Holiday in Atlanta

As I sit here on New Years Eve, enjoying a wee dram (or two) of single malt whiskey and writing this blog post, I think how differently I now spend the final hours of the year. Between the fullness of life and an overly packed schedule, it is a joy to spend a quieter evening at home, catching up, relaxing, and oh yes, watching college football.  Whereas I used to stay up until midnight, I am now content to meet with friends on New Years Day.

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The past three years have found me recovering from a motorcycle wreck, running for state delegate, starting a new business, and just two months ago, starting another.  Even my time on WP the past few months has been limited.  No wonder I’m content to be still.

Many people will ponder 2016, and put into beautiful words what the year has meant.  Others will plan for the coming year and all that they hope to accomplish.  Me?  I’m about a week behind and am still glowing after a wonderful 48 hour trip to Atlanta to see my son and his family.

We enjoyed an incredible tapas style Christmas Eve meal at the Iberian Pig. Oh my goodness, the food and drinks were incredible!  This was our effort to take a selfie afterwards.

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I awoke the next morning to this lovely site.  What is it about a lighted tree that brings such a sense of peace?

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We spent the day opening gifts, enjoying our traditional breakfast souffle and Bloody Marys, and playing games.  My granddogs, Wilson and Tela, were never far from the action, or the food.

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Oh my gosh, I love these dogs!

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 The cheese plate was almost to pretty to eat.

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Another family tradition is the Cracker, and I was glad to have it continue in Atlanta.

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What a joyful visit!

On a personal level this coming year, I’d like to think that I will make an effort to volunteer a little less (doubtful) and exercise a little more (probable).  I also hope to spend more time with family and friends, and of course with my camera, and riding the bike.

What I definitely know is that I will do all that I can to join the resistance against bigotry, misogyny, racism, and hatred.

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Despite the fact that national and international politics have me entering 2017 with caution, I do know that there is much good in this world and I believe that goodness WILL prevail.

Welcome to 2017!  Thank you for the light you bring to my life, and for your friendships.

A Blowing Rock New Years Eve

Despite spending a couple days in Charleston for Christmas just one week ago, I still had the itch to travel, and Blowing Rock seemed like the perfect destination.  Not quite 3 hours from Radford, Blowing Rock is located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of North Carolina.  It’s a small community only 3 square miles in size and visitors can easily walk to shops, restaurants, galleries, and opportunities for recreation.

Knowing that my only time constraint was the start of the VT / UCLA Sun Bowl Game, I took to the back roads.  Old Rt 221 provided pretty views and incredibly curvy roads that really made me miss my bike.

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I tuned the radio to the 740 AM station, WPAQ out of Mt Airy, and in addition to hearing some good old time music, I soon found myself listening to a man reading the obituaries.  Sure enough, it was just as if I was reading them from the paper.  It somehow seemed fitting as I drove those back roads and I imagined what it would have been like to have lived there during a time when local AM radio might have been the only real connection to life off the farm.

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The town of Blowing Rock takes its name from an unusual rock formation which juts over 1,500 feet (460 m) above the Johns River gorge. Due to the rock’s shape and size, wind currents from the gorge often blow vertically, causing light objects to float upwards into the sky.

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Upon arriving in Blowing Rock, I checked into the recently reopened Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn, before heading out to find a place to watch the game.

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The Town Tavern offered a comfortable seat at the bar, right in front of a TV showing my game.  The food and microbrews were great … too bad the Hokies weren’t.  Sigh.  Even still, I enjoyed practicing photography and chatting up the folks coming and going at the bar.

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In the next couple days I’ll be sharing more of Blowing Rock with you, but for now I’ll leave you with a few pictures taken during my walk back to the Ale House.

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Once back at the Inn and while sitting in front of the fire with new found friends, I enjoyed a delicious Grilled Flatbread with Wild Mushrooms, Grilled Vidalia Onions, Smoked Mozzarella, Basil Pesto and Porter-Balsamic Reduction accompanied by a lovely glass of cabernet.

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Not a bad way to spend the last day of 2013.