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The Love List: Holiday musings

As ever, I’ll be throwing my holiday party, and I’ve set the unfortunate precedent of serving fancy cocktails. So now there’s pressure to perform.

Destination: Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

If a Williamsburg Christmas is on your bucket list, save some money and head to Old Salem instead. This painstakingly restored 18th-century town in Winston-Salem has 107 historic buildings, 73 of them original to the Moravian colonists, who founded this theocracy in 1766. All year, costumed interpreters lead tours and ply trades such as shoemaking, pottery, and hand stitching.

18 Atlanta Holiday Lights Extravaganzas

We probably won't have snow on the ground, but the entire city will be aglow at these 18 holiday lights events, featuring everything from underwater menorahs to live reindeer. Check the map to find the closest celebration to you.

Roasted Turkey with Gravy Two Ways

To brine or not to brine—that is the Thanksgiving question. Though some people believe that it negatively affects the texture of the bird, I am a faithful briner. I feel that the application of salt enhances the flavor of the meat and helps keep it moist during cooking. A simple overnight brine of 1 cup salt to 1 gallon cold water is all you need.

Gravy Two Ways

Here are two techniques for making gravy (with a roux or with a slurry), and each has its staunch defenders. If the gravy is cooked long enough without being allowed to burn, both methods create a rich and delicious gravy without any residual taste of uncooked flour.

Cupcakes meet Christmas at Sugar Moon Bake Shop

Amy Kiefer has always been comfortable in the kitchen, but she didn’t decide to make a living at baking until the organization she worked at faced budget cuts.

With 85,192 Facebook enablers, Elf on the Shelf is now on Santa’s naughty list

There are two kinds of people in the world at this time of the year— the folks who willingly download Michael Buble holiday albums and the rest of us who have actually heard a Frank Sinatra recording who mock them accordingly. Inevitably then, it was only a matter of time until someone devised a snarktastic Facebook fan page dedicated to the Marietta-based "The Elf on the Shelf" global phenomenon. Yes, Santa's favorite little snitch on the shelf, who scurries away each night to the North Pole to tattle on your toddler, has now inspired a book, a doll, a TV special, a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon and a Facebook parody page, Elf on the Shelf Gone Bad.

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation

The Ritz-Carlton properties in Atlanta typify the cosmopolitanism that defines the hotel brand the world over. The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, with its honeyed wood paneling and...

Flat Rock, NC

My friend and I followed national park ranger Peter Goldsmith into the modest, fifties-era living room of Connemara, Pulitzer-winning poet Carl Sandburg’s home in Flat Rock, ...

Jekyll Island, GA

A midwinter beach trip makes perfect sense in the context of this barrier island’s history. When the Jekyll Island Club opened in January 1888, it was a hunting and fishing escape...

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