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Is that a Pink House?

Comfort food – we all crave it when the weather gets cool. For me, comfort food is classic Southern dishes like a super cheesy mac n’ cheese or crunchy fried chicken.

I found all this and more at the Chef’s House. When you drive down Walton Way, you can’t miss the bright pink house-turned-restaurant.

This small (cozy small, not cramped small) restaurant is dripping with Southern charm. The owners and their son (who is absolutely the brightest and best server I’ve ever had) greet you like family. After you’ve been taken to a table, you head straight for the buffet.

This is not your average chain buffet – you know, the kind that offers 150 ho-hum dishes that all taste the same. There’s no frills – just straightforward, well seasoned, perfectly cooked dishes. True to my comfort food cravings, I got the fried chicken with green beans, mac n’ cheese and cornbread- and it was all delicious! And you can’t leave without trying the peach cobbler!   

The Chef’s House

Hours of Operation: Mon – Fri. 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. By reservation on Saturday

1729 Walton Way 

(706) 771-1132

I heart New Moon (No, not the movie)

Once upon a time, a hippie fell in love with a foodie. They had a baby and called it the New Moon Café. OK—maybe that’s how I like to picture it in my head. But seriously, if you have never tried what The New Moon Café has to offer, you’re leading a deprived life.

When I started working in Augusta, I didn’t have time to eat much more than cereal before work. That got real old, real quick. Enter New Moon Café. My first time there was the end of May, and even though it was only 8 a.m., it was already warm outside, so I didn’t exactly want a steaming bowl of grits. Thankfully, they offer build your own smoothies. Now, I’m not going to say that they put crack in those smoothies to reel you back in for more, but I WILL say that I was at New Moon almost every morning for the next two weeks to get one.

What I love the most is the atmosphere. It’s really laid back and the art that covers the wall is made by local artists and is all for sale, so it rotates pretty often. I love going in to see what’s up and who made it and listen to people argue over what they think it is or isn’t. Sit outside and people watch, sit inside on the couch in the window and let people watch you or do the normal thing and sit at a table.

The kitchen staff loves fresh local produce, so there’s a pretty good chance that whatever you get will be grown regionally. They also bake cookies (Chocolate Chip and Bacon will change how you feel about ordinary chocolate chip cookies), bread, quiches and muffins. And they make all the soups and specials daily.

My latest addiction is the Uncle Junior. They say it’s a Panini made with fresh tomato, pesto and provolone cheese. I say it’s the best melt-y Italian-y sandwich you’ll ever eat. But that’s just me. (p.s. The picture above is NOT an Uncle Junior, I ate all of it before I could take a picture. That’s a La Fawnduh – it’s a grown up grilled cheese that also happens to be delicious with a cup of hot soup.)

You can roll your eyes and say I’m exaggerating. Or you can go see for yourself. Just be careful, or you might end up with me at some “anonymous” meeting introducing yourself: “Hi, my name’s Ashton and I’m addicted to smoothies and Uncle Juniors from New Moon Café.”

New Moon Café

1002 Broad Street, Augusta Ga

(706) 823-2008

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-Moon-Cafe/461891810716

More than Golf!

When I was a little kid I hated being cooped inside the house. I always wanted to be outside playing, and the same applies today. Luckily I live in Augusta, Ga. where outdoor recreation is just around the river bend…literally!

In the south, we are fortunate enough to have warmer temperatures during most of the year, which means we get to spend a lot of time outside! Here are some of the outdoor recreational opportunities Augusta offers. Be prepared to be surprised, and many places are free!



The Augusta Canal and Towpath

Built in 1845 to harness the water of the Savannah River and produce hydroelectricity to power mills, the Augusta Canal is still in use today. Its smooth waters make it an excellent place for a canoe or kayak adventure. Don’t have a kayak or canoe? There are retailers close by! And its 8.5 miles long towpath is ideal for walking or riding bikes. Pets are welcome.

J. Strom Thurmond LakeIt’s the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River. There are several parks and swimming beaches, hiking trails and camping areas. You can also rent boats and jet skis for the day. It is also home to the International Disc Golf Hall of Fame.

Lake Olmstead/Julian Smith ParkIt’s a lake front park which makes it perfect for boating, fishing and picnics. The Augusta GreenJackets, Augusta’s minor league baseball team play at Lake Olmstead Stadium during the season (April through September). Try your hand at one of several disc golf courses. One is located in the park. Disc golf is similar to ball golf, but you use discs/Frisbees and try to throw them into a basket to make par. Pretty simple concept. Fun and free if you own discs!

Phinizy Swamp Nature ParkLocated on 1100 acres and just minutes from downtown Augusta, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park offers visitors the chance to see blue heron, red-shouldered hawk, otter, alligator and the elusive bobcat in their natural settings. Participate in guided tours or venture out on your own. This park is also free.

Savannah River and Augusta Riverwalk

Personal  watercraft vehicles are available to rent. Also a great place for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. The Augusta Riverwalk runs parallel to the Savannah River. Its two-tiered paved trail runs for three blocks downtown. It features a children’s playground, picnic tables and various gardens.

Afternoon in the Living History Park

When the weather’s nice outside, one of my favorite things to do is grab a quick lunch and take it to the Living History Park. It’s right across the river in North Augusta and is about 5 minutes from downtown Augusta. It’s a public park that’s being transformed into a mini-settlement, complete with colonial style church, tavern and meeting place. Each year something new gets added.

I like to stroll around the park and look at the buildings or go sit in the garden and just enjoy the weather! What most people don’t realize is that there are monthly and annual events held at the park regularly. There’s “Last Saturday in the Park” which is the last Saturday of the month from January through November where parents can bring their kids for an interactive history experience. Or they’ve got events like “Spirits of Hallowed Eve” and “Colonial Times” each fall and “Christmas in the Backwoods” each winter. No matter when you come, it’s always like you stepped back in history!

So make time during your next visit to stop by and enjoy the Living History Park. And if you’re in town during one of thier events, make sure you go!

Living History Park

229 W. Spring Grove Ave, North Augusta

Park Open Dawn – Dusk

Weekend Whirl

“Whirl (N): a rapid round of events, affairs, etc”

We all need a little mini-vacation sometimes and a weekend whirl to freshen things up is always fun. September in Augusta, Ga is full of festivals, art and culture. This month’s Weekend Whirl puts brings you to one of the South’s most famous festivals – Arts in the Heart of Augusta. Start planning your trip for August 16th through 18th.

Friday Night

 

Music to give you a Southern Soul. Grammy award winning Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives bring their “hillbilly rock” to the historic Imperial Theatre in downtown Augusta for the kick-off performance of the Southern Soul and Song series. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. If you get into Augusta by 5 p.m. plan to stop by Blue Sky Kitchen a few blocks down from the Imperial Theatre for dinner before the show. If you’re running late, head over to Blue Horse Bistro after the show.

 

Saturday

Soul food for breakfast. Before heading into the festival, make a quick stop by the Coffee Break Café  for breakfast. You can grab a home-made, honest to goodness breakfast sandwich (no frozen stuff here!) and take it with you. Or order a breakfast plate and eat in.

Southern setting for International Culture. Greece, China, India, Jamaica –experience the art, music, food and traditions of cultures from all over the world at Arts in the Heart of Augusta. With over 100 artists and crafters, more than 60 performers and authentic ethnic dancers on 4 different stages, there’s more than enough to keep you busy exploring all day.

Stop by the Global Food Village and take your taste buds on an international culinary journey for lunch and dinner!

Sunday

 

Can’t get enough of your art, baby. With so much to see and do, you’ll probably want to plan on spending some more time at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta. If you haven’t already, make sure you take time to stop by the Global Stage in the Common and see a variety of performances by groups representing countries like Greece, Ireland, The Middle East and more!

Get a late breakfast, or lunch, or brunch. Before heading home, take a quick trip across the river to Manuel’s Bread Café. The Hammond’s Ferry neighborhood is a perfect example of Southern charm and style. Ask about their homemade lemonades and make sure you order one if it’s available!

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