Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Herb Festival at the John Jay Homestead

It's always fun to visit a herb festival and this one was no exception. The New York Unit of the Herb Society of America puts on an annual Herb Faire at the John Jay Homestead in Katonah, NY, traditionally the third Thursday of September. This was their 67th year for this event, and how special it was to connect with Daughter #1 (far right) who happens to live in the area.
They sold home made jams, jellies, shrubs, dried herbs and their famous Tarragon Mustard at the Herbal Pantry booth. Multiple booths were set up under a huge white canopied tent.
Fresh cut herbs and some flowers were sold at the fresh herbs booth. They also had books for sale, a gardeners green elephant booth, and a plant sale. Luncheon including their signature lovage soup, fresh sandwich, cookies and chips was available to purchase and enjoy under the shade trees.
The John Jay homestead is unique in that many garden groups help to maintain the property.  The Sundial garden is supported by the local garden club.

The herb garden is maintained by the New York Unit of the Herb Society of America.
The herb garden was laid out to feature household, culinary, fragrant, and dye herbs.

John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the US, the president of the Continental Congress and an American Statesman.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hudson Valley Highlights

Our recent Traveling Herb Seminar explored luxurious gardens and estates situated in the Hudson River Valley. With spectacular views of the Hudson River, Washington Irving's Sunnyside was our first stop.
The costumed docents provided a tour of Irving's home and a glimpse into his family history and his many writings. Although most famous for his short stories including Rip Van Winkle and his book The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving penned historical writings as well.
Lyndhurst is a gothic revival mansion and had a list of owners including: former New York City mayor William Paulding, merchant George Merritt and railroad tycoon Jay Gould. Lyndhurst is named for the many varieties of Linden trees that surround the mansion.
Caramoor, was the family home of the Rosen family and is now open as a center for Music and the Arts. The Rosen's collected rooms from around the world. The gardens featured an interactive exhibit on sound.
Kykuit was the mansion of the Rockefeller family, beginning with David Rockefeller to Nelson Rockefeller (4 term governor of NY state and VP during the Ford administration), and throughout the line of the family. This formidable estate (doesn't it look like a bank?) had a huge collection of sculpture and fine art but was a summer home that was clearly enjoyed by the Rockefeller family. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sereni-Tea Victorian Tea Room, MD

A recent family outing took us to Maryland where we enjoyed the Royal Tea served at the Sereni-Tea Victorian Tea Room in Funkstown (near Hagerstown).
A fluted glass of chilled sparkling peach juice awaited our arrival. We sipped on the sparkling juice as we selected our tea from the extensive tea menu.

Loose leaf tea is strained through individual silver plated stainers. The little drip catcher held the strainer when not in use. The rich burgandy tableclothes, delicate lace coverings, and matching china exuded Victorian wealth. We knew we were in for a treat.
The first course featured fresh peaches with an amaretto glaze. The hint of almonds complemented the fresh fruit nicely. The petite serving was just the right size as there was much more to enjoy.

Following the fruit, we were served the Soup-du-jour which was a thick creamy corn bisque. Very tasty, and again, just the right size.

The summer salad featured fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and onion in a delicate house-made vinaigrette served in this sweet pedestal dish. We enjoyed the multitude of little courses.  

Next, we savored individual portions of a filo crusted quiche nestled in a roasted red pepper coulis which brought forth oohs and aahs when enjoying the crunch of the filo along with the tasty sauce. Yum!

And then, the arrival of the three tiered tray!

The sandwich assortment was on the middle tier and included a pimiento cheese on pumpernickel bread, there was a tomato crostini topped with cheese, a tiny filo cup with spinach and cheese, a cucumber sandwich, and an egg salad sandwich. All very fresh.
The top tier held petite scones and assorted tea breads and muffins served with fresh fruit. A side dish held their version of clotted cream, lemon curd, and strawberry preserves.
And the bottom tier featured a wide selection of tasty desserts that included bread pudding, chocolate brownie, lemon poppyseed florette with lemon curd, a cookie, and a blackberry topped tartlet. Yes, we needed a 'to go' box as we were unable to finish the desserts. What a wide variety and lovely Royal Tea we enjoyed!

Ranota Marcotte is the owner, and she was assisted by her granddaughter. They are standing in front of the wide assortment of teas that they serve in the tea room, and also offer for sale.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fairy Festival Fun - 2015

Sparkles and Glitter, Flowers and Rainbows, Wings and Wands, Magic and Mayhem...
the Rosemary House Fairy Festival took place earlier this month. The gardens were magically transformed into a special place. Fairies, gnomes, wizards and elves tucked here and there, and for two exciting days in September, the Fairies danced and played.
Princesses of all ages entertained and delighted the young and the old. We welcomed Faerie Fantasticals to our Festival this year and they did not disappoint. There were hugs and smiles, fairy tales told, whispers shared and wishes granted.

Faeries, Gnomes, Trolls, Elves, Fairies and Pixies danced in the Liquid Sunshine on Saturday and played with the bubbles on a very Sunny Sunday. The gardens and Rosemary Alley were a buzz of activity.

Tea Parties and Twirls,

Smiles and Hugs, Wing to Wing
Young or Old, Boys or Girls, we welcomed everyone with imagination! 
For two days the gardens magically transform into a fairyland. It is a joy to behold as mothers and fathers, grandparents, and children revel in delight and share the fantasy. And then 'Poof', the Faerie Godmother waves her magic wand and the gardens transition to their original state. The Fairy Festival becomes but a memory until next year when the fairies scamper forth and the magic begins again.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Seven Oaks Tea Room

While the boys were away at summer camp, we found a tea room to visit. What made this special was the fact that we were able to enjoy an Evening Tea on a pleasant Tuesday night. Seven Oaks Tea Room located at 6116 Pigeon Hill Road in Spring Grove, PA is a small private tea room owned and operated by a husband and wife team.

Tea decor fills the room where we enjoyed our special evening as part of the birthday celebration.

The tea selection offered this evening was a tart Berry herbal blend. Since it was late in the day, the caffeine free option was appreciated.

Cranberry Scones with Devonshire cream marked the beginning of our Evening Time Tea.

Our dapper host, decked out in vest and white cotton gloves happily kept our teacups full.

A very generous salad with fresh crisp greens topped with sauerkraut which added a unique flavor to a traditional salad.

A hearty summer squash soup served with toasted croutons and a tarragon sprig was the next course.

The platter of sandwiches included a petite zucchini muffin with radishes, an open faced sandwich made with sliced cucumber, tomato and fresh basil and a Waldorf salad sandwich.

Fresh summer fruit accompanied the variety of sandwiches.

Dessert featured a lemon curd cake with a fresh fruit garnish. Our evening ended with a leisurely stroll around the garden.