In the early 90’s before I was married or had children and was learning to cook, I read an article in Bon Appetit about a woman named Kreis Beall. Gorgeous photos of Beall showed her at her beautiful home in Alabama on Mobile Bay. The pictures painted a scene of kids, friends, dogs and fun chaos among what seemed to be an easy-going life where only food and entertaining were taking seriously. Beall’s description of her days… biking to pick fresh tomatoes and only cooking things in season…had me dreaming. This was before the farm-to-table movement and I was fascinated with her emphasis on fresh seasonal food being so important. It is funny why something resonates with you. I can’t remember why I came downstairs to get something most times, but I can remember that article and even the dishes she cooked…fried chicken and peach pie! Over the years I kept seeing her in articles, her beautiful homes and an historic country inn she started called Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. I always wanted to go, but the timing never seemed to work. Long story short, I was able to go with some dear friends for my 20th wedding anniversary and we had the most amazing time! I thought it would take years for me to get back there, but by happenchance I found out that Suzanne Kasler, one of my favorite designers, worked with Beall and was doing a design workshop last spring. The itinerary seemed like a simple one that included a joint lecture by Suzanne and Kreiss about their design process through the years. There was also a wine dinner in the Barn that Saturday night. My design-loving friend who accompanied me thought the rest of the time was lightly scheduled so we could enjoy the activities at the inn. Boy were we in for a surprise!
Driving by the turn-of-the century converted Red Barn where dinner is served.
Playing with the Lagatto Romagnolo pups before dinner…the “truffle dogs” that are bred and trained at Blackberry Farm.
We were escorted to our cozy cottage and were told to freshen up. The owner had arranged for us to have welcome cocktails at her home. What a lovely way to be greeted!
Sitting room with a beautiful view and real fireplace which they will light for you…”Just call us”!
Arriving at Kreis’ charming converted farmhouse for cocktails, which previously housed the inn’s spa.
The next morning we arrived at the barn to see Kreiss and Suzanne Kasler’s lecture and to hear about their collaborations over the pasts 20 years.
The lecture was fantastic and we thought that was the end of the event until dinner. The real treat was ahead. They told us there were golf carts outside waiting for us to take us on a tour of some very special properties on the grounds…(to be continued)
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