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New venue for 'big' events
Belle House opens on Westside Road
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Vivian Thompson, left, closes a contract with Sarah Long for a wedding reception at "The Belle House" last week. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

      Nestled in the trees just off of Westside Road is the Belle House, Statesboro's newest event venue. Located on the section of roadway between Stockyard Road and the bypass, the recently completed facility is the creation of Vivian Thompson, in conjunction with her parents Biff and Adria Thompson.
      "It was actually my mother's idea to build the Belle House," Vivian Thompson said. "My parents have a pavilion behind their home that people ask to use for different events. They really didn't build it to rent it out. To them, the continued interest in using it meant there must be a need for something like it in the community."
       Thompson said the best way to describe the structure is "rustic but elegant."
       "When you drive in and see all of the trees that we left and the design of the building, it has almost the feeling of a lodge, very natural," she said. "Even though it has that feeling about it, you see immediately that it is designed to accommodate the needs presented by today's party planners."
       From the large covered entrance and state-of-the art caterer's kitchen, to the sheer size of main room, Thompson and her parents have brought something decidedly unique to Statesboro.
       "Based on the research that we have done, I am fairly certainly this is the largest facility of its type here," Thompson said. "It is 10,400 square feet under roof including the large, covered porch on the back. The main room itself is 8,500 square feet and can hold as many as 600 guests. It would comfortably hold 250 guests for a seated dinner."
       Local caterer Greg Frost of the Old Post Office Café in Brooklet said Thompson approached him and his partner David Coleman seeking suggestions for the Belle House kitchen last fall.
       "I think Vivian asked several local caterers what they would like to have in the kitchen," Frost said. "Pretty much all the suggestions that we made, she followed. From the large kitchen and the amount of counter space to deep sinks and an air conditioning unit dedicated to the kitchen. Just the size of the facility alone, makes it easier for catering."
       Frost and Coleman catered a wedding reception at the venue three weeks ago. "It really couldn't have gone any better," he said. "It had everything that we needed."
       Savannah resident Sarah Long plans to wed in Statesboro on May 14 of next year. She recently signed a contract with Thompson to have her wedding reception at the Belle House.
       "It is so natural and elegant," Long said. "It's just a perfect mixture. I particularly love the size, because I don't have to worry about the number of guests that we are having. There will be plenty of room. Also, it is less than two miles away from the church where we are being married. On top of everything else, Vivian has been a wonderful person to work with. I am just thrilled."
       The Belle House is located on property that has been in Vivian Thompson's family for decades. In fact, the name for the facility came from Thompson's great grandmothers Maybelle and Bonnie Belle.
       "My wife Adria's grandfather owned this property," Biff Thompson said. "I guess our daughter told you that it was Adria's idea to build it here. This has been two years in the making."
       Biff Thompson said he served as construction manager for the project while his wife and daughter managed the other facets of the job. 
      "Regarding the construction, I really focused on keeping as many trees as we possibly good," he said. "It adds to the look and feel of it, and that was really important."
       With construction just recently completed, Vivian Thompson said she has already booked 15 events for the Belle House. "Word is getting out there, and we are certainly excited about that," she said. "Statesboro has a lot of different options to offer people now. I really feel like we fill our own niche - woodsy, elegant with the opportunity to hold a function inside or out."  
       To inquire about the Belle House you can call (912) 225-9939 or email Thompson at thebellehouse@yahoo.com.