Festive offerings evoke holiday spirit at Pursell Farms

Winding through rolling hills, green pastures and an 18-hole research golf course will take visitors to the cozy countryside Inn at Pursell Farms in Sylacauga. Natural, traditional and tasteful holiday adornments greet guests as they arrive and throughout the common areas of the inn.

“The whole feel of the farm is relaxed luxury. It’s sophisticated but homey,” said Leslie Bryant, communications manager at Pursell Farms.

Ellen Pursell, wife of CEO David Pursell, brought to life the inn’s interior furnishings. Pursell, along with family friend Melony Vickers, were the artistic minds behind the inn’s seasonal decorations throughout the farm, as well.

The lobby evokes a country ambiance with wood floors, fine rugs and high ceilings. A large Christmas tree stands elegantly decorated next to a garland-filled mantle over a gas-burning fireplace.

“The ornamental style varies a little throughout the inn, but the entrance is a more classic feel. They used a lot of natural elements and greenery,” said Bryant.

The lobby also contains Marble Valley Mercantile, which Pursell and Vickers oversee and manage.

Other areas of the 40-room inn sparkle with more gold and glitter, while some retain a vintage feel to vary the elements throughout guests’ accommodations.

As the newest addition to the growing resort destination, the inn opened in March and is a three-story country estate-styled building with two restaurants. Arrington is upscale fine dining. It’s open for breakfast and dinner and seats about 90. Old Tom’s Pub seats about 80 and is a more laid-back, pub-styled bar opened for lunch, dinner and late-night cocktails, including seasonal delights.

The section of the building containing the restaurants used to be the administrative building, explained Bryant.

“It was re-designed for the restaurants; and then, the guest rooms were added on to the structure,” said Bryant.

Situated against a scenic layout, the brick and clapboard exterior of the inn are complemented by stone and brick elements.

To maintain this atmosphere, the decorations feature pheasant feathers, antlers, pinecones and more. Due to the partnership with Orvis Shooting Grounds, Pursell wanted to acknowledge those features as well.

“It’s really a mixed material style. I’m sure next year they’ll mix up some pieces to keep it fresh,” said Bryant.

To supplement the holiday adornments, Pursell Farms hosts many Christmas activities throughout December.

Every Saturday in December will be Christmas in the Pines with UTV mountain tours that end at a beautiful lookout. Guests will be greeted at the top of the trail with a hot chocolate bar and snacks.

Christmas Eve, Arrington will host a special Christmas dinner available by reservations only. After, there will be a reading of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas in the lobby for the kids.

The morning of Christmas will be relaxed, allowing families or couples to partake in their holiday traditions, said Bryant. There will be a complimentary continental breakfast in Old Tom’s Pub for guests.

“The pub is named for Tom Morris, who is considered the grandfather of superintendents of golf courses and worked at the prestigious St. Andrews in Scotland. We use a lot of his course practices today,” Bryant said.

Pursell Farms began as the world’s first and only research and demonstration golf course to study the affects of fertilizer on courses’ grasses.

“Farm Links opened in 2003, and David Pursell used to invite superintendents from all over the world to stay and examine the turf, grass and fertilizers. Hosting these guests is where the need for hospitality came in,” Bryant explained.

Additional cabins and cottages were built around the farm to accommodate families, golf groups and more. There also are a few historic properties on site.

“The Hamilton House has a very tasteful trimming of a classic Christmas tree and a mantle with garland,” said Bryant.

Situated in Old Tom’s Pub is an iconic pool table donated by hometown celebrity actor Jim Nabors, best known for his role in The Andy Griffith Show. Famous people that had played on the table in his Bel Air home are photographed on the wall in the pub.

This month, Pursell Farms also offered sugar cookie decorating classes and an open-flame cast iron cooking demonstration by Executive Chef Andrea Griffith, who partnered with Yellowhammer Brewing. Sea Island Forge out of Georgia forged the cast iron kettles that were used.

Each month on Fridays and Saturdays, resort guests have the option of complimentary yoga classes. Historic walking tours, Palmers in the Past, provide guests with an Arnold Palmer as they learn about the area’s history. The 30-minute demonstration ends with hors d’oeurves on the patio.

The backyard features a large sun deck and a stone fire pit for leisurely downtime in front of panoramic views. Guests could enjoy a Christmas cocktail in front of the fire pit to stay warm and enjoy the fresh, country air.

The Southern comfort of Pursell Farms has a variety of activity choices, including golfing, hunting, horseback riding, the spa experience, UTV mountain adventures and more. Farm Saturdays weekly feature seasonal experiences from art classes, cooking lessons and more.

For more information, visit pursellfarms.com.