Garden Thoughts

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A garden grows with us over time – or do we grow with our garden?

acanthus at Stonehurst PlaceThis year at Stonehurst Place our gardens have flourished – 8 years on, they are really coming into their own.  I graduated in 2007 from a garden design school in London, fresh with ideas which I implemented at Stonehurst Place both inside and outside the inn.  For me, there is nothing like continuity and flow between the two spaces to truly create something comfortable and special.  Gardens continue to develop; it is our tendency to stuff them full of plants at the beginning so that they look ‘perfect’ from the get go, but to my eye the best gardens are ones that grow with us.  Our ideas change, our understanding of what we need and what the garden needs changes, and as we live together somehow it just seems to get better and better.
I’ve filled our gardens with special plants, like Acanthus mollis, which should never survive in our Zone 8 but does (and blooms!).  I was researching the plant in a garden design studio and
found the for sale website for the old Stonehurst B&B.  The house is filled with acanthus in various areas, from the carved lions heads on the dining room fireplace and the Music Room inglenook bench arms, to fabric I chose for the Music Room sheers and the large acanthus leaf in green concrete at our large front steps landing.
The BluffThere are special spots in our gardens, including The Bluff that overlooks Piedmont Avenue with a lovely bench to take in the sunset, have wedding photos taken, or just perch and look down
on street life passing by.  It is this area I will turn my focus and efforts to next – it has a beautiful backdrop of developing Hydrangeas, and stands of Hellebores or Lenten Roses around it, but I am working with Barry Glick of Sunshine Farms to fill the area with more and more stands of his lush and colorful Hellebores hybrids he creates using a paintbrush!  He’s an incredible plantsman, and you’ll find this Southern Living article about Barry and his Hellebores work fascinating.
Of course Barry has hundreds of other plant varieties, and I can’t wait to work with him and David Dempseyof Atlanta’s Viridis Garden Design to weave more unique plant materials in the area. When you stroll the gardens of Stonehurst Place, you will find small signs that let you know what beauties you’re looking at – a mini garden tour if you will.  Give it a twirl on your next visit – and be sure to notice our mulch made of crushed Georgia pecan shells!
Shadomy, Stonehurst Place
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Travel Your Way To a New, Smart You!

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According to a new study, travel makes you smarter!

This is great news for someone as travel-hardened as me. I found a fun internet piece identifying 9 reasons why traveling makes you smarter. Travel, it reads, activates the mind, slows you down, develops skills. All of these are crucial for people who want to age well and continue to develop. I don’t need another motivator to travel; for me travel is the perfect excuse to change my outlook, rethink habits and explore new corners of the world. But hey, I love a good study as much as the next person!

The thing is, traveling isn’t just about going to far flung places across the world, or on amazing safaris.  It’s about connecting with new people.  It’s about promoting understanding, grappling with empathy, and understanding new points of view.  As I read this 9 reasons article, I was struck by something – that’s what we offer at Stonehurst Place!  An amazing number of people come to Stonehurst Place for staycations, or small gatherings, and they do it because we offer access to a community.  One of our reviewers described us as a “b&b without the weirdness of a b&b,” and I loved that!  Bed and Breakfasts are amazing places to meet people, and thanks to Stonehurst Place’s reputation for service and the highest quality experience, we attract a fascinatingly diverse group of guests.  Many who stay at our inn are interested in art, literature and travel.  They often share and exchange wonderful stories about their own travels and culture with other guests.

Christmas in Rome makes you smarterWho am I, today?

Another reason travel is so vital is it helps you keep rediscovering yourself.  The article explains that living away from your routine life allows you to experience the moment more vividly, to once again prioritize your own health and well being.  Often we are so bound to schedules and routines that we lose touch with ourself.  Using time away to remember what you like, how you like it, when you like it, can be crucial for staving off burn out.

I’m planning my next vacation, Christmas in Rome.  I feel smarter already.

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place


“Impeccable experience!”

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We visited Stonehurst for our 15 year wedding anniversary last weekend. I have to say that the property and staff were beyond (way beyond) our wildest expectations-even after reading all of the rave reviews! The quality of the former homes furnishings and art collection were truly stunning. The breakfast was exquisite, and we genuinely enjoyed getting to know the staff. Paul is quite the host, and our conversation with him was one of the highlights of our visit. Don’t delay! Book now!!!

Posted on TripAdvisor by A TripAdvisor Member on July 12, 2016


Guests Rave about Chihuly in the Garden

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Chihuly 1

Chihuly in the Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is always beautiful, but Dale Chihuly’s exhibit transforms the gardens into something truly breathtaking. The exhibit “Chihuly in the Garden” runs through October 30, and Stonehurst Place guests have been coming from all over the world to view it, and returning with wonderful reviews.  Dale Chihuly, an American artist, is globally renowned for site-specific exhibitions. Working with the Garden’s horticulture team, he created roughly a third of the exhibit specifically for Atlanta. The works are on view amid plantings, floating in pools and suspended in air. Spectacular during the day, the exhibit becomes even more impressive after dark. We encourage our guests to experience the artwork stunningly lit during “Chihuly Nights,” which runs Wednesday through Sunday, until 10:00 PM.

Chihuly and Stonehurst PlaceThis Second Chihuly Exhibit is Just as Exciting!

Chihuly made his debut at the Gardens in 2004, during what was a first-time effort to market the botanical attraction as an open-air museum. Garden visitation more than doubled and memberships rose. According to a Garden spokesperson, members and guests never stopped asking for an encore, and this year’s exhibit helps mark the 40th anniversary of the Gardens.  The exhibit was shipped in six 53-foot containers containing thousands of elements. The installation took over two weeks.

See our Chihuly piece up close and in person!
Stonehurst Place has its own piece of Chihuly on display for guests – a portion of the Crystal Cascade piece at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle.


“Need to create a six-star category for this”

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Location- awesome home- awesome rooms- awesome (Hinnman room shower- wow wow wow- that alone is worth the trip) innkeepers- Paul and Lori (and Mardin) are about the best folks you can meet, and breakfasts and snacks are fantastic. wouldn’t want to stay anywhere else in Atlanta.

Posted on TripAdvisor by 49212Rudiger_r, High Point, North Carolina on June 24, 2016


Travel Ideas: Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

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The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was the perfect compromise between the safari I craved, and the comfort I needed.

Stonehurst Place and SafariThe Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is located in Tanzania on the edge of the world famous World Heritage Site of the Ngorongoro Crater.  Within the crater, the animals have their own migration independent from the rest of Tanzania, which means you have a much higher chance of seeing animals on safari drives.  Surrounding the lodge, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans 3,200 square miles, stretching from the Rift Valley to the Serengeti.  I have never seen as many elephants as I did on this journey!  Our keen-eyed game driver spotted so many different animals, and from our vantage point we could enjoy watching them without fear. The safari aspect was truly amazing. The crater had the atmosphere of an exotic and fascinating outdoor zoo. Because the animals are contained in the crater and the drivers are limited to driving on the paths, it was not as adventurous as the other safaris I have made. Yet somehow, despite this limitation, I would consider this one of the most exciting travel adventures I have been on.

Stonehurst Place and SafariAll that excitement pales in comparison to the absolute luxury of the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge itself.  The individual lodges (your suite) are built in the style of the Maasai indigenous to the area, which means they are small and round and generally unexciting from the outside. Yet somehow, the staff at the Crater Lodge managed to make the entire experience amazing. On return from the game drive, the Lodge would have already drawn a hot bath for you, so you coukd get out of the chilly Land Rover and straight into a bathtub with rose petals on top – the ultimate luxury. The bath was almost in the center in the room, which added to the feel of luxury of the experience. I felt like the ambience of the Lodge was the type of luxury I could get used to – fabulously furnished rooms with nice little extras, such as decanters of sherry, chocolates at night before a cosy log fire, and lavish amounts of beautiful red roses to create a warm ambience.

My absolute favorite part of the lodge, however, was how, even though we were on the edge of the crater, we were still in the middle of the jungle. You were escorted everywhere by local tribesmen because it was too dangerous to leave your cabin on your own. The local tribesmen who accompanied you usually wore their traditional garb, as well as western combat boots and a machine gun. At first I found the combination incongruous, but I was eventually comforted by the fact that the Maasi have been protecting their people from the dangers of the crater for centuries.

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place


“Charming and quiet – right in the heart of Atlanta”

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This is an incredibly charming old home that has been thoughtfully updated to offer all of the modern day amenities you’d expect from 5-star hotel while still maintaining the history of the home itself. We stayed in the master suite and while we knew Lori was just a few steps away to help us out with anything we needed, it still felt very private. The common areas were beautifully decorated and welcoming. I can’t wait to return!

Posted on by Shelley, US on June 19, 2016


Artists Spotlight: Corita Kent

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Corita Kent's work in the foyer at Stonehurst Place

Corita Kent’s work in the foyer at Stonehurst Place

Corita Kent, a true Revolutionary

Corita Kent is one of the more revolutionary American artists in the second half of the 19th century. She gained attention for her role in the Pop Art Movement, but is more famous among Art Historians for her use of serigraphs, or silkscreens. She was among the first artists to use this technique, bringing the medium into the American tradition of Fine Art.  I am lucky to have two of her original pieces hanging in the entranceway of Stonehurst Place: ‘Cure of the Blind Man‘ and ‘In the Beginning‘.

A fan of Kent’s work since childhood, I didn’t actually add these two pieces two my collection through purchase. My mom, who got them directly from Kent herself, gave these two pieces to me. In 1956, both my parents were graduate students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  When my mom’s local church, The Immaculate Heart of Mary, needed substitute teachers, my parents volunteered.  After their time was up, they prepared to leave, only to be approached by Kent.  Then known by her Christian name, Sister Mary Corita, she was a nun at the IHM monastery. She invited my parents into her workshop and encouraged them to each chose one piece of art.

The two painting at Stonehurst Place are thus originals from Kent herself. Quite a provenance! This is actually very rare, since most of her artwork in circulation now are reprints. As you can see in the image, there is a third painting below Kent’s two; that’s a painting by one of her students that Kent included for my parents.

Go ahead, get your own!

'American Sampler' by Corita Kent

‘American Sampler’ by Corita Kent

I love Kent’s work, and I’ve always loved hearing my mom tell this story. Kent’s surrealist art had an incredible impact on the American artistic landscape, and she herself was a fascinating woman. At the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, they held an exhibition of her art in 2015. In their introduction to her, art critics Berry and Duncan talk about her “vibrant, Pop-inspired prints from the 1960s” which “pose philosophical questions about racism, war, poverty, and religion and remain iconic symbols of that period in American history.”

The Corita Art Center in Los Angeles is a wonderful place to explore and learn more about her art.  Kent was known for her bright color palette and many times over the course of her career she used red, white, and blue to deliver her message. One of the most striking examples was Kent’s 1969 piece ‘my country’. In 1976, Kent made several works to commemorate the US Bicentennial. This piece includes the Camus quote “I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.”  The quote appeared in Camus “Letters to a German Friend,” which was published in 1960’s Resistance, Rebellion, and Death around the time of Camus’ own untimely death at age 46.

To celebrate the Fourth of July, the Corita Art Center is offering this hand signed serigraph from an edition of 150 at a discounted price of $295, carefully packed and shipped with tracking via USPS.  Go ahead, get an original – this one’s a beauty!

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place