Valentine’s Day

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

The February night sky was crystal clear with few stars in sight. The cold wind was enveloping the metro area on this Saturday night before Valentine’s Day. We decided to take a stroll in Norcross’ historic district. Lights festooned the downtown’s trees that line South Peachtree Street. Diners were eagerly escaping the winter cold by entering Dominick’s, Norcross Station Café, Mojitos, Iron Horse Tavern and Paizano’s. All of this activity makes Norcross quieter than usual outdoors in February as most of us seek refuge from winter’s wrath.

My close friend and I were not in search of dinner like most of Norcross’ famished patrons on that evening. We had a late lunch, but there was room for dessert. I received a last minute e-mail from the Vargas & Harbin Studio Gallery that they were having an “Art, Chocolate and Wine” showing at their spacious, wood-floored studio on Norcross’ main street.

It was a bit subdued when we arrived. The crowds were still to come. Still, Reinaldo Vargas was on hand to greet us with wine and chocolate-covered strawberries.

“Welcome, welcome!” Reinaldo’s friend, sporting a nice fedora, announced. “Would you like white or red wine?”

We went with the reds and indulged in the chocolate-covered strawberries. With great music playing overhead, we browsed the gallery to view Reinaldo’s masterpieces including some of his Cuban-inspired paintings and drawings. How does a gifted Cuban-born artist who paid his dues in Havana and then Paris, end up in Atlanta of all places?

“People ask me that all the time,” Reinaldo recalled. “Atlanta has so much to offer.”

Reinaldo, who operates the gallery with photographer Charles J. Harbin, Jr., features a diverse collection of fine paintings, drawings and photographs. Harbin’s work includes breathtaking mountain panoramas along with gorgeous sunsets. On this evening, we were impressed with the jewelry on display, courtesy of B & N Designs.

Afterwards, we enjoyed more quiet time at 45 South Café. We were a bit early for the music, but very few things beat an evening with good tea and a close friend at this comfy café. Each time I visit 45 South and Historic Norcross, it seems to feel more like home after all these years. 

After that Saturday evening, I realized that Norcross is perfect for Valentine’s Day evening or any other evening for that matter.

Vargas & Harbin Studio Gallery

27 South Peachtree Street

Norcross, Georgia 30071



B & N Designs

Estela Bilbao 770-364-8520

Lourdes Nasseri 770-653-2145


45 South Cafe

45 South Peachtree Street  

Norcross, GA 30071-2503

(770) 409-4009


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