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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.
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.
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.