Monday, August 24, 2015

Tea in the Plains

For our August meeting, the tea meet-up group I joined met in the Plains, Virginia at Crest Hill Antiques and Tea Room for a lovely afternoon tea.

The Plains is roughly 25 minutes down the highway from my house, so it was a pretty nice drive out into the country--as The Plains is known for being in horse country.  Every year there are steeplechase races in the town.  Here is a cute sign that might help you place where it is:

As you may be able to guess from the name, the tea room is also an antique store, and had some lovely displays as we walked into the front parlor.

Passing through the parlor towards this pretty nook,

and around the corner, the tea room itself comes into view.

Pretty mismatched tea cups greeted us at each place setting, along with a tray full of tea sniffer jars.

Below is the tea room's large list of custom blends from local blender, Tea for All Reasons.

I have a few of Tea for All Reasons blends, and have enjoyed them all--so I was exited to see this generous menu.

Since I was in the Crest Hill tearoom, it seemed appropriate to get the tea named for them:  a blend of black tea with blueberries and lilac blossoms.  I also have never had lilac scented tea before!

This tea was delicious and light and definitely blueberry.  I didn't really notice anything I would associate with lilac, but then, I have never drank lilac before!  I did almost wish I needed cream with it (it was perfect with just a little sweetener) just so I could use this cute creamer:

Tea was served in individual pots--each with a cute tea cozy to make sure it wouldn't get cold. 

And the tea room came around a couple of times with hot water to top off the loose leaves in the pot.  And of course we each got strainers.

Others at the table ordered lunch (which they also serve), but I figured when in a tea room...

(assorted fruit on the top, middle tier has tea sandwiches:  ham and mustard, cheddar, and cucumber and cream cheese with dill.  Not pictured, the desserts on the bottom tier--three cookies and a carrot tea cake with pineapple)

Of course the tiered tray also came with a scone:  apricots and cream. 

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the desserts served with my tea, but I did get a picture of the assorted dessert tray ordered by two other ladies at the tea (one of which was kind enough to take the picture, so you also get a different view!).  They really enjoyed them (and they sure do look good, don't they?)

(starting at the top:  ├ęclairs, blueberry flavored cream puffs, cheesecake bites, spiced cakes, brownie bites, rugelach (I think it was raspberry), and unfortunately, I don't remember the last)

After this delightful tea, I walked the little town for a bit, passing some really cute stores:

Definitely an enjoyable afternoon, especially since I got to meet other tea lovers!  Speaking of tea lovers, I am joining a wonderful group of ladies at the below tea parties:

Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea 
Rose Chintz Cottage's Tea Time Tuesday

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Poppies and sunflowers

August's flower of the month is the poppy, which, in keeping with my "flowers of the month" theme this year, is the inspiration for this week's tea party.

Through dancing poppies stole
a breeze most solfly lulling to my soul
~John Keats

The beautiful embroidered runner is a gift from my mother.

I set the table with my two sets of red china:


(Royal Albert's Lady Hamilton)

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.  It's what sunflowers do. 
~Helen Keller

With pretty yellow sunflowers and poppies as the theme, what else could I serve at this little tea party then lemon poppy seed scones?

Lastly, I placed my one Sadler teapot on the table:

Poppies have also been the flower of death, life, and remembrance since World War I and the poem, "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian officer Col. John McCrae:  "In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row..."

Summer sorrows
The sunflower raises its head
as spots of sunshine fall
on mouths eager to be fed,
standing tall,
above all.

But golden beauty pales
next to wild fields of red,
where man's travails
once bled,
upon the flowers' bed.

Yet blooms once crushed
return anew,
shyly awakening brushed
 with morning dew,
tears overdue.

And on that solemn note, I am joining these tea parties this week:

Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea 
Rose Chintz Cottage's Tea Time Tuesday

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Teacups and evening snacks

Things have been pretty busy so far this week, so this week's tea party will just be a small evening snack to share my new Homegoods find (I really need to stay out of that store...but then I wouldn't find the cool stuff that ends up on this blog!).

My sister's birthday is this week, and, since she works at a bakery, her boss gave her a tres leches cake with a fruit and cream filing--delicious with a cup of earl grey in my new teacup and the main star of this post.


This cup has so many neat things on it!

The tea plan itself, camellia sinensis, and a tea strainer,

Teacups and teapots,

A box of Liptons, a tea scoop, and a tea glass with a silver holder

and one of the most interesting additions, the Flying Cloud, a "tea" clipper.

I actually looked up this ship to find out more about why it would be on this teacup full of tea paraphernalia.  Clippers were the fastest sailing ships of their kind, and were built to feed the wishes of 19th century tea lovers to get their tea all the quicker from China.  The China Clippers, also known as tea clippers, traveled the trade routes between Europe and the East Indies. 

(There is even a tea cozy on the saucer, along with tea canisters)

The Flying Cloud built in Boston, Massachusetts, launched in 1851.  She is known for making the trip between Boston and San Francisco in 89 days--the fastest passage between those two cities for over 100 hundred years, until her record was broken in 1989.  Interestingly, it was a woman by the name of Eleanor Creesy who navigated  who record breaking voyage.  The Flying Cloud was later sold to a British company, and sailed between England and Australia and New Zealand, before, in her later years, becoming a part of the log trade between Newcastle upon Tyne, England and Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. 

Steam rises from a cup of tea

and we are wrapped in history,

inhaling ancient times and lands,

comfort of ages in our hands.

~Faith Greenbow

I'm joining these tea parties this week:

Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea 
Rose Chintz Cottage's Tea Time Tuesday