Kerri Glover and her husband Cole have a favorite reality TV show called "Escape to the Chateau."
The couple that stars on the show is living a life that very much mirrors what the Glovers have created for themselves at their new home, a wedding venue they've called Maison Albion.
"My husband and I consider that our therapy show," Kerri said. "We’re a little bit like Dick and Angel, who star in the show. They bought a chateau in France and remodeled it and made it a bed and breakfast. She comes up with all this wild stuff just like I do and her husband is like mine, wondering 'how am I going to build 11 Moroccan arches. You can’t google that.'
The Glovers purchased the Albion farm mansion in July and have since converted it to a wedding and event venue and bed and breakfast. They are only the third owners of the nearly 150-year-old house, which they call Maison Albion, and they have recreated it into what they hope is a memorable location to hold awe-inspiring occasions.
In an effort to reach out into the surrounding communities, they're planning a "Soiree" on June 24, outdoors in the secret garden of the mansion, with a dinner created by a chef from the local farm-to-table market and restaurant, just a few miles down the road.
As Keri readied for the event, she took a few minutes to talk about her and her husband's journey from Hawaii to Albion.
QUESTION: How did you and your husband meet?
ANSWER: Cole and I met on Tinder when I was living in Colorado where I owned the largest wedding planning company there. I sold the company and was planning to go on a trip around the world with my son, Benjamin. Cole showed up five months into the trip and proposed in Paris. We were married in Venice on Christmas. It was very romantic.
Q: How did you end up in Albion?
A: We came here to buy this venue. We'd lived on the island of Maui for a couple of years and it wasn't really what we were looking for. This community was welcoming to a venue. And that's what we do for a living. This is the 14th venue that I've designed and built for other investors and clients but is the first one we've owned.
Q: How did you know you'd find a market for weddings in Albion?
A: We used something called The Wedding Report, an analysis of what couples spend for weddings according to zip codes and this area was one of the top ten because of its proximity to both Rochester and Buffalo, whose markets overlap in Albion. There are 3,800 weddings happen in this area each year. For a venue to be popular or successful, we conservatively shoot for 1% of the market. We know 138 weddings would keep us very busy. We’re at 70 events since we opened. We plan to hit 130 probably before next year.
Q: That's amazing. Tell me about the house?
A: It's an 1878 farmhouse, and a Victorian mansion. It used to be 200 acres and was a working farm, but we purchased it with seven acres. It was owned by the Carr family. There’s actually a book written about our mansion called “The Long-Legged View," written by the first owner, William Carr's second wife, Patricia Carr.
Q: What did the first owner's wife write about the mansion?
A: She was a showgirl in New York and she fell in love with a farmer. The book is all about her life at our mansion from the 1930s to the late 1960s. The wonderful thing is we were able to use a lot of the details from the book when we restored the mansion, like the use of peacocks in the wallpaper. We also restored all the victorian push-buttons back into the light system. Pat talks about that in the book, too.
Q: Who owned the house after the Carrs?
A: The second owners were Tony McCurtie and Scott Root. In 2010, they added the ballroom, which is designed to mirror the main dining room of the Titanic. It's very opulent. Tony’s great, great grandfather survived the Titanic. The house feels like Marie Antoinette's county house. It's very opulent and very luxurious.
Q: You are holding the soiree in the secret garden. Tell me about the garden.
A: It's built in the base of our 1838 barn that burned in 1960. It has a massive pergola crystal chandelier and an outdoor fireplace. The garden seats about 60 to 70 guests. It feels like dining al fresco in the south of France.
Q: Why a soiree?
A: We want to create community events and unique cultural experiences that maybe people don’t find in Western New York. So, we are creating a series of soirees and each time, we will be changing the esthetic of it and moving the events around our venue. The next one we’re planning will be near the old pillars by the pond, and it will be draped in fairy lights. On Thursday, we’re eating under the stars. For dessert, we will move to a seating area with couches, pillows, and oriental rugs. It’s very unique. We always plan surprises.
Q: Tell me about the caterer for June 24 soiree?
A: The caterer is called Sourced Market and Eatery. It's a local farm market and eatery about three miles from our venue. They (locally) source everything they use They have catered several weddings at our place and we eat there at least once a week. They have fantastic sandwiches and salads. The chef has culinary training and the menu is a four-course French-inspired farm-to-table meal with samplings from Circle B WIne Winery. At each soiree, we’re going to feature different chefs to keep it exciting. We hope to hold one every couple of months. … once every other month.
Q: And how are you finding your new community?
A: This is a very small town compared to Maui, which is kind of a small town but very transient. It's been nice that everyone has welcomed us in. They don’t seem to care that we’re not from here. We generate, we estimate, between six and seven million dollars annually, directly into our community and the greater community of Buffalo and Rochester. So, we love recommending local vendors. It’s really nice when you can say this florist is only five miles away.
For more information about the "Soiree: Solstice in the Secret Garden," June 24, or about Maison Albion, visit online at www.maisonalbion.com.