University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd puts his hospitality where his heart is. He and his wife, Jenny, donated a dinner for eight at their personal residence to be auctioned off at the recent UT Gardens Gala to benefit the UT Gardens. (You can see a report on that fun evening here.)
From left, sitting, Jenny and Randy Boyd, Melissa White and Gabriel Bolas; back row, from left, Joey Creswell, Janet Testerman, me, Alan Carmichael, Doug White and Tarah Bolas.
In fact, at the urging of ace auctioneer Bear Stephenson, they agreed to sell TWO of the private dinners. Lucky for me and my friend Janet Testerman, we were high bidders for one of the dinners. So we grabbed our spouses and two other fun couples and headed to the Boyds’ last weekend.
It was not what we expected. The Boyds recently have greatly expanded the entertainment options on their already spectacular for entertaining west Knoxville estate. And we got to see four new venues on their property — in addition to their lovely patio overlooking the Tennessee River where we actually sat down to dinner.
I told Randy that one of his neighbors said there is always some kind of construction project going on at the Boyds’ home. “It’s true,” Randy confirmed. “Everything you will see tonight wasn’t here 18 months ago.” Wow.
We started at the new garage. Yes, believe it or not, this is the garage!
Although there are other classic cars there, this one has some sentimental value. Boyd said his first car was a Volkswagen “bug.”
We had wine and appetizers — like these delicious little crabcakes — while touring the garage. The evening was catered by By the Tracks Catering.
As you can see, not your ordinary garage.
Loved this lamp made out of car parts! (A piston, I am told.)
Next up: the beautiful new party pavilion near the banks of the river.
Gabriel and Tarah Bolas checking out the view from the pavilion. That’s Blount County across the river.
Doug White, left, and Randy Boyd at the pavilion.
The view upriver.
Alan Carmichael, left, with Joey Creswell and Janet Testerman at the pavilion.
And the view downriver.
Tarah and Gabriel Bolas enjoying the ambience.
Dinner would be served on the patio.
Executive Chef John Bryant discussing some of the dishes, while Randy Boyd takes a picture of the food.
I did, too! Salad course featured fresh burrata cheese and grilled peaches; steak (and a lot of it!) for dinner; and the cutest little peach turnovers with homemade ice cream for dessert.
Alan Carmichael, left, and Joey Creswell chatting after dinner.
You are not going to believe what happened next!
Three of us — Jenny, Tarah and me — walked by this very cool lawn art to get into a nice golf cart, with Jenny driving. The other seven decided to hike to the next destination.
Which was an Airstream trailer parked in a breathtaking location!
Look at this view!
With a fun firepit.
Jenny and Tarah in the Airstream. Jenny said they’ve owned it over a year and only spent one night there. So far.
Cute container for ice and cold drinks!
Finally, our hiker friends arrived. Jenny went to meet them.
Janet ditched her shoes!
Randy told us about how things just keep expanding on the property!
Alan and the Bolases relaxing before sunset.
The moon was coming out as we said goodbye to this sweet retreat and moved on to our final location.
So, it seems that Jenny, a musician, had asked for a simple cabin with a back porch where people could play instruments. “Real basic,” she said. “No electricity.”
What she got was quite a bit more! And, yes, there is electricity!
And a pond. With a LOT of bullfrogs, if my hearing serves me right!
I loved this painting by former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice and Sevierville Mayor Gary Wade!
Here’s one by Jenny. She and Justice Wade painted them during a class they took together.
Here’s Doug out on the spacious back music porch. Thankfully, he was keeping track of Janet’s shoes!
Here’s the view when we said farewell.
We headed back to our cars and the Boyds gifted each couple with a case of wine from their Boyd Family Vineyards in Argentina. What a fabulous night for a great cause.
(This is not the first time a UT President has auctioned off dinner at his house to benefit the UT Gardens! Click here for a Blue Streak post about the time former UT President Joe DiPietro and his wife, Deb, had the same generous idea!)