Week Three: January 17th-23rd
If I could have my own Tea House this is how I would run things…..
Wow… Ruth wanted to stretch our tea imagination, didn’t she?
I’m going to have to try to paint word pictures to illustrate my points, but this is truly uninspired by anything I’ve experienced. I’ve never been to a “proper” tea house, meaning a business whose main purpose is to serve tea. I’ve been TO tea at hotels and such, and certainly Keswick Hall, in my own back yard, does as nice a tea as anyone around. (Hem, hem… there are no tea houses in the area, so…??)
A dusky view from the front porch, OBX 12-09
If you’re new to my blog, you might not know that I am most comfortable either at the beach, taking tea on our ocean-view screened porch or taking tea on my own deck, which is rather like being suspended in the woods.
Gretchen offers a glimpse of the fall views from the back deck, 10-09
That last photo is also a hint of what I have in mind. I see a cottage off the beaten path somewhere, perhaps in a beach or mountain resort town. It would have a beautiful garden in the front of the house, and you’d walk up the cobblestone path into a spacious foyer, with a happy retail room to one side. After all, don’t we all want to take our new tea love home with us, be it a loose tea, a pretty cup, or a new book with tempting teatime recipes galore?
Photo by our own Scrabblequeen... one cup & saucer is mine, the other, hers
Then, there would be at least three different settings in which to take tea. There would be a buffet of sorts in one room, with a roaring fireplace on cold days, and big, comfy chairs scattered about in pairs, with a fluffy loveseat or two here and there. Think Panera’s, without the glass and all the other tables and chairs. I know I often shop and sup alone, so I’d want an inviting spot for people to drop in unannounced, alone or with a friend, to use the free wi-fi connection, have a cuppa’, knit…
Big comfy loveseat with tea tray for two
In another room, there would be comfortable, more traditional tea room furnishings. (But do note that COMFORT comes first.) Still, it isn’t a crowded room; none of these spaces are set up for maxium occupancy, but rather, for optimal enjoyment. I want to be able to SNOL – snort out loud – and not offend the ladies at the next table too much. Wait staff would attend to customers in a traditional fashion in this room.
Springtime view off the deck, 4-08
Finally, there would be an outdoor area, with access from within the shop or down another little path from outside. Just as many pet boutiques are offering tailgates and socials for pets and their owners, I’d like a spot where a gal and her best friends can unwind together. I’m thinking the outdoor area would be tiered, with pets only on the lower level, because while I am always happy to be with my dogs or anyone else’s, I know some of you are allergic, just aren’t that into pets, and/or simply want to get away!
Think english country chic, with assorted cups and saucers, and one last time, comfort abounds. Managing is more than just setting the tone, so there would be a great pastry chef on staff, a Keurig for the coffee drinkers who lovingly followed their favorite tea drinker(s) to the tea house. Of course, there would always be a glass pitcher of true Southern sweet tea in the refrigerator, and Virginia style ham biscuits would always be tucked into the buffet, along with some other heavier fare.
Loose tea would be served, along with real cream, clotted cream for the scones, etc. The staff would be trained to offer substitutions for those accustomed to mainstream tea bags, so that everyone has a great experience and can’t wait to come back. So, that’s a quick tour of my little ideal tea house.
(And no, I have no plans to open such a venture, but if you’re ever in the neighborhood, let’s meet for a cuppa’!)