Here’s a fact about getting older and having older children: they will make their own plans for significant, important days and those plans will most likely not include their parents. We used to look forward to New Year’s Eve because we would spend the evening playing games and hanging out with our kids, but now they make big plans to go places and we are doing good to stay awake until midnight.

This year, Malorie was celebrating with girlfriends in Nashville, Brian was in downtown Atlanta at the Peach Drop, and Casey was at a friend’s house. Not a single one of them invited us to accompany them. But that was okay because we have our own friends and made our own rowdy party plans…we drove up to Blue Ridge, Georgia, where our dear friends, Donna and Kerry, have a beautiful cabin.

Our friends Ray and Rita and Molly and Jack joined us, and we ate and drank and had a merry old time. And we managed to stay awake long enough to ring in the New Year…barely. A couple of people did fall asleep in their chairs but managed to open their eyes long enough to watch the ball drop on television.

We started the evening outside on the deck with appetizers and drinks. Molly and Jack brought chestnuts and roasted them in the outdoor fireplace. Later, we enjoyed a fabulous meal of lasagna and salad, then apple tarte tatin for dessert.

And in between, lots of good wine. Cakebread. My favorite. At midnight we toasted with champagne to each other and our hopes for the New Year and then climbed into bed for the peaceful sleep that can only be found miles away from the city.

None of us had ever roasted chestnuts before and they were quite tasty, although we did learn that just shaking the roaster is not sufficient to prevent burning. Once peeled, they are meaty and slightly sweet.

We tossed the burned parts over the side of the deck and Harley had great fun running down the mountain trying to find burnt chestnuts.

When it’s just us girls for a cabin getaway, we usually keep things simple: salad and soup or just a couple of easy appetizers. But when the guys join us we have to include more food because, well, they’re guys.

Our new favorite appetizer is endive filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill. Delightful!

The wind picked up and the sun went down, so we moved our party inside where Donna had lasagna baking and a pretty table set for us.

And Cakebread. If you like white wine and you’ve never tried Cakebread, you must put it on your list for this year. It’s definitely a special occasion wine, but so worth it.

I took that photo with my phone and tweeted it that night. I was just going to take a picture of the bottle but Donna, who owns an art gallery and is artsy, demanded that we style the photo somewhat. She arranged the glasses and the vase of holly and I had to take the photo 10 times.

I need her to come live with me and be my love and do that for me every day so my blog photos will be better.

Here’s to good friends, health, family and good food in the New Year!

Lucy standing behind a counter with a cheese board and glass of wine.

About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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