Friday, June 30, 2017

Madison Tearoom, Madison, GA

If you're still pondering the Southern Belle Tea Tour this fall, here's another tearoom to whet your appetite.  On Day #4 we'll be stopping at the Madison Tea Room in Madison, GA.

The historic city was featured in the Nov./Dec. 2016 issue of Southern Lady Magazine. Madison is located about an hour east of Atlanta on I-20.   It was established in 1809, and named after the 4th President of the United States, James Madison.  

It is said that when General Sherman came through the 8.9 sq. mile city in 1864, he spared it because it was too pretty to burn.  There are approximately 4,000 residents, and nearly 100 antebellum and classic revival homes in the city.  In an early 19th century publication Madison was described as the most cultured and aristocratic town on the stagecoach route from Charleston to New Orleans.  

Madison tearoom was featured in Tea Time Magazine's 2014 Sept./Oct. issue.  At 3,000 sq. ft. it is one of the largest one-level tearooms in the south.  The article stated that proprietress, Kathi Russell, masterfully combined British propriety with Southern hospitality to produce a charming tearoom.

Before Kathi retired to Madison, she lived in Michigan, and was a member of a tea club I belonged to in  2002-03, with Linda Pudlik as founder and president.  

Kathi ran a lovely tearoom in Franklin Village, MI that I enjoyed visiting, and now I'm looking forward to visiting her Madison location.

Please contact me if you would like to go on the tour.  The cut-off date for signing up is winding down.  As the southern phrase goes, "y'all come!"

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Birthday's Galore

Family birthdays in the Barkey clan begin in June and continue straight through November. Daughter-in-law Sharon began the celebrating with a June 7th birthday, then granddaughter Marissa had one on June 24th, and Brianna's is today, June 29th.  The girls are one year apart - Marissa turned 22 last Saturday, and five days later Brianna is celebrating her 21st.  

The photo below was taken in 2010 when we were on a family vacation at Myrtle Beach during their 14th and 15th birthdays.  Bri is on the left and Marissa is on the right.

Some how I got behind a year and was thinking the girls are 20 and 21.  For future accuracy, I've written the year they were born next to their birth date on the calendar.  ;-)

Below is my most recent picture of Marissa [left]. It was taken last year on a family riverboat cruise for our our 50th wedding anniversary.  The picture of Brianna was taken just a couple of weeks ago.

A friend observed that four of my eight grandchildren are now over the age of 20.  It doesn't seem possible!  

The next family member celebrating a birthday will be our little firecracker, Ellie, who will be turning five on July 4th, when our nation celebrates its 241st birthday! A separate post will probably be written about her birthday.  She's our youngest grandchild, and Evie is our only great-grand so far.

~ Ellie's 1st Birthday ~

Granddaughter Tiffany won't be far behind with her 26th birthday on July 7th, and daughter-in-law Samantha's birthday on July 14th.  Whew!  That's a lot of celebrating! Raising my teacup in tribute to everyone.  Today my cup is filled with Strawberry Vanilla green tea from Tea Haus in Ann Arbor. It's SO good!  What are you drinking these summer days?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lunch With Two Tea-Loving Authors

A short time ago I received an e-mail from my blogging friend, Angela, at Tea With Friends blog. She and her husband, Alex, were going to be passing through my area, and she wondered if I'd be available to meet them somewhere for lunch.   I was indeed available, but I much preferred inviting them to my house rather than meeting at a restaurant.  

The day and time was set, but in the meantime I began concentrating on a few things around the house that needed attention before their arrival. Isn't it funny how we procrastinate doing chores until we learn company's coming, then we spring into action.  We have a cement jockey in front of our house that holds our address. His red coat has needed repainting for months, and my hubby tried to convince me the weather-worn, faded jacket had 'patina'.  Sorry, Jerry, no patina look for the jockey! ;-)   He got a bright new red jacket to properly greet Angela and Alex.

I love the elegant look of silver [actually silverplate at my house], but I don't enjoy polishing it. Prior to Angela and Alex's arrival, however, a few of my pieces got polished.  Company's a good thing in more ways than one!  ;-)

Angela has authored two books that I proudly possess [they're available on Amazon] and she's working on another.  Alex is a writer too.  

I've had the blessing of meeting Angela on two other occasions, but this was my first time to meet Alex, and he's just as warm and friendly as Angela.  They are kindred spirits, and our time with them flew by.

Can you believe I didn't get a picture of them, so I 'borrowed' one from Angela's blog.  ;-)

Since Angela loves researching old department store tearooms [which is what her book, Dainty Dining, is all about], I got out my Hudson's cookbook and prepared a lunch she could have ordered 'once-upon-a-time' at J.L. Hudson's tearoom in downtown Detroit.

Knowing they were on a limited time schedule, I kept things simple.  No fussy tablescape.

Angela asked if it would be rude if she asked to take pictures, and I told her not at all, and grabbed my iPhone and snapped away too! ;-) We began with a bowl of Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup garnished with a teapot crouton.

Followed by Hudson's famous Maurice Salad with a Blueberry Muffin, served with both iced and hot tea.

~ Dessert was Sander's Hot Fudge Ice Cream Puff ~

Below is an iPhone photo Alex took, and Angela e-mailed it to me.

It was their first time to visit Michigan, and I hope they liked it well enough to come back! Jerry and I definitely enjoyed having them in our home.  

I'm looking forward to seeing Angela again in Chattanooga, TN this fall when she meets up with us there for the day during the Southern Belle Tea Tour. Hopefully one of my blog followers [who also lives in Georgia] is going to come with her.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I Love Lucy

Last Sunday [6/25], was the monthly tea and program at Shore Pointe Assisted Living.  

As mentioned in previous posts, the theme was "I Love Lucy" / Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. There were 8-10 ladies at the tea [sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the group].  Since it was a tea, I took my Lucy teapot and cup and saucer. The cup and saucer is by Franciscan in the Ivy pattern, which was Lucy and Ricky Ricardo's dishes on the I Love Lucy television show.

Among the other books I purchased for research and display, was the book below that has pictures and a synopsis of the 181 episodes of I Love Lucy, which ran from Oct. 1951 - May 1957.   It's a fun book, and great walk down memory lane.

At the conclusion of the program I gave a 10-question quiz that one of my blog readers sent me from  Thanks, Frieda!   Take the quiz and see how well you remember the I Love Lucy show.   Answers are at the bottom.
1] What is Ricky Ricardo's ethnicity?
2] What is Lucy Ricardo's middle name?
3] What is Lucy Ricardo's maiden name?
4] What is Ricky's most famous song?
5] In the episode, "Lucy Does A TV Commercial" what product does she advertise?
6] What are the names of Ricky and Lucy's neighbors and landlords?
7] Where do Ricky and Lucy live?
8] Lucy and Ricky's neighbors formerly did what as an occupation?
9] How did Lucy meet Ricky, as portrayed in a flashback segment in 1957?
10] At which club was Ricky a regular performer?

I Love Lucy was voted the 'Best TV Show of All Time' in 2012 and is often regarded as one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms in history.  Reruns are still shown on television.

The ladies enjoyed it because it was a theme they remembered well.  I gave each of them a bag of Hershey's chocolate kisses and hugs, since Lucy wasn't available to give them a kiss and hug herself! 

Answers: 1] Cuban 2] Esmeralda 3] McGillicuddy 4] Babalu 5] Vitametavegamin 6] Fred and Ethel Mertz  7] Manhattan  8]  Entertainers  9] They met in Havana while on vacation 10] The Tropicana Club

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 dear daddy and me having tea together.  He passed away in 2011, but the Lord allowed him to be with us 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? 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.