Address

1349 Gunbarrel Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421

Sunday, December 6, 2020

FAREWELL TO THE YEAR OF “THE VID”!

St Francis Cottage 201205 Blog Title photo

As CHRISTMAS approaches after celebrating one of our favorite Holidays, THANKSGIVING, we are grateful to God for sustaining us through the Year of the Pandemic.  Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the many individuals and families who have lost loved ones or have endured the virus themselves or have lost their jobs and a reliable income.  Our country has yet to see the tidal wave of evictions and foreclosures to come as protections are lifted and many lose their homes.  These are tough times, indeed.   We are beyond thankful for good health and record-breaking occupancy at St Francis Cottage during this difficult year, yet we constantly think about and pray for those who did not fare so well and that 2021 will be a year of recovery and hope.

Read on and we will introduce you to some recent guests; a couple of industry awards for the cottage; a few of our new breakfast items; great harvest news; local hiking; some family trivia; and some must-see holiday events near the Cottage.  


SOME RECENT GUESTS

SO THANKFUL for the many guests who have brightened St Francis Cottage and made it come alive.  George, Cindy and their Bichon Frise, Milo, have become dear friends as they regularly make the trek to/from their Florida and Wisconsin homes.  Their generosity never ceases as they smother us with generous, creative gifts. 

 

Cindy, George, and Milo's first visit in 2017
Cindy, George, and Milo's first visit in 2017

We enjoyed a visit in October from longtime friends, Bob and Karen Geiger from Atlanta, who we met during the mid-80’s while working at Habitat for Humanity in Americus, Georgia.  Bob and Karen recently retired from their respective careers as a CEO of a German-based software subsidiary (B) and as Managing Attorney for Georgia Legal Services (K).  


Friends of many years, Bob and Karen
Friends of many years, Bob and Karen

A sweet, young couple from Hinesville, Georgia, Darius and Breana, celebrated their first anniversary by staying with us for a week last summer, and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.  


Guest Breana and Darius
Breana and Darius

And return guests Rick and Debbie from McDonough, Georgia visited in March and September, and Debbie presented us with her gorgeous embroidery of Hebrews 13:2 that we proudly display in the SFC Entrance. 

 

Rick and Debbie, Embroidery Hebrews 13:2 - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Rick and Debbie, Embroidery Hebrews 13:2 - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby
some have entertained angels unawares.

Extremely multi-talented Jeremy and Amanda from Athens, Georgia came back for their third visit, and Amanda presented us with an exquisite bowl that she created on her wheel and in her kiln, and we use it every day to hold snacks for our guests. 


Amanda and Jeremy and Amanda's Handiwork!
Amanda and Jeremy                                                                 Amanda's Handiwork!

Very recent guests, Barbara and Butch, from Burr Ridge, IL, graced us with two super practical winter gifts . . . VERY warm beautiful handmade hats (a.k.a. toboggans, knitted beanies, ski hats, or as our Canadian children would call them, toques [tukes]).  We have already enjoyed the warmth, as our weather has turned to the colder side.  Butch and Barbara also made them for our daughter and son-in-law and the four grandchildren.  This precious gift will help warm for their frozen ears and heads this Christmas in the frozen environs of Winnipeg. THANK YOU BOTH VERY MUCH!



Wayne and Mary visited from Albany, GA earlier this year and were kind enough to split some of their fancy daylilies and sent us the tubers.  We are excited to see the result of this beautiful gift this coming Spring.  We can't thank you enough for this perfect addition to our gardens. We are honored.


This may be the variety of Daylily plants we have been gifted

Three groups, all from the Sacramento area in Northern California who did not know one another, visited at the same time in August and brought lots of joy and laughter. 


First time that all guests at the Cottage were from California and that all guests chose to eat breakfast outside.  Great to have them all.
First time that all guests at the Cottage were from California and that all guests chose
to eat breakfast outside.  Great to have them all.

We could go on-and-on recognizing all the guests who enter our doors, each of which is very special and truly appreciated.


B&B AWARDS

We were very surprised, humbled, and honored by the many gracious reviews from our guests which fueled our receiving two industry awards this year, one each from TripAdvisor and Hotels.com.  The TripAdvisor award placed us in their top 10% of hotels worldwide.  We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all our visitors. THANK YOU!

TripAdvisor Traveler' Choice Award and Hotels.com Most Wanted Award for 2020
TripAdvisor Traveler' Choice Award and Hotels.com Most Wanted Award for 2020

NEW RECIPES

Sheltering in has its benefits, so we tried out some new recipes which we plan to incorporate into our breakfasts.  Watching the popular The Great British Baking Show motivated us to explore new breakfast possibilities!

Veggie Omelet with Bacon, Skillet Fries, and Homemade Blueberry Muffin
Veggie Omelet with Bacon, Skillet Fries, and
Homemade Blueberry Muffin

Chocolate Mini Bundt cake with Homemade Triple Berry topping and Fresh Strawberries
Chocolate Mini Bundt cake with Homemade
Triple Berry topping and Fresh Strawberries

Breakfast Chicken a la King with Fried Egg
Breakfast Chicken a la King with Fried Egg


Holiday Breakfast Casserole with Apple-Banana Bread
Holiday Breakfast Casserole with Apple-Banana Bread

Breakfast Enchiladas with Salsa and Black Beans.
Breakfast Enchiladas with Salsa and Black Beans.
We have also served Mexican Street Corn as a side.

Homemade Apple Cake with Homemade Caramel Apple Topping
Homemade Apple Cake with Homemade
Caramel Apple Topping

SUMMER-FALL HARVESTS AND GARDENS

God definitely provided during this COVID year by granting prolific harvests, both in the garden and on the bushes and trees.  We are THANKFUL for all the blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, grapes, figs, and an over-abundant crop of Oriental and Asian pears.  The zucchini and tomatoes were fresh and scrumptious as well.  When needing a break, a stroll out to pick some fresh fruit hit the spot!   Although we didn’t see many hydrangea blooms this summer, other flowers and plants brightened the gardens and lifted our spirits.

Blueberries from the garden.
Blueberries from the garden.

Our first harvest of Kiwi.
Our first harvest of Kiwi.

Nancy holding Asian Pears
Asian Pears

Moon Flower Blossom in the evening.
Moon Flower Blossom in the evening.

Mini forest of mushrooms (non-edible)
Mini forest of mushrooms (non-edible)

Yellow Dinner plate Dahlia in front garden
Dinner plate Dahlia in front garden

Crepe Myrtles in their Fall splendor.
Crepe Myrtles in their Fall splendor.

Spicebush Swallowtail in our butterfly garden.
Spicebush Swallowtail in our butterfly garden.

GETTING OUT and HIKING


We are both in a high-risk age group for COVID, so we avoided the downtown Chattanooga area since March, but we did walk the Walnut Street Bridge one time when there were only a few folks on the bridge.
Wallace & Nancy on Walnut Street Bridge in Covid Masks

Since the US-Canadian border has been indefinitely closed, and flying to California was not an option for us, we decided to take a quick excursion in August to Mammoth Cave National Park near Bowling Green, Kentucky.  We had passed the Park on many occasions over the years during our trips north, so we decided to make it a destination, and we had a lovely time exploring the massive caves, hiking in the park, and exploring the area.


Nancy in front of visitor's center sign at Mammoth Cave Park
Starting our day of exploring.

Mammoth Cave Trail
Mammoth Cave Trail

A very big tree on the Mammoth Cave trail.
A very big tree on the trail.

Entrance to Mammoth Cave
Entrance to Mammoth Cave

This cave as almost no water penetration from the ceiling, so there are little or no stalactites. The rooms with those features are blocked off during the pandemic.  These rooms were mined for bauxite and saltpeter, almost exclusively by slaves in the mid 1800's.
This cave as almost no water penetration from the ceiling, so there are little or no stalactites.
The rooms with those features are blocked off during the pandemic.  These rooms were mined for
bauxite and saltpeter, almost exclusively by slaves in the mid 1800's.

Leaving the cave.
Leaving the cave.

While at Mammoth Cave we stayed at Serenity Hill Bed and Breakfast, and Bill and Tina were absolutely delightful hosts; a highly recommended respite spot!

Wide shot of Serenity Hill Bed and Breakfast
Serenity Hill Bed and Breakfast, Wimberley, KY

They have an incredible view.  Thank you for your wonderful hospitality, Bill & Tina.
They have an incredible view.  Thank you for
your wonderful hospitality, Bill & Tina.

When a few “free” hours in the afternoon opened up, we took advantage of the time to venture to local scenic outdoor spots, including Glen Falls on Lookout Mountain and Snooper’s Rock at Prentiss Cooper State Park.  It’s incredible how a few hours outdoors can rejuvenate one’s soul, mind and body.

Wallace and Nancy at Glen Falls, Lookout Mountain
Enjoying the beauty of the day and the falls.

This was during a dry week, but they say this gets to be very rapid after a rain.  The location is on the side of Lookout Mountain on the way up to Rock City.
This was during a dry week, but they say this gets to be
very rapid after a rain.  The location is on the side of
Lookout Mountain on the way up to Rock City.

Mini was not enamored with the water, but she endured the hike.
Mini was not enamored with the water, but she
endured the hike.

Snooper's Rock Overlook, about an hour northwest of SFC.
Snooper's Rock Overlook, about an hour northwest of SFC.

Tennessee River Valley as seen from Prentiss Cooper State Park.  There are bears and wolves in these woods.  You can drive to a point about 150 feet from this view, or hike across the ridge about 5 miles.  Check it out on the AllTrails App.
Tennessee River Valley as seen from Prentiss Cooper State Park.  There are bears and wolves
in these woods.  You can drive to a point about 150 feet from this view, or hike across the
ridge about 5 miles.  Check it out on the AllTrails App.

We couldn’t believe that over the past 27 years we have not taken advantage of the gorgeous 130 acres of Audubon Acres, which is located only two miles south of SFC.  Since we are members, we took a hike at Audubon on Thanksgiving afternoon, and we will be returning MANY times in the future.  It will be a perfect getaway spot to launch our canoe and enjoy the outdoors while bird watching at this natural sanctuary.

At the entrance to Audubon Acres. Only two miles from SFC, Audubon Acres is a wonderfully peaceful and beautiful place to hike and explore.
At the entrance to Audubon Acres. Only two miles from SFC,
Audubon Acres is a wonderfully peaceful and beautiful
place to hike and explore.
 

Chickamauga Creek, along the Arboretum Trail. Most of the trees are tagged with their names, both common and  scientific, along with their use by the Cherokees.  The Cherokee  inhabited this area for 100's of years until the Removal in 1838.  This park is a starting point for the Trail of Tears.
Chickamauga Creek, along the Arboretum Trail. Most of the
trees are tagged with their names, both common and 
scientific, along with their use by the Cherokees.  The Cherokee 
inhabited this area for 100's of years until the Removal in
1838.  This park is a starting point for the Trail of Tears.

Another part of the creek and park trails.
Another part of the creek and park trails.

FAMILY NEWS

SO THANKFUL for daughter Hannah and son (in law) Phil, for navigating COVID in Winnipeg, MB and combining their French Immersion School’s virtual learning with “Mom’s School” (Hannah is certified to teach K through 12 in Manitoba’s Public School System) throughout the pandemic.  They have enjoyed LOTS of hikes, camping, and ice skating along with tons of reading, science projects, and baking while keeping up with their homework assignments.  

E-man, Amelia, Big Guy, and Grace  (Since the boys are foster children, their identity must be "masked" on social media, thus the stars.)
E-man, Amelia, Big Guy, and Grace
 (Since the boys are foster children, their identity must be "masked" on social media, thus the stars.)

Caveys camping near Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Pedal Cart ride and exploring the creek at park near Winnipeg

Caveys closeup encounter with deer, carved tree, and tree climbing

Split screen of Phil and E-Man,  Hannah and Big Guy
Phil and E-Man                         Hannah and Big Guy

We are beyond impressed with our Grands’ abilities to critically think through situations and challenges to solve problems vs. “teach-to-the-test” curricula.  We have enjoyed their schooling journey and other adventures via FaceTime and texts with fun photos.  We cannot wait until PM Trudeau opens the border for future visits, once COVID rates drastically drop.

Multi-faceted Michael won the Windy City Skate Comp 2020
Multi-faceted Michael won the Windy City Skate Comp 2020

SO THANKFUL for son Michael for participating in the Mock Trial Team and working as a Mentor/T.A. at UC Davis Law School after winning the Legal Research and Writing Award in his 1L Section.  He’s also been a Research Assistant in Constitutional Law and a contributing editor to the Employment Law Review while maintaining a full load during his second year.  Michael will be working as an intern for Northern California Legal Services this summer and has been offered an externship with CA State Senator Bill Dodd’s (D) office before beginning his final year at UC Davis.


UC Davis Law School Exterior

AREA HOLIDAY EVENTS


Check out these holiday events near the Cottage with the links below!

Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights (evenings through Jan. 2, 2021, reservations required)

Tennessee Valley Railroad's North Pole Limited (Friday - Sunday through Dec. 20)


Ice on the Landing (Ice skating, through Jan 25, times vary per day)

The Polar Express 3D at the IMAX (Daily through Dec. 27

For additional information, click here to visit our EVENTS page on the SFC website.


YEAR END DISCOUNT CODE:  YEAREND2020
Discount code applicable to phone in reservations made until 11:59 PM, March 30, 2021 for reservations starting no later than March, 31, 2021. Discount Code is for 15% off any contiguous stay of up to 5 days. May not be combined with any other discount, credit voucher, or gift certificate. (subject to change without notice based on pandemic or other issues)

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

6 comments:

  1. So lovely hearing about your adventures, your children and your success during this crazy year. We've only had the pleasure of staying at SFC once with our precious cat Tootie, who sadly just passed away last month, as our 2nd visit had to be cancelled due to COVID. We will be visiting again next year. Looking forward to your new added menu itens!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for your kind words, Debra, and we were so very sorry to hear that Tootie is no longer with you. What a beautiful, sweet companion she was. We wish you and Brian the best over the Holidays, and we look forward to seeing you during better times.

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