Friday, June 23, 2017

Here's to Tea... and Evie!

When I opened my AARP newsletter this morning the headline read: "This Beverage May Cut the Risk of Dementia", so of course I clicked on the link to open it.  The article had the subtitle, "Daily Tea for Your Brain", and it made my heart happy!

The article was written by Candy Sagon in March 2017 for AARP.  In it she states people who drank at least a cup of tea a day - green or black - received the most benefits in terms of brain health according to new research by the National University of Singapore.

One cup is good, but three is even better to reduce the possibility of dementia among older adults by 50%!   

Findings from the new study were published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.  It also showed that those who were genetically at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, could possibly cut their risk by 86% if they drank tea regularly.

Research in Norway, China, and the United States have linked drinking tea with better cognitive performance and a lower risk of cognitive decline.  

Both green and black tea are protective, but they need to be brewed from loose leaf tea. Fortunately, many tea purveyors are putting loose leaf tea in teabags now instead of fannings.  The test results don't apply to fruit or herbal teas.

Now that's news worth drinking to!  Below is a favorite picture of my sweet daddy and me having tea together.  He passed away in 2011, but the Lord allowed us to love and enjoy him for 93 years. On that particular day I had taken a 'traveling tea party' to him and my mother.

For those who're interested [and even those who aren't ;-)], below is a picture of my sweet great-granddaughter, Evie. Her mommy just posted it four hours ago. She's one month old today.  Is there anything more beautiful than a baby sleeping peacefully without a care in the world? I'm off to make myself another cup of tea to increase my chances of having a sharp mind while watching her grow up!  ;-)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Polly Claire's Tearoom in Chattanooga, TN

After writing my blog post last Tuesday about the Southern Belle Tea Tour, someone asked about the history of Polly Claire's tearoom, located inside the Dent plantation house.  It has a fascinating history that's worth sharing, and will be the first stop on the tour. 

[Internet Photo]

The historic 163 year old plantation house was built on 320 acres and is nationally registered.  It was built by Colonel Jarret Dent in 1854 when he moved to the area to expand the railroad in Chattanooga. During the Civil War Colonel Dent left for Dallas Texas. For his family's safety, he snuck away in the night since he owned 22 slaves.

The house was occupied by "bushwackers" who looted plantation homes across the south to trade or sell the plunder.  It is also believed the house was used as a military field hospital based on the many graves marked nearby.  As an interesting point of trivia, Jarret Dent's cousin was First Lady Julia Dent, who married General Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States.

Colonel Peak bought the home from Jarret Dent just after the war ended.  When he saw the beautiful trees he exclaimed, "Oh, the Bonny Oaks!" and the area has retained that name to this day. Upon Peak's death he deeded the house to the city of Chattanooga and it became Bonny Oaks Children's Home.

Rashelle Stafford purchased the house in 2016 from a neighboring church and turned it into Polly Claire's tearoom and a venue for special events. The tearoom gets its name from her two daughters, Polly and Claire.  It's Chattanooga's last surviving plantation.  Isn't it beautiful?  A lovely gift shop exists inside too!

[Internet Photo]

I have one clarification to make about last Tuesday's post.  Originally I directed it to readers who live in Michigan and Ohio, because I thought anyone living any further away wouldn't be interested in attending due to additional travel expenses.  But the tour is not restricted to Michigan and Ohio residents. It's open to anyone who would like to participate, and I have amended my post to reflect that.  Sorry for the confusion.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy First Day of Summer!

In southeaster Michigan we welcomed the first day of summer with clear skies and temperatures in the mid-70's.  Since I was in my office most of the day working on my Lucille Ball / I Love Lucy presentation for this Sunday, I opened the window to let the summer breeze in.

How did you spend the first day of summer? Prayers for those along the Gulf Coast threatened by Tropical Storm Cindy.  

June is National Iced Tea Month, and the month is quickly winding down, but there's still many days to enjoy the refreshing beverage.  Below is an iced tea picture I took for a magazine article I wrote, and the 2012 blog post can be found by clicking here.

Thanks to those who e-mailed me privately about the Southern Belle Tea Tour that I blogged about yesterday.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Southern Belle Tea Tour

If you follow my blog you know I coordinated a Michigan Tea Tour last fall.  We had so much fun that I'm putting together another tea tour this fall - only this time we're heading south.

It's a 10-day tea tour spanning September 11-20 and will be for 10 participants.  I won't do the tour unless I have that number for cost-effective purposes.  So far six ladies have confirmed, and I'm posting it on my blog in case any readers/followers might be interested. Below is the fabulous itinerary. Day 1 is a travel day departing from Warren, MI taking us as far as Williamsburg, KY for the night. The fun begins on Day 2 when we arrive in Chattanooga, TN.

At 12:00 o'clock noon we will have Afternoon Tea at Polly Claire's tearoom in the 163-year-old historic home on Dent Plantation - Chattanooga's only surviving plantation.

We will stay overnight at Terminal Station - a hotel now owned by Chattanooga Choo-Choo Company.

Day 3 we'll have tea at 11:30 a.m. at the English Rose tearoom that has been featured in Tea Time magazine, and is right across the street from Terminal Station.

Then we depart for historic Madison, Georgia.  On Day 4 we'll have tea at 11:30 a.m. at the Madison Tearoom before departing for Charleston, South Carolina.

Day 5 is a tour of Charleston's historic private homes and gardens by a licensed city guide, concluding with an Afternoon Tea in the tour guide's home [ending 1:30 p.m.].  Tour guide June McKnight tells me Charleston is beautiful in September.

I've tried to include tea events in as many venues as possible, so we're also having tea at 4:00 o'clock at Twenty Six Divine - Charleston's prominent tearoom.

At 6:00 p.m. we'll take an evening carriage tour of historic Charleston.

Day 6 is a tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island, which is owned by Bigelow Tea.  It boasts of being the only tea plantation/garden in the United States.

We'll return to Charleston to have Afternoon Tea at 1:00 p.m. at Belmond Charleston Place Hotel.

Day 7 we'll depart for Savannah, Georgia.  At 3:00 p.m. we'll take a 1 1/2 hour trolley tour of Savannah, highlighting sights of Paula Deen's career.  The tour concludes with a buffet dinner at her restaurant, The Lady & Sons, in VIP seating [no waiting line].

Day 8 will take us to 'The Tea Room' when it opens its doors at 10:30 a.m.  It used to be a full-service tearoom, but is now a tea shop selling loose-leaf teas and tea equipage.  The interior and exterior design of the tea shop is taken from renowned architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who designed five tea rooms in Glasgow, Scotland. Bruce Richardson featured 'The Tea Room' in his book, The Great Tea Rooms of America, so we have to see it if only briefly while we're in Savannah. 

It's not far from the Gryphon tearoom where we'll be having tea at 11:00 a.m. The Gryphon is in a beautiful old apothecary in Savannah's Madison Square, on the campus of Savannah College of Art & Design.

~ The Gryphon ~

At 1:00 o'clock we'll take a 1 1/2 hour narrated tour of Savannah's Historic District, which has 100 points of interest.

At the conclusion of the trolley tour we'll be transported to the Ballastone Inn where we'll spend the night and have Afternoon at 4:00 p.m.  The inn was built in 1838 and is a luxury Victorian B & B located in the historic district near Forsyth Park.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In addition to Afternoon Tea, the inn has a 'social hour' for its guests where hors d' oeuvres are served.

On Day 9 we will leave Savannah, but not before making a quick stop at the Pie Society - a traditional British bakery in the City Market, to get some sausage rolls [or whatever] to take with us to munch on in the 15-passenger Mercedes high-top van that will transport us as we begin our journey back home. We'll stop in Corbin, KY to spend the night.

On Day 10, the final day of the tour, we'll travel to Indianapolis, IN where we have 1:00 o'clock reservations for Afternoon Tea at the L.S. Ayres Tearoom reconstructed at Indiana State Museum. L.S. Ayres was Indianapolis' department store like J.L. Hudson's was ours. It closed in 1992. Below is a photo of the reconstructed tearoom.  After our tea we will travel back to Warren, MI for an anticipated arrival time of approximately 8:00 p.m. 

As you can see, it's a tea lover's tour that's action packed.  If you have an interest in joining us, e-mail me privately for details.

P.S.  All photos used in this post are Internet sourced.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Visiting ChocolaTea in Portage, MI

When we left Kellogg Manor House we were only 22 miles from ChocolaTea - a trendy café and tea shoppe on Westnedge Avenue in Portage, MI.   My friend, Linda, had told me about the shop many times, and since we were so close we decided to stop.

Polly, the owner, sells many selections of loose leaf teas and a wide variety of tea equipage, books, gifts, and fine chocolate.  It was fun to look around.  Linda was hoping we could meet the owner, but she was in Las Vegas at the World Tea Expo.  Every year she coordinates a bus trip to Chicago for Macy's Christmas Tree Lighting and lunch in the Walnut Room. Linda made reservations for us to go.

My only purchase was the July/August issue of Tea Time magazine.  On page 8 Hoffman Media announced a new book - Teatime Parties.  $24.95 plus $4 shipping.  Guess who's going to be ordering a copy!

Café area where they also sell coffee and gourmet desserts.  

It was a fun stop before making our way back to the eastern part of the state where we live. It was a full and enjoyable day.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Touring W.K. Kellogg Manor House

Our tour guide, Gail, shared a lot of interesting information about W.K. Kellogg and his summer "cottage", and what she didn't cover was in two books published about the residence.  The larger book on the left was gifted to me by my friend, Lori, on my 6/13 visit, and the one on the right was purchased during my 2002 visit. If you have never been to Kellogg Manor, it's definitely worth a visit.  If you can't visit, take the house tour on my blog.

In the photo below, Gail was standing in the entry way/main foyer of the summer residence owned by cereal king, W.K. Kellogg, [W.K. stands for Will Keith] and his second wife, Dr. Carrie Staines Kellogg.  His first wife and mother of his five children, Ella Osborn Davis, died in 1912.  He outlived both wives and three children, and died in 1951 at 91 years of age in Battle Creek. Cause of death was heart failure.

The Kellogg's spent their winters in Pamona, California where W.K. had a 377 acre Arabian horse ranch, that grew to 813 acres.  The land is now the Kellogg Campus of California State Polytechnic University, where W.K. is recognized with its founders.

From the foyer we went into the dining room. Gail told us the house was originally furnished by interior designers at Marshall Field's in Chicago, one of Mr. Kellogg's favorite stores. When he realized he would no longer occupy the house, he gave some of the furnishings to family members and the rest was sold, with the exception of two tapestries and some light fixtures. Using photographs of original furnishings, similar antiques were acquired as replacements throughout the house.

The dining room has an ornamental plaster ceiling, stained glass bay windows, carved limestone fireplace, and oak paneled walls. President Hoover dined here in the 1930's. Through the French doors on the right is a small screened dining porch that the Kellogg's used for breakfast and/or lunch on warm, sunny, summer days.

Across the hall and close to the kitchen is the breakfast room.  Kellogg's Corn Flakes would have been served here often! ;-) The flooring is Rookwood tiles, from a Cincinnati-based company known for their Arts and Crafts designs. 

I loved the framed Kellogg cereal advertisements on the walls.

Since the kitchen was bustling with workers preparing for our Afternoon Tea, it was not included in the tour.  From the breakfast room we went upstairs and toured guest bedrooms, the two master bedrooms, bathrooms, and sleeping porches.

W.K. was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and had a fondness for the number 7, which in the Bible is the number signifying completion.  He considered seven  his lucky number, because he was the seventh son, of a seventh child, born on the seventh day of the week and the seventh day of the month.  The name Kellogg has seven letters, and he had seven grandsons, and his father was born in 1807.  Thus, he instructed his architect to include seven in the architecture throughout the house: seven wooden panels in the front door, seven rows of coffered oak in the entry ceiling, seven bay windows in the living room, a wall of seven windows in the library, seven hand-hewn oak beams on the vaulted ceiling in the billiard room, and originally the house had seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms.  Also original to the house is a large Flemish tapestry with a hunt scene that features seven figures.  

Below is the first bedroom and bathroom at the top of the main staircase.

All the bathrooms had Rookwood tiling in soft colors - green and mulberry, gray and blue, yellow and black, and white and rose.

Boy's bedroom [below], with a nearby back stairway, handy for running up and down!

Carrie's bedroom in picture below.  She and W.K. had separate bedrooms that were joined by a bathroom and his office.  She bartered for a Skinner pipe organ in the living room in exchange for the smaller of the two master bedrooms! 

A photo of the couple that hung in one of the rooms. 

Bathroom between Carrie and W.K's bedrooms. 

Below is W.K.'s office on the other side of the adjoining bathroom.  There were several family pictures hanging on the walls in his office, but the sunlight streaming through all the windows created too much glare to get good photographs, as evidenced in the portrait of W.K. below.

Gail said W.K. Kellogg was the Dr. Oz of his day, even though his brother was the physician.

I couldn't resist getting a picture of a beautiful tea set.

Two sleeping porches that were never used as sleeping porches.  Carrie used her's as an office after W.K. had an air conditioning unit installed.  The first sleeping porch pictured below was off Carrie's room and the other is off W.K.'s room.  I had never heard of a sleeping porch until I toured Henry and Clara Ford's Fairlane mansion where one was off their master bedroom.  In the days before air-conditioning, the porches were cooler for sleeping in than the bedrooms.

W.K.'s bedroom is pictured below. Gail told us Mr. Kellogg occasionally liked to visit the home of his employees unannounced.  One day on such a visit he found the children playing on a cold floor. It bothered him to the extent that the next day he had a big rug delivered so the chidren could play on carpeting.  In 2000 Kellogg Manor received a phone call from the family telling the story, and offering to return the rug to be placed in the house. It's the rug pictured in W.K.'s bedroom.

~ Guest Bedroom ~

Another interesting tidbit that Gail shared with us was W.K. had experienced a couple of devastating fires in his life. The first was the Battle Creek Sanitarium [or "San" as it was called] in 1902, and second was his first Kellogg factory in 1907, so this house was structurally built of steel and concrete to make it fireproof.  Below is one of the heavy metal roof tiles. 

The piece of exercise equipment below was in one of the bathrooms.  It was used at the sanitarium which was a world famous, state-of-the-art health spa for elites.

At the far end of the second floor was the billiard room.  In addition to a billiard table, the room had a radio, a game table, and high-backed chairs that were often arranged "theater style" so the family could watch home movies as well as Hollywood movies.

~ Fireplace in Billiard Room ~

~ Seven beams on billiard room ceiling. ~

After touring the second floor, we came down the English Gothic main staircase that took two years to carve by hand.

Library on the first floor with walnut cabinetry and leaded glass doors.

Then it was time to go into the sunken living room for our Afternoon Tea.  The 20 x 40 foot room is the largest in the house.  It has a Rookwood tile fireplace at one end [see living room photos from yesterday's post], an ornamental rose and thistle plaster ceiling with cherry beams. The 7-section stained glass bay window has a lake view.  The two light fixtures at each end are original.  And a screened porch on the south side of the living room was a place where the Kelloggs would relax in the evenings listening to radio programs.    

This concludes the tour of the house.  I'm sure there were many things I missed, but at least you have an idea of what a beautiful "summer cottage" the Kellogg's enjoyed.  The inclusive cost was $747,000 in 1925-26.  We didn't have time to tour the grounds which include the carriage house, greenhouse and orchards, authentic Dutch windmill and gardens, and descending staircase that leads to the lakeshore and pagoda.  That would probably require another full afternoon.

I found W.K. Kellogg's life very inspirational.  He only had an eighth grade education and completed courses at Parson's Business College in adulthood.  He was an avid reader who never stopped learning. His childhood school teacher considered him a very poor student because he had trouble seeing the blackboard. When he was 20 he discovered he was nearsighted.  His older brother, John Harvey Kellogg, was thought of as the bright one.  He was the Physician-in-Chief at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, but over time W.K. surpassed him in accomplishments.  W.K. worked at the sanitarium for 26 years doing various tasks, before branching out on his own in 1906 to create the Kellogg [Cereal] Company.  

Perhaps the greatest thing that can be said of him is that he had a philosophy of giving back, by using his wealth for the betterment of others - particularly children. He advocated education as the key element for a higher standard of living, and gave generously to that end. His philanthropic endeavors led to the creation of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 1934 where he made the statement: "It is my hope that the property that kind Providence has brought me may be helpful to many others, and that I may be found a faithful steward."  

So the next time you eat a bowl of Kellogg's Corn Flakes for breakfast, you'll know a little bit about the man who created those tasty flakes, and all the good he did for his fellow man.