This past Saturday night we hosted our first “Road Party” in the country and it was  spectacular!  It was attended by nine families including ours and was so successful, we have decided to make it an annual event.            

Our House


Unlike suburban neighborhoods with streetlights and sidewalks, our road in the country is light-less and dirt. While our home is situated close to the road, most of the other homes that dot our road are nestled in the mountainside at the end of dirt driveways, many of which are a half mile long or more. 

Our Road 


That being the case, it should come as no surprise that after ten summers in the country, we knew little, if anything about our neighbors.  But all that changed last summer, when we met our new neighbor Jeanne and her dog Zippy.

Zippy and Charlie became fast friends and Charlie (as well as Irwin & myself) eagerly anticipated Zippy & Jeanne’s impromptu visits before or after their afternoon walk.  Jeanne, living here full time for half the year had managed to meet more local people in her first month here, than we had met in the ten years previous and it was through her that we finally met some of our neighbors last Labor Day.

Zippy & Charlie: Best Buddies


This year Jeanne had a brilliant idea.  She suggested we collaborate and host a “Road Party” to get to know more of our “hidden” neighbors. Because there is nothing we enjoy more than hosting a party, we immediately offered our home for the event.  Jeanne dropped mailers in every mailbox and under every front door she could find on our half of the road (the road is over three miles long) asking people to RSVP and bring an appetizer, side or dessert.  We had no idea who or what to expect and the result was more wonderful than we could have ever anticipated.

Our neighbors regardless of whether they were able to attend or not, called and emailed telling us how much they loved the idea of a road party. Despite never having any discussion about specifically what anyone was bringing, the collaboration was astounding and the resulting menu blended together seamlessly and needless to say, the buffet was plentiful.

In keeping with our slow home philosophy, we re-purposed cloth napkins and dishes that we had originally purchased and/or made for our children's B’nai-Mitzvah years ago and made a tablecloth from an upholstery fabric remnant.  Using our own silverware, the only disposable items used at the gathering were about thirty plastic cups, which were recyclable.

Tableware set up: Nothing Disposable Here


Irwin took two colors of napkins from the assortment and in lieu of napkin rings, he used a roll of twine we had and rolled and tied each napkin with a simple twine bow; an easy and inexpensive touch that made tremendous visual impact.

Re-purposed napkins tied with everyday twine


Irwin then strategically placed cut flowers from our garden in vintage silver plated champagne glasses as well as a collection of vintage vases we have accumulated over the years.  He supplemented our garden’s bounty with flowers Jeanne had purchased at a local farm to complete the arrangements.

Vintage silver plated champagne glass with farm flowers


More home grown flowers


Farm Flowers in our vintage vase


More local flowers in a vintage silver plated bowl



And...More local & farm flowers


our miniature roses


And the food, have I mentioned the food? Well, all of the food we prepared as well as the food that our guests brought was made with locally grown or purchased ingredients and was amazingly fresh and tasty.

Irwin's Fresh Mozzarella, tomato & basil salad-locally grown with toasted ciabatta bread & hummus



a new twist: hummus served in margarita glasses



Can't you just smell the fresh basil?



Jeanne's home made roasted chicken salad


My home made pasta w/arugula pesto sun dried tomatoes goat cheese and local grilled corn


Our neighbor Gloria's garden salad made form vegetables she grew in her garden (sorry for the leftovers photo)


Drinks including water, Iced tea and my special vodka cocktail


Jeanne's home made peach & plum pie made with locally grown fruit



my home made cupcakes



 Charlie: Ready for guests




Although I stopped taking pictures when the guests arrived, I must list the delicious additions they contributed to the event:

  • A home made Ceasar salad
  • A home made Goat Cheese & Pesto Torta
  • A home made grilled summer squash salad ( squash grown in neighbor's garden)
  • Home made crab filled finger sandwiches
  • A fruit salad that included sever types of locally grown plums as well as peaches
  • An assortment of local artisanal cheeses
  • A rustic peach pie made by a local farm as well as a mixed berry pie from our local Biodynamic farm

But more than the wonderful food, the time spent getting to know our neighbors was priceless.  We met new neighbors to the road as well as long standing residents; weekenders like ourselves as well as full-timers. We shared a meal as well as our love for this special place on our planet and as the evening came to a close and we cleaned up, we all agreed to do this again next year.


Glasses that we frosted for oldest son's bar mitzvah in 2001 now staples in the country


sarah's Gravatar Yummy and beautiful! Looks so much more delicious than
the dinner I had tonight!
# Posted By sarah | 8/23/10 9:13 PM
Jonathan Legate's Gravatar What a beautiful event. You always do such a lovely job!
# Posted By Jonathan Legate | 8/24/10 12:01 AM
Wanda Horton's Gravatar Thank you for sharing a lovely evening. I feel like a well-treated guest, just by reading about your party. The Irwin's are the consumate hosts!
All my best! Wanda
# Posted By Wanda Horton | 8/24/10 9:52 AM
marcy's Gravatar Thank you Sarah, Jonathan & Wanda!

We do love to entertain and this was such a special evening. We are sooo looking forward to doing this again next year.
# Posted By marcy | 8/25/10 7:07 PM
Irene Turner's Gravatar yes... I do like this post as well, ties into the whole Northern California Slow Food, Slow Movement. Of course being from the east coast my self originally I love the fact that you are all right up there with us!
# Posted By Irene Turner | 8/25/10 9:50 PM
veronika miller's Gravatar So seriously jealous. What an amazing sense of style. You guys are amazing!
# Posted By veronika miller | 8/26/10 11:29 AM
AnneLubnerDesigns's Gravatar What a scrumptious meal and so beautifully presented that I feel hungry now! And socializing with ones neighbors, something we don't often do, brings a special sort of contentment knowing that we are surrounded by friends.
# Posted By AnneLubnerDesigns | 8/27/10 11:34 AM
Jeff Day/TLS by Design's Gravatar Tasteful in every way!
# Posted By Jeff Day/TLS by Design | 8/28/10 4:11 PM
marcy's Gravatar Thank you Irene. We are definitely with you! This has been so fulfilling on so many levels- I actually spoke to 3 of my country neighbors today. It is absolutely wonderful!

Thank you Veronika- we LOVE entertaining!

Thank you Anne, it has been so wonderful getting to know our neighbors- and the meal was a bonus-lol. Had friends over for lunch today- and having neighbors over for cocktails & dinner tomorrow- will update you on those menus as wel-lol

Thank you Jeff! Tasty & tasteful -our favorite combo-lol.
# Posted By marcy | 8/28/10 10:35 PM
Beth's Gravatar As one of the newest neighbors attending the Road Party, my husband and I were delighted to receive the invite and join in the fun. We moved to this quiet, woodsy road just 8 months ago and we were longing
to meet the other folks living nearby. Marcy and Irwin provided the loveliest setting (their home) and the catalyst for good people coming together, enjoying great food, having interesting conversation and
making new friends. Thanks to you both. It was a grand event.
# Posted By Beth | 8/31/10 2:01 PM
Norbridge Antiques's Gravatar What a super idea for summer entertainment! I love the idea of mixing the napkins.
Kind regards,
# Posted By Norbridge Antiques | 9/5/10 10:20 AM
StarrMiller's Gravatar Beautiful living with beautiful people!
# Posted By StarrMiller | 9/19/10 2:50 PM