By SUE SIENS
Arriving from Lebanon on Trousdale Ferry Pike to Watermelon Moon Farm is an excursion into the past. You’ll wind through the rolling hills of east Wilson County, along Jennings Fork Creek, with century-old stacked stone fences bordering the highway. It is the last residence you will come to before crossing into Smith County. When you reach Watermelon Moon Farm, owned by Emily Steinburg-Cash, you’ll experience true southern hospitality and enjoy mouth-watering country cooking with a gourmet twist. If you are looking for a unique location for a party, luncheon, reception or wedding, Watermelon Moon Farm offers a memorable experience. “We have hosted luncheons for church groups, baby showers, birthday parties, Red Hat ladies, bridal parties, garden clubs and friends who simply want to get-together,” said Emily. “Weddings often include use of the grounds as well as the main home,” she added.
The farm’s beautifully restored antebellum home, listed officially on the National Register of Historic Places as the “Wm. Washington Seay House,” was built between 1835-1845. Restoration of the plantation house is an ongoing labor of love (in more ways than one) for Emily and husband, Harold Cash. It has quality craftsmanship believed to have been influenced by Mr. Seay’s trips to New Orleans, with ornate woodworking and stone masonry.
After years of living in Florida, Emily, a Smith County native and nationally known artist-designer, had a revelation while driving to Tennessee for a family visit. She said, “It’s time to come back home.”
She had a long list of requirements for her new home. Topping the list was architectural character and country living. She found all of that and more at the old Seay farm. She also brought her successful custom-designed arts and crafts business with her. Soon she named it “Watermelon Moon Farm,” after her passion for painting watermelon motifs on home décor and stargazing. Little did she know that divine providence, and the nudging of some friends, would bring about romance, too. Retired Army First Sergeant (Special Forces) Harold Cash came to assist Emily with computer repairs, and their business friendship culminated in love and marriage in June 2004. Harold’s carpentry skills and love of the country life made him a perfect match for Emily, although it couldn’t be described as “retirement”. The couple’s hard work has resulted in a charming, relaxing historic home, which they are delighted to share with others. A farm wouldn’t be complete without farm animals to greet you, and roosters strutting and crowing their wake-up call. Emily and Harold have given a loving home to chickens, goats, guineas (that’s a type of fowl for you cityfolk), their Great Pyrenees dogs and cats.
Watermelon Moon Farm is open seasonally, kicked off with an annual open house in the spring and ending with a Christmas event. All events both public and private require reservations. (The farm is not open to the public daily.) The lower level of the home is transformed into a combination of dining areas and gift shop, featuring an abundance of hand-crafted home décor, gifts, gourmet foods and art available for purchase.
Throughout the spring, summer and fall, numerous events are held, including an Easter luncheon, popular Mother’s Day luncheon, open houses and other events. Emily is a gifted cook and hostess, a talent she said she inherited from her mother. Luncheons at the farm are truly special experiences. You’ll find no paper plates when dining with Emily and Harold. Silver, linens, antique china and water glasses, and “artfully styled fresh flower arrangements add ambiance,” Harold winked and said. The long, wide front porch is also perfect for serving or dining or simply relaxing in the porch swing and rocking chairs.
Watermelon Moon Farm’s tranquil location and large antique church window are a beautiful setting for country weddings and receptions, with plenty of room for additional tents and parking. Package pricing for your event is also available.
You and your guests might enjoy your visit to the farm so much you’ll decide to come back and stay awhile. Harold and Emily can accommodate you in their bed and breakfast cottage, the “Summer Kitchen Suite and Peacock Room”. The B&B was constructed in the detached summer kitchen at the rear of the home and includes a full private bath, sitting room and cozy bedroom, complete with custom art details and a view of the garden. Guests will be treated to a wonderful country breakfast and stress-relieving atmosphere.
Emily’s long career in handpainted art and handcrafted décor, along with the farm’s workshop, provides the perfect venue for her painting classes and crafting workshops. She is an accomplished instructor and hosts the workshops throughout the season.
Watermelon Moon Farm in Wilson County is literally a stone’s throw away from the Smith County line, at 10575 Trousdale Ferry Pike. It is approximately 4.5 miles off the I-40 Linwood Road exit and 4.5 miles from the Alexandria exit, or you can enjoy the country drive from town on Trousdale Ferry Pike. To view the calendar of events, workshops and learn more about the farm, visit www. watermelonmoonfarm.com. You can also email email@example.com or call (615) 444-2356. Be sure to leave a message on the phone so they can call you back. Emily and Harold might be out back gardening or feeding goats.