Fall Entertaining Outside
I’m usually a hold out for Indian Summer – a true believer that it will come and temporarily relieve us of the fall chill. Not this time; fall seems to have dropped in a few weeks early. With that, comes my foreboding about the months ahead, being locked in the house with my loving but rambunctious brood. I can picture too the commotion in our kitchen, the bottleneck around the island at every future gathering we host and I long for a few more weeks with the option to push them out the back door. So, I’m going for it. If you’re a friend of mine reading this, thank you- we’ll square up later. Secondly, I’m putting you on alert: don’t come over without a sweatshirt because we will be snuggled outside until the snow begins to fly.
If you’re going to encourage people to hang outside, I think you have to try to make them as comfortable as possible. Obviously, giving them different seating options is paramount. No one should ever want for a chair. Rather than assume they’ll bring munitions, supply them with heavy blankets. Pillows are always a good idea in any space.
I found a couple tree stumps that make for perfect stools or table stands, depending on the need. I found some nubby, cozy pillows at Home Goods and the tartan throws and blankets I’ve picked up at various markets along the way. We use them outdoors only; so I’m not terribly concerned if they smell a little smoky at the end of the night.
We always have a good amount of food available when we entertain and we never regret it. Worst case scenario we have leftovers for days. This is another drink outpost including beverage dispenser and cider glasses on an antique ironing board. S’mores and sticks at the ready. Below, you’ll see, the fire pit is in full swing, all the chairs laden with supplies.
People can pull up a seat fireside, a stool at the bar, or a bench at the dining table. The outdoor string lights help to warm the space without having to rely on the harsh overhead ceiling lights. Various lanterns spread throughout help do the same, as do the landscape lights in the background.
When the sun is fully set and the cold air is upon us, we can opt to close the barn doors (or just the one) to keep the cold air at bay. Outdoor heaters are popular options these days as well, to extend your stay outdoors. Our guests know they’re always welcome inside as well. They come and go as they please, but the crew collects outside around the fire or the bar, depending on their age and the time of night.
It’s fifty degrees outside this morning; not likely to get any warmer in the evening. We’ll have to plan accordingly. I see a chili cook-off in the near future where friends can move about sampling entries, while noshing on warm corn bread and tossing it back with mulled cider, or other. Consider this your invite, friends.
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