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Willowdale Estate owner Briar Forsythe recently opened the doors to her 1901 Arts and Crafts-style stone mansion to a gathering of guests eager to enjoy a “Tuscany Under the Stars” themed evening. Nestled into the woods of Bradley Palmer State Park, the home’s back courtyard gave way to a vast view of a star-studded night sky. Strands of lights, perfectly appointed tables, and romantic arrangements by Topsfield’s Dogwood Floral added to the shared fantasy that we were truly in Tuscany. Chef Lightbody’s menu featured smoked heirloom gazpacho soup, a choice of three entrées including oven roasted local cod with stewed tomato basil sauce and white bean ragout, and a trio of Italian desserts. Following a delightful dinner set round with plenty of laughter and conversation, the ever-gracious Forsythe offered a brief tour of the house—the interiors of which have been preserved or restored to reflect the original design and construction by architect Charles Amos Cummings. The entire evening, from sunset to the last sip of wine and spoonful of tiramisu, evoked the spirit of the many grand parties held at Willowdale more than a century ago.

Be on the lookout for the magical Willowdale Estate in our upcoming wedding issue!