In the days leading up to Christmas this year, my Silver Fox and I have taken advantage of some delightful holiday events in the middle of our own shopping, decorating, baking, and gift-wrapping sessions. First, we went to see the amazing decorations at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville before watching the Iron Bowl with our son and his family. Even the outcome of the game couldn’t squelch our good moods. The next weekend we went to our Sunday School class party hosted by neighbors across the street. We were all in high spirits with laughter, good food, and an auction to raise money for the mission offering. Two days later we attended the BELLS OF CHRISTMAS Holiday Home Tour and oohed and ahhed over 4 gorgeous homes in Athens.
I participated in rehearsals and performances of An Athens Christmas at our church and loved seeing so many people who came to enjoy our efforts and hard work. We still have the Joe Wheeler Home Christmas Tour on the calendar along with Christmas Eve services at church. Then, at noon on Christmas Day the Pearson 20 will arrive, and everything will culminate with hugs and this happy Momma counting ALL the noses. 🙂 Can’t you just hear “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” in the background and smell the cinnamon of the cookies in the oven as I type?
But, I must tell you about our adventure last Saturday, thus leading to the title of this post. We attended Dickens of a Christmas in downtown Franklin, TN. Oh my! That town knows how to put on a festival. So many of the townspeople decked out in Dickens-era costumes. (Be sure to click on each picture to get a closer look at the details).
Thousands of visitors were there right along with us, enjoying the vendors, musicians, and the festively-decorated shops. Traffic was completely blocked off from the roundabout in the center of town and for at least 3 blocks in all 4 directions from there.
This year marked the 31st time the event has been held. Obviously, it has grown in quality and in quantity from its beginnings. These two days every December are completely filled with entertainment, food, arts and crafts, carriage rides and Town Sings. I wholeheartedly recommend that you go ahead and mark your new 2016 calendar to attend next year.
Steve and I resisted all of the great-smelling foods for sale on Main Street because we had lunch reservations at Maggiano’s Little Italy in nearby Nashville.
We normally avoid chains in favor of one-of-a-kind places, but we made an exception in this case. Maggiano’s has grown to numerous locations since its first restaurant opened in Chicago and welcomed the one and only Frank Sinatra at its Grand Opening. But, there are VERY FEW in the southeast. I haven’t found any in Alabama or Mississippi, and I’m pretty sure there’s only this one in Tennessee. Besides, my friend Marie told me this was her favorite Italian restaurant, so I had to check it out. Mercy, it was good!!
I strongly suggest making reservations. Maggiano’s is popular! The day we were there, not only were the holiday shoppers and party-goers out en masse, but also it was Graduation Day at nearby Vanderbilt, so lots of happy families celebrated. The place literally hopped. In spite of that, our service was prompt and attentive.
Imagine red-checked tablecloths with white overlays, lots of brick, mirrors, and windows. Very much a vintage look. Jazzy holiday music was playing. Ahhhhh.
Our waiter brought a complimentary appetizer of zucchini fritte to our table since we were first-time guests. Nice touch. He explained that everything on the menu was made “in house.” We started with salads. I chose a spinach salad with bleu cheese, colored peppers, applewood bacon, pine nuts, red onions, and an incredible vinaigrette dressing. It was amazing — so fresh and crisp.
For entrees, we chose Lighter Take Fettucine Alfredo with grilled chicken and asparagus, and Lighter Take Baked Ziti with Italian chicken sausage, mozzarella cheese, and Pomodoro sauce. Both were exceptional.
They “just happened” to have a seasonal dessert offering of 5 mini canolis with chocolate chip ricotta filling and the ends dipped in dark chocolate and finely chopped nuts. No. We did NOT decide to skip dessert. 🙂 We shared and loved every bite. (Don’t tell my trainer. He’ll never let me off that elliptical next week).
So, I’ll just tell you straight out that I am most assuredly in the Christmas spirit this year, and I hope you are, too. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”