February 28, 2011

Sipping Champagne in High Cotton! Don't Miss The Swan House!

The Maine House closed it's doors this past week as Darling traveled to England on business, so Estelle's headed down to Atlanta to visit The Mori's! Oh, a week of grandbaby Luke and Mother/Daughter time with "Sweet Melissa" was absolute heaven! Shopping, cooking, sharing stories and chardonnay in the garden..oh yes, and our special treat was to visit The Swan House in Buckhead and then stroll over to The Swan Coach House for lunch!

 The Coach House, which was originally part of the Swan Home Estate of 1928, has been turned into a thriving restaurant, gift shop and art gallery with beautifully appointed rooms, exquisite gardens and spacious terraces. We sipped champagne punch and dined with the loveliest of southern ladies celebrating either birthdays or bridal showers! What a memorable day it was!

Swan House was built in 1928 for Edward and Emily Inman in Atlanta, Georgia. The Inmans had accumulated wealth "by inheritance" from cotton brokerage and investments on transportation, banking and real estate. Mr. Inman, known to be a cigar smoker of great means, actually burned down three of their estates. After their house in Ansley Park burned in 1924, the Inmans commissioned the Atlanta architectural firm of Hentz, Reid and Adler to design a new house in on 28 acres in Buckhead, a northern Atlanta neighborhood. The new mansion's design was executed by Philip Trammell Shutze, combining Renaissance revival styles with a Classical approach on the main facade. The rear facade is less formal, and is sited at the top of a small hill with terraced gardens and a fountain cascading down the hillside.

 A recurring motif are sculpted or painted swans throughout the house and grounds. Miss Emily had a beautiful wedding picture framed of herself which was considered rather risque for the early 1900's as she had removed her gloves and her arm was draped over the sofa as if she definitely was confident with her place in high society!

Edward Inman died in 1931, but Emily collected her family into the house and lived there until 1965. The house and grounds were acquired by the Atlanta Historical Society in 1966. The house is operated as part of the Atlanta History Center and is maintained as a 1920s and 1930s historic house museum, with many of the Inmans' original furnishings.

The tea room at The Swan Coach House has a menu of delightful southern salads, beverages and desserts! Most of the entree's are perfect for hosting ladies luncheons, baby showers or bridal celebrations. Estelle's has a few perfect recipes for these type of occasions and have been served at many of our family celebrations!

 Estelle's Chicken Salad

4 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 celery ribs, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

 Combine first 4 ingredients. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients. Add to chicken mixture, stirring gently until combined. Garnish with fresh fruits and serve on glass pedestal for celebration luncheons!

Estelle's Strawberry Nectarine Salad
4 large nectarines, cut in bite-sized wedges
3/4 cup Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing
1 (10-oz.) package gourmet mixed salad greens
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 (4-oz.) package crumbled feta cheese
1 large green tomato, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (3.5-oz.) package roasted glazed pecan pieces

Toss nectarines with 1/4 cup Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing. Layer gourmet mixed salad greens, nectarines, strawberries, and next 4 ingredients in a large glass bowl. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours.

Toss salad with remaining 1/2 cup dressing just before serving. We love adding 1/2 cup of  halved miniature heirloom green tomatoes for a festive southern look!

Our Visit to The Swan House

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