Saturday, November 26, 2011

'Tis the season to be jolly

A few days after Halloween, a friend and I made a trip to nearby Atlanta to do our Asian grocery shopping. We decided to take the backroads so we can enjoy the scenic fall foliage in NW Georgia. We stopped at Ellijay for lunch and shopped at the outlets in Dawsonville. By the way, William Sonoma has an outlet there, and the stuff and prices are outstanding.

We were starving when we got to the HMart Plaza in Duluth. We immediately headed for Chung Dam. It was my first time there. I had sashimi, and was quite disappointed. I couldn't recognize two of the fish on my platter. The banchan was alright. I still prefer Book Chang Dong, my favorite Tofu House directly across the parking lot from Chung Dam. I've never had a bad meal there.

Chung Dam

Sashimi (didn't see yellowtail or mackerel. Did you?)
Banchan at Chung Dam ( a little skimpy, but then the sashimi doesn't come with it)
Anyway, my biggest surprise was finding the restaurant all decked up with Christmas decorations. It was strange listening to Christmas music in early November. Call me old fashioned, but I can't get into the Christmas spirit until I'm done with Thanksgiving. Why take the wind away from the best holiday of the season?

Now fast forward three weeks. It's Thanksgiving week. We were invited to a boater friend's niece's home. It was so sweet of them to include us in their family gathering of over 30 members. I could not get over how efficient these people were. Everything was set up on the kitchen counter, ready to go. The garage was turned into a hall where tables were set up and festively decorated. The drinks and desserts were conveniently laid out there as well. Too bad we forgot to bring the camera:-(! We are thankful for the delicious Southern food and the great company. Thank you David and Janice for the invite!

The day after Thanksgiving, we rounded up the troops and had a hot pot dinner. With all the stuff we got from Atlanta - mix seafood, tofu, mung bean noodles - plus some fresh veggies like spinach and napa cabbage, and of course shrimp, sliced chicken, pork and beef.

Putting up lights and Christmas decorations, playing Christmas music. Now we're talking. 'Tis the season to be jolly.

How was your Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping?

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Thanksgiving and Holiday Festivals Christmas in New Orleans, Louisiana Christmas lights at Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall Colors along the Tennessee River

The word is out. Gary Kramer, contributing editor of Heartland Boating magazine got wind of the Color Cruise Festival, and came to our marina last October to do a story on the event. The result is "Glory of Autumn on Display," which appeared in the magazine's October issue. It touched on the history of the festival, the beautiful Tennessee River Gorge, and the boaters who cruised here for the party every year.
Tennessee River Gorge from atop Signal Mountain, early September
Fall colors along the river near our marina last weekend
We had the Color Cruise party last weekend. It was a tad smaller. The weather wasn't exactly boater friendly. Most boaters had cruised in the rain on Friday to get to our marina. Some of these die-hard boaters have been making the trip here for the last 15 years, no matter the weather, and Color Cruise Festival or not. That Friday evening, the rain stopped, but it got windy, and the temperature went down to the 40s. We huddled around the stove top fire (from Steve's homemade burner) to keep warm while eating our potluck dinner.
The next day, the sun came out and the afternoon got warmer. The marina had continued the tradition of the Color Cruise Festival with a bluegrass band and a handful of vendors. There was chatter about fried Oreo cookies. This is one cookie even the French crave. Now we have to fry it? Give me a break.

Thanks to Ronnie and Sharon, we were treated to a cruise on their 37-foot Sea Ray Killerbees. This year's fall color is prettier than years past. And this was the perfect weekend to see it.
The captains - Doug, Ronnie and Steve
Our buddy boat, Hula Girl (Greg and Cindy)
First mates Elizabeth and Sharon and their precious dogs - Skipper and Tippy

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Hiking at Fall Creek Falls Picking pecans in the fall Hiking a new trail at Raccoon Mountain