I first read about Blackberry Farm last year in an issue of Forbes and instantly became intrigued by this gem in the Smoky Mountains. The 4,200-acre resort defies the conventional concept of a “luxury resort” and boy, do I like that. Think mounted fox-hunting, sporting clays or perhaps their upcoming ‘Wine on the Fly’ event.
In 1939, while selecting the perfect parcel of land with her husband, Mrs. Florida Lasier of Chicago snagged her silk stockings on a thicket of blackberry bushes, and thus, the name Blackberry Farm was born. Since its inception, the farm has remained family owned and today, is run by proprietor Sam Bealle. Sam grew up on the farm and after an array of impressive culinary experiences and between marrying his wife Mary Celeste and having four beautiful children, took on the task of holding the business. What a business it has become. Blackberry Farm has received a bounty of accolades throughout the years, including “#1 Hotel for Food Lovers in America” by Bon Appetit, “#1 Service in the U.S.” by Travel and Leisure and the Wine Spectator Grand Award, just to name a few.
Although I have yet to go, it seems the farm inherently commands romance. I have a vision of taking in the early morning mist from a rocking chair with a loved one, while admiring the Black Walnut and Persimmon trees, or enjoying a quiet soak in the oversized soaking tub in one of their Hill Cottages. It is a place that has had me dreaming for quite some time and I suspect, one that will keep my dreams alive long after my prospective visit.
Photos above are via Town & Country.
The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990
Wednesday evening marked the opening party at the de Young celebrating their new exhibit “The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990”. The whos-who of San Francisco and beyond gussied up to toast to the Bulgari archives that will make their official debut this Saturday, September 21 with final display on February 17, 2014. The collection will feature “150 showstopping pieces” along with several breathtaking pieces from the Elizabeth Taylor collection. We all know too well that iconic photograph of Elizabeth dripping in emeralds courtesy of her lover Richard Burton. Her marriage to Richard was one of the grandest romances in history, while also a legacy of her passion for the world’s finest jewels.
For the visual scoop on the evening’s happenings as well as other parties about town, be sure to follow the fantastical freelancer @missbigelow on Instagram and check out SFGate.
With my Father in town, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to check out the Dawydiak Showroom I’ve been dying to visit for some time. In the 4th grade, I used to sit on our stone wall with my childhood friend guessing what kind of car was barreling around the corner, based on its unique purr and design I’d sense in my peripheral. Like a top shelf glass of brandy and a cigar, encountering a beautiful car equates to savoring that perfect nightcap. The classics? Those gals just do it for me every time.
My Father and two of his friends accompanied me to the showroom to acquire intel on the inventory. The specialists at Dawydiak are one of the few that offer a vehicle consignment program in the area, in addition to collision care and service for Porsche, Spyker and Vintage imports. Their mantra is “obsessed and proud if it”. You bet they are. Having just moved to a new location, the showroom was absolutely flawless, the light filtering in through the garage doors so peaceful it was as if I were floating on a Jaguar XK-E Roadster in heaven. Sam Cameron, the lovely sales gentleman who greeted us, gave us a special tour of the new collision care/service department on the third level – so new, concrete was still drying. Here, the fun continued as we meandered through a sea of imports getting dressed up with new coats of paint, racing tires, custom-made bucket seats in luscious red leather… the list goes on.
Below are the highlights from our visit including the subject of my new love affair, a 1957 Jaguar XK140 in an elegant pearly white (just look at her backside!). For those of you that need to see this baby in action, perhaps this throwback will help (fast-forward to 2:26). Also worth noting, the 1965 Porsche 356 in a custom baby blue with navy interior (also featured above), rumored to be the proud possession of the showroom’s owner. Still drooling along with me? Not to worry, the WSJ’s article this month can help make all your automotive dreams a reality. Steve McQueen, get back here! Oooooga!
Responsible for arguably one of the most seductive water scenes in film, Jacqueline Bisset stuns in a soaking wet t-shirt in the 1977 film The Deep. Although the film isn’t considered to be a total blockbuster, I do love watching the makeup kiss scene featuring the English bombshell and her lover David Sanders (played by Nick Nolte). That’s right, mustache et all.
I don’t know if I’m more in love with the story about the hotel’s evolution or the tales of bronzed jet-setters drinking limonata by the saltwater pool, but I do know, I am going.
Known for luring those who love “barefoot luxury”, Il Pellicano has been a sought out destination in Porto Ercole since the early 60’s.
The hotel’s founders, American glass heiress Patricia and handsome British aviator Michael Graham (above), met by fate at a Beverly Hills soirée one evening in 1952. Just a few years prior, Michael earned the nickame “Crash” after miraculously surviving the crash of a Pan Am Clipper in the Syrian desert. (The crash killed 14 people, many burned beyond recognition). Taken by this heroic gent, Patricia, (who was married at the time to a WWII pilot), tore the New York Times article out of the newspaper for safe keeping. Fast-forward two years after the fabled crash and Patricia (now a widow), and her heroic Michael become mutually enchanted with each other and marry. Fairytale? I think so.
After they settled down at a large estate on Pelican Point Road in Marin County, the couple started looking for an European escape, ultimately shaking hands with Prince Alessandro Borghese on a plot of land in October of 1962. Initially, they wanted to keep the location private as a celebration of their love and the surrounding Tuscan coast, but later decided to invite their glamorous friends and respective families to relish in its magic. The vintage photos below reflect the hotel in its true glory, a quiet playground by day for those that desired to spend their afternoons engrossed in a game of backgammon adorned in silky kaftans, wet bathing suits and straw hats. In the evening, the hotel glittered with sun-kissed guests recounting tales of their travels over cocktails and music. Today, the hotel is a Relais & Châteaux property continually regarded as one of the most unique, romantic resorts in the world.
…So who is coming with? Just so happens I found an idyllic seafront villa to enjoy after our stint at Il Pellicano. Ciao!
Photographs by Slim Aarons and John Swope from the book, Hotel Il Pellicano.