Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Porch Sitting

Southerners are porch people. We are known for it.
People sitting on a porch are often a stereotypical image you see on TV of Southerners.

You Tube

And you know what? We don’t care. We love our porches.

We sit and visit.


We sit and stare.

Harper Lee -

We sit and nap.

Zach Flanders

We sit and rock.  (A rocker is essential, preferably a Brumby Rocker.)

In the past, various activities were often accomplished on the porch – marriage proposals, political schemes, neighborhood negotiations, father-son talks, bets and speculation about football games, and gossip. Not to mention a little drinking.

In the more affluent neighborhoods, front porches were not only gathering areas for family and friends, but also status symbols and staging areas. People might never see the inside of your house, but they were guaranteed to see your front porch—so it was important that they saw intricate wicker or beautiful wrought iron and well-tended plants on the porch; not an old couch with the cat-scratched arms or the rusty patio cast-offs or (God forbid!) an appliance of some sort.




 Even if you lived in a modest house and had modest means, you made sure your porch was as nice and tidy as it could be.  Nothing said “trash” like a poorly maintained porch.


I have a friend in Destin who lives in a high rise on the beach. But even this Southern soul cannot get way from a porch. She spends some time every morning and every evening on her balcony and post regular, beautiful photos of her view taken from her balcony.

 The South is changing – the buildings, the cities and even the people. Nevertheless, Southern culture has never been known to embrace change readily. Therefore, I am sure that porch sitting will remain a traditional Southern habit for a long time to come. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Henri's Bakery

Yesterday, I had lunch at one of my favorite places - Henri's Bakery on Irby in Buckhead. This Atlanta tradition has been around since 1929 and has remained a favorite ever since. I just love their sign, placed on the building when they moved from Peachtree to this location in the 60's. 

The building is functional and unassuming, but once you are inside the smells and sights are a delight.

One of their specialities this time of year are the King Cakes that you can order for your Marti Gras party.

Shortbread cookies, always a favorite, are super buttery and just melt in the mouth. 

There are pastries and desserts galore.  The back wall has several counters just chocked full of goodies.

The front wall has an assortment of pre-made sandwiches and salads for a quick lunch.

But I came for my favorite lunch -- a freshly made to order tuna salad sandwich on white bread with mayo and pickle.  Add a few cheese straws instead of chips and you have a perfect lunch. 

And of course, I had to have their lemonade. Better than Chick-Fil-A and that says a lot.

And then, add a few goodies for take home -- perfect Petit Fours.

One of the nicest things about Henri's is that nothing changes -- they have maintained the same standards and quality since they opened. It is reassuring to know when you order your sandwich, it will taste exactly like the first one you had there.

Give them a try if you have never been, but don't complain to me if you come home with a box of two of goodies -- you won't be able to resist.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Serendipity

My husband and I like to take the old fashioned "Sunday drive." With a sense of adventure and no set plans, we explore places around Atlanta, visit little off-the-beaten-path places, small towns and attractions.

Today we found, thanks to a dear friend, Classic on Noble, in Anniston, AL. The Sunday Brunch is worth the drive. The restaurant is in historic downtown Anniston in an old building that used to house the Kress 5 &10. (However, there are rumors that the building once served as a house of ill repute, but we won't discuss that.)

Now if are like me, you may be thinking.... a nice restaurant in Anniston? Alabama?  I am here to tell you, oh yeah.

The place is elegant but not stuffy. The tables are beautifully set. The waiters are abundant and attentive.

The food stations are located in various areas around the room, so people aren't all packed into one huge line. I just hate that with a buffet, don't you? 

Beautiful salad bar.

The shrimp were very fresh and from the gulf, according to our waiter.

Homemade soups and breads.

Carving stations (a man pleaser) and hot vegetables made Southern style.

Fresh flowers everywhere.

A touch of whimsy over the dessert bar. Gorgeous chandys made of the same glasses they use for drinks.

A chocolate fountain. This was a big hit with the children who were just fascinated by the amount of luscious flowing chocolate. I spoke with one little one who said, "This is all I eat when I come here." 
(I bet his mother loves that!)

I fell in  love with this cabinet holding silver drink ware and the lovely display of silver and mercury glass.

All in all, it is a fun and delicious experience that is well worth the drive. We will be back. And soon.

Go for a Sunday drive next week, you never know what you might discover.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Phryne's House and Others

Have you seen Miss Fisher Murders Mysteries on PBS yet? It is a delightful series. She has great clothes, fantastic shoes, a clever wit, and a kind heart. (And a little golden gun that I have never seen her use.)

But even better, she has the coolest house:

The historic house “Wardlow” in Parkville, Victoria was used as the exterior of the Phryne’s house.

I never thought about Melbourne, Australia having really neat houses, but they do -- plenty of them.

The house above is "Labassa", owned by the National Trust. A 1890 French renaissance mansion significant for its richly decorated and finely executed interiors, including a grand staircase with a magnificent stained glass window and rare trompe l'oeil ceiling -- Ooh là là.

Built in 1847, "Como House" in South Yarra is an amalgamation of Australian Regency and Italianate architecture styles. The opulent property features sprawling lush gardens, a fountain, and even a croquet lawn.

Designed by architects Reed and Barnes in 1868 in the Lombardic Romanesque style , the "Rippon Lea" mansion  is a breath-taking beauty. I just love all the fancy brick work. Owned by the National Trust Australia.

I am sure this was a beauty in its day. Sievers, Wolfgang, 1913 "Coronado Mansion"

And my very favorite -- built in 1889, this red brick building has an incredible, impressive tower and the cast iron detailing makes one mind boggle. "Illawarra" has been owned by the National Trust since 1966.

Who is up for a visit to Melbourne?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happy Birthday to my Blog

I can't believe it. 
Today my blog is one year old. 

I didn't even realize it until Blogger sent me a reminder.

Thank you to all my readers. It has been fun and an adventure.

A birthday....
So, what is a girl to do? 
I think I will make a cake!!