Today I met my friend Briar at Passports for lunch and to exchange Christmas gifts. My family looks forward to her exquisite cookies that she bakes and hand decorates each Christmas. Don’t you just love her latest creation, a Snow Globe Cookie?Snow Globe Holiday Cookie
Tag Archives: Briar Forsythe
Could there be a more perfect venue to hold a bridal or baby shower on the North Shore than Willowdale Estate? In fairness, and as GMG readers are aware, I am the landscape designer for Willowdale, and completely unbiased. The staff that works in the planning and production departments that create the events at Willowdale are so sweet, helpful, and capable; the home and gardens are meticulously cared for by James and his crew; and Executive Chef Ben Lightbody’s exquisite cuisine is beyond sumptuous.
Last Wednesday, Willowdale’s events planning and production team threw a beautiful surprise baby shower for their co-worker Sarah Boucher, Senior Sales and Marketing Manager. The color theme was a gorgeous soft buttery yellow with anthracite gray accents–ideal for the couple not sure whether their bundle of joy will be a boy or girl.
All good wishes and love to Sarah, Jeff, and their new baby daughter-on-the-way! We can’t wait to meet her!!!
Tuesday evening, May 20th, from 6:00 to 8pm is a free wedding open house for recently engaged couples. RSVP to receive a gift bag to help you get started with your planning.
On Thursday evening, June 12th, from 7:30 to 10pm, Chef Bennie is serving an Arabian Nights inspired three-course Moroccan Dinner. Click the link to read the menu–it sounds divine! Reservations are required.
See more pictures from Sarah’s baby shower here
Today at Willowdale we celebrated our dear friend Sarah’s new baby-on-the-way. Lots of fun was had by all and Sarah was truly surprised. I’ll post photos tomorrow after I have a few minutes to sort through, but wanted to share about this fabulous, elegant and simple desert that Bennie Lightbody, Willowdale’s Executive Chef extraordinaire, created for the shower.
Panna Cotta, which means cooked cream in Italian, is made by simmering cream, milk, and sugar with a very small amount of gelatin. The pudding is eaten all around Italy, but is thought to have originated in Piedmont. Bennie served the Panna Cotta with a coulis of mixed berries along with the whole fruit. Pure Heaven!
This year Jan Bell, Libby Hayes, and Sara Hall were recognized with the Wellspring Award for their legacies of service. Sara Hall was also the keynote speaker.
There were 700 women attending the luncheon. After listening to the deeply inspiring stories of courage shared by four Wellspring participant speakers, I don’t think there was a dry eye there.
Wellspring’s President and Executive Director Kay O’Rourke writes in the program,”Together we find expression for our passions and talents in this great work we call Wellspring House. Together we bind up the wounded, mend the broken-hearted, house the homeless, and liberate minds through education.”
Corporate Sponsor Briar Forsythe, proprietor of Willowdale Estate (right) and Willowdale’s COO Melissa Thunberg
What a treat to see Willowdale’s event tent decorated in Anthony D’Elia’s wonderfully fun and whimsical design for Thursday’s “Power of the Purse.” Upon arriving, I felt as though I had stepped into a Georges Lepape French fashion illustration from the early 1900s, when Orientalism was all the rage and summer garden fêtes were decorated in kind, and to the nines. The morning after the event, while the Willowdale crew and I were installing a new embroidered velvet curtain for the tent, I had the opportunity to meet Anthony as he and his staff were dismantling the decor. Anthony and his company, Revelation Productions, are responsible for many of the most stunning and beautifully produced special events held at Willowdale and venues throughout the North Shore and New England. Their creative and technical event services included imaginative décor, custom audio design, full spectrum video services, and gorgeous lighting. Visit their website for more information about Revelation Productions here.
The first two photos show how the parasols and lighting looked in daylight; below you can see how they appeared after sunset. I wasn’t the only one utterly captivated by the décor and Anthony received high praise from Briar, the Willowdale staff, and all attendees for his magical parasol and branch design.
Briar Forsythe, proprietor of Willowdale, donated the tent, her signature refreshments, and stellar staff to the “Power of the Purse,” as did Anthony donate his time and décor to the event. See previous posts about the Power of the Purse here.
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Georges Lepape (1887-1971) was a French fashion designer and illustrator, engraver, poster artist, book illustrator, costume, and textile designer. He collaborated and designed many covers for leading magazines of the day including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Femina, and The Art Sheets. See several more Georges Lepape illustrations here: Read more
CONGRATULATIONS to The Women’s Fund of Essex County for a Fabulously Successful “Power of the Purse”!!!
Last night’s The Women’s Fund of Essex County’s “Power of the Purse” event, hosted by Willowdale Estate, was a smashing success. There were over 200 guests in attendance and you could feel the positive energy emanating from women helping women. Since 2003, The Women’s Fund of Essex County has awarded $825,000.00 in grants promoting and empowering women and girls. Read more about The Women’s Fund of Essex County here.
Briar Forsythe, proprietor of Willowdale Estate, generously donated the venue, Willowdale signature refreshments, and outstanding staff.
Anthony D’Elia, owner of Revelation Productions, donated the stunning lighting and parasol design decor for the event. More about Anthony in an upcoming Antennae for Design post.
Kim Smith “May Basket” design for the courtyard urns.
My dear friend Briar sent this photo very late last night; well past midnight. I imagine she must have just finished making the cookies and was excited to share her beautiful creation with friends. I’m am so glad she did and believe this is the prettiest, and most yummiest-looking, pumpkin patch ever seen!
I have shared many photos and stories about the garden and events that take place at Willowdale Estate. Not only because I love working with everyone there, but also because several people who live in Gloucester work at Willowdale (Michele and Audi) and because everyone in the Willowdale offices reads GMG on a daily basis. The following glowing review was recently published in The Knot and I thought perhaps prospective brides looking for a venue would like to read about one bride’s beautiful experience at Willowdale.
Lisa, Lora, and Briar sang to a packed house last night. Their solos, and voices in unison, of traditional classic songs, made for a beautiful evening of holiday music. My favorites were Carol of the Bells and the tender lullaby by Paul Williams and Joseph M. Martin: Still is the Night; also by Joseph Martin was the joyful O Come Emmanuel and Listen to the Stars, both from The Voices of Christmas.
Sisters Lisa and Lora Tamagini and Briar have known each other since they began their opera careers in Boston. Lora and Lisa have toured the world over and Lora’s original music can be heard on three CDs: Joy in My Soul, Sing to the Lord, and Sing Gloria. Briar is passionate about supporting local artists and it has been her dream to host musical concerts. The success of Willowdale has made it possible for her to create unforgettable holiday performances for everyone to enjoy!
For more holiday musical treats Leven is performing on Saturday at the Sawyer Free from 3:00 to 4:00, main floor.
Last evening was a combined celebration of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of the Willowdale Estate Coach House AND the 5th Anniversary party for the estate. Willowdale is a shining example of the Massachusetts Historic Curatorship Program. Senator Tarr was there to show his support for the curatorship program and to congratulate the family on their tremendous success.
The hostess and guests were dressed in smashing 1920’s inspired costumes, champagne and crazy delicious refreshments kept the party-goers energized, a swing band had the joint jumpin’, the tent was beautifully illuminated and aglow, and the garden glistened in the warm misty rain. A roaring time was had by all!
The Roaring Twenties, or as the French dubbed the period “Années Folles” (“Crazy Years”), was the time during which Bradley Palmer entertained in high style at Willowdale Estate, formerly referred to as the Bradley Palmer Estate. Willowdale Estate is the absolutely ideal venue for a twenties inspired celebration!
As many know from reading my posts, my dear friend, and one of my favorite design clients, is Briar Forsythe, proprietor of Willowdale Estate, located in Topsfield. I was delighted to attend Briar’s birthday party, which was a wine and food tasting event, and held in the new conservatory at Willowdale. Usually when there I am up to my elbows in design projects so it was a real pleasure to get a sense of how it feels to be a guest. I’ll write more in a future post about the history of, and rebuilding of, the conservatory.
The party started at 4:00 and the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the conservatory windows lent a warm and welcoming glow to the event. The service was absolutely impeccable (do you find that is not often easy to say?). Chef Joe Joyce and staff had prepared simply the most divine courses, paired with wines that perfectly complemented each dish. All the wines were delicious and I can imagine they would be great paired with any number of meals. Unfortunately, I did not take a snapshot of the first course, which was a Duxbury Oyster with Champagne Foam and Blood Orange Caviar, served with a sparkling Dibon Cava Brut. I love sparkling wines and found this perfectly not overly sweet. I am not going to go on and on telling you how super delicious was all–it was–and hope the photos give an idea. The wines were provided by Geoffrey Fallon.
Seared Tenderloin of Beef, King Oyster Mushroom, Bone Marrow Cracker, and Bordelaise Paired with Pietrantonj Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Visit Willowdale’s website—they are a full service special events venue, specializing in their own in-house fabulous catering. Tours are offered throughout the year and many Gloucester companies do business with Willowdale, including several of our local florists and photographers.
Click last photo to see slideshow of all party pics.