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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden celebrates the holidays with a Japanese flavor 

Tastemakers

The holidays, and we mean Christmas, can suffocate the chirpiest reveler with its yearly barrage of Santa and 50 percent off sales. It's refreshing when you find December events that break from the norm. One such break we found this year is the holiday dinners at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Lewis Ginter tries to make this event fresh every year, and this time they've gone to the other side of the globe for inspiration, decorating the Robins Tea House with a Japanese flavor. "We really try to stay away from the cliche Christmas decorations," says Lewis Ginter's Beth Monroe, "and try to celebrate the garden. The tea house decorations really do that well." The table decorations mimic the cherry blossoms that are such a significant part of Japanese culture. They are actually anemone flowers attached to stems to give the illusion of cherry blossoms. Medallions hanging around the room are based on Japanese family crests. Through the large windows in Robins Tea House, diners can view the elaborate and stunning spectacle of the Gardenfest of Lights, over 400,000 miniature lights which highlight the trees, shrubs and figures in the garden. The menu includes hearty favorites such as butternut squash soup, peppercorn-crusted filet mignon and Virginia wines. Reservations are available now for dinners held every night in December except Christmas Eve and Christmas. We hear they fill up quickly. Call 262-9887, ext. 334. 1800 Lakeside
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