brandywine in white

DSC_9005This has been the summer of old school fabulous summer parties. The summer began with Natural Lands Trust’s Stardust 2015 at Stroud Preserve and last Saturday it was capped off by the simply brilliant Brandywine in White at Chadds Peak Farm.

DSC_9072Until this summer I thought the time of DSC_9025gracious and beautiful and FUN summer parties were the stuff memories of the past were made of.  Not so! Brandywine in White was so sublimely civilized, we can’t wait for next year!

As opposed to Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia this is a more bucolic and intimate setting of DSC_9359about 200 people as opposed to the 4500 in Philadelphia.

Brandywine in White reminds me of summer picnic dinners in England and Europe. It was just so lovely.

DSC_9510A bunch of us purchased a table and a service table for our food and libations. As opposed to Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia, at Brandywine in White you rent your table and chairs and you can also rent DSC_9184service tables. The tables come with white chairs and the tables have plain white tablecloths.  The guests bring additional white everything and food and wine. In the true en blanc tradition, guests wear all white, but at Brandwine in White you saw more ladylike and beautiful summer hats versus citified high fashion fascinators. I have to be honest I preferred the summer hats.


DSC_9374Guests traveled down an dirt road/driveway off the main road and as the trees parted to our right were beautiful fields and tables and people all in white.  We were greeted at the entrance and checked in, and were pointed in the direction of a second event hostess who provided us with our table location.

The tables were set up like a giant rectangle, but there was space in between each table for people to be able to move with ease.  Down the center were white poles supporting clear white lights all over the party area.DSC_9298

We set up next to a wonderful group of people and ended up trading some of our cheeses DSC_9258from for some of their goodies including mushroom pinwheels. We served some luscious white wines and delightful French Rosé Wines with our picnic supper.

DSC_9164We knew know on other than our table and we soon met many people we enjoyed so much.  Brandywine in White guests floated from table to table visiting, snapping photos, and checking out the other white themed tablescapes.  We were “vintage en blanc“.



There was croquet and there was also dancing – and the disc jockey was the best one I had heard in years. no electric slide and overt personal commentary. He just played great music and lots of it!DSC_9387

We are already planning ahead to next year!

Brandywine in White was amazing and they gave donations after expenses to the Sunday Breakfast Mission in Wilmington which really needs a hand up right now.DSC_9465

summertime old school

DSC_7973When I was growing up, my parents and their friends threw and went to these awesome garden parties in the summer.  The kind of party that was lovely to look at, the people were nice and the ladies dressed in tasteful summer finery and the men were in madras,DSC_7738seersucker, and khaki. The kind of party where the food was good, the company interesting, a time so fun and pleasant and each hour flew by like it was five minutes.

Ok I finally found my adult equivalent: The Natural Lands Trust kickoff summer event, Stardust.

Natural Lands Trust, the region’s foremost conservation organization, protects the forests, DSC_8027fields, wetlands, and streams that are essential to the sustainability and quality of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

In other words, they don’t just talk a good game about preservation, they do it. And they are all extraordinarily nice people too. From staff to volunteers to trustees, these people are just terrific. It is so nice (and refreshing) to be around people who just so obviously love what they do.

This year’s Stardust was at Stroud Preserve in West Chester. If you have never been, go. It is so beautiful a place it takes your breath away with the sheer majesty of the surrounding landscape and vistas. It is over 500 acres of heavenly beauty.
DSC_8015The Natural Lands Trust applies  a comprehensive approach to conservation that includes permanently protecting natural areas, providing leadership in natural resource management, and creating opportunities for people to connect to and learn from nature.  They began in 1953 as the “Philadelphia Conservationists”. In the early days a lot of what they saved was then turned over to government agencies or other non-profits.  But in the 1960s they changed their course ever so slightly and became the stewards of the land and environments they were saving….and the Natural Lands Trust was born.
DSC_8078So this is a group so worthy of much generous support. You can see what they are doing, it is not some fuzzy hypothesis of ” if you donate X we will do Y”, it’s real, it’s tangible. DSC_7774
On Friday, June 12th – as the constellation Bootes (the “Celestial Farmer”), an ever-amazing Saturn, and a brightly-shining Jupiter graced the night sky  many gathered for an evening of cocktails, local farm-to-table edibles, at the 570-acre Stroud Preserve in West Chester.
The catering was done to perfection by Jeffrey Miller Catering and in addition to cocktails Moore Brothers was pouring some delightful wines (especially the rosé! )Terain did the decor and Victory Brewing Company also generously provided libations for guests.DSC_8062
The event itself was spread out so people had the ability to move around freely without feeling that you-are-nothing-but-a-lemming feeling that some non-profit events give you because too many are jammed into too small a space. This event was spread out and so civilized, like the summer garden parties I remember as a child. One special bit of fun DSC_8009that Natural Lands Trust provided guests in addition to the ability to star gaze by using one of the many fine telescopes set up was play a giant game of Jenga!
I had never been up and in the Stroud Preserve which was donated to Natural Lands Trust by Dr. Morris Stroud in 1990. This wildlife habitat is also a unique site for research by the Stroud Water Research Center, one of the premier stream research labs in North America.  And in addition there are also structures on this land which are fabulous and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.DSC_8037
I took a lot of event photos, and have shared a few in this post. But anyone who wants any needs to contact the Natural Lands Trust.  Because if people want photos I am NOT asking to be paid for them, I wish a donation to be made to the Natural Lands Trust for them. What they do is so very important.
And yes, these people throw fabulous events.  So many events these days are more hype than anything else. Their events are pretty, tasteful, and oh so much fun! (Click here for all event photos taken by me.)
Thanks for stopping by!