{ Survivor from Day 1 }


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012



{ HOME }


Entertaining seems to come easily to Dixie Robnett, far right. She welcomes college students, fellow church members and lots of family all the time. Find out how she does it. { SKETCH }

Mary and John Adams’ home along Lake Murray in Chapin is a home away from home for family and friends. See how they decorate their home for the holidays, and learn how to use simple things from nature. { C OV E R S TO RY }

A Columbia real estate agent made an artsy move to show off a milliondollar listing.


Riverbanks Zoo celebrates 25 years of the Lights Before Christmas. How it all started. Plus, other major holiday events in the Midlands.


ON THE COVER Photograph by Tracy Glantz

See more photos from our stories and purchase photos published in this issue; order online at

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Betsey Guzior, (803) 771-8441
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December 2012
Lake Murray-Columbia® and Northeast Columbia® are published 12 times a year. The mail subscription rate is $48. The contents are fully protected by copyright. Lake Murray-Columbia® and Northeast Columbia are wholly owned by The State Media Co.

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Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012




He’s no stranger. The legendary Willie Nelson plays Township Auditorium on Dec. 8.


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

{ performing arts }
Through Dec. 2: The Christmas Doll, Columbia Children’s Theatre, (803) 6914548 Through Dec. 29: Hansel & Gretel, Columbia Marionette Theatre, (803) 2527366 Dec. 1: Sounds of Christmas, Lexington County Choral Society, Saxe-Gotha Presbyterian Church, (803) 359-7770 Dec. 1: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Township Auditorium, (803) 576-2350 Dec. 1, 2: Two Rooms, Fine Arts Center of Forest Acres, (803) 200-2012 Dec. 1, 2: The Nutcracker, Columbia Classical Ballet, Koger Center, (803) 251-6333 Dec. 2: Crystal Gayle, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264

Dec. 2: SC Philharmonic Holiday Pops, Harbison Theatre, (803) 407-5011 Dec. 2, 5, 6, 7, 8: The Winter Wonderettes, Town Theatre, (803) 7992510 Dec. 4: Mid-Carolina Band, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264 Dec. 6: Olivia Newton John, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264 Dec. 7: Palmetto Mastersingers, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264 Dec. 7, 8: The Christmas Angel, Harbison Theatre, Irmo (803) 939-1129 Dec. 7-9: Like Peeling an Onion, a oneact play, 914 Pulaski St. (803) 216-1262 Dec. 7-16: Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Village Square Theatre, (803) 3591436

Dec. 7-Jan. 12: [title of show], Trustus Theatre, (803) 254-9732 Dec. 8: 208th Army Band, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264 Dec. 8: Suzuki Strings Winter Concert, USC School of Music Recital Hall, (803) 777-4280 Dec. 8: Willie Nelson, Township Auditorium, (803) 576-2350 Dec. 8, 9, 14, 15, 16: The Nutcracker, Columbia City Ballet, Koger Center, (803) 251-6333 Dec. 9: A Chorus Line, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264 Dec. 10: Ozark Jubilee Presents Branson Country Christmas, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264

Divorce hurts enough…
A different way to divorce

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012 7


It’s a mystery. This bowl is one of more than 100 artifacts on display at the Secrets of the Maya exhibit at the S.C. State Museum through June 2013.


(803) 772-3227 Dec. 15: Christmas with Emile Pandolfi, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264 Dec. 18: A Christmas Carol, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264 Dec. 20: Silver Bells, Golden Harps, Brass Magic: Young Sandlapper Singers, Harbison Theatre, (803) 407-5011 Dec. 20, 21: West Side Story, Broadway in Columbia, Koger Center, (803) 251-6333

Dec. 13, 14: Palmetto Mastersingers, Harbison Theatre, (803) 407-5011 Dec. 14: Christmastime in Ireland, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264 Dec. 14: Columbia Choral Society Winter Concert, Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, (803) 933-9060 Dec. 14: Columbia Community Concert Band, Riverland Hills Baptist Church,

Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve, Newberry Opera House, (803) 276-6264

{ museums & art }
Through Jan. 1: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Collection, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 7992810 Through Jan. 6: The Life and Times of Congressman Robert Smalls, State Museum, (803) 898-4978


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

Through Jan. 6: Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade 19401950, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 799-2810 Through Jan. 6: Alchemy of Art, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 799-2810 Through Feb. 24: Snowville!, EdVenture, (803) 779-3100 Through April 7: For Us the Living: The Civil War Art of Mort Kunstler, State Museum, (803) 898-4978 Through June 2: Civil War in 3D, SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, (803) 737-8095 Through June 9: Secrets of the Maya, State Museum, (803) 898-4978 Through Sept. 6: Conflict Zone: A Groundbreaking Look at War, SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, (803) 737-8095 Through Dec. 14: Get Cocky!, McKissick Museum, (803) 777-7251 Through Dec. 16: Face Jugs: African-American Art and Ritual in 19th-Century South Carolina, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 799-2810 Through Dec. 16: McKissick Mysteries, McKissick Museum, (803) 777-7251 Through Dec. 18: The Ultimate Vacation: Watching Other People Work, McKissick Museum, (803) 777-7251 Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29: Museum Highlight Tours, State Museum, (803) 898-4978 Dec. 2: Dollar Sunday, State Museum, (803) 898-4978

Comprehensive Rehabilitation
The Heritage at Lowman Rehabilitation Team provides specialized treatment for a variety of needs: Knee, hip & orthopedic • Pain control • IV therapy Stroke & neurological • Disease management Cardiovascular • Post surgery • Wound care We love to see people go home. Physical, occupational and speech therapists; nurses; dieticians; social workers and wellness staff work with patients and their physicians to set rehab goals for independence. Medicare certified.


The science of art. Alchemy of Art at Columbia Museum of Art
through Jan. 6 explores the technical evolution of paint and the process used to create works of art from the Renaissance through Impressionist periods.

Learn more. Call 803.732.3000.

Coming Soon:

Outpatient Therapy & Pool Therapy • 2101 Dutch Fork Rd. • White Rock, SC
Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012 9


The art of war. ‘Are You Hurt Sir?” is one of the paintings featured in For Us the Living: The Civil War Art of Mort Kunstler at the S.C. State Museum.


Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30: Gallery Tour: Highlights of the Museum’s Collection, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 799-2810 Dec. 4, 11, 18: Toddler Tuesday, EdVenture, (803) 779-3100 Dec. 5: Wee Wednesdays: Frosty Scenes, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 799-2810 Dec. 5: Music on Main, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 799-2810 Dec. 7, 8: The Christmas Angel, Harbison Theatre, (803) 939-1129 Dec. 8: Mystery of the H.L. Hunley, S.C. State Museum, (803) 898-4978 Dec. 8: Holiday Open House and Art Sale, City of Columbia Parks and Recreation, (803) 545-3093 Dec. 8: Unmask the Mysteries of Face Jugs Symposium, McKissick Museum, (803) 777-7251 Dec. 9: Passport to Art: Blurred Lines, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 7992810 Dec. 11: Family Night, EdVenture, (803) 779-3100

Dec. 12: Community Leader Reader, EdVenture, (803) 779-3100 Dec. 14: One Room School House: Monotype Madness, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 799-2810 Dec. 15: Baker & Baker Art of Music, Columbia Museum of Art, (803) 799-2810 Dec. 15-Jan. 1: Winter Fest, S.C. State Museum, (803) 898-4978 Dec. 18: The Nature of Things with Rudy Mancke, McKissick Museum, (803) 7777251 Dec. 21: End of the World Party, S.C. State Museum, (803) 898-4978

Through Dec. 31: Holiday House Tours, Historic Columbia Foundation, (803) 252-1770 Dec. 1: St. Nicholas Festival, Holy Apostles Orthodox Church, West Columbia (803) 926-8744 Dec. 1: Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade, Bull & Gervais Streets, (803) 799-1216 Dec. 1: 5th Annual Festivus – Shop & Pop-Up Art Tour, Five Points, (803) 7487373 Dec. 1, 2: Holiday Market, SC State Fairgrounds, (803) 252-4552 Dec. 1, 8, 15: Train Rides with Santa, S.C. Railroad Museum, (803) 712-41365 or (803) 635-9893 Dec. 2: West Metro Holiday Parade of Lights, West Columbia (803) 794-6504

{ special events }
Through Dec. 30: Lights Before Christmas, Riverbanks Zoo, (803) 779-8717


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

Dec. 4: Woodrow Wilson Family Home Hard Hat Tour, Historic Columbia Foundation, (803) 252-1770 Dec. 6: First Thursdays on Main, Columbia Dec. 6, 13, 20, 27: Garden Volunteer Days, Historic Columbia Foundation, (803) 252-1770 Dec. 7: Harborside Lights, Lake Carolina, (803) 736-5253 Dec. 7: 3rd Annual YMCA Harborside Lights 5K, Lake Carolina, (803) 736-5253 Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22: Le Cafe Jazz at Finlay Park Cafe, (803) 400-1879 Dec. 8: Family Day, Historic Holidays, Robert Mills House and Gardens, (803) 252-1770 Dec. 9: Second Sunday Stroll of Arsenal Hill, Robert Mills House and Gardens, (803) 252-1770 Dec. 13: Devine Night Out, Devine Street, (803) 608-6161 Dec. 14: City Strolls with Historic Columbia Foundation, Robert Mills House and Gardens, (803) 252-1770, ext. 24 Dec. 15: Women of Hampton-Preston Tour, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens, (803) 252-1770 Dec. 16: Boykin Christmas Parade Dec. 16: Dollar Sunday, Robert Mills House and Gardens, (803) 252-1770, ext. 24 Dec. 16: W. Gordon Belser Arboretum Open House, (803) 777-3934 Dec. 19-Jan. 1, 2013: Winter Fest, S.C. State Museum, (803) 898-4921 Dec. 20: Garden Tour of the Robert Mills Founders Garden, Robert Mills House and Gardens, (803) 252-1770 Dec. 20, 21: Candlelight Tours and Carriage Rides, Robert Mills House & Gardens, (803) 252-1770 Dec. 22: Breakfast with Santa, Robert Mills House and Gardens, (803) 2521770 Dec. 26: Mann-Simons Site Tour: Uncovering the Past, (803) 252-1770


Don’t be blue. Crystal Gayle performs Dec. 2 at the Newberry Opera House.

•Yard Debris Removal • Remodelling • New Construction • Containers of all sizes available

Announcing the opening of our new Lexington location
William B. Farrar, DDS • J. Lee Ayers, Jr., DMD, MHS • Mark L. McEntire, DMD, MSD
3527 Bush River Rd. Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 798-0894 Tel. (803) 731-7887 Fax

2325 Devine Street Columbia, SC 29205
(803) 252-2844 Tel. (803) 252-1281 Fax

575 Old Chapin Road Lexington, SC 29072 (803) 358-3021 Tel. (803) 358-3024 Fax
Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012 11

Say ‘hi’ to the big guy. Santa
Claus is coming to town.


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Dec. 31: Famously Hot New Year, Downtown Columbia, (803) 413-6808 Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Carnival, Finlay Park, (803) 545-3100

Happy Holidays!

{ sports }
Dec. 2: Basketball, South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Clemson Tigers, Colonial Life Arena, (803) 576-9200 Dec. 7: Basketball, South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Jacksonville Dolphins, Colonial Life Arena, (803) 576-9200 Dec. 8: Main Street Crit, Main Street, Columbia, mainstreetcrit. com Dec. 19: Basketball, South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers, Colonial Life Arena, (803) 576-9200 Dec. 29: Basketball, South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose, Colonial Life Arena, (803) 576-9200 — Compiled by Diane Morrison

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Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012



The of the

lassical music from the Spring Valley High School string quartet wafted through the air. Works by four local artists graced the walls. The feel more closely resembled an art museum than a real estate open house.


Realtor taps the arts to market high-end home

Creative thought. Realtor Doug Bridges, right, talks to a guest during an art show he staged in a
$1.3 million home for sale in Woodcreek Farms.

Local realtor Doug Bridges admits he stole the idea from real estate shows on cable television. High-end homes require unusual sales ideas. “I looked at (the TV show) and said, if they can do that there, why can’t we do it here?” Bridges said. “In this market, you

have to try something different, especially in the high-end market.” He contacted several local artists and the Spring Valley music department to see if they would be willing to play along.

Story by Joey Holleman • Photographs by Kim Kim Foster-Tobin

Art in the home. Local artist Lynn Bartlett displayed a few of her pieces in the library of the home.


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Into the evening. Guests enjoyed food, drinks and conversation while viewing the art and the home.


The art was spread out throughout the home. The quartet set up in family room, next to the fireplace. Then Bridges put out word of the special event at 1 Olde Landing Court in Elgin. That just happens to be a 5,344-square foot, 5-bedroom, 41/2-bath home along a lake in the Woodcreek Farms subdivision. It’s on the market for $1.375 million. About 150 people showed up from 5-8:30 p.m. Some were there for the art. (One artist came away with a commission for a painting.) Some were there for the music. A few were real estate friends of Bridges just curious how the idea might work. And at least a few of the people strolling through the house that night were in the market for a home. Bridges said he got two serious inquiries, one from somebody who attended the art show/open house, and one who heard about it from a friend that went to the event. While the house didn’t sell to either of those potential buyers, Bridges considered the unusual showing a big success.

Good work. Bridges got the idea for pairing the open house with an art show from a television show called ‘The Million Dollar Listing.’ “I thought, why can’t I do this here in Columbia,” he said. “The response was better than I expected,” he said. “It was a wonderful evening. People enjoyed it, and the house got tremendous exposure.”


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

{ Survivor from Day 1 }
A cancer diagnosis is not only scary, it’s something we all take personally. At Lexington Oncology we understand the physical and emotional impacts of cancer and are pursuing better ways to fight it — side-by-side with you. Our affiliation with Duke Medicine, our participation in clinical research, and our experienced staff help us provide state-of-the-art treatments, support and education here, close to home. It’s simply a better way to care.
Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012 17


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Every day is a holiday, whatever the season, in a special lake house


ary and John Adams’ home along Lake Murray in Chapin is a home away from home for family and friends. They roll out the welcome mat for folks to gather for covered-dish dinners, listen to live music, dance, chat, catch a beautiful Lake Murray sunset, and just relax.

Story by Kay Gordon, Special to Lake Murray and Northeast magazines • Photographs by Tracy Glantz

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Enchanting. John and Mary Adams decorate their home in Chapin for the Christmas holidays and entertaining. Festive lights lead the way to the rustic
dining room.


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012



Tradition and family are important to Mary, John and their son, Nathan, a Clemson student. “We’re big into antiques and family keeps us grounded,” John said. Every day is special, but Christmastime at the house comes alive with the sights and sounds of the season. They incorporate greenery from the woods, antiques and family heirlooms and memories for Christmas. Decorated trees for each season adorn their home and the porch connector, which overlooks the lake and joins the main house to a guest house. There’s a Halloween tree with pumpkins, a Thanksgiving tree with turkeys, a Fourth of July tree, a Valentine’s Day tree, an Easter tree, and of course, at least two live Christmas trees. “We like to decorate for each holiday,” Mary said. But Christmas is special. The tree on the back porch sits beside a life-size Grinch in a Santa suit Mary made for John 30 years ago. The couple starts decorating right after Thanksgiving. They decorate the playhouse, which is now the garden shed, that her parents built for her 55 years ago. They decorate the guest house in a traditional style with a tree in gold and white. The open shelving in the kitchen is changed to Christmas china and dishware. Their home inside is decorated more “cabin like,” she said, with a live tree with multicolored lights, live wreaths and garlands. They pull in things from the past, including antique family ornaments. Some of their precious tree ornaments include those their son, Nathan, made years ago in kindergarten. A stuffed bear, dressed in Mary’s red velvet dress from when she was 3 years old, sits in her childhood rocker. The player piano plays Christmas music. Christmas on the lake has been evolving for years. The Adamses lived in downtown Chapin near Chapin High School when they discovered the lake property in 2005. They had both always been drawn to the water. Mary, a nurse, and John, a psychologist for Lexington-Richland School District 5, bought the property in 2005. Dining by candlelight. Mary Adams
takes her holiday decorating to a guest house as well as the main house. The mood here is more formal, with china place settings and crystal glasses.


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

Down to earth. Place settings in the rustic dining room feature fresh herbs and pottery. They had plans to renovate it when a friend and builder told them about a house in Magnolia Key near Timberlake. The house needed to be moved. Mary fell in love with it. Another friend, an architect, looked at both houses and designed a plan for pulling the two houses together. Oswalt Movers transported the house by barge to its present location along Kinard Court, and the family moved in in the spring of 2007. They did most of the work themselves, including the new flooring from pine trees off the property. For the Adams, their family and visitors, Christmas is special. And here, Mary said, “every day is a holiday.” Kay Gordon is a freelance writer who lives in the Midlands

Christmas past. Stuffed bears and items from Mary Adams’ childhood adorn the tree and nearby chairs.

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Timeless greeting. Wreaths and garlands of fresh-cut greenery send out an aromatic welcome to visitors during the holiday season.

How to take a home back in time with greenery
Look no further than your own yard for fresh-cut holiday decorations
Story by Joey Holleman • File photographs by The State ong before there were inflatable Santas and Clark Griswold-like outdoor light displays, residents of the region made use of the greenery in their yards to decorate their homes for Christmas. Many still do. If you’re looking to return to those roots, you can simply clip, judiciously, greenery from pine, holly or magnolia trees, or smilax or English ivy vines. That’s what the Friends of Lexington County Museum do for their annual holiday decorations. Windows and mantles in the structures in the museum campus from the 1800s will be filled with the green leaves and red berries of smilax and holly this season, said museum director J.R. Fennell. (In the hard times of inland South Carolina in the 1700s, holiday decorations were less common, so the 1700s structures at the museum don’t get the full decoration routine.)


If there were indoor trees in the 1800s, they were holly or cedar and were decorated with gingerbread cookies and candles. The museum goes for safety and doesn’t light the candles on its trees. Rather than colored lights, early decorators used oranges, lemons and apples for color. Another favorite was the gumdrop tree, where the colorful gumdrops were stuck on the thorns of sparkleberry or hawthorn bushes, Fennell said. Fortunately, there’s a large sparkleberry bush in the museum’s yard at 231 Fox St. in Lexington. Members of the Friends group bring other greenery from their yards. If you want some ideas on how to bring a little of the holiday history to your house, go to the museum’s Christmas Open House, 2-5 p.m., Dec. 9. It’s free.

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

Tips from Clemson Extension
Look close to home: You likely can find some form of greenery in your own yard, and it’ll be fresher than greenery you buy. But be careful because you’re actually pruning the plants. Distribute the cuts evenly to preserve the plants’ natural form. Types of local greenery ideal for holiday decoration: White pine, Virginia pine, junipers (including red cedar), true cedars, firs, spruce, ivy, holly, mountain laurel, boxwood, magnolias. Maintaining cut greenery: Pines, firs and cedars dry out slowly and hold their needles best at warm interior temperatures. Spruces and broadleaf evergreens work better outside. Soak cut ends overnight before arranging to absorb maximum amount of water. Spray greenery with an antitranspirant such as Wilt-pruf to seal in moisture. Safety concerns: Never place fresh greenery near heat sources — space heaters, candles, fireplaces. Remember holly, mistletoe and some ivy plants have poisonous berries. Keep these away from children and pets.

Au naturale. Sprigs of cedar can dress up table settings; the red berries of a smilax vine add a perfect detail to wreaths; mix up the texture with pine cones and flowering cactus for a centerpiece at the dinner table.

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012



Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


A warm embrace
Lake Murray home is ‘overflowing with hospitality’ that fills the heart and belly (or body)


ixie Robnett, who owns a home with her to be good stewards of their money.” husband within walking distance of the In order to avoid anxiety, whether it is dinner for a couple or Columbia Sailing Club along Lake Murray, for dozens, Dixie plans ahead. First, she establishes the menu. If refers to her hospitable nature as a gift from she doesn’t already have the necessary ingredients, she shops a above. few days or weeks ahead of time – depending on how much time Robnett taught her three grown children she has before the event. A few days before company arrives, – one son and two daughters – how to exude hospitality, and she cooks what she can and puts it in the refrigerator. The day she teaches local young people as well. “I feel like the next before, she cleans the house and plans how she will set the table. generation needs For her monthly to know how to be church circle, which welcoming to others involves around 24 … how to do, to women, she often serve, and to have prepares a light a general idea of lunch. She often cooking,” she says. takes familiar recipes Robnett, in her and shares them in 50s, believes that the a such a way that best way to become conveys hospitality: acquainted with chicken salad, a people is over a good choice of at least two meal. “That’s where homemade soups, I find my joy … chilis, greens or cooking for people strawberries drizzled and getting to know with a balsamic glaze, them.” an Italian salad with Robnett’s mother fresh mozzarella and and grandmother quiches. The food taught her to cook on the plate needs to and passed down taste good as much recipes, such as their as it needs to look family’s sticky buns good. “If it doesn’t (see recipe, page taste good and doesn’t The hostess with the... Dixie Robnett loves cooking and entertaining at her home. 31). She carried look good, what’s the that knowledge point?” into college, where she cooked for other students, as well as Dixie’s open dining and great room accommodates 24 easily. instructed them in the art of preparing and serving meals. She The dining areas include a dining table, a bistro table – which learned to cut up a chicken and to plan practical meals from it, was made by raising her grandmother’s table on a pedestal – and including making broth for soups and other recipes. an outdoor or folding table. “Young people today need to know these basic things about ROBNETT CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 cooking and entertaining, and about stretching a food budget …

Story by Deena C. Bouknight, Special to Lake Murray and Northeast magazines • Photographs by C. Aluka Berry

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


This is how we roll. Dixie Robnett, left, shows women how to make her homemade sticky buns while entertaining at her home.


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Getting their just desserts. Whitney Landis, left, Stephanie Livesay, Amy Robnett, and Amanda Miller prepare to eat sticky buns that they helped
Dixie Robnett prepare at her home.


Dixie helps Nancy Windley head the college ministry at First Presbyterian Church, where she assists in making sure 150-plus college students from the University of South Carolina, Columbia College and Columbia International University are given a significant meal once a month. “My children all went to Clemson University and they would be fed through the college ministry at Clemson Presbyterian Church there. I feel like this, in some way, is a chance to give back to college students in our area.” Robnett helps oversee as many as 75 volunteers in the college luncheon ministry. She decides on a menu and then will delegate tasks, including preparing dishes from assigned recipes. Personally, she makes up to 25 loaves of bread for each luncheon. For her family, which includes a daughter-in-law and son-in-law and grandchildren, the door is always open.

Tips for entertaining
Dixie Robnett’s advice on entertaining Delegate the big tasks: If you have a big menu, enlist help in getting dishes made. Choose menu items that are pleasant to look at: “If it doesn’t taste good and doesn’t look good, what’s the point?” Plan your menu early so you can stock up on items if they go on sale; freeze items until you’re ready to use. Plan on how you will set the table a day ahead of time.

Grandchildren partake in cookie-making. Everyone gathers around the large granite island. Breakfast is an especially

enjoyable time as family members awaken slowly, sip coffee, talk, and eat sticky buns, blueberry coffee cake or homemade waffles. For the holidays, she makes pies, casseroles, and some side dishes ahead. She keeps it simple when necessary. “Why make a whole turkey when you can make a turkey breast?” she offers. For Christmas breakfast, for example, Dixie plans a menu of sticky buns, sausage balls, cranberry-apple casserole and an egg casserole. And, “of course, good coffee.” “It’s kind of like a ‘cheap’ bed and breakfast here,” she quips. Homemade pizza has always been the staple on Sunday evenings in the Robnett home. “It’s so much better, cheaper, and healthier,” says Dixie, who teaches college students how to make their own. Dixie’s apple pie is her husband’s personal favorite because of its apple and custard base and streusel topping. Dixie rarely likes to eat out. She would rather make it herself and have others


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

“Some of the most relaxed opportunities for fellowship are around a table.”

Dixie Robnett’s Sticky Buns
She makes several during the holidays and gives them away as gifts. • In a small bowl, add 1 cup water to 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 package of yeast. Stir until dissolved and add 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour gradually, making a thin paste. Set aside to rise. • In a separate large bowl, pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over 2 sticks of margarine, 2 tablespoons salt, and 1/2 cup sugar – set aside to cool for a half hour. When cooled to lukewarm, add 2 slightly beaten eggs and yeast mixture. Add 6 to 7 cups of flour gradually, stirring thoroughly after each addition. Cover and refrigerate overnight. • Divide chilled dough. On floured surface roll it into two oblong pieces approximately 14 by 18 inches. Rub 2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon on entire surface, sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar, then drizzle 1 stick of margarine. Roll up lengthwise as a jelly roll and cut into ¾-inch slices. • In a separate saucepan, melt 1 1/2 sticks of margarine, 1 pound of light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of syrup and 1 tablespoon water. Bring to a vigorous boil. Divide caramel mixture into 4 nine-inch round cake pans. Sprinkle pecans on caramel mixture. Lay the rolls flat in pans. • Let the rolls rise 1-2 hours until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from pan immediately. Serve warm, or freeze for later use.

ixie Robnett’s husband gave her the “gift” of allowing her to design their Lake Murray home 11 years ago. An aged, small weekend home was torn down on the lakefront property. Her degree in interior design from the University of Georgia came in handy. She wanted to make sure the home could comfortably accommodate a few or many people for gatherings, and that each of their grown children would have a space to come home to. When children and grandchildren are not visiting, the couple opens rooms up for visiting missionaries and others. She also made certain that all rooms have a view of the lake. Her husband’s one request in the home’s design was that he could see the lake from their bed. “We had our son’s rehearsal party here, and have had many other functions,” says Dixie. “For those who visit, it’s like a mini-vacation. And we rarely go anywhere for vacations because we just enjoy being here so much.”


A welcoming home

enjoy what she has prepared. “Some of the most relaxed opportunities for fellowship are around a table.” Mardi Smith, a friend and fellow Lake Murray resident, says Dixie’s home is “overflowing with hospitality.” She adds, “Whether it’s lunch or supper time, you leave full. Something yummy is continuously being cooked. People want to come often … as do I.”

Holiday Open House
Complimentary Consultation and Hearing Aid Demonstration
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Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Zoo tradition lights up 25th year
Story by Joey Holleman • File photographs by The State he 25th edition of Lights Before Christmas brightens Riverbanks Zoo this year. It just seems like it’s always been a part of the holiday scene in the area. When the event began in 1988, zoo officials had no idea if it would take off. Satch Krantz, executive director of the zoo then and now, acknowledges he stole the idea from the Toledo Zoo. He thought a few thousand people might show up at night during December, generating attendance revenue in the traditionally slow period for the zoo. What happened over those few weeks was astounding. The official attendance that first year was 50,134.


“It instantly exceeded our expectation,” Krantz said. “It surprised us. We were in shock for a month afterwards.” Jim Martin, then the botanical director at the zoo and now director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, had a good idea people would show up for lights at the zoo. After all, he said, a handful of houses with lights draped on them was enough to cause holiday traffic jams in Columbia neighborhoods. Add the ambiance of walking through the zoo, and he knew a well-designed light display would draw crowds. He enjoyed the creative aspects of

Winter wonderland. Riverbanks’ Lights Before Christmas display drew over 50,000 visitors the first year. Left, one of the Zoo’s first light displays that is
still used today.

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Other holiday events
The Lexington County Museum Christmas Open House is 2-5 p.m. Dec. 9. The event is at the museum at 231 Fox St. Refreshments will be served. Free to the public The annual Holiday Open House at the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Visitors Center is set for Dec. 8-9. Members of the Coldstream Garden Club, Garden Club of Saluda, Newcomer’s Club of Greater Columbia and Quail Valley Garden Club will decorate the center, located at the historic Lorick Plantation House, 2184 North Lake Drive. Ollie Moye, author of “North to Prosperity,” and Rachel Haynie, author of “Cornfield to Airfield: A History of Columbia Army Air Base,” will be signing books on Sunday. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 8 and noon3 p.m. Dec. 9. Holiday Lights on the River continues at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road, through Dec. 31. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Wetland Wonderland Walking Trail is open nightly from 6-10 p.m. Special events include Nights of Wonder from Dec. 14-23; Winter Wonder Ride on Friday and Saturday nights Dec. 1 and 7-8. Admission: Cars: $10, 15-Passenger Vans: $20, Buses: $35

’Tis the season. Santa’s parade float is the most anticipated one in the
lineup of the Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade. Below, Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park lights up the night.


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


Ye-hah, y’all. The Boykin Christmas Parade is known for the unusual floats passing
through this crossroads community near Camden.

putting together that first lights show, portions of which are still used. He didn’t enjoy the hassles of maintaining it. “One of the most aggravating parts was, it never failed you would turn on the lights at the end of the day, and the back end of a rhino was out or the front of a tiger was out,” Martin said. “Kids would pull a light bulb out during the day, and we were out there checking them in the dark” to find the missing bulb. The Lights Before Christmas attendance dropped to around 35,000 for the next two years. But the light exhibits expanded each year, and attendance has topped 50,000 every year since 1991. The peak attendance was 100,905 in 2001, boosted by the new gorilla exhibit that had opened that year. Otherwise, the crowd ranges from 60,000 to 80,000, largely dependent on December weather. The draw is hundreds of animated light images including more than a million lights (though nobody really inventories them each year to get a true count). New touches are added each year – dancing trees, marshmallow-roasting over a bonfire and this year a life-size, walk-in snow globe. But Krantz suspects more people come for the old than the new. “Christmas is one of those holidays that people associate with tradition, and coming to the zoo and seeing the lights has become a tradition,” he said. “I’ve had people tell me ‘it’s not Christmas until we come to the zoo and see the lights.’ ”

The first Lexington Snowball Festival Dec. 1-2 features a 5K race at 8 a.m. and a Snow Ball (as in fancy event) at 6 p.m. Dec. 1; a historical walking tour at 2 p.m., the annual Christmas parade at 3:30 p.m., a concert at Lexington Square at 5:30 p.m. and the tree lighting at Lexington Square at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2. (803) 356-8238 The 59th Annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade is Dec. 1. Beginning at 9:45 a.m. at the intersection of Gervais and Bull streets, this year’s parade theme is “A Fairy Tale Christmas” and will feature nearly 100 entries. The sixth annual Jingle All the Way 5K begins just ahead of the parade. Metro West Holiday Parade of Lights begins at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2. This nighttime parade highlights the creativity of the participants, who create lighted floats to compete for awards such as Best School, Best Band, Best Church, Best Dance and Best Civic Organization. The parade begins at the corner of U.S. Hwy 1 and 12th Street in West Columbia and proceeds down 12th Street, ending in front of the Cayce Municipal Complex. (803) 794-6504 The Boykin Christmas Parade will be held Dec. 16. This crossroads community near Camden has gathered fame for its unusual holiday celebration beginning with the Road-Kill Cook-Off (a barbecue competition), followed by the parade and ending with a gospel concert at the historic Swift Creek Baptist Church.

Lights Before Christmas
When: 6-9 p.m., Nov. 17 through Dec. 30; closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas. Where: Riverbanks Zoo, 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia Cost: $10 adults, $8 ages 3-12 at gate; $2 per ticket discount if purchased online; Riverbanks Society members get one free admission Information or to order tickets:

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012



people, places, things

“Brighton Beach Memoirs” will be staged by Workshop Theatre Jan. 11-26. This is the first of a trilogy by Neil Simon, a look back of childhood in a lower middle-class Brooklyn walkup at the end of the Great Depression. Workshop Theatre is at 1136 Bull St. Details: (803) 799-4876 or www.workshoptheatre. com The Metropolitan Opera Company of New York returns to Columbia Jan. 26 to search for the next great opera singer. Columbia is one of 40 locations in which young singers younger than 30 can audition in front of three judges. The auditions are at Columbia College and are open to the public. On Jan. 25, the Met holds a fundraiser featuring one of the judges, soprano Mary Delaney. The auditions are at Columbia College and are open to the public. On Jan. 25, the Met holds a fundraiser featuring one of the judges, soprano Mary Delaney. CORRECTION: The Clearwater Co. was misidentified in a November Lake Murray story about an outdoor pool and patio at Gene and Mary Ruth Sorrel’s home on Lake Murray. Have an item for People, Places and Things? Email lakemurray@ Event notices can be included in our monthly calendar, but must be sent at least six weeks in advance.

Riverland Hills Baptist Church is having a free Christmas concert Dec. 2 and 3. The show, at 7 p.m. in the Worship Center, features the church’s 160-voice choir and 40-piece orchestra playing traditional Christmas favorites. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Riverland Hills Baptist Church is at 201 Lake Murray Blvd., Irmo. Details: Crafty Feast, the independent craft fair, is set for Dec. 15 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. More than 100 crafters from the Southeast will have their products for sale. Admission $2; kids 10 & younger free Details:

“Barefoot in the Park” will be performed by Village Square Theatre in Lexington Jan. 25-Feb. 3. Neil Simon’s comedy looks at opposite-attracted newlyweds and their adventures in marriage. Performances are at 105 Caughman Road in Lexington. Details:


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

If you deals, you’ll dealsaver!

Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012 37

{ past tense }

Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade watchers waited for more than an hour, watching over 100 parade units pass, in anticipation of the arrival of Santa Claus on the final float.


Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012

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Lake Murray–Columbia® & Northeast Columbia | December 2012


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