skip navigation
Home About Classes SOCIAL Photos Blog


October 30, 2019

Congratulations Teresa!!

We are thrilled to announce that Teresa McRae has achieved the coveted title of Life Master.  This designation requires enormous amounts of time, energy, focus, travel - AND good humor.  Teresa has been a dedicated student of the game for several years and we have been fortunate she has shared her wisdom with us as part of the Bridge & Company teaching staff.  

Way to go, Teresa!!

November 8, 2018

Our Matriarch...

Four months ago I shared that Bridge & Company had lost its patriarch when my father passed away.  Sadly, we have now lost our matriarch.  As you know my parents taught me this magnificent game, and while you may have known neither of them, all of the Bridge & Company community have benefited from their knowledge of the game and their encouragement of what we do together.  My dad was the brain and soul of our family with his sharp mind and his deep thinking.  But my mom was our heart and our connective tissue. Her joy for life was palpable.  Her knack for mischief was legendary.  And her dedication to our family traditions was unparalleled.  

To learn more about her, just click here.  Thank you for letting me share - and thank you for helping me keep their memories fresh through your participation with Bridge & Company

August 2, 2018

Big Day at the Big Tournament...

Today was a big day for Bridge & Company at the Atlanta NABC (North American Bridge Championships).  Several of us played in the 299'er game - and we had a very good showing.  Chris Black and Melissa Bernhardt placed 1st in flights A, B and C.  Plus Karen Riddell and Melissa Longosz placed 2nd in all three flights!!  

The tournament has been a huge draw for so many of our students - with several achieving similar results in other games.  These are all the photos we have, but if you have others, please share and we will post.

Congratulations to all who played.  It was great fun for all involved!!

July 16, 2018

Our Patriarch...

If you have been a Bridge & Company student at any time over the last 10 years, you have certainly heard me refer to my parents.  As you know my parents taught me to play about 40 years ago.  Without a doubt my husband and I have played vastly more social bridge with my parents than with anyone else, and our memories from those times are rich. Throughout those years, my father was always my partner, and my mother played with Rick.  In class I quoted my father more than my mother - likely because he was more 'colorful' - or perhaps because he was the better player (don't tell my mother).

Sadly, as so many of you know, my wonderful dad left this earthly life on June 25th.  While I have lost a caring father, and those who knew him have lost a fine man, Bridge & Company has also lost our patriarch and mentor.

Our local paper wrote a lovely article in tribute to him.  If you wish to read it, click here.  Thank you for letting me share...


January 22, 2017

Our Own Grace Kelly...

Our students are constantly asking about our process for creating, and duplicating the hands we use in class.  We are happy to give you a peep behind the curtain with the video on the right!  Grace Kelly is the official Bridge & Company board prep specialist.  It used to take Melissa and Merrel over 18 hours each week to deal and pack the practice hands for class.  Then we purchased a dealing machine, which cut our time to only two hours.  And now, we have Grace Kelly manning the process.  Meet Grace - and see our fancy machine!!

March 3, 2016


No commentary needed…  Gotta love this game!

December 9, 2015

Holiday Party...

Today was the Bridge & Company annual Holiday Party.  As in previous years, there may have been more shopping than bridge being played!  We had five vendors sharing so many beautiful and festive gifts - and eleven full tables of bridge.

On the left Christy Anderson, Toni Rhett and Beaty Maffett are seen leaving with some gorgeous potted arrangements.  On the right are Jan Builthouse and Anne French from the Dogwood Shop at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.

Great fun was had by all of us as we welcomed in this special season!

Pictured:  Clay Dixon, Marie Stafford, Judy Domescik, Amy Wethington, Marysha Harbutt, Susi Smith, Denise DeAngelo, Allison Edzema, Melissa Bernhardt, Carla Roberts, Bridget Bagley, Meg Heyer, Katherine McCormick, Merrel Hattink, Rebecca Long, and Cathy Derrick

Other Graduates Not Pictured:  Debbie Martin, Fontaine Kohler, Jennifer Rucker, Julia Newsom, Kim Nagy, Caroline Crawford, Leigh Eigel, Liz Wolfe, Loretta Zimmerman, Lynn Hood, and Mary Ann Matthews.


December 8, 2015

Another Graduation!!

Congratulations to Bridge & Company's latest graduating class.  We are thrilled to welcome 21 new alumni - and honor four previous graduates who joined this class for another look at Level 4.

Most of the latest graduates began their bridge journey  with Learn Bridge in a Day at Lovett in 2011. Throughout their four years years together, they have met in more locations than any other Bridge & Company class - Lovett School, Swan Coach House and Cross Creek Clubhouse have all been 'home' to this delightful and studious group of students.  And some can even lay claim to having taken classes at Melissa's home and the Hanover West Clubhouse.  Without a doubt, a very loyal group -whose love of bridge was built around their genuine friendships with each other.

We celebrated graduation together at Cherokee Country Club. Diplomas, roses and champagne added to the festivities.  For more photos, click here 

Congratulations again to each new graduate!  We encourage you to play as often as possible and hope to see you soon in the newly-created Level 5 Master's Year! 

October 26, 2015

Hand of the Month!

We thought it might be fun to challenge you each month with a unique, interesting hand.  The hand on the right was dealt today at the Playing Tricks on Parkinson's luncheon at the Swan Coach House.  

Tricia Washington (Level 3) hosted the event - with all the proceeds going directly to benefit the Michael J Fox Foundation.  Bridge & Company was very well-represented with over thirty of our students gathered around the tables. We missed those of you who could not attend.  

One of the Level 4 tables found themselves confronted with this interesting hand.  How would you handle it?  Bid it out and let us know what you think.  North (with the A of spades) is the dealer.  The fuzzy heart in South is a Queen.


Pictured:  Merrel Hattink, Carolyn York, Susan Shanor, Virginia Shackleford, Palmer Strickler, Nancy Caswell, Perrin Kibler, Susan Callaway, Henny Welchel, Melissa Bernhardt, Lisa Steuer, Lori Heys, Laine Walker, Ruth Welborn, and Lee McColl

Other Graduates:  Betsy Camp, Bobbie Pace, Brenda Smith, Cathy Thrasher, Deb Cummins, Elizabeth Smith, Ginny Black, Jane Knapp, Jane Nichols, Jenifer Dobbs, Kaki McLoud, Kim Evans, Linda Gilbert, Mary Ann Matthews, Moira Brigman, Penny Peebles, Shirley Davis, 


March 5, 2015


Congratulations to Bridge & Company's latest graduating class.  This year's 4B class included 30 incredible women.  

Several in the class came to us as after having played together for many years.  This group couldn't contain their enthusiasm and held both a ceremony and dinner to mark the occasion!!  Melissa and Merrel were invited to join them for all the festivities - including the photo.

Others in the graduating class - including many who had entered as 'Freshmen' four years ago - came together for another reception to receive their diplomas.  Perhaps a lack of sufficient wine resulted in no photos from that party...

This graduation ups our Alumni roster to 57 students!  We are so proud of each of them - and are now motivated to create some sort of 'graduate school'!

Way to go ladies.  Keep playing and let us know of your successes as well as your fun!  You will definitely be hearing from us...


March 3, 2015

World Premiere - Imba means Sing

Because Bridge & Company has been such a ardent supporter of, Imba means Sing, we wanted to share the great news that this documentary will have its world premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival on March 24th at 7:30 at the Rialdo Theatre.

So many of you have encouraged our daughter-in-law, Erin, on her three-year journey as producer of this inspiring film.  Many of us wear lovely African necklaces purchased to support the film; others have attended events to view early cuts; and so many of you have simply kept her project as part of our weekly conversations.  

We are incredibly proud of Erin's tenacity and talent - and join her in hoping the film will inspire others.  

NPR aired a piece today featuring Erin as well as the film's director with both songs and narration by choir members.  Below is a link to the segment. Please take a minute to hear more about the project - and if you want to see Erin before you listen, she is featured on our first blog post - as well as in another post about her wedding to our son, Richmond.

And, if you want to join us at the Premiere on March 24th, just click on this link 

Congratulations, Erin!!



January 25, 2015

Congratulations, Karen Riddell...

Bridge & Company is delighted to congratulate Karen Riddell on the release of The Friendship App!!   Karen is a Level 4 graduate, an app creator, and soon to be a published author when her book on the power of female friendships is released.

For all of you who care about fostering friendships, this is the App for you!! Helps you keep track of all the details relating to our friends and acquaintances.  Ever forget the names of your friends' children?  Or forget to ask a friend about her mother's recent surgery.  Ever attend a cocktail party and wish for an easy way to be reminded about an upcoming event in the life of a friend you care about - but see infrequently?  Well, The Friendship App takes care of all of this and more.

To check it out, go to the Apple App Store and search on Karen Riddell.  You could search on Friendship App - but apparently My Little Pony has taken all of the easy search slots for 'friendship'.  Who knew???

January 18, 2015

Just Sayin'...

Yesterday, Melissa and Merrel were part of the Whirlwind Bridge team leading Learn Bridge in a Day? in Knoxville.

We learned two new bridge quotes that made us laugh out loud.  The photo on the right speaks for itself.  The quote below was given to us by Ed Green - a charming gentleman who served as a table helper.

'Bridge is like the Old Testament - too many rules and too little forgiveness'.

We thought you would enjoy both quotes!

January 9, 2015

Bridge Enthusiasm at its Best!

Yesterday, with temperatures in the low 20's, the very first Bridge & Company class played for hours in a house without heat!!

I have no idea how that worked, but what I do know is they are dedicated to their practice - and their friendships.

We love both pursuits.  Way to go, 'Bridgettes'...

January 7, 2015

Congratulations Missy Budd and Cherie VanWinkle!

We have just received word that Missy and Cherie have achieved enough Master Points to become ACBL Junior Masters!

Both are Level 4 graduates; and both are self-described 'bridge addicts'.  They kindly credit Bridge & Company with fostering the addiction.  

We take that as a compliment!

​Let us know if more of you have achieved this honor.  We'll post the good news.

December 10th


Bridge & Company Celebrates the Season!

Today over 60 Bridge & Company students and alumni gathered for shopping, bridge and a bite to eat - in that order.  Maybe it was because the baubles and trinkets were in the first room, but we virtually had to force our friends into the room with cards!!  

Never underestimate to power of shopping - or the value of friendships.  So much joy and laughter were in those rooms.  Check out more photos by clicking on the Photos tab of the website.

 Happy Holidays to all...

November 25th


More Bernhardt Wedding News!!

2014 has truly been a magical year for the Bernhardts.  A month ago our second son, Andrew, married Sara Scheible in Atlanta.  The weather was stellar; festivities were classy; and the newlyweds were surrounded by overjoyed friends and family.  Oh, what a year!!

September 19th


Fall Classes Underway!

We are off to such a good start with our Fall Classes - two Level 2A's, a 3A, a 3B, and two 4A's.  All total we have over 120 women trusting us to guide them in their bridge journey.  We feel so lucky that we have such a truly wonderful community.  

At this point, online registrations are closed for weekly classes.  We hope to have the winter schedule available in late October.

In the meantime, we are offering four opportunities for people wanting a review of the basics.  Click on 'Classes' then 'Schedule' to learn more...

Happy Fall Everyone!

August 11, 2014


Learn Bridge in a Day?

Whirlwind Bridge is doing an LBIAD on Wednesday. September 3rd from 9:30 - 2:30 at Cross Creek.  Cost $75 - including a light lunch.  This fun, fast-paced, seminar is a perfect introduction to the basics for anyone new to the game or anyone needing an efficient refresher.

Our own Merrel Hattink is leading the entire day - so please tell any of your friends interested in learning this fun game!

To register or for any questions, email Merrel at  


July 29, 2014


Great Press for Bridge...

Melissa just returned from the Summer NABC (North American Bridge Championships) in Las Vegas.  Before the tournament the ABTA (American Bridge Teachers Assn.) held their annual convention.  It was a great week with lots of meetings, and presentations.  While in Las Vegas, Melissa and Patty Tucker were interviewed on one of the local morning shows - promoting bridge in general and their Whirlwind Bridge Learn Bridge in a Day? seminar in particular.

Here's a link to that TV spot.  Yes, we were nervous... 


We ran a LBIAD for 73 people on Sunday afternoon and were covered by the Lifestyle writer for the Las Vegas Review Journal.  Here is a link to the article he wrote after the event.  It is a great summary of why we love bridge - and a good reminder that anyone can learn.

May 7, 2014

Wedding News!!

 2014 is a turning out to be quite a year for the Bernhardt family.  Our older son, Richmond, married Erin Levin two weeks ago in a charmed setting on Cumberland Island - complete with wild horses meandering trough the outdoor venue just before the bride entered.    So much joy just needs to be shared.  Here is a picture from Richmond and Erin’s wedding.

April 8, 2014

Field Trip!!

As a fun end-of-the-year adventure, the Bridge & Company community is heading out on a Duplicate Field Trip.  Over 50 of us are going to The Bridge Club of Atlanta where Sam Marks is going to introduce us to duplicate and tournament play.  Lunch and fun to follow.  Look for photos and more details soon!

February 28

Congratulations Missy!!

Missy Budd (Level 4B) played in her first duplicate tournament yesterday and won the whole thing!  First place, a trophy and 4 Master Points!!  She fears she is now officially a bridge addict.

February 27, 2014

Great Dog Names!!

Tricia Washington (Level 2B) just emailed that she is thinking of getting two new dogs and naming them ‘Blackwood’ and ‘Gerber’.  Just had to share…


January 9, 2014

Our New Blog!!

Happy New Year and thank you for visiting our new site! 

Welcome to the Bridge & Company blog. This is our very first entry. If you ever have something you'd like for us to share in this space, please email us using the link below. 

Normally we will be posting about bridge issues; however, in this first post I would like to introduce you to my son Richmond's fiancee, Erin Levin. Erin helped develop our website and is an incredibly talented documentary filmmaker. Her passion for the children of Africa inspires me.  I hope you, too, will be moved as you watch this YouTube video of her recent Tedx Talk. 

For more information or to support Erin's film, Imba Means Sing, please visit

Melissa Bernhardt