All content created by & © Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg
While we were in California last year, spending the day photographing Lake Tahoe with our friends, Adam Katseff and his wife Amy, they told us about the Greyfield Inn…the magical place they stayed on their honeymoon, one that they knew I would LOVE (turned out to be a major understatement). I knew the name sounded familiar, and once they mentioned it was on Cumberland Island, it all came back to me…an enchanting wedding, an all-American couple…but more on that tomorrow…
After hearing about it, I knew I had to see Greyfield Inn for myself and with the trip down to visit SCAD, it was the perfect opportunity. I’m an extremely visual person and I’m sure it comes to no surprise to you that I quite often dream about the way life looked “back then”. I think walking through the doors of Greyfield will be as close as I will ever get to knowing the way it might have actually looked…
You leave your car on Amelia Island and Mitti, one of the four owners and inheritors of Greyfield and the Carnegie property, takes you by boat to Cumberland Island. Walking up from the dock the giant, old live oaks seem to wave at you with their long fingers of Spanish moss, diffusing the afternoon sun into a sparkling haze underneath their centuries-old canopy. Then, from behind the trees you catch the first glimpse of the four story white mansion they call Greyfield. Built in 1900 as a wedding gift to the Carnegie’s daughter, Margaret, this home is still furnished with many of the original pieces of that era but with exceptional modern day comforts (ummm…air-conditioning). As you walk up the grand staircase to the second floor porch lined with rocking chairs and swinging daybeds, you regret how short your stay is. Now, up in the canopy of live oaks, you overlook the property of white picketed fences and fields of grazing wild horses and as they offer you organic rosemary lemonade, if you’re like me, you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
The house, grand as it is, still holds a very sweet intimacy. At night, sitting out by the waterway looking back on her, she stands a soft pearly white in the light of the moon, framed by Spanish moss draped trees with a golden light glowing out of every window, so warm and welcoming you would swear the evening was meant just for you. The charm extends to the inside with its historic clawfoot bathtubs, immaculate upkeep, full service bar, organic meals, classic high quality southern linens and L’Occitane toiletries. Every evening, men in dinner jackets and ladies in our sweet southern dresses snack on hors d’oeuvres and classic Southern cocktails (recipe for my favorite below!), awaiting a dinner bell around 7:30 where we all move into the formal dining room for that night’s seasonal meal which at times can harvest ingredients from Greyfield’s own impressive garden.
I know on busy New York days or times when I’m caught in a blizzard, I will think back on this memory and my soul will fill with the warmth of these sunny afternoons, lost on Cumberland Island in a dream called Greyfield…
My history and love for Savannah runs really deep. Now you know SCAD as intimately as I do, and you’ve walked the streets of Savannah and fallen in love with student and alumni works. My first introduction to this great place was not through the first visit with my father but through the book and film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I love this book. I love the characters. I love how Kevin Spacey plays Jim Williams who also did so much for the preservation of Savannah. My FAVORITE home in the world is the Mercer Williams house – I’ve toured it multiple times, and as rumor has it, Jackie Kennedy once offered to buy it. You can imagine my excitement when SCAD, in traditional southern hospitality style, invited Kevin and I to stay at Magnolia Hall, the home where John Berendt wrote the book I adore so much! We drank champagne on the grand porch overlooking Forsyth Park each evening, watching the day come to a close. We snuck into any room that was open out of sheer curiosity, admiring the interior design done by SCAD’s own president and co-founder Paula Wallace. SCAD maintains this historic 3-story 2nd empire residence built in 1878, as a place to offer their special guests… which is exactly what you feel like at Magnolia Hall.
ps- notable guests such as Oliver Stone, Mark Jacobs, DVF, Marina Abramovic, and Andre Leon Talley have stayed here!
What comes of all the creativity that pours out of Savannah School of Art and Design?… SCAD President and co-founder Paula S. Wallace answered that question with shopSCAD, a unique store in the heart of historic Savannah, Georgia where students and alumni can showcase their talents though innovative handmade works of jewelry, paintings, sculpture, pottery, housewares and more available for purchase. ShopSCAD is always on my list of *must do* Savannah visits every time we are in town! So inspiring!