I can’t explain the feeling of sheer delight I get in the late afternoons and early evenings when the sun begins to drop in the sky and illuminates the world with a golden glow, guiding the edges of leaves with liquid gold. For me, it is a reminder of everything that is good in the world. It was an auspicious beginning as we stepped into the car and headed to the first stop of the evening.
When I first heard about the Downtown Burlington Progressive Dinner, I was so excited. This event was combining some of my favorite things about the downtown Burlington Community. Beautiful vintage homes, pretty and delicious local food made from Company Shops Market ingredients, gorgeous invitations from local designer Julie Patoolies and an evening of fun with a growing group of residents who are active in the community.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather and much of the evening was spent enjoying large back decks and classic screened porches that are a hallmark of old homes across the south.
Our first delight of the evening was the lovely home of Lester Pace. He and his family live in the historic Front Street area of old Downtown Burlington. With it’s old school 4 over 1 windows, attic dormer and inviting wrap around porch, this home exhibits classic southern charm and hospitality.
Guests started arriving in twos and threes, soon filling the house with laughter and chatter of friends catching up on each other’s latest news.
There was a colorful spread of appetizers such as chicken salad sandwiches, party friendly cups of colorful veggies with dip, hummus crostini and citrus punch.
Lester offered tours of the house (yes please!) while others gathered on the back deck.
One of my favorite details in the house was this dutch-style door that opens onto the porch.
Just as the sun was beginning to set, the party moved a few blocks away to the home of Molly and Jonathan Whitlatch.
Molly is a Lawyer at WNHP and is the president the Alamance Humane Society while Jonathan works for the newly opened Company Shops Market Co-op. The Alamance Humane Society recently relocated their offices to Downtown Burlington and tonight’s Progressive Dinner was a welcome party thrown in their honor.
Just before guests arrived, Jonathan sets out trivets while Molly brings in the dinner course.
The menu includes Three Cheese Mini Mac-n-Cheese Bites, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans & Goat Cheese, Green Chili & Cheese Deviled Eggs and Banana Maple Pecan Cornbread Muffins.
Jonathan and Molly’s home is an updated and fresh take on traditional style. The house features a bright and gracious entryway, beautiful and functional build-ins, a large screened side porch and an old-school butlers pantry.
Desert was served at the home of Michael and Holden Hayes. Their home has a cottage craftsman feel that is comfortable and fun, reflecting the young family that lives here. They have an easy style that can hold up to the wear and tear of young children.
Holden served up chocolate oatmeal cookies using a treasured family recipe, accompanied by glasses of fresh local milk from nearby Homeland Creamery.
And let’s not forget this delightful made from scratch goodness. Sweet Potato Cranberry Pecan Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Icing.
Michael is the owner of Hayes Homebuilders and also a board member of Company Shops Market. His wife Holden keeps their world running smoothly for this busy family of four. Michael’s relatively young company is quickly making a name for itself, in part due to their great customer service and quality workmanship on renovations. In fact, we had a chance to check out Michael’s handiwork at the last stop of the evening.
This is the home of Darrel Coble and Martiez Taylor. Darrel works for UPS and is also a photographer and man about town in his free time. Martiez works for the Veterans Affairs and is a board member at Company Shops Market.
When they first moved to their house, Darrel and Martiez’s friends and family wondered why they bought this old house in a transitional part of downtown. At a time when the historic city center was dying and people and business were moving away to newer parts of town, Darrel and Martiez chose to go against the prevailing trend. Darrel says the house was affordable and had great bones. They could see the potential and wanted to turn the old house into the showplace it is today. They had hope that there would be a rebirth in Downtown Burlington and wanted to be a part of it.
Due to the seamless integration and classic style, I bet no one would guess that the dining room of this historic home was recently altered. Because they love to entertain, Darrel and Martiez hired Hayes Homebuilders to widen the entry from the hall and to remove an old pantry and increase the height of the doorways, to better link the kitchen to the dining room. Tonight was their first big event since completing the renovations and everyone was excited to see the results.
Capping the night off, they offered a selection of wines, locally brewed beer from nearby Natty Green’s, and champagne with fresh blueberries.