Goldie, 1971

Goldie 1971 sculpture in University of Alabama Woods Quad. The sculptor is Joe McCreary, and it was made in 2009 and purchased by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2010. Made of iron and steel, approx 23 feet long, four feet tall, five feet wide, and between three and four tons, the sculpture commemorates Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham.

Revolving Table Restaurants + Wayne White Art News (yes, those go together here)

Revolving table restaurants — the ones with the giant lazy susan in the middle on which large communal dishes are passed with the gentle push/pull of the mechanism to diners all seated ’round — are literally few and far between.

While we’ve visited time and time again Walnut Hills in Vicksburg (our last visit in late December:)

The food has been mostly bland and boring. I love most any greens any way — and I don’t mind at alllll if vegetables have been cooked for hours and hours until they are babyfood soft — but from the sides to the mains (incl the fried chicken) it was just not at all delicious. Not bad, but not great. And this goes through my head too: is it worth the calories? Nope.

On the table this day: catfish, rice & gravy, yam pone, purple hull peas, fried corn, fried okra, green beans, turnip greens, coleslaw, macaroni & cheese…

…chocolate pudding for dessert. It pains me to say this all wasn’t great because revolving tables is a thing that should go on forever. Forever, forever. We’ve met so many nice people this way…it’s hard not to get to know people you may otherwise never have any interaction with when you’re asking them to spin you those collards again. But it’s just not as fab as it used to be. Or as fab as I made it in my mind just because I love this whole concept.

Here’s my go at it — just a bite or two of everything so it doesn’t get crazy and there’s room if something’s really fab. But also: spending $22pp means this is just not a great value if you aren’t on the football team and feel like attacking the table. Annnnd it seems crazy wasteful, too.

Besides Walnut Hills in Vicksburg, there’s also the Dinner Bell in McComb, Mississippi (my fave of the two left in MS):

plus Bea’s in Chattanooga:

and finally, Buckner’s Family Restaurant in Jackson, Georgia, which is right off I-75, maybe 45 minutes S of Atlanta.

Not only was it good, the people there were super friendly and nice, and the place was really, really clean.

It’s hard for food to look wonderful on melamine plates in this lighting, but trust me — pretty great.

Back to Chattanooga for a sec: Wayne-O-Rama has been extended to September 30 (yes! See you there later this month!) and the Wayne White ‘Thrill After Thrill’ exhibit at the Hunter has been extended so it’s now closing December 31.

Timeout: The Young President Polk

Have to show this one. Running through some pics and found this one of Shugie late last year doing a school presentation as President James K. Polk, complete with a long jacket we took from his Abraham Lincoln costume and a wide ribbon we used as his…I don’t know…do you call that kind of necktie a cravat? Anyway. Presh.

Visiting the Amish Community of Ethridge, Tennessee

Pics from our latest visit to the Amish community around Ethridge, Tennessee:

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

There are no sales on Sunday, but you’re welcome on other days to drop by any of the homes that have signs outside advertising their wares — there’s no reason to feel as though you need to get on one of those buggy rides to visit the community, and the map that’s given out at the visitor’s center doesn’t have all of the homes listed on it. The best thing to do is just to take your time and drive casually along to see what interests. Here, I’ve gotten watermelon preserves, muscadine, and scuppernong jelly.

Amish: Watermelon Preserves, Muscadine Jelly, Scuppernong Jam

BTW, we’re going to be going muscadine picking sometime soon since this is the season. You can find u-pick farms at this site or if you know of a muscadine winery in your area, they may let you come do it at their own farm if you call/check first.

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

We’ve gotten to know several of the families here from visiting with them previous times. That’s to say we’re not swapping holiday cards, but most all of them are friendly and are happy to chat for a while if you like and they’re not too busy.

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

On one of our first visits to Ethridge several years ago, we purchased two of these fab rockers. The man who built them just wrote us a letter when they were ready to be picked up — no phones, no emails — and we have enjoyed them ever since. They cost a fraction of what they’re sold for at rustic furniture stores if you purchase them direct from the Amish makers (and it just feels good to do it, too).
One of our Amish rockers

I made this map of some of the better roads to travel on looking for things in the community, so feel free to use this as part of your guide. This part of the year is a great time to go because there’s an abundance of fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and baskets/quilts/etc.

Magnolia Market At The Silos

If you’ve spent more than five minutes on HGTV in the last two or three years, you likely know what’s going on here. On our way through Waco, Texas, we stopped at the Magnolia Market at the Silos.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

This cute little building is the new bakery:

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

…and inside the main building is the shop

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX


Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

There wasn’t anything I had to have (though I do like those galvanized cake stands) but Shug really-really wanted a tee — I will let them watch HGTV just to have something on in the background in hotels, soooooo he got a #DemoDay one.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

The best part of the whole visit, though, was spending time on their lawn. It’s artificial grass, but it’s like the most wonderful artificial grass in the whole world (I had to look: it’s DuPont Foreverlawn Select Synthetic). On the lawn are provided balls, cornhole, all kinds of things for fun. This is a great place to go just to exercise with the kids to get off the highway for a little while.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

We spent a long time. Here’s Shug and Shugie starting a cornhole game:

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

There are foodtrucks in the back if you have more of an appetite than just something small from the bakery, and all this covered seating is available. We sat with a woman who was a huge fan of the show and had driven multiple states just to shop here.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

The four of us shared a cookie, a cupcake, and most of a cinnamon roll. They were all really good.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Shug at Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Shugie and Me at Magnolia Market at the Silos, Waco TX

Museums x2 in Augusta and Cafeteria Love

Augusta was fun! And rainy and museum-y and yummy.

Well, okay there was this one thing — something was going on in the city when we were there so the better hotels (Doubletree, Marriott, HGI…though it seems as though most of the hotels here are more budget-oriented) had limited availability and were much higher than they ordinarily should be. One new hotel called ECCO was in the top ten at TripAdvisor, and I thought it would be a great way for us to save a lot of money since there wasn’t a particularly interesting hotel to stay in anyway, and it obv had good ratings. It was completely meh, though we weren’t expecting anything other than meh. Totally didn’t matter because we had such a fab time in Augusta anyway.

Av was off to do some work in Augusta, so the boys and I decided to spend the day walking around and taking in a couple of museums. The first one was the Morris Museum of Art which was tucked inside an office building that also happened to be right on a riverwalk at the Savannah River.

This is not a big museum *but* it’s got some interesting pieces

So so so happy to see Nell Choate Jones‘ Georgia Red Clay

This is a really wonderful Nicola Marshall, ‘Young Girl with Cat’ from 1867. Not too many people can rock a middle-part with a widows peak, but this little girl sure is. She and kitty have been playing with her stocking. Love this one.

Nice Ida Kohlmeyer pieces

And this beyond-fab Jonathan Green ‘Daughters of the South’ — the museum is hanging an exhibit of his works from their permanent collection beginning October 4 going through January 28, 2018

Afterwards, we took in the the riverwalk and tucked ourselves into a little alcove when a short rainstorm started, then kept going to the Augusta Museum of History which was also really, really good (and included a special exhibit to favorite son James Brown). We spent well over an hour here.

Nice that they had such immersive environments, especially for kids. We enjoyed the train a lot.

Now for the best and last part of Augusta — lunch. Right across from where The Masters is played is a big, big, big church complex in what was probably a shopping center at one point.

In this same development is ‘Honey from the Rock Cafe’ — it’s rated #3 of 399 restaurants in Augusta. This place gets amazing reviews. Plus, how many places like this are there?

…actually one less than there was a year ago because Ernest Angley’s Cathedral Buffet closed in April.

Anyway. It’s set up as a cafeteria. Everyone is just crazy nice.

There are Bible verses on everything. On the wall, on table placards, on the food labels…

Everything is neat and clean and just so. Niki’s West has trained me to be completely alert, thinking ahead so I won’t get barked at through the line. I know exactly at what point I need to ask for collards and rutabagas and butter beans. Here, though, take your time and consider the options.

The boys got meat dishes but I was in for vegetables, like fried okra and sweet potato casserole and fried green tomatoes which, yeah, negated all those vitamins. It was like my Thanksgiving plate except I wasn’t beholden to take any turkey. It was all very, very good.

And those were some gooood FGTs, y’all.

Pretty-Pretty Lunch In Savannah

Cohen’s Retreat in Savannah has somehow managed to make the leap from quite literally ‘Cohen’s Old Man’s Retreat’ (it is what it is (or was) — a place where “men would not die old and lonely” thanks to the generosity of Percival Randolph Cohen) to *such* a pretty restaurant and event space today.

There was also a homewares shop on one end of the building that was Anthro-ish with Anthro-ish prices.

Our lunch was in this room, featuring a portrait of sweet Mr. Cohen

We were all really happy with everything we had — Av and the boys had sandwiches or salads

…and I had the tomato pie which I always love to see on a menu (and theirs was pretty good)

We’ll definitely return on our next visit to Savannah. While I’m looking forward to eating there again, I’m actually even more interested to see how/if they change up the interior.

The Good and the Wha? at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah GA

While Savannah’s Kimpton Brice was fun, we were looking forward to trying the Mansion on Forsyth Park too. It’s a Marriott Kessler Collection, so one can expect art *everywhere*, an in-hotel gallery, trendy furnishings, and a very boutique feel.

This hotel can get expensive in the high season, into the $400s. Thankfully we were able to jump on a Marriott package on an off-week and were able to save tons. We avoided valet fees since there was a ton of on-street, non-metered parking right beside the hotel.

There’s art everywhere. Everywhere-everywhere. This is the hallway to our room

Our room

The bed was soooo comfortable. It can be purchased from the Kessler Living site, and Av and I are a few years past due for a new mattress. I’m thinking, though, that we might give the Casper mattress a try (Consumer Reports liked it too). If you have experience with it, I’d love to hear.

This is where our problem was. I took the boys swimming one morning. See how the pool surround is marble? Know how marble is really, really slippery? So maybe having marble all around a pool isn’t the greatest idea. When Shug got out of the pool, he actually slipped and fell on his side getting out. He was hurt but was able to walk it off. Shugie got out right behind him and did the whole slide-but-catch-yourself thing. Also, you can’t see in this pic, but around the lounge chairs by the pool steps — and I didn’t see them until we were toweling off and Shugie stepped on one — there were little shards of marble. His foot was cut but it wasn’t too bad and we were able to stop the bleeding with some pressure. Sooooo….

…we did what anyone would. We got up, went to the lobby and told the front desk person that an area of the marble decking may have some kind of cleaner residue that makes it really super slippery, and that there are some shards of marble that need to be swept up.

We thought that was it. We just wanted someone to know. We weren’t upset, we didn’t ask for a Bandaid, neither of the boys were in tears, this was for informational purposes so they could do something about it. The front desk person asked us to wait just a minute. Here, I’ll paste the text of an email I sent to management:

The woman at the desk immediately went to get the manager on staff. (name retracted here) came out, and rather than doing what any person in any similar position would do — express that they were sorry about these things happening and thanking them for letting the hotel know so it could be fixed — she treated the three of us as potential lawsuits.

She scribbled notes on a series of post-it notes, then told us to show her the shards. Rather than walking with us back to the building, she got on the phone and started laughing.

At no point did she ever say “I’m sorry that happened” or “thanks for letting us know” so no one else would similarly be injured. Several minutes later, there was a knock on our door with her telling me to fill out a multi-page incident report.

How did this go so wrong? 

Even my kids realized this wasn’t handled correctly. She never said she was going to get the shards swept up (though a maintenance man did come over to look at the shards too), or look into getting the slick spot on the pool deck taken care of. Never acted as though she cared. 

I was going to let this go, but just today, one of my boys asked me again if I thought she took care of things so no one else was going to get hurt on their vacation. The other one asked me why she didn’t say “sorry” like they are taught to do at school. The fact that they are still thinking about it is enough for me to reach out to you.

I have no idea why we were treated as though our next stop might be a lawyer. And I have no idea why this was handled as though my children were exhibits rather than little people who were hurt and had genuine concern for others. 

BTW, when the maintenance man came to look at the shards, he reminded me that the pool deck of course gets slick — it’s smooth stone. I just didn’t say anything. Maybe if they’re so accustomed to people falling getting out they should consider putting down something other than a smooth stone. You know, like just about every other pool that has a textured decking.

Your pool can be so hot it breaks Instagram but if the fact that people get hurt around it elicits a you-shoulda-known, maybe something’s not right.

Actually, I realize that their fear of lawsuits is real, but we presented as nonchalant people who just wanted someone to look into something for the next guest and we were on our way up to our room to get ready for another fun day in Savannah. And if filling out an incident report is policy, okay too. Anyway. This could have turned out so much better. And I was especially proud of our boys for even several days later hoping that they got things fixed so no one else would get hurt.

Let’s talk about fun stuff again! The hotel, true to its name, is right at Forsyth Park, the one with the famous fountain. We spent lots of time there around the fountain and the park — Shugie brought his football so he and Shug were kicking and passing the ball…running everywhere, having a great time.

One morning, we had the breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, 700 Drayton, which was included with our stay. It was all really good, from the pancakes to the omelette, benedict, and shrimp and grits.

And the setting there was really pretty as well.

I think we’ll pass on staying at the Mansion on Forsyth again. The TripAdvisor reviews are giving me pause too. Maybe the Bohemian Riverfront next time?

Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah

This Moshe Safdie building, opened in 2006, is the Telfair Museum’s Jepson Center for the Arts in Savannah, Georgia. While the emphasis here is on more contemporary art, which entirely complements the structure, the strongest part of the museum is in its rotating exhibits rather than permanent collection.

Here, William Christenberry’s ‘Painted Male’ and ‘Painted Female’

Keith Sonnier’s ‘JOB’

Cedric Smith’s ‘Freedom is a Road’

Anne Ferrer’s ‘Hot Pink’

powered by:

We spent hours in their ArtZeum space which is geared for children, and the boys played in their large workshop making many pieces of art.

This is the Walden, The Game — and it was written up this week at Hyperallergic

Walden, a Game takes a seemingly absurd premise — transforming Walden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau into a video game — and makes it a surprisingly thoughtful experience about finding balance in life. Players can devote all day to wandering the shore of the titular pond, listening for owl hoots or watching hummingbirds flit around flowers, but their Thoreau character will start to starve, and his firewood supplies will run dangerously low for the approaching winter. Yet spend too much time chopping wood and planting beans, and his inspiration will dwindle, the color seeping out of the digital landscape and the birdsong becoming quiet.

When they first sat down at the keyboard, I thought to myself “knowing Thoreau, this isn’t exactly going to be Mario Kart Rainbow Road” but they enjoyed it.

We were very fortunate to be there just before the end of the Nick Cave exhibit

Of the current and upcoming exhibits listed, I’d most like to come back to see Kahlil Gibran and the Feminine Divine which will be on exhibit through January 2, 2018.

Telfair Museums boasts the largest public collection of visual art by Kahlil Gibran in the United States, donated in 1950 by his lifelong supporter and mentor, Southern native Mary Haskell Minis. This exhibition concentrates on works that capture Gibran’s enduring belief in the oneness of all things, often characterized in his paintings and drawings as the feminine divine.