First Christmas Dinner at Belle Grove Plantation

Dec. 27th 2013

sunset 4


Down in Belle Grove-ville

Liked Christmas Dinner a lot…

 Christmas Dinner 1

Yummy morsels

Tidbits, nibbles and dollops

Were greatly sought!

Christmas Dinner 4

 When those, young and old, sat down to the feast.

And they feasted! And they feasted!

And they Feasted, feasted and Feasted.

They started with ham, a spiraled brown sugar glazed beast

And followed with Horseradish Mash Potatoes to say the least!

And Then

They passed the Harvest Vegetables and Sweet Potatoes Mashed

And the Butternut Squash with Cranraisin and Spinach was even passed.

There was Chutney made of Orange and Cranberry

A sweet and tart delight that is red as a cherry.

And crescent rolls that were lost to those that tarry.

Lastly upon the plate sat deviled eggs by the dozen

Enjoyed by all down to the last one.

The last was saved for the chef as reward for a job well done.

And what happened then…?

Well…in Belle Grove-ville they say

That each small stomach

Grew three sizes that day!

And the minute their pants didn’t feel quite so tight,

They whizzed around the Mansion Tour until the last light.

 sunset 1

And as the last left Belle Grove-ville

And drove out of sight,

The Darnell Family called after

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!”

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History, Food and Recipes | Comments Off on First Christmas Dinner at Belle Grove Plantation

Merry Christmas!

Dec. 25th 2013


Belle Grove Plantation would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

We hope today you will enjoy a peaceful and relaxing time with friends and family!


Brett and Michelle Darnell
and Hurley the “Official Plantation Dog”

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | Comments Off on Merry Christmas!

Have a Happy Holiday at Home by Guest Blogger Kendra Thornton

Dec. 22nd 2013

Kendra Thornton Picture (1)

Today we have opened our blog to a guest blogger!

Kendra Thornton is a Travel advocate, TV Spokesperson, PR Buisness Woman, a proud wife and mother of 3.

Kendra is an expert on travel, having been the Director of Corporate Communications at Orbitz prior to founding Thornton Public Relations ( in 2005.

You can find Kendra on Twitter at or Pinterest at or Gogobot at

Kendra talks about her Christmas Family Tradition in Chicago.

It is Christmas time again! Everyone has pep in their step and the music is more magical than any other time of the year. People are scurrying to put presents under the tree before Christmas morning. It is always a winter wonderland here in Chicago! There is an endless amount of fun and excitement to be had. Since my family is Norwegian, there are certain traditions that are part of our heritage. Some of the best are the traditional foods and drinks we serve.

The family gathers every year on Christmas Eve. We work together and make lefse and kringla. Everyone must ‘shoot’ a raw oyster down his or her throat simultaneously, which is always a laugh. We follow that with a hearty bowl of oyster stew. Then we have a toast with a shot of Akvavit, which is a Scandinavian spirit that is very strong and warms the stomach. No toast would be complete if we did not shout ‘Skol,’ which is the Norwegian way of saying ‘Cheers!’

Kendra Xmas Kids

There are many traditions that my kids enjoy as well. They like to go ice-skating and help decorate the tree in our bay window. They always help me prepare the huge Norwegian feast and we always leave a plate of cookies for Santa. Their favorite tradition is to make reindeer dust, which we sprinkle outside their windows to help the reindeer find our house. Once everything is done, we cozy up to a mug of hot chocolate and then we head to bed.

In a former job, I traveled all over the world. I know now that there is nothing that compares to being home for the holidays. What would Christmas be without my wonderful family and the beautiful Chicago snow? On Gogobot, there was an article talking about warm holiday and cold holidays. Since I have been to a variety of warm places over the holidays, I know that it does not do Christmas justice. I could not give up the snow, evergreen trees and ice skates for sand, palm trees and roller-blades. What is your hometown like for the holidays?

We grew up with a cold Christmas and that is what works best for the Thornton family. This year we are blessed to be able to stay home and welcome our wonderful family to our dinner table. Everyone came over for Thanksgiving and it was an unforgettable holiday. Hopefully you enjoy lots of good food, great laughs and wonderful people this holiday season. Merry Christmas from the Thornton family!


Tell us about some of your Family Christmas Traditions!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Travel | Comments Off on Have a Happy Holiday at Home by Guest Blogger Kendra Thornton