Dinner at the Hampson Estate / Using Serving Trays

We went to the new home of our friends the Hampsons for dinner on Saturday night. This was our first visit to their new-ish home overlooking the Jamestown and Newport bridges. They’ve finished restoring an 1899 historic inn. The ProJo featured the home as the House of the Week in 2006, which is how the Hampsons happened upon the property.

The home has a ginormous wraparound porch overlooking the bridges, and the Hampsons took advantage of the cool evening to hold dinner al fresco on the porch. Besides the beautiful views and lively company, my favorite thing about the dinner was Ann’s use of serving trays. If I had to transport various aspects of the dinner from the kitchen to the porch, I think I would have tried to juggle things in my arms and then arrange them on the tables. Ann used some lovely serving trays to compartmentalize and carry appetizers, drinks, and dessert, and to clear the table after dinner. It made everything feel organized and tidy.

She served cold soup made from their own garden veggies:

And brought out drinks and cups on a tray. Then we had a big summery dinner of grilled meats, corn on the cob, and garden salads.

We had brought dessert. (Price Rite had Ben & Jerry’s on sale for $1.99 a pint. How you can pass that up?)

So I didn’t:

Ann arranged the ice cream, spoons, cups, and toppings on a tray. They had all survived the trip from Providence to North Kingstown intact…except for the whipped cream, which had had an unfortunate incident in the car on the way over.

Noise: Pfffhhhwewwwhhh…

Matthew: What’s the noise?

Becky: I have no id…oh, frick. I stepped on the whipped cream can.

(Which reminds me…I still need to clean the floorboard of his car.)

After dinner, the Hampson’s son Josh (about to return to school in Scotland) gave us a tour of the house.

“This is our Harry Potter cupboard,” he said.

Oh, why, yes. Yes, it is. (I laughed very hard.)

There may have been lengthy and animated discussion about using their home to hold my EPIC Harry-Potter-party-I’ve-been-planning-for-two-years at their home in November…details as they develop.

And … rarely in my life has my mouth dropped open. But it did when I walked into this room:

Having just read this that morning…I climbed the ladder and sang “I’m the King of New York.”

So. Even if you don’t have spectacular views of the bay, a four-story historic home with a library, an under-stairs cubby, or an expansive veranda, you can still use Ann’s ideas for serving trays when you’re hosting dinner at your home.

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  • Bekki

    I am writhing in agonies of jealousy for that library

    • Jen

      Want company?

  • http://www.hampson.us Todd

    It's not too hard to make a library like this. 20 years of planning and dreaming, 10 years of books stuck in paid storage, 3 years of renovations and 50 or so boxes of books carried up 3 flights of stairs! :)

  • dewde

    I know I'm in good company when we're swooning over libraries. Reminded me of this post I found recently…

    35 Really Unusual Bookshelves – http://bit.ly/b6cqBC

    peace | dewde

    • http://www.howtohospitality.com Becky Miller

      Have you seen this bookstore? Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, the Netherlands – I am going to see it in person in a couple weeks!

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