Change Your Perspective: Dinner with a View


Sometimes we just need to escape for a bit. To leave behind the rancor of the daily news and pause in a place filled with beauty and peace. Sometimes, we need to free ourselves from the quagmire of the daily grind and feel the thrill of a magical moment. Sometimes, we need to put down our long to-do list, turn off our phones, and suspend time, laughing with people we hold dear. Here’s my advice to you: Do it. Just do it. And, soon.


Awestruck, thankful, joyful, humble. Restored. That’s how I feel when I escape to the lookout tower, an open air oasis above the roofline at my friend Beth and Mike’s home in the country.


When the couple built their home, their architect urged them to turn this unused attic space into a rustic room. Without any heat but the sun or air conditioning by the fall breeze, the treetop space is rimmed by shuttered windows that give a panoramic view of the fields, woods and river valley below.


For Beth, the lookout tower is a personal retreat. And, an enchanting spot for a gathering of friends, whether for dinner, dessert or drinks. Today, the lookout tower is set for an intimate fall dinner party.


I blogged last week about Beth and my shared love of plaid. So you can image how weak-in-the-knees I felt when I took in Beth’s table. This rich wood plaid tablecloth is really two pieces of fabric from Nell Hill’s, each about a yard-and-a-half long, turned on the diagonal and layered so they overlap in the center.  The beauty of creating a tablecloth like this is you don’t have to sew a thing (which makes me extremely happy!) and you can use the fabric for something else when you are finished, like accent pillows. Similarly, the three windowpane runners on this table are actually 72-inch strips of fabric,  folded in so no raw edges are exposed.


When the view outside the windows is this stunning, you can keep your centerpiece simple. A line of tall hurricane lamps packs a lot of visual drama but doesn’t overpower the table or interrupt cross-table conversation. A variety of fall mums popped into darling blue and white cachepots adds a lovely contrast to the browns, golds and rusts on the table. The centerpiece finishes off with a smattering of votive candles in mini terracotta flowerpots, one of Beth’s signature looks.


Beth is blessed to have some lovely serving pieces, handed down from her mother. This sweet silver bowl looks like it was made to be filled with apples out of their orchard at Riverbend.


In a world of grocery store fruit that’s picture perfect, it’s so refreshing to see real apples, in all their beautiful imperfections, dotted and dimpled gifts from nature. Apples harvested from Beth and Mike’s orchard are beguiling name card holders. Each place setting starts on a wicker charger, one of my favorites for fall because they add so much organic color and texture to the table. Beth’s keepsake china is mixed with a seasonal salad plate featuring a pheasant. A pheasant feather finishes off this lovely arrangement.


The first time Dan and I were invited to dessert in the lookout tower, I got goosebumps when I walked into this special retreat. I stood by the window, looking out for miles, knowing what a lucky person I was to be invited to escape the world below and breath in the joy, a celebration of fine food and friendship. I encourage you to do the same, soon!


For your fall gathering, try Beth’s favorite fall punch:


1 bottle of Pinot Grigio wine

1 cup of caramel vodka

6 cups of apple cider

1 cinnamon stick

Garnish with sliced apples

Serves 10

“I like to mix the punch up in large plastic freezer bags and freeze it, then thaw into a slush before serving. Or, just serve over ice,” Beth says.


Next Week …What’s going to be on your door this holiday season? Our design team will have some fun looks to inspire you.