Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Farewell Birthday Month!

One final peek at the birthday celebration held earlier this month. Appropriately, a hand crafted fondant tea cup atop a sweetly decorated birthday cake.  A special thanks to friend~neighbor~artist~fairy~Patti of Patticakes Confections for the fun cake!  It added to the special tea themed celebration.

So long August.... we will await your return next year; but must we continue counting?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Regency Tea for Friends ~ Part Two

Although Afternoon Tea as we know it wasn't introduced during Jane Austen's time period, there are many references to taking tea in her novels. Coffee was the fashion for many decades, but by 1700 the British upper class were changing their preference to tea. In the era of Jane Austen, tea was always served after dinner. The custom of taking Afternoon Tea as we think of it didn't appear until later, in 1840 with Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford when she complained of 'a sinking feeling' in the late afternoon and began to take tea and a butter sandwich in her boudoir in the afternoon. As she invited select friends to join her, it became the fashion to continue this tradition. Our menu for the Regency Tea featured a bit of both worlds.
Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwich
A Finger Sandwich of Mixed Vegetables
White cheddar & Olive Rounds
Cucumber with Mint butter
Artichoke & Spinach Toasts

Traditional English Cream Scones
Olde English Seed Cake
Mock Clotted Cream, Cinnamon Honey Butter
Fresh Cantaloupe and Summer Berries
Sticky Toffee Pudding
A fine Cake
Assorted Hot Teas
We were pleased to once again welcome Eliza Blackwell Dupree, a lovely lady of the 19th century who regaled us with stories of tea during the Regency period as well as the customs and traditions of the time. It was an enjoyable afternoon as we stepped back in time.

The next opening of the door brought something more welcome; it was for the tea-things, which she had begun almost to despair of seeing that evening. ~Mansfield Park

Monday, August 29, 2011

Regency Tea for Friends of Jane Austen

Recently, we hosted a Jane Austen themed tea event in Sweet Remembrances.  In addition to the Internet resource, two wonderful books on the topic provided inspiration and recipe suggestions.  The Jane Austen Cookbook (Maggie Black & Deirdre Le Faye) includes a selection of recipes dating back to the late Georgian/Regency period, approx. 1750 - 1820.  The recipes featured would have been dishes that Jane Austen and her family, and the characters represented in her novels, would have enjoyed.  Each recipe appears as it would have been written during this era followed by an updated version for our modern kitchen.  There is also considerable back ground information pertaining to the social and domestic life in Jane Austen's time.  The recipes are divided into different categories, including family favourites, picnics, suppers, and entertaining friends.
The second cookbook, Tea with Jane Austen (Kim Wilson) also provided a wonderful selection of tea related recipes, quotes, history, and general information regarding the occurrence of tea time events in Jane Austen's novels.  A delightful sampling of the quotes that appear in the book were shared with our guests in the printed menu that day.

"No coffee, I thank you, for me ~never take coffee.~A little tea if you please, sir, by and bye, ~no hurry!  Oh! here it comes.  Every thing is so good!" ~Miss Bates in Emma.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tea Cup Thursday

We're joining Miss Spenser and others for Teacup
Thursday today, featuring the birthday cup for the month of August. This Royal Albert bone china tea
cup from England, in both full size and petite cups, feature the Flower of the Month Series.  For August, it's the Poppy. The cups are both dated and copyright 1970.

The sweet little tea pot featuring precious blue blossoms, forget me knots perhaps, is marked on the bottom Lane End Pottery, Fine Bone China, England.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Home alone

 This past weekend was rather quiet around here... the 'neighbors' were away on an annual weekend getaway that includes fun, food, friendship and fantastic times. They're home now. No longer quiet around here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which we get sunshine when dark somber skies blanket our thoughts.  ~Dodinsky

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sugarplums & Tea

 We were surprised to find Sugarplums Tea housed in such a stately building located in a fairly residential area in Lancaster, PA.   An easy one hour drive from our home town, thanks to a handy dandy GPS, we arrived precisely at our destination after twisting and turning about a few country roads.
Another part of the birthday week/month celebrations, the family gathered together for tea. 
Even the Old Boy joined us for the journey, much to everyone's delight.
This tea room was perfect for the wide range of ages in our group, 8 - 89.  Almost on the verge of being more a restaurant than a tea room, everyone had the option to order off the menu.  Cedar was eager to order the sliders (mini hamburgers) while dear old Dad requested the fish & chips.

We ordered the three tiered tea tray which included a choice of fruit and scones OR soup and bread (shown on the top tier).  The middle tier, with an assortment of hearty sandwiches included chicken salad on Hawaiian bread, chicken kabob with teriyaki sauce, ham and cheese encroute, and spinach & cheese melt in petite phyllo cups.

The dessert tray included a trio of sweets that featured a peanut butter chocolate mini parfait, a sponge cake, and a truffle in a petite chocolate cup.
As for the tea, loose leaf in T-Sacs, Susanna sampled the Peach gingerand Nancy requested Ti kuan yin;
or, if you prefer, milkshakes were an option also. 
This tea room pleased everyone in our group.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pitcher Plant

Sarracenia or sometimes called Pitcher Plants, are herbaceous perennials that grow along the coastline of the South East U.S. in bogs or swamps with an acidic type soil. This clump of Pitcher Plants was spotted at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. This aquarium strives to illustrate the water/coastal life of the state. Many of these bog plants have been lost to developments and several states have taken measures to protect the plants. Some of the species are listed on the USA Endangered Species Act.
A carnivorous plant, insects are attracted to the nectar like secretion at the top of the lip. Slippery footing causes the bugs to fall inside and die. They are then digested by the plant as a nutrient source.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Birthday!

This pretty plate held a petite chocolate cupcake, a chocolate syrup stem with leaves, and a strawberry garnish, all delicately dusted with confectioner's sugar and presented with a candle, while accompanied by that old familiar refrain.
What special birthday treat have you received while attending afternoon tea in a tea room?

Monday, August 8, 2011

After Tea? What next?

So, what do you do after tea?Monster Trucks!?  Oh yeah! The sheer power,the roar,
the dust, the speed,
and those tires, oh yeah!

Every time one of the kids lets out a 'not another tea room' comment, or something similar, we are quick to remind them that vacation is not all about what they want to do.  During the course of the week, we try to schedule something of interest for everyone.So, when this monster truck adventure appeared on the highway as we were returning from tea, it seemed the perfect complement to our day and everyone was excited to jump on board.  And fortunately an older and wiser Brother-in-law was happy to stay off the Monster Truck and snap a few photos. 

Grave Digger.  Oh Yeah!  Afternoon Tea.  If we must.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

De'Tours in Elizabeth City garden space

Our tea room in Elizabeth City, NC offered this large welcoming porch.

There were several spots throughout the yard where outdoor living was welcomed with seating on the deck and on the patio as well.

The Georgian style house was shaded by a huge magnolia tree and surrounded by well maintained shrubbery.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"De'Tours" in Elizabeth City, NC

Our third (!) tea room visit during our recent vacation, also discovered via TeaMap, was a trip to "De'Tours" in Elizabeth City and the beautifully restored home of Bonnie Calliotte. In addition to a lovely afternoon tea using her grandmother's 1863 hand painted china, we enjoyed a history of her home and the assorted accoutrement's and historical items in the home followed by a walking tour of the city, homes and churches in the surrounding area. Bonnie loves to cook, she loves history, and she obviously enjoys sharing both aspects when she welcomes her guests to her home.
The table was beautiful, set with a fun variety of tea cups and assorted little dishes.  It was quite a welcoming sight.
Tucked inside each tea cup was a Harney & Sons flavored tea sachet.  Bonnie chatted about her collections as she poured hot water from a silver tea pot.  She shared a delicious pink fruit punch for the younger ones in attendance.

Mother & Daughter Smiles
A gathering of twelve family members from NY-PA-NC-CA graced this tea party.  Sisters, cousins, siblings, and in-laws enjoyed this flavorful contrast to our regular vacation fare.   Ham & brie on a baguette with raspberry sauce, Goat cheese with basil and fig jam on toasted raisin bread,  and Pimento cheese were just a few of the savories.  Scones, of course.  And chocolate dipped strawberries and lemon cake finished the menu.

After tea, we journeyed outside for a personalized walking tour of Elizabeth City.  It was a delightful addition, with our CA cousins particularly enjoying the history of the east coast.

Thank you Bonnie.  We appreciated your gracious Southern hospitality and enjoyed your enthusiasm for your community.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Feathernesters Garden Space

All of the tea rooms we visited during our vacation week had such lovely outdoor garden spaces. Feathernesters did a terrific job creating green space where originally there wasn't any. This lovely front terrace was warm and inviting and on a slightly cooler day we certainly would have enjoyed our brunch here.
This is just a small glimpse into the decor in their store. Filled with shabby chic items, Feathernesters was a joy to browse and shop.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Feathernesters Tea Room, Richmond, VA

Tea Room #2 ~ during our 2011 summer vacation to the Outer Banks, discovered via TeaMap, a source we always check prior to traveling anywhere in an attempt to locate tea rooms within our travel destinations.  And what a special destination we found!  Feathernesters Tea Room in Richmond, VA offers Sunday Brunch, which fit our travel schedule perfectly.  When I emailed an inquiry regarding availability, the response we received was overwhelming.  We would be delighted to welcome you and your family to Feathernesters Tea Room.  We recognize your name and have been to The Rosemary House on several occasions.  We referred to your mother's book  (Growing Your Herb Business) frequently when we first opened.  Tony & Marc
How special is that!?  We felt as if our mom had sent us to visit them!  On Sundays, they serve a delicious Sunday Brunch.  We arrived promptly at 10 am, and had a chance to peek around the amazing gift shop before we feasted on a delicious Southern buffet which included made-to-order omelets, hash browns, garden casserole, ham, bacon, cheesy grits, biscuits & gravy, scones and blueberry muffins, and more!  Beautiful presentation, individual pots of tea, delicious and bountiful food, and a very special welcome made us feel quite at home on this Sunday morning.

Lovely displays, good food and good tea, complete with a fun gift shop made it difficult to leave Feathernesters, but we were headed to our beach house with a van full of excited kids, so off we went.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pink Bicycle Tea Room Garden

Immediately, what caught my eye at the Pink Bicycle Tea Room was the adorable little garden out front and the way they are utilizing their mismatched chipped china within the garden.

Plates and saucers were used as edging along the sidewalk.

Teapots, cups, and other serving pieces were being used as garden decor throughout the garden bed.


And of course, a pink bicycle tucked in among the greenery.

Whimsical, fun and perfect for a tea room garden!