Memorial Day weekend is upon us, signaling the start of summer and the summer entertaining season. With its salt-water pools, outdoor kitchens, peaceful setting and generous public and private entertaining spaces, The Retreat at Mountain Brook is the perfect place for relaxed summer get-togethers with friends and family.
The property features two poolside outdoor kitchens with stacked-stone bars, vaulted roofs, ceiling fans and gas and charcoal grills. The new, championship-modeled tennis courts and the Flora Johnston Nature Trail (see details below) also provide opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with guests.
Because playing host can sometimes spark anxiety, we want to share some tips for making a Memorial Day party and other summer holiday gatherings as easy and stress-free as possible. We’d also like to pass along this amazing shrimp-and-crab-stuffed-pasta-shells recipe from our friend Sherry with the blog Rosemary and the Goat. It’s a great dish for a warm-weather party.
Memorial Day Entertaining Tips:
• Don’t feel like you have to provide every bite of food. Consider cooking the main dish and supplying drinks and asking your guests to bring sides and desserts.
• Remember the flowers. Decorating your indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces with some arrangements of locally grown flowers such as camellias, hydrangeas or jasmine doesn’t have to cost a lot, and it can make a big impact.
• Pick up some battery-operated, flameless candles or lanterns. They create a charming ambiance for evening dining on a patio or balcony.
• Let your friends and family help. If someone offers to help set up, man the grill or assist you in cleaning, take them up on it. Guests will feel much better helping rather than idling as you do all the work.
• Put a new spin on the patriotic theme. If you want to honor the spirit of the day but aren’t crazy about stars and stripes in your decorating, try a simple red and white or blue and white color palette. Serve strawberries, raspberries or blueberries to add color through food. The nautical look is popular this year, and you can inexpensively accent your décor with it by wrapping hardware-store rope around the vases and using coastal-style, flameless lanterns.
As promised, more about the Flora Johnston Nature Trail, located right next to The Retreat:
The Flora Johnston Nature Trail actually contains two trails, an upper and lower, that follow a branch of Shades Creek. Along approximately 2 miles of paths, you’ll find rock outcroppings and several places to sit and view the creek or do some bird watching. The trails are an easy walk perfect for families and groups.