A Winter Party at Hartshorne House

Winters can be pretty long in New England but I don't mind. Not when I live near beauty like this.

This is stunning Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

And this is the entrance to the historic Colonel James Hartshorne House which sits on beautiful Lake Quannapowitt. This is also the location of my recent Winter party.

I've always wanted to have a party at this lovely home so I decided to rent it last Saturday night. The temps were below zero but that just added to the charm of it all. See that little illuminated globe? It is an ice lantern that I made with my friend and co-worker Janet. We made four of them to grace the outside of the house. I must say they looked really cool (no pun intended).

Come on in and join the fun. You can sign in after Dan. Although that is a pheasant feather and not a writing instrument.

Paul and Deb are already here and enjoying the warmth of the home.

I have so many people to thank for their contributions to the party. My sister Sheila and friend Don were in charge of lighting and decorating the home. I brought my favorite décor items and they made it all look like it had always been there. The twinkle lights, the pinecones, the twigs, all lent a rustic, yet elegant air to the rooms. Exactly the look I was going for.

Let me show you what was on the menu for the evening. Everything was served buffet style as a sit down dinner with many tables would not have worked with the home's small rooms.

This is baked brie with fig and almond accompanied with berries and crackers.

The soup for the evening was butternut squash apple. The soup and baked brie came from ZuZu's Café in Wakefield. The sea salt focaccia bread was made by my friend Jolie. If you read my blog you know that Jolie's Christmas parties are legendary.

Jolie also made ham salad wraps.

And she made shrimp cakes with wasabi or without.

And she also made mini quiches.

Here's a look at the table.

Here's another view. The lanterns really added such a nice touch and fit perfectly with the décor in this home. Parts of the home date back to 1681.

I never entertain without my tea chest and Harney teas are always a favorite. My guests had many choices.

One of the highlights of the evening was the hot chocolate station.

Jolie's daughter Casey was in charge of serving. In fact, she created this station. She made chocolate spoons and her special blend of hot chocolate. She brought her own mugs and decorated the tiered tray.

Here she is in action and she didn't stop all night!

Mary enjoyed her hot chocolate!

This one was all mine!

My friend Mary made these adorable gingerbread mug toppers.

I drank my hot chocolate outside as I had to check on the ice lanterns. I couldn't wait to see how they looked illuminated at night. 

It was all so perfect as I could see skaters on the lake creating a wintry backdrop for my party.

Yay! The lanterns looked great! I was hoping passersby could see them from the street.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of Casey's cocoa station through the window. It looked so warm and inviting.

The guests had some great conversations. Many of them were historical re-enactors so they appreciated the history of the house.

The party had a nice, relaxed atmosphere.

My vintage skates found a perfect spot to hang out.

And my vintage snowshoes nestled right into the corner, looking like they had always resided there.

What a lovely spot to spend an evening.

This, I am told, is a Rumford fireplace. There is no open flame allowed in the Hartshorne House so twinkle lights to the rescue!

The Hartshorne House has resident caretakers. Allen and his wife are this year's residents. He was great to work with when I planned the party. He was so nice to make an appearance at the party and speak about the history of the house.

Allen was asked about ghosts in the house. No, none on his watch.

There were several options at the dessert table. First, Jolie's famous yule log or buche de l'hiver (Winter log). Look at the chocolate pieces made to look like bark and meringue mushrooms and greenery. A fantastic presentation and oh so delicious!

You may have noticed the snow globes on the tables. I used them to label each food item. Normally they are picture frames. My sister did the lettering for each one.

Mary made all of my favorites desserts.  On the top tier of the tray, we had snowdrops which are lemon cookies with icing. The cookies were dubbed snowdrops by my father years ago. The other tiers held gingerbread snowflake cookies and mini apple pies.

Here's a closer look at Mary's display. An A+ for presentation and flavor!

The pies were a big hit. Luckily, Mary grabbed a few for me to take home.

Jolie actually made two of the buche de l'hivers. The first one had a chocolate ganache topping, and this one is the second one. The topping is buttercream.

It was a fabulous party if I do say so myself. I could not have pulled it together without the help of my friends and sister. They are the most creative and talented people I know. Everything came off as planned from the ice lanterns to the décor to the unbelievable food. I hope my guests felt the same way. I am truly blessed.


Sheila said…
Fabulous place for a party! Great idea. And what a perfect collaborative effort. We have the best friends.
Count Robot said…
A fun time for sure. Thank you for inviting us to a historical winter party!
YarnyDragonfly said…
What a lovely place to have a party! Everything looks so pretty and I especially like your frozen globes. It must have been super cozy!
Nellie said…
What an amazing party! Wonderful food! Beautiful decorations! A fantastic venue with great historical significance! Perfect evening! I fear I would have been delayed by the hot chocolate station.:-)

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