Afternoon tea is all about enjoyment, relaxation, and taking the time to refresh your spirit. I love tea and its trappings. I love to take a break each afternoon enjoying a cup of tea either in my library with a good book, at my tea table with some needlework, or perhaps if the weather is lovely I might take tea in the sun room where I can sip and commune with nature. But once a month I invite others to join me in this gracious ritual. After all, the 1853 property which my husband and I call home is “not for us alone”. Sharing it and sharing tea doubles the joy.
I like to alternate the location of my tea parties each month because changing locations means different tables to dress with different china. I’ll experiment with different recipes and invite different friends to each tea. Variety is the spice of life you know. Entertaining with tea is a wonderful way to reach out to others in friendship while also having the creative fun of designing each event. My last two teas were held in our Outbuilding. Come along and I’ll share a bit of those tea experiences with you. Up the driveway we go…
approaching the circle…
passing the circle…
and there it is, the Outbuilding, once a chicken coop back when the estate was a big old farm, but thanks to a few previous owners the building is now a detached family room where I can get away from it all – or if not everything, at least I can get away from the house if I need a change of scenery without going too far away..
We pass the old barn which is now a three car garage and walk around to the front of the Outbuilding…
and here we are!
Come on in.
The beamed ceiling gives me the feeling I’m off in the mountains
and the wood-burning fireplace is especially cozy on a cold or rainy day.
We have seating close to the fireplace plus two other sofas and there’s a long built-in bench along the wall, plenty of seating in this old Outbuilding if we decide to have cocktails here before a dinner party at the house. But for a tea I usually serve at the table, a table that was my maternal grandparent’s table once upon a time. Ah, memories.
I enjoy coming here on quiet days, sitting in my rocker that also once belonged to my maternal grandparents. It’s the same rocker that held me on my father’s lap as a child, as I sipped his coffee sweet with sugar and milk, back in the day… memories and more memories. I love things old.
But on the day of a tea there’s no time for daydreaming about the old days. Instead there’s much hustle and bustle in the butler’s pantry where goodies are prepared and assembled to serve to my guests. It is a little challenging carrying everything back and forth to and from the Outbuilding, but now and then this extra work is necessary if I’m ever to share the Outbuilding with others.
What will I serve my guests?
Meringues with strawberries and whipped cream?
Shortbread and cookies?
A simple coffee cake?…
or perhaps a fancy cake I purchase from the bakery shop?
I purchased special antique tea china for the Outbuilding and I like to use a handmade crocheted tablecloth that my mother made a long time ago.
Or sometimes I use a set of tea china that belonged to my parents.
Of course we need some tea. I offer a variety to my guests
And candlelight is always nice…
especially on a cool, rainy day.
When the food is made, the table is set, the candles are lit and everything is ready all that’s needed are some guests…
be they lady friends, old and new…
or sweet children who happen to be my music students.
It’s such a joy to do for others. I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t enjoy entertaining, especially hosting afternoon teas.
It is my hope that by sharing my afternoon tea experiences I may inspire you to invite others to your own home and share some tea with them…make it coffee or hot chocolate if you prefer, but reach out to others and share in your own intimate setting. Make your tea your way, as simple or elaborate as you like. It’s not the tea, or the food, so much as your personal outreach and hospitality.
Share Joy. Share Tea!
9 thoughts on “Tea in the Outbuilding”
I just read your narrative here, Carol Ann, and I am simply amazed at the energy that you possess. I can tell by the expressions on the faces of your guests (pictured) for your afternoon tea that you’re a fun person to be around.
Well, I try to have fun and be fun,
and as for energy… doing what we like to do gives us energy. Don’t you think so?
To be honest, your question really has stumped me, Carol Ann. I guess I’ve gravitated towards the things in life that I enjoy without needing to expend much energy. A bit sad to say after thinking about it. Maybe that will change one day for me.
Oh what a lovely place to take tea and also to read, sitting in that beautiful rocker by the fireplace! We had a tea yesterday to celebrate the finale of Downton Abbey. Teas can be a lot of work but worth all the effort!
Another interesting and enjoyable blog! It seems life in our area is so busy that people don’t necessarily get together as much and if they do they just want to meet at a restaurant somewhere. You seem to have an abundance of energy which lately I seem to be lacking and also aches and pains sometimes take away the energy. .So nice that you share your talents with both young and older people. I guess I do with my grandchildren. They are always here and wanting to do something creative or just talk. That’s a blessing to me. . God Bless you and your extended family of friends!!!
Hi Carol Ann! Love your blog. You sparkle with delight and good feelings. Your home is like going back in time yet enjoying the present; you are the gift! Love you.
Gwen, Nice to hear from you. You’re right that hosting a tea can be work, but it is my favorite kind of work and I just love serving in different places each month. I’m planning a small tea this month at a new tea table in my new family room. It’s a first at this table in this room. Fun!
Bonnie, I know what you mean about people being too busy to entertain in their homes and I think it’s a shame. But a lot of people aren’t busy at all. I think they’re just lazy. Not you! You do so much for your clubs, for Mark and for your grandchildren. You need a vacation. I wish I could treat to a nice tea. You just have to get yourself over to my house. Maybe one of these days… yes?
Celeste, You are sunshine personified. I hear you’re enjoying a nice vacation. You deserve it. Hope to see you soon.