Blount Mansion “gets dressed” for the holidays. This pretty mantel was decorated by the Knoxville Garden Club, which also takes care of the grounds on the outside of the historic structure.
Blount Mansion, known to Native Americans when it was built in 1792 as “the house with many eyes,” is a special Knoxville space.
Designated a National Historic Landmark, it was built by William Blount, a North Carolina politician and land speculator and one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. He was appointed by President George Washington to be governor of what was then known as the “Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio” (not the most creative name I’ve ever heard), part of which later would become the state of Tennessee.
Today, Blount Mansion, located downtown at 200 W. Hill Avenue, is recognized as the oldest museum in Knoxville and is dubbed the birthplace of the state of Tennessee because, not only did Blount, his family and his 10 slaves live there, but his office was there, from which he governed the young territory.
Dorothy and Caesar Stair III. She’s Blount Mansion’s patron saint!
Blount Mansion was made even more special recently when the Knoxville Garden Club performed its annual ritual of decorating the building for the holidays. This meant lots of fresh greenery and candlelight. (Today, we have very realistic fake candles, thank goodness. I don’t think any real fire should be allowed in the ancient wooden structure that is Blount Mansion.)
Blount Mansion’s supporters threw a Christmas dinner to show off the pretty decorations. Food was by Northshore Brasserie — and it was fantastic. Thanks to Dorothy Stair for inviting us to this sweet evening. She’s probably Blount Mansion’s biggest fan and supporter.
The sun was setting as guests arrived for the Christmas dinner at Blount Mansion. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Stephanie Balest, the owner of Northshore Brasserie, offering tiny crab cakes to John Schmid, center, and Alan Carmichael.
All set! This is the back dining room. Love the greenery.
Enjoying the cocktail hour, from left, Jasmine Veljanovska, Natalia Naumoff, Dean Smith and Jared Smith.
Jason and Kathryn Good. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Mark Love and Laura Davis. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Brian Pittman and Lori Campbell. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Duck empanadas, anyone?
From left, Andrea Bailey Cox, Jim and Lindsay McDonough and Former Knoxville Mayor and Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe. Bailey Cox is the new executive director of the Aslan Foundation. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Melissa McAdams, left, with Kim and Beecher Bartlett. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Natalie and City Councilman Marshall Stair. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Pee Jay and Allison Easterday Alexander. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Charcuterie balls. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Anne Pittenger, left, with Dorothy Stair. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Very seasonal mantel beneath portrait of George Washington. This was my favorite.
Pretty berry wreath.
Dinner began with a delicious red wine-poached pear salad with pinenuts and Gorgonzola. It’s Northshore Brasserie’s signature salad.
Knoxville City Councilman George and Stephanie Wallace. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Lori Campbell visiting with Caesar Stair.
Ann Brookshire, left, and Sheena McCall. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Gaines and Anne Pittenger. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
The short ribs served as an entree literally fell off the bones. Fantastic.
Brian and Mary Pittman having a swell time. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
From left, Jim McDonough, Will McDonough and Robert Young. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
John Thomas and Mary Spengler. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
From left, Ellen Capito, John and Carol Schmid. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Victor and Joan Ashe. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Andrea Bailey Cox and Stephen Cox. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Chris and Eden Bishop with Laura Davis, at right. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Dessert was German chocolate cake.
Dominick White and Stephanie Balest, front, with, from left, Laura Davis, Allison Easterday Alexander and Ellen Capito. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
After dinner, Dominck White, left, and Pee Jay Alexander delighted us with Christmas carols. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
Kudos to Stephanie Balest and Chef Joe Cunningham of Northshore Brasserie. (Photo by Vaiden Taylor.)
And to Connor Coffee of Bob’s Package Store, who provided the wine pairings.
Happy holidays, everybody!