By Peter Leonard-Morgan
Photos by Pixelme Studios
A weekend awash with festivities took place at Middleburg’s historic Catesby Farm, beginning on Friday, January 5, and culminating on Sunday, January 7. The occasion was a surprise 40th birthday party for local resident Eric Combs, hosted by Eric’s wife, Suzi Molak, together with her business partner Jodi Moraru and their company SPACEZ, which was recently awarded the exclusive rights to operate Catesby Farm for limited events.
Guests arrived early Friday evening from all parts of the country to celebrate in style, and no detail was overlooked. Suzi conceived and designed the party, creating an ambiance which she felt strongly highlighted what Catesby has to offer its clients, bringing in teams from Washington, D.C., and Middleburg, to light up the house with love, laughter and entertainment.
The party’s theme, as well as the invitations, which included a request for a hush-hush of surprise, was “I call a Mulligan”. A dedicated hashtag of #middleagedinmiddleburg was, quite literally, the icing on the cake, as evidenced in these photos.
A sit-down dinner for an intimate cadre of 20 guests kicked off the weekend, with catering from Heirloom Caterers, decor and flowers from Amaryllis Designs, lighting and music from Bruce Pike Productions, rentals from Capital Party Rentals, photography from Pixelme Studios and graphic design by Emily Baird Designs. Despite frightfully cold weather outside Catesby, wine flowed within, and music wafted throughout, providing revellers with a truly unique experience.
That night, 20 guests slumbered lavishly in three of the five houses which are available as accommodations on the property. They awoke to a fresh-pressed juice bar complete with service from a Jinsei Juices & Tonics branded bicycle! The biggest hits were “The Hydrate” with fresh coconut meat and “The Cure” with activated charcoal for cleansing—the perfect detox!
During the day, Hammerdown BBQ, a local Middleburg favorite, provided a buffet lunch served in the main house to guests and new arrivals who came to enjoy a relaxed afternoon of fun and friends.
Saturday evening’s diversions kicked off at six o’clock, this time with entertainment for 50, including friends from Middleburg and surrounding areas. Tours of the main house were provided throughout the evening, and everyone enjoyed a fabulous buffet dinner courtesy of Spilled Milk Caterers.
When the sun rose on Sunday morning, the winds had settled down, and a breakfast buffet was enjoyed with hugs and laughs before departure.
The weekend was fashioned to showcase the Catesby Farms experience—unadulterated luxury at every stage of interaction with the property and the occasion.
In announcing that Catesby’s doors are open for select significant milestone family occasions and corporate retreats, up to 20 times a year, its owners are committing to the upkeep of the house and gardens in all their glory, while retaining the peace and tranquility for which this area of natural beauty is renowned.
Built in 1930, Catesby Farm sits on 170 acres of some of the loveliest countryside in America, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just west of Middleburg, Virginia, the nation’s home of foxhunting.
Like a number of important Middleburg estates, Catesby has historically focused on equestrian sports, in particular racehorse training, and to this day it boasts a magnificent barn and inside ring, all of which is surrounded by extensive paddocks.
Additionally, Catesby has its own tennis and basketball courts, a fully stocked pond for fishing and a swimming pool. With five homes on the property, each meticulously designed and ideal for hosting the most intimate of occasions, Catesby is able to accommodate and pamper up to 34 guests. However, it is the main house which captivates its visitors as they pull up the driveway to this impressive, expansive and breathtaking residence.
SPACEZ’ Suzi Molak looks forward to hosting a number of elegant events at Catesby, and she stresses that these occasions will be in keeping with the location and history surrounding this magnificent property. Suzi commented: “We at SPACEZ have been given the privilege of providing a limited number of discerning customers a discreet yet extraordinary venue at which to celebrate important personal occasions. We want to oversee functions which Catesby’s earlier stewards would be proud of, and which bring the property to life with laughter and energy.” ML