The Ink Penn

Given that it’s a 45-minute drive away in Milton, you may not have heard of Scottsdale Farms. Still, I’ve been amazed by the number of Dunwoody folks who have. I didn’t know it existed until I had the opportunity to do a book signing there in July. Dubbed the Dog Days of Summer, the event included three authors of dog books. Well, OK, it was four authors when you count Lord Banjo.

This amazing six-acre spot was voted the best garden center in Alpharetta (even though it is just over the border in Milton), but it is oh-so-much more than that. On those six acres, you’ll find a cavernous Home Décor shop, boutique, and café.

In 1982, Luca Gianturco began Scottsdale Farms Christmas tree lots in North Atlanta to help pay his college expenses. He met his wife Kathy soon after, and together they developed Scottsdale Farms into what it is today. They bought the land for the garden center in 1998 and designed the barn to reflect the architectural style he’d seen and studied on a visit to Vermont. The 12,000 square foot barn houses home décor, gifts, garden art, statues, fountains, garden furniture, and accessories.

It’s in the home décor section that you’ll find a selection of books. Among others, books by my friends Row Henson and G. Ray Sullivan are on display as are my two books: “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday” and “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch.” If you’re there at the right time, you’ll also get to meet the resident Great Dane who roams the barn.

Floral designers are also on hand to create silk masterpieces, and the barn contains a small boutique with women’s clothing, jewelry, and body care essentials. The first time I visited, I couldn’t escape without a unique new top.

You’re bound to be hungry after driving all that way, so be sure to stop by Bella Luna, the Italian Café also inside the barn. The menu has something for everyone. You can assuage your hunger pangs with breakfast or lunch or indulge in a coffee or cold drink. I’ve yet to try the Old-Fashioned Milkshake, but I’m tempted.

I’ve focused on the food and the shopping first, as those are the items that attract me, but there’s more. Landscape designers and horticulturists are available to design and create a landscape to suit your tastes. They do it all from designing and installing an entire formal or cottage garden to a simple sprucing up of your yard, and you get to walk through the nursery to see everything they recommend for you. In the Spring, they offer seminars and guest speakers on both gardening and interior decorating.

I’m returning Nov. 8 for a book signing with Row Henson and G. Ray Sullivan and, of course, Lord Banjo. This is the day Scottsdale Farms holds its Annual Christmas Open House and throws open the doors to the barn to reveal the interior arrayed in its Holiday finery. I’m not sure how I’ll focus on books when all I’ll want to do is wander the aisles and gaze up, down, and around at the winter wonderland on display.

I’m bound to come home with some irresistible Holiday decorations for me and gifts for friends and family. Why not join me? Come on out, make a day of it, and kick off your Holiday season in style.

PS. Do you like ebooks? Be sure to visit Amazon to get “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” on sale Nov. 1-15 for only 99 cents.

Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum and Mansell Crossing, and on Amazon. Contact her at inkpenn119@gmail.com, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.

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