Donna and Bill Cobble own Marblegate Farm, located on a peninsula that was the site of a train derailment that resulted in huge chunks of raw marble being dumped on the site.
Sometimes an event and its location are a perfect match. That was the case recently when the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont held its annual fundraiser at Marblegate Farm in Friendsville, Tennessee.
It’s not the first time this event has been held there. But it’s the first time we’ve been to it at this site. (We attended it when it was held at Lakeshore Park several years ago.)
I was, frankly, blown away with the beauty of Marblegate Farm. It’s no wonder that, as owner Donna Cobble told me, they already have 72 weddings on their books this year.
Marblegate is located on 200 acres of farmland with 8,500 feet of waterfront. And, since the Institute at Tremont is all about “connecting people with nature,” you couldn’t pick a better location.
Tremont, located in the Walker Valley area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend, currently is engaged in raising money for a second campus that will expand the educational offerings of the more than 50-year-old institute.
Here’s the sight when you arrive and check into an event at Marblegate Farm.
Inside the main hall.
Jenny and Randy Boyd were there.
From left, Sharon and Richard Donnell with Taylor Schull.
Richard Maples, left, and Darby Campbell.
The passed appetizers were terrific: pimento cheese bites with pepper jelly, artichoke dip in phyllo cups and ham biscuits!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash with park spokesperson Dana Soehn.
Joe Emert, left, and John Tolsma.
From left, Lee Ann Tolsma, Grant and Ann Bowman.
Part of the party was held indoors and part was outdoors.
Great place to explore and just enjoy being outside.
Meanwhile, back at the party, it was great to see old friends Janice and Lew Weems.
From left, Colby West, Ethan Shaw and Brooke Curtis.
We were guests of Sheryl Linck of The Trust Company of Tennessee, and her husband, Garry Conklin. That’s my husband, Alan Carmichael, at right.
Knoxville City Councilmember Tommy Smith with Catey McClary, president and CEO of the Institute at Tremont.
Stephanie Kyriazis, left, and Jan Houston-Hickman.
From left, Joe Emert, Bill Cobble and Steve Kramer.
Knoxville City Councilmember Janet Testerman and her husband, Joey Creswell.
Jeremy and Dorry Floyd.
From left, Dr. Bryan Coker, Carol Evans and Alvin Nance.
From left, Doug Campbell, Chuck Griffin and Kelly Headden.
David Lazar, left, and Bob Booker.
This pretty salad was on the table when we were called in to dinner. It just looks like summer on a plate!
Katie Kline, left, and Carol Eimers.
Rhonda and John Clark.
Short ribs over grits made for a delicious entree.
Jim and Erin VanderSteeg.
Ann and Dick Ray.
Keela and Mike Honeycutt.
Tanner and Abigail Harris.
Retired State Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade, a longtime supporter of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevier County and East Tennessee, was emcee of the evening.
As part of the program, Catey McClary interviewed author John Judge, who said that getting out in nature as a young person is a catalyst for loving nature the rest of your life. The president and CEO of the Appalachian Mountain Club, he is the author of “The Outdoor Citizen. Get out. Give back. Get active.”
During the event, it was announced that TVA had contributed $250,000 to the campaign to fund a second Tremont campus.
After the formal program ended, guests could walk or take golf carts to what, to me, was the best part of the evening: music on the porch of the farmhouse.
We were among the first to arrive there.
We snagged seats on the porch, which turned out to be lucky when it started to drizzle. From left, Garry Conklin, Alan Carmichael and Sheryl Linck.
After-party sponsor Company Distilling provided refreshing libations.
First up was country/Americana artist Ed Snodderly, from upper East Tennessee.
Shawn Camp not only is an excellent musician, he is a prolific songwriter. Some of the hits he’s co-written: “Two More Pina Coladas” performed by Garth Brooks, George Strait’s “River of Love” and Josh Turner’s “Would You Go with Me.”
All in all, a fun evening for a great cause.