Sunday, November 18, 2012

Victorian Tea Party

It's the season for tea parties!  Bring on the scones, lavender teas, lemon curd, and cookies!  Oh how I love this time of year.  Usually, here in Milwaukee, a few hotels and mansions will do special tea service with all the goodies.  It's kind of a pricy event but I try to go to at least one every year.  This year I saw a Groupon for a historic home about an hour from me in Lake Geneva, WI.  It included a house tour and a Victorian Tea Party for 2 and it was priced at $30 so it was about what I'd expect.  Usually you pay $15-30 per person for the overall experience and you plan to be at the location for about an hour.

For the Baker House tea party, there was a 2 hour window to make your reservations.  They serve tea from 2-4.  When you arrive, you are greeted by a host dressed in a costume from circa 1885.  They have a wide selection of hats for both men and women, so you can browse the selection and choose one to match your outfit.  Then you wait for your group to arrive.  There were only 8 people in our group so we met in the bar and had a tour with "the butler" who told us about the mansion architecture, furnishings, and people who lived and visited here.  We only saw the first floor.  I understand there are luxury suites above and it's used as a hotel as well as a restaurant.

For the actual tea party, we were taken to one of the salons, and there were 5 tables to choose from for seating.  Omar and I took the corner table near the window.  They brought a tray of dry teas from which to choose your brew.  You could sniff them and read about them on a menu.  Then they brought you a personal pot of tea using that blend.  I chose the Buckingham Palace Garden Party blend, which was composed of Earl Grey with jasmine, assam ceylon, and kenya teas.  Very smooth and nice with a hint of cream added.  Omar tried the honey stick in his and loved it.

The menu of foods included a tiered tray of sweet and savory delights: sandwiches of cucumber, radish & cranberry cream cheese, egg salad, chicken salad; pumpkin bread; cranberry and lemon scones served with lemon curd and devonshire cream; and hand dipped strawberries dipped in milk & white chocolates.  It wasn't a huge portion- just enough to taste everything.  Omar kept saying, "I LOVE this place", although all he ate were the strawberries.

Here are a few more photos of the house and the hats.  Look for a tea party near you for holiday fun!
Oops.  Mr. Lincoln's hat is too big
a selection of hats


These aviator goggles were cool


Each fireplace was unique and lovely
The tables were set up with linens and china


Loved this lamp
Omar sniffing the loose teas


The Baker House, Lake Geneva


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