A Playmore Soirée

Monday, July 29th, 2024 at 6:00 p.m.

Join the Highlands Biological Foundation for our largest annual fundraiser on Monday, July 29th from 6:00 p.m. until dark to help support our mission of fostering biological research and education in the southern Appalachians. This year’s soirée will take place on the enchanting grounds of the historic “Playmore” property, graciously hosted by John Mitchener and Heath Massey.

A peek at Playmore:

Playmore, originally known as “Wantoot,” boasts a rich history dating back to 1879 when Samuel Prioleau Ravenel and his wife Margaretta commissioned its construction. This remarkable estate, built by Francis Poindexter, a master furniture maker and woodcarver, stands as Highlands’ first summer home.

In 1914, the Ravenel family sold Wantoot to Jules Blanc Monroe from New Orleans, who expanded the estate and renamed it Playmore. The property remained in his family for nearly a century, preserving its legacy. In 2020, John Mitchener and Heath Massey purchased Playmore and have since undertaken a meticulous restoration, ensuring that both the home and its surrounding structures retain their historical integrity.

The 136-acre Playmore estate, recognized by the National Park Service and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a testament to the region’s rich ecological and historical tapestry. The property features a variety of ecological zones, from lush cove forests to striking rock outcrops and serene open meadows, reflecting the biological diversity of the southern Appalachians.

Funds from this annual fundraiser are vital in supporting the Foundation’s educational programming at the Highlands Nature Center, outreach in the community, and research support at the Highlands Biological Station and throughout the region.

A limited number of tickets are available.  For more information about HBF’s Playmore Soirée fundraising event, please email jamie@highlandsbiological.org or call 828-526-2221.

Parking is limited for this event, so a shuttle service will be provided. A shuttle will run continuously from Highlands School starting at 5:45 p.m.

 Please note: Since the Playmore home is a private residence, it will not be accessible to guests during this event.


Tickets are $325 per guest.


Special thanks to our

2024 Soirée Host Committee:

Judy & Dick Allison

Becky Baker

J. Elizabeth Bradham

Bill Bush & Bruce McAlpin

Virginia & Mike Campbell

Geri & Wade Coleman

KC Cunningham

Vevie & Lawrence Dimmitt

Martha & Michael Dupuis

Ruthie & Berryman Edwards

Melinda & Jim Ethier

JT Fields & Glenn Murer

Rachel Friday & Jeff Schenck

Anne & Dick Goodsell

Amanda & Greg Gregory

Julia & Bill Grumbles

Lindy & Robbie Harrison

Lori & Ed Heys

Kathleen & Chris Hohlstein

Marianne & Ben Jenkins

Cathy & Paul Jones

Cookie & Harrison Jones

Alfred Kennedy & Bill Kenny

Jim Landon

Frank Langford

Jody & Wood Lovell

Lucy & Hans Luquire

Elizabeth & David Martin

Fran & Bill Matthews

Jennifer & Forrest McConnell

Diane & Ray McPhail

Kathleen Cheek-Milby & Jim Milby

Pat & John Moorehouse

Charlotte & John Muir

Stephanie & Bill Reeves

Emilie & Bruce Reid

Nancy & Tred Shurling

Carol & Rusty Stewart

Martha & Hal Stibbs

Jennie Stowers

Cindy & Edwin Strickland

Marianne & Bob Strickland

Ann Sullivan

Susan & Charley Tarver

Kathy & Bestor Ward