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White folding chairs lined up in rows facing an elegant Greek Revival home.
Ivy-lined paths to quaint courtyards.
Chandeliers hanging from majestic oaks.
Sound like the perfect setting for a wedding or event?
That’s what the owners of Ivy Place in Van Wyck hope as they open their historic home to special events of all sizes.
On July 29, Genie and Terry Graham held a coming-out party to mark Ivy Place’s entry to the wedding and event industry. Together with area florists, caterers, cake decorators and other providers, they staged a mock wedding to give guests a taste of what is to come.
The Grahams moved into Ivy Place, an historic home belonging to Genie’s family, more than 30 years ago. At that time, the property had suffered from years of neglect.
“There’s a lot of history,” Genie said. “We are trying to preserve it.”
The house was originally built by Adam Ivy in 1850, and later bought by Genie Graham’s great-great uncle Dr. James Nisbet in 1888. In 1989, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Genie Graham, a master gardener and landscape designer, began taming the wilds of the 33 acres around her home, while raising their two daughters and a son. Together with husband Terry, they built several stone walls and paths in keeping with the home’s character. They also carved out farming land, pasture and scenic views.
Genie Graham said they began to consider opening the site up for events after holding a wedding reception for their daughter, Amanda, and later a full wedding for their daughter, Nancy.
She said they had a long-term plan to do this, but after Terry lost his job last spring, they moved up the timetable.
They held their first public wedding in April, when Matthew and Laura (Bost) Hayes of Charlotte wed in the side yard.
“We fell in love with it,” Laura Hayes said.
“It has a rustic, family feel,” her husband said.
Terry Graham said he has been told Ivy Place is “like Charleston in Charlotte.”
The site is also a photographer’s dream, with scenic settings around every corner, including a rusty old 1965 Jeep in a field and one of the oldest barns in Lancaster County.
The Grahams have made some changes to their home to accommodate the needs of wedding parties, including adding a well-appointed bridal suite with separate bathroom and bedroom.
One of their latest undertakings is renovating two turn-of-the-century cabins to make them available to brides and grooms who marry there.
In addition to special events, Ivy Place hopes to offer pick-your-own pumpkins and strawberries in the future.
The Grahams hope Ivy Place will be a popular venue for area residents and visitors looking for a nearby beautiful, outdoor location to hold their special events.
Ivy Place is located at 8603 Van Wyck Road. For more information, visit www.ivyplaceevents.com or call (704) 651-3700.
Ivy Place History
• 1850 – The Ivy Place Home was built by Adam Ivy, the son of Irish immigrants. According to family tradition, the house was built using a gold dust dowry from his second wife, Jane Spratt Ezell Phifer
• 1888 – Ivy sold his home to Dr. James D. Nisbet, who had grown up in the area and had a very successful practice in New York City. In the early 1920s, “Dr. Jim” retired to Ivy Place with his wife, Beulah. The house was renovated and the barns constructed at this time.
• 1920-60 – The Ivy Place operated as a working dairy farm until the late 1950s. Dr. Jim died in 1933 and Beulah died in 1960.
• 1960-1978 – The home was rented out.
• 1978 – Terry and Genie Graham bought the house and 33 acres. Genie is a descendent of Dr. Jim Nisbet and Terry emigrated from Ireland in 1976.
• 1989 – The house, described as mid-19th century/Greek Revival, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
• 2000s –The Grahams hosted weddings for their daughters on the property in August 2005 and May 2009. With the versatility of the property, the sisters were able to create two very different weddings to reflect their tastes.
• 2012 – Ivy Place Events opens for special occasions.