By Ann Cipperly
for the observer


Impressed by the latest installment of Downton Abbey in theaters this previous weekend, Dani Nelson and Leif Espelund, owners of the Heritage Residence, supplied a glimpse into the exquisite lifetime of the period with a celebratory British afternoon tea named “Teatime.”

As friends arrived, Nelson served a preference of a citrus punch or a gin-laced beverage offered from a little punch bowl with balls of ice with a flower frozen in each, which had been manufactured by Kitty Greene. Visitors sipped the drinks as they took photos by the 1930 Ford Product A parked in entrance of the inn or peaceful in rocking chairs on the side porch.

At “Teatime,” Nelson invited absolutely everyone in as Mary Slaton was enjoying piano new music, featuring tunes from the period of Downton Abbey. Tables were being protected with white tablecloths and organized for two or four. Every desk was adorned with vases of bouquets, stunning classic china and a tiered tray featuring scrumptious savories and sweets for experiencing with tea. Some attending opted to provide a bottle of champagne for a festive addition.

On the base tier, two varieties of petite sandwiches ended up served that had been ready with Anna Claire and Matthew Stinson’s signature sourdough bread, together with cucumber and dill unfold and smoked salmon with capers.

The center tier showcased a basic English scone with clotted product and raspberry jam and a delicious cheddar and chives scone.

Crowning the leading tier have been splendid compact Victoria sponge cakes loaded with strawberry and cream and decadent chocolate marshmallow tea cakes. Desserts ended up handmade by Laurie Kirkpatrick of LK Compact Batch Baking, whose cakes are featured at Facet Monitor Coffee. 

A china pot stuffed with Earl Gray tea graced every single table. Herbal selections had been offered by ask for.

Nourish Blooms shown an assortment of lovely floral models.

Subsequent the tea, a professional photographer took shots of attendees at the antique car.

“Teatime was a genuine delight to convey to the neighborhood, and we hope that everyone experienced as much enjoyment attending as we had putting it collectively,” Nelson stated.

Heritage OF THE HERITAGE Property

Located at the entrance of the Northside Historic District, the Heritage Residence has stood as an Opelika landmark considering that 1912-1913 when William Cole “W.C.” Davis created the mansion as a present to his bride. His dad and mom, Mariah Cole and William Easley Davis, were offered the whole lot in 1890 when W.C. was born.

The Davises were dwelling on Geneva Road in Opelika when Mariah’s aunt and uncle, Prussia and Brady Preston, gifted the property on the corner of Next Ave. and Chambers St., afterwards transformed to 8th Street.

When W.C. made a decision to make a residence for his bride on the whole lot in 1911, he employed contractor B.E. Hudson to build the two-tale residence on the website for $12,500, as described in an write-up in the Opelika Day by day Information on Sept. 8, 1911, about the gorgeous property becoming created. A wooden house on the great deal was torn down.

An Ashlar block stone foundation, bluff brick veneer, Spanish tile roof and porch flooring with mosaic tiles were highlights of the recently created dwelling. 6 substantial colonial columns ended up arranged in round variety on the entrance with two open-air living rooms or sleeping porches.

In addition to acquiring a farm outside the house Opelika, W.C. ran a farm provide retail store situated in back of Hagedorn’s in downtown Opelika. He had a enjoy for reading, poetry, arts and executing arts. He handed away in 1965.

In 1971, Ruth Crook and her sister Virginia Magee, who operated the Odds and Ends antique store on South Railroad, acquired the home. They changed the name of their antique small business to Heritage Property, which they operated until finally retiring in 1989.

In 1993, Barbara Patton bought the home with her son, Richard. They transformed the house into an inn, opening in 1994 as the Heritage Property Bed and Breakfast. After Barbara was elected the very first girl mayor for Opelika, she offered the property in 2004 to Carole and Steve Harrison.

The Harrisons shut the small business in 2008 when they began owning grandchildren. In November 2015, Haley Wilder and her mother, Virginia Haley, obtained the dwelling. After repairs and painting, they opened in April 2016. The inn closed once more as the homeowners pursued other passions.

New Chapter in Possession

In June 2020, Nelson and Espelund opened the Heritage Household as a lavish bed and breakfast inn, as effectively as an occasion and wedding venue. Nelson, who is from Alexander Town, lived in many destinations performing with AmeriCorps for nine years ahead of she moved to Seattle, Washington, wherever she fulfilled Espelund.

In Seattle, Nelson operated an event location, whilst Espelund, who is from Oregon, worked for a internet marketing company. Right after they were being married, Nelson and Espelund successfully operated an Airbnb for a few yrs. They began contemplating about acquiring their have company to blend their encounters with Nelson’s party practical experience and his internet marketing.

When Espelund and Nelson bought the residence, it was just about wholly vacant. They searched for antique and wonderful furnishings. A infant grand piano from the 1920s is the emphasis of the audio room with a semi-spherical sofa in entrance of the hearth.

On the other side of the staircase, the parlor is furnished with two sitting spots. They can alter the seating for weddings and events.

A extended eating table occupied the dining home for decades. Now, the dining space has a number of compact tables lined with linens for an classy appear. For big events, the tables can be pushed together to create 1 extended table.

Breakfast is served in the eating place. Nelson and Espelund do the job with each other to prepare breakfasts.

The inn presents 5 visitor rooms with each and every one particular providing a king-dimension mattress with a substantial-finish Sterns and Foster mattress, a 55-inch intelligent television, a seating place and a non-public tub. The Carriage Suite downstairs is decorated in a prepare theme due to the fact Opelika is identified as a railroad town.

The other bedrooms upstairs contain the Back garden Suite, which is perfect for a bride and her bridesmaids and has a spacious seating spot. The smallest area is the Traveler with a worldly concept, when the Seaside Space focuses on seashore décor.

Other seating choices upstairs involve a sunroom and parlor with a small refrigerator and microwave, as well as stations for drinks and snacks. A huge hutch is stuffed with self-provide complimentary things.

“We are not just hoping to have a business enterprise, we live below and want to guidance the group and be associated,” Nelson said. We want to get the job done on community situations. Getting occur by way of a tough few of a long time for the overall earth, we’re unquestionably viewing an upswing in travelers keeping with us for relatives visits and to go to situations both equally significant and modest in Opelika.

“We’ve savored leaping into community initiatives like the Opelika Songwriters Pageant, Vacant Bowls Preview Get together and had the honor of web hosting the Opelika Chamber’s first at any time Minority Enterprise Council mixer. We’re really excited for the number of occasions that consumers are booking with us, from weddings to showers to retirement functions. Absolutely everyone who activities this spot can really feel how distinctive it is.

“We have a couple of forthcoming community functions that we’re nevertheless putting the logistical shine on ahead of we go general public with them, but we’d adore for people to keep tuned as a result of social media to be a part of us for the fun.”


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