Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dahlonega on American Pickers?

The rumor is that an eclectic antique store in downtown Atlanta will be featured on American Pickers.

The Pickers' Antique Archeology van and star Frank Fritz were recently spotted in the front of a Dahlonega coffee shop and antique store. In fact, one of the store owners was photographed talking to Fritz. Of course, neither the Picker nor the owner would confirm anything, when questioned by a local newspaper reporter.

So what are Pickers and why were they in Dahlonega? According to the American Picker web site (oh, by the way, The American Picker is one of the History Channel's most popular weekly programs), a picker is a modern archaeologist who scrounges for valuable memorabilia. "Each and every treasure they uncover is a new history lesson, providing a glimpse at American life in the recent and distant past," according to the Pickers web site.

Dahlonega, home to the first American gold rush, should be a perfect place to pick for antiques. Can't wait to see if our hometown will become a History Channel star!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dawsonville Food Lion Saved from Closure

When we heard the announcement that Food Lion was closing 113 stores nationwide, we panicked. Food Lion in Dawsonville is the closest grocery store to our home...just seven miles away. It's where we go for the basics - our bread, milk, cereal, fruits, meat and, yes, even vegetables.

To our delight, Food Lion Dawsonville is not on the grocery chain's hit list of 29 stores closing in Georgia. We can see why corporate saved the Dawsonville Food Lion. The parking lot, while never totally filled, always has a good number of cars; the food selection caters to its clientele; and the manager has created a friendly atmosphere and shopping experience.

When we moved to the Dahlonega and Beyond area almost two years ago, our first shopping trip was to Food Lion. As we were checking out, the clerk says, "Are you new to the area? We haven't seen you before?" And then the conversation began.

Before we walked out of the store, we were warmly welcomed by the clerk and other customers in line, had a long talk with the bag man, and were introduced to the manager. (Now I ask you....have you ever had this type of down-home greeting at Kroger or Walmart?)

Thank you Food Lion for keeping the Dawsonville store open. You made a wise decision.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ode to Dogs and Hogs

Dawsonville's Dogs & Hogs closes after nine years.
North Georgia lost another area eatery this month. The casualty this time is the Dawsonville Dogs and Hogs, which closed its doors after being in business in downtown Dawsonville for nine years.

D&B liked the 'really' casual atmosphere of this family owned barbecue restaurant. While there definitely wasn't anything fancy about Dogs and Hogs, the food was mighty tasty. It was one of those five napkin per sandwich kind of places.

Located just off the Dawsonville square the small restaurant was popular with locals and tourists. You would often find the parking lot filled on weekends with Harleys (and other motorcycles) as their owners stopped in for juicy barbecue pork plates complete with beans, slaw, and roll.

A reviewer on Yelp described Dogs and Hogs as a "whole in the wall," which as he said, "often means great food." And he was right. The food served in that red shingled, converted trailer was often called the best barbecue in Dawsonville.

With the closing of this little restaurant, the owners lost their dream, employees lost jobs, and Dawsonville lost another local business. One other lost is that 'oh, I want some barbecue now' feeling you got when you drove by and smelled the fragrant aroma coming from big black smoker out front.

Sorry to see the economy claim another victim in Dawsonville. We will miss you, Dogs and Hogs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lessons Learned from Sinking of Costa Concordia

Costa Concordia sinks off coast of Italy  
(A Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Image)
We've been on a few cruises...make that over 70 cruises. In fact, we are off on another cruise next week. After watching the sinking nightmare on the Costa Concordia, we know that what we once thought was 'impossible' can happen.

To be better prepared for 'what could happen,' we've put together a list of lessons we learned from Costa Concordia disaster:

  1. If the ship doesn't have a life boat drill within the first 2 hours after the ship sails, have your own drill. Find your muster station. Check out the life boats.
  2. Once on board, determine what to do in an emergency. Make plans with fellow travelers on where to go, where to meet, what to do.
  3. Pack a flash light...preferably a water proof one.
  4. If the lights go out for over 15 minutes, worry.
  5. Try on your life jacket and make sure you know how to tie the ties and snap the snaps.
  6. Keep your passport and a credit card in one of those 'wearable' wallets that strap on the waist or hang from the neck.
  7. Don't book a room on Deck 2 or 3. While the rates are cheaper for the lower decks, paying extra could be a life saver.
  8. If you see the Captain at a bar drinking while you are sailing, stop and ask him, "Who is driving the ship?"
  9. Even though you're sailing in the Caribbean or other warm waters, pack long pants and a sweater. It gets cold in a life boat at night!
  10. And finally, brush up on your swimming might literally have to "swim for your life."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Walmart Is a Gold Mine

The fifth largest gold mine in the world lies under a Walmart store in North Georgia. Yes, that's right Walmart. So, when if you hear someone say, "Walmart is a gold mine," you can believe it.

The Walmart mine (aka The Consolidated Gold Mine) lies deep under the Dahlonega discount store. The mine, abandoned for 75 years, was once the site of gold mining from the 1880's until 1906, when it became too expensive to mine the deep set gold.

Re-opened in the 1980's, The Consolidated Gold Mine is now a tourist attraction, and another reason to make Dahlonega is vacation destination.  And by the way, (the mine is NOT owned by Walmart.)

The Consolidated Gold Mine,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pit Bulls - They are NOT your friends

Okay. So pit bulls may not always kill their prey. Instead of going for the kill, they just might chew off arms, grab hunks out of a head, take bites out of a face, or chomp fingers and toes.

Yes, pit bulls are not the kind of dog that you want to own. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not a dog hater. In fact, my family has had a dog since I was an infant (Which by the way was more than a couple of decades ago), and one of our first wedding anniversary presents from our first Scottish Terrier.

But pit bulls are not family pets. They often 'turn' on their owners or attack neighbors, passer-bys, or family visitors. A pit bull can not be trusted, no matter how domesticated or loved.

A recent example is the tragic story in Atlanta of two pit bulls that attacked an 8 year old girl, literally eating her arm. Nothing or no one could stop that dogs during the attack. Nothing that is until a police officer shot one of the dogs.

Last week a jury found the two dogs' owner Twyann Vaughn guilty of six misdemeanors, including reckless conduct and owning a vicious dog. The woman, who often cried during her trial, was sentenced to 16 months in jail and three years on probation. (If you're up to it, watch this chilling testimony from the trial and listen to a recording of the dogs' attack.)

If this isn't enough to convince you that pit bulls are not owner-friendly, check out this list of eye-witness reports. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Living in a Movie Set

Dahlonega looks like a set for a movie. There's the traditional town square. The old brick courthouse-like structure in the center of town. Brick and frame buildings dating from the mid-1800's. A horse and carriage circling the square. An old general store.

In fact, there are times when we are in Dahlonega that we actually feel like we're on a movie set. This was especially true during the Christmas season with lights threaded thru the trees on the square, twinkling lights hanging from old porches, and garlands and red ribbons draping doorways and windows. The Lifetime and Hallmark channels would love this town for this sappy Christmas movies.

Dahlonega just might become a real movie set, if the local Chamber's tourism director is right. According to him, several location scouts are scoping out Dahlonega and areas nearby for a couple of movies being filmed in Georgia this year. One of those movies stars is Robert DeNiro. Imagine Dahlonega staring in a DeNiro movie. It could happen!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Commercialization of Dahlonega

Dahlonega is a charming mountain town fast becoming a tourist destination. The wineries, the great restaurants, the B&B's, the mountains, and shopping - all are tourist draws.

We fell in love with Dahlonega, the first time we visited almost 40 years ago. And when we were hunting for a house in North Georgia, Dahlonega was the first placed we looked and the place we finally made home.

The Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce is out to tell the world about Dahlonega. Their first step is showcasing our little town to the people in metro Atlanta. And to do that, the Chamber created a commercial, now airing in Atlanta on HGTV on Comcast.

Shot by a local video company, the commercial gives you just a taste of Dahlonega, asking you to come join us and, "Shop, Play and Stay."  

Friday, January 6, 2012

North Georgia College Consolidation - Say It's Not So

The news broke in the paper this morning - North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville College are being combined. Unfortunately, the media broke the story before the faculties of either institutions were notified of the proposed unification.

Just what does this mean to Dahlonega and Beyond? So many unanswered questions:
  • What curriculum/degree programs will be eliminated at North Georgia College?
  • How many, if any, teaching jobs will be lost?
  • What's going to happen to the ROTC program? Where will it be based?
  • What's this new 'combined' university going to be called?
  • What services will be duplicated? What ones eliminated?
  • How will this impact the city of Dahlonega and the area dependent on the university for jobs, revenues, and community support?
  • Did the Board of Regents even talk to leaders in the communities impacted by this change?
  • Will the state really save any money by combining these two schools?
  • Are the students who live in the mountain areas of North Georgia going to have to drive another 30 minutes to Gainesville to take a college class?
Since this story is just 'breaking', we're hoping that the Board of Regents, Dr. Bonita Jacobs, North Georgia president, and others quickly will have answers to our many questions and help allay our community's fears and anxieties. We'll keep you posted on what the powers to be have to say. Read more.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Man Cold

As every woman knows, men don't just get colds; they get MAN colds. A MAN cold is 100 times, no make that 20,000 times, worse than any cold a woman could ever have.

When a man coughs, the neighbors next door can hear it. Cough in your elbow or cover your mouth? No way. With a MAN cold, there's no such thing as keeping your germs to yourself. And, of course, there's the whining and the "I feel horrible" symptoms that come with the MAN cold.

Aspirin, orange juice, mega doses of Vitamin C, and chicken soup all help, but the only sure cure for the MAN cold is a comfortable couch, the tv remote and lots of patience on the part of the 'nurse.'

This British comedy sketch is a hilarious view of the MAN cold. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We Miss You Linda Kreher

Linda Kreher - Dec. 4, 1946 to June 25, 2011
At the end of each year, the media reminisces on those famous men and women - the movers, the shakers, the Hollywood stars - who died over the past 12 months. The year 2011 wasn't any different.

CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Fox News, MSNBC, Newsweek and Time all ran features highlighting those we had lost, i.e. E Online

One name you didn't find on any of those lists was Linda Leanne Kemmerer Kreher
of Fair Play, S.C. Yet, Linda touched the lives of thousands of second graders in Gwinnett County Schools during her teaching career. She sang in the church choir; served as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church; loved gardening, tennis, bridge, and life on the lake. But most importantly, she was a friend - a very good friend.

Linda and her husband Pete were one of the first couples D&B met when we moved to Georgia. Less than a year after we met, we became neighbors, living across the street from each other for over five years. 

Soon, the Krehers were more than just friends or neighbors...they were family. Linda was one of the first to hold our two children, she tutored them in math, and she attended their graduations and special events, and celebrated dozens of birthdays, Thanksgivings and Christmases with us. 

Linda died June 25, 2011, from breast cancer, such a nasty disease. She fought valiantly and, ever the dear friend, three days before she died, she asked a mutual friend to make a blanket for our new grandson.

We miss you Linda Kemmerer Kreher. May you rest in peace and may God bless your husband Pete and the many people whose lives you impacted.
Linda's last trip to the beach - What spirit she had.