Winter 2021

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Season’s Blessings


I am thankful for many blessings. This month marks the fifth year since my last chemo infusion, which was part of a two-year treatment plan to combat an aggressive form of breast cancer. Recovery can be tough, but the process yields resilience and gratitude.

Local writer and author Dolly R. Sickles knows this, too, and shares her own perspective of strength, patience and grace following an accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury. You can read her story on page 56.

There is no doubt that even in challenging times we dare to hold hope for young families like the Kennedys. Beth Kennedy and Taylor Kennedy share their dream of giving son Carson Kennedy and daughter Charlotte Kennedy an idyllic childhood in a nearly 100-year-old home on page 104. I’m sure their fairy-tale farmhouse will be beautiful for the holidays.

’Tis the season for modified family gatherings. I was happy to learn some of the tips on page 62 that local professionals gave about how to look good – and feel good – for every occasion.

However, my favorite stories in this winter issue are about the three families who share some of their holiday traditions with us starting on page 38. Lois Sobel and Richard Sobel enjoy passing on the stories and customs of their Jewish faith to their grandchildren. Davide Aguiar and Michelle California-Aguiar and their sons observe their family’s Catholic traditions like abstaining from meat on certain holy days, choosing instead to celebrate Christmas with a seafood feast. Every year, Davide and sons Nuno Aguiar and Rui Aguiar create a nativity scene of sorts with found items around their home. For Zi Yun “John” Sit and Ming Jung “Vicki” Cheng, their family’s biggest gathering happens at Chinese New Year, when they sweep out the old and welcome in the new.

Elsewhere in this winter issue, you will find recipes to incorporate into your own holiday meals, because food has a way of bringing people together to celebrate and enjoy one another’s company, in comfort and joy. – by Anna-Rhesa Versola


38 How We Celebrate
Three families share their seasonal plans and annual traditions

48 Season’s Eatings
Set yourself up for success this Thanksgiving with Governors Club’s perfectly savory turkey recipe and two easy-to-prepare sides from Small Cafe B and B

54 Wine in a Million
Vino!! Wine Shop’s owner Anna Lange recommends the downtown Pittsboro store’s best wines for the holiday season

56 The Power of Gratitude 
Local author Dolly R. Sickles shares her perspective

58 ’Tis the Season to be Crafty 
Try your hand at handcrafted holiday projects at The Creative Goat

62 Winter Reset
Five professionals share their tips for self-care during the busiest time of the year


76 Student Spotlight: Seaforth Sophomore Skips to Success 
Sophia Berry learns the ropes in a new space

80 Schools Guide
Directory of independent, regional boarding and charter schools

90 ‘Concierge’ Doctors Take Their Time
Accessible (and longer) appointments and doctors who prescribe patient wellness

100 Rooted in the Community 
A 95-year-old traces her family’s long history in Chatham and Orange counties

104 Farmhouse Fairy Tale
A Pittsboro family lives happily ever after in a 100-year-old home in the woods


118 Venues Directory 

119 Something Old, Something Novel
Local shop offers creative options to upcycle wedding dresses

120 Wedding
Lawler & Whitaker


4 Letter from the Managing Editor

8 Six Events
Events in November and December you won’t want to miss

18 Noted

22 Who’s Who in Town & County Government 
Meet Chris Kennedy, Pittsboro Town Manager

26 Chatham 250: An Ode to Chatham 
Reflections from three local leaders on the county’s 250th anniversary

116 Here We Grow Again 
Updates on commercial and residential real estate developments


29 Chatham Works
61 Holiday Gift Guide
71 The Big Give
96 Get to Know Your Local Health Care Providers


12 PepperFest
14 Sidewalk Chalk Festival
16 Hoppin’ John Fiddlers’ Convention
17 Chatham County Sheriff’s Department Golf Tournament

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Anna-Rhesa Versola

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