TO THE YEAR OF “THE VID”!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
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,
|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|
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.
|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
|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 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.
We could go
on-and-on recognizing all the guests who enter our doors, each of which is very
special and truly appreciated.
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|
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
|Chocolate Mini Bundt cake with Homemade|
Triple Berry topping and Fresh Strawberries
|Breakfast Chicken a la King with Fried Egg|
|Holiday Breakfast Casserole with Apple-Banana Bread|
|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
HARVESTS AND GARDENS
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
|Blueberries from the garden.|
|Our first harvest of Kiwi.|
|Moon Flower Blossom in the evening.|
|Mini forest of mushrooms (non-edible)|
|Dinner plate Dahlia in front garden|
|Crepe Myrtles in their Fall splendor.|
|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.
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.
|Starting our day of exploring.|
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.
|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.
|Mini was not enamored with the water, but she|
endured the hike.
|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.
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
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.
|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.|
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.
(Since the boys are foster children, their identity must be "masked" on social media, thus the stars.)
|E-man, Amelia, Big Guy, and Grace|
|Phil and E-Man Hannah and Big Guy|
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|
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.
AREA HOLIDAY EVENTS
Check out these holiday events near the Cottage with the links below!
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!!
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
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.Delete
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