Seasonal

The Thankful Tree

My sons, ages 3 and 5 years, have 57 dinosaurs, 24 action heroes and 214 army men. They also have an amazing collection of 47 ketchup packets, just to prove it’s not the cost that counts. Before you convict me of attempted-spoiling, I’ll ask you to count up your children’s favorite toys. After that, consider that all these items (never mind the ketchup) were purchased by well-meaning aunts, uncles, friends and grandmas.

A Christmas Holiday Retreat in Dillsboro/Balsam

Crisp mountain air, luminaries, carolers performing on the street corner and the whistle of a steam locomotive set the stage for an memorable holiday weekend in Dillsboro, N.C. Just down the road, the Balsam Inn welcomes you with a blazing fire, hot cider and comfortable rooms. Only 2.5 hours from Charlotte, you’ll feel a thousand miles away and decades in the past.

Candlelight Christmas Evenings at the Biltmore House

To spend the holidays at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is to step back in time. The sights, the sounds, the smells all are reminiscent of the Gilded Age at the turn of the century. Each year, the Biltmore House is richly decorated in the holiday traditions set by George W. Vanderbilt, who first welcomed friends and family to his country retreat on Christmas Eve 1895. The bright tapestry of Christmas colors complement the rich oak paneling and European furnishings of the home.

Butter-Basted Lemon and Lime Turkey

A chilled lemon and lime butter, placed under the skin, adds a zesty twist to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and solves the problem of dry breast meat. You’ll need to dispense with your rings, gird your loins and push that citrus butter up under the skin. It is a little fiddly (the butter will break up), and you may not like the slimy sensation, but it’s well worth it. To help the big day go smoothly, make the butter ahead. Let the kids help mix the butter, lemon and lime zest together,