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keynote speaker at the Churchill Gala at Berry College on Sunday, March 15. The cocktail party and Baronial dinner will be the culminating event to an exhibit at Oak Hill, featuring Churchill’s artwork and family artifacts. The exhibit begins on Feb. 13. A globally inspired approach to cooking has led CHEF DANNY MELLMAN to Blue Ridge, Georgia where he hopes to foster a casual-chic experience at


See how the discovery of a little white church in the woods has once again brought brought people together from all walks of life, and after 135 years, GLENDALE CHAPEL continues to welcome those from Texas Valley and beyond. If you are looking for a workout facility to call home, consider training at a gym built upon safety and a family-focused philosophy, VELOCITY FITNESS.

In a world where folks are a click away from things they may need or desire, HOLLY LYNCH explains why a modem isn’t always the best way to connect businesses with their clients.

J. BRYANT STEELE tackles the

hard-hitting topic of race relations in America today, suggesting that we pack our chocolate boxes this month with the sweetness of “loving thy neighbor”. 6 v3 magazine

A 20-year rewind reveals the story behind the founding members of THE STRANGE, starting with a trip to Turtle’s Music for one of today’s strangest vessels for tunes, a cassette tape.

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hen I was a kid, I remember a program called “thirtysomething” being advertised during my usual TGIF viewing hours on ABC. While the ads were merely an interruption of the powerhouse lineup of shows such as “Perfect Strangers,” “Full House,” “Mr. Belvedere” and “Just the Ten of Us,” it obviously was intriguing enough to stay with me over the years. After a little research, it turns out it was quite the critically acclaimed series, lasting four seasons (88 episodes) from September 1987 to May 28, 1991. I’ve never watched a single episode, but on the 15th of this fine month I turn 35 and will be right smack dab in the middle of my thirtysomethings … so I suppose that connects the dots for this nostalgic train of thought. At the halfway point, I’d have to say it’s an interesting time in a person’s life. I settled into being a parent in my mid- to late-20s, so that certainly calmed my lifestyle down a bit, but I didn’t really feel any older. When my wife and I would go out, we still knew everybody at our favorite watering hole; we could dance the night away with our friends and somehow wake up the next morning with the energy to tackle parenthood. Somewhere around 30, that all changed. It wasn’t a lack of energy or the desire to go out, but more or less a disconnect. You know that feeling when you walk into your bar with your wife and



you might as well cue up the sound effect of a needle scratching a record and all the freshly minted 21-year-olds glare at each other silently stating, “Who let the old folks in?” Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but for me it was quite a revelation that I was no longer a spring chicken. As if my viewing of the entire “Bob the Builder” catalogue hadn’t already spelled that out for me. The funny thing, to me, is that I really didn’t care. I’ve found myself complaining about sporting events that start after 8 on a weeknight, I’ve used the term “damn kids” at least once (no joke), and I have employees who don’t know who Balki Bartokomous from the aforementioned sitcom, “Perfect Strangers,” is … and that’s okay by me. Sure, there are times I long for the days of little to no responsibility. I’m sure we all have those moments. They pass, though, and it looks like I’ve got 88 episodes of an old TV drama to help that process along. I’ll be sure to give you my review.

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ngagement season is upon us. You probably didn’t realize there was a season called “engagement season,” but for those in the wedding industry, this is the most wonderful time of the year! The season begins sometime around Thanksgiving and ends around Valentine ’s Day. According to WeddingWire, 33 percent of engagements happen during this period.

After a year of figuring things out together (just like a first year of a marriage), we’ve hit our stride and are preparing for a wonderful 2015. What do my musings and reflections mean for you? Well, I believe that a season of engagement is truly meant to be a time to appreciate the relationships you’ve formed, but not those romantic relationships. (Sure, I’m all for telling your spouse how much he/she means to you, but that’s not what this column is about.) From

Recently, in looking to hire a part-time graphic designer, I reached out to some photographers and a few other friends who I thought might ‘know someone’. I could’ve used the classified ads or the Chamber of Commerce website. But I wanted to hire someone that came with a recommendation, someone who already knew at least one or two people in my circle, who would slip right into the culture of my office without missing a beat. The best way to find that person was by word of mouth. Asking around. And it worked. After two days of asking around, two very qualified people came to me, literally, within 30 minutes of each other.

Partners Given this season of love and commitments, it’s logical to reflect on other engagements. Almost 5 years ago, I moved my office from my home and into the shared space with a florist and a gourmet chef. Although we didn’t move into the space until April, the planning meetings began in February. It was a great time of year to ‘become engaged’ with these two business partners, and the relationship has been fabulous. I’m publicly thanking them here. Business is looking good. More recently, just one year ago, my company partnered with the talented caterer, Ray Harris.

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TRENDS & TRADITIONS WITH HOLLY LYNCH a business perspective, strategic partnerships are what drive small businesses (and probably large ones too, but I’m a small fry, so that’s really all I can speak to). When solving dilemmas for clients or for my own business, having a network of relationships is much more efficient (and satisfying) than simply using Google.

In a small town, the partnerships extend past immediate relationships of friends and family to friends of friends of family. (Of course, this can also be a challenge in a small town, but mostly it’s a blessing). In seeking some extra help for a large upcoming event, a co-worker suggested a former co-worker of his, who happens to be

the sister of another colleague we work with regularly. Those kinds of ‘endorsements’ are meaningful because when you employ someone who is interconnected to your team in several ways, the motivation to do a great job is amplified. Relationships are important to me. That’s why I’m in this business. And that’s why I keep in touch with my former brides. I enjoy the relationship we build during their wedding planning days, and I enjoy keeping up with where they go in their new married lives. I like staying in touch because I genuinely care about what happens to these couples. Some have moved to foreign countries, others have started businesses or completely changed careers. Some have, sadly, ended their marriages (after almost 8 years in business and over 200 weddings, I guess a divorce or two is inevitable). And then there are the babies - lots and lots of babies have come from marriages that began at a Season wedding. But beyond the connectivity I see with my past brides about their personal lives, I also enjoy the professional relationships we now enjoy. I have employed former clients for legal advice, architectural drawings, financial direction, and guidance on design and much more. [I’m dying to start a network of “something borrowed” where past brides can offer their veils, decor, etc for future brides to use. It’s coming. Just wait.] Keeping business ‘in the family’ is a key part of building strategic relationships. I guess that sounds a tad Mafioso. Put another way, “Dance with the one who brung ya.”

This season of love and Valentine’s is a great reminder to recognize and appreciate the connections in your life. The strategic partnerships you created may be business, personal, spiritual,

or tied to your children’s lives. Take a moment to consider how you’ve been connected. How did you come to know your best friend, your tax accountant, your plumber? The world of LinkedIn and Facebook have their merits, but there’s nothing quite like a friend telling me about her friend’s first cousin who just moved back to town but used to live next door to their grandmother who can totally take care of that random task that I need done. That’s the small town connectivity I can’t live without! 

Holly Lynch

is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning, and design company located at 250 Broad Street in Rome.

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didn’t even staff the Selma-to-Montgomery march and missed the bloody beatings that ensued, as well as being witness to history. Let’s wrap what’s occurred the last couple of years: A self-appointed neighborhood watchdog shoots and kills an unarmed black teenager in Florida and is acquitted of murder. (The shooter, George Zimmerman, last month was arrested and charged with aggravated assault for throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend.) A year later, a policeman in Missouri also shot and killed a young black man. Then a New York City policeman shoots and kills a young black man. Neither faces charges. Any detective who’s investigated a shooting death, or any journalist who’s covered a courtroom trial knows that accounts of an incident can get murky. Witnesses give different accounts and sometimes contradict even themselves. The one fact in these events is that the people with the most reliable knowledge are either dead or pulled the trigger. But black citizens (and sympathetic whites) have taken to the streets. Professional athletes have used their arenas as a stage for something other than games. There have been counter-protests (labeled by some as “white rage”). New York City police officers turned their backs on their own mayor in protest at




his is supposed to be “post racial America.” The phrase has been bandied about for years, especially after we elected a black president – twice. But today racial tension in America is at a pitch unlike any since the 1960s. Sure, it’s a far cry from those news-making days in

Birmingham or Selma, Montgomery or Memphis. But outrage thrives more easily when there are camera phones, more news outlets and stages for statement-making, plus social media and socalled “citizen journalists.” It’s not a straight-up comparison. Looking back, you could argue that civil rights protests were under-covered in the 1960s. Many southern newspapers, for example,

memorials for two of their slain brothers shot by a black suspect with probable anti-America sympathies. The latter incident is only cosmetically related but gets blended in with the other current events in our thinking. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution commissioned a poll in January that asked whether race v3 magazine 17

relations were better, worse or about the same as 30 years ago. Slightly fewer than half said things are better. The differences between black and white responses weren’t statistically significant, but it was surprising (to me anyway) that more whites than blacks said things were better, and also that things were worse. Not quite five years ago, Georgia executed a black man, Troy Davis, for killing a white police officer in Savannah. Davis’s ordeal – two decades of appeals, etc. – drew worldwide attention, partly because he steadfastly maintained his innocence. Also, some witnesses at the beginning had pointed to another man as the shooter. Most of those who pointed to Davis later recanted, some saying they were coerced by police. Davis, a heretofore unremarkable man, had several world leaders who believed him, or at least believed there was reasonable doubt in his case, and spoke out. Some former prosecutors and judges also believed he was innocent. But neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole were inclined to stay the execution. In his last words before his execution, Davis still maintained his innocence and asked God for mercy on the souls of those carrying out his death. As the appointed time approached, there were prayer vigils, not angry demonstrations. It seems today Troy Davis is largely forgotten. Perhaps in five years current events will be also largely forgotten … until the next gunshots divide us again, some for eternity.



The top oil-producing country in the whole world is now … America. Ahead of Venezuela. Saudi Arabia, even. That’s a nice hole card at the high-stakes global poker table. I like kale. I like better that kale-eaters made the giant blink. A Vermont folk artist has won a trademark dispute with Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, which had sent a letter ordering him to “cease and desist” using the phrase “Eat more kale” on silk-screened T-shirts and like merchandise. Chick-fil-A’s ubiquitous billboard cows, of course, urge passing drivers to “eat mor’ chikin.” 18 v3 magazine

everyday stock disappeared. There were always two or three men who left empty-handed at close of business. The National Retail Federation reports men spend twice as much as women for that special someone on Valentine’s Day. No surprise. It has long been a day that enables romance-impaired men to atone for all the times they didn’t hold open a door or remember a birthday. I say we go a step further and make it a national holiday for women. Rename it Ovarian-Americans Day. The NRF says the average person will spend north of $130 on candy, flowers, gifts and restaurants on Cupid Day. Total spending is projected to be $17-18 billion. Those aren’t Christmas numbers, of course, but then you are buying for just one person (aren’t you?) I got the best Valentine’s Day present I’ll ever receive 20 years ago when my daughter was born on Feb. 14. So in closing, I’ll just add: Happy birthday, Katy. Love you, Dad

The fast-food giant apparently thought folks might confuse kale (a leafy green, nutritious vegetable) with a pulverized, quick-cooked poultry patty. Previously, Chick-fil-A had successfully intimidated about 30 other entrepreneurs who wanted to use variations of the “eat more” motif. But the folk artist – that’s probably a self-appellation; I might describe him as a smart guy who saw the chance, win or lose, for 15 minutes of fame and internet sales – wouldn’t roll over. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office backed the kale guy. Chick-fil-A wisely didn’t turn to its lawyers for an overwrought response. Its PR folks instead uttered a shrug-of-the-shoulders quip: “Cows love kale, too.” It’s a case study, from both sides, on how to not lose a fight neither of you especially wanted. But don’t go printing your own “Eat more kale” bumper stickers to sell, because that is now a protected trademark. There are, however, more leafy, green vegetables out there. Good luck with “Eat more iceburg lettuce.” Doesn’t have the same ring. Memo to you guys out there: Valentine’s Day is almost here. Don’t wait until the last minute. In high school, I worked part time for a pharmacy that kept a stock of Russell Stover boxed candy. It always amused me how those shelves emptied between 4 o’clock and closing on Feb. 14. After the Valentine-shaped boxes were gone, the

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uncan Sandys is the great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, and has been a key collaborator on “The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting” at the Millennium Gate Museum. We had a chance to interview him about his thoughts on the exhibition, and on his memories about growing up in the Churchill family.

Millennium Gate Museum (MG): So, Duncan, we’re very excited to have you with us today, and to have had so much of your help on this exhibition. Can you tell our readers a little bit about how the exhibition came about?

Duncan Sandys (DS): Certainly. The exhibition has been a really exciting project—I

significant collection of Churchill’s paintings. We also realized that January 2015 was going to mark the 50th anniversary of Winston’s passing, and so this exhibition just seemed like the perfect idea.

MG: We think so, too. Now, there have been a number of other exhibitions of Winston Churchill’s paint ings, the largest being the 1998 Sotheby’s show in London. The last show in the U.S. that was this big was in 1965. How is this show different? Is it any different? DS: We’re going to be exhibiting many pieces that haven’t been shown before, so that’s different. But the really important difference is our angle on the paintings: we worked with you [the Gate] to do a lot of research, both about Churchill and his relationship to painting,

An interview with Duncan Sandys Winston Churchill’s great grandson, former mayor of Westminster, and Atlanta resident

think it’s going to be a landmark show. It sort of came about by chance: Rodney [Mims Cook, Jr.], your founder, happened to know Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, my cousin, who introduced us. While we were talk-ing, the concept for The Art of Diplomacy just came up naturally and Rodney was looking for an idea for a major exhibition at the Gate. He was intrigued by my family’s

and about the Churchill family’s relationship with Georgia. We found that the Churchills have been involved with Georgia in varying capacities for about 300 years: Winston’s ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough, for instance, gave James Oglethorpe [founder of the Colony of Georgia] an early opportunity in his military career. During our research we also learned that painting had been even more important for Winston’s career as a statesman than previous shows had suggested: based on his writings, we think his work as a painter had a lot to do with his ability to handle the incredible stress he was under. It also seems to have given him a kind of space of mental clarity in which to reason through decisions. He also drew parallels between fighting battles and making paintings: in some ways they seemed very similar to him. So the show tries to highlight those ideas.

MG: Great. Could you tell us a little bit about your experi-ence as Winston Churchill’s great-grandson? Did you ever meet him? What was he like?

DS: I never met him but my father was the eldest grandchild and was [age] 28 when Churchill died. He shared many family stories over the years. I was born several years after his death but have known others who knew him. From what I have been told, it is clear to me that he was a warm and loving family man – and thoughtful of others. I am very proud of my family history and have had opportunities to experience some unique occasions, and to meet some interesting people. My heritage, of course, partly shapes who I am but I also see it as important to plough one’s own furrow in life.

MG: That makes sense. Thanks for taking the time to tell us a little bit about the show, and about your experiences.

DS: My pleasure. I hope everyone enjoys seeing the show as much as we enjoyed preparing it. Interview courtesy of Millennium Gate Museum v3 magazine 21

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Family dinners, farm-fresh goodies and a picturesque North Georgia backdrop are at the forefront of Danny Mellman and Michelle Moran’s elegantly rustic Main Street eatery. TEXT IAN GRIFFIN



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n the quiet downtown strip of Blue Ridge, Ga., lies a hidden gem of the culinary variety. Built on a foundation of love and experience, Harvest on Main has provided locals and countless tourists with a delightful atmosphere, excellent service and mouth-watering cuisine for fiveplus years. With a focus on the finest, local ingredients available, the selections made available to patrons of Harvest on Main are intelligently crafted to amaze the pallets of the casual diner or self-proclaimed “foodie.” Executive Chef Danny Mellman possesses the ability that sets great chefs apart from good chefs; his flavor profiles are immaculate, each ingredient enriching the others for an explosion of flavor that leaves one licking the plate and craving more. The vessel for this wizardry is a building that serves as the centerpiece of a revitalized main street, filled with shops and art galleries that provide a wonderful pre- and post-meal experience. It’s apropos interior and exterior complement the region in which it sits, providing a ski lodge feel that is casual but elegant and without the stuffiness of some of your standard fine-dining establishments.

My mom and dad would pack us in the car on any given day of the week and drive for an hour to some remote

dockside café in search of a great hamburger.

“We wanted to maintain the Mayberry look and feel,” says Mellman. “It was important to both Michelle and I that people were comfortable walking in here wearing a T-shirt, shorts, 26 v3 magazine

and sandals, and I think restaurateurs all over are realizing that having a laidback atmosphere doesn’t force the quality of the food and service to suffer.” Food is the foundation for Mellman’s marriage, family and childhood. “My family loved food and they loved to go out to eat,” he says. “My mom and dad would pack us in the car on any given day of the week and drive for an hour to some remote dockside café in search of a great hamburger. Those adventures are some of my fondest memories of growing up and certainly

the foundation for my love of cooking. “For the longest time, I thought I wanted to be a vet,” he continues. “My dad was a vet so I thought I was going to follow in his footsteps. I ended up getting a job in a kitchen and knew right away that’s where I belonged.” Mellman is a self-made chef. His experience and mastery of the culinary arts was learned through experience working under great chefs around the world. From Philadelphia, Penn., to Canterbury England, he seized every opportunity to earn his stripes and learn from the best. With stops in France, Italy and the Caribbean, he became a diverse and well-versed chef before returning to the states. After a stint as executive chef at The Mad Batter in Cape May, N.J., he headed south to open The Greenhouse Grill on Captiva

Island in Fla., where he remained for the next 25 years. It was in this phase of his life that his future wife and partner, Michelle Moran, came into the picture. Moran just happened to be an acclaimed food-writer/ critic, working for such esteemed publications as “Progressive Grocer,” The New York Times and USA Today. During her 30-plus years of eating other people’s food for a living, it would be fair to say that she developed an attuned palate. So when fate intervened and put her in front of one of Mellman’s dishes, his skills in the kitchen delivered. “I first met Danny when I was dining at his restaurant in Florida,

where I was working at the time,” says Moran. “I was eating at the bar with a friend and he served us panko-crusted oysters on the half shell with a mango slaw that just blew me away. It’s fair to say I fell in love with his food before I fell in love with him.” They loved food, they loved each other and they both fell in love with Blue Ridge on their first visit there. So much so, in fact, that they decided to say goodbye to Florida and make the North Georgia Mountains their new home. They fully intended to start a food truck that would serve gourmet sandwiches but, while exploring that option, they were presented with the opportunity to open a restaurant on Main Street. The rest is history. With a clear focus on using local farms for produce and proteins, relationships were established with mainstays such as Brasstown Beef and Riverview Farms. Danny and Michelle’s children help maintain the family farm, from which they harvest honey, eggs, hot peppers, tomatoes and potatoes that are used daily in the restaurant. Their daughter works in the restaurant, while their son has mastered the art of foraging for wild mushrooms such as chanterelles. The multiple contributions of siblings and parents truly make Harvest on Main a family affair. This family atmosphere extends far beyond the typical meaning of the word as the staff fills

the roles of adopted brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. It’s a pleasure to watch them work, functioning as a team and treating the dining room as one entity instead of focusing on personal blocks of tables. This selfless effort makes the dining experience fluid, while the food overwhelms the taste buds of each and every customer that walks through the doors. Special event space is available on site and there are even three overnight suites for guests wishing to make the most out of their trip. With a new Mediterranean-themed restaurant already in the works called Masseria, those who do choose to spend the night can enjoy another Mellman-inspired menu in the not-so-distant future. Just a short and scenic drive from Rome that clocks in at a little over an hour, Harvest on Main offers Northwest Georgians an adventure in cuisine that is well worth the drive. Mellman’s passion in the kitchen mixed with Moran’s front-of-the-house management and the charm of downtown Blue Ridge make for a wonderful date night or family dinner you are sure to remember. V  VV

For reservations, call 706.946.6164 or visit at 576 East Main Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia.

v3 magazine 27

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one little building has given new meaning to “making a stand” and a community has gathered at its doorstep to ensure it remains a historic treasure. TEXT OLIVER ROBBINS




any of our childhood memories in the South revolve around Sunday morning church services. Parents would wake us, dress us and we would pile into the family car to hear the preacher man’s sermon. Of course, it never failed that we had to be gently reminded to stop the giggling and gum-chewing with the all-too-familiar pinch on the leg or ear-pull, returning our attention to the valuable life lessons that could be gathered from underneath the steeple. Hopefully, we all have a special place where our lives were impacted by the guidance of our elders, even if it did not come from the pulpit to our pew. What if the aforementioned place was one that embodied much more than religion and morals? How much differently would we recall our Sunday meeting place if it was the means by which we were educated, the sole connection to our community and the source of our family’s identity? There is a place, tucked away in a clearing at the base of Lavender Mountain, that provided a haven to a nationality of people during a difficult transition in this country’s history and was ultimately one of many beacons lighting the path to what America would later become.

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Over 135 years ago, Glendale Methodist Church opened its humble-but-sturdy doors, and after years of neglect, two land owners hope to give it a proper home. Pat York, a former educator in Florida and the Atlanta area for nearly 30 years, had always lived in the city but something in her spirit longed for the openness and peace of the countryside. That’s not all that stirred in her soul, though. “I felt a call to the ordained ministry and we lived right across the street from Emory’s Candler School of Theology,” she recalls. “After finishing theology school, I starting serving as a pastor in very small churches – which is what I wanted – because I figured I had something to offer in those settings. Usually those small churches would get a lot of students and I knew I could be effective.” Serving as a Methodist minister sometimes requires one to move around to different churches and York always found herself inside the city limits of the Atlanta area, still leaving a yearning to take her rest among the rural area’s rolling hills and towering Georgia pines. That is, until she was relocated to a small community in one of Northwest Georgia’s towns perfectly suited for those who seek the slower pace of green pastures.

“I was sent to Cave Spring and that’s where I retired,” she says. “I just fell in love with the area and since I was a little person I had wanted a horse. But since I had always lived in the city, it was not possible to have one. So, I decided to stay there and make plans to buy some land. In the meantime, I met Annie.” As fate would have it, Annie Shields was running a therapeutic horse program at the Georgia School for the Deaf and, while volunteering at the school, York found a person who had similar agricultural intentions in mind for retirement. Annie Shields had also given her working years to teaching others. Some of her career was spent starting the therapeutic riding program at Murphy Harpst Group Home in Cedartown, Ga., and before that she worked at a wilderness camp where she realized her love for the farming kind of life. “It was called Roosevelt Wilderness Camp. We worked with young boys from all over the state and since it was right next door to a big horse farm, I had an opportunity to work with those boys and horses. That sort of started my career in therapeutic riding and mixing it in with teaching experiences. That method of educating kids went on for a long time until I


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started teaching at Coosa High School, but there were no horses at Coosa,” laughs Shields as she remembers what would eventually lead her to co-owning a farm house with York on Big Texas Valley Road. After the last eight years in a classroom setting, Shields decided to put her teaching hat away and, along with York, pick up her boots and gloves. And because she, too, had grown up in the city of Washington, D.C., owning a farm was a dream come true. However, they found much more than a great place for a chicken coop just past the gate adjacent to their new-found property. When walking the property, Shields and York noticed a structure reclaimed by the arms of Mother Nature and, just above the nest of overgrowth, they could see a steeple poking its rusted pointy head out of the leaves against the Georgia sky. “We didn’t know anything about the church, and – for Annie especially – we had to find out more about it,” says York. “Finding out about this church was like opening a giant Christmas package – that is full of more Christmas packages – with each new bit of information we learned.” Shields and York did not acquire the property where the church stood until 12 years after their initial purchase of the farm in 2001. Since the land was split into three parts for three siblings, the deed to the church dangled in front of their

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noses along with the decaying condition of the church they desperately wanted to own and restore. This left plenty of time for research and, with each new find, they grew more attached to the little white church in the woods. During their hunt, they were able to uncover some interesting facts about the origins of the building, along with the rich and storied past of the Glendale Methodist congregation. York’s friends and colleagues in the Methodist community proved helpful and soon they had a direction for their inquiries. “We were connected with much of what we now know when we contacted Morrell Johnson Darko by phone, who was quite ill at the time and we did not realize it,” Shields recalls. Darko, a retired Rome City school teacher and Cornell University master’s degree graduate, was a member of Metropolitan United Methodist Church, where many of Glendale’s former members had found a church home. Darko has since passed, and Shields and York wish to continue to build on the things she was able to bring to light concerning the history of Glendale Chapel in honor of Darko and the Johnson family’s contributions to the story. The reason for the Johnson family’s move from Glendale in 1966 is still murky at best and greatly attributed to dwindling membership ac-

cording to Shields, York and the Johnson sisters, but the early 1900s – and the time spent in the church as children – was alive and well in four sisters who have become the source of much of their historic research’s beginning. Also, Darko’s


83 years young and one of three sisters offering their memories, lives in Rome and shares a first name with Shields. Johnson is one of the great-granddaughters of Rev. Green and Rachel Johnson, who were

Oddly enough, much of what Johnson recounts is not just about prayer and preachers. “It was always a pleasure to go to church. We walked to church most of the time and we walked to school at the church,” she says. “I think I stayed

Finding out about this church was like opening a giant

Christmas package— that is full of more Christmas packages—with each new bit

of information we learned book about African-American history in Rome, “The Rivers Meet”, published in 2003 and her concentration on the African-American history of the Northwest Georgia area provided a much-needed starting line for the farm owners to begin their information-gathering marathon. “It really all started when we met Annie,” says York. Ironically, the farmers’ first face-to-face meeting with a former Glendale member was Annie M. Johnson. Johnson,

organizers for the building of Glendale Chapel. Simpson Fouche, a land owner, decided to help a group of newly-freed African Americans who were worshiping in bush arbors along the mountain’s base. So, in 1875 he deeded a small parcel of land to them to build a church home. The hard-working hands and capable minds of the black community of Texas Valley gathered materials from the area and erected a structure that would be a community identity for their children – a way to make the road of life easier than it had been for them. On Oct. 29, 1879, Glendale Chapel opened its doors for worship and opened the door of opportunity for three young girls who carried the torch for their family with grace and purpose.

home an extra year from school because I was so tiny. I think mama was afraid for me to walk that far to school. “And I remember my first teacher was Ms. Minnie Belman, and after her was Ms. Mildred Payne, Ms. Edna Scott, and Ms. Fannie Montgomery. I remember these little books that we used for what I think was called script writing. We had to get it just right or our teacher would come by and make us do it again.” A full day of classes included English and an array of other studies, according to Johnson, but she really enjoyed learning the poems.

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Johnson’s story about her walk to the church several times a week provides a look behind the character of an African American living in the early Jim Crow era. “I remember that we had to cross a creek to get to the church. We would get to the creek, take off our shoes and walk across with bare feet. When we got to the other side, we had a towel we used to dry our feet. Then, we would put on our socks and shoes, and walk the rest of the way to the church. That was amazing, really, to think that we’d do all of that just to get to church,” she recalls. “It was a blessing for me because after I had a stroke 19 years ago; I still have the will to do things for myself. I never knew how those times – back in Texas Valley – would help me to get to where I am today.” That same determination led to Johnson become the first black bank teller in Floyd Co. early in her professional career.

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Jennie Johnson Jones, who never counted the years after her 35th birthday, was born in 1935 and she has the spunk to back it up. The youngest of the three sisters also remembers the school lessons, but her memories are very strongly rooted in the services held at Glendale. Jones resides in Atlanta, where she moved after graduating from Main High School. She earned degrees at Clark College and Atlanta University—now Clark Atlanta University—and went on to become an educator at the elementary, middle and high school levels. But her seemingly bottomless supply of energy would not allow her to sit still after retiring as a school teacher in 1992. She has been a consultant for many educational programs that help foster better relationships between parents, students and teachers. She also helped produce an educational television program called “Carousel” and “Carousel Close-

up.” Her love for books has her now heavily involved in managing the bookstore at her current place of worship, Hillside International Truth Center. “It was a place of pleasure for me. I was always very comfortable there,” Jones says. “I remember the Easter programs there and I would have to learn my Easter speech. At that time, I was very shy and I would cry when I would stand to recite my speech. And in the summertime we would have revivals. “Once the crops were laid by, which means you had finished planting everything, the men would have time to do things other than work in the fields. This was the time for people to join the church, because you had to sit on the mourner’s bench in the front of the church until you did,” she laughs as she explains how she came to be a member of Glendale Methodist. “So, when I got tired of sitting on that front bench, I decided it was about time for me to join the church. I guess I was about 12 years old. And my first bible was one that you find in hotel rooms. It was a Gideon’s Bible and I still have it today.” Jones points out a sad time in her life when they could no longer attend school at Glendale. She vividly paints a mental picture of her parents paying a driver to take them past “white only” segregated schools to Graham Elementary School, a small house off of Callier Springs Rd. in Rome to learn from tattered and outdated books and

materials. As she wipes the tears from her eyes, it is evident that she still has a special connection to the school built by her family and supported by them as well. And last, but certainly not least, is Alva Johnson Battey. Battey, 81 going on 18, is full of life and credits her vitality to the raising she had early on with Glendale Chapel firmly at its center. She married Harris Battey, a fellow student at Glendale Chapel who, later, became the first black manager of Sears and Roebuck in Rome. After graduating from Main High as well, she went on to attend Nashville School of Business. Her professional career includes a catering business and she also served as a caregiver. Battey tells the story of the day she decided to dedicate her spirit and join Glendale. “When I joined the church, I got so hot! Something just made me get up. I did not want to get up; I did not! I guess it was the spirit. Or it could have been the devil. I have never forgotten that,” she laughs before explaining an understanding she gathered about her salvation. “The minister would always preach the fire and brimstone sermons. I couldn’t understand why God would let all of these terrible things happen to us. I didn’t believe that, and after I got older and began reading the bible for myself,” she says. “I said to myself, ‘These folks were crazy!’ God did not intend for us to be afraid. He wants

us to live a prosperous life but if we don’t, it’s on us.” Even in disagreement with the sermon, Battey was still able to draw direction from her teaching at Glendale. Battey also has memories of her husband’s uncle and his unorthodox style of prayer. “His name was Johnnie Battey. He would get up to pray and he would just go on and on … and I would think about what in the world was wrong with this man! He was very tall and fair-skinned. I was kind of afraid of him,” she laughs along with her sisters as they continue to layer on story after story of their times at Glendale. One memory is consistent across the board – the story of the pot-belly stove near the front door of the chapel that would warm the cold days. All three of the Johnson sisters mentioned the stove – for its warmth seemed to radiate out the door and into the Texas Valley community so that all who walked inside felt the shelter for 87 years until the building was abandoned by the creekside. “We even had some white people who would come to our gathering to hear the note singing. It was a style of singing where you didn’t sing the words, only the notes to hymns. But they had to sit in the back,” Jones chuckles. Even in a time of segregation, the people of Glendale Chapel and Texas Valley lived to break the mold of seclusion and forge a new future for

all who wanted to call her home. Shields and York hope to restore the church using as many of the original materials as possible. A recent setback has made this task more daunting than before, as the church lies in pieces on the ground after a recent structural collapse. Many locals have come to aid Shields and York in the process, including Jeanne Cyriaque, Joyce Perdue-Smith, Lydia Simpson, Paula Blaylock, Gorg Hubanthal, Eric Gresham and crew, Jack Pyburn, Pam Jones, Chuck Nix, the Metropolitan Methodist Church members, Linda Hatcher, Dr. Brenda Budlong, and Sonny Seals and George Hart, who have featured the church on their website “Historic Rural Churches of Georgia.” Seals and Hart have helped get exposure for their cause, which has proven to be time consuming and expensive. A host of other locals have come forward to offer financial or sweat equity, and the two ladies are truly grateful to all who have helped and supported this journey to return the chapel to what will hopefully be another over-100-year stand. V  VV

For information on how you can help, like “Glendale Chapel” on Facebook or contact Annie Shields and Pat York at 706-291-0063. v3 magazine 35

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v3 magazine 37

t’s good to have an extended family outside of your extended family. Not your aunts, cousins and in-laws, but the kind of family camaraderie you forge with co-workers, teammates and perhaps the people in your 5 a.m. spin class. It may seem like a stretch, but anyone who has ever spent a significant amount of time in a gym can’t help but form a connection with those sharing in their sacrifice. Every day, the dedicated (or rededicated) climb out of bed early or tack on an extra hour to the end of their workday in order to stay in shape. That common bond creates a family atmosphere and at Velocity Fitness of Rome, that’s exactly what they want to create for their members. Velocity was born out of necessity, hard work and the clear vision of owner Charles Temple. There was a void left in the market when Club Fitness closed in March of 2011 and Temple didn’t waste anytime filling it. “My father, Brook Temple, opened a Gold’s Gym in Cartersville back in the 90s,” says Temple. “He ended up selling it but knew exactly what it took to run a gym. When Club Fitness closed, it was very sudden and there was a need for another fitness center in Rome as the existing gyms were becoming over crowded. At that point, it was now or never and seven months after Club Fitness closed Velocity’s doors were open.” From the moment the project was green lighted, the goal was to create a full-service, 24hour gym that was centrally located, impeccably clean and run in a professional manner. Temple reached out to Keith Turner on Facebook and the two formed an instant business relationship. They set out looking for a venue with enough space to house the needed equipment in order to minimize – and hopefully eliminate – wait times for machines and free weights. The search was a struggle at first, but an impromptu shopping trip led Turner to the old Riddle Office Supply building on East 2nd Avenue and instead of a discounted office chair, he found the location that they had been looking for. “Several different spaces had come into play, but to be honest weren’t having much luck,” recalls Turner. “My house was just down the street from Riddle and I noticed the big liquidation sign out front, so I decided to walk in and see what they had to offer. I had never set foot in this building and, at the time, Charles and I had only corresponded online. But as soon as I had walked around the building, I called him up and told him that I had found our gym.” From that point forward, it was a six-month process of planning, attaining approvals from the Historical Society for construction, construction itself, purchasing and installing equipment, and much, much more. Each hoop was jumped through and on Oct. 11, 2011, Velocity Fitness opened 38 v3 magazine

with 500 members right out of the gate – the result of Temple and Turner’s connections in the fitness and business communities. Over three years later, this original membership has been largely retained. “We have expanded three times since we first opened and just finished a huge addition called the Foundry,” says Temple. “We wanted to grow as our membership grew, but we had outstanding support from the beginning and that has allowed us to reach our original goals for the gym in just three years. “We have a large group of members in the eastern and southern parts of town,” he continues, “but we have members from Summerville, Cedartown and even Alabama that could have chosen gyms closer to home, but come here every day. I think that says a lot about what we have to offer.”



For a 24-hour gym like Velocity to operate effectively, safety is paramount. And with surveillance cameras covering parking lots, entrances, and workout areas, Temple says that safety and personal accountability are a top priority. “We want our members to feel safe and we want them to see the value in their memberships,” he explains. “If a piece of equipment goes down, we fix it immediately. We keep things pristine and our members take pride in that. That pride is what makes this place special and we couldn’t ask for a better group of members.” Additionally, Velocity does not use the high-pressure membership tactics seen at some other gyms. From one-year to month-to-month plans, there are options to suit everyone’s fitness needs. All classes are free to members and the offerings are too many to list. The new found-

ry offers cross training in a sprawling space, while the spin studio provides state-of-the-art equipment and a beautiful, open view of the 2nd Avenue Bridge. Velocity also specializes in LesMills workouts, which require certified instructors to ensure consistency. Not only are these quality workouts, the LesMills following continues to grow, so

Nothing makes me happier than to see someone who joins Velocity because they got a bad doctors report and within six months they have

turned their lives around

from working with one of our personal trainers or mapping out their own workout plan enthusiasts can find gyms just about anywhere in the world that offer the same programs. It’s a great fit for anyone trying to get in shape at home or on vacation. In a world as sugar-coated, carb-loaded and deep fried as ours, most Americans could gain a lot from getting in shape. While it’s easy to get sucked into quick fixes that don’t require the effort of a healthy diet and exercise, those results cannot be sustained without the combination of those two things. For those who struggle with diet and exercise, doing something about it can be difficult. The fitness world can be an intimidating place and sometimes it takes a lot of courage just to walk through the doors of a gym. It’s those cases that Turner lives for. “Nothing makes me happier than to see someone who joins Velocity because they got a bad doctor’s report turn their life around in six months by working with one of our personal trainers or mapping out their own workout plan,” he says. “We can’t force anybody through our doors and I think that is the toughest part for people trying to improve their health, but watching someone that is skeptical come in and better themselves

while making new friends is why Charles and I are in this business.” Velocity truly has all the bases covered for anyone looking to better themselves through physical fitness. Flexible membership plans, progressive fitness classes, certified personal trainers, top-of-the-line equipment and attention to detail assure members that quality is a top priority for each and every one of them. “We have created a very welcoming community

here with people of every size, shape and fitness level. If you look around while you’re on Broad Street or at a football game, those are the people that make up our membership – everyday Romans,” Turner says. “Their focus is on their health, not winning a beauty pageant, and that creates a friendly environment for anyone looking to join our Velocity family.” That sounds like a home away from home. VVV v3 magazine 39


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WHEN YOU’RE 42 v3 magazine





n a culture where melodic style is characterized by comparing or relating it to something that has already been done, the world welcomes those brave troubadours who smile into the spotlight and wheel their pioneering wagon – chock full of instruments – right up to the invisible boundaries of musical precedent, pricking their veins and bearing their souls for the creation of something that cannot be limited to the confines of the former. In reality, the metaphorical wagon is actually a beloved second hand minibus, and those troubadours, this time around, are the shining faces of Rome’s own eclectic ensemble, The Strange. “We have been in this room or a room like this once a week for 20-something years,” Seth Turner smiles as his gaze slowly pans the contents of a wood-paneled basement. Cables slither across oriental rugs that serve as foundations for five instrumental structures, the gaze giving way to the faces of Turner’s four fellow bandmates. Locally grown in Chattooga and Floyd counties (adding a twinge of Colorado in the mix), The Strange is made up of Rob Reed, 29, playing a myriad of keyboards; Clint Dillard, 41, on bass; Adam Beck, 39, on drums; Jessie Reed, 31, on guitar/vocals; and Turner, 41, also specializing in “guitar noises” and vocal stylings. Musical associations for these Strange members date back to budding adolescence in a small nearby town where Turner and Dillard were digging into music with freshly sharpened claws. Turner recalls a time when he and Dillard would pocket their school lunch money so they could then spend it on cassettes at Turtles Music in Rome. It was on the 25-minute ride home, metal tapes in hand, that the first spark was thrown. “Coming over the ridge, I remember it as clear as day,” Turner laughs. “We were talking, saying, ‘Aw, we gotta form our own band.’” A few repetitive sentences later, Dillard was dubbed the bassman of their future band. With Turner fancying guitar, meeting a young Beck, who was learning the drums on his pawn shop set, was the next step toward a solid jam session that would last the length of their incessant friendship. Now, 20-some-odd years later, those three dudes sit in the very basement from which they began in Beck’s home, telling their story. As with most bands, names change and transform and members play in and then play out; but the presence of music projects is constant. Songs that resonate the hallways of the The Strange’s current catalogue have been composed, choreographed, and channeled through the cosmos of time, life experience, and music ventures throughout the years. An acoustic stint starring Jessie and Turner back in 2006 and 2007 lent the band a handful

v3 magazine 43

Beck explains that, in the past, the construction of Strange songs began as fantastical stories that were created and embellished by the group on a 12-hour Sunday session. But given the twists, turns, trials and tokens of life, those long days aren’t as available as they use to be. “Most of the stuff we do now is someone sat down and wrote a song, brought it to the band and then we all kind of do our own thing,” Rob says. “It’s usually someone’s idea and they pretty much have it sketched out.” When an idea for a song rolls into the practice space, the band may spend some time picking it apart and rearranging it, but they all remain open minded and adaptive. “If I write something on guitar and it makes a bunch of noise, I kind of fill it in and it sketches out and it does what it does,” Turner says. “But when I bring it in here, Adam will tell me, ‘Let

of original songs that have captured a few fresh sounds with their current keepers. And just before the prismatic pieces of The Strange settled in together at the start of 2013, Turner, Dillard, Beck and Reed plus one (Adam Klingensmith) spent many early mornings practicing as Obtuse Caboose, whom some may recognize from the first annual Allroads Music Festival in 2012. With a hefty collection of original songs awaiting expansion and a taste of psychedelia trailing from the Caboose, The Strange snagged Jessie up and, as a quintette, embarked on a new musical mystery adventure – an adventure that included the discovery of love for Rob and Jessie (married in 2014). The Strange literally picked their name from a hat, ultimately winning over the only other name in the mix, The Clint Dillard Band (Dillard would like to remind everyone that the latter was actually picked first and then unjustly vetoed). In a social media quest to stalk The Strange, Facebookers may find their genre of music listed as “Fraggle Rock,” which is sheer testament to their kinetic sense of humor. The band doesn’t just push the envelope; they completely deactivate the glue and fill the pocket with a collage of color. The best part is they’re having an absolute blast. The Strange catalogue unveils a slew of interwo44 v3 magazine

ven sounds and styles ranging from introspective instrumental jam and slight psychedelic hints to folk rock and blues rock with fragments of funk weaving throughout – inviting listeners to nosh on a delicious folk, rock, funk, jam sandwich. Sitting in a circle in Beck’s basement, the band scans a dry erase board scribbled top to bottom with current songs they’re working on, trying to pinpoint their favorites. Turner vouches for the energy of the drum beat in “Lost,” which mingles well with the funky braid of Rob’s keyboard and Turner’s lead guitar.      Dillard tends to write in a narrative style with songs like “Goose” and Jessie’s songs, such as “Fear” and “Delay” tend to convey a passion so fierce that they are seemingly sung through clenched teeth; she’s been told that her songs can be so intense that a nap is needed afterwards.

I’m happy if I get to get together and make music with my friends… and if people come out and enjoy it, that’s great too

that go and let me have that.’ That was hard to do for a while, but I trust him and that’s why we’re in a band together … and then you give that part to Clint, that part to Rob, and that part to Jessie and everybody adds their own flavor to what’s going on.” “Adam is like the producer,” Rob says. “He’ll listen to a song idea and say, ‘Alright, we need to think about it like this; let’s move this here and do this faster or slower.’ He’ll map it out and by the end of a practice we’ll have a great song.” Fortunately for the band, there seems to be no lack of creativity. Dillard says that every other month or so, Jessie will call one of them up with a song in the making. “Most of the time, they’ll explode out over one or two days,” he says.

“I live for the writing process,” Jessie smiles. “That moment is a lot of why I play music at all, just because I enjoy that creation process.” The signature “footprint” of The Strange has left its trace in the sands of many a Roman scene. To name a few: the Pink Floyd-themed Moore Music Concert (a benefit for Holly Moore) in 2013, Finster Fest 2014, The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the DeSoto Theatre last Halloween, as well as multiple appearances in the Schroeder’s courtyard on Broad, where rumor has it they may

be responsible for the downfall of the beloved tree. With the roots of friendship deeply embedded in their undertakings, members of The Strange agree that their only issue as a band has emerged out of occasional distance from one another. “Our tensions seem to develop when we don’t play,” Dillard says.

“For a while, I was a single mom with two kids trying to balance that act,” Jessie says. “Being a part of this takes a lot of planning and coordination. Things come up and we all work. I think the biggest obstacle for us is finding that one night a week where we all get out. It’s a big deal; it takes a lot of personal sacrifice from all of us. We each just have to take our turn because this is important to all of us … and we make it happen.” “About once a year, it comes to a head,” Rob adds. “Sometimes we work it out musically and sometimes we just forget about it.” In the future, the band hopes to render their minibus well-traveled, hit new cities and send Strange sound waves down unfamiliar ear canals. Construction of a new album is a progressive goal for the year, but there’s no New Year’s resolution strain on it. “Musically, I feel like there are no limitations,” Turner says. “Whatever we want to put our minds to, we can do.” Romans may find the minibus parked Downtown on Feb. 21 for The Strange’ full electric show at Dark Side of the Moon and then again March 28 for acoustic stylings at the Moon Roof Bar. So, maybe there’s not a definitive way to describe the music of The Strange; let’s just call it the sound that resonates from decades worth of friendship, talent, creativity and pure insanity (in the best way possible). As long as the minibus is rolling and filled with laughter over the rattling of the windows and conversations about panhandling strangers, bus revamps, how small of a world we live in, The Strange will continue to drive those musical boundaries, making sure they have a hell of a time all the while. “I’m happy if I get to get together and make music with my friends,” Turner says, “and if people come out and enjoy it, that’s great too.” His gaze moves, one more time, across the faces of his friends and his tone softens as he adds, “I can’t ask for anything more than that.” V  VV v3 magazine 45

& proudly bring you the

Thank you to our participating Artists and to our HeART Hosts! Corner of 2nd and Broad hosting

Tate Morgan & Rome Area Heritage Foundation Harvest Moon Cafe hosting

Siri Selle & Studio Siri Students Citizens First Bank

River City Bank hosting Anonymous Artist Schroeder's hosting Pepperell Students La Scala hosting Christian Limon Johnny’s Pizza hosting Rizwaan Dharsey


Jennifer Moore & Cheryl Riner Hodge 46 v3 magazine

Swift & Finch hosting Margaret Hjort

Joe Marion's office hosting

Kimberly McGuinness & Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau Southeastern Mills hosting

Maddie Sabourin & Boys and Girls Club Redmond Regional Medical Center hosting

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PH: 706.291.8969

Hours: Mon -Thu: 11:00am- 10:00pm Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Sun: 11:00am-9:00pm

WOW strives to serve the highest quality of food with the freshest ingredients. You will leave saying “WOW! What a Place!” Famous for: Wings and over 17 signature sauces to choose from! 406 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

300 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-234-4613

PH: 706-235-0030

Hours: Mon-Thur: 11:00am-10:00pm

Hours: Mon-Sat: 11:00am-8:30pm

Fri-Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm

Sun: 11:00am-4:30pm

It’s the best in town... Ain’t nothin’

The Partridge Restaurant is like stepping back in time when families gathered at the table with real plates and silverware. Each group of patrons are seated at their individual table and served family-style.

mellow about it! (Draft and Bottled

With our variety of meats and

Beers also offered) Famous for:

vegetables, you are bound to find a delicious dining experience with every visit!

Schroeder’s menu includes sandwiches, calzones, soups, salads, potato skins, nachos, wings, and more. And don’t forget our pizza!

Their Roast Beef Relief! 510 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-314-9544

Like us on FACEBOOK Mon-Fri 11:00am-3:00pm

Jamwich - Serving distinctive sandwiches, salads, and soups. Sandwiches built with the finest ingredients: Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, Zelma’s Blue Ribbon Jams and Jellies, fresh sourdough bread, premium Boars Head thick cut bacon and farm-to-table produce.

595 Riverside Parkway Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-233-9960 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-9:00pm

Fri - Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm

Fuddruckers catering can help you feed just about any size group, anytime, anywhere. Our menu will please the most discerning tastes and meet the high standards you require. We know how to make your event spectacular with the WORLD’S GREATEST CATERING. 413 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-238-9000 Hours: Mon - Sat: 6:00pm-10:00pm 400 Block Bar & Lounge: 4:00pm-1:30am Live music each weekend.

La Scala offers both first-rate service and terrific Italian Cuisine in an upscale casual atmosphere. 50% off cafe menu from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

3401 Martha Berry Hwy Rome, GA 30165

PH: 706-291-1881 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm

Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Dine in, Take out, or delivery... Authentic Italian is what we do! We have enjoyed great success by providing our guests with a casual, friendly atmosphere and excellent service. In addition to the healthy portions of our food, you will see our entrees range from homemade sandwiches, pizzas and calzones to pastas, chicken, veal and seafood dishes.

Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. v3 magazine 47


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Profile for V3 Magazine

V3 February 2015  

V3 February 2015