Tea on an Autumn Afternoon

“Very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.“————–Marcus Aurelius

I love to host an afternoon tea each and every month. Have you ever hosted such a party? I hope so. Every tea party I host is set in a different location in or around the grounds of my home. In October I always choose to serve in my outbuilding. Why? It’s because this small building at the edge of our property has a wood burning fireplace and entertaining here on an Autumn day makes me feel all cozy, as though I’m far away off in the mountains.

The outbuilding

This builiding is my little getaway place. It has two dutch doors, the five windows you see, baseboard heating and a beamed ceiling.

View of the fireplace

The outbuilding is always a great escape for me. I love to read in the wing chairs or in the rocker that belonged to my maternal grandparents, but now the rocker belongs to me.

So nice to sit and rock

Any time of year I love to escape to this building. Though there’s a house right next door the bushes keep my view out these windows quite private. It’s really a great escape when I yearn to get away, but haven’t the time to go off very far.

A room with a view thanks to the great windows

I love our outbuilding and because I know sharing doubles the joy I’m happy to host my October tea parties here. Of course the building is great for cocktails before a dinner party too. It’s just a fun place. We would’ve never thought to build such a structure, but some previous owners created it and I’m so glad they did.

For this October tea I decided to serve three items – a blueberry tea cake, pear scones ( the recipe given to me by my dear pen friend, Almita) and egg and watercress sandwiches. The party began with a little champagne. Campagne is always a nice touch.

Egg and watercress sandwich
Pear Scones
Blueberry tea cake

This tea party began as we sat before the fire toasting our champagne. We sat, we chatted, we watched the fire crackle and burn, but then we were ready for some tea so off to the table we went. The table in this outbuilding first belonged to my maternal grandparents as the rocker did. I was so happy to inherit it. I was happy also to have a good place for it in this building where it could be used and enjoyed by me and others. My grandparents and aunts and uncles who once used this table are now gone, but now the table has new life and new people all around it. It helps me share joy and love with others over tea. Sharing joy and love is what it’s all about, don’t you agree?

My grandparents table set for tea

My mother created the tablecloth. She was so good with a needle as were many of my female relatives. I have fond memories of us getting together chatting and stitching. I still love to knit, embroider, and do needlepoint. Do you enjoy needlework too? It’s a lovely art form.

I thought the outbuilding deserved its own set of china so I went off shopping at some antique stores and found this pretty pattern.

The outbuilding china

For tea at an antique table with antique china and antique table cloth I needed to use some antique napkins and I found some in my cupboard. I’m always collecting pretty things for the table. You too?

A napkin with a handmade touch

Every afternoon tea needs flowers and I was delighted to find some orange tea roses which matched the outbuilding china perfectly.

Gorgeous roses

The roses also matched the hair of my “mystery guest”. Look and see Maura’s lovely orange hair.

Me with my “mystery guest” and newest friend

You may be wondering why I call Maura my “mystery guest”? Well, you see, Maura read one of my past tea posts and she left a comment saying she would love to be invited to a tea. I wrote back to her asking where in the country she lived and I was delighted to learn she lived very near to me … so I invited her to this tea. I never actually met her until she came to my door but she proved to be a lovely lady and delightful guest. What is it they say about strangers being angels in disguise?

Of course I had other guests too – my good friends Lori and Joni were invited. Because I had taken a few hundred trips back and forth from the house to the outbuilding preparing for this tea I was very happy that the ladies helped me carry the last of the food to our little party in the ourbuilding.

Friends are the best

There is nothing like afternoon tea. To enjoy tea alone while reading a book or writing a letter is delightful, but to invite others to share in the tea ceremony is double or even triple fun. I certainly hope you are partaking in this simple but most delectable pleasure.

Go ahead. Invite some friends for afternoon tea. You’ll be glad you did.

What better way to suggest friendliness – and to create it – than with a cup of tea? ———————–J. Grayson Luttrell 1930

20 thoughts on “Tea on an Autumn Afternoon

  1. Very nice, Carol. I want to try egg and watercress sandwiches. My neighbor grows it in the spring. If I remember, I will trot over there in the spring and try making sandwiches. Thanks for the idea. Mo

  2. Oh Carol! I felt like I was right there with you preparing and attending the tea party. You have inspired me to plan a tea party when our granddaughters are in town during the holidays. I have some antique linens and dishes too. I may need your recipes! Thanks for sharing!

    Love,
    Carolyn

  3. Carol Ann, after reading your narrative and viewing your photos in this blog article that you titled, “Tea on an Autumn Afternoon,” I am (once again) overwhelmed by the two very different worlds that you and I inhabit. (Have either of us mentioned that to the other before?) 🙂

    This article was very interesting and illuminating to me, nonetheless!

    Greg

  4. Mo, How nice your neighbor grows watercress. If I tried to grow it the deer would have a feast. I made watercress soup with the extra cress that I purchased for my tea. It was pretty good soup.

  5. Greg, Do you even like tea? I should know but I don’t remember. In any case I bet you’d have a grand time if you ever came to one of my teas. Afternoon tea is really for everyone, maybe not hosting, but with so many teas that exist I should think there would be one you’d love and chatting over tea is every bit as much fun as chatting over letter writing. Wish you could come to a tea. I do have men attending sometimes.

  6. Oh Carol Ann, What lovely atmosphere and beautiful tea table!! I would love your recipe for the blueberry cake!

  7. Carol Ann, I do make hot tea for myself, but only every great now and then, and often when I’m fighting a cold or something. And I am quite sure that I would very much enjoy coming to one of your afternoon teas. But if I did, I do ask you that I be the only man there in attendance. I find women to be much more enjoyable and fascinating to visit with and spend quality time with. I’ve just always been that way. And if it was only you and me having tea and conversation, that would be okay, too.

    But there is that geographical 600+ miles that permanently lies between you and me, however. We’ll just have to continue to make do with our letter-writing, it appears.

  8. Greg, Yes, 600 miles is a bit too far to travel for one of my afternoon teas, even one that I fussed a great deal to create. My favorite Inn in Massachusetts is 600 miles away and that’s why I had to invent my Country Inn Days.

  9. Wow that’s so lovely. One day when I get my new house I hope to do this sort of thing. It won’t be as amazing as yours. Or I could just go out and let someone else make it.

  10. I’m so happy to hear you liked my tea and you’re interested in hosting your own teas. Designing a tea is so much creative fun. There are no rules. You will do just fine following your heart.

  11. The hostess with the mostest! The inside of your outdoor building looks so inviting. I hope I will get to see when we finally visit the family. Stay healthy and enjoy your tea afternoons.

  12. Mo, You should also make the Potage de Cresson (Watercress Soup) this Spring when you ask your neighbor for the cress she grows. I’m making some again today. There’s nothing much in it just white onion, a leek, garlic, parsley, a potato, water, salt and peppet and of course watercress. It’s snowing here so soup is what I need today. Hope you’re cozy and warm.

  13. Dear Carol Ann,
    What a beautiful photo journal of the fantastic tea you so graciously provided. The afternoon tea was beyond what I could have imagined. I am honored to have been your mystery guest and although I had not met you, I felt like I’ve known you forever. You are truly one of a kind and I am so grateful for the beautiful experience. I will cherish the memory always.
    Love and Best Holiday wishes,

    -Maura

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