If you saw day one of our trip to Athens, you began to get a feel for how much we have fallen for this place, located just an hour outside Atlanta. In two short days, we set out to capture the magic of this small town, all while we enjoyed the most gracious southern hospitality from a handful of new great friends.
Our second day was one for the books. We started our morning on The Hill with the boys from Epting Events. The Hill is 20+ acres where all of Lee’s, the matriarch of the Epting family, homes sit. Yes, I said homes. You see, Lee collects homes. Extremely old, historic homes he restores to their former glory. And glorious, they are.
As we turned up the tree-lined dirt road that led to The Hill, I immediately felt transported back in time. From the smaller cottages, the grand homes and to the soft yellow plantation style Donald-Epting home, it was all pure magic. A vintage Chevrolet sat in the drive, and a large white tent was still standing from an event the night before. The boys, Lee, Ashley, Daniel and their video crew Grit Tree Productions for Black Tie & BBQ, greeted us with the definition of Southern Hospitality: mimosas, a four-course brunch, and a candlelit table set with the china that Lee’s collected over the years. I don’t know why I would have expected less, I mean Epting has been catering and throwing events for the creme de la creme for the past 40 years.
Next we went to Epting headquarters where their 200+ employees run the ins and outs of catering. I of course spent the majority of my time in the prop warehouse, the walk in flower freezer filled with roses and hydrangeas for an upcoming wedding, and the industrial (and I mean industrial-had-everything-I’ve-ever-dreamed-of) kitchen. The gents had obviously done their research too because Chef Janice had whipped up some homemade corn bread and surrounded it with more props than I could have needed to style away.
Last stop on the Epting Express, their newest venue The Cotton Press. And while the venue itself was impressive thanks to a much thought-out design by Daniel himself, I’d be lying if I didn’t say the most thought-out detail was the ladies that arrived to make warm, gooey, delicious pralines from scratch. So much sugar, so much butter, and so many pralines combined in the most beautiful copper pot to make the most delicious confection. Just looking at these pictures actually made my mouth water (I think I know what my next recipe will be).
But the day’s adventures were far from over. We all rushed back to Cheri’s for a quick power nap before heading out to BMA At Home owned by residential and commercial Interior Designer Breckyn Alexander. I had met Breckyn a few times before at market and other industry events and had always crushed hard on her bohemian, free spirit style. So when I finally got to spend time in her highly-curated Shop, I was in heaven. From the rarest of rare staffordshire dog statues to the sette upholstered in mudcloth and adorned in tassels, everything at BMA At Home is a show stopper.
That evening was an extra special treat as local artist Hannah Betzel was showcasing her latest work, and live painting, for all of us non artistic ones to ooh and aah at. And after a few glasses of Rose and some pimento cheese goodness from The Pine, I walked out buying four of those brass pillow boxes (what great gifts!), a piece of art, and a one-of-a-kind necklace I basically ripped off Breckyn’s neck. I’m still eyeing this onyx vase; I mean I need it, right?
I left Athens feeling like I had just made new friends that I had known forever, friends I knew I’d see again very soon. They truly showed us a wonderful time in an even more wonderful place. Now the question is: when will you be visiting Athens to make your own magical memories? Truly, MKR