Thursday, June 30, 2016

Presentation at Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

I was contacted last December to speak at an Afternoon Tea for a group of ladies from St. Clair Shores Adult and Community Education.  The date was scheduled for May 26th at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House estate. I titled my presentation "Connections" - sharing information connecting J.L. Hudson, Clara Bryant Ford, and Eleanor Clay Ford.

I had done presentations on J.L. Hudson and Clara Bryant Ford previously, but finding written information about Eleanor Clay Ford was a challenge.  I wondered why no one has written a book about her life. Thanks to help from the Vice President for Historic Resources at Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, I gathered enough information for my presentation.

I was asked to make favors for the 62 attendees to accompany my presentation.  Henry and Clara Ford were avid bird watchers, as were Edsel and Eleanor, so I decided bird favors would be appropriate.  I hot glued crafting birds onto clusters of twigs, and was pleased with the result.  I put one at each place setting.  Ironically, as I spoke about Clara and Henry's love for birds, a 'choir' of them outside the tent began to sing and chirp as if to verify what I was saying.  Their timing was perfect, and the ladies loved it. 

I arrived at the Visitor Center at noon.  Inside are Cotswold Café and banquet facilities, but it was decided the tea would be held in the adjoining tent.  It was a hot and humid day, so the tent was hot without any fans to circulate the air, but we managed.

~ The event was well attended. ~

To my delight I met two friends from the church where I used to work and attend.

[Nancy and Rhonda]

The tea meal was lovely.  Scones first, then savories and sandwiches.  A selection of tea bags were offered, with pots of hot water on the tables.

Next to my scone was an open-faced Caprese sandwich - Mozzarella Cheese with Basil Pesto, and a Cherry Tomato half.

~ Grilled Asparagus and Roasted Red Pepper Crostini ~

~ Sherried Mushrooms in Puff Pastry Tartlets ~

~ Chicken Salad on Crackers, and Salmon Salad on Baguette Slices ~

~ Desserts - Lemon Triangles ~

~ Chocolate Mousse in Tart Shells ~

~ Strawberry Shortcake Stacks ~

Then it was time for me to speak.  Between the heat and full tummies I wondered if it would be difficult to hold the ladies' attention, but they were very attentive and a delight to speak to. Notice the beautiful tulip garden that was my backdrop.

My daughter and I have plans to return to Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in mid-July to see their exhibit that just opened on June 26th titled, "A Century of Love" honoring Edsel and Eleanor's upcoming 100th Wedding Anniversary.  I'll be sure to blog about it.

A life-sized bronze sculpture of Edsel and Eleanor walking arm-in-arm in their garden was recently unveiled on June 13th.  I can hardly wait to see it in person.  It was the idea of their grandson, Edsel Ford, II.

[Ford House Photo]

The exhibit will highlight wedding traditions and trends over the last century through four generations of Ford family weddings.  Visitors will see bouquets, wedding cakes - including an original slice of Edsel and Eleanor's wedding cake - 14 wedding gowns and accessories worn by several Ford women, all on display for the first time.

Local readers, don't miss this exhibit that runs through November 6th.

I included in my presentation that Edsel and Eleanor were married in the home of J.L. Hudson [Eleanor's deceased Uncle and founder of Detroit's iconic Hudson's Department Store] in front of the library's beautiful oak fireplace.  

[Ford House Photo]

My research revealed Eleanor and her four attendants wore exotic, turn-of-the-century, Russian-style dresses with Russian head-dresses of pearls and rhinestones purchased at renowned designer House of Lucile in New York.  

The Detroit Free Press reported the wedding was devoid of "the ostentation, show, glitter, and display of wealth usually associated with the union of couples from great and wealthy families." One reporter quipped he didn't think he saw $1,000 worth of jewels at the wedding.

I discovered Henry and Clara Ford didn't have a church wedding either.  They were married in Clara's parent's home, and she made her own wedding dress and petticoats.

Clara enjoyed the pleasures of tea, but her daughter-in-law, Eleanor, was not a tea drinker.

What fun I had learning about Eleanor, and I was grateful for the opportunity to do a presentation on the picturesque grounds of her beautiful Ford family estate.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Home Sweet Home!

"...Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!..."  ~ John Howard Payne

We enjoyed our trip to Boston and New York City immensely, yet it was such a good feeling when our plane touched down at Detroit Metro Airport.  Our daughter-in-law was there to pick us up, and nothing evokes joy more than the sight of home.

Our daughter kept the lawn mowed while we were away, and as a surprise she planted flowers in the front porch planters.  I don't have the green thumb that she has, but I've managed to keep them healthy and growing for six weeks now.

The trip was our anniversary gift to each other, but since Jerry enjoyed the DVD, Fan Favorites - The Best of Cheers, that I purchased for him in Boston, I decided to get him the complete series of Cheers with 270 episodes.  He'll be laughing for a long time to come!

He wanted me to have a teapot as an anniversary keepsake, and purchased a Wedgwood bone china teapot in the Oberon pattern.  To my surprise, it's dishwasher safe! He liked the gold trim because it coordinated with our Golden Anniversary.

Our granddaughter, Tiffany, gave us a framed 8 x 10 family picture taken at her wedding last August.  Now that the older grandchildren have busy lives of their own, it's very difficult to get the entire family together, so I cherish this picture with every family member included.

With the gifts of money we received, we applied it to a riverboat dinner cruise on Lake St. Clair later this week, and as of right now, the entire family will be together - including all eight grandchildren.   It's our way of thanking them for the wonderful 50th Anniversary celebration they gave us.  I can hardly wait, and will be sure to blog about it.

Below is the docking area where we'll board the boat.  I couldn't get a picture of the boat because it was out on the lake.  Michigan is currently in a drought.  We haven't had rain for several days, and the weather forecast shows an 80% chance of rain the day we scheduled our cruise.  We need it, but I hope it rains either before or after our cruise.

Two other special gifts that were given in honor of our anniversary were the purchase and distribution of Bibles by Gideons International. I am so happy that a Bible will comfort a U.S. Armed Force member far from home, or a veteran patient in a V.A. hospital, or a weary traveler in a hotel room.

The second special gift was from one of my blog readers who I have never had the privilege of meeting, yet I feel like I know her.  She sent a very generous check for our church building fund. Celebrating 50 years of marriage has been wonderful, but beginning tomorrow my posts will return to all the tea-filled activities that have transpired since I've returned from my travels.   

*  *  *

P.S.  Today is my granddaughter, Brianna's, 20th birthday.  She's the only one of my six granddaughters who is an avid tea drinker.  Happy Birthday, Bri!  You have officially left your teenage years behind, and what a beautiful young lady you've become!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dinner Cruise on NYC's Hudson and East Rivers

Our last night in New York City was extraordinary.  We arrived by taxi to Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River, on Manhattan's west side.  Chelsea Piers was built in 1910 as a terminal for passenger ships.  It was supposed to be the docking destination of the ill-fated Titanic. Now it's a dock for Spirit Cruises, Atlantica, and Bateaux New York.

Steve booked our three-hour evening dinner cruise before our arrival in NYC.   Boarding began at 6:15 p.m. and the boat departed at 7:00 p.m.  

The European-inspired Bateaux New York has a curved glass ceiling and walls that allow great views of NYC's iconic skyline.  It's 200 feet long and was built in 1996 by a French company. There is an outdoor deck for guests to enjoy, but our table was next to a window, so we stayed inside throughout the cruise - except when Jerry went out to take a few pictures.

When we pulled out of the pier, New Jersey was visible on one side of the Hudson River and New York City on the other side.  It was still day light when the cruise began, so we got to see the skyline in both day light and later in twilight.
Guys and gals sat side-by-side at the beginning of the cruise, and later we switched to couples.

[Steve and Jerry]

[Sharon and Me]

Being the dish lover that I am, I had to take a picture of the china!

~ We started our meal with shrimp cocktail. ~

The tall building with the spire is the 'One World Trade Center Building'.  

Below are buildings along the Hudson River.  We saw Battery Park that was the site of Dutch fortifications in the 1600's.  Battery refers to the cannons installed by the British during Colonial times.  And the South Street Seaport, that also dates back to the 1600's - once the world's gateway to New York City and America.

When the boat left the Hudson River sailing into the East River we could see the three iconic 'BMW' bridges - Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg. The lights on the Brooklyn bridge at dusk were beautiful.

Then the boat turned around and headed out to New York Harbor where we saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  I went to Ellis Island in 1999, so it wasn't a part of this trip's itinerary.

Lady Liberty - proudly standing 300 feet about the harbor - was beautifully lit up in the darkness. The boat sat in the harbor for awhile allowing everyone to enjoy her.  So blessed to be an American! She was a gift from France in 1885.

Twelve million immigrants were processed at Ellis Island  between 1892 and 1957.

I love the sonnet, 'The New Colossus' written by American poet, Emma Lazarus in 1883.  It was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the Statue of Liberty pedestal. It reads in part: "...Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

My main dinner entrée was Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, with Sweet Corn, Red Pepper and Thyme Succotash, and a Cajun Cream Sauce.  It was SO good!  I forgot to take a picture of dessert, which was New York Style Cheesecake.

[Jerry and Me]

[Steve and Sharon]

Steve mentioned to our waiter that we were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary, so just before the cruise ended he brought me a bouquet of red roses.

We took a taxi back to the guest house, and packed our suitcases for an early morning flight back to Michigan the next day.  It was a fabulous trip, but all good things must come to an end. We didn't get to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Macy's on Herald Square, Lady Mendl's Tea Salon, or Harney Tea shop in So-Ho, but there's always next time!  I'm grateful for everything we did accomplish, and I hope you've enjoyed traveling along with us.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Walking the 'High Line' in NYC

High Line is a 1.45 mile long linear park in Greenwich Village [a neighborhood on the west side of lower Manhattan] made on an elevated [30 ft.] section of now defunct N.Y. Central Railroad's West Side Line.  The last train to run on the track was in 1980.  

Repurposing of the railway into an urban park was done in three phases beginning in 2006 and concluding in 2014.  The park gets nearly five million visitors a year.  Most of the photos are mine, but two are from Wikimedia Commons and are indicated as Internet photos.  The 14th street entrance was a short distance from Tea and Sympathy tea room.

~ Entrance ~

It may only be 1.45 miles long, but after eating a big meal at Tea and Sympathy it seemed a lot longer.  It was a fun NYC experience.

[Internet Photo]

[Internet Photo]

As you can see it was breezy up there, and a bit chilly too so Jerry loaned me his jacket.

At the end of the line were historical displays from when the railway functioned until now.

We got a taxi back to the guesthouse, and had a little time to relax before boarding the boat at 6:15 p.m. for our dinner cruise on the Hudson and East Rivers.  Next post...