesome.”

Festival parking is available at the following locations: Town Center parking garage, South Main Street parking lot, Arts & Cultural Center parking lot, Holbrook Park and the Downtown Greenway parking lot. A traffic note: Maxwell Avenue and Main Street in the vicinity of the festival will be closed from noon to 6:30 p.m.

The festival is rain or shine, and admission, parking and activities are free of charge. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the live entertainment. Restrooms are located at Veterans Park and additional facilities will be strategically placed around the festival area.

Local sponsors who help make the event happen include Novant Health, Bach 2 Rock, Joyce Factory Direct, Arden Huntersville and Album Huntersville.

CHANNELL MARKERS - live like a native
food trucks.

From the owner of Barrel & Fork, comes a brand-new seafood concept with a purposeful lean towards the romance of the 70’s in Savannah with a coastal ethos of seasonality, vibe, and true southern hospitality. With Northeastern attention to seafood, sustainability, and a robust raw bar, we invite you to a thoughtfully presented menu that is delicate yet approachable. The space has an unapologetic energy, for some a little noisy for others completely infectious. An evening out should be driven by the entire experience; with worldclass hospitality, a culinary approach to cocktails, and a savory menu that promotes humble ingredients with a sophisticated touch. Cheers!

At a time when vintage seems cliché and yet modern is over-poured, Barrel & Fork embraces the past as we fight for the future. We invite our guests to indulge in the whimsical times when bourbon and wine on a Tuesday meant a good start to the weekend. We have built a home where the food stops short of being pretentious and out of touch, and is exactly what you were looking for.

We look forward to seeing you on our porch or patio throughout the Spring and Summer, cheers! | MAY 2024 21
201 N Church St. | Mooresville NC (below Mill One building) 704-664-6417 | 20517
Main St. |
704-655-7465 |
Everything but Ordinary

Nina’s Boutique

Walking into a shop that feels so airy and full of light, you’d never know that the space now occupied by Nina’s Boutique in Cornelius’ Antiquity shopping area was once a bank. Owner Elizabeth Lavan says she and her husband did all the renovations before moving into the spot in January 2023 from their old location in Huntersville’s Birkdale Village, but basically kept the same footprint. They even turned the former bank vault into the shop’s dressing room.

It’s that ingenuity and creativity, as well as the intensely personal customer service Lavan and her staff provide, that earned Nina’s Boutique top honors in our 2023 Best of the Lake Norman CURRENTS “Best Women’s Boutique” category.

“When people come in, it’s definitely an experience for them,” she says. “Instead of just coming in to shop, they get the whole package.” That translates to one-on-one guidance through all the store has to offer, maybe a snack and a bottle of water (rumor has it that at certain monthly events there may even be adult beverages), right down to the welcoming, shopping-with-kids-friendly environment.

Offering clothing and accessories for everything from a special event to business casual to kicking around lakeside, Lavan says the

boutique not only offers attractive price points but has a multi-generational appeal. She says her 13-year-old daughter (after whom the store is named) can shop there, while it also has a strong appeal for her older clientele. Whether you need something for work or for fun, Nina’s Boutique delivers.

As a long-time jeweler, Lavan is pleased to offer several exclusive lines of handmade jewelry that include sterling silver as well as gold-filled items and pieces with genuine gemstones. There are also accessories to adorn your hair or your shoulder.

Not exactly in the mood to shop? Lavan says you’re more than welcome to come in and sit a spell in their outdoor seating area, use the free Wi-Fi, even enjoy a complimentary drink – more of that personal customer service that makes Nina’s Boutique an award winner.

BEST OF THE LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS AWARD WINNER Editor’s Note: Each month we will feature one of the Best of the Lake Norman CURRENTS Award Winners and share a little more behind-the-scenes info with our readers!
Visit Nina’s Boutique at 21714 E. Catawba Ave., Cornelius, Unit A-6; call them at 704.237.4091 or follow them on Facebook. LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | MAY 2024 22
apparel and accessories collection that speaks to multi-generational Lake Norman shoppers, Elizabeth Lavan of Nina’s Boutique offers it all.

Tyler and theChocolate Factory

‘Bean-to-bar’ treats come to Huntersville

Want to sweeten your day with one of the best chocolate bars, bar none? Visit Nostalgia Chocolates, a special artisan, small-batch chocolate factory in downtown Huntersville, just behind Slice House Pizza. In December 2023, owner Tyler Cagwin opened Nostalgia Chocolates. The shop’s moniker is “a nod to simpler times, when things were made by hand with quality ingredients, families worked together, and stores/restaurants were a place to connect with community.”

This self-described “yogi who loves to sail, travel, eat good food and surround myself with amazing and inspiring people” began his choc-

olate odyssey during a 2016 Caribbean sailing trip. While on that excursion, he tried the tastiest chocolate bar he had ever eaten at the Grenada Chocolate Company on the island of Grenada.

“It was chocolate like I had never tasted before,” Cagwin says. “To taste different flavor notes of fruit and other ingredients; it was incredible and changed my outlook on chocolate and food in general.” After returning from that inspirational trip, this Syracuse, New York, native began a side business of chocolate. He had worked for nearly two decades at a mortgage bank and then technology company. To immerse himself in chocolate making, “bean to bar,” in 2018 he

CHANNELL MARKERS - bet you didn’t know
photography by Tyler Cagwin
Tyler Cagwin, owner of Nostalgia Chocolates in Huntersville.

took an online class at British Columbia-based Ecole Chocolat, studying cocoa from around the world. One month later, he apprenticed with McKenzie Rivers of Map Chocolate (now Next Batch School) in Oregon to learn about selecting beans, creating complicated chocolate bars and setting up shop. He eventually began crafting his chocolate full time in New York.

In April 2023, he moved to Huntersville, seeking a more temperate climate and ideal place to live. Now at his one-man chocolate factory, he produces small-batch bars in four days, from roasting beans to finished product. He sources beans from farmers in eight countries. “I give much credit to the farmers; a lot of heavy lifting is done at origin,” Cagwin says. “The way I roast the beans and craft it is to make each origin taste different and highlight flavors.” He has 25-plus varieties of organic, ethically and sustainably sourced bars –milk chocolate, dairy-free milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate.

“People love the milk chocolate S’mores and the sea salt,” he says. “If somebody loves dark chocolate, try any of them.” Prices range from $10 to $13 per bar, and he welcomes sampling at his nut-free facility. Select bars are available at The Pickled Peach in Davidson and The Bradford Market in Huntersville. He also sells baker’s chocolate, hot chocolate, sipping chocolate and limited-edition holiday chocolates.

“I view making chocolate as a perfect way to share something I love that will make people smile and create opportunities for conversations, storytelling, connection and memory,” he says.

Nostalgia Chocolates is at 100 Maxwell Ave., Suite E, Huntersville. Learn more by visiting or calling 315.382.6688; or follow the shop on Instagram @nostalgiachocolates or Facebook Nostalgia Chocolates.

Small-batch chocolate bars are the specialty at Nostalgia Chocolates.
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Anastasia Prianos

My mom, Anastasia Prianos, came to America from Athens, Greece, by ship to New York with two children in tow. I was one of them. Dad arrived to drive us to Chicago, with visions of the Statue of Liberty in our heads!

Anastasia learned to speak English from TV, felt lonely away from family, but persevered to navigate in a new country, culture and language.

Memories of mom are of a loving, strong, brave woman with a great sense of humor. Now at 99, she’s as sharp as ever, loves to cook, follow politics, play with her seven-year-old great-grandchild and read, especially CURRENTS (sent monthly).

Brittany Bukauskas

I am Brittany’s fiancé and am writing on behalf of her nine-year-old special needs son, Carter. Brittany is an amazing mom who not only supports Carter and provides everything needed to support him, but has built a local business (Proof in Birkdale Commons) while raising him. Carter has speech apraxia and cannot speak, while also having some behavioral and learning disabilities. Because of Brittany and her love, support and patience, Carter is learning, growing at an exceptional rate and even saying a couple of words like “mama” and “pop” (or soda, as we know it down here). In addition to Carter, she is amazing with my two sons, who accepted Brittany the day they met her!


I have always known that I have the best mom in the entire world. In every stage of life, she knows how to be there in the best possible way. My mom was kind and compassionate when I was a difficult baby. When I was a shy child who moved a lot, she was my safe haven. As a teenager who constantly pushed boundaries, she respected my space. Furthermore, in adulthood, she’s taught me how to be a mom. Watching her with my daughter, I’m learning how to be a patient, kind and loving mom. It’s my greatest wish that one day I will have the same unique bond with my own daughter. I love you, mom!

Marty Hart

Having two adult children myself, the term “Mom” has taken on new meaning, but one thing has stayed consistent — the love of my mom or “Granny” (as my kids call her). As a teenager, I hated her, but she still loved me. As a young adult, I was always “so busy,” but she still loved me. When things got hard, she was beside me, and when things were great, she celebrated with me. Her love has never wavered, her faith has never wavered and her “gift” to make those around her feel special continues to bless our world. Thank you, Mom — xoxo. | MAY 2024 27

Gardening Glad to be


What to plant in May

There’s no denying that receiving flowers on Mother’s Day is a perennial pleaser for mom, and there are certainly lots of local as well as web-based florists to provide those beautiful bouquets. But if you’d like to grow your own beauties and you have the luxury of a little bit of time and a little bit of land, the folks at the Catawba County Cooperative Extension Service - an educational outreach organization of N.C. State University — say here’s what is already in bloom this month and here is what they recommend you should plant around the lake in May.

Some favorites in bloom:

• Southern Magnolia

• Kousa Dogwood

• Hybrid Rhododendron

• Roses

• Clematis

• Peony

• Summer Annuals

What to plant:

• Gladioli bulbs (corms)

• Summer annuals such as begonia, geranium, marigold, petunia and zinnia

• Set out eggplant, pepper, tomato and sweet potato

• Vegetables to plant this month include beans, lima beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, okra, southern peas, pumpkin, squash and watermelon

• Don’t forget about warm-season herbs such as basil. Divide and transplant mature herb plantings.

More gardening tips for May:

• Prune your hybrid rhododendron after they finish flowering.

• Prune any hedges that have outgrown their desired shape.

• Do NOT cut back spring bulb foliage until it turns yellow and brown.

• Fertilize zoysia grass this month after it has greened up. Do NOT fertilize tall fescue now.

• Start warm-season lawns like zoysia in May.

• Mowing heights for your lawn are important. Cut tall fescue and bluegrass at 3-4 inches, zoysia at one inch.

Learn more at

Gladiolus also known as Sword Lily, putting on a show in the garden. | MAY 2024 29

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How We Live at the Lake | MAY 2024 31
Photography by Serena Apostal Modern touches bring this 1960s-era lakefront cottage into a new century.

A Lakefront ‘Face Lift’



Cottage kitchen gets a modern makeover

It’s never a good thing when your remodeling contractor takes a step back from the electrical panel that includes your kitchen, removes the hat from his head so he can scratch it and looks a bit befuddled. Nope, not good.

“In an older house, there are always some surprises,” says Michelle McKoy, a Lake Norman interior designer and decorator, about the time she was knee-deep in a full kitchen remodel of her 1960s-era lakefront cottage. “Every once in a while, I would hear the electrician go, ‘Hmmm...’.”

Learning that it was a miracle the house hadn’t suffered some mass conflagration in the intervening years between then and the end of 2023, McKoy was delighted to get the remodel done in record time (about eight weeks), breathing new life into the gathering area and heart of the cottage without changing hardly anything in the kitchen’s footprint. | MAY 2024 33
Interior designer Michelle McKoy (right) was able to incorporate touches of her old kitchen - espcially the flooring - into her more modern version.

Not making radical changes when you first move into a new home is a lesson she’s learned, and one she has tried to pass on to her clients.

“I always tell them, unless it’s just totally unlivable, you probably want to live in it for a little bit of time,” she says. Trying to practice what she preaches, after being in her cottage for a few years, she developed a clear vision of the updated vibe she wanted to bring to her kitchen. That included keeping the subtle warm wood tones of the floors and ceiling beams reflected in her kitchen surfaces.

McKoy says she selected Taj Mahal leathered quartzite for the kitchen countertops and backsplash – it’s a creamy tan and white combination that helped her stay true to the age of the house but brought the kitchen into more of a modern aesthetic. Coupled with the black metal and glassfront cabinetry, as well as the living brass drawer cup pulls and sink faucet, the transformation of her decades-old kitchen is remarkable. Oh, and the starburst crystal and gold-tone light fixture above the bar definitely thrums with the modern vibe.

This live brass faucet will age with time and use, a feature of the metal McKoy loves. | MAY 2024 35
This little coffee bar just off the kitchen was created by taking a bit of space from the nearby, once-oversized powder room.

She said her goal was to keep the dining area casual, including the seating at the spacious bar area where she used cane-backed barstools with wood and a small brass detail as well as stain-resistant fabric. And keeping true to the original cottage feel, she kept the finish on the ceiling beams as well as the honey-colored wood floors.

“Quite frankly, I love it,” she says.


Vendors involved in McKoy’s kitchen remodel include Ferguson (appliances), A Cut Above Stone Works in Mooresville (countertops and backsplash) and Lilly & Grace in Langtree (chairs and kitchen rug).


LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | MAY 2024 36 Furniture & Decor Consignment Consign On A Dime & Showplace 28 WWW.CONSIGNONADIME.COM 19207 W. Catawba Ave., Cornelius | 20924 Torrence Chapel Rd., Cornelius

Kids Who


Mooresville siblings learned early about giving to others

by Allison Futterman photographs courtesy Kevin Ward
New stuffed animals and books collected by Anna Ward for Duke’s Pediatric & Congenital Heart Center.

Family Affair Making Wellness a

The Horse Shoe Farm in Hendersonville is the Turchin family’s creation for wellness and peace

Clockwise from top: the grounds of Horse Shoe Farm at sunset (credit: Horse Shoe Farm); a little luxurious lounging (Todd Bush); bedroom in the Lily Cottage (Todd Bush); “me” time in the spa (Todd Bush).

When husband and wife team Jordan and Rachel Turchin saw the 85-acre estate along the French Broad River in Hendersonville, they envisioned a resort for couples, families and individuals. In 2018, together with other family members, they built The Horse Shoe Farm, a luxury retreat for wellness, fine dining and outdoor exploration.

The Turchins were intentional in how they restored the land’s barn, cottages and other outbuildings, many of them left over from when the property was a working farm in the 1950s and 1960s. Blown glass, paintings and sculptures adorn spaces inside and out. A reimagined silo that once held grain, is a winding meditation journey for positive thoughts and uplifting messages.

Every night, a bonfire is lit by the “Grains of Truth” Meditation Silo. Guests are welcome to grab the gifted s’mores kit from their room and sit in an Adirondack chair or rocking chair. The bottom of the silo becomes a walkup bar, serving beer, wine and cocktails during peak season.

The Silo Cookhouse, led by chef Daniel Williams, boasts a farmto-table seasonal menu with wine pairing suggestions for each dish. Local farms provide meats and vegetables to capture the kitchen team’s imagination. A pastry chef makes all the desserts, from salted caramel cheesecake to homemade ice cream served over a chocolate chip cookie. Locally made beer, cider and spirits as well as a list of nonalcoholic options are available. Guests are invited to come as they are and gather for communal style dining, sitting at extra-long tables, built by Jordan’s father, John Turchin.

Inside the barn is The Stable Spa, a serene location for facial treatments, foot therapies, massage and other wellness activities. Each of the barn’s stalls were transformed into a private spa treatment room, decorated in a southwestern theme. A small gift shop features vintage jewelry and clothing and local products, curated by Jordan’s mother, Susan Turchin.

The Stable Spa Lofts on the barn’s second floor include a common area with a kitchen, living space and dining table for the one suite and four loft rooms to share. An outdoor deck with seating overlooks the farm, an ideal spot to watch the sunset over Mt. Pisgah. These accommodations welcome guests 16 years old and over.

Estate homes and cottages accommodate larger groups and multiple families of all ages. The newest addition, the Pond Cottages, are wheelchair accessible suites and will be ready this summer. All guests have access to a variety of amenities such as the labyrinth; outdoor pool, sauna and steam room; beach volleyball and pickleball courts; and a game room with pool and ping pong tables, multiple board games and outdoor equipment.

Guests can wander the walking paths past beehives and two ponds. Along the way, visit Nelson and Marley, The Horse Shoe Farm’s resident horses, along with goats, sheep and chickens. Nap in the hammock overlooking the river or borrow a kayak or stand-up paddle board for time on the water. Bring your own bait to fish in the pond – the resort will lend you a pole.

The Horse Shoe Farm is at 155 Horse Shoe Farm Drive, Hendersonville. Learn more by calling 828.393.3034 or visit

Above left and right, dining at the Silo House at communal tables (credit: Taylor Heery). An evening gathering at the fire pit (credit: Todd Bush). | MAY 2024 41

‘Who’s Helping Them?’

Purple Heart Homes and its mission of healing and hope

Though we claim that being a soldier is the most noble profession one can have, it’s often a thankless job. Unlike the widely celebrated troops of WWI and WWII, many of today’s veterans return to civilian life to find themselves isolated and unsupported. In a fight against rising homelessness and suicide rates among the veteran population, John Gallina has made it his mission to help local veterans rediscover their purpose.

Gallina founded Purple Heart Homes in 2008 in Statesville with friend and fellow veteran Dale Beatty after the two returned from deployment in Iraq.

“We were luckier than most vets in that we were able to return to a community that welcomed us,” says Gallina.

Both Beatty and Gallina suffered serious injuries, with Beatty losing both legs. The whole community would rally together to build a wheelchair accessible home for Beatty, while Gallina would receive help and employment opportunities.

Top, a view from last year’s Memorial Day Walk of Heroes in Troutman. Above, a volunteer with Purple Hearth Homes works on a veteran’s home.

This outpouring of support allowed the vets some much needed healing, but they still faced significant troubles in getting reacquainted with their civilian lives. Gallina returned to his construction career seeking normalcy, only to realize that there was no more normal.

“Homebuilding used to be a means to an end. I would do whatever work was necessary as long as I got paid,” says Gallina. “After being in a third world country – a warzone – it was a shock to come back and try to build these million-dollar homes. The disparity was astounding.”

Gallina’s discomfort grew, and he soon fell into a deep depression. He had lost his purpose, but it wouldn’t be long before he discovered a new one.

“Dale got his band together to play a ‘thank you’ show for the community after construction finished on his new house,” he says. “There were a ton of veterans in the crowd, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘who’s helping them?’ At some point, it dawned on me that I wanted to start a charity. Instead of building for a check, I wanted to build homes for people who couldn’t write one.”

Gallina’s revelation led him to begin seeking ways to help fellow veterans. One project turned into two, two turned into a hundred, and today, Purple Heart Homes has completed more than 1,000 projects for veterans in need.

Though Purple Heart Homes is most widely recognized for its construction projects, the organization serves a deeper purpose: to bridge the gap between civilians and veterans. Through its outreach, Purple Heart Homes gives the community a chance to say thank you to –and more importantly, to connect with – the men and women that put their lives on the line.

“It’s not just a matter of gratitude. It’s a matter of life and death,” Gallina says. “There is a mental health crisis among the veteran population that comes from being isolated. There is a stress of being broken, of being unable to provide and of feeling completely disconnected from your community. We need people to see the challenges that vets face every day. We need people to understand that it’s everyone’s responsibility to help these vets restore their hope.”

With an abundance of events, volunteer opportunities and donation drives, Purple Heart Homes has plenty of room for those in the Lake Norman area to get involved. You can find application information at In addition to its regular projects, the organization will be heading to Mooresville for an episode of Military Makeover with Montel this summer – and they’re looking for volunteers. Inquiries can be sent to

“We want to inspire other communities to do what Iredell (County) did for us,” says Gallina. “We hope Purple Heart Homes will set an example that when you help one, you never know how it may turn into helping thousands.”

More volunteers hard at work to bring safe housing to a veteran in need. | MAY 2024 43
LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | MAY 2024 44 Stay Connected Subscribe to our sneak peek e-newsletter. Click “be the first” at 704-235-6327 WOW! ROCK SOLID INTERNET TDS provides fast, reliable Internet plans (up to 1 Gig!), great TV packages and stellar Phone services to homes and businesses in Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville. And of course, amazing customer care! Visit to learn more. Say Hello to TDS, Your Internet, TV and Phone Experts! | 704-235-6327 TDS services not available in some areas. TDS® is a registered trademark of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. Copyright © 2023, TDS Telecommunications LLC, All Rights Reserved

FACES OF Lake Norman

These business leaders are making an impact in the community in more ways than one. From real estate, commercial build and design, oral surgery, personal care, automotive sales, family law, banking, and employment services, you’ll want to learn more about these FACES of Lake Norman. | MAY 2024 45
Special Advertising Section

FACES OF Lake Norman

Having lived in Cornelius for the past 16 years, my husband Neil and I are personally invested in our community. We are committed to Cornelius and our neighboring towns, actively participating in community events, engaging with neighbors and building meaningful relationships with our clients and fellow business owners.

Our membership program guarantees that our clients have consistent access to massage therapy, fostering a proactive approach to their overall health and well-being. Our customizable, therapeutic massage therapy modalities include sports, deep tissue, Swedish, neuromuscular and prenatal. We also offer facials for the overall health of our largest organ. Some of the types offered are anti-aging, microdermabrasion, acneprone skin and sensitive skin facials. Massage Heights has recently added CBD therapy to our services.

CBD spot treatment uses a highly concentrated CBD oil that is applied as a finishing step after massage. With 6,000 milligrams of high-quality CBD per bottle, this oil blend offers remarkable efficacy and results. Unlike full spectrum extracts, it does not contain THC.

Another trend in massage therapy is Corporate Wellness Programs. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the benefits of massage therapy for employee well-being and productivity. As a result, local businesses are incorporating monthly massage as a benefit to their employees.

We have a wonderful team of 19 licensed massage and skin therapists, as well as an amazing front desk team. We are very passionate about helping our clients and members overcome stress and fatigue, while promoting overall wellness.

Between our highly skilled therapists, affordable memberships, high end linens, organic products and upscale aesthetic of our location, we truly give an elevated experience in the massage industry.


Special Advertising Section

FACES OF Lake Norman

Vic and Amy Petrenko are a dynamic real estate team known for their white glove service and commitment to excellence. With a deep connection to the Lake Norman community and its unique lifestyle, they joined Premier Sotheby’s International Realty to provide unparalleled service backed by their reputation and heritage.

Vic’s 30-year military career, reaching the rank of General Officer, brings invaluable leadership experience to their real estate endeavors. Amy’s resilience during their 16 relocations raising their kids, while Vic was on active duty, demonstrates her strength. They both have a genuine passion for helping customers and find great satisfaction in delivering exceptional results.

Beyond real estate, Vic and Amy enjoy outdoor activities and actively volunteer with their church and organizations like JDRF, The Outreach Foundation and the Patriot Military Family Foundation. Their outstanding work has been recognized through achievements such as the highestpriced sale on Lake Norman 2019, being named Real Trends Top Small Teams in NC in 2021 and Top Producers Premier Sotheby’s NC & FL 2020-present.

Vic and Amy are grateful for their clients and the opportunities they have had, approaching their work with unwavering dedication and a commitment to delivering exceptional service.



Special Advertising Section
Vic & Amy Petrenko | MAY 2024 47
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty

FACES OF Lake Norman

Not many people would have waded into opening a business close on the heels of the 2008 recession, but that didn’t intimidate Jamie Ottinger, owner of Express Employment Professionals in Mooresville. Following a stint with Express Employment Professionals in Hickory, Ottinger opened the Mooresville office in 2009 with two staff members – and that gamble has paid off.

“We are known as the area’s premier staffing provider,” she says. “Through our distinctive competence in matching the right employee with the right company, we strive to help as many people as possible with successful workforce placement.”

And it’s not just that initial placement that Ottinger and her team consider a success. It’s what gets paid forward by building long term partnerships through their staffing services.

“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing an associate who we placed as a machine operator in 2018 walk through our doors with an update that their career journey has taken them to a Production Manager position who is giving us an order for contract associates for his employer,” says Ottinger. or call 704.662.6685

Special Advertising Section | MAY 2024 53
Left to Right: Sean, Account Mgr; Megan, Branch Mgr./Recruiter; Jamie, Owner/Recruiter Reagan, Recruiter; David, Executive Recruiter
Express Employment

FACES OF Lake Norman

Not many businesses can say that the COVID-19 pandemic that brought such havoc to everyday life just a few short years ago was actually beneficial to their success, but familyowned Crown Waste & Recycling Systems can make that claim.

“It helped us,” says Giovanna Antonacci. “We started during the pandemic and the business took off.” The summer of 2020 is when the company’s North Carolina division started operations, but it has its roots in Queens, New York, where it was established by her grandparents in 1958 and then assumed by her father in 2004. Giovanna, and her siblings Nicholas and Christopher Antonacci, are now the third generation to run the show.

“We got into the Charlotte market at a perfect time. We couldn’t be more blessed at the way this company has been succeeding thus far,” she says.

Crown Waste & Recycling is a woman-owned business offering commercial and residential roll off dumpsters, residential trash and recycling removal, and commercial front load trash and recycling services. But above all, Giovanna is proud of the personalized services they offer. She provides every client with their salesperson’s mobile phone number so they can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Describing herself as a “people person,” she enjoys not only getting to know her clients and their business, but also becoming involved in the community – especially when it comes to promoting recycling initiatives.

“We are very thankful and blessed,” she says about the way her business has been received by the Lake Norman community. “We work hard every day to satisfy our customers.”

P.O. Box 1032 Huntersville, NC 28078

Special Advertising Section
Giovanna, Nicholas & Christopher Antonacci Crown Waste & Recycling Systems LLC

FACES OF Lake Norman

Liz Fowler

Lisa Dowless

The Venues at Langtree

Covering an expansive 16 acres, The Venues at Langtree features four unique venues and picturesque outdoor spaces as an ideal place for weddings, corporate retreats, meetings and celebrations. Clients of the venue can rely on Venue Sales Coordinator, Lisa Dowless and Food & Beverage Director, Liz Fowler to create a one-of-a-kind event experience, helping their celebration go from dream to reality.

A key ingredient in that magic is the full-service event caterer and coordinator Bouk Catering, owned by Chris Boukedes and Tara Creedon. Boukedes is also the owner of The Venues at Langtree, with business partner Chris McKee. It’s a recipe for perfection, combing the catering company’s bespoke menu offerings with the event planning and coordination talents of Dowless and Fowler to provide the best product, the highest level of service and the most competitive prices in the market.

Their goal is to delight their clients with a fun and stress-free experience from start to finish, creating the perfect menu while collaborating with other vendors on every detail from floral and décor to entertainment.

Dowless and Fowler consider it an honor to play a part in such special events that often create lifelong memories for their guests.

In addition to their private clients, The Venues at Langtree also provides generous hosting opportunities to the community for nonprofit events throughout the year. Dowless and Fowler recognize that having a large, premier venue space with top quality hospitality staff is a valuable resource for nonprofit organizations to hold meetings and events, or to conduct their fundraising activities.

The Venues at Langtree: 554 Langtree Road, Mooresville

Bouk Catering: 205 Golf Course Drive, Mooresville


Special Advertising Section | MAY 2024 55

FACES OF Lake Norman

Katie Brewer

Woodlawn School

Associate Head of School Director of College Counseling

Woodlawn School is a private, independent, project-based learning environment for Pre-K through 12th grades in Mooresville, where Katie Brewer serves as the Associate Head of School and Director of College Counseling. Her roots in education run deep, with 22 years in higher education administration, admissions, program policy organization and academic advising.

In 2018, Brewer arrived at Woodlawn to help create its first comprehensive college counseling program for grades 9-12, leaning heavily on the relationships she developed over the years with university admissions and faculty friends and colleagues throughout the country.

From its first graduating class of just two students in 2010, Woodlawn is now 178 alumni strong and continues to grow and build new curriculum to meet the needs and the interests of its students. Brewer says the school is intentional in the support of smaller class sizes so that students can put their purpose and passion into regular practice, and she enjoys being a part of their ongoing work every single day as they continue to learn how to think and how to do.

As an educator, Brewer is dedicated to helping every one of her students find their purpose and realize their potential, and to develop the confidence and skills necessary to meet the complexities of an evolving future. Brewer’s role is to help build a multi-year program that supports student self-reflection and engagement in their full learning experience while promoting student wellness, balance and agency in their considerations for life after Woodlawn.


Special Advertising Section | MAY 2024 57 | MAY 2024 59 1. Table Papers - $9 and up 2. Lux Spring Candles - $32 3. Custom & Pre-made Wreaths - $59 and up 4. Verdant Green Lamp - $222 5. Hand Painted Wine Glasses$31 *gift boxed! 6. Rattan Scalloped Tray - $139 7. Ceramic Orb - $15 TRENDS + STYLE Bright, Fresh & Uplifting All of these items can be purchased at our NEW location: 152 N. Main St. 704.957.5014 spring styles for your home [5] [1] [3] [6] [4] [7] [2]


For the area’s 55+ adults who place no limits on living their best lives!

Mother’s Day isn’t just about moms. Grandmothers often play a leadingand guiding - role in the house. | MAY 2024 61



Before joining the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a professor of educational leadership in 2005, I spent 30 years in three states in K-12 public schools, from rural to urban. I was a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, deputy superintendent and superintendent. Over those years, I worked with more than a thousand students, and working directly with many of these students’ parents, I developed a pretty good idea of what usually works in parenting and what definitely does not.

Wait! Don’t leave this page! I will not spend the rest of this column giving you a list of what I learned. Rather, I want to tell you the story of two mothers’ methods that I directly observed during a return-toschool suspension conference.

As a high school principal in Alabama for a dozen years, I worked directly with parents of all varieties, abilities and hues. Whenever we suspended a student from school, a meeting with the administrator who suspended the student was required for the student to return to school. The meeting always included the administrator, the student and at least one parent. This spring morning, I was holding the meeting in the principal’s office — my office. I don’t remember why, but I didn’t usually hold these suspension meetings. Therefore, the reason for the suspension must have been significant if I was directly involved.

I want to describe what I learned from a grandmother, a mother and a misbehaving student. The lesson was about parenting, and I have always remembered it. Three people walked into my office with three different attitudes.

The student was quietly belligerent. His mother was simply quiet. The last person to enter was the boy’s grandmother. The grandmother’s demeanor clearly said she was not pleased that her grandson had caused her to report to the principal’s office at 8 o’clock on this spring morning. As the meeting began, I asked the student to tell us why he was suspended so that I could see he was remorseful and ready to return to school.

To my question, he replied argumentatively that he had been picked

on by the teacher, who had broken up the fight and reported him to the office. This sequence of events in our school always meant leaving the school in cuffs and a trip to the police station where he could call his parents. The boy’s mother remained quiet without saying a word about his obstinance. Such was not the case with his grandmother. She smacked the back of his head and told him in a few well-chosen words to apologize for fighting and to assure Dr. Dunaway that he would not do it again. He stumbled around, and his grandmother intervened again to let him know that insincerity would neither get him back in school nor, more importantly, back in her good graces.

About 45 percent of our students qualified as eligible for a free lunch. This young man was one of those students. I imagine things were seldom easy for him, but it was no excuse for serious misbehavior. Neither was it easy for our school to hold every student, regardless of poverty or family background, to high standards of behavior and academics. And unfortunately, the mother’s lack of response increased the chances we would see him again.

But it was just as clear as the meeting progressed that his grandmother was the mother in that family. She mothered two children: one, a child; one, acting like a child. The grandmother had the most demanding job of all.

The lesson I learned that day was that the mother that all families needed was only sometimes evident. If our school wanted to help our community, as an organization we had to take the time to identify the grandmother’s power in families where student misbehavior was frequent because, as I found that day, grandmothers have the respect of all their children — especially those students who struggle at home and at school.

On this Mother’s Day 2024, let’s not leave our sentiments to a Hallmark card but genuinely show our appreciation and support for the grandmothers. In my age 55+ neighborhood, many are grandmothers who have moved to Cornelius to sacrifice for their extended families. Their selflessness and dedication are admirable and should be noted.

LIMITLESS – a moment in time
“My grandmother would say, ‘Make sure you look good. Make sure you speak well. Make sure you remain that Southern gentleman that I’ve taught you to be.’”
—Jamie Foxx | MAY 2024 63
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Let’s Walk Together to End Alzheimer’s

Ican’t remember his name, but I will never forget his face. It was 1990, and I was working at a nonprofit in New York. I had not even started law school yet. A client told me about his wife’s diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s. I will never forget the look on his face – a now all too familiar look of fear, grief, weariness, confusion and devastation.

Recently retired and celebrating more than 30 years of marriage, all their dreams had been shattered. He was now her fulltime caregiver, and she was declining rapidly. As an elder law attorney, far too often I see the same look on the faces of the families we serve, and I am often reminded of the man who first introduced me to the reality of Alzheimer’s.

There is hope that one day we can all live in a world without Alzheimer’s. Last year, the Alzheimer’s Association, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, donated a record breaking $100 million to dementia research. Nearly every week, we learn about new scientific breakthroughs in the field of Alzheimer’s and dementia, thanks in large part to the countless contributions of businesses, individuals and volunteers that support the Alzheimer’s Association.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6.9 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million. We are all at risk and we are

all impacted by the economic costs of this disease.

To help combat the epidemic of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and to honor the members of our community who are living and fighting on the front lines of this devastating disease, The McIntosh Law Firm is once again participating in the 2024 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Iredell Co. & Lake Norman on Saturday morning, Sept. 21, at Liberty Park in downtown Mooresville. Please join us by donating, forming your own team or joining ours. Let’s walk together to end Alzheimer’s in our lifetime. To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association, visit

To join The McIntosh Law Firm team or to donate, please visit

Louise Paglen is an attorney at The McIntosh Law Firm, P.C. in Davidson. She concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, elder law, long-term care planning and special needs planning. She is also a member of the leadership committee planning the 2024 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Iredell Co. & Lake Norman.

LIMITLESS - learning
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Dine + Wine

Eating, drinking, cooking and fun | MAY 2024 69
Photographs courtesy The Plaid Penguin Specialty cocktails are on the menu at Birkdale Village’s Fin & Fino.

A Fine Wine Treat

DINE + WINE - nibble and bites
For a delightful experience, arrange a Rhône Ranger

First, what is a “Rhône Ranger”? It’s an organization dedicated to promoting American produced Rhône varietal wines — Rhônestyle wines that are made from the same grapes that flourished for centuries in France’s Rhône River Valley. Most important, the Rhône Ranger’s moniker speaks to the skills of American winemakers and the wines they make. It’s more than just a name; there are requirements. To qualify as a Rhône Ranger wine, a winery must be a member of the organization and 75% of its wine’s content must include one or more of the 22 traditional Rhône grape varieties.

How do you find them? Wines don’t carry a Rhône Ranger name on their labels. It takes a little detective work. There’s a Rhône Ranger website that contains the names of member wineries. Yes, it’s a little bit of homework, but the end result — a delightful wine — is more than worth the extra effort.

It’s impossible to talk about Rhône Ranger wines without talking about Tablas Creek in California’s Paso Robles region and about winemaker/owner, Robert Haas. It all hails back to the friendship between Haas and Jacques Perrin of Beaucastle Châteauneuf-duPape, a famous producer in the southern Rhône Valley. I like to think of these two old friends sipping on a glass of Rhône wine. They probably mused about how the Rhône varietal grapes would enjoy and flourish in Southern California’s Mediterranean-type climate. One sip led to another and the idea came up around planting Rhône varietal grapes in California. The rest is wine history. It’s amazing how sipping a glass of wine creates some great ideas.

Haas convinced Perrin to team up and create a new kind of Paso Robles wine. In 1985, they scoured California for properties that would be well suited to Rhône varieties such as Syrah, Grenache and Viognier. In 1989, they settled on the west side of Paso Robles — cool nights, hot days and limestone soils.

Thus, Haas’ winery, Tablas Creek, was created. It became a testbed

of Rhône varieties like Carignan and Mourvèdre. Mimicking the vineyard variation at Château-de-Beaucastel, Haas also planted several different clones of Counoise, Roussanne, Marsanne and Picpoul Blanc — all direct cuttings from various spots around Château-de-Beaucastel.

Haas could have kept the cuttings to himself. But he didn’t. Together, Haas and Perrin imported and planted vines in what became a 115-acre vineyard — a nursery, a warehouse of Rhône grapes. Tablas Creek has sold more than five million grapevine cuttings to more than 600 vineyards in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas and Virginia, spreading the Rhône gospel of blending. This, in my mind, is the foundation of the Rhône Ranger’s movement.

An amusing aside; at least it’s amusing to me. A few years back my wife, Mary Ellen, and I were celebrating New Year’s Eve in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I asked our sommelier where he procured his wine. He gave me a list. The next day, New Year’s Day, I started calling. I got lucky. We could have a tasting, but we had to be there before noon.

We got there with several minutes to spare. The lady of the house was fluent in English and led the tasting. After we had ordered a case of wine, in walked the winemaker. Upon learning that his wife had sold a case he said, in French, “Break out some foie gras.” I thought, “How nice, they’re going to treat us to foie gras.” Nothing of the sort. They were speaking French and I listened in. What he meant was that they were anxious for us to leave so they could celebrate the sale of a case. Good for them, not so good for us.

So, sometimes it takes a little extra effort to find a superb wine. Is it worth it? Definitely. Like I said, the Rhône Ranger’s moniker speaks to the skills of American winemakers and the wines they make. You’re in for a vinous treat. And, yes, everyone deserves a treat now and then.

photograph by Trevor Burton | MAY 2024 71
DINE + WINE - tasty bits LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | MAY 2024 72

Chicken with a ‘Bang’

Grilled Bang Bang Chicken Skewers

Spice up your grilled chicken game with this bang-up recipe – Grilled Bang Bang Chicken skewers are bathed in the most delicious sweet chili mayonnaise sauce before being tossed on the grill, and they’re done in less than 10 minutes. The Bang Bang sauce is key to creating a perfect balance of savory, sweet and spicy flavors.

Turns out that the yummy Bang Bang sauce that we all love in restaurants is super easy to make and takes grilled chicken to another level. The key is sweet chili sauce. You can find it on the international aisle of most grocery stores, and it’s a great flavor booster to keep in the fridge. It has a sweet and slightly spicy flavor, similar to the flavor of Sweet & Sour Chicken.

If you are wondering about the title of this dish, the name is derived from the Chinese word for stick, or bàng, referring to the baton or cudgel traditionally used to tenderize the meat. Bang Bang Chicken Skewers are delicious served as an entrée, with a green salad or over rice. They would also be amazing at your next party, piled high on a platter.

Servings: 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 8-10 minutes

Kathy Dicken

Huntersville and is the author of The Tasty

food blog. For more meal ideas that are simple and delicious, you can follow her blog at or on Instagram @thetastybits.


1-1/2 to 2 lbs. chicken breasts, cut into 1” bites

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Bang Bang Sauce:

3/4 cups mayonnaise

1/3 cup sweet Thai chili sauce

1 tsp. Sriracha sauce

1 Tbsp. honey


Prepare wooden skewers by soaking in water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add cubed chicken, olive oil and seasonings. Toss to coat. Thread 5-6 pieces of chicken on each skewer.

In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Use half of the sauce to brush over prepared chicken skewers before grilling.

Grill over direct heat for 5 minutes, then turn chicken and continue to grill for an additional 3 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve immediately, topped with additional sauce. Enjoy!

lives in | MAY 2024 73

An Ocean of Options

Fin & Fino brings seafood delicacies to Birkdale Village

There’s a new restaurant in Birkdale Village that’s bright and inviting, where the atmosphere is as cool as an ocean breeze and the food and drink are fresh and eclectic. Located in the spot formerly known as Dressler’s, the space was recently transformed into the stylish establishment known as Fin & Fino.

Owner and veteran restauranteur Jon Dressler describes Fin & Fino as “a social seafood house where guests can shake off a busy day or shake up a slow one.” Fin & Fino is one of several restaurants Dressler owns and operates under the Rare Roots Hospitality umbrella. “There have been lots of changes in Birkdale since Dressler’s

2003 opening,” he says. “Fin & Fino is a modern adaptation of our space to reflect the evolving Birkdale community.”

With a 147-day span between closing one restaurant and opening another, Dressler had an aggressive undertaking at hand. Virtually everything about Fin & Fino is new: new walls, new floors, new ceilings, new walk-in bar and a new kitchen. It was an all-hands endeavor with Dressler and his wife Kim collaborating with an architect to design the new establishment. Kim also took on the aesthetics, color and art, while the chefs focused on the kitchen and produced the menu.

DINE + WINE - nibble and bites
photographs courtesy The Plaid Penguin
Fin & Fino offers everything from a simple seafood pasta to the impressive “Penthouse” dish (right).

Dressler appreciates his team and emphasizes the positive relationships shared amongst Fin & Fino employees.

“We’re a ‘family first’ environment,” he says, “focusing on culture, inclusion and a caring for one another that permeates through to the guests.” Dressler refers to Fin & Fino employees as individuals “who work with him, not for him.” Many of the staff are long-time workers and, impressively, in an industry where high employee turnover is the norm, Dressler hasn’t had to fill a single kitchen slot in more than five years.

“Working for Jon (Dressler) has been a rewarding experience, where I’ve been given opportunities to learn and grow,” says Assistant General Manager Annalisa Strom. “I’m lucky to be a part of the Fin & Fino opening; the ‘family feel’ here pushes me to progress and succeed.”

Fin & Fino offers small seafood plates and raw bar favorites as well as larger servings featuring a variety of ocean fare — perfect for sampling and sharing. These comprehensive menu items include the Tower Of Power (14 oysters, 14 shrimp, crab cocktail fingers), and the impressive Penthouse (14 oysters, 14 shrimp, crab cocktail fingers, seafood salad, tuna crudo, two poached lobster tails). House seafood favorites include Cajun roasted oysters, tuna crudo, sablefish and Osetra caviar.

For those preferring farm-raised provisions, there is a selection of filet mignon, Delmonico ribeye, New York strip, short ribs, rack of lamb and poultry dishes. Appetizers including Thai peanut calamari, New

Orleans-style shrimp, and roasted goat cheese and garlic are but a few of several choices available.

Fin & Fino also makes homemade pastas and features fresh, locally grown produce. The menu undergoes quarterly revisions, guaranteeing the finest food available. Wines are procured from small-batch producers bottling 5,000 bottles or less per harvest, and locally produced beers are available.

To say there are unique and intriguing adult beverages devised at the Fin & Fino bar is an understatement. Bar Manager Brittany Kellum and her team design drinks as original as they are engaging.

“I have the opportunity to create new options for our patrons,” says Kellum. “I want them to experience a drink they’ve never had either at home or in a bar.” Among Kellum’s “Greatest Hits” are the “Yippee Ki Yay Mother Shuckers” (Herradura Reposado tequila, Luxardo liqueur, lime, grapefruit, pink peppercorn), Pork Rinds & Peyote (Diplomatico rum, mezcal, dolin blanc, orange, cinnamon, vanilla, Amarena cherry) and bestseller Bug A Boo (Roku gin, cucumber vodka, Lillet Blanc, elderflower, lemon). Kellum and her team, aka BK and the Clams, will also create original drink combinations — known as The Call of the Clam — based on a customer’s chosen spirit and suggestions. Several martini options also appear on the bar menu.

Fin & Fino-Birkdale Village is at 8630 Lindholm Drive, Huntersville. For more information and to make a reservation, call 704.987.1779 or go to

Bar Manager Brittany Kellum and her team are known for their engaging cocktail concoctions. | MAY 2024 75

The Graddie Bunch

DINE + WINE - on tap
‘Wine Whisperer’ leads customers on exploration

The whole point of a wine bar is to enjoy wine. But Graddie Lane, also known as the “Wine Whisperer” at The Hidden Bin in Mooresville, goes further. He and his customers (the Graddie Bunch) really dig into wine. As Lane never tires of saying, “Many deep, lifelong friendships have begun by sharing a bottle of wine.” Wine is the center of life at The Hidden Bin.

The first bit of “wine pleasure” involves cuisine. At The Hidden Bin you can select a bottle of wine and take it next door to its sister restaurant, Table 31. For a very moderate corkage fee, you can have your wine with your meal — avoiding the inevitable restaurant wine mark-up. Or you can order from Table 31’s menu and dine at the wine bar. What all that translates to is great food in combination with a vast and inexpensive wine list. What’s not to like?

Then there’s the fundamental philosophy of constant exploration and wine knowledge — the more you know about wine, the more you enjoy it; the more wine there is to enjoy. And The Hidden Bin’s aficionados have constant wine pleasure as they go exploring.

An example about how this all works will explain it – The Hidden Bin’s approach to Rosé wines. Rosé wines are generally thought of as summer thirst quenchers to be sipped while sitting out on a patio,

enjoying views of the lake. Truth is, these wines are available worldwide and have both character and characteristics. They’re way more than just sipping wines, way more.

Digging deeper, The Hidden Bin organizes a wine seminar and tasting that explains all the details about this so called sipping wine. Customers get educated and enjoy that they’re being educated. Spoiler alert: I’m an integral part of the seminar, I conduct it. The seminar covers how Rosés are created and their character and characteristics that I mentioned. The Graddie Bunch learn about and taste some of the world’s great Rosé wines. If new knowledge introduces customers to wine they really enjoy, that’s the rapture of raptures.

Most wine bars have winemaker tastings. They’re interesting, educational and tasty. But their depth is limited. What the Wine Whisperer Graddie Lane brings to the table is a philosophy and wine pleasure that turns his philosophy into reality. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s everything right about that.

The best wine in the world is the one your taste buds enjoy the most. If you expand your universe and find that “best” wine or wines, you’re ahead of the game. So, go exploring. Go to The Hidden Bin and whisper about wine. | MAY 2024 77

Everyone at CURRENTS Magazine would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice.



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