I highly recommend the Holiday Tea at the Arboretum. It's not too late to go, because they are having it every day at 11 and 2 until the 23rd. It was a special treat I planned for me and my mom to share during her recent visit. It was so nice that we might make it an annual tradition.
The tea took place in one of the estates within Arboretum grounds. It was in a lovely room that had a roaring fire and beautiful decorations. We had the best seat in the house, next to enormous french doors that opened up to a patio and the garden beyond. What a view!
First, we were served tomato basil soup and some flavor of tea. The reason I can't remember what flavor of tea it was is because over the course of the meal we had six different teas. SIX CUPS OF TEA IN ONE HOUR. I probably don't need to point out the obvious, but after that much tea I was in dire need of the ladies' room.
The second course was 6 different little sandwiches. They were so delicious. My favorite was the creamed cucumber on white bread. My goal is to scour the internet for a similar recipe. Incidentally, this tea provided field research since I am planning a fancy tea birthday party for Ava in about a month. I got so many good ideas!
The third course was the dessert course. I snapped a picture of this one because the gingerbread house was adorable. That house was not part of our meal, the server was quick to point out. We could buy it for $10 if we wanted. No thanks. But it added a nice touch.
After lingering and talking and generally enjoying ourselves, we headed to the front of the grand house for the tour. The main draw of the tour was the display of creches. Thankfully, I had just learned what that word means earlier this week. Talk about timing! I was at bunco this week when Lynn Leaming pointed out how she would like a certain kind of light to light up her creche on the mantle. My response was, whoa, slow down now, what did you just say? She enlightened me about how creche means nativity scene. When the elderly tour guide gentleman gave us the spiel on the creches I was able to nod and smile and really know what he was talking about! There were hundreds of nativity scenes of every imaginable kind spread throughout the rooms of the house. All of these came from only 2 collections, if you can believe it.
We enjoyed the tour, and then I stepped into my favorite room ever. A library. A perfect, shelves floor to ceiling, completely full of books, with a roaring fire in the fireplace library. The library I imagine when I read books set in old England. The library I covet and dream about.
It even had a secret door that looked like shelves. I was in heaven.
After the tour, we hit the gift shop. I'd never been in the gift shop before because on all previous visits to the Arboretum I had three young kids in tow. We all know kids and gift shops don't mix. We even had 15% off coupons they had given us at the tea. So, I bought a cute birdhouse ornament as a souvenir of our memorable afternoon. Mom, I am so glad we got to experience a beautiful afternoon together at the Arboretum. I love you!