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Colored Lights and Carlton's -- A Merry (Safe) Date Night in Cullman

Last Friday night my Silver Fox and I were in the mood for a Christmasy outing and decided to head south to Cullman, Alabama. Our two goals were simple: see some Christmas lights and eat something delicious. :) We managed to accomplish both.

We had a place in mind for dinner and wanted to see the German Christmas Pyramid, which was first put in place last Christmas, at night. It is a delightful and amazing example of German ingenuity that fits the heritage of Cullman and is appropriately located beside the Cullman County Museum. We were happy to see that the park across the street from the museum had a fun, holiday light display, too.

By this time, we were hungry and had Carlton's Italian Restaurant on 3rd Avenue in our sights.

The place was buzzing with many people opting to take home their delicious pizzas. Our server said that before COVID, the ratio of dine-in to carry-out customers was 3:1 in favor of dine-in, but now the opposite is true. If you're worried about dining in, Carlton's has your safety in mind with a large, covered outdoor area, cozily wrapped in thick plastic and heated.

After many meals of eating my own cooking AND trying to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, I was ready for something not involving turkey prepared by someone else. Can you relate? We started with the focaccia bread and olive oil dipping spices. It arrived warm, crusty and wonderful. We followed that with small portions of spaghetti, Steve's with meatballs, mine with meat sauce. It was true comfort food at a great price, and the small portion was plenty for one person.

Then we headed to our main destination -- Sportsman Lake Park -- for their annual light extravaganza. This year's version is the 18th Annual Winter Wonderland. For the most part, it is a drive-through event, but near the end, you will find a train ride, photo booth and concession stand, which I suspect sells hot chocolate.

Put 1544 Sportsman Lake Road NW in your GPS and take $10 cash to pay the per vehicle admission charge. (I had to chuckle that this would be an exceptional bargain for my daughter with her 10 children). :) The remaining nights it will be open are Dec. 9-13, 16-23 and for drive-through only Dec. 26-27.

It was a very pleasant evening and a real spirit lifter.

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