Just a few hours from Atlanta in the Blue Ridge Mountains, experience a charming destination that takes you to another era with new offerings from Old Edwards Inn and Spa’s sister inn, Half-Mile Farm.
Half-Mile Farm’s Debbie Delany tends to the garden. PHOTO COURTESY OF OLD EDWARDS INN AND SPA
Bliss is the word that comes to mind when ruminating on a getaway to Highlands, N.C. And why “bliss,” you might ask? From the moment you enter the wildflower-lined front drive, reality slips away upon pulling up to the porte-cochere, instantly transporting you to mountain time. (We’re deeming this the higher-elevation equivalent of island time.) What you may not expect, though, is the way in which these hideaways transform as summer sunsets draw near, the gathering seasons begins and agreeable weather ignites the urge to concoct a fresh cocktail.
Old Edwards Inn and Spa’s sister property, Half-Mile Farm, sits just a short jaunt away and is planning on introducing an exciting new experience on the grounds. This June, you can participate in its Garden to Glass class and become a student of Summer Gathering with garden caretaker Debbie Delany. How did they think to merge the garden with the cocktail bar? “Audrey, our mixologist, and I got to know each other over the course of the summer because I’d regularly bring her a vase of fresh-cut flowers and herbs from the garden,” says Delany. “I shared with her that it feels so important for me to reconnect folks with the ancient art of creating drinks as if they were potions, refreshing elixirs touched with the subtleties of edible flowers and delicious herbs.” This new implementation is simultaneously educational and connecting as Delany informs you about each plant, summer herb and flower.
A PHOTO COURTESY OF OLD EDWARDS INN AND SPA
Now, the “glass” portion of the class comes in, and, yes, we know that we’ve stalled for long enough, but you can’t talk about Old Edwards Inn without touching on the dreamy getaway as a whole. If you’re a guest who, as Delany puts it, is “interested in taking the mystery out of gardening and mixology,” this class is right up your alley. After getting familiarized with the cocktail ingredients, guests will then head to the Woodland Room to meet bar manager and mixologist Audrey Porterfield. “Together, we talked for hours, gathering our ideas together,” Delany says of the brainstorming process. “It was a magical exchange, our creative minds imagining the possibilities.” Delany and Porterfield encourage guests to “come with a beginner’s brain” to learn the history behind gin and play mixologist for a day. Cocktails vary in contents from Delany’s lavender syrup fresh from the garden to pre-made decorative ice cubes encasing digestive herbs and edible flowers.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLD EDWARDS INN AND SPA
Delany and Porterfield encourage guests to “come with a beginner’s brain” to learn the history behind gin and play mixologist for a day. Cocktails vary in contents from Delany’s lavender syrup fresh from the garden to pre-made decorative ice cubes encasing digestive herbs and edible flowers. At the end of class, included in the experience are thoughtful keepsakes to take back to the real world. Expect a recipe card for each cocktail so you don’t have to rack your brain when attempting to recreate the libations. Guests will also come away with a gathering basket to instill newfound botanical knowledge, a potted lavender plant and gardening gloves to remind them of the creative synergy experiences at the Garden to Glass class at Half-Mile Farm. Consider your class booked and that sought-after getaway taken care of. 445 Main St., Highlands, N.C., oldedwardshospitality.com
Photography by: Old Edwards Inn & Spa