Monthly Archives: November 2018

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

  • Cranberry-Upside-Down-Cake12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a round cake pan or spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Melt 4 tablespoons butter and the brown sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it starts to bubble. Pour into cake pan and let cool. In a small saucepan, cook the cranberries and orange juice until cranberries begin to pop. Remove from heat and pour evenly over the cooled caramelized sugar.

In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. With a mixer, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks (one at a time) and vanilla. Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk. Mix in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk. Finally, mix in the remaining flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Gradually fold into the batter and pour over cranberries. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool 15-20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate.

Making the Season Bright

In The Home
Photography by Sally Kolar

Photography by Sally Kolar

Childhood memories spark a love of Christmas for a Grovetown resident

Ever since she was little girl growing up in Augusta’s Sand Hills Historic District in the 1970s, Pamela McCladdie has loved Christmas. And an Augusta music legend played a big role in her fondness of the holidays. 

“James Brown would decorate his house on Walton Way Extension for Christmas, and we would all go see it,” says Pamela, her face lighting up at the memory. “He would come out and say, ‘hi.’”

She not only got the chance to gaze in delight at the exterior decorations at the home of the Godfather of Soul, however. She also recalls her joy at catching glimpses of Christmas decorations through curtain-less windows of the homes on Walton Way Extension at night. Those memories have stayed with Pamela, and when she and her husband, James, built their home in Grovetown 12 years ago, she didn’t want drapes on the back of the house. 

And anyone who peeks through the windows of their stucco home during the holiday season will get an eyeful of Christmas cheer.

1.-Living-Room-1O Christmas Trees
“We always put up eight Christmas trees, and each one has its own theme,” says Pamela, who works as an RN. She decorates the house the same way each year but adds something new every season. “I start decorating at Thanksgiving and continue up until Christmas,” she says.

Everyone in the family has a role to play in the preparations. James, a contractor, puts up the Christmas trees; Pamela does all of the decorating; and their daughter, Jada, a freshman at Georgia State University, expertly wraps all of the presents.

The key to wrapping beautiful packages, Pamela taught her daughter, is the paper. “The better your wrapping paper, the easier it is to wrap,” she says. “It’s thicker, and it’s easier to handle.”

The festive tone is set in the foyer, where a Santa dressed in a gold suit sits on a table. Pine cones and decorative gold butterflies are nestled in green garland wrapped around two columns.

The themed trees give each room its own personality. In the living room, almost all that glitters is gold. A gold and cream-themed tree features ornaments of the same colors and more Santas clad in gold. Strands of flameless candle lights illuminate the tree, which is topped by an arrangement of feathers. Reindeer and statues of the three wise men sit under the tree amongst presents wrapped in gold and cream-colored paper.

5.-Study-Table“My living room tree is my favorite tree,” says Pamela. “I love cream and gold.”

Pine cones and greenery adorn wall sconces, and gold snowflakes hang from the light fixture that also is decorated with greenery and decorative gold poinsettias. A gold and silver wreath hangs on the mirror, and a rectangular pillow, which says “Happy Holidays” and is accented with a red poinsettia, rests on the cream-colored couch. 

A small white tree sits on top of a round, glass-topped, clock-faced table while a sleigh is parked on the circular coffee table. On a round end table, three clear rectangular LED candles of different heights give off a soft glow of light. 

The living room also features red oak hardwood flooring, which extends throughout the first story except for the den, and a trey ceiling. Pamela commandeered two black chairs, originally purchased for James’ man cave, for the room, and they offer an eye-catching contrast to the cream-colored furnishings. 

With its green walls, the adjoining dining room is ready for Christmas year-round. However, Pamela dresses it up in seasonal finery with a peacock-themed tree that includes peacock ornaments, blue and gold ornaments, peacock feathers and a gold tree skirt. The tree matches the peacock feather-themed fabric of the custom-made window treatments.

A furry white runner crosses the table while two reindeer on either side of a gold “Merry Christmas” sign occupy the center of the table. Cloth napkins in silver snowflake rings rest on top of clear snowflake-sprinkled plates, and greenery and ornaments add holiday spirit to the overhead light fixture. 

The dining room also includes recessed glass shelves with glass-front doors, and two pairs of columns separate the space from the living room and the kitchen. 

An elf theme lends its magic to the kitchen, giving it a more whimsical personality than the elegant living and dining rooms. During the holidays, elf legs playfully dangle from two of the four chairs at the island. The Christmas tree features elf decorations as well as red and green ornaments, red berries, green boots and a black stovetop hat tree topper.

Christmas also comes to the island in the form of red snowflake-shaped placemats, and a vase full of gold and silver bells stands tall between the place settings. Poinsettia designs on the floor mats and dish towels add a splash of red, and greenery above the doors to the patio is decorated with Santas and a gold “Joy” sign. 

The red décor offsets black appliances, island, granite countertops and a black marble backsplash, which matches the granite, in the kitchen. 

4.-Dining-Room-1Blending with the Décor
Pamela’s personality also shines in the blending of her decorations with the décor in the den and master bedroom.

In the den, her decorations are spot on as she picks up the leopard print theme of the room. The décor features a leopard print blanket and pillows, along with a mirror with a leopard frame. So naturally the base of the tree is wrapped in – what else? – a leopard-print tree skirt. The greenery above the doors to the back patio is accented with leopard bows, lights, elves and red and gold ornaments.

Santa Claus and a sleigh with greenery and lights sits on a table, and more greenery surrounds the television nook. A nativity scene on the coffee table captures the true spirit of the season.

3.-StaircasePamela also strikes the right note in the master bedroom, where a large cello-shaped storage unit provides space to keep CDs and DVDs year-round, by picking up on its music theme with the Christmas decor. 

The predominantly red and black Christmas tree ornaments include pianos and other musical instruments, treble clefs, red balls and cardinals. A row of red candles nestled in greenery and a strand of music note ribbon line the dresser.

With or without holiday decorations, the master bedroom is a cozy space featuring a gas fireplace, trey ceiling, ceiling fan, four-poster bed and an oversized chaise lounge. In the adjoining master bath, which includes tile flooring, a jetted tub and a vanity on each side of the room, clothespins on a decorative board hold Christmas cards.

Winter Wonderland
Upstairs, the house turns into a winter wonderland for the McCladdies’ six grandchildren.

The names of Santa’s reindeers are spelled out in red letters on the step risers to the second story, where the TV room tree has a deer-hunting theme. A stuffed snowman sits atop each step, and stockings hang from the railing.

Twinkling lights sparkle on a tree of silver and white in the study upstairs, and cookies on a plate, which includes the names of grandchildren Emma, Kingston and Dakota, await Santa Claus on a table topped with “snow.” 

The tree in an upstairs bedroom features shoes, pocketbooks and leopard print and gold poinsettias.

Of course, the outdoors is aglow with Christmas finery as well. A lighted reindeer and sleigh, filled with lighted red packages, stand in the yard by a stack of lighted presents that spell “Joy.” Two small trees with Christmas lights sit on either side of the porch, and lion statues are dressed in red ribbons and greenery. “I love it when it’s lit up at night,” Pamela says.

She loves to shop, so she is always on the lookout for new decorations and new ideas. “Whenever I go out of town, I buy Christmas decorations,” she says. “This is the result of 20 years of accumulating decorations.” 

Pamela also goes to the Augusta Ballet Holiday House Tour of Homes and the North Augusta Christmas Tour of Homes each year. “I like to go to home tours to get ideas,” she says.

James takes it all in stride. “I let her have her way,” he says. “She gets something new all the time.”

2.-Kitchen-1Family First
Decorating the house for Christmas isn’t the only tradition that the McCladdies enjoy during the holidays, however. Pamela, the youngest of eight children, always entertains her family and in-laws at their house for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Everyone brings a dish for Thanksgiving, but she makes Christmas dinner herself. She prepares ham, turkey, dressing, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, butter beans, potato salad, peach cobbler and red velvet cake. However, Pamela says, “The main dish that everyone comes for is the chitlins.”

The family also includes Pamela’s daughter, Ebony Broadwater Whisenant, and James’ son, Delucus McCladdie, and their six grandchildren – four boys and two girls ranging in age from 3 to 11. The grandchildren open two gifts on Christmas Eve, and Santa leaves presents for the grandchildren under a different tree – one for the boys and one for the girls – each year. 

“I like everything about Christmas. I like to give,” Pamela says. “I just enjoy the season.”

By Betsy Gilliland

A Joyful Noise


Celtic-Angels-ChristmasCelebrate the holiday season with songs that have a classical, country, contemporary or Celtic twist

Worship services, baking, shopping, gift wrapping and family fellowship are some of the traditional hallmarks of the holiday season. However, it would be impossible to celebrate Christmas without music. Two upcoming holiday concerts will showcase the place that holiday tunes hold in our hearts – especially when the music comes with a folk music or a Celtic twist.

The Annie Moses Band will perform a Christmas-themed show with a blend of folk and classical music on Wednesday, November 28. The band, made up of musicians from the same family, has a sound all its own. The siblings call their style “chamber pop,” a blend of classical, jazz and pop, mixed with some good, old-fashioned country. Tickets are $49.

On Monday, December 10 the Irish Cultural Academy, in association with CMI Entertainment (USA), will present the first Christmas tour of the Celtic Angels Christmas production, a holiday celebration of Christmas in Ireland, highlighting yuletide music from across the centuries. The show features vocal and instrumental seasonal favorites alongside Irish, contemporary and original Christmas themes – with Celtic flair, of course. Routines by world champion dancers will accompany the music. Tickets are $44.50.

The shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Hardin Performing Arts Center. Dinner reservations for a pre-concert meal are available as well. For more information or to order tickets, visit or call (706) 726-0366.

Wonderful Christmastime


Joan-Ellison-3x3Augusta Symphony brings the community two new yuletide concerts
The only thing better than one holiday concert is two holiday concerts, and Augusta Symphony is offering music fans a double dose of yuletide tunes this month.

The first show, Augusta Symphony Holiday Spectacular, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 6 at the Miller Theater.

In this inaugural holiday concert, the symphony will perform with the Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School Chorale and Joan Ellison, who specializes in reviving Judy Garland’s repertoire from the golden Hollywood years to her Carnegie Hall concert and television show.

“It’ll be really fun to perform with these great artists,” says Dirk Meyer, the symphony’s music director. “Joan is a truly outstanding performer, and I am also looking forward to working with the exceptional chorus from Davidson.”

The concert will include holiday favorites ranging from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” to tunes from Home Alone and It’s a Wonderful Life. Tickets range from $36 – $100.

The second concert, Family Holiday Spectacular, will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday, December 9 at Hardin Performing Arts Center. This one-hour concert, the first of two family concerts in Columbia County, is part of a new series designed to introduce children to the symphony. 

“Introducing children to symphonic music at a young age is a wonderful opportunity to instill a love of music, art and culture in them,” Meyer says. “It sets them off for a lifetime of enjoyment of this amazing art form.” 

The family program will feature highlights such as Polar Express, It’s a Wonderful Life and “Chestnuts.” Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets for the Columbia County series, which also includes Peter & the Wolf on March 24, are $52 for adults and $20 for students. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Chill Out!

Photos courtesy of Margaritaville at Lanier Islands

Photos courtesy of Margaritaville at Lanier Islands

Snow tubing, ice skating, light displays, carnival rides and more offer a flurry of fun all winter long
Swapping out swimsuits and flip flops for mittens and snow boots is a cool way to warm up the festivities at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, near Atlanta. 

With the debut of the attraction’s License to Chill Snow Island, along with the updated Magical Nights of Lights, the “tropical” paradise is transformed into a winter wonderland for the holidays.

“Who’s to say we can’t have a parrot wearing a scarf?” asks Darby Campbell, president of Safe Harbor Development, which operates the entertainment venue.

Holiday-Village-SignLet It Snow
Safe Harbor invested $3.5 million to create the snow-based activities and to upgrade the lights displays. License to Chill Snow Island offers a number of activities including two snow slides, an ice skating rink, two snow play areas, carnival rides and fire pits to make s’mores.

The snow tubing mountain is more than 400 feet high, and six large snow-making machines keep it covered with plenty of fresh snow.

“It’s the longest, fastest snow tubing ride in the Southeast and potentially the whole East,” says Campbell. “We graded the mountain and created the slope from scratch. We got to create it exactly the way we want it.”

5-O'Clock-SomewhereReservations for 90-minute time slots are required for guests to visit the snow tubing mountain.

“Everybody likes snow in the winter,” Campbell says.

Snow also blankets flat terrain, where kids or kids at heart can make snow angels, engage in spirited snowball fights or show off their skills in snowman contests. 

Children also can have their photo taken with Santa Claus at Landshark Landing, one of several restaurants onsite where their parents can enjoy specialty winter drinks or adult beverages.

Christmas-TreesCarnival rides include a Ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. Snow Island also features warming stations and hot chocolate stations.

Light Up the Night
To get to Snow Island, visitors travel through the Magical Nights of Lights display. Celebrating its 26th year, Magical Nights of Lights has been revamped with 600,000 additional lights and a Margaritaville twist. 

New light displays are added each year to make the experience memorable, and this season the brightly colored holiday lights exhibit features 19 new displays. They include the It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere clock tower, a surfboard Christmas tree, a parrot wearing a Santa hat, giant candy canes, hanging snowflakes and a Christmas train. Classic favorites such as the 12 Days of Christmas display are back this year as well.

Reindeer-&-Tree“The light show is 7 miles long, but there are very few spots that aren’t filled with lights,” says Campbell. “It is the largest in the Southeast in total investment.” 

Daily admission tickets as well as season passes to Margaritaville at Lanier Islands are available. A tram transports guests from the parking area to Snow Island and Landshark Landing.

“We went all out to provide a wonderful experience for our guests,” says Campbell. “It’s great fun, and it truly is done right. We want to turn Lanier Islands into one of the best places in the entire Southeast. With Snow Island and the Magical Nights of Lights, it is a year-round destination.”

If You Go:

What: License to Chill Snow Island and Magical Nights of Lights

Snowflake-TunnelWhen: Snow Island is open through February 24, hours vary; Magical Nights of Lights is open through January 6 from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. or 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays

Where: Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, Buford, Georgia

How Much: Tickets to License to Chill Snow Island start at $24.99; entrance to Magical Nights of Lights starts at $43 per vehicle

More Info: 

By Morgan Davis

Holiday Magic


CarolersHave yourself a merry little Christmas at Evans Towne Center Park

Local residents can celebrate Christmas in Columbia County with lots of lights, cameras and action. From Friday, November 30 through Tuesday, January 1 Evans Towne Center Park will be filled with lighted Christmas trees, animated light displays and a Holiday Market where children can be photographed with Santa.

The festivities will begin with a sneak peek at the lights on November 30 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., where visitors will see the new, LED-programmable, 46-foot tree this year as well as a 1,000-foot white light tunnel.

Other attractions include an animated 12 Days of Christmas display, gingerbread houses, Santa’s sleigh with reindeer, lighted toy soldiers, musical nutcrackers, a caroling family, Santa on a golf car, a waving snowman, elves, Peanuts characters and a multi-colored light tunnel.

Sparkle Express train rides will be available near the playground, and special activities include a scavenger hunt and movie nights. Free photos with Santa will be available at the Holiday Market on Saturdays, December 1, 8 and 15. 

If You Go:
Friday, November 30
Sneak Peek 6 – 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 1 – Tuesday, January 1
Light Display 5 – 10 p.m.

Saturday, December 1
Tree Lighting with Holiday Market and Santa 2 – 6 p.m. 

Thursday, December 6
Holiday Market 4 – 8 p.m.

Friday, December 7
Holiday Market and Movie Night 6 – 9 p.m.

Saturday, December 8
Holiday Market and Santa 2 – 6 p.m. 

Thursday, December 13
Holiday Market 4 – 8 p.m.

Friday, December 14
Holiday Market and Movie Night 6 – 9 p.m. 

Saturday, December 15
Holiday Market and Santa 2 – 6 p.m.