Complimentary CELEBRATION 2021 Volume 12 | Issue 3
Inspiring, Informing, Enriching
Hot Diggity Dog! A TRIBUTE TO MAN’S BEST FRIEND AND THE WINNER IS … Our first-ever “Best of Northwest GA” roundup THE GREAT BIKING BOOM Give cycling a spin
THINK POSITIVE, BE POSITIVE Looking at life with the glass half full WORTH YOUR SALT Essential kitchen skills for every budding chef
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With Eagle Lake on your horizon and the Berry College campus in your backyard, it’s not hard to see why our free-standing Longleaf Lodge building is among the most in-demand residential options at The Spires. Featuring lake views, covered balconies, easy dock access and expansive windows, Longleaf Lodge is a natural option for those who love to bring the outside in. To learn more about the few remaining units in this most desirable lakeside location and to schedule a tour, please contact us at your earliest convenience: 706-397-5386.
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C E L E B R AT I O N 2 0 2 1 | V O LU M E 1 2 | I S S U E 3
Enter our Lookin’ Good Giveaway! See page 15
Celebrating the Best of Northwest Georgia Sharing our favorite dishes, attractions, and more from across the region.
Why cycling is more popular than ever these days.
Celebrating Your Age
Positive thoughts for whatever decade you’re in.
Celebrate the Power of Positive Thinking
An optimistic outlook improves both your mental and physical health.
cover story 30
Celebrating Man’s Best Friend
The enduring bond between humans and their canine companions.
Georgia Mountain Coaster
My favorite places.
Stunning coffee table travel books to savor.
Horsing around in South Carolina’s Thoroughbred Country.
Confessions on an armchair linguist.
Letter From the Publisher
Calendar for Living
Happenings in our ’hood.
Dollars & Sense
The real cost of unexpected expenses.
2 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
A kitchen primer for budding Top Chefs.
Fish Out of Water
Let’s get this party started.
d LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
Laura’s Best of NW Georgia
elcome to our 2021 Celebration issue, which marks the magazine’s 11th anniversary, and after all of the challenges of 2020, we have a lot to celebrate. For one thing, we have a brand new editor. Jill Becker has been in the magazine biz for more than 30 years, and I’m thrilled to have someone with her experience and expertise at the helm. Ciara N. Mealer held the editor position for the previous seven years, and we have a fine magazine to show for it. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, which is why I tasked our super-talented creative director Andi Counts and designer Mackenzie Kuhn to give the magazine a mini-makeover. Flip through the pages, and I’ll think you’ll find that the magazine looks much fresher and more inviting. We’ve got a lot of great stories in this issue. There’s a cute article about dogs, a travel piece about the best little Southern town you’ve never Me kickin’ back at River Dog Outpost, one of my favorite heard of, and, drumroll please, our first-ever “Best places in Rome. Of Northwest Georgia” roundup. Reading about all of the quirky, fun, and fabulous things our region has to offer inspired me to come up with my own “Best Of” list. Best Dang Chili Hot Dog That Tops The Varsity’s. You don’t have to drive to Atlanta to get a good hot dog when there’s Brandi’s World Famous Hot Dogs in Cartersville. One reviewer called it the best dog on planet Earth. As a word of caution, if you order the hot chili, add a large sweet tea ’cause it’s got some heat. Best Hiking Trail for Hansel & Gretel. Red Top Mountain State Park is a beautiful, sprawling gem in Bartow County. My husband, Jerry, and I hiked one of its six trails called The Loop. It’s a semi-difficult trail with some stunning panoramic views; however, we couldn’t figure out how to get off the path. We looped around twice! Follow the Girl Scouts’ motto and be prepared. Take water, snacks, cellphone, and breadcrumbs! Best Place If You’re Up the Creek Without a Paddle. There’s no worries, my friends, when you’re chillin’ at River Dog Outpost’s beer garden on the river in downtown Rome. This eclectic hangout is soothing to the soul. Imagine listening to tunes by the likes of Bob Marley and CCR, sipping a craft beer, and soaking up some rays. Want some time on the river? River Dog also rents all the gear you need. Best Place to Find the Scariest Pancake. One of the best adventures for me but one of the worst for my husband was spelunking at Pettyjohn’s Cave in Lafayette. It’s a wild cave and can be dangerous without a guide. To enter the cave, you slide down a giant rabbit hole, and there you’ll find stalagmites, waterfalls, and bats. The tricky part comes when you have to slither through a long, narrow passageway called The Pancake, which is only 12 inches high. Poor Jerry became lodged inside halfway through it. Our fearless leaders, the Georgia Girl Guides, helped him stay calm and saved the day. It was an experience we’ll never forget, but the word “pancake” remains forbidden in our household. 4 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
CELEBRATION 2021 Volume 12 | Issue 3
Publisher and Founder Editor-in-Chief Laura Wood Erickson Editor Jill Becker email@example.com Creative Director Andi Counts Designer Mackenzie Kuhn Contributing Editors Gene Murphy, Elin Woods Contributing Writers Jennifer Almand, Jill Becker, Ande Frazier, Ciara N. Mealer, Kathy Patrick, Robert Smyth, Dana Lynn Thompson, Rachel Turner Contributing Photographer Sharon Fuente, Lifesong Photography Web Developer Ken Caruthers Sales Laura Wood Erickson firstname.lastname@example.org Contact us at: (706) 346-9858 email@example.com NW Georgia Living P.O. Box 72546 Marietta, GA 30007 We welcome all contributions, but we assume no responsibility for unsolicited material. NW Georgia Living is published bimonthly by L. Wood LLC. Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be copied, scanned, or reproduced in any manner without prior written consent from the publisher.
Chances are, the birth of your baby will be a happy, healthy experience. Still, peace of mind is priceless, and it’s good to know that Floyd stands ready 24/7 with the advanced care necessary should your baby need intensive care following birth. As the area’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, our expert team of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists provides high tech care with a compassionate touch for the tiniest newborns.
d CALENDAR FOR LIVING
Ellen Axson Wilson Arts Fest
May 1, 10am-4pm Downtown Rome This annual arts fair honoring former First Lady and Rome native Ellen Axson Wilson encompasses booths displaying the work of photographers, painters, potters, and more, along with live music. romearts.org/events
Etowah Archaeology and Artifact ID Day
May 1, 10am-2pm Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, Cartersville Celebrate Archaeology Month by having your artifacts identified by a professional archaeologist. Discover what archaeologists do and how they learn from artifacts. visitcartersvillega.org/event
May Market at Rose Lawn
Hooray, spring is here, which means that event season is picking up. And we’ve got the scoop on some of the fun happenings taking place in our ’hood — from rubber duck races to barbecue cook-offs. Just keep in mind that the dates, times, and details are subject to change.
May 1-2 Rose Lawn Museum, Cartersville A springtime tradition, this two-day event features handmade arts and crafts along with some of the best food and garden products in the South. You can also take a tour of the restored Victorian mansion on-site, enjoy live music, and shop the Master Gardener’s Spring Plant Sale. visitcartersvillega.org/event
History Hustle 5K
May 1, 6:30-10am Rose Lawn Museum, Cartersville This USATF-certified 5K winds through one of Cartersville’s historic residential districts before ending back at Rose Lawn. Strollers and pets welcome. visitcartersville.org/event
6 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
Backyard BBQ Bash
May 7-8 Ridge Ferry Park, Rome Teams of amateur grillers put their barbecuing skills to the test in this new cookoff competition. A concert follows the awards ceremony. rfpra.com/backyard-bbq-bash
May 7, 8, 14 & 15, 7pm The Rockmart Theatre, Rockmart Rockmart High School’s drama department presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical tale about carousel barker Billy Bigelow. rockmart-ga.gov/ rockmartculturalartscenter. aspx
Booth Artists’ Guild Annual Exhibition
May 11–August 22 Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville This juried exhibition showcases the work of the talented painters and sculptors who are members of the Booth Artists’ Guild. boothmuseum.org/exhibitions
CAPTIVATED: Rossin’s Southwest & BEYOND May 16-September 26
Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville After a nine-day road trip through the American Southwest with Booth executive director Seth Hopkins, BulgarianAmerican artist Ross Rossin was inspired to create this series of paintings of the people he met and the lands he encountered along the way. boothmuseum.org/exhibitions
Rome Braves Home Opener May 18, 7pm State Mutual Stadium, Rome The Class A Braves take on the Bowling Green Hot Rods to kick off a 12-game homestand. Play ball! milb.com/rome
Rhapsody in Blue, featuring Juan Carlos Escudero
May 29, 7pm Rome City Auditorium, Rome As the oldest symphony in the South celebrates its 100th anniversary, world-renowned Ecuadorian pianist joins the Rome Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the Gershwin masterpiece. romesymphony.org
When Country Was Country
May 29, 7pm The Rockmart Theatre, Rockmart Bill Brooks, Rex Garner, and Julie Bell perform old-time country hits. rockmart-ga.gov/ rockmartculturalarts center.aspx
June 10-July 24 (select dates) Copper Creek Farm, Calhoun Enjoy a fun family day on the farm with sunflower picking, hayrides, steer roping, duck races, talking watermelons, and more. coppercreekfarm.com
Cartersville Brazilian Carnival
June 11, 7-11pm Clarence Brown Conference Center, Cartersville This lively benefit for the Red Door Food Pantry includes dancing, an auction, and plentiful food and drink. visitcartersvillega.org/event
Moonlight Cabaret, featuring Alan Naylor
June 26, 7pm The Cove at Darlington School, Rome The award-winning singer and actor joins the Rome Symphony Orchestra chamber players in a concert of favorites from the Great American Songbook and Broadway stage. romesymphony.org
Georgia Mushroom Festival May 1-2 Rolater Park and other locations, Cave Spring At this annual “Mushfest,” all things fungi are explored through lectures, workshops, expert-lead forages in the park, a community breakfast, and the newly added Magic Mushroom Music Jam. georgiamushroomfestival.com
Ducky Derby & Duckfest May 15, 10am-2pm Dowdy Park, Summerville This spring fling includes arts and crafts, kids’ activities, and food vendors, but the event that will really quack you up is the parade of rubber ducks racing down Town Creek to the finish line. summervillega.org/event
June 4, 7pm Town Green, Rome The Andrew Brothers Dueling Pianos perform a hilarious, high-energy singalong. downtownromega.us/events
Summer Concert Series
June 5, 5-11pm Ridge Ferry Park, Rome Get ready to do some bootscootin’ as Old Dominion and Walker County take to the stage. rfpra.com/events
Dixie Highway 90-Mile Yard Sale June 4-6, daylight to dusk Northwest Georgia This amazing trail of yard sales that follows the Old Dixie Highway from Ringgold to Marietta is a bargain hunter’s dream. facebook.com/ dixiehighway90mileyardsale www.nwgeorgialiving.com | 7
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On the Plane Again Gorgeous coffee table books to get you in the mood for travel — whenever you’re ready.
BY JILL BECKER
’ve always had travel fever, and over the years have been lucky enough to visit dozens of destinations around the world. But I still have loads more places on my bucket list. Unfortunately, with all of the travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic, I have to take most of my trips in my mind right now. One way I do it is by scouring fabulous coffee table books filled with countless images of exotic locations near and far. Flipping through them, I can take a stroll along the cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende, pick up a bushel of baguettes in Paris, hitch a ride on a camel in Morocco, and countless other adventures. Here are five books that will inspire your own daydream-worthy vacations. Right: The adults-only Pleta de Mar in Mallorca, Spain, is just one of the 84 luxe accommodations featured in Best Unique Hotels & Retreats. (Best Unique Hotels & Retreats — Eighty Four Rooms, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com, Pleta de Mar, Canyamel, Mallorca, Spain, Photo © Nando Esteva)
10 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
Above: National Geographic’s Destinations of a Lifetime is full of beautiful imagery of beautiful places, such as this barrier reef protecting the shallow turquoise lagoon surrounding the Pacific islands of Bora Bora. (Photo: Frans Lanting/National Geographic Creative) Destinations of a Lifetime images courtesy of National Geographic Destinations of a Lifetime
Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places The folks at National Geographic know a thing or two about breathtaking photos. While this enticing book they put out in 2015 may be several years old, there’s nothing tired about its ability to induce a serious case of wanderlust. Be it of popular man-made attractions or off-the-beatenpath natural wonders, the destination images captured by some of the world’s best photographers won’t cease to amaze and inspire.
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders Now in its second edition, this 480-page tome isn’t so much about pretty travel photos, but rather focuses on revealing the world’s most unusual attractions, from a vanishing lake in Northern Ireland to a shrine to slain insects in Tokyo.
Best Unique Hotels & Retreats: Eighty Four Rooms If you’re going to dream, why not dream big, envisioning yourself checking into some of the planet’s most luxurious hotels. Chronicled in stunning photos and descriptions are lodgings at fivestar accommodations such as Chem Chem, an upscale safari camp situated between Tanzania’s game-laden Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks; the Maldives’ Fushifaru, with its amazing overwater bungalows; and Lanserhof Lans, a medical spa for detoxifying as you gaze out on the Austrian Alps.
100 Drives, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Do, What to See This hefty photo- and info-packed resource will definitely get your motor running. Published in early 2020, the book details road trips all across North America, including popular routes like Washington’s Olympic Peninsula Loop and lesser-known drives like Canada’s Yellowhead Highway. Similar books in the series include 100 Hikes, 100 Dives, and 100 Parks.
100 Drives, 5,000 Ideas will get your motor revved to visit stunning sites like the ancient limestone canyons of Texas in Big Bend National Park. (Inge Johnsson/Alamy Stock Photo)
The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids: A Journey Through Every Country in the World Aimed at younger explorers (age 8 and up), this kids’ version of Lonely Planet’s best-selling The Travel Book mixes photography and illustrations to take youngsters on a tour of more than 200 countries, revealing how people around the globe live, play, eat, celebrate, and more. Be on the lookout for a newly updated version in September. Jill Becker is the editor of NW Georgia Living. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years, with her work having appeared in everything from national magazines to global news sites.
The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids takes budding travelers to scenic spots like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. (Matt Munro/Lonely Planet) www.nwgeorgialiving.com | 11
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d DOLLARS & SENSE
Planning for the Unexpected
Forget saving for a rainy day. To be smart, you need to prepare for a tsunami.
BY ANDE FRAZIER
hange can happen unexpectedly. Whether you’ve suddenly become unemployed, are beginning or ending a relationship, have lost a loved one, or are dealing with unplanned hardships like a global pandemic or the freakish winter snowstorms that hit Texas earlier this year, the consequences can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to your money. Let’s look at three simple steps you can take today so that when the unexpected does occur, at least your finances will be in order. 1. Focus on prevention and preparation. This starts with making sure you’re knowledgeable about all the money decisions you’ve already made. Putting all your financial documents in one place allows you to understand what you have and what’s missing. Can you get your hands on statements or account numbers if needed? Do you know where that life insurance policy is and how it works? Does your family or partner know where your vital documents are, what your passwords are, and who they need to reach out to for more information? Have you updated important legal documents like a will, health care directives, and powers of attorney? When you’re organized, you can be clear about what funds are available at a moment’s notice. This puts you in the best position to make decisions when something you didn’t anticipate happens, when you may not be thinking with a clear head. This may seem obvious, but for many people, it’s the toughest part. 2. Don’t live in the land of magical thinking. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the last year, it’s that even the impossible can happen. Getting a handle on reality and having a backup plan is 14 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
key. Do you have six months’ worth of expenses saved? Are you insured in the event you’re unable to work? How will your business run without you or key employees? Is your debt under control, so you don’t get behind if there’s a sudden loss of cash flow? Having the proper insurance, savings, and little to no consumer debt is essential in making it through a crisis. If you haven’t begun thinking about ways you can save, start by taking inventory of the money that’s coming in and going out. Are there things you’re spending on that could be cut back? Maybe you don’t cut things out completely, but make choices that allow you to have balance. Getting into the habit of saving is one of the best decisions you can make. 3. Don’t neglect the advantage of time. If you thought saving was hard before, under a crunch, it could be even more difficult to put away the amount needed to fulfill your future plans while also covering your current expenses. The impact on your lifestyle is even more dramatic when the unexpected happens and you’re short on time, which puts additional strain on your health and well-being. One of my favorite phrases is, “The lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” We’ve all been there. We have a certain amount of time to get to a goal or target, only to have a detour happen
right when we’re getting close to the finish line. Don’t be in that position. Make sure you’re contributing to your financial goals as early as possible. Strive to save 15% of what you earn and learn to live on the rest. If that seems impossible, start by saving 1% more this year than last year, and work your way up. Finally, when an anticipated cash flow comes your way, consider socking it away rather than splurging on a new wardrobe or putting in that hot tub. Often when people receive money unexpectedly, either through an inheritance, bonus at work, or that government stimulus check, they spend it differently than they would their paycheck. Spending “free” money may feel good in the moment, but it does nothing towards putting you in a position of power when the unforeseen does occur. Taking critical steps today means that when something unexpected does happen, at least you have a financial plan you can put into effect. And even if that plan has to be altered, it’s better than having no plan at all. Ande Frazier CFP®, CLU, ChFC, RICP, BFA™, ChSNC, CDFA® is an expert in behavorial finance and the author of Fin(anci)ally Free: 11 Conversations To Have With Yourself About Life, Money, and Worth. In addition to being a recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, she also serves as a partner at Clocktower Wealth Management, LLC. To learn more, visit andefrazier.com.
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Aching for Aiken The Southern charms and equine ambiance of this South Carolina town will easily win you over.
BY JILL BECKER
herd of horses is barreling straight toward me at full steam. Suddenly, after one of the riders takes a wooden mallet and whacks a small white ball rolling along the turf, all of the horses jolt to a stop and then race off in the opposite direction. I’ve just witnessed the speed and thrill of polo. It’s my first-ever match, and I’ve already fallen in love with the sport, as well as the South Carolina town that introduced me to it. Aiken is a quaint little spot with a population of around 30,000 people that’s just three to four hours southeast of Northwest Georgia, making it ideal for a weekend getaway. It may not have the name recognition of Southern destinations like Savannah or New Orleans, but the city did achieve fame back at the turn of the 20th century when it was a popular winter retreat for wealthy families from the Northeast, including the Vanderbilts and Astors. During the 1800s, Aiken was a popular health resort because its dry, pine-scented air was believed to help people suffering from respiratory illnesses. Others were drawn to its soil, which proved to be ideal footing for horses’ hooves. The latter has ensured Aiken’s status as an equestrian hot spot ever since — a place where thoroughbreds prepping for the Kentucky Derby and other major races are trained; where Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, kept a stable of 60-plus horses for several years; and where at the local breakfast joint Track Kitchen you might find yourself sitting next to a professional jockey or polo player. Take a stroll through the Hitchcock Woods, a 2,100-acre forest smack in the middle of town, and it wouldn’t be unusual to come across a group of horses and hounds tuning up for one of the city’s upcoming hunts. Peruse the displays at the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, and you’ll find silks, trophies, and other memorabilia relating to the many champion racehorses, riders, trainers, and owners with ties to Aiken. But Aiken is far more than just hay bales and horse stables. Students from New York’s famed Juilliard conservatory come to town each year to perform a series of concerts called Joye in Aiken. The elegant Lady Kelly MacVean, an internationally certified tea master, hosts tea tastings at La Dolce. The Visitors
18 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
Racing history is chronicled at the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame. (Photo by S. M. Schmidt)
Reserve a Saturday morning for the Historic Aiken Trolley Tour.
Julliard students travel to Aiken each spring for a series of performances.
Center and Train Museum boasts elaborate, historically accurate dioramas depicting the towns along the South Carolina Canal and Railway Company’s right of way circa 1916. The city is also home to the Palmetto Golf Club, one of the oldest golf courses in the country, and The Willcox, once named by Travel+Leisure magazine as one of the 500 best hotels in the world. All of which goes to show that Aiken, South Carolina, might just be the best little city you’ve never heard of.
Polo has been a popular sport in Aiken for more than 100 years. (Photo by Larry Gleason)
If You Go … GETTING THERE: Aiken is located about halfway between Atlanta and Charleston. It’s approximately three-and-a-half hours by car from Northwest Georgia. BEST TIME TO VISIT: March through June during polo season and when top events like Joye in Aiken take place. WHERE TO STAY: In addition to the luxe Willcox hotel, there are smaller, more intimate accommodations like Rose Hill Estate, a Dutch colonial manse built back in 1898. The quaint Carriage House Inn is located downtown, within walking distance of plentiful shops and restaurants. WHERE TO EAT: Top breakfast choices include the New Moon Café, a kitschy spot with excellent fruit smoothies, and Track Kitchen, a no-frills, cash-only spot where the local equestrian set hangs out. Lunch options include La Parisienne, where you can grab a croque monsieur or other yummy sandwich and get some croissants and baguettes to take home while you’re at it. For dinner, the aged cuts of beef and fresh seafood at Prime can’t be beat. DON’T MISS: A stroll through Hitchcock Woods or Hopelands Gardens. And if you’re there on a Saturday morning, be sure to take the two-hour Historic Aiken Trolley Tour. TO LEARN MORE: Go to visitaikensc.com.
The nicest digs in town? For travelers, it’s the award-winning Willcox hotel, a local mainstay since 1898. (Photo by S. M. Schmidt) www.nwgeorgialiving.com | 19
ng i at r leb
Cethe Best of Northwest Georgia
From to-die-for dishes to one-of-a-kind roadside attractions, we share our favorite spots across the region. BY CIARA N. MEALER AND JILL BECKER
t’s a universally acknowledged truth that a traveler in possession of spare time must be in want of a good adventure, and our region offers no shortage of those. Northwest Georgia is an enchanted landscape populated with endless superlativeendowed destinations that afford locals and visitors countless entertaining experiences. The following is a roundup of some of the best, coolest, and quirkiest spots around, which we’ve endowed with awards as unique as the items they describe. The next time you’re at a loss for how to spend an afternoon or weekend in Northwest Georgia, use this as your go-to guide.
Best Place to Spot Sasquatch These days, “squatching,” as it’s known to enthusiasts, has become a huge hobby, with Sasquatch hunters spanning the breadth of North America. If you grew up in Northwest Georgia, you know that our hills play host to some mighty strange goings-on. What you may not know is that some folks think many of those goings-on can be traced back to that elusive hominid know as Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot. Veteran squatchers, die-hard believers, budding hunters, and hardcore skeptics can all get their Sasquatch fix at Expedition: Bigfoot! in Cherry Log, which houses an impressive collection of artifacts and memorabilia dedicated to the mythical beast. expeditionbigfoot.com
Best Place to Enjoy Craft Beer While Playing Pac-Man
The Rock Garden 20 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
If you’re looking for a fun, offbeat night out, look no further than Cherokee Brewing + Pizza Company in Dalton. Featuring 24 varieties of beer on tap along with delicious gourmet pizzas, Cherokee boasts a hip industrial
Best Place to Take an Outsider Art Tour Created by visionary folk artist Reverend Howard Finster, Summerville’s Paradise Garden stands as a monument to its creator’s divinely inspired life and profound work. Stroll along meandering pathways and marvel at the eclectic accumulation of curiosities scattered throughout. This fascinating roadside park is home to mosaics, paintings, sculptures, and even a treehouse made entirely of mirrors. If you want to stay a little longer, you can rent one of the three neighboring Airbnbs. paradisegardenfoundation.org Courtesy Paradise Garden Foundation
decor and an old-school arcade where you can play more than 50 classic games that set the mood for a night of nostalgic fun. Frogger anyone? cherokeebrewingandpizzaco.com
Cherokee Brewing + Pizza Company
Best Place to Take Fido Paddleboarding Have you always dreamed of cruising the local waterways on a stand-up paddleboard with your furry best friend? You’re in luck. River Dog Outpost and River Dog Paddle Co. in Rome sell, rent, instruct, and get you geared up in style, and they’ll even let you bring your pooch along for the ride. If paddling doesn’t suit your fancy, stop in for one of the periodic yoga classes in the beer garden or just grab a pint and relax riverside for a while. riverdogco.com
Best Place to Study Presidential Signatures Cartersville’s Booth Western Art Museum features many exciting displays and galleries and frequently plays host to memorable traveling exhibitions. One permanent attraction of note is the collection of signed letters from every U.S. president to date housed in the Carolyn & James Millar Presidential Gallery. The interactive Sagebrush Ranch gallery is a hit with the youngsters, while older visitors enjoy spending time in the Native Hands and Frank Harding Cowboy galleries. Virtual tours are available if you can’t make it in person. boothmuseum.org
Booth Western Art Museum, Carolyn & James Millar Presidential Gallery
Best Place to Find Precious Gems The world-renowned Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville is filled with galleries, exhibits, and hands-on educational experiences to delight science lovers of all ages. A favorite activity amongst the kiddos is panning for stones and gems buried in the sand at the Vulcan Materials Company Gem Panning zone, which features a working waterwheel. Other must-sees include the Weinman Mineral Gallery, 120-seat digital planetarium, and 80-foot-long Brontosaurus. tellusmuseum.org
Best Place to Have Pork with a Pun When Colonel Oscar Poole opened his roadside barbecue stand off Highway 515 in 1989, he couldn’t have envisioned the fame it would accrue. Now a renowned eatery that has played host to celebrities, politicians, and Olympic athletes, Poole’s Bar-B-Q in Ellijay nevertheless remains true to its humble roots. Whether you call it the Pig Hill of Fame, Taj-Ma-Hog, or Hog Rock Cafe, which are just some of the fun pork puns scattered throughout the property, Poole’s still serves honest food with a smile. poolesbbq.com
Best Place to Smell Old Books on Rainy Days Used bookstores are magical places, as all readers know, and Rome’s Dogwood Books has its own unique charm. Whether you’re in the market for a first edition, an out-of-print title, or you’re just rounding out your Nancy Drew collection, a trip to this quaint shop is always good for the soul. You could easily get lost in the stacks for an hour or two. dogwoodbooks.net
River Dog Outpost and River Dog Paddle Co. Tellus Science Museum
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Best Place to Go Spelunking As you wander the quiet woodland paths in search of the Fairyland Caverns at Rock City, located atop Lookout Mountain, be sure to take in the other enchanting sights along the way, including the majesty of the falls at Lover’s Leap and the 180-foot-long Swing-A-Long suspension bridge. Within the caverns themselves are fantastical dioramas featuring fairies, goblins, elves, and gnomes from beloved fairytales painted in a rainbow of colors that seem to glow in the dark. seerockcity.com
cup art, as well as hundreds of handlettered signs with bits of wisdom, advice, jokes, and strange observations. oldcarcityusa.com
Best Place to Profess Your Love
Old Car City
Best Place to Enjoy a Mojito-Flavored Shaved Ice
Fairyland Caverns at Rock City
Best Place to Grab a Burger on a Retired Transit Bus Housed within a fully restored Atlanta transit bus, the Ball Ground Burger Bus serves delicious custom hamburgers made with a freshly ground blend of chuck, brisket, and bacon. In addition to its unusual setting, the popular Ball Ground spot features unique treats like gin-soaked prohibition pickles and their housemade 1386 sauce. Stop in sometime and try the local favorite Fried Green Jacket Burger (boasting fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, and wasabi ranch) that pairs perfectly with a local craft beer. facebook.com/bgburgerbus
Best Place to View Funky Styrofoam Cup Art You might already be aware that Old Car City in White is the location of the world’s largest, and likely most photographed, classic-car junkyard, with more than 4,000 vehicles populating the forested 34-acre tract. What you might not know is that this monument to the early-20th-century automotive industry is also home to an unusual gallery housing 3,000 pieces of Styrofoam 22 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
With 45 trails spanning 90 miles that range in difficulty from beginner to expert, there’s something here for every rider. There’s even a pee-wee track for the youngest riders in the family. Bring your own ATV or motorcycle or rent one on-site. highlandparkresort.com
Founded in North Carolina in 2001 by 13-year-old entrepreneur Ansley Johnson, Pelican’s Snoballs was inspired by the yummy summer treats she enjoyed at her grandparents’ home in Louisiana. Now, 20 years on, Pelican’s has franchises in 15 states, including one in Rome. Stop by and treat yourself to a shaved ice in one of their 100 delightfully unique flavors, including dill pickle, coffee, blue bubblegum, or the local favorite, mojito. pelicanssnoballs.com
The Robert Redden Footbridge that traverses the Oostanaula River in downtown Rome is not only well-known for its huge American flag constructed out of lights that glows in the night but also its hundreds of “love locks.” For years, couples wanting to display their undying affection for each other have etched their names on padlocks and attached them to the chain mesh lining the sides of the bridge, similar to that of Paris’ famed Pont des Arts before the French city took the locks down.
Best Place to Spin Your Wheels An off-roading adventure in the mountains may not be your speed, but for those who like to get their adrenaline pumping, Highland Park Resort in Cedartown is where dreams are made.
Robert Redden Footbridge
Best Place Where Sticks and Stones Will Delight You What do Japan’s Himeji Castle, Paris’ Notre-Dame cathedral, and the Roman Colosseum have in common? Miniatures of all three structures have been replicated out of stones, shells, broken bits of ceramic tile, wire, and other found materials at The Rock Garden in Calhoun. Stroll through the site, located on a serene plot behind the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, to see all 50 of the small-scale creations. calhounsda.com/rock-garden
Best Place to Watch a Movie Out Under the Stars Remember the drive-in? There aren’t that many of them left anymore, but thankfully there’s one in Trenton, and it’s rumored to have the largest drivein screens in the world. Admission to the Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater is just $7 a person, and that’s for a double feature. You can’t bring in your own popcorn or other food, but never fear, as nothing at the concession stand — be it the bacon cheeseburger or the jumbo chili cheese dog — is over $5.50. wildernesstheater.com
Near and Dear These additional “bests” are just outside the Northwest Georgia boundary but are well worth the few extra miles.
Best Place to Eat an Eight-Pound Burrito You might think Conyers is too far a drive for a dinner outing, but we’ll make the trip for what’s arguably some of the best Mexican food in the area. Beautifully decorated in Southwestern style, Las Flores has an ambiance that’s perfect for a night out with friends or a date with someone special. Its impressive selection of tequilas, authentic Mexican dishes, and incredible tacos already makes Las Flores pretty unforgettable, but what it’s most famous for is the El Burrito Chingon Challenge. Customers who can finish the monstrous eightpound burrito within an hour will get their photo featured on the Wall of Fame. lasfloresmex.com
Best Place to Take a Self-Controlled Roller Coaster Ride
Best Massage Incorporating Bamboo Guests of the spa at the Barnsley Resort in Adairsville undoubtedly leave relaxed and refreshed no matter what treatment they have, but for something a little different, you can’t beat the Barnsley Bamboo Massage. During this 50-minute rubdown, you’ll be treated to the scents of calming lavender and refreshing mint as gently warmed bamboo sticks of varying sizes are used to ease your tension and soothe tight muscles. barnsleyresort.com
At Georgia Mountain Coaster in Helen, you can take a spin on the first alpine coaster in Georgia, built by the world’s top manufacturer of alpine coasters. This wild ride winds its Georgia Mountain way through the trees, Coaster offering spectacular views of the charming Bavarian-style village nestled below and, with brakes off, can reach speeds of up to 25 mph. Make it a full day by visiting nearby aerial adventure park Cool River Adventures, where you’ll find climbing walls, ziplines, and more. georgiamountaincoaster.com
Best Place to Stop and Smell 70 Flower Varieties Marvel at blooms ranging from zinnias to sunflowers to 50 shades of dahlias as you stroll through the 40 acres of flowering fields at Whimsy Flower Farm in Blairsville. The dream-like setting is the perfect place for family photos or pics with your honey, but you can also cut your own flowers to take home as a colorful memento of your outing. whimsyflowerfarm.com
Best Place to Eat a Food Network Showdown-Winning Doughnut Spa at the Barnsley Resort
Ciara N. Mealer is a freelance writer and editor. She is also the owner of East of the Moon Tarot, where she offers a range of intuitive services. Currently expecting her first child, Ciara keeps busy creating weird art for charity and hitting the trails of North Georgia. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winner of the first episode of the Food Network’s Doughnut Showdown in 2013, Cumming’s Dutch Monkey Doughnuts offers a vast selection of holed wonders made from scratch daily. The eponymous Dutch Monkey is a favorite, but the Maple Bacon Buttermilk and Cinnamon Roll are also standouts from the rotating list of flavors. Pair your dessert-like treat with a latte, artisanal soda, or cold glass of milk from the local Mountain Fresh Creamery. And did we mention that you can special order donuts with a custom image on top? dutchmonkeydoughnuts.com
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It’s All In Our Name...
nissan • hyundai • honda HeritageRomeHyundai.com • RomeNissan.com • HeritageRomeHonda.com 706.291.2277
Celebrating the Joys of Biking Cruising around on two wheels is more popular than ever these days. And there are countless reasons why. BY KATHY PATRICK
Where to Ride
learned to ride a bike at an early age, back when the ground seemed softer and not nearly as far down as it does today. My bike had high-rise handlebars with streamers hanging off them, plus a banana seat I sat on while I cruised the sidewalks in my hometown of Detroit. Years later, I pedaled my 10-speed on Michigan State University’s campus, carrying it up two flights of dormitory stairs every day to keep it clean, shiny, and not stolen. Fast forward, and I am still pushing the pedals, though my biking is less for transportation now and more for exercise, recreation, sightseeing, and fun. I’m not the only one who enjoys getting out on two wheels. A recent study reported that more than 103 million Americans ride bikes. That number has seen a significant spike since the start of the pandemic, as more and more people are rushing to their nearest outfitter to get a new set of wheels or are brushing off the bikes that have been gathering dust in their garages. Cycling is not only a pandemic-friendly way to get outside; it’s good for your heart and, for those who commute to work by bike rather than car, good for the environment. Plus, there’s a definite sense of nostalgia and wonder to it. John F. Kennedy once said, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride,” and I couldn’t agree more. So hop aboard and join the
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•V iking Trail at Berry College •A rabia Mountain Trail •C hickamauga Battlefield •S ilver Comet Trail •G eorgia Antebellum Trail •B ig Creek Greenway •C arrollton Greenbelt •R ockdale River Trail •S outh River Trail •S tone Mountain Trail •F all Line Trace and Chattahoochee Riverwalk • T ennessee Riverpark (Chattanooga) •C hief Ladiga Trail (eastern Alabama)
biking train. If you don’t already own a bike, the first step is to decide what you’ll primarily use it for: meandering solo rides savoring scenery and dusting off a few physical and mental cobwebs, family rides with multiple generations joining in, or longdistance rides, like the century rides of 100-plus miles, to name a few examples. Once that’s decided, visit a store specializing in bikes or outdoor gear, ask the staff for help deciding what size bike is right for you, and then test-ride a few different models. Riding comfortably is key, particularly when it comes to the seat, or more correctly, the saddle. The posture of your bike (upright, racing, distance, mountain biking) affects saddle choice. Keep in mind that a bigger, cushier saddle isn’t always the best choice. Picking one that’s too wide or too soft can be devastating to parts of your anatomy whose comfort you’re
not used to worrying about. The width of the saddle should support the “sit bones” to keep pressure off the perineum, but not so wide that it causes rubbing and chafing. Invest in bike shorts or pants with built-in cushioning. E-bikes are an increasingly popular option, having the elements of a traditional bicycle plus a motor and rechargeable battery. Electronic bikes can do the heavy lifting for you on varied or difficult terrain, but you’re free to pedal on your own at any time. Best of all, an e-bike allows you to enjoy riding regardless of your fitness level. Keep in mind, though, that an e-bike is generally heavier, so it may be a beast to lift when you want to store it or attach it to your car’s bike rack. There are loads of great places to get out on your bike that don’t involve traffic and cars. Phone apps like Trailforks and MTB Project help cyclists find paved trails that are separated from motorized traffic and are outfitted with things like bathrooms, water fountains, and repair stations. They also share info on local places of interest, watering holes, and the like. Some popular paths, known as “rails to trails,” are repurposed railroad tracks now used for walking, running, and cycling. Besides choosing a safe place to ride, you need to equip yourself with the proper gear, including a helmet that fits properly and is in good condition (check it for cracks). Make yourself visible using headlights and taillights in flashing mode, even in the daytime. Wear clothing with reflective surfaces, side or back pockets, and a close fit. I like having a bike computer to keep me updated on distance traveled, speed, duration, and calories burned. Skip the earphones so you can listen to the sounds of nature, and invest instead in a good pair of biking glasses with lenses that switch out. You’ll want a good bike lock so you can stow your wheels while you stop to have a bite to eat or sightsee. Think too about how you’ll transport your bike. Bike racks can mount on the trunk, hitch, or roof of cars, and upright racks can fit in truck beds. Roof racks are great, but make sure you can
Fun Facts • Air-filled tires were used on • In the Netherlands, 30% of bicycles before they were all trips are on bicycles, and on automobiles. seven out of eight Dutch people over the age of 15 own • Riding 2,434 miles uses the a bike. energy equivalent of one gallon of gas. • Orville and Wilbur Wright, the brothers who built the • The world’s longest bicycle is first flying airplane, operated 92 feet. a small bike repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. They used their • The first patent for an electric bike was submitted in 1895. bicycle workshop to make the 1903 Wright Flyer. • In a 1980 presentation, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said of • In 1935, 25-year-old Fred the personal computer, “It’s A. Birchmore circled the the equivalent of a bicycle for globe by bike. The entire trip our minds.” covered 40,000 miles. He pedaled about 25,000 miles, • According to the 2020 World wearing out seven sets of tires, Happiness Report, countries with the rest of the distance with high bicycle use tend to traveled by boat. be among the happiest.
comfortably lift your bike that high and make doubly sure you’re careful to avoid parking decks and covered drive-thrus when the bike is up there. Enjoy riding, be safe, and expand your biking to new places and experiences. It’s been said that Albert Einstein invented the theory of relativity while riding a bike, so who knows what may come of your next cycling adventure. Kathy Patrick is a longtime biking enthusiast who rides for exercise, fun, and vacations. Whether on her own bike or an upmarket rental, Kathy loves seeing the world on two wheels. She lives in Rome, GA, with her husband, Marty Cipollini, and is often seen locally tooling around in her blue helmet.
Going on Vacation? Pack Your Bike My husband and I like planning vacations and short trips around biking. We enjoyed, for example, a bike and barge trip on the Danube River, where at night, we’d sleep on the boat, and in the daytime, we’d ride along the Danube. A supported trip across the length of Mallorca was a fantastic combination of incredible scenery, fabulous food, and terrific local wines. We self-organized a California trip using a rental car to travel the Pacific Coast Highway, renting bikes at various towns and wine areas, then driving between biking destinations. We biked the Florida Keys from north to south, including across the scary and windy Seven Mile Bridge. The Tennessee Riverpark in Chattanooga is a regular riding spot for us, where we can pedal 30-plus miles on beautiful trails with zero cars. And closer to home (see “Where to Ride”), we’ve ridden many of our great local paths, including the 61.5-mile-long Silver Comet Trail endto-end. Cycling is an ideal way to get out there and explore the world, so next time you’re planning to hit the road, consider hitting it on two wheels. www.nwgeorgialiving.com | 27
B Y JI LL
CELEBRATING YOUR AGE — NO MATTER WHAT DECADE YOU’RE IN BE
C KE R
Positive thoughts about being in your twenties through eighties, and, yes, even your nineties. Like death and taxes, getting older is inevitable. But age is really just a state of mind. So you might as well embrace where you’re at in life and enjoy the journey. Because as Abraham Lincoln once quipped, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Here’s what some other famous folks had to say about the benefits of being a certain age.
20 YOUR TWENTIES
“I’m never so sure as I was in my mid-twenties.” actress Meryl Streep
“Happiness comes out of being willing to do your work in your twenties to find out who you are, what you love.” writer Candace Bushnell
“When you are in your twenties, even if you’re confused and uncertain about your aims and purposes, you have a strong sense of what life itself is, and of what you in life are, and might become.” British author Julian Barnes, in The Sense of an Ending
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30 YOUR THIRTIES
“All that I know I learned after I was 30.” French statesman Georges Clemenceau
“I didn’t even start dancing until I was in my thirties, and it was like flying.” entertainer Dick Van Dyke
“It’s really something for people who are approaching 30 to take a look at what that means to them. I think turning 30 is a chance to re-identify with yourself.” actor Neil Patrick Harris
The Art of Aging Gracefully
40 YOUR FORTIES
“There’s something freeing about 40. There’s something that allowed me to walk the walk and talk the talk of being the woman that I always wanted to be.” actress Gabrielle Union
“Life really does begin at 40. Up until then, you are just doing research.”
Swiss psychiatrist and theoretician Carl Jung
“As you get older, you get better at so many things. My friends who are older than me — which is most of them — are a lot more caustic than they used to be. But a lot of them only became great when they turned 40. Everything is a little bit sexier when you’re older. You’re sexier. You’re more confident. You can do what you want.” comedian Chelsea Handler
“It’s the first time in my life that my age has met up with where my life is, and it’s perfect.” actress Drew Barrymore
50 YOUR FIFTIES
“The face you have at 25 is the face God gave you, but the face you have after 50 is the face you earned.” supermodel Cindy Crawford
“By the time we hit 50, we have learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves.” Canadian actress Marie Dressler
60 YOUR SIXTIES
“I may sometimes think I’d like to look like I’m 30 and feel like I’m 30, but I’ve benefited immensely from the experience and wisdom these years have brought me, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” “Now that I’m over 60, I’m veering toward respectability.” actress Shelley Winters
“At 60, I know little more about wisdom than I did at 30, but I know a great deal more about folly.” literary academic and aphorist Mason Cooley
70 YOUR SEVENTIES
“To be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old.” physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
“Being 70 is not a sin.”
Israeli politician Golda Meir
“Life has got to be lived—that’s all there is to it. At 70, I would say the advantage is that you take life more calmly. You know that ‘this, too, shall pass!’” former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
80 YOUR EIGHTIES
“The advantage of being 80 years old is that one has many people to love.” French film director Jean Renoir
90 YOUR NINETIES
“The best thing about being in your nineties is you’re spoiled rotten. Everybody spoils you like mad and they treat you with such respect because you’re old. Little do they know, you haven’t changed. You haven’t changed in [the brain]. You’re just 90 everyplace else.” actress Betty White
comedienne Lucille Ball
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” writer and activist Betty Friedan
“We don’t grow older, we grow riper.” painter Pablo Picasso
“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” novelist Franz Kafka
“Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better.” actress Ingrid Bergman
“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” Polish poet Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
“Those who love deeply never grow old. They may die of old age, but they die young.” founding father Benjamin Franklin
“Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.” Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” industrialist Henry Ford
“I’m baffled that anyone might not think women get more beautiful as they get older. Confidence comes with age, and looking beautiful comes from the confidence someone has in themselves.” actress Kate Winslet
“There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” actress Sophia Loren
AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins
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Man’s Best Friend The enduring bond between dogs and their humans. Because let’s face it, they own us.
BY JENNIFER ALMAND Photo, this page, by Sharon Fuente, Lifesong Photography
here’s a saying that goes, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” This is absolute fact because as anybody knows, it’s almost impossible to be sad when you see a dog. I suppose that’s why I love them so much. I love everything about being a dog mom. I love the muddy prints on my floor. I love that if I wear black, I have to carry a lint roller with me. I love forgoing my favorite chair because a certain someone is already lying on it. I say I “love” these things because if I don’t, then I’m not meant to be a dog owner. There are certain consolations you have to make as a canine parent. But the good far outweighs any bad. I got my first dog, Levi, by accident. I actually went to the local shelter to adopt a cat. I was 25, single, and had always thought of myself as a cat person. But I had to walk through the dog kennels to get to the cat room. All of the dogs were barking except
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for this one German shepherd. He was standing up on the chain-link fence, and we made eye contact. I placed my hand in front of his snout, and he licked me. I don’t know how to explain the feeling, but at that moment, I realized that this dog had chosen me. I was powerless. I had no clue about dogs then, but thankfully I’ve learned a lot since that fateful day 22 years ago.
Pick of the Litter I’ve had eight dogs in those 22 years: three German shepherds, one chocolate Labrador, one golden Labrador, one blue heeler, and two pit bull mixes. And, I promise, every single one of them had or has their own quirks and personality. If you’re interested in owning a dog, you should really research which breed best fits your demeanor and lifestyle because all breeds are different. Maybe volunteer at a local shelter to gain some insight. I personally love German shepherds. They’re graceful, highly intelligent, protective of their pack (including children), and have a high energy level. My second favorite out of all the dogs I’ve owned is the oft-maligned pit bull. I find them extremely affectionate, slightly mischievous, and chunks of pure love.
How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? You’ve probably heard the slogan, “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” While all but one of my dogs have been adopted, and I’m a big proponent of adopting homeless pets, I believe breeding dogs is important, too, because it preserves the pure breeds for the future. It’s vital, though, to research your breeder to ensure you’re not contributing to the puppy mill industry. Puppy mills exist to breed dogs fast and for huge profit, but they’re usually unsanitary, inhumane, and often breed defective dogs because they’re unregulated. These dogs are typically sold to larger pet stores for resale. So if you’re buying a purebred, check out the breeder. Go to their home, see the condition of all the puppies, make sure the dogs have been to the vet, and never buy a dog that’s less than eight weeks old because it needs that time to bond with its mother. I’m also wary of online dog breeders because if they were truly a reputable breeder, they’d invite you to see their facility. Adopted dogs are often the most grateful to have a good home and be treated well, but you never really know what they’ve been through. Abuse,
neglect, and hunger can permanently scar a dog, resulting in personality issues such as food aggression and the fear of being touched. Be prepared for that. Most credible shelters and adoption agencies will test their dogs for aggression towards humans and other dogs or cats. You need to know too if the dog is suitable to be around children, will get along with existing family pets, or perhaps doesn’t like men. It’s important to have patience with these dogs. Every time I adopt a new dog, it takes a minimum of two weeks to integrate them successfully into my pack.
Chew on This One of the most confusing issues is what to feed your dog. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around the internet, so you need to do some homework. There’s a website I like, DogFoodAdvisor.com, that ranks top foods after researching their ingredients and consulting veterinarians. I have bounced around the baffling world of dog food for years. When I was younger, I thought the big-box store brand food was fine; then I heard what was in it. Yuck! Now I’m more selective because I’ve witnessed how food can affect a www.nwgeorgialiving.com | 31
Canine Cinema Here, we recommend five great movies made about or involving dogs. Yes, films like Old Yeller and Marley & Me are worth a watch, but we’re focusing more on the ones that won’t have you sobbing into a hankie. So grab a bowl of popcorn for you and some doggie treats for your best pal and enjoy the show. 1. Best In Show. Funnyman Christopher Guest co-wrote and directed this laugh-out-loud mockumentary revolving around the cutthroat world of dog shows. 2. Must Love Dogs. Starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, this romantic yarn was based on a bestseller written by Georgia’s own Claire Cook. 3. Turner and Hooch. This comical account of the misadventures that happen after clean-freak cop Tom Hanks inherits a destructive mastiff with a drooling problem has earned a place in pop culture history. 4. As Good As It Gets. Leads Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt both earned Oscars for their roles in this touching story about a cold, narcissistic novelist whose heart is melted by a pint-size pup named Verdell. 5. Lady and the Tramp. An animated Disney classic dating back to 1955, Lady and the Tramp follows a street-smart stray who falls in love with a refined cocker spaniel. The spaghetti-eating scene is priceless. — Jill Becker 32 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
dog’s overall health. Right now, I use Purina Pro Plan. I went grain-free for about a year but quit when I noticed that my dogs gained a lot of weight and after my vet discouraged using it due to the increased occurrence of heart issues associated with grain-free foods.
Sit, Rover, Sit Training a dog is sometimes the most difficult thing an owner has to deal with. Many feel like their dog trained them instead of the other way around. Dogs require leadership or else they misbehave. That’s especially true for large dog breeds because you need to be able to control an animal that weighs almost as much as a human. Basic commands are easy to teach by simply using treats as a reward, but professional training may be needed for more advanced commands. Electronic training collars are especially useful when teaching high-drive dogs that also have a little attitude. I’ve successfully used e-collars, and my dogs learned quickly to obey, and their attitude disappeared. Another tool for large dogs is a Herm Sprenger prong collar, which helps dogs control themselves for better leash control. I won’t take my 1-year-old German shepherd anywhere without one, because he is 90 pounds of pure muscle and will literally drag me down the street. Some owners argue that these tools are cruel, but if you lose control of your large-breed dog, it can be extremely dangerous, so it’s really for the dog’s own safety. Not training or controlling your dog properly is what’s truly cruel. Professional trainers typically cost several thousand dollars and require the dog to be away from you for several
months, but I’ve had friends who’ve used these handlers to work with difficult dogs, and they’ve had wonderful results.
All Play and No Work Since I live on eight acres, my dogs can exercise and expel their energy at home, so I don’t have a lot of experience with dog parks. I like the idea of a park that allows dogs to run free, but I’m also leery of other dogs and their temperaments. Dogs can easily get in a scuffle if provoked or if they’re generally fearful. Know your dog’s psyche and how it will react with other dogs before taking it to the dog park. Watch how it acts around other dogs at the vet’s office, as that will tell you a lot. Having four or five dogs at once like I do, I’ve seen how even dogs that are usually friendly with each other can end up in the occasional tussle. If you’re planning to frequent a dog park, socialize your dog early and often.
The Tail End At this point, you may be considering becoming a new member of the Dog Owners of America. I hope I was able to give you some of the ins and outs and ups and downs to help you with your decision. If you already have dogs, I hope you learned something new that helps you with your pack. Dog ownership is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, but it’s not easy. If you want easy, get yourself a cat. Jennifer Almand is the owner of Almand Specialty Painting & Design. She and her husband, Rick, live with their four dogs (fur baby Ragnar, at left) in Kingston, GA. Find her on Facebook or call 706-346-1590.
Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong.
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An optimistic outlook can improve both your mental and physical health. BY DANA LYNN THOMPSON
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ealing with the COVID-19 pandemic of the past year has challenged us all in ways we could never have imagined. Sweeping changes in how we live our daily lives have left many of us with feelings of fear and helplessness. Suddenly, our jobs are at risk, we must socially distance from family and friends, we’re trapped at home for prolonged periods of time, and we’re worried about our health and the health of our loved ones. It’s easy to become anxious and negative with so much disarray and uncertainty in the world. As a recovering pessimist, I understand these feelings all too well. In my defense, I come by my pessimism honestly. I was born into a long line of worriers. It’s one of the more endearing yet equally frustrating traits of the Seymour side of my family. For years, I wore my pessimism like a badge of honor, thinking that those with positive attitudes were just out of
touch with the truth. I prided myself on being grounded and realistic. I saw my worrying as a way to show family and friends that I cared, and I considered myself strong, not negative. Now I realize, though, that I didn’t have to follow in my family’s genetic footsteps and that having a positive attitude actually makes you stronger and healthier. In her book The How of Happiness, research psychologist and University of California professor Sonja Lyubomirsky noted that we each have a genetically programmed “happiness set point” that determines 50% of our happiness levels, while only 10% is controlled by our life’s circumstances. This leaves a whopping 40% of our happiness that’s within our power to change.
There’s Power in the Positive This is great news for those of us who feel so much of our own happiness is out of our control. Your circumstances have truly little effect on your overall happiness, and you can increase your positive thinking even if you’re naturally pessimistic. Positive thinking is a skill you can learn and benefit from rather than a personality trait. Researchers continue to explore the benefits of positive thinking and optimism on health. Just a few of the benefits include: • Increased life span • Lower rates of depression • Lower levels of distress • Greater resistance to illness • Lower blood pressure • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress It’s still not entirely known why positive people tend to be healthier. It could be that they live healthier lifestyles and get more physical activity, eat a better diet, and smoke and drink less. Having a sunny outlook also helps you cope better with taxing events, which lowers the harmful effects of stress on your body.
Nix the Negative Thinking Pastor, author, and speaker Charles Swindoll once famously wrote, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Never was a statement more fitting in regards to the times we’re currently
living in. So, what reactions should you be looking for that signal that you’re thinking negatively? First, look for any negative thoughts that may be consistently entering your mind. Ask yourself the following questions. Negative filtering. Do you often overlook the good things in a situation and fixate on the bad? If, for example, you get a raise at work, do you worry it just means more responsibility and longer hours at the office? Blaming yourself. Do you tend to take on the blame when something bad or disappointing happens? For instance, if your friend is unable to meet you for dinner, do you automatically assume it’s because they don’t want to see you? Expecting the worst. If you experience a setback, do you then expect the worst to happen? Say, for example, you stub your toe first thing in the morning. Do you think the rest of your day is doomed? Black and white thinking. Do you see things as good or bad with no middle ground? If things aren’t perfect, are they a total disaster?
How to Practice Positive Thinking Once you can recognize your negative thought patterns, it’s time to replace them with positive habits. Try these simple exercises to boost your positive thinking. Reframe your situation. When something bad happens that’s out of your control, try to see the good in the situation. This was especially difficult at the height of the COVID lockdown when many people lost their jobs or had to work remotely suddenly, children were home from school, and social distancing meant missing out on many of the fun things you had planned for the summer. But something good almost always comes out of the bad, and if you look long and hard enough, you’ll see it. Thanks to the pandemic, my husband’s livelihood as a full-time musician literally disappeared overnight, and I had to transition from an office job to working remotely. I have severe stomach issues brought on by stress, and in the first weeks of the lockdown, I had no way to get in to see a doctor. It was hard, but the positive outcomes were that my husband and I got to spend more time together, we completed a lot of house projects,
our yard never looked better, and we were able to take time to refocus and re-evaluate our priorities. Keep a gratitude journal. It may sound cliche, but when you take a few minutes each day to jot down the things you’re thankful for, it’s easier to focus on the good in your life. Studies show that people who keep a gratitude journal are not only more positive, they also sleep better and feel more thankful. Imagine a bright future. Write down a positive vision for your future career, health, hobbies, and relationships. When you imagine your life going well, research suggests you’ll be more positive in the present. Focus on your strengths. Each day for a week, concentrate on one of your strengths, like kindness, creativity, or organizational skills. Write down how you can use that strength in a new way that day. Then act on it. Studies have shown that when people recognize and act on their strengths, it increases their positivity and lowers their signs of depression by the end of the week. And, better yet, the benefits continued to be felt six months later. I personally highly recommend yoga and meditation. Even just five minutes of meditation in the morning sets you up for a more positive day. We all hope that the pandemic will soon be a distant memory and we’ll all be able to breathe a little easier. Because there are enough challenges in life as it is. But remember that even if you can’t change your circumstances, you can change your attitude. Dana Lynn Thompson is a writer, dog mom, and founder of Surviving Everyday Stress, a blog for people suffering with IBS and anxiety. She hopes to make a difference in the lives of people struggling with everyday stress. Dana lives on a small farm with her rock star husband, three rescue dogs, and two horses. She can be reached at danalynnthompson.com. www.nwgeorgialiving.com | 35
d GET COOKIN’ From proper knife skills to pantry essentials, here are a few basic ingredients every budding chef needs to whip up success in the kitchen.
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The fabulous Miss Piggy once said, “Smart cooks realize the easiest cookbook to use is the Yellow Pages and the handiest appliance in the kitchen is the telephone.”
hile Miss Piggy’s technology choices may be outdated, the sentiment still rings true. Busy lives and remote work, learning, and socializing make ready-made food a sensible, easy option. But before long, eating out or ordering in may become problematic to your palate, waistline, and wallet. This kitchen primer can help refresh your repertoire and recharge your cooking — perhaps even engaging appliances other than your phone!
Staples Help Make Great Home Meals Here are the essentials you should stock in your pantry and fridge: • Fresh vegetables that keep well: squash, carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, collards • Hard cheeses (grate them yourself): Parmesan, Asiago, Pecorino Romano, manchego • Frozen proteins • Beans: Chickpeas, white, black, pinto, refried • Tomato sauce, diced or crushed tomatoes • Tomato paste • Nuts: shelled pistachios, pecans, almonds • Broths: chicken, vegetable, beef, bone • Hot sauces: try different heats and flavors • Sauces: chipotle peppers in adobo
sauce, pesto, hoisin, sweet Thai chile, organic ketchup • Vinegars: white wine; unseasoned rice; flavored balsamic like cranberry/ walnut, grilled lemon, or mission fig (for finishing dishes) • Oils: olive, canola, toasted sesame, hot chile • Dry salad dressing/dip mixes • Salts flavored with herbs, flowers, wine, espresso, truffles • Peppercorns: pink, green, red, white, blended • Rice and grains: wild, quinoa, polenta, Arborio, brown jasmine • Pasta and noodles: linguini, bucatini, ramen, soba, vermicelli • Canned tuna and salmon • Frozen lemon juice
Food Safety First
• Chill food promptly. Refrigerate perishable food within an hour of serving. Thaw frozen food in water, microwave, or refrigerator — never on the counter.
“When in doubt, throw it out” is an important kitchen mantra. These CDC recommendations are also key to home food safety. • Clean hands and surfaces (faucets, sinks, the inside and outside of appliances, cupboards, and hardware) frequently with antibacterial. • Separate and avoid cross-contamination. Raw meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods. Bag them separately at the grocery store, have specific cutting boards for foods that contaminate, and refrigerate ready-to-eat foods on a shelf above those that contaminate or drip. • Cook foods to the correct temperature. Go to foodsafety.org for temperature references and food safety practices.
Knife Know-How Knives can be expensive, but they needn’t be. Visit several stores to try out knives: Just like shoes, different ones are needed, but they must feel right in your hand. I like a heftier weight and large handle, but you may prefer something different. Let your budget dictate, and don’t make any impulse purchases.
Basic knives you’ll need:
Creamy Southwestern Bean Soup Serves 6 This delicious one-dish microwave soup uses pantry staples and comes together quickly. 1 cup vegetable stock 3 15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained 1 14-oz. can stewed tomatoes, Mexican-style 1½ cups canned corn 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp. cilantro, minced, plus more to serve 4 tbsp. canned green chiles, diced ½ cup lowfat milk Salt and pepper to taste
Combine vegetable stock, beans, tomatoes, corn, garlic, cilantro, and green chiles in a 2 ½-quart microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cook in microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove and carefully puree about 1 ½ cups of mixture (caution, it will be hot). Return puree to bowl and add milk. Cover and cook on high until heated through, around 5-8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Paring knife • Serrated bread knife • 8-inch santoku knife • 10- or 12-inch chef’s knife www.nwgeorgialiving.com | 37
d GET COOKIN’
Chipotle Ranch Dip Serves 16 Serve with colorful veggies cut in bite-size pieces or your favorite corn or tortilla chips. 1 1 2½ 3 1 1 1-2 16-24
cup mayonnaise cup sour cream tbsp. dry ranch dressing mix green onions, sliced garlic clove, minced tbsp. lime juice chipotle chiles in adobe, to taste oz. assorted raw vegetables for dipping
Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, ranch dressing mix, green onions, garlic, lime juice, and chipotle chiles together in a bowl until blended. Serve immediately with your chopped veggies or refrigerate until needed.
Bucatini With Cauliflower, Capers, and Lemon Serves 4-6 Bucatini is a hollow spaghetti; substitute any long pasta you like. 1 lb. bucatini pasta 5 cups water ¼ cup oil 1 sprig fresh oregano 1 tbsp. oregano leaves ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes 2½ tsp. coarse salt 1 tsp. grated lemon zest 2½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice 4 cups cauliflower florets, finely chopped (1 head) 3 tbsp. capers ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese Lemon wedges and fresh parsley (for serving)
Heat broiler with rack placed 8 inches from heating element. Combine pasta, water, 2 tablespoons oil, oregano, pepper flakes, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large, straight-sided ovenproof skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is reduced and pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon zest and juice. In a bowl, toss cauliflower with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, ½ teaspoon salt, capers, and Parmesan. Sprinkle over pasta in skillet. Broil until cauliflower is golden brown in spots and pasta is heated, about 5 minutes. Toss to combine. Serve with more cheese and pepper flakes, a drizzle of oil, parsley, and lemon wedges.
Chef’s and santoku knives are often mistaken for one another, but chef’s knives have a longer, curved blade, a pointed tip, and are usually heavier. The lighter santoku blade is wider and shorter, the blade turns down at the tip, and it features a Granton edge (dimples that keep food from sticking to the blade). The main distinction is the way the knives hit the board: A chef’s knife requires a back-and-forth rocking motion, while the santoku motion is more of an abrupt chop, chop, chop.
Cutting Food, Not You It’s important to hold knives correctly for precise cutting and keeping fingers intact. When gripping a knife, wrap your hand around its handle while pinching the top of the blade (where it meets the handle) with your thumb and index finger. Your instinct might be to keep your entire hand on the handle, but pinching the blade with your fingers allows more precise handling. Curl the fingers of your non-knife hand into a claw formation when cutting, so the lower knuckles are the first thing your knife could hit. This keeps fingertips safe from any accidental slips while also giving you more control.
Other knife safety tips: • Always have the flat side of food on the cutting board. If there is no flat side, carefully cut one. • Cut the softer side of vegetables, like the inside of a bell pepper, not the skin side. • Keep your knives in good working order by having them professionally sharpened and occasionally touch them up with a home sharpener. • If using a knife to scrape food off a cutting board, use the non-cutting side of the blade, so the cutting edge stays sharp.
Mastering Mise En Place Mise en place is a process taught at culinary schools that can be invaluable to the home cook as well. Translated from the French as “everything in its place,” it refers to organizing recipe components in convenient, accessible ways. First, review your entire recipe, reading it thoroughly to avoid missing any details. Make a prep plan to combine chopping and grating ingredients for multiple dishes being made. Gather tools, dishes, and ingredients before you start and keep them within easy reach. Put chopped items in separate dishes to free up cutting boards. Clean as you go to free up sink and counter space and avoid a big mess. Mise en place can save time while avoiding surprises and unneeded kitchen stress. Now go forth and rule your kitchen. And try out your new skills on the three yummy recipes shown here. Kathy Patrick is a personal chef and barre instructor in Rome, GA. She loves cooking, traveling, water-skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, and bicycling with her husband, Berry College professor Martin Cipollini. She is president of the Georgia chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation, a volunteer organization whose goal is restoring the iconic trees.
38 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
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A TASTE OF NW GEORGIA
The Dreaded Question “Where do you want to go eat tonight?”
Now serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner! • Dine-in, drive thru, pick up, catering • Gondola’s Pizza has 50 pizza
combinations to choose and delivery from. Always Buy one Pizza, • Full breakfast Menu from Belgian Get one Free! Waffles to Eggs Benedict • Breakfast Special: 2 Eggs, 2 slices of • Full dinner menu with Bacon and 2 Pancakes $5.99 (Mon-Fri) Burgers, Calzones, Blackened Chicken Alfredo, • Lunch Specials start at $7.99 Italian Favorites and more. Choose from ten entrees that include a side salad and drink Breakfast: 7am–2pm, M–F, 8am–2pm Sat–Sun Lunch/Dinner: 11am–10pm M–Sun
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595 Riverside Parkway | Rome, GA | 706-204-8381 1403 Dean Avenue | Rome, GA | 706-235-4131 Hours: Mon–Sat: 10:30am–8pm | Sunday: 10:30am–3pm email@example.com 40 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
101 East 2nd Ave. Ste. 320 B Rome, GA 30161 (706) 506-6947
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d FISH OUT OF WATER
Talking the Talk I decided to learn a second language. Did I choose something easy like Spanish? Nyet!
BY RACHEL TURNER
ue to minor knee surgery, I recently had to find something new to experience from my living room recliner. This is as hard as it sounds. I’m supposed to be stepping outside of my comfort zone, after all, and the living room is my literal comfort zone. I eventually decided that it would be the perfect time to immerse myself in another country’s culture. I liked the idea because we’ve all missed traveling, and this felt like a way to have a faux vacation at a time when there was little else I could do for two whole weeks. So the task was simple: Pick a new language to learn and devote myself to studying the country and its culture. I chose to learn Russian, mainly because my son has been obsessed with the Russian alphabet for about a year now and keeps trying to quiz me on it every chance he gets. I have been, up until this point, a huge disappointment to him. So I chose this language and culture for him, and I was actually pretty excited about it. I could take a few language lessons on one of the many apps available, read up on the country’s history and traditions, and experience its most loved foods. And I could do all of this while confined to my living room while I recovered from my operation. With the help of the language app Duolingo, I hopped right into learning how to say basic things like “Hello, my name is Rachel,” which looks a little something like this in print: здравствуйте меня зовут Рейчел. The app has a good free option, and well-thought-out lesson plans to guide you through your chosen language. I assumed I would start my lessons by spending time on the alphabet and direct word translations, but I was
42 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
pleasantly surprised to see that it guides the user directly into sentences and phrases. Word recognition was easy to pick up, but as the lessons got harder, I found that Russian was very difficult to pronounce. In many cases, I couldn’t even understand what certain words were supposed to sound like. I used YouTube and other internet sources to help me pronounce the trickier words. Thankfully, several sites spelled those difficult words out phonetically because Russian definitely did not roll off my tongue. Don’t think for a second that I had any illusions of becoming fluent in Russian. As an American Sign Language (ASL) user, I know that getting conversational practice from native users is key to language mastery, and I know exactly zero people who speak Russian. For serious students, there are language exchange programs that do allow language immersion with native speakers. In addition to the language, I learned a lot about Russian history and culture. It’s a big country with a big history, and I’m sure what I discovered in my two weeks is but a sliver of what makes up Russia and its people. Researching it reminded me of when we were in school and were assigned a big class presentation on something, and you’d spend weeks gathering magazines so you could cut out images and glue them on poster
board. These days, my oldest son simply saves a few Google images and pops them into a PowerPoint slideshow. Does he even know what it’s like to get a hand cramp from using scissors? I also wanted to enjoy some Russian cuisine, but as I was confined to the recliner and Russian restaurants are pretty scarce in this neck of the woods, I settled on frozen pierogies. It’s a lot simpler than I wanted to go in my head, but it at least gave me a smidge of a Russian culinary experience. I spent a lot of time, too much time to admit to, staring at mouthwatering Russian dishes on Pinterest and vowing to come back and do this part better. Overall, I enjoyed the experience. First, it gave me hope that if I were ever in another position where my mobility was limited, there would be interesting things to engage in that weren’t murder show marathons. Second, doing things that bring good stress, like learning a new language, are excellent brain boosters. I’ll definitely do this again, but I think I may pick something simpler like Spanish next time. Adios! Rachel Turner is a freelance writer and humor blogger. Her e-book, Cut Film Cover to Vent: I’m Not Super Woman, But I’m Decent Enough, is available on Amazon.com. A native Georgian, she lives in Woodstock with her husband and two sons. Drop by her blog, rachelwriteshere.com, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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d ROBERT’S WORLD
Celebrations Big and Small
Enjoy time together, whether it’s a simple shared meal or a blowout party.
BY ROBERT SMYTH
like celebrations. Not only is there usually and had a blast. No cake or balloons necessary, just really good food, but they always lift my great conversation, wonderful food, and no kids. spirits, and, let’s face it, we could all use that The no-kids part is key to being able to actually right now. Oh, did I mention there’s usually hear the conversation, by the way. Between my really good food? siblings and me, we have what would be referred to We all like the big celebrations like holidays and as a passel of children. Usually, when the Smyths birthdays, but my favorite kinds are the impromptu invade a restaurant, it sounds like the carnival has ones that just sort of happen. You know the type I’m just gotten into town, and the servers are in the talking about. You’re with a group, and someone back drawing straws to see who has to deal with the lets it slip they just had a birthday, and the next horde. This time it was quiet and sane, and there thing you know, you’re making a cupcake run to wasn’t a single argument about why you can’t have Walmart. Side note: They keep moving the birthday sweet tea on a school night. candles at Walmart, and I end up with $175 worth Celebrations can be bittersweet as well. Recently, of stuff I don’t need and forget the candles. But a dear friend’s father was taken too soon due to this I digress. awful disease our world has had to deal with. What One of my favorite memories was when my wife was supposed to be his birthday celebration turned and I were in Orlando, Florida, into a celebration of his life. There at a work conference. One of my were a few tears, but for the most vendors treated us and several part, it was an observance of what other couples to dinner at a Greek a great guy he was. There were “The place erupted stories and toasts, and some of restaurant called Taverna Opa. At some point during the meal, it was him was left behind in one of his in song and flying announced that it was someone’s favorite places on this earth. It birthday. The place erupted in napkins, and from makes me smile to think about it song and flying napkins, and from now, and I can’t think of a better there, it got fun.” there, it got fun. way to be remembered. To sum the night up, at the Life’s too short as it is, and it end I was dancing on a table, doesn’t really matter if it’s for a the waiters and waitresses and a big event or a small accomplishCanadian hockey team were dancing on tables, a ment; you should always find time to celebrate. Japanese businessman was on a planter dancing, So the next time you locate your misplaced keys, a Hispanic family was singing, there was a belly get ice cream. If you get the kids to school on dancer, and all the cocktails and appetizers were time for a week straight, get a massage. If you and on fire. They had to make us leave so they could your spouse made it through quarantine without a close up. murder investigation, take each other to dinner and A similar thing happened once at a little holeorder dessert. Just find time to celebrate outside in-the-wall in South Georgia, but the cocktails were the normal birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. homemade moonshine a guy was selling out of the You can even give me a call and I might just come back of his pickup. celebrate with you, and we can have sweet tea on a Sometimes the celebration is just a few family school night. members telling stories and sharing a meal. This just happened for my mom and dad’s wedding anniversary. We all met at Linde Marie’s in Cave Spring
46 | NW GEORGIA LIVING Celebration 2021
9 MEDICAL DRIVE CARTERSVILLE, GA 30121
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100 W. 2nd Avenue, Rome, GA www.nwgeorgialiving.com | 47
Choose Heatherwood,where living is easy!
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The Rock Garden, Calhoun
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When we care for our woodlands, we care for future generations. That’s why we‘ve worked with groups across Georgia to plant and protect more than 14 million trees over the past 15 years. After all, what we do off the grid is just as important as the clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy we provide on it. And that’s a different kind of energy.
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Northwest Georgia Living Celebration 2021