NW Georgia Living Magazine MAY/JUNE 2023 Volume 15 Issue 3

Page 1

Best of the Best!

A celebration of Northwest Georgia’s top shops, restaurants, and activities.

An Outdoor Oasis at Home Create the ultimate hangout destination. Straight from the Farm Recipes for savoring spring and summer’s freshest foods.

Inspiring, Informing, Enriching Complimentary MAY/JUNE 2023 Volume 14 | Issue 3 NW GEORGIA

Your Connected Care Network in Northwest Georgia

Your Care Network Extends Far and Wide

With nationally recognized care, your AdventHealth network gives you access to a full range of connected health services through every age and stage of life.

In addition to three award-winning hospitals across Northwest Georgia, you have access to more than 30 primary care providers, three urgent care locations and a variety of specialty care for your entire family including orthopedics, cardiovascular care, urology, cancer care and more. We’re here to help you feel whole.

Learn more about the AdventHealth network at AdventHealthGeorgia.com or call 706-249-9698.

Three Award-Winning Hospitals 90+ Primary Care and Specialty Providers

Three Emergency Rooms

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4 Letter From the Publisher Wine and Friends are a Great Blend. 6 Calendar for Living Happenings in our ’hood. 18 departments contents MAY/JUNE 2023 | VOLUME 14 | ISSUE 3 features 24 Inside Out Say goodbye to a boring outdoor space and hello to an at-home oasis. 28 5 Things Your Family Photographer Wants You to Know Secrets to fantastic photos and making the most of the experience. The GEM Theatre 10 Dog Eared Modern-day romance reads to swoon over. 12 Dollars & Sense Life insurance and a liability umbrella policy can provide the missing piece of the financial plan puzzle — protection. 38 Robert’s World Do We Have to Take Another Picture? 40 Just Sayin’ A motto to remember. 14 Community Getting to know Newby Farm + Vineyard co-owner and vineyard manager Shannon Kennedy-Newby. cover story 18 The Best of Northwest Georgia Our third celebration of activities, eateries, and more that make this neck of the woods the premier place to call home. 16 Wanderlust Proof positive that Asheville deserves your undivided attention. 34 Get Cookin’ Simply delicious recipes for savoring farmers market finds. 2 | NW GEORGIA LIVING MAY/JUNE 2023
100 W. 2nd Avenue, Rome, Georgia • 706-378-4837 • hawthorn.com To view our menu, scan the QR code.

Wine and Friends are a Great Blend

I’m a fan of Mike Rowe’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It TV series, where he spends the day profiling unique jobs. Recently, I asked Shannon Kennedy-Newby, co-owner of Newby Farm + Vineyard, if she’d let me shadow her work, and to my delight, she agreed. I’ve been to several vineyards in Napa, Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada, and closer ones in North Georgia, sampling wines and enjoying the scenery. The Newby Vineyard, the only vineyard in Rome, Georgia, is as picturesque as the others, with sprawling vines over 4 acres of the 88-acre farm.

I took one of my best friends, Wannetta Beck, who recently moved back to Rome, and when we arrived at the farm, in the distant horizon, a pack of dogs headed our way, welcoming us with tails wagging. Shannon followed closely behind in her work truck, and we loaded up to help her. After pruning and the vines begin growing, extraneous shoots must be removed so that two buds at each spur can focus on increasing fruit production. Our task that day was shoot-thinning. There’s about a hand length between each spur on the vine and lots of extra leaves that must be pulled off. It sounds easy, but you must ensure you don’t pull off the two vital buds. Netta naturally started going down the row, plucking away like an experienced field hand, while I hovered close, asking Shannon to guide me carefully. I can’t fathom how one woman can take care of it all and raise a family, but she has a true passion that shows through her enthusiasm.

A soft rain ended our session, and I hadn’t broken a sweat. I intended to do some real work, although it became more of a learning experience. Newby Vineyard also has a winery, and they manufacture and bottle their wine sold at their tasting room in downtown Rome. Shannon shared their plans to renovate an old barn at the farm into a tasting room, venue, and designated area to produce the wine. Five types of wine grapes are grown, and their Blanc du Bois white wine and Lenoir red wine, named after the grapes they’re made from, are award-winning. Before we left, Shannon treated me to a bottle of each. Since I had to continue my research, I planned to relish them over the weekend with friends.

Admittedly, I’m far from a wine snob. If you open my fridge, there’s usually boxed wine. But I loved both the Newby wines. The Blanc du Bois is a “dry, clean white wine with notes of honeysuckle and a crisp but soft finish,” described Shannon. It was moreish, a South African term I learned when visiting the Neil Ellis Vineyard in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which means once you try it, you’ll want more! As the saying goes, you only live once — so drink great wine, and who knew some of the best wines come from Rome? So, move over boxed wine; there’s a new kid in town.

Publisher and Founder Editor-in-Chief

Laura Wood Erickson Editor

Alexandra McCray


Creative Director Andi Counts


Mackenzie Kuhn

Copy Editor Elin Woods

Contributing Writers

Jill Becker

Ciara N. Carver

Ande Frazier

Andrea Kelley

Cate Levy

Alexandra McCray

Kathy Patrick

Keri Smith

Robert Smyth

Elin Woods

Web Master

Tracy Slack & Associates


Laura Wood Erickson wood.laura@yahoo.com

Contact us at: (706) 346-9858 wood.laura@yahoo.com NW Georgia Living P.O. Box 72546 Marietta, GA 30007


welcome all contributions, but we assume no responsibility for unsolicited material. NW Georgia Living is published bimonthly by L. Wood LLC. Copyright © 2023.
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My day at Newby Farm + Vineyard started with a warm welcome.

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Sister Act

May 5-7, 12-14

Historic DeSoto Theatre, Rome

After being placed in protective custody, Deloris Van Cartier finds herself disguised as a nun and living in a convent. The former disco diva struggles to adapt to her new lifestyle but soon uses her abilities to bless the local church and community. The Rome Little Theatre’s production of this musical based on the iconic movie is sure to make you smile. romelittletheatre.com

BBQ & Blues Festival

May 6, 11am-9pm

Logtown Area, Downtown Adairsville

This gathering hosted by the city will feature a people’s choice contest, a car show, live music throughout the day, food and craft vendors, plus a beer garden. adairsvillega.net

Cave Spring Bacon Fest and Car Show

May 6, 10am-3pm

Rolater Park, Cave Spring

Some might say the only thing better than bacon is more bacon, and this festival has plenty of it! Sample delicious dishes all featuring the tasty, salt-cured meat, then cruise through the car show and see what’s on offer from vendors.


May Market at Rose Lawn

May 6-7

Rose Lawn Museum, Cartersville

Bask in the beauty of 200 heirloom roses and chat with the gardeners who care for them. In addition to shopping opportunities, entertainment, food, and tours of the Victorian house museum will also be available.

facebook.com/ roselawnmuseum

RoFlo Fest

May 6, 10am-4pm

Downtown Rome

Now featuring a new name, downtown Rome’s rebranded artsfest will bring a day of fun to Broad Street. Shop vendor offerings and retailer sidewalk sales, see local musicians perform, and let

the kiddos enjoy activities provided by nonprofits during this celebration of Rome and Floyd County’s art and culture.


MLM is for Murder (Or Your Side Hustle is Killing Us)

May 12-14, 19-20

Historic Legion Theatre, Cartersville

In this dark comedy presented by Pumphouse Players, when a stay-at-home mom’s side hustle takes a deadly turn, things pick up for her and her former high school classmate turned true crime podcaster. But their success comes at a steep price. pumphouseplayers.com

May 13, 6-8pm

Bartow History Museum, Cartersville

Delight in seasonal cocktails in the museum while learning from the Southern Cove team about the spirits inside your glass. Venture outside, and a master gardener will teach you how to create a windowsill planter for the herbs used as garnishes for the evening’s drinks. bartowhistorymuseum.org

Downtown Gallery’s Spring Exhibition

Opening Reception

May 13, 4-6pm

The Downtown Gallery, Cartersville

Get an exclusive look at the juried artwork of the Booth Photography and Art Guilds during this opening reception. boothmuseum.org


Duck Derby 2023

May 13, 10am-3pm

Osborne Park, Euharlee

See 20,000 rubber ducks race down the Etowah River from downtown Euharlee in hopes of winning first place and scoring their duck adopter the $10,000 cash prize. Hosted by Advocates for Children, a nonprofit serving children and families who’ve been abused and neglected, the festival will also have food trucks, craft vendors, and local entertainment in store. duckrace.com/cartersville

Music by the Tracks

May 20, 7-9pm

1 Friendship Plaza, Downtown Cartersville

Babe’s Bayou will take the stage for the first installment of the year of this free community concert series presented by the Glenda Mitchell Law Firm. facebook.com/ downtowncartersville/events

Ridz by the River Spring 2023 Car Show

May 20, 10am-4pm

210 Etowah Springs Rd. SW., Cartersville

Feast your eyes on a bevy of classic cars and hot rods at

this old-fashioned gathering that includes door prizes, food vendors, and a kids’ area.


BBQ Annual Fundraiser

May 26-27


Head to the Rome Civic Center parking lot on Friday or Ridge Ferry Park on Saturday and scoop up some barbecue prepared by Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q and support this fundraiser for renovations at the Fairview Brown School in Cave Spring.

facebook.com/fairviewschool restorationproject

Outdoor Painting Class Series

May 27, June 24, and July 8 Paradise Garden, Summerville Tap into your creative side during a three-part outdoor guided painting class led by Summerville artist and Paradise Garden staff member Donnie Davis. Sign up for all three or drop in for one class.

facebook.com/howardfinsters paradisegardens

First Free Thursday

June 1, 4-8pm

Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville

See the latest exhibits on display without having to pay museum admission. boothmuseum.org

First Friday Concerts

June 2, 7pm

Town Green, Rome

The annual outdoor concert series returns and kicks off with Party Nation, a band known for getting people on their feet.


Roland Hayes Birthday Celebration featuring Jackson Caesar

June 2, 7pm

Harris Arts Center, Calhoun

In honor of Roland Hayes’

birthday, join Jackson Caesar as he honors the life of the acclaimed tenor and composer through song and lecture. harrisartscenter.com

Downtown History Tours: Movie Theatres

June 3, 9:45am

Rome Area History Center

Sit back and relax as a tour guide tells you all about a unique theatre location while you ride the Roman Chariots.

June 3, 1-3pm

410 E. 2nd St., Rome

Get up close and personal with the Rome Clocktower. During your visit, you can see the city from above and, inside the tower, view an impressive mural highlighting Rome’s history. romegeorgia.org/visit-rome/ calendar

JUN nwgeorgialiving.com | 7

Rolling on the Rivers: Native American History

June 4, 5pm

Heritage Park, Rome

Relax on the Sulzbacher

Roman Holiday excursion boat as Chieftains Museum executive director Heather Shores shares insights about the role the river played in the lives of Native Americans many years ago.

romegeorgia.org/attraction/ roman-holiday

Art for Lunch: Roger Byrd

June 7, 12:15-1:30pm

Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville

Join this lunchtime event with Roger Byrd, author of There Is Our Country: Georgians Who Followed the Sun, and find out why Georgians such as Doc Holliday headed West. boothmuseum.org

Rome Shakespeare Festival

Presents Julius Caesar

June 7-11

Town Green/The Forum, Rome

See a complimentary production of the classic Shakespeare play. Bring your own blanket or low beach chairs, or reserve a table online.


Cave Spring Arts & Crafts Festival

June 10-11

Rolater Park, Cave Spring

After browsing exceptional art and visiting other vendors, check out some of the park and Cave Spring’s most renowned spots, such as the natural swimming hole and historic log cabin. cavespringartsfestival.com

Cruise Fundraiser

June 10

Harris Arts Center, Calhoun

Put on your neon and step aboard the Harris Arts Center

“cruise ship” for a 21-and-up evening of dinner, dancing, auctions, karaoke, and tunes from the ’80s and ’90s courtesy of the cover band Rubiks Groove. harrisartscenter.com

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons

June 10, 7-9:30pm

Darlington School The Cove, Rome

The Rome Symphony Orchestra will close out its season with its traditional outdoor concert. This year, guests can hear the symphony perform Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s famous four violin concertos. romesymphony.org

Between the Streets: Music & Eats

June 16

Downtown Calhoun City Park

Grab some grub from a food truck and enjoy complimentary live music. harrisartscenter.com

Haunted Trolley Tours

June 16

Downtown Rome

You may feel shivers run up your spine as a Rome Area History Center docent shares spooky tales about former area residents and their lingering spirits. romeareahistorycenter.org

Music by the Tracks

June 17, 7-9pm

1 Friendship Plaza, Downtown Cartersville

facebook.com/ downtowncartersville/events

Annual Phillips Championship Rodeo

June 23-24, 8pm

(gates open at 6pm) Phillips Ranch, Resaca

Top rodeo athletes from eight different states will put on two nights of entertainment and exciting rodeo action that the whole family can enjoy. phillipsrodeo.com

Embroidery & Hand

Sewing Workshop

June 24, 10am-3pm

Bartow History Museum, Cartersville

Sewers of all levels are invited to learn from a local needlework expert how to hand sew and embroider a small bag using various materials, such as luxurious silk and cotton threads. bartowhistorymuseum.org

See Kharisma Jazzmatic Funk live at this family-friendly concert.

We understand that older adults adapt more easily to smaller group settings. Our community is thoughtfully designed with intimate gathering areas and 23 private suites in each assisted living and memory care cottage. See

senior care.


how we are changing the
Discover how we help our residents to Empower Purpose, Embrace Life and Experience Wholeness. Assisted Living & Memory Care nwgeorgialiving.com | 9

Matters of the Heart

Romance reads to swoon over.

Love is in the air, or at least it is between the pages of the books I have for you this issue. That’s right; we’re talking romance novels! I can hear some of you groan all the way up in Pennsylvania, but I’ll not be sharing the same old ’80s Harlequin novels many of you are remembering as you read these words. Nope. These are this century’s romance novels, and they have actual plots at least worthy of a Hallmark movie. Plus, they have characters who are defined by stories rather than stereotypes. As a little bonus, I’ll also share three bookstores that are dedicated to the romance novel, and even if you can’t go visit them in person, you can via social media and follow along with updates happening within this genre. Ready for romance?

The Kiss Quotient

Take one leading lady who’s neurodivergent (meaning she’s someone whose brain works differently), overworked, and under pressure from her mother, then add the male escort she hires to make her better at relationships, and you have the makings of a reversed roles Pretty Woman-esque modern fairy tale. This story is incredibly sweet and steamy; it’s the perfect blend, and fortunately, it’s just the first in a series with related characters. For a very long time, and there’s still work to do, it was difficult to find diverse characters who weren’t stereotypes, but that’s slowly beginning to change, and Hoang’s work was one leading the way. As someone who, like the author, is also neurodivergent, it was exciting to read about a heroine who wasn’t perfect and equally exciting to read about two characters (both are Asian, another nod to Hoang) being represented in a place where they normally aren’t. Be prepared to fall in love and cheer these two on.

Marrying Winterborne

I’m not the sort of reader who feels the need to read series in order when each book could be a standalone. (I wouldn’t read The Two Towers before reading The Fellowship of the Ring, mind you. I’m not that chaotic.) But most romance series books have overlapping characters, and there are usually few spoilers. Anyway, this book is part of The Ravenels series, and I was attracted to it, and to date, it’s the only one in the series I’ve read, largely due to the hero, Rhys, in this novel. Firstly, he’s Welsh, and as someone who is proudly Welsh, I’ll read almost anything featuring the country and culture. Secondly, he’s a former working-class kid who played his cards right and is now one of the most ruthless and powerful businessmen in London, and I’m less interested in dukes, frankly. This is the story of this man and the woman, Helen Ravenel, he falls for, an externally very quiet and sheltered lady with a family who does not approve of her decision to marry him. Will this be a happily ever after, especially when some secrets threaten to come to light?

“These are this century’s romance novels, and they have actual plots at least worthy of a Hallmark movie.”

The Flatshare

Since I’m a sucker for all things British, which perhaps we can blame Bridget Jones, Virginia Woolf, or probably even The Beatles for, this book checked many boxes for me. Plus, it’s a fun take on the romance genre. Tiffy needs a flat, translation: apartment, on the cheap, and Leon needs to make some extra cash, so they decide to share a living space. Leon gets it during the day when Tiffy is at work, and Tiffy gets the space during the evening. These two are barely crossing paths, so how are they supposed to fall in love? Not to mention, work is demanding, ex-boyfriends are getting in the way, and don’t forget the wrongful imprisonment. Oh, also, they may have settled on this arrangement, but they never did so in person. These two may share a bed, separately, but they’ll end up sharing a lot more before the last page. Curious yet? I hope so.


I read more historical books than I do modern settings, and romance novels are no exception. Technically, I’m not really all that interested in the history of the western United States, but this series comes with a bit of a twist and is something that’s often missing when telling the full story. (This book probably also has some of the best names in

books.) Rhine Fontaine is looking to take his name and make something of it in 1800s Nevada. But only if he can pass as white. When he rescues Eddy Carmichael from the desert, she is fleeing from her past to San Francisco, and his original plans start to change. Maybe he doesn’t want to hide anymore, but he’s not so sure that she is as interested in playing a role in his plans as he wants her to be. What I found the most interesting about the books in the Old West series were the bits of history thrown into the story. Rhine is the son of an enslaved woman, and Jenkins discusses the politics of the era as well, as our hero is heavily involved in local government. For anyone who thinks that romance novels don’t have background plots happening, she’ll prove you wrong.

Bookstores for Romance Genre Lovers

Even if you can’t travel to them, giving them a follow via social media easily keeps you in the loop of all things happening in the romance novel world.

Turn The Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland

Love’s Sweet Arrow in Tinley Park, Illinois

The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, California

Elin Woods is a librarian from the mountains of western Pennsylvania. When she’s not reading, she enjoys spending her time baking, being the coolest of the cool aunts, and exploring all corners of the East Coast. Her favorite books include Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and Animal Farm by George Orwell plus too many cookbooks to name.

nwgeorgialiving.com | 11

Two-Thirds of a Financial Plan is Not Enough

While many people think of saving and growing their money, they too often forget that protecting it is also a vital component of any sound financial plan. When it comes to protection, it’s important that you’re protecting the most valuable asset you have, which is the present value of your future income. After all, if you don’t have income, then all your other planning has the potential to fall apart. The best way to protect this asset is through life insurance. Let’s break down how much you need and examine some other important protection.

What to Know About Life Insurance

Life insurance provides money, or a death benefit, to your chosen beneficiary when you die. Even if you have other money in savings, investments, or retirement accounts, you may need more than that to provide your family with the income they’ll need for future years. Think of the word insurance. Insurance means you’re replacing the value of the asset you’re insuring. You’re buying protection that’ll replace that asset’s value. If something horrible were to happen to you or your partner, your life insurance should cover your entire value, not just a certain amount. I have often had people tell me they think they’re overinsured. This isn’t possible. Insurance companies won’t give you more life insurance than you qualify for, and they often use the economic life value formula to determine that amount. Economic life value

is defined as the present value of an individual’s future earnings or income stream. It accounts for the age, gender, occupation, and other factors of the insured, as well as the potential income and expenses they’ll have in the future. To calculate economic life value, various mathematical formulas are used to estimate future earnings and expenses based on factors such as the individual’s age, health, and occupation. Once this value is calculated, it can be used to determine the appropriate amount of life insurance coverage needed for the insured’s financial security.

Another critical factor to consider when calculating economic life value is inflation. The value of money changes over time due to inflation, which means future expenses will likely be higher than they are currently. This is why it’s important to consider inflation when determining the amount of life insurance coverage.

Life insurance can offer multiple benefits in addition to the death benefit, including:

• Cash Value: Some types of life insurance policies, such as whole life, offer a cash value component. A portion of the premium paid by the policyholder goes toward building cash value in the policy. This cash value could be used for a variety of purposes, such as paying off debts, funding a college education, or supplementing retirement income.

• Estate Planning: Proceeds from life insurance policies can be designed to transfer wealth to future generations without being subject to estate taxes.

• Business Continuity: In the event of the untimely death of a business owner, life insurance can provide the necessary funds to keep the business running

Life insurance and a liability umbrella policy can provide the missing piece of the puzzle–protection.

while the ownership transition process takes place.

The cost of life insurance can vary widely depending on several factors. The primary factors that determine life insurance cost are the age and health of the insured, the amount of coverage, and the length of the policy term. Other factors that can impact cost include policy type and the insurance company itself. You should look to purchase life insurance from a mutual company rather than a stock company when possible.

Insurance companies are rated by independent rating agencies such as AM Best, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), and

A Supplementary Safeguard to Consider

Another form of protection that’s often overlooked is a liability umbrella policy, which provides additional security over your car and homeowners insurance. This coverage is designed to offer protection in the event of a lawsuit that exceeds the limits of primary policies. Liability umbrella insurance can be a valuable investment for individuals and businesses alike, providing an additional layer of financial protection against unexpected legal claims. It offers protection for various claims, including bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury claims.

Having liability umbrella insurance can increase an individual’s or business’s credibility, as it indicates a commitment to financial responsibility and risk management. Despite the additional coverage provided by liability umbrella insurance, this type of coverage is often relatively inexpensive, making it an affordable option for individuals and businesses. To purchase, consult

with your property and casualty insurance professional.

Life insurance and a liability umbrella policy can be important tools for financial planning and protection. By understanding the benefits and costs, you can make informed decisions about how much coverage you need and what type of policies to purchase. As with any financial decision, it’s essential to consider your financial situation and consult a professional advisor. Look for someone with a thorough understanding of life, property, and casualty insurance. As a caution, many stockbrokers and investment advisors sell insurance but may not have an adequate understanding of how many of these policies work. Look for someone with a Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designation or a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) to help you with this important decision.

Having the right plan is about more than just savings and investing. Without proper protection, you’re always at risk of losing that wealth. A mistake in the area of protection can’t be fixed after the fact. Always make sure your plan is a complete, comprehensive one, including protection of your most valuable asset; the present value of your future income.

Ande Frazier, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, RICP, BFA™, ChSNC, CDFA®, is an expert in behavioral 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 Peachtree Planning Corporation. To learn more, visit andefrazier.com.

Moody’s. Higher-rated insurers typically offer better customer service, more reliable claims payments, and a better overall experience for policyholders.
“By understanding the benefits and costs, you can make informed decisions about how much coverage you need and what type of policies to purchase.”
nwgeorgialiving.com | 13

Getting to Know …

Shannon Kennedy-Newby Co-owner and Vineyard Manager Newby Farm + Vineyard

As co-owner and vineyard manager of Newby Farm + Vineyard, Shannon Kennedy-Newby’s days this time of year are filled with pulling leaves, securing vines to wires and positioning them and their fruit, and other things canopy management while anticipating harvest in late July. The work offers similar benefits to yoga, which she’s practiced daily for 20-plus years and provides private lessons for at the winery’s Rome tasting room. “Yoga and the vineyard are so beautifully aligned. Both are meditation that requires the physical body to be strong and the mind to maintain focus on the thing in front of me when it is in front of me,” says the mother of two who, before becoming a farmer, had never even gardened.

Since Shannon and her husband, Billy, took over his family’s farmland in 2012, began creating the vineyard in 2015, and became winemakers in 2019, the fruits of their labor have included awards from the Georgia Trustees and the New York International Wine Competition. Their tasting room, located less than 10 miles from the vineyard (where they also live), opened in 2021 and continues to draw crowds. It was even named one of the best tasting rooms in the 2022 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

Along with the hats she wears with Newby Farm + Vineyard, Shannon also prioritizes giving back. She’s involved with the Brighter Birthdays nonprofit, recently joined the board of Heart of the Community Foundation, and volunteers with Rome’s Junior Service League, which she’ll be vice president of next year.

My favorite Newby wine is the … Blanc du Bois. It most reflects my palate, and I’m especially proud of that one.

If I had a superpower, it would be … My sense of smell. It’s come in handy for winemaking, for sure.

Other than the vineyard and tasting room, my favorite place in Northwest Georgia is on the river. I grew up on the Great Lakes and was surrounded by water, and when I lived in Jamaica in my early 20s, I lived on the North Coast right on the ocean. In Georgia, I love to kayak with my family and friends. Northwest Georgia has so many opportunities to get outside. Being out in nature with family and friends is high on my list of leisure activities.

People are surprised when I tell them … I loved video games and have beaten all the Legend of Zelda games with my dad when I was a kid and with my son as an adult.

A trend I hope makes a comeback is … good mixtapes. Using music to convey or accompany an emotion or experience is poignant.

My secret weapon is… I can build a pretty impressive potato launcher.

I’ve never been a big fan of … driving.

I can quote… all the movies of Wes Anderson.

My favorite type of clothing is … unfussy things in natural fabrics. I also love hand-me-downs from friends or vintage. It makes me happy to know an item has already been enjoyed and vouched for by someone else.

Something I like to do the old-fashioned way is … writing out my thoughts with a pen and paper.

What I love most about my job with Newby Farm + Vineyard is … aside from the vineyard work, doing wine tastings for guests at the tasting room. Taking people on a sensory experience and introducing them to the wines we’ve so painstakingly created is a great way to interact with people. newbyvineyard.com

Photography by Andrew Lowry
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Your Next Weekend Destination

Proof positive that Asheville deserves your undivided attention.

I’ve often been known to choose a vacation destination based strictly on a hotel I want to stay in. One of those hotel and destination pairings is The Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville, North Carolina.

It’s hard to say which is more appealing, the historic inn that’s been drawing guests like Thomas Edison and the Obamas since 1913, or the city itself, an idyllic spot nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and split west of the interstate by the French Broad River.

I’ve spent a couple of long weekends exploring the wonders of this dynamic duo and never get tired of it. For one, I love the quintessential upscale mountain lodge vibe and Southern hospitality served up at the Grove Park Inn. (Apologies to Omni, which purchased the hotel in 2013, but it’ll always just be the Grove Park Inn to me.) On the other hand, Asheville has attractions aplenty to entice you, be it its mild climate, eclectic downtown, vibrant arts community, award-winning restaurants, world-class beer culture, or ample outdoor options.

The city’s major claim to fame is undoubtedly the Biltmore, a grand 125-year-old, 8,000-acre estate recognized as America’s largest home. A self-guided tour of some of the 250 rooms making up the French Renaissance castle reveals many of the decadent furnishings and décor acquired by original resident George Vanderbilt, the grandson of famed shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. You can also stroll through the meticulously landscaped gardens, visit

the on-site winery, dine at one of its many restaurants, or book recreational adventures like fly-fishing, falconry, and Land Rover tours. If you go between now and next January, you can also check out the world premiere of Italian Renaissance Alive, a multisensory exhibit featuring large-scale projections of masterworks by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and more set to a dramatic operatic score.

Speaking of art, Asheville boasts hundreds of galleries and studios

throughout the city, including the River Arts District, where, in a series of former industrial buildings, you’ll find artists working in everything from paint and pottery to glass and metal. At the Center for Craft, a noted nonprofit aimed at creating a space for crafting innovation and incubation, visitors can peruse its exhibit galleries and take home a hand-built treasure from the gift shop.

Despite the fact that North Carolina was the first state to introduce

Italian Renaissance Alive
Edison Outdoor Terrace | Omni Grove Park Inn

Prohibition back in 1908, Asheville has become increasingly well-known for its craft brew scene in the last few decades. You can sample some of the East Coast’s best suds at spots like Wicked Weed Brewing’s Brewpub and Brewing Company and learn about the beer-making process on tours of breweries like Highland and the New Belgium Brewing Company.

The city’s restaurant scene garners kudos as well. In addition to stalwarts like The Blackbird, Corner Kitchen, and Sunny Point Café, you can now enjoy Neng Jr.’s innovative Filipinx fare from chef Silver Iocovozzi, named Esquire magazine’s Rising Star of the Year in 2022. New eateries from James Beard-recognized chefs Ashleigh Shanti (Good Hot Fish) and grillmaster Elliott Moss (Regina’s) are also on the horizon.

Another newcomer to the area, The Restoration Asheville hotel, offers several dining and beverage options, including an Appalachian farm-to-table restaurant called The Exchange and The Observatory, a rooftop bar serving up garden-inspired cocktails and sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Soon, visitors can take full advantage of the region’s scenic backdrop at a truly one-of-a-kind new accommodation

The North Carolina Arboretum offers firefly and sunset walks and has also introduced guided forest bathing sessions. You can get your hike on via any of a number of area trails, including the Strawberry Gap Trail that winds through three miles of boulder-strewn forest, and where, at the top of the trail, you can look out onto Hickory Nut Gorge, Blue Ridge Pastures, and Bearwallow Mountain. Elsewhere, there are opportunities for rafting, biking, horseback riding, scenic drives along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, and more.

I think, at this point, it’s clear why Asheville and the Omni Grove Park Inn are such a perfect vacation pairing. And depending on where you are in Northwest Georgia, it’s all just a fourhour road trip away.

For more information, visit exploreasheville.com.

Jill Becker’s travel writing has appeared in dozens of magazines and websites, including more than 25 stories for CNN.com.

Corner Kitchen | ExploreAsheville.com Bearwallow Mountain | RomanticAsheville.com, ExploreAsheville.com Mirror Hotel | ExploreAsheville.com
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Mirror Hotel Interior | ExploreAsheville.com

The Best of Northwest Georgia

Our third celebration of activities, eateries, and more that make this neck of the woods the premier place to call home.

Northwest Georgia is filled with fascinating sights, breathtaking natural wonders, and a rich cultural heritage. From scenic drives along winding mountain roads to hiking trails that take you to hidden waterfalls, there’s no shortage of things to do and explore in our stunning part of the state. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for a day of fun, Northwest Georgia has something to offer everyone. Dive in and explore some of the most interesting things to do in our beautiful region.


A. Best Brunch Spot for Bloody Mary Martinis

In addition to offering delicious brunch delights, such as breakfast casserole mac and cheese and fried chicken and French toast, the Cartersville spot Table 20 makes a mean bloody mary (martini). You could also opt instead for the build-your-own blood mary and top the tangy beverage with an eclectic selection of edible treats, including bacon, cheese cubes, olives, pickles, and a deviled egg after the rim has been coated with everything bagel seasoning. table-20.com/ brunch

any item on the menu will tell you why this Cedartown food stand has such a cult following. facebook.com/rudysest2020

E. Best Place to Find a Good-Luck Charm

Rockhounds and crystal lovers will think they’ve died and gone to stone heaven when they step inside Stonehaven. This quirky shop located in Rome offers all manner of crystals, gems, artifacts, and other items, such as Tibetan singing bowls and tarot card decks, for the spiritually inclined. facebook.com/ stonehavenmetaphysical

F. Best Imperial Cherry Pie Sour

If Drowned Valley Brewing’s U.S. Open Beer Championship gold-winning Imperial Cherry Pie Sour isn’t for you, choose from 16 other beers on tap, many of which have won awards as well. In addition to beer, enjoy games, live music, food trucks, and an outdoor fire pit at this cool Cartersville brewery.

G. Best Historic Theatre to Catch a Classic

If you’re feeling nostalgic, check out what

B. Best Floating Obstacle Course

Cool off with an aquatic adventure at Emerson’s gigantic inflatable floating playground. The one-ofa-kind obstacle course at Terminus Wake Park offers challenges and fun for all ages. If you’re up for even more adventure, try the park’s famed wakeboarding while you’re there. terminuswakepark.com

C. Best Marketplace with Over 200 Vendors

A unique boutique and antique (say that five times fast) destination, The Dallas Markets offers acres of booths to explore. Along with great shopping, you can enjoy live music, food trucks, bingo nights, and a variety of classes on everything from chess to essential oils to baking bread. thedallasmarkets.com

D. Best Authentic Mexican Street Flare Food

It isn’t unusual to see folks lined up and down the sidewalk for Rudy’s authentic Mexican street corn and tacos. One bite of

Calhoun’s historic GEM Theatre is showing. This is a great way to see some true classics on the big screen once again. They also have live music, comedy, and even karaoke nights. calhoungemtheatre.org

H. Best Veteran-Owned Tea Shop

Southern Seasons & Co. is a flower market boutique and tea emporium in Rome run by U.S. military families that supports and mentors service members. Shop for lovely flower arrangements, gifts, jewelry, and décor, or stop into the tea lounge — You, Me, & Tea — for a spell. southern-seasons-co.business.site

Photo by Makenzie Kennedy Photo by Chris Henderson Photography
C A D E F G H nwgeorgialiving.com | 19
Photo courtesy of The GEM Theatre

semi-private saunas with virtual instruction to take your workout to the next level. Stress reduction, pain relief, skin rejuvenation, and lower blood pressure are just a few of this program’s many potential benefits. hotworx.net

J. Best Holistic Happy Hour

Experience the bohemian atmosphere of Traveling Gypsies & Kava Den, a fun and funky establishment, during its daily happy hour at 6 p.m., when you can sample kava shots for only $1. You can also enjoy live entertainment and shop for gifts and décor. travelinggypsiesandkavaden.com

I. Best Place to Work Up a Sweat Cartersville’s only 24-hour infrared fitness studio, HOTWORX, offers

K. Best Place to Outfit for the Outdoors

From ultra-light packs to the latest in trail-ready footwear, Blue Sky Outfitter has you covered. Shop the best brands in the business in downtown Cartersville and Rome and enjoy service with a smile from the friendly, knowledgeable staff. blueskyoutfitter.com

L. Best Place to Sling Mud

Historic firehouse to community pottery studio, Earthworks Pottery in Rome is a place of transformation. With wheelthrowing as well as hand-building classes, workshops, private lessons, parties, and special events throughout the year, there’s never a bad time to explore the creative possibilities on offer.

M. Best Place to get a Moss Arrangement

Featuring a “mission of nourishing the soul through nature,” Bluem of Rome is bound to have something that suits your fancy, be it a bug house or moss arrangement. Bring the green indoors and the décor to the garden with help from this store. facebook. com/bluemrome

N. Best Place to Redline Your Ride

Since 1961, folks have been putting the pedal to the metal at Paradise Dragstrip, Calhoun’s 1/8-mile drag strip that hosts races most Sundays. This family-friendly destination offers anyone the chance to test their chops on the blacktop. paradisedragstrip.net

O. Best Historical Hometown Haunt Featured in a TV Show

The beautiful and enduring Claremont House has long been a local landmark in Rome, but after reaching Netflix notoriety on Stranger Things, the newly painted dwelling has become a popular attraction for fans. Perfect for an afternoon of strolling and selfies!

Ciara N. Carver is an explorer, writer, foodie, and occasional teller of fortunes. She can frequently be found wandering North Georgia, where she lives with her husband and daughter. You can reach her by emailing crookedpage@gmail.com.


Near and Dear

A short drive away, these locales make for great additions to a day trip.

P. Best Place for Quiet Reflection

Atlanta’s Westview Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the Southeast, with almost 600 acres. This illustrious graveyard, opened in 1884, is the final resting place of more than 125,000 individuals, including notable ones such as Asa G. Candler, founder of Coca-Cola, and civil rights attorney Donald L. Hollowell. westviewcemetery.com

Q. Best Place to Recreate Your Favorite ’90s Romantic Drama

You’ll feel like the “King of the World” after braving the daring Titanic Experience at Odyssey Escape Game. Will you solve the puzzles in time to make it out, or will your fate be sealed at the bottom of the Atlantic? Alpharetta’s

leading escape room offers several interesting mysteries and storylines to play through, from Titanic to Nuketown Diner. odysseyescapegame.com

R. Best Fresh Water Snorkeling Spot on the East Coast

One of the most biodiverse river basins in the world is located right here in Northwest Georgia! The Conasauga River is home to some 76 species of fish, not to mention the plethora of other wildlife in the area. The Conasauga Snorkel Hole, just past the Georgia-Tennessee border in Ocoee, Tennessee, is a beautiful, clean, and serene spot great for a swim or snorkeling adventure. fs.usda.gov

S. Best Place to Sample Flavorful Persian Fare

Allow the rich flavors and vibrant dishes at Noosh Kitchen, an authentic Persian comfort food establishment in Johns Creek, to transport you to faraway places. Every mouthful will be a delightful adventure, from colorful saffron rice studded with pistachios and bejeweled with tart cherries to succulent steak or herbaceous lamb. nooshkitchen.com

T. Best Place to Hike with a Hawk

Explore Chattanooga’s beautiful Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center in the company of a resident hawk and wildlife expert, or opt for an encounter with another of the fascinating animal ambassadors, such as owls, red wolves, foxes, and bobcats that reside at the arboretum. reflectionriding.org

Photography by Mark McKnight Photo by USFS / Holly Krake
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Inside Out

Say goodbye to a boring outdoor space and hello to an at-home oasis.

As longer, sunnier days arrive, many of us are looking at refreshing our outdoor spaces. Whether you have a porch, patio, or deck, you can make your outdoor space welcoming with a few simple updates. We have some easy, tried-and-tested ideas that can help transform a bare backyard into a relaxing retreat or a concrete pad into an outdoor dining destination that’ll leave guests longing to be invited to the next gathering.

Have a Seat

Having a cozy spot for guests to sit, relax, and enjoy conversation is the first step. Whatever you decide to purchase, ensure that it can withstand the Southern climate. If your space is covered, you’ll still need to make sure that your furniture can handle the humidity. A variety of materials will make your space feel more eclectic. Wrought iron is always an excellent choice because it’s easy to maintain. With a fresh coat of spray paint, even in a nontraditional color, wrought iron will look new. If you prefer wood, make sure it’s treated so it doesn’t buckle under the heat. A few coats of polyurethane should do the trick.

Some seating options may include cushions. Just make sure that you put them in a safe place when they’re not in use to extend their lifespan. If you want to re-cover your cushions, purchase some weather/fade-resistant fabric made for your furniture’s longevity. Outdoor throw pillows can update any chair, couch, or swing in an instant and won’t hurt your wallet. Pick a variety of patterns and colors that make your space reflect your personality. A bed swing is an excellent addition if you enjoy a summer siesta. Add a blanket for the cooler months. Be sure to have plenty of side tables or coffee tables so you and your guests can place a cold beverage down during hot afternoons and evenings. Finally, think about the flow of conversation when planning furniture selection and placement. To keep conversations uninterrupted, seating shouldn’t block a doorway or heavy area of traffic.

The Green, The Colorful, and The Faux

Incorporating plants into an outdoor space will instantly make it feel lively. With options of planting in-ground, utilizing height with hanging baskets, or picking out individual pots and adding plants to them, it’s important to use the right type of plant. Purchase, pick, and use plants that’ll survive in the type of sunlight your spot gets. If you’re decorating a covered porch, you’ll need plants that require shade. Also, group your plants in odd numbers. Fresh herbs in pots provide a pleasant aroma and can be the perfect addition to a beverage. Lots of herbs can work twofold by keeping those pesky mosquitos at bay. If you have a black thumb, as we do, annuals might be best for your space since they’ll only last the season.

While formerly not as popular of a choice, faux plants have worked their way into the spotlight lately. With advancements in the design and fabrication of these plants, they can easily give the illusion of having a beautiful plant without the effort and worry of whether it’s been watered enough or is getting adequate sunlight. The key to success is keeping in

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mind the quality of the faux plant. The higher the quality, the more guests you’ll trick into thinking you have an actual green thumb.


Lighting is crucial for your space to feel comfortable and relaxing. If you have an outdoor outlet, think about hanging outdoor string lights on your deck. You can wrap them around the handrail or hang them above your space, even through the trees surrounding your patio. A porch is a great place for a fun lamp or two, making your space feel like an extension of the indoors. And if you’re dealing with a patio, you can use candles in lanterns or hanging mason jars from a tree to give your space some relaxing ambiance. In fact, there are many incredible LED outdoor lighting options, such as tiki torches and pathway lights, to guide guests to your spot. With the integration of wireless and Bluetooth speakers, adding sound is also an easy element that’ll enhance the outdoor space. Create a playlist ahead of time to keep the music going. Just be mindful of volume and neighbors.

Keep The Beverages Cold

This time of year can be hot, muggy, and downright unbearable on occasion. A cold beverage close by will always be welcomed. Having a place to store and keep items cold outdoors may seem daunting, but it can be as simple as a galvanized metal bucket with drinks covered in ice. Another

Cool for Company:

option, if an exterior outlet is present, is to find a small to medium size refrigerator to keep outdoors. If you don’t have access to electricity, a patio cooler on wheels will also do the trick. The goal is to keep guests from having to walk back into an interior space for refills or another beverage. A bar cart is also a fun addition to any outdoor space. This can hold everything from drinks, glasses, and napkins to snacks. Just don’t forget the ice bucket. It’ll come in handy when guests are ready for refills of lemonade, sweet tea, or the afternoon cocktail.


If you plan on hosting dinner parties, try to have a separate section for a dining table and chairs. Guests can keep chatting while you get your table ready. A simple or patterned tablecloth can quickly elevate the tablescape, as can a centerpiece or two with fresh (or faux) flowers. As with all outdoor furniture, there are a lot of options for finding the best dining table and chairs for your space. Heavy-duty plastic material is always a safe bet since it can be easily cleaned. There are also stone options that’ll last a lifetime in an outdoor setting. Depending on the theme of your event (and whether you want to wash dishes all night), buy some durable plastic dishes that you can throw in the dishwasher. The addition of playful paper napkins will make your table more visually enticing.

Rustic Farmhouse Placemats from SpoonflowerHome on Etsy Rolling Icebox available on Amazon Search your local thrift store for vintage glasses! 4pk Melamine Salad Plates (White) from Target
“The goal is to keep guests from having to walk back into an interior space for refills or another beverage.”

Outstanding Outdoor Space:


Bring in layers of different textures, colors, and patterns to add personality to your space. Even the most neutral color scheme can benefit from the addition of a textured jute or sisal rug. Consider a patterned rug under the outdoor seating or dining furniture if a more colorful look is desired. Outdoor rugs are as common and available today as indoor rugs, come in various price points to fit any budget, and are easy to clean and maintain. Throw pillows and blankets are other ways to bring in splashes of color and texture. Artwork is the finishing touch to make your exterior zone top-notch. Whether purchased or

homemade, outdoor-safe art is easy to find and incorporate. If you lack wall space, think of sculpture art that can sit on a piece of furniture or garden art that can be placed in the yard.

A Good Hiding Place

Add some type of storage to your outdoor space so you can swiftly stow those cushions and more valuable items when the weather quickly changes. Having a spot to hide extra towels, blankets, sunscreen, bug spray, and candles will make life easier. There are hundreds of options on the market for outdoor storage, from metal lockers to plastic benches. If your space is covered, using a wooden buffet will add to your home’s aesthetic while also providing a hidden spot for all the extras. Just make sure your storage solution is stylish and weatherproof and doesn’t take away from all the effort you put into making your area special.

After all the dust settles from your hard work, don’t forget to sit back, invite your friends over, put on your favorite playlist, and enjoy your updated space. Life has gotten busy again post-pandemic, and we often forget how important it is to unwind and appreciate the natural beauty surrounding us. But if you stop for a second and listen, your new and modified patio, porch, or deck is beckoning for you to leave the indoors and walk outside. Take a deep breath, sip your favorite cold beverage, and relax in your outdoor dwelling. Cheers!

Cate Levy and Keri Smith are the design duo behind Cobb & Patterson. With experience in residential design, commercial design, and staging, the self-taught pair have become known for their blend of color and pattern balanced with an effortless and curated appeal. They can be contacted at info@cobbandpatterson.com. Solar Power Outdoor String Lights from Target Sorrento Diamond Rug from World Market Santiago Gray Wicker Outdoor Chair from World Market Natural Rattan And Metal Candle Lantern from World Market Faux Snake Plant from World Market 6pk Outdoor Bollard Pathway Lights from Target Glass and Wicker Candle from Target Bluffdale Bar Cart/Island from Target
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Whether you’re documenting your growing family, complete with the chaos of littles, or you’re gathering extended relatives together, family photos are precious and invaluable. They can also be the cause of a bit of stress, especially when expectations and not make you feel lost in the planning process. So here are a few things your family photographer might want you to keep in mind for your next session.

2 1

1. Plan (and Book) Ahead. Most photographers book several months in advance during the busy months of the year, and often, they only take a set number of sessions during that time. With hectic lives, it’s no surprise that things like a change of the season, amazing weather, and flowers blooming spark thoughts of spring and fall photos. But by waiting until that point, you may

not be able to get a prime spot in your favorite photographer’s books. Each photographer is different, so I always recommend that you reach out to your favorite one ahead of time to see how they run their booking process and availability throughout the year. Be familiar with any seasonal specials they may offer and any other requirements they may have for officially booking a session with them as well as expected turnaround times for completed galleries. For me, I recommend booking at least three months out for October/ November and April-June sessions.

2. Keep Wardrobe Choices Simple. There’s a common misconception that matching is best. Coordination is a much better option, and coordinating outfits photograph superbly and offer more visual interest. I recommend choosing one primary color and then using it sparingly while complementing

it with coordinating neutrals and earthy tones. As a rule, simplicity is ideal. Think more solid items, fewer patterns. If you do choose patterns, try to keep them minimal and use large patterns or florals. Small, tight patterns like some plaids or pinstripes will often photograph abnormally and can distract from the overall quality of the photos.

Since family photo sessions are usually rare and special occasions, I always encourage clients to avoid being overly casual. Skip things like athletic shoes, T-shirts, and ball caps. Long, flowing dresses are beautiful in photos and help portray movement well. Layers work great for men; for example, blazers over dress shirts or vests over informal button-ups. Mix textures and tones to give more dimension to the look of your photos. Wardrobe choice can have a huge impact on the overall look of the finished product. If you’re in

How to get fantastic photos and make the most of the experience.
nwgeorgialiving.com | 29

doubt about the direction you’re headed with clothing, ask your photographer’s opinion or check out their previous work for some inspiration and what looks best in their editing style.

4 3

3. Prepare Family Members. From children to adults, photo sessions run so much smoother when everyone involved has clear expectations. Mamas, be sure to explain the importance of family photos to not only your children but also to your spouse. Explain how things will work, what’s expected of them, and the timeframe. Maybe even plan a fun treat for afterward that everyone can look forward to. Also, prepare your own expectations. Family photo prep is a lot of work and usually a significant investment of time and money. Most of that prep and stress falls on mom and drains some of the joy from the experience. As photographers, we know you’re stressed and have high hopes of getting that perfect, everyone-smiling image of happiness. Try to go into your session with an open mind and allow everyone to be themselves as much as possible. Be patient! Let littles run around between instructed poses. I think I get some of the sweetest pictures

of children when they’re given time to explore and play during a session. I also recommend bringing snacks and water in case anyone needs a break.

4. Embrace the Season You’re In. This one is huge. As a busy mom, wife, and business owner, I understand the ease with which time and the wellmeaning intentions to memorialize these moments can slip away. I also understand how tempting it is to put something like a family photo session off until the baby sleeps more, the toddler listens better, you feel more like yourself, and life feels less chaotic. But I’m here telling you to embrace the chaos and just do it! That procrastination can easily turn into years, and this time is fleeting.


5. Trust Your Photographer. Choose a photographer whose work and personality you enjoy and appreciate. Share your vision and expectations with them and let them get to know you. Ask questions and use them as the valuable resource they are. Then, trust them. Allow your photographer to showcase your family and the season you’re in precisely as it is. Even when husbands are grumpy, and little ones are less than

cooperative, try to embrace some of the disarray and believe you’ll get images you love and treasure for years. Prepare to the best of your ability, take a deep breath, and let your photographer work their magic.

As a photographer, it’s an honor to capture memories for your family. It’s even more special when I get to do it again and again as your family grows and seasons in life change. My goal isn’t perfection, and honestly, I hope yours isn’t, either. Expectations of perfection limit what you can get out of a family photo session and keep you from seeing what I see. I love the in-between moments and the real smiles and laughter. I even love the chaos. I want you to look back on your family photos, remember the realness of it all and value that. You should look forward to your time in front of the camera and the images that come out of it.

Andrea Kelley is the owner and lead photographer for Andrea Kelley Photography. With a focus on couples and weddings, she also enjoys working with families, graduates, and other industry professionals. Visit andreakelleyphoto.com or email info@andreakelleyphoto.com for more information.
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Farmers Market Feasting

Savoring spring and summer’s freshest foods.

Farmers markets are great places to score fresh produce, meats, eggs, and flowers with the added benefit of supporting your local community. Check out these recipes to switch up staples found at farmers markets while adding herbal interest to your menu.

Egyptian Okra

Serves 2 | No slimy okra here! Serve in bowls over rice, orzo, or quinoa.

½ pound fresh okra (preferably smaller)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup finely diced onion

5 garlic cloves, sliced

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

2 tomatoes, diced, reserving any juices

½ lemon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Wash and dry okra. Cut off stem ends and slice into ¾-inch rings.

Heat oil in large heavy skillet over mediumhigh heat. When hot, add onion and sauté 2-3 minutes, stirring until tender.

Reduce heat to medium, then add garlic and stir 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add okra, stirring often. Cook 10-12 minutes. Okra should be tender but slightly firm (not mushy). Add salt, coriander, and cumin and cook 2 more minutes to toast spices. Add tomatoes and juices and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, squeeze with lemon, add parsley, and serve.

The meals pictured are variations of the recipes featured in this article.

Keep Fresh Herbs in the Mix

Fresh herbs add a boost of flavor to recipes. For the freshest herbs, grow your own; they’re among the easiest plants to cultivate and do well in pots.

Watermelon Gazpacho

Serves 4 | A delicious way to use fresh produce – and low in calories.

1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped, and divided

¼ cup chopped red onion

3 cups chopped cucumber

1 garlic clove

1 medium tomato, chopped

½ jalapeño, or to taste

4 cups cubed watermelon, divided

¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh dill (or skip and increase parsley to ½ cup)

½ teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar


½ cup chopped cucumber

½ cup finely diced yellow or orange bell pepper

1-2 tablespoons diced sweet onion

Halved cherry tomatoes

Sliced radishes and avocado

Lime wedges

Fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, chives, basil, parsley)

In a blender, place ¾ of bell pepper, onion, cucumber, garlic, tomato, jalapeño, and 2 cups watermelon. Blend, then add herbs, coriander, salt, and vinegar, and pulse to combine. (Optionally, add a thin slice or two of fresh beet for deeper color and blend.)

Add remaining watermelon, pulsing several times till chunky. Taste and adjust salt and/ or vinegar. Chill until very cold, then serve in bowls with choice of garnish.

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti

Serves 4 | For a flavor twist, try adding capers, kalamata olives, or chili flakes.

16 ounces dried pasta

1 medium onion, diced

12 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

6 tablespoons olive oil

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. While pasta cooks, heat oil in large skillet. Sauté onion 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute or till fragrant. Add tomatoes with juices/seeds, and wine; bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer sauce while pasta finishes. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Cook on low for 3 minutes, then stir in basil leaves.

Divide among serving bowls and top with cheese, parsley, and torn basil.

Plant seedlings of basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, sage, and/or chives in large pots with well-drained soil located in a sunny spot, then water regularly. To use, snip stems about ¼ inch above leaves. Cutting herbs regularly in this manner keeps them from getting “leggy” and helps produce new greattasting leaves. Snip off any flowers as they appear.

Use the leaves and stems of chives, parsley, cilantro, mint, and basil; pull off sage leaves and rosemary’s tougher stems. Invest in a pair of herb scissors to avoid crushing tender herbs while chopping and to make life easier!

Using Herbs:

• Make pesto: a food processor, some oil, garlic, nuts (pine nuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, or walnuts), and cheese yield great basil, parsley, or cilantro pesto. Or combine various herbs into a hybrid pesto.

• Snip fresh chives and/or parsley over any dish or sauce.

• Use cilantro in Latin or Asian dishes, but also add to coleslaw, chicken, fish, or soup. Add cilantro before serving, as heat lessens its flavor.

• Dill and parsley are great on boiled potatoes, over sliced cucumbers with a splash of vinegar, on fish, or in green salads.

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Do We Have to Take Another Picture?

My family has always been obsessed with pictures. My grandmother immortalized every family meal or gathering with her little camera. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you there are about 10 photo albums at my mom’s house through which you can watch the age progression of the whole family around my grandmother’s dinner table. We all sat in the same place usually, and she always took a shot from both ends. It’s very entertaining to flip through and see hair come and go, fashions change and pant sizes increase through the years. It’s also nice to sit with my mom and try and figure out who some of the people are in the photos and hear the stories. It’s not as much fun sitting with your wife and trying to explain all the old girlfriends and what happened to them. As far as she knows, they all broke my heart, I was an angel, and she is the only one for me. I think I just heard thunder.

Sometimes, it feels like we can’t do anything now without stopping every two seconds to take a picture of whatever we’re doing. The point is, back in the day, we took pictures to immortalize special times, not every time we got in the car to go to the grocery store. There was the anticipation of waiting to have them developed and then reliving the moments when you got them back. There were no filters or editing, so you got what you got and looked like who you were. If you wanted to show someone your pictures, you had to invite them over and show them, usually over coffee or dessert. Pictures were like a treasure you shared with those you cared about. You would have that one shot of mom next to dad holding up a fish, and then you’d tell the story about how he caught the fish and all the other details that made the day so much fun. Fast forward to today, you instantly post a picture of mom next to dad holding up a fish, and mom’s so heavily filtered people think dad’s a cheater and

Photos used to be for preserving memories. Now, I’m not so sure.

never notice the fish. Then, you post hundreds of other photos that people can comment on and “like” because that’s what it’s all about — the “likes,” not the experience. We seem to be more concerned with who saw us having a great vacation than experiencing it.

I just read an article where an influencer tricked all her followers into thinking she was vacationing in an exotic location, and she shot the whole series at an IKEA. She says it was to show people everything you see on social media isn’t real, but who knows?

I do know it gets tiresome having to stop having a good time to take a selfie to show others you’re having a good time. The most recent trend that confounds me is the “matchy-matchy” vacation photos.

OK, I know I sound like an old grouch, but pictures used to be something special, and now, they’re expected. They used to be an authentic slice of real life and showed real emotion. Now, with the editing software and filters out there, you have no idea if what you’re seeing is real. I even have a program that’ll take 30 pounds off your photo, and I still look fat.

I guess there are some advantages to the new age of pictures. The fact that they hang around forever up in the cloud means they won’t fade away. It’s great when you need a photo collage for a birthday or anniversary. It’s helped law enforcement, I’m sure, and it’s nice to always have a camera with you so you don’t miss something special. I guess I just miss the stories that were told when we would look at an old picture rather than “liking” it and scrolling on. I wonder if, one day, people will pull out their old iPhone 13s and scroll through the photos like we do my grandmother’s albums. I also wonder if they’ll recognize grandma with all the filters.

“Fast forward to today, you instantly post a picture of mom next to dad holding up a fish, and mom’s so heavily filtered people think dad’s a cheater and never notice the fish.”




C o m e s e e w h y T h e G E M i s

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