19 January 2017

2016 MICHIGAN Kalamazoo - A Shower

These spring/summer events are in no particular order, but first I'll write about a fun shower. One of my best friends from the Ladies' Library Association invited me to her daughter's wedding shower. My friend Suzi from San Francisco happened to be in town on the date and was graciously invited to join as well.

The shower was held at The Oaklands, an oddly placed building on Western Michigan's modern campus. (This outside photo is from WMU archives.)  I had always been curious about this Italianate "villa" and it did not let me down. Although the spring crocus were popping, it was still snowy that day.

The original builder of the home was Robert Babcock. He started a successful dry goods business in Kalamazoo and eventually became President of the First National Bank here. In 1869 he bought 16 acres in the area and built this 13-room structure named for the oaks in his front yard. It was such a prominent site that later the railroad stopped in a spot just down the hill from the home.

The property passed through a number of owners. It was used as a breeding farm for harness horses, including the famous (if you are a horsey person) Peter the Great, as well as a golf course. It was finally purchased and restored by Western Michigan University in the 1940's. The inside was refurbished through a Designer Showcase event. It is lovely and elegant...just like the bride to be...and a perfect venue for this special event. For more history, go to: https://wmich.edu/oaklands/history.
It was cold and snowy outside, but warm and cozy inside. We were graciously greeted by the bride and her bride's maids, then wisked off to a side room. There we started the festivities with a choice of pina coladas.  Yum! There was a big basket of "beach" things as decoration to heat up the atmosphere. Hawaii is where the honeymoon was planned.

In the main parlor, we gathered and shared intros around the room. We all got a pen with a silk purple iris attached at the top to use in writing our bridal  game answers. (I use mine everyday, as it is so easy to find on my desk.)
Of course, there was the obligatory questions on how well we knew Riley and Patrick. Another game challenged us to remember the 30+ things from the "beach" basket. Those that knew or remembered the most got a nice gift, but all of us had a choice from a basket of aromatic handmade soap bars. I chose sandalwood.

Next we passed through the dining room for a tasty brunch buffet. There were lots of veggie items as my friend is a vegetarian. That suited me fine.

Desserts were served in a small windowed "gazebo." The sun was streaming in and outside looked like a white crystal carpet.
After brunch we again sat around in a circle to watch the bride open her gifts. We oohed and aahed as we saw the wonderful items Riley would start her wedded life with.

Here's a photo of Riley and her mom Carla. I'm sure Carla is remembering when Riley sat on her lap as a little one. Two sweeties!
As the afternoon ended, Patrick arrived to say hi and thanks to everyone for attending. We each got a parting gift. They were little white hand cut boxes (made by Riley and the "maids"). Enclosed were Sweet-Tart diamond engagement rings. Too cute!!!
Next read about the wedding.

PS - Here's a look at the vintage bathroom.

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If you have visited any of these places, we would love to hear your comments. Or send us recommendations of places we should not miss.