Heat drives partiers into “Garage-Mahal”

Volunteer Barbara Apking, a member of the host committee, offers cheddar cheese coins to arriving guests at the Summer Supper at Murphy Springs Farm

It was literally 92 degrees in the shade last month when the organizers of the Summer Supper at Murphy Springs Farm decided to move the event indoors. The logical choice? Farm owner Kevin Murphy’s huge garage — or “the Garage-Mahal,” as they called it!

Murphy Springs Farm is one of 13 so called “century farms” in Knox County. That means it has been owned and farmed by the same family for more than 100 years. The Murphy Springs Farm consists of 205 acres of land located in northeast Knox County at Washington Pike and Murphy Road — just outside the Knoxville city limits.

The sold-out Summer Supper was the first of three such fundraising events benefiting Knox Heritage, East Tennessee’s premier preservation organization. (There are a few tickets left for the final Summer Supper coming up on July 13.)

The toasty evening started with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served on the lawn of the historic farmhouse. Dinner followed in the garage.

This farmhouse originally was built in 1840 on property settled in 1797 by Robert and Martha Murphy.

The farm’s owner, Kevin Murphy, center, with Don Horton, left, and Darrell Benton, also a host.

Christine Cloninger, Knox Heritage’s executive director, with host Tobias Kight.

Another host, Stanton Webster, offering my favorite libation, Pinot Grigio! (That’s Jerry Lenn sneaking up on him!)

From left, guests Todd Richesin, Bobby Brown, Rich Vermuellen, and Chris McKenry.

Hosts Steven Drevik and Mary Holbrook. Those deviled eggs were great!

Alan Carmichael snagging a pimento cheese crostini from host Sandy Martin.

Don and Sarah Cassell.

Guests Stephanie Wayland and Edwin Jenkins.

Some folks checking out the Spring House on the property.

Don and Ruth Horton with Sherry Murphy, center.

Randall De Ford, another host, offering pimento cheese crostini.

Guests R.J. and Megan Duncan.

Teresa Scott, a correspondent for “VIP Knoxville” magazine, posing in front of the house.

Lane Hays carrying two of the evening’s signature cocktails called “Watermelon Waltzes.”

Kim and Dennis Denton.

From left, Judy Pyne, Betty Sue Sparks, and Emily Lenn.

Hosts James Waxmonsky and Michelle Mokry.

From left, John Niceley, Doug Sparks, and Randy Pyne outside the “Garage-Mahal.”

Hosts Emily and Mark Campen. They arranged the beautiful flowers you will see on the tables.

Jerry and Emily Lenn.

Host Gay Lyons, center, with newlyweds Joseph and Laura Lenn. Gay actually made those cheddar cheese coins she’s passing out!

Hosts Christy and Scott Brooks were staffing the bar.

Host Darrell Benton offering prosciutto-wrapped melon. The prosciutto is from his family’s Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Madisonville.

Hosts Dan and Mary Holbrook.

I took a peek inside the farmhouse. Here’s the dining room.

Some original window panes in the dining room.

The large kitchen has an interesting mix of old and new features.

J.D. Sizemoor shows off a refrigerator from 1925. It holds chilled glasses and dishes.

Host Whitney Manahan, left, with Chuckie Kirby.

Host Carson Kirby, left, with guest Stuart Worden.


Lounging in the living room!

Over at the Garage-Mahal, beautiful tables were set up.

Kim Trent, the former long-time executive director of Knox Heritage, was prepared to handle wine service.

I loved the centerpieces. All the hosts were asked to bring in flowers cut from their yards. Then Emily Campen, with help from her husband, Mark, and others, arranged them into pretty bouquets!

That’s why they were all different. Isn’t that a great idea?

Even the napkins were decorated with fresh flowers.

Krista Lee, left, and Erika Nadaud on the patio behind the garage.

Christine Cloninger making welcoming remarks.

Kevin Murphy told a little about the farm.

Here’s a sample of the fabulous dinner prepared by Holly Hambright of Holly’s Gourmet’s Market and Cafe. Clockwise, from top left: fried chicken, cast iron skillet cornbread, potato salad, carrots with Muddy Pond Sorghum sauce; and peach cobbler.

A happy table! From left, Laura, Joseph, Jerry, and Emily Lenn.

Peach cobbler and ice cream to end the evening.

Goodnight, everybody! Martha Kern and John NIceley.





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6 Responses to Heat drives partiers into “Garage-Mahal”

  1. Christine Cloninger, on July 2nd, 2024 at 10:07 am said:

    Thanks for your support and coverage, Cynthia! It’s always a pleasure to see you and Alan at the Summer Suppers. It was indeed a hot one – thank goodness for the “Garage-Mahal”!

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on July 2nd, 2024 at 11:07 am said:

    Christine: You all do such a wonderful job with the Summer Suppers! We go to all that we can. And, thankfully, Knox Heritage has the best, most creative volunteers to help pull them off!

  3. Martha Jean Bratton, on July 2nd, 2024 at 12:46 pm said:

    What fun!

  4. Gay Lyons, on July 2nd, 2024 at 3:13 pm said:

    While we hated to pass on the beautiful outdoor setting, we decided our guests would enjoy the comfort of Kevin’s Garage Mahal.

  5. Cynthia Moxley, on July 2nd, 2024 at 3:19 pm said:

    Martha Jean: It was!

    Gay: Oh, you definitely made the right decision! It was still fun! And nobody passed out from heat stroke!

  6. Monique Anderson, on July 3rd, 2024 at 11:10 am said:

    Summer Supers are always such fun!

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