Page 1

In this December 2016

Issue 199



8 16 28 8


Celebrating 16 Years & Counting

Cultural Crossroads We’ve often admired the vibrancy of Atlanta’s Virginia-Highland neighborhood from afar – until now. We delved deeper into this intown destination for dining and design for the final iteration of our Tried and True series.

Festive Family Fun With all the excitement and anticipation of family togetherness, having a few ideas in hand helps to keep spirits merry and bright. Scouting options for gatherings this year, we’ve settled on Marietta’s Winter Wonderland for outdoor fun and we’ve personally tested a few games that promise plenty of entertainment indoors as well.

A Time to Talk Often the most fascinating stories come from those that don’t think they have a story to tell, as the national sensation StoryCorps has revealed. With recording sessions held in the Atlanta History Center, you too can join a conversation the world won’t forget.

Homes for the Holiday Whether you’re dreaming of a white-sand Christmas or hoping for a chilly mountain morning with a view, we’ve found a few of the South’s best stays: laid-back luxury at Montage Palmetto Bluff, honed hospitality from The Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association and a family-friendly getaway at The Henderson Beach Resort. We’ll leave rerouting Santa to you.

DEPARTMENTS 6 58 62 66

ON THE COVER Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTIONS 27 Leading Lawyers & Attorneys 34 Assisted/Senior Living




4 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

Editor’s LETTER

PointsNorth Atlanta PRESIDENT / CEO Witt Beckman PUBLISHER Carl Danbury Jr.

A Cause to Pause

EDITOR Heather KW Brown CREATIVE DIRECTOR Robin Harrison


MY FAMILY, LIKE MOST, IS A BUSY ONE. We can juggle after-school activities and weekend schedules with the best of them, but when December rolls around, it’s a different story. Of all the traditions we’ve started, my children agree that staying in pajamas all day on Christmas is still their favorite. Inevitably, I start to feel guilty and get an itch to be productive, but then there is laughter or a Christmas song I can’t resist and soon I settle back into a grateful groove. Not having to leave the house or stick to schedules determined by deadlines is a welcomed change. Uninterrupted, undivided, unhurried time to listen, to watch and to enjoy each other surpasses any gift I could purchase. While some of us hit the pause button, holidays and stories from relatives often have us wishing we could hit record, saving details for the next generation. The StoryCorps booth at the Atlanta History Center is one way to preserve those moments in a memorable conversation that will forever be documented history for your family. If an intense hour of Spades or Scrabble is more likely, you might want to test your “Minute-to-Win-It” mettle in our short list of indoor family games. Rather play outdoors? We had a long chat with one bespectacled fellow with a white beard and jolly personality who is spreading holiday cheer again at Marietta’s Winter Wonderland while plenty of activities for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve await. For families looking to travel without a plane ticket, we’ve scouted three drivable destinations worth considering as a festive home away from home. If a day trip is more your speed, check out where to eat, drink and make merry in Atlanta’s historic, yet ever evolving, Virginia-Highland neighborhood for the last of our Tried and True series. Speaking of lasts, this issue marks No. 199 for us and we’re excited to kick off 2017 with our 200th issue and a bang of our own. Until then, we wish a happy and safe holiday to you and yours.



ALL POINTS INTERACTIVE MEDIA CORP. 568 Peachtree Parkway Cumming, Georgia 30041 770-844-0969 ©2016 Points North Atlanta All Points Interactive Media Corp. All rights reserved. Points North Atlanta is published monthly by All Points Interactive Media Corp. The opinions expressed by contributing writers are not necessarily those of the editor, the publisher or of Points North Atlanta. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION: Points North Atlanta offers a 12-month subscription for $15. Visit for details. Please Recycle This Magazine


6 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

VaHi Tour of Homes




While we love to call the Northside home, we like to keep an eye on the neighborhoods that make our city diverse. In this quarterly series, we’ve covered some of our favorite places, whether time-honored or on the rise and a few new hotspots worth the drive.

8 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016




LET’S START WITH THE END ... of the street names, that is. Atlanta’s in-town, Virginia-Highland neighborhood is named for the intersection of Virginia and Highland avenues. Note that neither is plural. It’s a tiny distinction that is commonly misconstrued by visitors and locals alike, but one that media maven and 20-year-resident Mara Davis can be particular about pointing out. Before becoming the host of Atlanta Eats radio, a weekly talk show about the city’s food scene and a contributor to Atlanta’s NPR WABE 90.1 FM, she gained her popularity as a personality on the late, great DAVE FM — and via the airwaves, first gave me the linguistic lesson. Now, years later, I ventured into the area to see how this crossroads of culture has endured and evolved with nearby burgeoning areas into “The Highlands.”


for short — doesn’t stop us from making the occasional Sunday drive for a memorable brunch at Murphy’s. This 35-year veteran of the dining scene boasts contemporary, American comfort food and a loyal brunch following long before Instagramming your avocado toast was cool. Be warned — brunch is served on weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis, and you’ll likely be waiting for a table. However, tucked within the restaurant is Murphy’s Wine Shop and browsing their selection of more than 350 wines in stock makes idle time a breeze. It’s hard to imagine the iconic intersection without the restaurant’s splashy yellow awnings and inviting porch, or without its adjacent neighbor, the original Taco Mac, anchoring the southwest corner of Virginia and Highland avenues. Yet, there’s been quite a bit of turnover across the street that

someone who hasn’t trekked down in a year or two might be surprised to discover. Another set of sunshine yellow awnings advertising “Handmade Biscuits Morning, Noon and Night” appeared just a year ago, but the Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit signage above it brought instant lines. In the 900-squarefoot space that Winter Wren clothing store formerly occupied, Atlantans can get a fresh taste of a Charleston, S.C. sensation. Created by Carrie Morey and named for her mother, Callie’s Charleston Biscuits were first created in 2005 and sold in retailers globally as well as shipped directly to homes before debuting as a brickand-mortar. As her awning alludes, the King Street location,

Although my family calls Alpharetta home, the 45-minute distance to Virginia-Highland — or Va-Hi,


December 2016 | | 9

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit


as does the Atlanta sequel, serves the tasty Southern tradition with creative accoutrements from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily as well as from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday for late-night snacks. If you stop by this month, you can try holiday renditions like the gingerbread biscuit with vanilla frosting or the shortcake biscuit with chocolate frosting, whipped cream and crushed peppermint. After one taste, I can attest Morey could have likely opened a second bakery anywhere, especially in the South and found success. So, why Va-Hi? “When beginning the

initial search for a second location, Atlanta was not top on my list to be honest,” Morey said. “But a friend of a friend contacted me and convinced me to come take a look at [this] space. I immediately fell in love with the space and the location. The tree-lined streets and shops that centered an old beautiful neighborhood got me daydreaming about families with their kids walking from their homes everyday to come to my bake shop. I have always had a romantic vision of Hot Little Biscuit being the local bake shop that centers a neighborhood.” It’s a sweet notion that fits right in among friendly folks PHOTOS COURTESY OF PAIGE MOLINA; MURPHY’S

10 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

here. In fact, even if you slip on an extra “s” to VirginiaHighland, I’d be surprised if someone actually corrected you. Parking on the other hand, can get a little hairy — so since you’ve already found a coveted spot or left your keys with the valet, why not walk around a while?

MID-DAY MEANDERINGS With happy bellies and no eagerness to get back in the car, the next logical step is to stroll by the rest of the rainbow of awnings, doors and window displays fanning out in four directions. Since the neighborhood is so walkable, even with tots and teens in tow, finding a few gems is easy and there’s definitely no shortage of spots to appeal to every sweet tooth in your family. Our Publisher Carl Danbury, Jr. admittedly has a weak spot for Paolo’s Gelato Italiano. Chocolate lovers — run, don’t walk to CACAO Atlanta. Others hurry to the original Alon’s Bakery — a staple on North Highland since 1992 — for some of the famous cinnamon sticks before they sell out. And for coffee lovers, a new favorite treat just might be spending “coffee hour” — midday or late afternoon — at San Francisco Coffee Roasting Co..  By dinnertime, it’s a different story. Loyal locals tend to agree that the time-honored, go-to staple has always been La Tavola Trattoria. Touted as one of

12 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE ALON’S FOR THE HOLIDAYS Owner of Alon’s Bakery & Market, Alon Balshan is an Israeli native who developed a love for baking and cooking from a young age. His success story is a sweet one, and after he married a Georgia Alon’s Bakery & Market

native, Atlanta has been a tastier place. The pastry chef moved on from his job at Murphy’s to open a place of his own, located where Highland Avenue meets the beginning of the Morningside

Atlanta’s best restaurants by foodies like Davis, La Tavola consistently delivers one fabulous dish after the other in a cozy vibe. “You can’t miss with the veal meatballs and always fresh pasta,” she said. Meanwhile, I have a different craving and it’s called Urban Cottage. The creative lifestyle boutique is full of furniture, accessories, gifts, kitchenware, fragrances, baby goods, boudoir finds and more to satiate eclectic décor styles, some of which even spills out onto the front porch. The name nods to a blend of rustic urban and modern cottage aesthetics — unique

neighborhood. While many Northsiders are familiar with Alon’s second, larger and perpetually buzzing Ashford-Dunwoody market, a visit to the original remains a true treat — whether shopping for local provisions, sampling fare during a friendly chat with their cheesemonger or finding a table to enjoy a coffee and an irresistible cookie, fresh out of the oven. With a holiday shopping list in tow, there may be no better time to find an excuse to visit. As a mainstay for unmatched quality and service for more than two decades, Alon’s creates gourmet gifts baskets with artisan products, freshly made specialties and sweet confections ideal for every occasion and customizable for every budget. Better yet, lighten your load and let Alon’s handle the menu for your holiday get-togethers. Pick your pleasure from options like anti-pasta platters and a classic turkey feast to dozens of readyto-serve hors d’oeuvers and desserts. All Hanukkah orders can be placed and picked up through Dec. 31 by 4 p.m. Christmas orders must be placed and purchased by 5 p.m. on Dec. 22 for pickup on Dec. 24 between 7 a.m. and 4p.m. only. Both Alon’s Bakery & Markets are closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

La Tavola Trattoria

VaHi Tour of Homes

La Tavola Trattoria


December 2016 | | 13

Sweet Auburn BBQ

juxtapositions that are echoed throughout the nearby residential streets. As much as its culinary prowess, the historic homes here draw crowds. This month marks the 22nd annual Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes, when eight properties open their doors for a festive, two-day celebration of architecture and interior design held Dec. 3 and 4. If you can catch it in time, this year’s line-up includes a custom modern home with beautiful gardens and rooftop deck, a recently renovated California-style bungalow, a charming 1925 cottage with recent updates, a classic 1917 bungalow with beautiful indoor and outdoor living spaces as well as a quintessential 1909 bungalow in which a recent renovation both

14 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

Sweet Auburn BBQ

restored original features and created modern living spaces to inspire us all.

HIGH AMBITIONS Since we are being technical with our names and pronunciations, it’s worth pointing out as you travel south on Highland and approach Ponce

de Leon Avenue, there’s a new neighborhood nickname used to distinguish the location — Poncey-Highland. In the evenings, the historic dive bars located along this stretch — places like Manuel’s Tavern, known for their politically inclined crowd; Neighbor’s Pub, which was

the first bar to serve SweetWater Brew; or Atkins Park, Atlanta’s oldest, continuously licensed tavern — draw an older crowd. There’s a soulful feeling that hangs in the air here, and you might hear it wafting in the blues music from Blind Willie’s or taste it in the bad-to-the-bone meats at Sweet Auburn Barbecue. While the latter has only been open a handful of years comparatively, its handprint on the community by founders and siblings Howard and Anita Hsu belies so. Before opening the Highland restaurant, they built

Nine Mile Station

Skyline Park

their business from a food truck and were the driving force behind the creation of the Atlanta Food Truck Park & Market. Not just another Georgia BBQ joint, Sweet Auburn mixes soul with Seoul, drawing on their Hsu heritage to create irresistible menu mash-ups like the pimento cheese wontons with bacon marmalade and sweet Thai chili sauce, the jerk-spice collards or smoked wings tossed in Wu Tang sauce. It’s another delicious example of how unique combinations happen at a crossroads. For those whose sights

are set on a slightly more elevated experience, look no further than a mile from the Poncey-Highland intersection to Nine Mile Station, a beer garden located on the rooftop of Ponce City Market. Nostalgically named for the streetcar that once carried locals to the area pre-1920s via Nine Mile Circle, the sleek, indoor-outdoor space offers one-of-a-kind, unobstructed sights stretching from downtown and Midtown to Buckhead and beyond. The rooftop’s completion this past October was celebrated in conjunction with the 90th anniversary of the nowtransformed Sears, Roebuck & Co. building, and aims to be a cultural touchstone for locals and tourists alike for many years to come. Before toasting the skyline sunset with a craft beer from their rotating taps or a glass of bubbly from the “sparkling bar,” guests must purchase admission to Skyline Park via the manually operated freight elevator ($10 for adults and $7 for kids 12 and under) or by pre-booking their experience online. Some may say it’s a steep price to pay, but on a special occasion, when you find yourself exploring Va-Hi, the Highlands or whatever nickname it garners next, you might enjoy the view from the top. Try it and let us know if that’s true. PN FOR MORE INFORMATION


December 2016 | | 15


Activities For All Ages written by HEATHER KW BROWN





At 40 (plus) years old, I don’t exactly get invited to sit on the jolly fellow’s lap, pull on his beard and tell him my personal, albeit now smaller, wish list. Recently though, I had a good long talk with him. Okay, in all fairness, it wasn’t “the” Santa, but Lamar May might be as close as I’m going to get. At 75 years old, he not only looks every bit the part, but he has been officially trained in the Christmas spirit and has served the important role of Santa for 13 years.

Lamar May dressed and ready to spread holiday cheer as Santa with his wife, Judy — we mean, Mrs. Claus.


December 2016 | | 17


“I started being Santa in 2002 and have been Santa on the Square since 2004,” said May, who retired from Lockheed Martin after 37 years and decided to stop toying with the idea of being perhaps the most recognizable character in the world. “I always admired the stories of Santa. My wife is the one who said I had a knack with kids, but I wasn’t even sure I could grow a beard,” he said, adding that when it started to fill out nicely, he applied to the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Michigan. “A lot of Santas don’t do the training, but that’s just my way of thinking and I was lucky enough to get in the first year that I applied.” Priority for the school, which in more than 80 years has only changed hands

among three different families, is to teach the spirit of Christmas. Lessons include learning how to interact with live reindeer which are actually onsite, enabling each

Santa-in-training to learn up close and personal some of the characteristics and habits of their flying steed, as well as the history of Santa. May also described a huge sleigh equipped with life-sized reindeer replicas used for simulating their “flight training.” Not to be overlooked, even toy making is addressed with classes on sanding, drilling and other less dangerous courses that can’t result in getting those precious white beards caught in precarious situations. May’s wife, also an alumnus of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School, participates annually as Mrs. Claus when she arrives with him on the fire truck for the highly anticipated tree-lighting ceremony, scheduled this year for Dec. 1 on Marietta Square.

The arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus to Marietta Square for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF MARIETTA

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Santa Claus School


stablished in 1937, the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School is celebrating its 79th anniversary this year. Located not at the North Pole, but in downtown Midland, Mich., the namesake of the

nonprofit organization is a small-town boy from Albion, New York. Howard first played Santa as a boy in a classroom play and as an adult, received requests to help out a friend by playing the character in a

storefront window in his hometown. What followed was an urgent pull to perfect the role of Santa Claus. He started to hone the idea of creating a "school" for Santas after hopping to and from various cities in New York as their department store Santa. The first school was held in the fall of 1937 and by the late 1940s, he converted three barns on his property in Albion into what soon became known as “Christmas Park,” an amusement park that included a classroom and dressing rooms for the Santa Claus School. Howard appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1948 through 1965 and worked as Santa at the Macy’s store in Kansas City, Mo. for almost 20 years as well as at Nieman Marcus in Dallas, Texas in 1965. When Howard died in 1966, his friends Nate and Mary Ida Doan took over. They decided to move the school from Albion to their hometown of Bay City, Mich., where Tom Valent had been attending their annual classes. When the time came for a successor, Doan sold the school to Valent and his wife Holly. Since 1986, the oldest and most distinguished Santa Claus school in the world has been in Midland, where it remains today. Every year, veteran and newbie Santas alike are immersed in three days of intense training in every aspect, although I do believe regular cookie breaks and a trip to Bronner’s, the world’s largest toy store, are also integral parts of the curriculum. The most important thing every Santa learns is a saying by Charles W. Howard that the rest of us should hear: “He errs who thinks Santa enters through the chimney. Santa enters through the heart.”


“It’s funny, my wife grew up in Cobb County and she remembers going to the Square to visit Santa when she was little,” May said, adding that now they also get to share that moment with their grandchildren. Santa on the Square has been a tradition for 25 years and May has been a huge part of why families keep bringing their children and grandchildren back each and every year. “It’s changed our whole life,” he said. “When we started doing this, we didn’t realize it becomes who you are the rest of the year. People come up to me in the grocery store and I always have my list, so I say I really get to see how kids behave when I see them in the grocery store or in restaurants.” Whether they will be slightly older versions of the same faces he’s seen year after year or brand new ones entering the well-adorned Christmas House, the "Classic Santa" we all know and love is ready once again. And this year promises to be unlike any other on Marietta Square – or should I say Winter Wonderland?

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON Parking your car in a suburb of Atlanta one minute and being transported to a Winter Wonderland the next would require a significant amount of imagination, but the team behind Marietta’s magical transformation has planned long and hard to ensure that creativity extends far beyond your imagination. If you haven’t already done so, grab your ice skates and hit the ice — figuratively, not literally, that is. In response to last year’s swarm of eager skaters, the ice skating rink opened last month and will remain operating through late February.


December 2016 | | 21


Every effort to make Winter Wonderland a richer and bigger experience has been made and as most of us would agree, standing in line for an hour or more simply doesn’t fit that description. To keep the merrymaking moving, families can now book a personalized visit with Santa in advance. The top half of every hour is reserved for online booking, while the bottom half is available for walk-up visits. Either way, this means you don’t have to swap those skates for a long wait. Speaking of watching the clock, the countdown to 2017 on New Year’s Eve will have a few new twists this year. Planned as a family event from 2 to 7 p.m., the festivities will include five to six food trucks dishing out bites to keep you warm and sufficiently fueled for hours of endless fun.


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“THE SPIRIT OF SANTA — the holiday season, the traditions, the songs, the spirit of giving — is there.” LAMAR MAY

On the east side of Glover Park will be the Resolution Wall, a 30-foot wall built by Blue Sky Exhibits for writing health resolutions on one side, sponsored by WellStar Health System, and financial resolutions on the other side, sponsored by First Command Financial Services. The park’s south side will play host to an 18-hole, glow-in-the-dark putt putt course while the west side will offer carnival-like games and activities for toddlers to teens. For the adults, a miniescape room just might entice you to exercise your inner Indiana Jones. At 4 p.m., the Ice Warriors will take the stage. In the span of roughly 90 minutes, these two world-champion ice carvers will compete against each other to see which one creates the best ice sculpture.

24 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

Attention then turns to the cows. Arriving by bus and aptly dubbed "Herd of Cows," the costumed cattle will perform a 45-minute dance routine that might inspire you to “moo-ve” and groove along with them. Even if you decide not to don your dancing shoes, don’t forget to buy one of the Chick-fil-A cows that will be available for purchase throughout the day because one lucky winner will receive the grand prize of Chick-fil-A a day for a year. When the cows go home, the party really starts. Music will soon fill the streets with two bands, one of which is Douglas Cameron who is scheduled to play from 10 p.m. ‘till the 8-foot mystery box drops from the crane at midnight. Unlike the typical ball drop in most cities, Marietta’s mystery box highlights a different object every year.

What will it be this year? I have no clue and while I couldn’t get anyone to share even the slightest hint at what it might be, May left me with perhaps the best takeaway yet. “The spirit of Santa — the holiday season, the traditions, the songs, the spirit of giving — is there. It has always been and always will be. That’s really what you’re celebrating.” Somewhere in the smile that crept across my face was the realization that even adults can benefit from a visit with Santa and a lingering thought of whether he’s the real deal after all.


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HETHER BUYING TIME between wrapping presents as Christmas Day slowly approaches or in search of something to do with friends and family in town, staying busy can be key. In lieu of bundling everyone up and braving the cold (or a parking lot), oftentimes entertainment is best at home. As I watched my daughter wrinkle her forehead and wiggle her nose side to side in a furious attempt to move a cookie from her face to her mouth, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. “Let me try!” my son said, as he grabbed a cookie of his own, placed it on his forehead and contorted his face to make it slowly slide. Out of four of us, only one was victorious, but everyone got a good giggle, not to mention the reward of a cookie when the game was over. While amusement is a good idea to keep spirits bright and boredom at bay throughout the year, in this particular case, we were “researching” new games to play with family and friends in anticipation of their arrival for the holidays. Whether it’s traditional board games like Sorry!, Clue or Monopoly, our family is always up for a fun night of friendly competition. Our latest round of rowdiness included several 60-second games based on the popular “Minute To Win It” television show. Besides the opportunity for pure silliness, the best part about them is that they don’t require much preparation, players of all ages can participate and while these games are typically timed to create a sense of urgency, they’re also fun without a clock.


“ be your own kind of beautiful ”

The quintessential Southern quail-hunting experience


229-889-0193 December 2016 | | 25

12 IN 2016

Cookie Face: This one is entertaining because everyone can compete at the same time, although doing so means you don’t get to see anyone else’s crazy contortions with the cookie. I suggest teams so that most of the crowd gets the gift of watching each person contend with their challenge. The rule is simple: players place a cookie on their forehead with the goal of getting it into their mouth using only facial muscles. No hands!

Jingle in the Trunk: In the spirit of the holidays, this game often changes its name from Junk to Jingle, but the gist is the same. Players must empty a box full of jingle bells (instead of the usual ping-pong balls) attached to their lower backs without using their hands. We used empty Kleenex boxes, but we’ve also cut the same size hole in shipping boxes. Other supplies you need include a belt, duck tape and small-sized bells. Cut a slit — large enough to slip a belt (or rope) — through each side of the box and then tape the corners. Slip onto your waist and shake in any direction you can to toss those bells out. First one to empty the box, wins!

Be warned: the creativity involved to empty these boxes could cause a side splinter from too much laughing.

Tilt-a-Cup: Nope. This is not exactly Tilt-a-Whirl, but after stacking enough cups, you might feel a bit dizzy. In this game, one team member, standing on the other side of the room, bounces pingpong balls to their partner who has to catch it with a Solo cup (or something similar). That cup — and the ball — gets put under their stack and they catch with the next empty cup, and so on until the stack starts to wobble and things get a little wild. We started with six cups, but if you go big, prepare to have a plan as it gets harder and harder to steady that stack.

Carpet Ride: I confess this one sounded like more fun than work until my husband and I decided to play parents versus the kids and promptly lost … in no time. Best choice is to pair one flexible teammate with a not-so-flexible partner to even your odds. Another note for success is to choose a soft and somewhat large bath mat as your carpet to ride. Basically, the contest involves flipping a bath mat upside down and scooting across the floor from one designated spot to the other, without using your hands. Once you’re there, a teammate takes off going back the opposite direction. Whether you place your bets or wage a prize for the fastest team, watching your family have a fun night together is always a win-win. PN


26 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016



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Storytime I N AT L A N TA

28 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016



OUR FAVORITE TALE, especially this time of year, might be filled with visions of sugar plums, a boy named Ralphie or misfit toys finding their place in the world. Maybe it’s a tradition retold or a funny story that surfaces often. It might incite tears or laughter, sentiment or even angst, but what every story has in common is a simple yearning to be told — as each should. The oral history of our existence and of the people who make up our entire nation is as important to our society’s makeup as every battle, election, discovery and adventure that occurred alongside it. As a writer, I love to tell stories — true accounts, fictional narratives, even news briefs and marketing pitches. Meeting people, listening to their stories and (almost always) finding an emotional connection is what drives me to continue pursuing new assignments. It’s also what drives StoryCorps to document as much of our verbose history as possible, archiving the voices of the people, our stories as a mankind. StoryCorps was founded in 2003 in New York City, N.Y. as a pocket-sized interview station inside Grand Central Terminal. It was a place for people to come and record conversations. They quickly added two MobileBooths inside The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and began broadcasting weekly stories on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Its popularity and success also led to the publication of several books, establishment of a National Day of Listening, garnered support from

celebrities and birthed several other cities’ recording booths, including Atlanta in 2009 at WABE Studios. In 2013, the Atlanta booth moved to The Atlanta History Center, where it continues to pursue its mission to preserve and share stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Lucky for us, a short drive into the city lets us in on the conversation too.

FAMILY TIES The StoryCorps interview process is simple: two people reserve a time, then come in and start talking. Participants can expect about 40 minutes of uninterrupted time to have a meaningful conversation with a friend, family member or someone else of interest to them. One of the facilitators will help everyone get comfortable, explain the process and sit in during the interview. But solo stories have a place too. If you’re alone, StoryCorps will conduct the interview. The goal, after all, is to provide a platform for stories to be told. “We’re a national media organization that helps people record and preserve their life stories,” said Regional Director Daniel Horowitz Garcia. “But we want people to look at it as more of a conversation than an interview. It’s about pairing up people who want to talk about something that’s important to them.” Recording up to 700 interviews a year, Garcia described a number of scenarios, but typically the recordings are conversations between generations of family, whether grandchildren asking their grandparents about what life was like for them, siblings swapping stories about family memories, children asking parents about family history and more. Like an elementary

December 2016 | | 29


The Atlanta History Center’s StoryCorp interview room

“I tell people, ‘If you had the chance to listen to your great grandmother at the push of the button, would you listen to it?’”

school history remembered, “He project with highsaid, ‘Well, I could tech possibility, Stostill see.’ People ryCorps lets anyone, come in and joke DANIEL HOROWITZ GARCIA any age, get intimate all the time, but they Regional Director, StoryCorps details about life they still take it seriously. may never have heard So, while it’s not always otherwise — and may not people bawling and get the chance to ever hear crying, it’s people sharing again. The gambit also includes things that are really important a lot of talk between newly married to them.” or newly engaged couples and people On that note, Garcia said the most marking milestones in their life. Garcia even common themes of StoryCorps interviews are remembered one couple bringing in their 6-month-old, candid conversations between people saying, “I love you,” so they could remember what it sounded like to do rou“I forgive you,” or asking, “Will you forgive me?” While tine baby things. they may not say those particular words, it’s a motif that The oldest recorder to date in Atlanta is a 101-year-old hints at the backbone of StoryCorps’ purpose — to bring World War II veteran. His grand niece asked him how people closer to understanding each other. he won his medals in the war, which uncovered a story Oftentimes, the most fascinating stories come from about how he had landed a bomber with a face full of those that don’t think they have a story to tell, but as shrapnel, saving the lives of those on board. Garcia revealed, that usually means they do. Recording “When I asked him how he could do that,” Garcia at StoryCorps helps provide the opportunity those stories PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBB HILL

30 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

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need to reveal themselves. Plus, there will be a record for participants and their families of things they perhaps didn’t know they wanted to say. “I tell people, ‘If you had the chance to listen to your great grandmother at the push of a button, would you listen to it?’” Garcia said. “Well, that’s what we’re offering future generations.” Not to mention every recording is sent to The American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress, and putting your family into the national archives is a cause for conversation that anyone can dig up.

REGIONAL REGALING Not all of the recordings sent to the American Folklife Center are between family members. In fact, a lot of the work that StoryCorps does is regional, and Atlanta has its share of stories to tell from the areas just outside its city limits. One of the most interesting that Garcia recounted was an interview recorded with a refugee service organization working in Clarkston. He interviewed a man who had worked in Afghanistan as a translator. “He talked about what it was like to work with the U.S. in Afghanistan and how much hope he had after the Taliban fell,” Garcia said. “He also talked a little about that hope disappearing. It was a fascinating, but hard conversation.” Atlanta StoryCorps also partnered with the David J. Sencer CDC Museum to record interviews with Centers for Disease Control employees who responded to the Ebola outbreak. “The StoryCorps process was able to record a different kind of information,” Garcia explained. “For example, we recorded one interview between a responder and his 12-year-old daughter. She talked about how difficult it was to have a parent deployed but not being allowed to tell anyone. These types of interviews recorded a different type of impact [the outbreak had].” They’ve interviewed people who grew up in a textile mill town, spoken with immigrants on what their life is like now, talked with Los Ninos Primero, an organization that works with after-school children in the Latino populations, and chatted with AID Atlanta. These conversations are made possible by donations to StoryCorps from individual patrons, sponsorships and community partnerships. Next year, they’re hoping to record inside a women’s prison and chat with both employees and students at an alternative school. “[Donations] are what make our outreach work possible,” Garcia said. “We can get to people who couldn’t come to us and make sure their voices are heard too.” Their longstanding partnership with The Atlanta History Center and WABE 90.1 FM also makes sure those voices are heard via broadcasts on Tuesday’s “Morning

32 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

Edition” and “Closer Look” as well as Friday’s “Morning Edition.”

THE GREATEST GIFT If you’re like me, your mind races at the thought of the conversations I could have while extended family is in town for the holidays. I could ask my grandfather what it was like on the Navy ships during World War II or his perspective as a high school football quarterback. I’d get his opinion on life’s biggest regrets or the successes that continue to motivate him now. I could interview my uncle about his experience moving from Metro Atlanta to a small fishing town in Florida to attend high school. Fascinated by change, the evolution of community and, contrastingly, the stagnation that small towns experience, I wonder what hasn’t changed in 40 years from his perspective? “Because a lot of your family is together in one place around the holidays, you hear a lot of stories,” Garcia said. “That’s a good place to start thinking about how long you’ll be able to hear those stories.” How long those details will be available is one thing, but the excitement of getting them told and into the Library of Congress is another, maybe even motivation to schedule an interview. Garcia told me about two sisters who came into the booth to chat with each other. They were 92 and 93 years old and talked for about 45 minutes. He described their conversation as simple, not really discussing anything emotional at all, but when he asked them to sign the release form, which would grant StoryCorps permission to send a copy of their session to The Library of Congress, one of the sisters began to cry. The idea of being a documented part of history was that impactful to her. “There’s still this idea that history is important,” Garcia added. “It reminds people that they are a real part of history.” That idea is catching. After nearly a decade of recording in Atlanta, StoryCorps books about a month out. “There’s a prominent oral historian from Italy named Alessandro Portelli who wrote that ‘People already have a voice,’” Garcia said. “’The goal of the oral historian is simply to amplify those voices — the voices of the everyday people that make society function.’ Everybody has their story. Everybody’s story is important. They don’t necessarily have to record at StoryCorps, but it’s important that everyone records their story. It’s a rare chance to really listen to each other, but that listening can breathe empathy and understanding.” We’re all ears. PN


December 2016 | | 33




GETTING OLDER V is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. — Madeleine L ’Engle


service standards were developed by Horst Schulze, former president of Ritz-Carlton hotels, and every member of Parc Communities’ staff is trained to uphold these exceptional standards of excellence – to be attentive, responsive, relaxed and friendly. Visit today to see for yourself what residents and


their families experience at Parc Communities. Parc at Piedmont-East Cobb, 770-5658828 or Parc at Duluth-Johns Creek 770-6226880,


at Cresswind Lake Lanier

It’s all here and waiting for you at Cresswind at Lake Lanier; the best-selling active adult

at Parc Communities

community in Georgia for three straight

Take time out of the hustle and bustle this

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36 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016


Autumn Leaves

p.m. Homes are priced from the mid $200s

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Residents enjoy exceptional recreational amenities including a 28,000 square-foot clubhouse, gourmet teaching kitchen, fitness

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center, aerobics studio, library, Performing

Join the award-winning community of Soleil

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Laurel Canyon today. Located in the foothills

crafts workshop. Outside the clubhouse,

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the tennis center, an amphitheater, com-

North Georgia Mountains and a short drive

munity garden, greenhouse, lagoon-style

from Atlanta, Soleil Laurel Canyon is the pre-

pool, walking trails and adjacent Fairways

mier active adult lifestyle community.

of Canton golf course complete the resort-

It is no doubt why Soleil Laurel Canyon

style environment. Explore your passions

was named among the Best 50 Master-Planned

and find the perfect place to call home

Communities in the U.S. By Where to Retire

at Soleil Laurel Canyon. 678-880-3071,

magazine in 2015. The community offers 12

distinct home designs that are as architecturally breathtaking as they are functional


and spacious. These two and three bedroom

at Autumn Leaves of Windward

designer floor plans are open and elegant with

At Autumn Leaves of Windward, they focus

11-foot ceilings, satin nickel hardware, marble

exclusively on providing the best, research-

vanities and designer lighting. Soleil’s model

based assisted living care for people with Alz-

home park features eight fully decorated and

heimer’s and other forms of dementia.

furnished homes, allowing you to view the

Every employee — from their caregivers PHOTO COURTESY OF AUTUMN LEAVES

38 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016


and respite (overnight) programs, they strive to provide residents the level of exceptional care they would want for their own family members. It would be their privilege for their family to serve yours. 888- 662-8886, autumnleaves.comb

10 SMART TIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR BRAIN at Belmont Village 1. Eat Right – A heart-healthy diet with plenty of antioxidants 2. Exercise – Minimum 30 minutes daily; mix cardio and strength training

and chefs to their corporate staff and exec-

3. Challenge Your Brain – Best exercises

utives — is trained in dementia care, and

teach something new and are a mental

the depth and breadth of their team’s under-


standing about this disease sets their care apart. Autumn Leaves has been recognized as a “best of the best” memory care provider by Argentum, the nation’s leading professional senior living association.

4. Stay Social – Isolation and inactivity lead to depression 5. Reduce Stress – Stress hormones can affect memory 6. Sleep – Sleep deprivation disrupts coordi-

Their buildings are thoughtfully designed to be safe, secure, comfortable and calming. Abundant natural light, wide hallways, a

nated brain activity 7. Stop multi-tasking – Interruptions interfere with memory formation

figure-8 layout for enjoyable walks, a serene

8. Embrace Your Spirituality – Be it good

courtyards with gardens and putting green,

works, prayer or mediation, a fulfilling life

well-appointed, furnished suites with pri-

creates well-being

vate baths and many other features create a

9. Maintain Your Purpose – Feeling that

wonderful home-like environment. It’s the

your life has meaning fosters positive

perfect complement to their individualized,

attitudes and emotions

biography-based care plan program called So Much More that incorporates their resi-

10. Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut – Keep things interesting to remain effective

dent’s life history, interests, and preferences

Belmont Village Johns Creek, 770-813-9505

into ongoing, engagement through culinary

or Belmont Village Buckhead, 404-252-6271,

(So Much More to Savor), exercise (Do), music (Experience),

Autumn Leaves


ar t (Express) and

at The Phoenix at Milton

community outreach

Opening this winter, everything they do at


The Phoenix at Milton will begin and end

Autumn Leaves’

with their service, focused on their residents,

40 -plus communi-

their families and their associates. Their

ties in nine states are

executive team and knowledgeable, trained

family-owned and

associates will uphold the highest standards

-operated. Offering

of excellence in both their assisted living and

full-time, day stay

memory care settings as well as understand PHOTO COURTESY OF AUTUMN LEAVES

40 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

December 2016 | | 41


their unwavering commitment to their customers. Offering superior, innovative and personalized services for seniors, their goal is to consistently engage their residents in meaningful activities that are designed to support the various beliefs, interests and experiences of the seniors they serve. Their care, based only on what each resident requires, allows residents to live as independently as they can and yet be conďŹ dent in receiving the care they need. The Phoenix at Milton wants every resident to live life to its fullest and their community is designed to provide an environment that is not only comfortable and inviting, but also offers a full range of choices. Their extensive outdoor space includes walking paths, patios, a children’s playground and an outdoor replace. The community environment, designed with soft colors and eloquent furnishings, offers many common living areas created to relax and enjoy. A family kitchen for residents and their families to cook their favorite family recipes and guest chefs to provide cooking demonstrations, a private dining room for families to use for special events, a pub, card room, beauty salon, library — just to name a few of their amenities — encourages purposeful living for seniors. They welcome seniors to make The Phoenix at Milton their new home. b

SLOW DOWN THE SIGNS OF AGING at Celebration Village

Located in both Acworth and Suwanee, Georgia, Celebration Village senior living communities believe your golden years should be your best, and are designed purposefully

42 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

Assisted Living and Memory Care

Celebration Village

for successful aging. Their Masterpiece Living program helps you enjoy life and live healthier, longer. These unique full-service rental retirement communities open in spring 2017 and include independent living, concierge and private assisted living along with memory care residences in a maintenance-free setting. Call today and let them help you learn the tools to slow down the signs of aging and enjoy the special occasions each and every day brings! $FZRUWK6DOHV2IĆ“FHRU)RUV\WK 6DOHV2IĆ“

LOW-MAINTENANCE LIVING at Lake Arrowhead There’s something special about the lake and mountains. Serene. Peaceful. Transforming. And when you add in the invigorating mountain air and one of the most pristine lakes in the Southeast, you redeďŹ ne mountain, lake and golf Living. Welcome to Lake Arrowhead, a private


Live, Love, Thrive is our philosophy that we integrate into everything we do because we recognize the importance of seniors staying active and purposeful.

mountain, lake and golďŹ ng community just outside of Canton. You’ll fall in love with the 540-acre, crystal-clear shimmering lake with 21 miles of shoreline that sits as the centerpiece to the property. You will enjoy learning about the

A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU CAN LOOK FORWARD TO: • Enchanting Outdoor Space with Walking Paths • Culinary Delights • Exceptional Care • CertiďŹ ed Dementia Practitioners

sunset lake tours and our Lakeside Park, where you will enjoy hiking, grilling and swimming in the lake. World-class amenities include a championship golf course, tennis facility, pickleball courts, numerous swimming pools, miles of hiking and biking trails and championship

13943 HIGHWAY 9 N

470-238-6400 Call us to better understand the Phoenix difference in senior care.



December 2016 | | 43


homes are open daily showcasing commercial grade appliances, spacious open oor plans and private outdoor covered rear patios with captivating mountainside views among the grand hardwood trees — all available with the ease of low-maintenance living. Johnson Development Corporation who developed renowned Towne Lake and Bridge


Mill is at the helm of Lake Arrowhead with their Atlanta-based home building company, Majestic Lifestyle Builders. Keep in mind, Lake Arrowhead is convenient and is an easy 40 minutes from Atlanta and is unbelievably accessible including the close proximity to the new state-of-the-art Northside Cherokee Hospital, currently under construction and minutes away from acclaimed Reinhardt University. The Sales and Information Center is open daily, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, call one of their New Home Specialists or visit today — you’ll be glad you did. b

Lake Arrowhead

bass ďŹ shing. In addition, their outdoor ďŹ tness center features ďŹ tness equipment to be enjoyed as you explore the great outdoors in the community’s centrally located, great Festival Park.


Then, for the new homes ‌. The wait is

Towne Club Windermere’s commitment to

over. The agship neighborhood, Sanctuary

excellence sets its Club Level Assisted Living

Cove is now available for sale. This luxury,

Neighborhood apart. Residents relax in com-

lakeside-living neighborhood showcases 28

fortable suites and receive personalized atten-

home sites, maximizing the panoramic views

tion 24 hours a day with activities of daily

of their lake and mountainside as well as offers

living from a highly trained staff. Dining is

individual deep-water docks. A new portfolio

exceptional and activities emphasize all eight

of plans were designed to maximize the lake

dimensions of wellness.

and mountain views with homes ranging in

Residents of the Club Level Memory

square footage from 2,000 to 3,200, and are

Care Neighborhood beneďŹ t from the inno-

priced from the $300s.

vative Heartfelt CONNECTIONS — A

Let’s not forget about the value- and

Memory Care Program, which offers people

design-inspired features found in their port-

with Alzheimer’s disease and other related

folio of single-level living, ranch-style homes

memory-impairing dementias the care,

being built in Highlands Vista at Lake

respect, dignity and quality of life loved

Arrowhead. These range in square footage

ones want for them. Each day, the goal is to

from 1,700 to 2,800 and are priced from the

enrich residents’ lives, creating success stores


one small victory at a time. 770-844-7779,

Two professionally furnished model „ PHOTO COURTESY OF LAKE ARROWHEAD

44 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

December 2016 | | 45

Luxury LAZE IN

46 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016


South Carolina’s




get home and don’t have to say, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” Whether it’s attributed to kids in tow, uncooperative weather or an overly packed itinerary, what is intended as an escape from the rat race of everyday life often becomes a strenuous test in patience. But, believe me, the possibility of rest for the weary does exist. Let me redirect your course of complaint to the impossibly laid-back way of life offered deep in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Just across the river from touristy Hilton Head Island, over the bridge from Savannah and tucked deep behind the Intracoastal Waterway is a little piece of heaven. While you may have heard of the posh Daufuskie Island or the bordering Beaufort beaches, Palmetto Bluff is where the epitome of porch life gets defined. It’s where effortless lounging is the real luxury, and it makes front porching not only a verb, but a priority … a way of life even. For me and my husband, staying at Montage Palmetto Bluff – sans toddler – made for one of the best vacations we’ve had since our honeymoon. December 2016 | | 47


PRESERVING A PIECE OF PARADISE The state of mind begins to change as soon as you make that right turn into the neighborhood. Off a two-lane highway in Bluffton, S.C., you’re immediately hidden from roadside fruit and vegetable stands, body shops and beach shacks by giant, sweeping pine trees and grand oaks for several miles into the resort. Overall, its sprawl spans 20 acres of marsh, field, forest and waterways, but it feels like you’ve crossed a bridge into uncharted land, something undiscovered and untouched by developers. And, as we soon learned, that was the plan. Driveways are barely noticeable, trees were preserved and much of the land looks as it did a hundred years ago. For good reason, the inhabitants now don’t want their preserved piece of paradise going anywhere; therefore, Montage Palmetto Bluff was built into the land, rather than on it, and the architecture remains soundly Southern, private and subtle, albeit luxurious and worth a lingering glance. That glance reveals bits of history, 48 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

including a present-day nod to the estate of William McKinley’s late 1700s homestead, undeveloped plots showcasing the ruins of banker Richard T. Wilson’s family and that same family’s restored yacht — Grace. The 60-foot, circa-1913 antique motor yacht got her sea legs back this season. Even adjacent islands are represented, like Bull Island’s famous swimming buffalo that sits on the wall inside the resort’s casual restaurant, aptly named Buffalo’s. The land was owned by Union Camp, a bag and paper company, in the mid 1900s and dates to 10,000 B.C.

when Native Americans farmed the area for oysters, fish and wildlife. Evidence of this history is on chronological display at the resort’s quaint riverfront museum, The Palmetto Bluff History Center, or in blackand-white photographs lining the walls at the resort. Certainly the overwhelming presence of history makes you want to tip a widebrimmed hat or peer beneath a parasol at the sunset over the May River. For my husband, something was missing without a cigar or a brandy in hand because being here transports you to another time – deep into another mental state for sure, where time isn’t something to pass, but rather to enjoy.

REST AND RECREATION For all the relaxing to be done, there’s no shortage of activity awaiting your day at Montage. In fact, you could easily stay as busy, or as lax, as you want. The morning can start with breakfast delivered doorside and enjoyed (in a plush robe, no doubt) on your second-story balcony overlooking the sunrise-dappled lagoon. Or, your most

important meal of the day could begin with a bike ride across the property to the Biscuit Bar at Buffalo’s … mimosa and/or Bloody Mary optional. Breakfast could lead you back to the pool, where drinks and snacks from Fore & Aft come right to your chair – or cabana – and complimentary citrus water, sunscreen and service never run out. If you had second helpings at the biscuit bar (and that chicken apple sausage is tempting enough to ensure so), then you could choose to burn it off on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, built into the trees using man-made waterways to collect rainwater for irrigation. It could take you straight to the gym for a private workout or group class, or into a kayak to paddle adventurously along the May River or lazily through the lagoon. In the river, winding creeks and shallow banks let you

get up close and personal with thriving oyster beds, a huge population of friendly dolphins and several types of birds and clawed creatures nesting in the grass. The water to-dos don’t stop there, as Montage offers mini boats to rent for a sunset cocktail cruise with friends, educational kayak tours with a guide, stand-up paddle boarding and fishing. Or still, as we did, let the water inspire someone else to do the work with one of the larger boat tours, like the sunset dolphin cruise which included much more than simply spotting a few finned friends – we threw the net for shrimp, collected bleached shell souvenirs from the beach, learned the history of the surrounding islands, spotted a rare bald eagle and cracked open a few oysters. On the note of leasing out labor, we spent one whole day doing just that. After a few leisure laps at the pool, two incred-

ible salads from Fore & Aft and a couple of cocktails until the sunscreen wore off, we traded swimsuits and towels for robes and slippers inside the gorgeous Spa Montage. Armed with a reservation for the Couple’s Retreat, we cooled off with a round of services that would make doing anything else seem crazy. That included pedicures, massages and facials (several firsts for my husband), quiet time in the relaxation rooms and plenty of fresh-baked granola, hot tub time and cool, plunge pool relief. Though we didn’t burn too many calories, relaxation of this caliber still managed to work up quite an appetite. Thankfully, the resort is replete with plenty of ways to satiate it. Our favorite was Jessamine, the resort’s newest, chicest in-house spot. True to its state flower namesake, it blossoms into a decadent culinary experience, whether you’re sitting down to lunch or a dinner reservation. To start, share the tomato and burrata caprese, but if you opt for the warm kale or the roasted beet salad, you won’t want to spare a bite. For the main course, their best seller is a

December 2016 | | 49

Home Away From Home MONTAGE PALMETTO BLUFF black bass vera cruz served over Carolina gold rice, juicy tomatoes and olives, and my husband will tell you it’s the dish he’s still thinking about long after our return home. I chose the Wagyu beef short ribs, served underneath an impossibly creamy cauliflower puree and burgundy jus. And, because they’ve got a page of great steaks, a lot of can’t-miss sides come a la carte, so as true Southerners with a penchant for fried food, we ordered the Vidalia onion rings dipped in black pepper ranch. Delivered with a reservation at Canoe Club on the other side of the resort, their waterfront dinner is another fabulous option. Sit inside to avoid the buggy, riverside balcony, but settle in for a multicourse arrangement that truly impresses almost as much as the interior’s grand architecture. The roasted black grouper comes piled over Benton’s bacon, fingerling potatoes, carrots, caviar and succulent oyster stew, while the crispy fried chicken

50 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

(I told you we like fried food) gave the traditional Southern dish a brand new reputation atop its bed of spicy rice, sausage and beans. You may not think you have enough room for dessert, but their everchanging options of sweet treats should convince you otherwise. We got ours to go, so we could take advantage of another meal on our balcony.

FREE-TIME FAVORITES Perhaps the best part of Montage Palmetto Bluff is that not everything needs a reservation – or a life preserver. If you do bring the kids, tree houses abound, kiddie pools are open, vast fields beckon and interactive craft classes at Paintbox entice young minds every day. Bikes are in excess, inviting you to pedal slowly through the oak trees along shady winding paths, taking in sun-kissed glimpses of the river, making your way to the shooting club or checking on the high-handed friends at

the stables. Walking paths let you meander through the original ruins, visit the onsite museum, pop in and out of the general store and peruse the boutiques. Fireside games of Clue, Scrabble and playing cards let you idle for as long as you like, while a fleet of Mercedes lets you explore the beckoning land outside the gates. When you want to indulge in serene, Southern style, Montage Palmetto Bluff is the South’s answer to supreme resort living. Making it feel like home away from home is as easy as staying as a guest at the Inn, renting a cottage, booking a guest house or buying real estate and claiming residency (and resort perks). You don’t have to wait until next summer, either – the pool is open year round and the rocking chair doesn’t require a reservation. PN FOR MORE INFORMATION

CHOOSE YOUR OWN Exploring Asheville’s Artisan Outskirts





few minutes involve some version of a simple ritual: open cabinet, grab a coffee cup, fill to the brim, sip and greet the day. It's a mindless practice for many of us, but a recent addition in my growing collection of mugs is currently stealing the spotlight from others on the shelf. In fact, the first few weeks it was in my possession, I didn’t dare reach for it in the mornings for fear of letting it slip through my clumsy, not-yet-caffeinated fingers. I simply smiled at the speckled gray clay, its blue fern-like detail curving on its center like a sideways mouth grinning back. More than an ode to my borderline-obsession with morning brew, this cup stirs memories of a trip along the artisan outskirts of Asheville, N.C. when I met the mug’s maker, the potter Matt Jones, and gained a widened outlook on the bohemian Southern city. PHOTOS COURTESY OF EXPLOREASHEVILLE.COM; ASHEVILLE BED AND BREAKFAST ASSOCIATION

December 2016 | | 51

Home Away From Home ASHEVILLE

A NEW VIEW It’s no secret – Asheville, N.C. is a worldclass destination, just three and a halfhours by car for spoiled Atlantans. But the timelessness of the Biltmore, hipness of the ever-growing breweries and rising culinary reverence of Chef Katie Button are just the tip of the, err, mountain. Set amid western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has built a reputation for inspiring creativity among makers in town and country alike. A visit with unparalleled insight from in-the-know locals begins with a stay at one of the area’s finer bed and breakfasts. In a world of Airbnb, when a search on TripAdvisor yields 40 results, how does the modern, discerning traveller sift through user reviews – or even have the time to do so? This is where the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association (ABBA) comes into play. Booking a stay at one of 16 unique inns, ranging in price points, architectural styles, location, age requirement for guests, dietary interests and innkeepers‘ personalities, offers complimentary peace of mind from the peer-reviewed association’s high standards for hospitality – and of course, a gourmet breakfast. 52 | POINTS NORTH | December 2016

Whether you prefer a Craftsmen, Victorian or antebellum home just minutes from the walkable downtown or a friendly farmhouse, cabin or cottage in more rural surroundings, you’ll find yourself in good company and among the area’s top tour guides, albeit unconventional concierges. Typically a junkie for hotels myself – the shinier, the better – the idea of an alternative getaway combined with the rustic charm of ASIA Bed and Breakfast Spa, backed by the association’s high praise, lured me in. Before I knew it, the scenic drive up mountainous windy roads was behind me and innkeeper Doniel Winter was leading me up the private entrance to ASIA’s Artisan Room. Designed by Winter’s mother, a California artist, the quaint and cozy space is skillfully maximized for function and fashion. Above the handcrafted queen bed, a skylight in the vaulted ceiling offers views of the stars and moon; windows on the wall overlook the meditation garden and adjacent canopy, making the cabinlike room the most private of ASIA’s five. Couples that have romanticized the notion of tiny-house living may enjoy that the area consisting of seating by the gas stove,

the boudoir and the extra large, en-suite jetted tub are one-in-the-same. For those that are imagining it as a little too cozy, remember the inn’s gardens, Tatami porch, library and living room are also intended for guests to relax, as well as to mingle. Both are equal parts of the B&B experience, however the latter is particularly important for those eager to explore the roads less traveled. Equipped with maps and their unique network of fellow innkeepers, these hosts are skilled at tailoring your stay. Occasionally, ABBA collectively offers a package intended to do just that. For example, this past fall, I joined the Farms and Artisan Tour, an independent, scavenger hunt by car that allowed visitors to see, sip and shop at working farms, a vineyard and artisan studios throughout the Sandy Mush community in nearby Leicester, N.C.

LAND OF LEGACIES As the sun moves over the sky from morning to evening, handcrafted coffee cups are replaced by pint glasses of craft beer. Many tourists come to town to bounce from brewery to brewery, and


while we too have happily sipped from one tap to the next, proceed with caution: those focused solely on beer risk overlooking a hidden gem like Addison Farms Vineyards. Seventeen miles from downtown Asheville, the winery began in 2009 when husband-and-wife team Jeffery and Dianne Frisbee planted the first grapes on the family farm. Today, they produce more than 8 tons of fruit and six varieties of wine. As Jeffrey poured samples and offered tidbits behind the land’s history and each vintage’s inspiration inside the tasting room, we soon felt more like we’d been invited over to a friend’s home. The effect was amplified when Jeffrey shared his Atlanta roots. “It may be more accurate to describe it as our Atlanta branches,” he said. “Dianne and I spent 17 years in metro Atlanta, but we were both raised here in Leicester. In fact, I grew up on the same piece of property on which we built our vineyard, and she grew up about 10 miles from us in the house in which her parents still live.” In the wake of recent wildfires throughout the Southeast, I was relieved

to hear that Addison Farms had not been directly impacted – although when I touched based with Frisbee in midNovember, he said there was a haziness from the smoke, clouding the normally long-range views at their elevation between 2,250 and 2,300 feet. Susan Murray, the innkeeper at Carolina Bed and Breakfast, shared outdoor activities have continued in Asheville including a lovely afternoon wedding held at her inn. “Going to the Biltmore, walking around downtown are all still pleasant and good options,” Murray said. “Hiking depends on where you want to go. People traveling to the area should ask their innkeeper.” Again, it was their perspicacity that introduced me to Jones Pottery, another stop along ABBA’s Farms and Artisan Tour. As a fan of the nearby East Fork Pottery, co-founded by Alex Matisse — yes, he is a descendant of Henri – I found a similar fascination viewing Jones’ work. The connection became more apparent when Jones revealed the younger Matisse was one of his former apprentices. Other tour-goers found their own heart-stirring keepsake at Friendswoods,

PREVIOUS PAGE: The Lift Studios in the River Arts District; Friendswood Broom THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT: The Artisan Room at ASIA Bed and Breakfast Spa; Jones Pottery; Ramen at Gàn Shān Station; Wine tasting at Addison Farms Vineyards

second-generation broommakers using techniques that date back to the 1790s.

A CLOSER LOOK Touring and wine tasting sure work up an appetite, so next on the agenda was dinner. While ABBA may help you narrow your accommodations search, when it comes to placing a reservation at one of the hotspots on Asheville’s rising culinary scene, you’ve just got to go with your gut. With reassuring affirmation from Winter, my stomach led me to Smoky Park Supper Club, located on nearly 2 acres along the French Broad River, meaning customers can arrive by car, foot, bike or boat. I was just as intrigued by the menu highlighting local purveyors as its design. The restaurant is built from reclaimed shipping containers and set new records for a project of this scale when it debuted in 2015. Back in town, Sovereign Remedies is another “hidden” gem. With the name only


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Home Away From Home ASHEVILLE printed on the glass door, it’s easy to miss from the street; however, any hesitations you have as you approach are erased when you enter. Chic terrariums, a mirrored bar that reaches to the ceiling and a constantly rotating menu of farm-to-glass cocktails gave the notion that we had been let into another world within Asheville. Seems the city still has some secrets to discover, after all. Determined to uncover as many as we could before leaving the mountains, we delved farther off the beaten path for lunch at Gàn Shān Station. Chef/owner Patrick O’Cain proved his chops at Button’s Cúrate and in McCrady’s kitchen in Charleston, S.C. before returning home to open a restaurant of his own, located in (and named for) the Sunset Mountain neighborhood, where he grew up. With each artfully presented course, it became harder to imagine leaving Asheville without returning again soon. Although ABBA wasn’t yet able to confirm what and when the next package will be, many of the individual bed and breakfast members offer their own specials, especially around the holidays, for adventurous Atlantans to enjoy. Booking an entire B&B to fill with friends or family is another tempting option, but that means missing out on the serendipity that evolves from chatting with fellow guests. An easy icebreaker is the emphasis ABBA puts on supporting independent business owners – a notion that is echoed loudly throughout Asheville’s plates, glasses, products and people. Whether you want to come down for breakfast in your pajamas, find a peaceful nook on the porch or settle in a common space where others might be, expect a friendly innkeeper like Winter to join you for conversation. Even if your usual morning routine is out of sorts, I’ve found that sometimes all it takes to feel at home, even when you’re more than 140 miles away, is someone asking you with care, “How do you take your coffee?” PN





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written by STAFF


HEN THE MASTERMINDS behind Florida’s Henderson Park Inn, one of the top couples-only getaways in the world, decided to continue the Henderson story, they also simultaneously extended the luxe experience associated with it to a brand new generation of guests. “The Henderson Park Inn, a beautiful seaside manor located along the beach in Destin, is where the legacy started,” said Douglas Hustad, general manager for the newly opened Henderson Beach Resort, which is managed by the well-established Salamander Hotels & Resorts. “Couples came for a romantic weekend and when those same couples had kids, they wanted to come back. Now, they can. We’ve truly built a world-class hotel with the design and architectural components expected as the continuation of our story.” Boasting an experiential destination spa, Gulf-to-table cuisine, a private sushi bar, daily sunset salutations, bootcamp on the beach and rooftop yoga, among many more adult-friendly amenities, the family-friendly Henderson Beach Resort promises to send their younger patrons home with rave reviews about their stay as well. The dedicated children’s club offers educational programs through the adjacent 208-acre Henderson State Park (to which guests have access) in addition to programs with guides that will keep them busy and entertained for full or half days. For lazy days, there’s always the option of floating down the lazy river or lounging poolside.

Not to be outshined by the outdoors, the resort’s artistic side is omnipresent, complete with custom-inspired pieces ranging from glass, canvas and a variety of mediums. “We’ve done a lot of work in our community with artists and every bit of art showcased in the resort is 100 percent local,” Hustad said, referring to each of the public spaces such as the lobby, the restaurants and the hallways designed to feel like walking in a museum gallery. While we haven’t personally walked these halls or stepped inside one of the 170 spacious guest rooms yet, it certainly won’t be very long now that Henderson Beach Resort officially opened its doors last

month. Needless to say, returning to nearly 2 miles of beach renowned for its sugarwhite sand and emerald-green water is on the top of our travel list for next year. To celebrate the hotel opening, a special introductory Bed & Breakfast package offer includes luxurious accommodations with a private balcony with a daily full breakfast enjoyed in the dining room or as private in-room dining from $199 per night. This offer is valid for new bookings for stays between Dec. 7 and March 9, and is based on availability; blackout dates and stay restrictions may apply. PN FOR MORE INFORMATION PHOTOS BY CHASE YAKABOSKI COURTESY OF HENDERSON BEACH RESORT

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Going the Distance written by CARL DANBURY, JR.

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months, I was granted the opportunity to visit Italy. My initial trip in July 2014 lasted only four days, as the trip was enjoined with a visit to Switzerland, but I was able to see a few areas of the beautiful Piedmont region and a bit of Emilia Romagna. The most recent trip was much more aggressive, as I bounded to and fro on trains, vans and planes to complete all of the planned visits during an eight-day period last month. All told, I traversed about 1,700 miles of the welcoming country with the thankful majority being covered via high-speed Trenitalia Frecce trains and a few regional rattlers.

ROAMING BEYOND ROME The first two days were spent in Rome, along with the southern suburb of Cori, which is home to the temple of Hercules, the Cincinnato winery and the stunning Garden of Ninfa nearby. I can fully appreciate Rome, with its antiquities and landmarks, its Papal magnetism and gastronomic appeal. However, I was most anticipating my trip northward, to the Veneto region, the mountain communities of Alto Adige and South Tyrol, as well as the Friuli region near the border of Slovenia. There was plenty to experience, and I had four days in which to check many things off my list. Starting with a full day of train travel on a rainy Sunday (Orbetello in Tuscany south to Rome, and then northward to Padua, Verona, Bolzano and finally Merano), the 10-hour journey meant two transfers or waiting four-plus hours for my departure. I chose the transfers. Just when you get used to the Italian language, Bolzano and Merano



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Guy’s TIME

toss you a curve ball, as the local majority speaks German as their first language, with English coming in a distant third. I had arrived after dark, and the Merano station was virtually unattended. Calling for a cab, I received a German message that might have said, “You’re out of luck old boy. Stay dry and good luck.” I did have a bit of luck, as a young lady who was to attend the same festival as I the following day, communicated to me in perfect English that a taxi would return soon and would I like to share a ride? At long last, Hotel Annabell, located in a marvelous green oasis amidst a quiet residential neighborhood provided a very warm welcome, suggestions for dinner nearby and a nicely sized double room with a fabulous balcony. The Annabell, owned by the Regele family, offers some of the same soothing treatments that Merano is famous for, and a very nice breakfast, which is included in the price of your room. I paid just 81 Euro for mine, a bit of a welcome surprise during a five-day wine and food exhibition. The family theme held true for the remainder of my trip. Ines Giovanett has visited the Atlanta area many times during the past decade, as her family’s wines (Castelfeder and Mont Mes) and others they produce in Kurtinig/Cortina are widely distributed in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. This time, I was scheduled to pay her a visit, first at the 25th edition of the Merano Wine Festival, and later at the winery and home office.

A CELEBRATION OF VINTAGES Ines had told me that the quality of this wine fair was one of the best in Italy, and judging from the crowds gathered to enter the Kurhaus on a Monday morning, that fact was confirmed quickly. I’ve never attended a fair where producers poured an older vintage, nor some of their most expensive offerings. Amarone, Barbaresco, Barolo, Bolgheri, Brunello, Cannonau, Falanghina, Lacryma Christi, Primitivo, Prosecco, Taurasi and Vermentino all flowed like a mountain spring. Attendees also were treated to new presenting wineries from PHOTOS COURTESY OF CARL DANBURY, JR.

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Italy, 23 grand cru producers from Bordeaux, biodynamic wineries and the Champagne Catwalk, which concluded the festivities with tastes of France’s best imported bubbly. After the fair concluded, I was treated to dinner at Hidalgo in nearby Burgstall, which specializes in beef tastings and toasty environs. Tuesday morning included a visit to Castelfeder’s offices in Egna, lunch at a wonderful restaurant in town, a visit to the Glener vineyards where their exceptional Pinot Nero is grown and finally to their winery to taste some of the varietals I had not before experienced. During the past 36 hours, I had met Ines’ father Günther, mother Sandra, brother Ivan and the family’s partner in a Mosel, Germany winery (Sorentberg) that produces Riesling, Tobias Treis. There is a certain sparkle in each of their eyes as they discuss their vineyards, their wines, their towns and of course, their families. They treat their business as if they must preserve each petal of a flower, and they treat their guests like an extension of family.

SHARING A TABLE The final day sent me southeast from Bolzano to San Floriano del Collio, near the Italy-Slovenia border. In this northeastern-most region of Italy, white wines flourish while red wines are a bit overlooked. A friend introduced me to Mitja Miklus via e-mail after my previous trip to Italy in 2014. Mitja’s family has been farming in these hills for several generations and for the past 21 years, he has been engaged in bringing out the absolute best Collio has to offer. After meeting his wife Helene, his mother Anna and a family friend Nives Bavdaz, Mitja, Nives and I settled in for a long day of tasting his family wines. Some are matured in stainless steel, others in oak, but all are amazing. We discussed his philosophy of winemaking, his family’s history in the business, where his wines can be found in the U.S. and his plans for the future. Nives patiently translated my English into Slovenian for Mitja, and vice versa for me. There was no more Italian being spoken, but you could tell there was a mutual appreciation for each of us at the table. About eight hours into the tasting, Anna returned and told me that she really appreciated me coming the great distance to taste the family’s wines. She said few have made the trek to San Floriano and that meant a lot to all of them. For me, this was just another incredible opportunity to sit at a table to share bread, cheese, wine and a bit of each other. Stories about our jobs, our lives, our passions and most importantly our families, provide us a connection to each other. No language barrier can stand in the way of our eyes, our heart and our soul. Sometimes it takes a trip to an unfamiliar place to remind us of the simple fact, that we can make a difference in the lives of others, and that they most certainly can in ours. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. PN December 2016 | | 61


Stay WHETHER IN NEED of a place for your extra company and last-minute out-of-towners that don’t fit under your roof, or you’re craving a staycation with a skyline, a suite at the new AC Hotel Atlanta Buckhead at Phipps Plaza may hold your solution. A blend of classic style and modern comfort, the concept comes from Marriott’s collection of hotels brought from Europe’s most sophisticated cities. Now entering major U.S. markets with 75 more locations planned to open around the country, the brand gives our city an early look and we can quickly see it

A blend of classic style, European sophistication and modern comfort, AC Hotel Atlanta Buckhead at Phipps Plaza by Marriott is now open. aligning with creative nomads and business tycoons alike. If the sleek and tranquil design doesn’t win you over initially, indulge and imbibe in the unique tapas and innovative cocktails at the AC Lounge. Insider tip – they serve a killer G&T, made with Hendrick’s gin, Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic and garnished with a cucumber slice, a juniper berry and a rose petal. Savor the hotel’s surroundings with the Buckhead Hotel and Dining Package. Subject to availability, this special offer

runs through June 2017 and includes overnight accommodations for two, valet parking at Phipps Plaza and Lenox Mall, Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast at AC Kitchen – think signature baked croissants, artisan-cured meats, sweet and savory egg tarts and Nepresso Coffee – and a $25 Buckhead dining card per night. Come to think of it, maybe we’ll convince the relatives they’d be more comfortable in our homes and we can graciously spend a night or two at the AC Hotel.

Devour ATTENTION ALL FOODIES! Malika Bowling, author of “Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings” and Atlanta Restaurant Blog, has a new release out now. The new “Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More!” features a mouth-watering guide to conquering Atlanta – one plate, pint or bowl at a


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December 2016

time. Bowling’s résumé proves that when it comes to food, she means business. On her blog, Bowling has set the bar high for fellow food bloggers with reviews of restaurants around town. She also founded The Association of Food Bloggers, a nonprofit member organization that serves as a resource for colleagues and foodie friends. Currently, she is focused on the release of her new book that ensures Atlantans know where to meet each and every one of their cravings. As of Nov. 30, she is offering the first chapter of her book on Buckhead restaurants at no charge to anyone who signs up for her email list at – Brenna Needham

Try IN OUR FIRST ISSUE of the year, we excitedly announced the opening of American Row House (ARH), a boutique rowing studio just off Marietta Square. After peering through the window for months in anticipation, we wasted no time hopping on a water rowing machine to give it a go. We immediately loved the low-impact, high-intensity

workout and have been rowing regularly ever since. Circling back 11 months after it landed on our list of Top 12 Things to Do in 2016, we asked Daniel Huck, who owns and operates ARH with his wife Kim, to share his thoughts on bringing a different fitness approach to the suburbs. “I’ll be the first to admit, I was a little nervous the day we signed our lease at 91 Church Street in Marietta,” Huck said. “I remember thinking, ‘Man, this is such a new and unique concept, what if Marietta isn’t ready for a boutique rowing studio like ARH? Maybe Buckhead or West Midtown would be more accepting?’ Those thoughts couldn’t have been more wrong! Two days after signing the lease, we set up a booth at the Chalktober Festival in Marietta Square and in three and a half hours, we had more than 100 people sign up wanting to try their first class. Fast forward almost a year later and we are adding more classes and trainers to keep up with the demand. We are absolutely loving it!” They aren’t the only ones. Members are driving from other parts of the Northside to join the recently released ShockWave classes. Considered by many in the fitness industry to be the most efficient total body workout in the world and by others as the fat-burning workout you’re not doing yet, ShockWave’s team-oriented, high-intensity, circuit-style workout challenges participants with three rounds of intense rowing. In a 30-minute format, participants work in groups of eight, completing a series of rowing challenges and

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ShockWave’s team-oriented, high-intensity, circuit-style workout challenges participants with three rounds of intense rowing. additional exercises at strength stations. ARH also offers Total Body classes as well as two rowing-specific options: Indo-Row and Power, another new class that combines long and short intervals designed to build endurance, strength and overall power. Most classes are a mix of all ages and all fitness levels, some in search of an alternative cross-training outlet

to strenuous programs while others come for the camaraderie and the goal of getting in shape without undue stress on their joints. To keep up with demand, Huck has already added two new trainers with others on hand as holiday help, which could prove prophetic, knowing irresistible seasonal treats await. The first class is free so row, row, row your boat, anytime you please.

Recognize IN THE MIDST of the holiday craziness, it’s important to take a step back and remember to be thankful for all we have – and reflect on those who are not as fortunate. There is no better time than the holiday season to rack your brain for teens in your families, schools or communities who are deserving of an incredible honor. The Helen Diller Family Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, a program that

awards 15 Jewish teens each year with $36,000 for their exceptional leadership and volunteer projects that make the world a better place. They welcome you to nominate teens that go above and beyond to tackle issues such as homelessness, bullying, insecurity, health disparities, social and economic inequalities, education gaps and so much more. These teens (age 13 to 19) are paving the way for dynamic social change and spreading the idea of “tikkun olam,” which means “to repair the world.” Five teens from California and 10 from other


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December 2016

communities across the U.S. (that could be us, Atlanta) will be acknowledged for their philanthropic efforts, compassion, vision and ability to lead. The deadline to nominate a teen is Dec. 18, 2016 and applications for individuals who wish to apply are due by Jan. 4, 2017. Find the full list of qualiďŹ cations, such as nominations (which cannot come from family members), teens must self-identify as Jewish and may not receive compensation for their volunteer work at – Brenna Needham

Listen MUSIC PLAYS A KEY ROLE in December celebrations around the world, meaning Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra’s 11th Annual Christmas Gala Holiday Pops Concert is perfect for your next holiday outing.

Get in the spirit on Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. at Johns Creek United Methodist Church (JCUMC). This show will have guests in awe as they experience sounds and songs bursting with magical delights. The concert features the Christmas Gala Chorus, Johns Creek Chorale, organist Jeremy Rush and guest host Russ Spencer

of FOX 5 Atlanta, all under the baton of Maestro J. Wayne Baughman. There will also be a very special performance with the Trinity Wall Street Church Pipe Organ, which has been lovingly restored and now installed at JCUMC. These musicians, artists and guests will create a beautiful display of festive music to be

enjoyed by the whole family, right here in Alpharetta. – Brenna Needham

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“December memories can’t be separated from melodies. I remember the year my siblings and I woke my poor parents up in the 6 a.m. hour because we couldn’t wait another minute to open gifts. The Dixie Chicks album found under the tree was promptly played – loudly – on repeat for the rest of the morning. In the decades since, fewer CDs show up from Santa, but our Pandora stations still tend to deviate from traditional tunes. Whether it’s country radio or Diana Krall, the sounds coming from the kitchen on Christmas wouldn’t be the same without us singing and dancing while we cook together.” — Colleen

“For me, it was celebrating Christmas a few years ago with my sister and brotherin-law, while the snow rapidly fell outside, giving us a white Christmas to remember. But when we left, the snow fell harder, making for an exciting drive home on I-20 Eastbound.” — George

“Receiving Dollar Store figurines from my son every year when he was very small. They may have been tacky to any outsider but to a mom, and the little giver, they are as special as any high-dollar gift. It takes a long time for a 4 year old to save up a dollar!” — Tiffany

“My nephew was born on Dec. 22, 2012, so we spent Christmas Eve eating vending machine snacks in the hospital with our new little present. Although unconventional, it was so special. I’m not sure any amount of clothes and stocking stuffers can ever top that — and I love clothes. Now, he brings out the child in all of us, as we are transported back to sprinkling ‘reindeer food’ in the yard and tiptoeing around so Santa doesn’t hear us.” — Brenna

Share your answer with us on social media using #PNAfterThoughts

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“It was 1983 and Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage. The doll was my one request for Christmas, but due to high demand, they were sold out all over town. My mom prepared me for the worst and told me well before Dec. 25 that I would not be receiving the popular doll. I still remember my disappointment. However, a Christmas miracle was in store. My aunt worked for K-Mart and a co-worker had won a Cabbage Patch Kid in an employee game. She knew of my request, and gave my aunt the doll as a gift for me. Imagine my surprise on Christmas morning!” — Shannah

Points North December 2016  

December 2016

Points North December 2016  

December 2016