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Nothing more graceful than the curtsy. Nothing more noble than the bow.

Two wonderful heirloom touches that are almost all but forgotten in our modern world of today, the curtsy has held up with the ballerinas of our world, while the bow is still a proper form of greeting among Asian cultures.

A lovely gesture for any host would be to entertain the idea of bringing back the graceful, dance-like moves that women & gentlemen practiced in another era.

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It is that time of year, Summer. When we are lucky enough to find the twinkling of tiny fireflies in tall grass fields all around. A joyous time.

Fireflies create an instant memory & a lasting family tradition. Hours spent chasing them, waiting until just the right moment when the illuminate long enough to find them and capturing them tightly in a great big preserves jar with holes gently puncturing the lid for air. A wonderful glow of lights captured for everyone to enjoy creates a lifetime of family times spent playing.

The wonderful Barnsley Gardens, just north of Atlanta, has a delightful “Fireflies” evening event that is held in their heirloom gardens. Sounds like the perfect place to create some family traditions of your own!

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roadtrips.010There are few things more wonderful in this world than a road trip. The anticipation of the vacation finally coming to a start, generally the many hours of build up you have traveling the road, anxious to reach the destination you’ve been so longing for.

I feel road trips are making a come back too, in a big way, as is the simplicity of a family vacation. Every family creates a different sort of tradition for the time spent on their well traveled paths.

For our family, road trips started with a hearty McDonald’s breakfast, a backseat full of pillows, a bag of Starburst, and country musics original greats on the radio. The many traveled hours took us from the largest interstates to the tiniest small town squares, and all the while we played games as a family.

“Car Bingo” was absolutely a favorite – a retro cardboard square with tiny plastic windows pushed closed when we spotted a cow, an airplane, a firetruck. “The License Plate” game was on-going … the excitement of finding a road-mate from some far-off place like Hawaii, Alaska or Kansas was unimaginable.  And last but not least, the most-played “Alphabet Game” is one that never gets old – broken into “teams” trying desperately to find the Q’s and X’s before the other team and hating when our travels led us off the beaten path where it seemed no letters existed in the world as our game came to an unfinished end.

Road trips are not soon forgotten. The traditions continue through the generations, the memories continue.

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Having traveled to San Francisco a few years back, biking for five days, and absolutely loving it – the one thing we didn’t get to do was Wine Country.  This month my sister and I decided to travel back for a few days to experience the vineyards & small towns firsthand.

This Heirloom Travel segment highlights our travels and notes those places & experience that you should be sure to put on your list during your next visit! Do enjoy!

Napa

We started our adventure in the heart of Historic Napa Mill. The Napa River Inn was simply darling with Napa General Store right next door. The best little bakeshop we found on our entire trip was also right here – Sweetie Pies! A throwback screendoor with galvanized metal greets you as you enter and the bakery is filled with the heartiest breakfast croissant sandwiches & Morning Buns that are to die for. It also features the only remaining grain bagging machine smack in the middle of the cafe floor as a nod to the Napa Mill’s roots.

The historic Napa area was fun to wander, though we didn’t find too much there. Ate at a great Mexican restaurant for dinner with a wonderful open-air floorplan and agave nectar margaritas that you just can’t miss.

Across the main street was another bakery, cafe & Oxbow Market area – nearby the Napa Wine Train station – with a Farmers Market on Saturday AM.

Calistoga

A good bit to the north of Napa, we traveled to the town of Calistoga. With a retro Western feel to the town, we ventured up early Saturday AM to catch their town Farmers Market which turned out to be a treat! Beautiful fresh flowers, grapes & peaches, and some great woven baskets that we couldn’t pass up. Not far from Old Faithful, Calistoga is known for their mud & the healing powers that comes with it, so we decided it was here we’d partake in a Spa treatment. The Spa was very cute with ivy covering the exterior stone building and I must say a great massage! Several vintage consignment stores worth checking out as you enter the town too!

Oakville

Passing vineyard after vineyard, Oakville holds a few great treasure stops along your way. The first, and loveliest is the Oakville Grocery. A wonderful old building set right beside the main road is painted with Coca-Cola with benches out front for sitting & eating. Inside the hardwood floors creak and mobs of people peruse the various cases of baked goods, prepared foods, meats for slicing, gourmet goodies & beloved sandwiches. The perfect stop for picnic preparation, and be sure to get one of their handy burlap grocery sacks!

To complete the picnic, you can also stop at the always-wonderful Dean & Deluca, also located right off the main drag. D&D features some of their wonderful classics (black & white cookie fans beware) sprinkled with a great variety of local treasures – like Point Reyes Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives, local honey and produce.

St. Helena

This wonderful little town was absolutely a top favorite from Wine Country.  The road to St. Helena is a grand entrance lined with slightly canopied trees welcoming you to the quaint town. St. Helena Olive Oil Company is SUCH a treasure! We stopped in twice to restock. Their infused olive oils are just delightful … basil, rosemary, jalapeno, garlic. A variety of balsamic vinegars, lavender bath products and the most wonderful sea salts! All housed in an old bank building .. a must stop.

The town is just filled with endless treasures! Model bakery has a rustic display of crusty, floured bread in the window, and next door the Woodhouse Chocolates almost feels like a jewelry store of handmade confections. Ridiculous window displays line the streets, can’t help but wander inside these shops. “M” had some great oversized pieces like this great rope chandelier and worn-wicker chairs. Vintage Home was pure delight with breadboards, Match pewter, and great lamps scattered throughout the charming store.

Petaluma

We almost didn’t stop if Petaluma, as we hadn’t heard much about it. Another of the absolute best places we visited while in the Wine Country. Petaluma is a fabulous few blocks of historic buildings packed with antiques, dining & more. We park directly in front of the Seed Bank – filled with aisles of heirloom seeds! A simply breathtaking building with wonderful painted windows – what an amazing treasure! The street corner sidewalks held metal lettering spelling out the street names, worn from walkers year after year.

So many lovely antique stores – the best of our trip. Sienna Antiques (wonderful pieces, very authentic), Vintage Bank Antiques (lovely building, a mismatch of everything), and Chelsea Antiques (again, wonderful pieces & little treasures) being our favorites. Found a great old bag too! Bluestone Main was a proper little decor store with strikingly crisp & classic finds, while the Sweet Little Shoppe was filled with inexpensive clothing & accessories with a wonderfully playful decor.

Lucky for us, we stumbled into Petaluma during their Arts Festival which was fun for all with the food, wines, music & wares. The Free Public Library might possibly be the most wonderful old library I’ve ever seen! And you must stop in the quaint Knitterly makes you want to make a scarf on the flight back home.

Santa Rosa & Healdsburg & Yountville

Santa Rosa was a quick drive-thru for us on our travels, but made for a nice little venture. The historic railroad junction of a town had a few great old buildings and some promising little shops that had already closed their doors for the evening.

Healdsburg was yet another little treat of a town to the North. A lovely town square again with blocks of wonderful shops and restaurants to explore. A vintage sweet shoppe takes you back to a simpler, more whimsical time. Yet another stop at the Oakville Grocery (one of the 6 shoppes they have) provided the most refreshing red berry drink and turkey & brie sandwich yum! Amdist the well-done restaurants and shops, the one that simply cannot be missed was Bistro Ralph. I dare to say one of my the top 5 restaurant interiors I have ever seen. Painted-white brick walls & a simple white interior provides the perfect backdrop to an enormous black spoke wheel suspended from the ceiling on the back wall of the restaurant. And their sorbet trio looked like a treat!

Lastly, Yountville was another quickstop for lunch – the overly French Bistro Jeanty – provided great outdoor seating and a friendly & social crowd, filled with authentic French dishes.

Sonoma

Sonoma Plaza was a great place to stay. The Plaza Park provides a secret garden of stone buildings, huge trees, little ponds, and people picnicing and playing. Our wonderful El Dorado Hotel was ideal, with cool tile floors and a laid-back yet refined El Dorado Kitchen restaurant that made for a great last dinner for us.

As we didn’t visit the lavish winery itself, we took in an evening wine tasting at the charming Ledson Hotel, enjoying a hearty tasting of nearly all their selections! A great place to stay overnight too no doubt. One evening we took in a fabulous bushel of oysters at the oyster & martini bar down the square – a must!

A array of great little shops, like the very-French Chateau Antiques, the childlike Tiddle E. Winks filled with vintage games, bookstores, & home goods. Rhapsody is a must-stop with it’s absolute joy interior design & displays inside! They have a great array of clothing and some very unique jewelry selections too. Almost cloud-like fabrics & lights make for the most fun shopping you’ll have!

The Wineries

And last but not least, who goes to Wine Country without visiting the wineries! I must say I wish there had been a better guide for which were the best small & unique experience vineyards to vist, but nonetheless we found some great ones to share.

At the Robert Mondavi Winery, we did the tour which I’d highly recommend. For being such an industry giant, the tour was very personal & experiential, starting in the vines, a great deal of education, moving into the fermentation process & cellars and ending with a dining-room-like tasting. We tasted some new wines they were testing and even a sampling of goat cheese & watermelon salad – delightful, educational, beautiful & fun overall.

Nickel & Nickel was an appointment-only winery that is so delightfully charming with it’s farm-like appeal & horses. The wooden-barrel-like appearance of Peju & Cakebread were both just lovely against the stark green of the surrounding vineyards.  Twomey had a nice small & personal family feeling, with some great reds for tasting. Stopped into Franciscan also, as Dad loves their Cab .. our first tasting too .. and actually found their Sav Blanc to be quite tasty & pear-like.

Most beautiful & fun experience we had was at the Korbel Champagne Cellars. A last-minute trip, we meadered up to Korbel to find it nestled amongst the redwood trees of the North. We had such a fun time sampling all the champagnes side-by-side and realizing their vast differences. A quaint little deli & market also provided to the experience. Who can resist the bubbly!

A few more stops at Rodney Strong from some great reds and V. Sattui, where we tasted right along with George Sattui which made for a great “from the family” experience for us.

hardcover books.004In my very humble opinion, there are few things finer than a hardcover book, and they never seem to go out of vogue.

They serve as displays on coffee tables everywhere, showcasing your loves & interests. They fill the shelves of libraries and dens, and one of my favorite new display forms have them flipped backwards so the many pages form a wall of off-white hues rather than colorful spines.

Hardcover books make for the loveliest of gifts and make for a treasured family tradition on so many levels. Despite the obvious gift of the appreciation of reading itself, a thoughtfully-selected book makes a statement of a gesture in of itself.

One of the most treasured of family heirlooms I have to date, is a beautiful black Webster dictionary from 1912. In its front cover is inscribed in the most perfect script a note from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother wishing her a very Merry Christmas. What a wonderful treasure and a lovely tradition to create for your family when giving the gift of a fine hardcover book!

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Create a tradition in your family, with IceMilk Aprons

100_1643There is nothing quite like summertime, especially in the South.

My family has a wonderful tradition that has lasted back as far as I can remember, of taking a very special summer vacation each & every year, the first week of August.

We visit the most wonderful town, Burnsville, North Carolina, driving through many small mountain towns to get there and nestling in with the rest of our extended family for a week of hiking, waterfalls and wildflowers, rocking chair porches and mountain views.

It is one of the most wonderful & memorable places in the whole world. And times I wouldn’t trade for anything. Just as a family summer vacation should be.

What summer vacation traditions do you & your family have?

There is something so wonderful about having children take part in hobbies that you love. Whether it’s golf, horseback riding, stamp collecting or playing the guitar – creating a family tradition of learning new hobbies is such a wonderful treasure that you children are sure to thank you for over and over again.

Dad taught me to play golf at a young age and it’s something I am continually appreciative for. I still have the wooden drivers that I learned on, reminiscent of the Bobby Jones days.  I learned to play the violin in elementary school and came to find out that my Grandfather had played as well and still had his violin, how wonderful! I rode horses, a hobby my “grand master” Aunt continues still to this day.

Exposing your family to new hobbies & interests enables you to share your passions with them, while opening up new worlds of adventure and a lifetime of stories for them to share. What hobbies does your family have?

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Truly a lost art, a forgotten everyday skill of the past, a statement that can define you as a unique person – beautiful handwriting.

There is nothing more lovely than the classic, swirling script of people past. Focused on heirlooms, I see it every day. From old census records, to love letters, to Nana’s recipe cards, to the Declaration of Independence. No matter the significance or importance of the writings purpose, everything was beautifully crafted and meticulously practiced to perfection to be delightful.

This one is an important one ladies & gentlemen, one that even me myself is committed to mastering. Bringing back the lost art of beautiful, signature handwriting – what better family tradition could you create?



There are many things you can pass down to your children through the legacy of ideals you’ve taught them and traditions you’ve created as a family – one being the value of historical preservation.

When we teach our children the value of history, where they came from and the stories behind what they see and hear in today’s world, we also pass down an appreciation for the past and an anticipation that it continues to be around for future generations to enjoy.

While sitting in traffic yesterday, I was so pleased to see yesterday that Georgia has a license plate dedicated to historical preservation. Our state, like all others, has so many special treasures to be restored to their splendor and glory – from the downtown buildings of Savannah, to the landmarks of Atlanta, and the mansions, city buildings and churches of small towns across our state.

I hope you will create a family tradition of your own to educate & engross your children in the importance of historical preservation by allowing them the opportunity to experience these wonderful gems.

While some moments are captured by the familiar taste of a homemade dish or the sight of an heirloom lamp or by the sound of familiar tune, the wonderful aroma of your mothers signature scent can make an ever-lasting impression.

A stunning fragrance, whether your mothers or grandmothers or even the strong musky scent of your fathers, can bring back a lifetime of memories with a simple whiff. A wonderful family tradition to begin is by establishing a signature scent of your very own.

Take the challenge full on. In today’s world of a thousand of scents and cosmetics galore, spend some time investing in the flora & fauna behind the smell, the scents of your family members, and what scent you want to be remembered by for a lifetime. Consider the beauty of the package, the elegance of the smell and the lasting qualities of the heirloom scent that you choose for your own.

And I must say, investing in a beautiful vintage perfume atomizer makes the experience even more divine each day.


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