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Recipes from the Kitchen of A Bed of Roses- Aromatic Spice Cookies

October 28th, 2013 by abedofroses

Spice cookies are perfect for Fall

Spice cookies are perfect for Fall

Perfect for a crisp fall day. Come back to the inn from hiking in the western North Carolina Mountains and curl up by the fire with some spice cookies and warm apple cider or tea! .

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar for rolling

Instructions:

  1. Combine 1cup sugar, melted butter and egg in a mixing bowl until smooth.
  2. Stir in molasses
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger
  4. Blend into the molasses mixture
  5. Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°

  1. Put remaining sugar in a small deep bowl
  2. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll them in the sugar
  3. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
  5. Dust with confectioner’s sugar (optional)

The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands Oct. 17-20, 2013 Get a head start on your holiday shopping!

September 28th, 2013 by abedofroses

 

Work by Paula Marksbury

Work by Paula Marksbury

The Crafts Fair of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild is a wonderful showcase for the best artists in the Appalachians. Twice a year, in July and October, the Southern Highland Craft Guild presents this outstanding exhibit of traditional as well as contemporary crafts and artwork at the US Cellular Center. I never tire of going to it. The fair has exhibited work by Guild artists since 1948. Many of the artists display their work year after year, and you can see how they develop and change over time. But there are always surprises too. My experience over the years of going to this exhibit is that it’s part great shopping for one of a kind gifts and part fine art exhibit. The level of the work can be art museum quality and is just a joy to explore. With the work of over 200 juried artists being shown and sold, there is something for every artistic taste. The rich diversity and talent attracts collectors and gallery owners as well as shoppers.

Wendy Seaward's "intuitive beading"

Wendy Seaward’s “intuitive beading”

A Tiny Sampling of What’s in Store:

One of the artists returning for this show is Wendy Seaward. She calls her stunning intricate jewelry “intuitive beading”.

Her work ranges from very affordable one-of-a-kind earrings to amazing beaded masks and neck piece collages of stones and beads.

Harry Hearn with his pottery

Harry Hearn with his pottery

Harry Hearn is another artist returning for this show. He posed with his incredible clay works for me during the July Crafts Fair.

Rebecca Kempson’s intricate and incredible life-like dolls will be there as well and they are totally riveting to look at.

The guild also hosts craft demonstrations throughout the fair in keeping with their traditional mission of educating the public about the history of crafts in this area of the country and the techniques used. Watch George McCollum create a white oak basket from tree to completed basket. Dede Styles will be demonstrating spinning and the use of natural plant dyes to color yarn. There will be demonstrations of less traditional crafts as well.

One of Rebecca Kempson's haunting dolls

One of Rebecca Kempson’s haunting dolls

And there’s music too! Mountain musicians perform live on the arena stage. Hot Duck Soup will play old time music with the help of “kazoos, slide whistles, banjos, guitars, ukes, an antique cornet, washtub bass and the Cacophonium” on Friday the 18th. Other performers will play everything from gospel, to bluegrass, to American Swing-grass.

Tickets to the 66th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands are $8 at the door. Children under 12 are admitted for free. Hours are Thurs-Sat 10AM to 6PM, Sunday 10AM-5PM.

The Best Waterfalls at DuPont State Forest

September 9th, 2013 by abedofroses

High Falls at DuPont State Forest

High Falls at DuPont State Forest

Right now is the perfect time to tour the waterfalls of Western North Carolina. This summer’s wet weather has cleared so we’re having sunny warm days and cool nights, yet the water levels are still high enough to give us a great show cascading over the rocks. And everything is lush and green! Labor Day is over so the crowds have thinned as well. DuPont State Forest, usually very popular, was not very busy at all the other day and offers the most spectacular waterfalls just a short hike from the parking areas. Scenes from The Hunger Games were filmed here and several of the waterfalls were featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. You’ll see what attracts film-makers to this beautiful place!

New Pedestrian Bridge over the Little River

New Pedestrian Bridge over the Little River

The park has made several improvements this year. The High Falls Access Area is now home to the new Aleen Steinberg Visitors Center and new restroom facilities. A pretty new Pedestrian Bridge spanning the Little River now leads from the expanded Hooker Falls Parking area to the Hooker Falls and Triple Falls trails.

Main access is at the High Falls Access Area but if you park at the Hooker Falls lot you can take an easy hike that includes three waterfalls, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls. Hooker Falls is only 15 feet high but pretty and is a short walk from the parking area.

Triple Falls

Triple Falls

Returning to the pedestrian bridge you can then hike about a half mile to Triple Falls for much more spectacular views. There are some great vantage points from the trail and from the picnic area above but you can also walk down the steps to the base of the middle falls. I think I counted 111 steps but it’s well worth it and the folks at Western Piedmont Community College, who build the steps along with DuPont Staff, mercifully built in benches along the way to rest on your way back up!

The full view of High Falls

The full view of High Falls

The trail continues to High Falls which is 150 feet high and almost as wide. This section of the trail is fairly level and it surprised me to see how calm the Little River is between these two large waterfalls. By the time you can hear the falls you’re almost there. There are good views from the trail and beyond the overlook is a set of stairs and an uphill path to another picnic shelter with views.

If you have more energy than we did that day, or if you access High Falls from the High Falls Access area and it’s new trail connector you can continue to the covered bridge above High Falls with a view of the water spilling over the falls. At the other side of the bridge is the way to Grassy Creek Falls via Buck Forest Road and the Lake Imaging trail. Lake Denise is beyond that with crystal clear waters and swimming allowed.

Bridal Veil Falls from the back on ncwaterfalls.com

Bridal Veil Falls from the back on ncwaterfalls.com

We didn’t make it to Bridal Veil Falls but it’s one of the few waterfalls that you can walk underneath and view from behind the water! The Last of the Mohicans showed the falls from this perspective. Bridal Veil Falls is the first of the waterfalls on the Little River.

The DuPont State Forest is a short drive from Asheville occupying over 10,000 gorgeous acres between Brevard and Hendersonville. For more information go to their website http://www.dupontforest.com. Don’t miss information on the Tour De Falls coming up October 12th and 13th.

For more photos of Waterfalls in the Asheville area go to our Photo Gallery!

 

 

Recipes from the Kitchen of A Bed of Roses: A Romantic Honeymoon Breakfast for Two

September 7th, 2013 by abedofroses

An Intimate Breakfast for Two

An Intimate Breakfast for Two

There is nothing like opening the front door of your inn to a bride, still in her wedding dress, standing there with her new husband, straight from the wedding reception. That’s one of the best reasons for being an innkeeper. We recently had some newlyweds that were lucky enough to have the whole inn to themselves for one night of their honeymoon. We served them this elegant but easy two-course breakfast at our romantic little table for two.

  • Persian Watermelon Salad
  • Chived eggs in Puff Pastry
  • Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
  • Chicken Apple Sausage
  • Juice and coffee
Chived Eggs in Puff Pastry with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Chived Eggs in Puff Pastry with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

 

For this menu you start the side dish first.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven for 400°.
  2. Wash and chop 2 medium to large Red Bliss Potatoes into a medium dice.
  3. Peel 1/2 of a large Sweet Potato and chop into a medium dice.
  4. Combine into a ceramic casserole dish. Add chopped fresh rosemary and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with Olive Oil.
  5. Bake for 1 hr., stirring well once after 30 minutes

 

The Main Course consists of eggs served in a nest of puff pastry. While the potatoes are roasting:

  1. Whisk 3 eggs per person with 1 Tablespoon of creamy ranch dressing per person.
  2. Add chopped fresh chives to taste and put aside.
  3. For the puff pastry you can use the canned pastry sheets* made by the folks who brought you canned crescent rolls. These are the perfect size for 4 servings. (When we prepare this breakfast for two, we get to have some too!)
  4. Lay the pastry sheet out on a wooden surface and cut into 4 squares.
  5. Spray a Texas Muffin Tin with nonstick spray and arrange the pastry squares in the bottom of each one with the corners draped over the sides.
  6. Put aside until the first course is prepared.
Persian Watermelon Rose Salad

Persian Watermelon Rose Salad

For the first course:

We inherited this refreshing watermelon salad recipe from the previous innkeepers here at A Bed of Roses and we love it. The sweetness of the watermelon is combined with sweet dates and set off perfectly with salty pistachios. A little detective work led me to the original source of the recipe. The link to the complete recipe is here at The Nourishing Gourmet. It’s simple to prepare and the organic rose petals and edible rosewater raise this fruit salad to the level of “elegant”, especially if you own a melon scoop. We serve it in dainty glass bowls.

Put aside the watermelon salad and start the eggs.

  1. Melt a tsp of butter in a large nonstick frying pan. When the foam subsides pour the egg mixture into the pan and turn to low.
  2. If preparing enough eggs for 4 you will cook for approximately 20 minutes, using a spatula in long slow strokes to keep the eggs from sticking. If preparing just enough for 2 it will take a few minutes less, but beware of cooking them too fast or stirring them too often. Turn the heat off and cover when the eggs are still slightly wet and serve the first course. The eggs will continue to cook.
  3. While the eggs are cooking bake the puffed pastry squares in a preheated 375° oven for 11 minutes. If you don’t have a second oven or toaster oven you can bake these before the potatoes and reheat just before serving.
  4. To serve, mound the eggs lightly into the puff pastry cups, spilling over a little.
  5. Sprinke the roasted potatoes with seasoned salt and serve alongside the egg cup.
  6. Garnish with a slice of fresh ripe tomato, green and yellow pepper slices and parsley.

*Just a note: when I first bought the inn I diligently searched for puff pastry recipes online, but when I found them they almost always said making it from scratch was time consuming and unnecessary. The frozen puff pastry is fine. For this recipe the canned sheets make the perfect amount and add a touch of sweetness to complement the savory eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

An Exciting Upcoming Theater Season in Asheville

August 26th, 2013 by abedofroses

Montford Park Players

Hamlet at Under the Stars

Asheville offers a rich cultural environment with a diverse and active live theater scene. In addition to some great live music, this year has some really exciting stage productions. From Hamlet, concluding the Montford Park Players summer outdoor season, to the innovative Diavolo Dance theatre shaking up the Diana Wortham Theatre in October, there’s something for everyone. The Montford Park Players perform in our own historic neighborhood under the stars during the summer and in the historic Masonic Temple Theatre during the winter. You can get the VIP treatment at their productions when you stay at our B&B or any Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association Inn.

La Reina

La Reina

The NC Stage has been putting on professional theatre in downtown Asheville since 2002 and their season begins on September 18th with a world premiere, “Stalking the Bogeyman”, based on a powerful story first aired on NPR’s This American Life. The Asheville Community Theater (ACT),  is one of the oldest community theatres in the nation and has lots of fun in store this season. “Annie Get Your Gun”, “Caberet” and “Spamalot” are just a few of this year’s offerings on the ACT stage. The Flat Rock Playhouse, The State Theatre of North Carolina, is just a 30 minute drive away. Their current production is the thriller “Deathtrap” with “CATS” coming in September. What I’m really excited about, though is the line-up this year at The Dianna Wortham Theatre at Pack Place right in downtown Asheville. Big name live music, comedy, dance and multimedia stage productions are coming to their Mainstage Series. They just finished up La Reina, an epoch spectacle blurring the genre lines, combining dance, acrobatics, ancient texts, magical costumes, light, shadow and soundscapes to explore power and transformation. How does one follow a show like that? They do it with Ruthie Foster, Sandra Bernhard, Chic Gamine, The Diavolo Dance Theatre and the incredible Japanese drummers of Yamato.  

Other live theatre venues in the area are the Sourthern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) at Mars Hill College, The Anam Cara Theatre Company performing eclectic, avant garde theatre in West Asheville and the Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance. In the small town of Burnsville you’ll find the Parkway Playhouse too. You can find an interesting article on the Parkway Playhouse and their artistic director in last Sunday’s Citizen Times Living Section.

A Section of Blue Ridge Parkway North of Asheville Closed Due to a Large Crack. Parkway South from Asheville to Cherokee Still Open.

July 19th, 2013 by abedofroses

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway North of Asheville

On July 12th a Park Ranger made a stunning discovery. A large crack, 150 feet long, 4 inches wide and in some places 6 feet deep had developed right down the center line of the The Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Asheville. Since that time the crack has grown to 200 feet long and 8 inches wide forcing the closure of a 20 mile stretch of the scenic highway to cars. Apparently the ground below the crack has been saturated with the heavy rains that have left our area lush and green this summer. Cars traveling from Asheville to Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak in the eastern US, are being detoured to I40 and US221 through Spruce Pine. Cyclists and hikers can still access the road, at least until repairs begin. July and October are the busiest months of the year for visitors to the Asheville area and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest

Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest

Luckily there is still access to all areas of the Parkway from Asheville south to Cherokee which includes The Folk Art Center and the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center. This section of the Parkway offers beautiful views, plenty of hiking trails, Mount Pisgah and the Pisgah National Forest, Graveyard Fields, Devil’s Courthouse and the Cradle of Forestry Overlook. Asheville is ideally located to provide easy access to outdoor activities and beautiful scenery, from the waterfalls of Dupont State Forest to rafting along the French Broad River or a visit to the North Carolina Arboretum with beautiful gardens as well as wooded trails. Chimney Rock and Lake Lure are close as well.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Park

There is still plenty to see and do in the area. Asheville itself has beautiful views and hosts events all summer long. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, with over 300 exhibitors is here this weekend and Bele Cher, the largest free music and arts street festival in the Southeast is here next weekend. Folkmoot USA, a two week celebration of world cultures with international folk music and dance is going on right now. Just a few of the other festivals this summer include the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival August 1-3,  The Village Art & Craft Fair on the Grounds of the All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village on Aug. 3-4 and the LAAFF music and arts street fair on Labor Day weekend. A great place to get information on summer festivals as well as the many outdoor activities in the Asheville area is www.romanticasheville.com.

Perfectly ripe juicy mangoes are finally available! My Favorite Mango Recipes.

July 6th, 2013 by abedofroses

Sweet Ripe Mangoes

Sweet Ripe Mangoes

Finding the perfect mango at the grocery is an art, but one that is far easier to master this time of year. Here in Asheville, Florida Mangoes are in season from May to September and you can find a few different varieties. We see everything from the yellow Champagne mangoes that are more elongated and creamy to the large fat rounded Kent and the sweet and juicy Tommy Atkins varieties. Mangoes when they’re ripe don’t need much to bring out their flavor, but here are a few ways that I love to prepare them.

A simple Mango Blueberry salad on a bed of lettuce is a lovely accompaniment to my buttery, lemony Dutch Babies at breakfast time. Just peel and dice (a large dice) the mangoes and combine with an equal amount of fresh washed blueberries. Sprinkle with a little sugar. I find most recipes call for way more sugar than you need. Add lemon zest and a little bit of lemon juice and orange juice, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Elegant Muesli Fruit Parfaits

Elegant Muesli Fruit Parfaits

Another way to dress up mangoes for breakfast or dessert is layered into a muesli fruit parfait. The muesli is made the night before. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add 3/4 cup of milk and 1 1/4 cups of rolled oats. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning it will have a thick pasty consistency. Chop strawberries, 2-3 large berries per person. Wash enough fresh blueberries for two small handfuls per person. Peel and dice one mango and then start to assemble. These look lovely in champagne flutes. Put a handful of the chopped strawberries in the bottom of each glass and layer a few of the blueberries, then a few chunks of mango. About half the glass should be filled. Put a spoonful of the muesli on top of the mangoes and a little whipped cream on top of that. Layer again starting with the strawberries and ending with the muesli. Top each with whipped cream and serve.

For a savory meal mangoes pair well with grilled chicken. I like to top grilled chicken with a mango salsa. Marinate 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts in 2 Tbs. tamari sauce mixed with 2 Tbs. honey. Let it sit in a glass bowl while you prepare the salsa. Combine a peeled chopped mango with 2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lime juice, 2 Tbs. diced onions and 3 heaping teaspoons of ground coriander. Grill the chicken for 7 minutes or until done. We use wood lump charcoal with a handful of mesquite chips to give it a smoky flavor. Top with salsa.

Another great way to serve mangoes and chicken together is in a grilled mango chicken salad. Crush a large clove of garlic into a 1 quart Ziploc freezer bag. Add 1 tsp. of fresh squeezed lime juice and 1 tsp. of olive oil. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp. of ground cumin then put 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts in the bag, seal and squish around to mix. Let the chicken marinate while you prepare a salad of mixed greens, red, yellow or orange diced peppers, cucumber and any other favorite fresh vegetables. Toss with a slightly sweet vinaigrette. I like to combine balsamic and raspberry vinegars and then add a little pomegranate juice and honey. Add just enough olive oil that the dressing emulsifies when whisked. Grill your chicken, slice it and top the salad with the chicken slices and peeled, sliced mango. Perfect for a hot summer night’s supper.

The Summer Music Scene in Asheville: So Much to Hear and See!

June 28th, 2013 by abedofroses

Lorraine Conard Band at Bele Chere

Lorraine Conard Band at Bele Chere

Musicians gravitate to Asheville from all over to take advantage of one of the most eclectic music scenes in the country. From Blue Grass to Celtic, Blues, Reggae and classical, you’ll see it all on the streets, at the music festivals, in the clubs and in the concert halls of Asheville. With some of the best music venues, Asheville draws some big names that you might not expect for a city our size performing concerts in surprisingly intimate settings. Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Damien Rich, Flaming Lips, Blondie and Bonnie Raitt have all played here. Bob Dylan and David Byrne with St. Vincent were here just recently. Some of our guests even got to go back stage and talk to David Byrne and St. Vincent and get some very unique autographs.

David Byrne and St Vincent

David Byrne and St Vincent

The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club has a rich history of bringing headliners to the region and is nationally recognized. The US Cellular Center (previously the Civic Center) also attracts nationally known acts. But smaller venues abound as well with jams at local pubs like Jack of the Wood. Music and local ale from Asheville’s abundant craft brewers. What could be better?

The area’s traditional music springs from the Scottish, English and Irish early settlers of the western NC mountains. Our traditional Appalachian Music roots can still be seen here with a summer concert tradition, Shindig on the Green. At sundown every Saturday from July to September you’ll see free traditional blue grass music and dancing in Pack Square Park. It’s been called “the back porch on stage”. One very unique and unforgettable Asheville music tradition is The Drum Circle.

Asheville's Drum Circle

Asheville’s Drum Circle

The percussion of African American slaves’ songs had a great influence on Appalachian Folk music so it shouldn’t be surprising to see little Pritchard Park in the heart of downtown Asheville pulsing with a couple hundred drummers and dancers every Friday night, but it is! And it’s just a lot of fun. On Thurday nights in the same park a very different kind of free concert takes place. Homegrown in Pritchard features local singer-songwriters from June through August and there is lots of great homegrown talent here! Another ongoing free outdoor concert series in the summer is Downtown After 5. Taking place the 3rd Friday of the month from May through September on Lexington Avenue this is it’s 25th Anniversary Season.

Music Festivals are also a great place to enjoy live music in Asheville. The largest, Bele Chere takes place at the end of July. The 86th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival will be at the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place on August 1st-3rd. The famed Biltmore Estate hosts a summer concert season with big names like Cheryl Crow, Casting Crowns, and The Beach Boys. And the Brevard Summer Music Festival is not far from Asheville. Joshua Bell will be performing June 29th with Keith Lockhart conducting. There is just unending variety to the music choices here. Enjoy the season with us!

 

Following Aiden through Peru: An Innkeeper Travels Vicariously

June 8th, 2013 by abedofroses

The Ballestas Islands in Peru

The Ballestas Islands in Peru

What does Peru have to do with an innkeeper in Asheville? Very little, but I know our guests love to travel and so do I, Running a busy B&B gives us very little time off this time of year, since it’s such a popular time to see the mountains of North Carolina! Following my sister’s travels through the mountains of Peru is a great way to get to experience an amazing place in real time and share the neat things my sister is discovering with my fellow travelers.

Aiden left Asheville last Sunday. Her first trip was to see the Ballestas Islands, with Penguins, seals and thousands of migrating and nesting birds. The area was at the epicenter of an earthquake in 2007 and tourism to the islands is helping the economy recover.

El Candelabro

El Candelabro

One tourist attraction there is El Candelabaro, a strange lamp dug into the sand. The exact age of this geoglyph is unknown and there are various theories about why it was created. Archeologists found pottery belonging to the Paracas people from around 200 B.C. near the site. It may be a representation of the lightning rod of the god Viracocha, a mythological figure known throughout South America, or a sign to sailors. At 595 feet long, it would be visible from sea for miles.

The next thing on her itinerary was to fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines, the most famous geoglyphs, dating from between 800 B.C. and 800 A.D. This amazing site is on a dry plateau in southern Peru and stretches over 50 miles. The pictographs range from simple geometric designs to complex figures of animals and birds.

A figure from the Nasca Lines

A figure from the Nasca Lines

Archeologists, historians and mathematicians have studied these lines since they were discovered in 1927 but why they were created is still a mystery. They were probably scraped from the copper colored rocks between 200 BC and 700 AD by the Nazca Indians for religious purposes. A popular book published in 1968, “Chariots of the Gods” by Erich Von Daniken proposed that they were created by aliens to use as landing strips!

Next Aiden travels to Arequipa and then the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

The Montford Music & Arts Festival is Here Again! May 18th.

May 17th, 2013 by abedofroses

An Eclectic Selection of Vendors at the Festival

An Eclectic Selection of Vendors at the Festival

For the 10th year in a row our Historic Montford District is hosting the best and largest one-day festival just a block from A Bed of Roses. Asheville is home to many great arts and music festivals but this is our favorite. The local art and crafts displayed by over 100 vendors is eclectic and of the highest quality. The music is fantastic and runs continuously on two stages, one on Montford Avenue and one on Soco Street from 10:15 in the morning to 6:15 in the evening. Several bands will be returning this year including WestSound which has been a great hit for the past four years, Ira Bernstein, a world-class percussive step dancer who is one of the founders of the festival and Free Flow Band playing “Old skool R&B and Funk”. There will be everything from “Global Americana” music from The Billy Sea to Paul’s Creek acoustic string band and the garage pop duo, The Mad Tea. The artwork displayed is always a wonderful mix of fine arts, jewelry, wearable art, sculpture, wood crafts, glass and pottery. There will even be body art this year.

Tribal beads of africa  from Gem on a Wire

Tribal beads of africa from Gem on a Wire

And of course there will be food. Nine Mile, a favorite neighborhood restaurant with Jamaican food is in the heart of the festival but there will also be a wide range of food trucks, from El Kimchi to Gypsy Queen Cuisine as well as MacDaddy’s Lemonade and lots of icecream and gelato. It’s looking to be a great day in the neighborhood!

A Bed of Roses is a proud sponsor of the Montford Music & Arts Festival again this year. See picutres of last years festival in our photo gallery!

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