Thursday, May 31, 2018

Southern Tea Time Getaway - Day 3

Day #3 [May 17th] began with breakfast at the hotel, then loading the van at 9:00 a.m. for departure to the Gone With the Wind Museum at 9:30 a.m.  My hubby never meets a stranger and struck up a conversation with one of the Drury Inn employees, only to find out he was from Bangladesh and his parents own a tea plantation.  That was worthy of a photograph!

~ Jerry and Zaman ~

The museum is in Marietta, just five miles from Drury Inn.  Blogging friend, Angela McRae, e-mailed me before we left home to inform me the museum had relocated to 1851 historic Brumby Hall this past April. 

Though not as large as the fictional Tara, it has plantation columns and was built at the time Tara would have been built.

Guided tours require 15 participants and we only had 11, so ours was a self-guided tour, but fun none-the-less.  We arrived shortly before they opened at 10:00 a.m. which gave us lots of time for pictures outside.

The azaleas were done blooming, but the beautiful Magnolia trees were in bloom.  I had no idea they grew so tall.

The museum encompasses three rooms on the first floor of the house plus the gift shop. It can easily be toured in an hour, unless you're a history buff and like to read everything.

Brief Gone with the Wind movie summary:  The film was released in 1939, and was an epic historical romance/drama featuring the Southern Belle, Scarlett O'Hara [Vivian Leigh] and Rhett Butler [Clark Gable].  It was based on the 1,037 page, Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name, written by Margaret Mitchell in 1936.  

The movie is two minutes short of four hours long, and Judy, one of our traveling companions, gifted me with it to watch while traveling in the van.  It's the highest grossing film of all time in the United States and Canada.  It takes place in the State of Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction period [1861-1877]

It was interesting seeing many of the costumes that Scarlett wore, which spanned a period of 12 years - from wide hoop skirts of the Civil War era to the early Victorian bustles of the early 1870's.

The movie opens with 16-year-old Scarlett wearing the white ruffle dress below while sitting on the front porch of Tara with two young suitors.

On the left is a cardboard stand-up figure of Scarlett that was in the gift shop.  She's wearing the Green and White Southern Belle Spring dress worn to the Wilkes' barbecue at Twelve Oaks, in the scene where the Civil War was declared.

Red [harlot] party gown that Rhett forced her to wear to Ashley's birthday party after being caught with him at the mill.

~ Scarlett's Christmas Dress ~

Below is the original  Bengaline Gown and Hat that Scarlett wore on her honeymoon with Rhett in New Orleans.

~ Scarlett's Blue Velvet Portrait Gown ~

The green 'curtain dress' that Scarlett had made from her mother's green velvet curtains is said to be the most iconic of all the costumes.  The original is on display at the Harry Ransom Center - a library on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, but they had a replica custome for sale in the gift shop.

A costume worn by Bonnie Blue Butler - Rhett's and Scarlett's daughter.

~ Hat Rhett gave to Scarlett ~

The front room of the museum pertained to Margaret Mitchell's life, homes where she lived, and the book.  She was born in Atlanta in 1900 and died in Atlanta [1949] when as a pedestrian she was hit by a motorist and died shortly thereafter.

In another room was a miniature southern plantation house.

Hattie McDaniel, who played the role of Mammy, the O'Hara's house slave, was also featured in this room.  She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - the first African-American entertainer to win an Oscar.  

I could have gone on a spending spree in the gift shop because there were so many books I liked, but I settled on just one - a cookbook.  This was the beginning of our trip, so I was trying to pace myself [and my pocketbook!]

I also bought a PBS DVD about the life of Margaret Mitchell to watch on the van.

If they would have had a commemorative teacup and saucer or a tin of Gone with the Wind tea, I would have bought it in a heartbeat, but they had neither - only unappealing mugs.

My favorite chauffeur!

We rode a mile to Marietta Square where we had time for a little shopping and then Afternoon Tea at the Vineyard Café at 12:30 p.m.   Next post...

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Southern Tea Time Getaway - Day 2 Part II

Before I get into Part II, I wanted to share that Angela Renals wrote a lovely post about our time together at Tea Leaves & Thyme tearoom titled Lessons in Grace... You can read her post here.

Angela McRae also blogged about our gathering, and her post can be read here.

Now for Part II:

After checking in at the Drury Inn & Suites and taking our luggage to our rooms, we met in the lobby at 6:00 p.m. for our 13 mile drive into the heart of downtown Atlanta for dinner at Mary Mac's Tea Room.  

Mary Macs wasn't on the itinerary for last fall's trip, but I added it to this one.  The State of Georgia and the House of Representatives officially named them "Atlanta's Dining Room," and Angela McRae gave them a #5 rating [with 5 being the highest].  She also said it was an 'Atlanta tradition' - a piece of Atlanta's history, so I had to add them to the itinerary.  Everyone was glad I did - well maybe not my hubby initially. When he was dodging Atlanta traffic in a 15-passenger van he quietly said to me, "Next time plan a rural tea trip!"  ;-)  Once we were there and he tasted the delicious food, he was glad we went.

You'll notice there were no hats worn for this tea room visit, because Mary Mac's isn't dainty fare. It's homestyle southern cooking at its finest.

Jan Whitaker's book about the social history of American tea rooms was helpful in providing background on twentieth century tea rooms.  They were run by women, and contrary to what their name suggests some didn't revolve around tea at all.  The name 'tea room' was a misnomer.  They were actually small restaurant dining rooms that served lunch and dinner.  They introduced a new way of doing things to an all-male restaurant industry, and eventually became recognized as a national institution with a stronghold on the main streets of large cities.

I bought Mary Mac's cookbook with its history.

After World War II ended, Mary MacKenzie, was in search of a living and opened her Atlanta tea room in 1945 - along with 15 others!  She sold it to Margaret Lupo in 1962 who insisted no canned vegetables would ever be used - everything was fresh.  Margaret Lupo sold it to John Ferrell in 1994, and he remains the current owner, maintaining the high standards of his predecessors.  Today it's Atlanta's only original tea room-style restaurant that still exists from the 1940's era, serving over 1,000 meals a day.

They don't take reservations, but we were fortunate and were seated fairly quick in the Atlanta Room.  The size/seating capacity of the tea room has expanded since Mary MacKenzie owned it.  It's gone from one dining room to six.

As you can see, at 6:30 p.m. the room where we were seated was still quite busy.

This is Moe, our server.

They do things a bit differently at Mary Mac's.   You don't tell the server what you'd like to order.  Order forms and pencils are on every table and you fill out the order form and give it to the server.  Barbara was filling out her order form in the above picture.  Below is my order form.

I may have been born in Detroit, MI, but I love Southern food [my Daddy was born in Louisiana, and I lived there for a few years during my early childhood].  I ordered the vegetable plate which consisted of Black-eyed Peas, Tomato Pie [it was a toss up between those and Fried Green Tomatoes], Dumplings, and Mac and Cheese [which they're known for].  Dessert was Georgia Peach Cobbler.  Sorry there's no picture of that.  Jerry and I shared it because we were so full, but trust me it was good!

Before our orders came out, first-timers at Mary Mac's are given a small complementary bowl of Pot Likker and a Cornbread Muffin.  The Cornbread is crumbled into the cup of broth.  What is Pot Likker?  It's the broth which Collard Greens have simmered in with a ham bone.  It was so good!  I love dainty tea food, but sometimes you've just got to have real stick-to-your-ribs food!  ;-)   And, of course, there was iced sweet tea - the table wine of the south!

I think our traveling companion, Judy, liked Moe as our server! ;-)

The large picture of Scarlett O'Hara was hanging in the hallway by the Ladies' room, and I couldn't resist taking a picture of it.

If you're ever in Atlanta, be sure to go to Mary Mac's.  The address is 224 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE.

Day #3, tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Southern Tea Time Getaway - Day 2

Day 2 of our trip found us back on the van at 8:30 a.m. for a four hour ride [258 miles] to Woodstock, Georgia where we had 1:30 p.m. reservations for the Queen's Tea at Tea Leaves and Thyme tearoom.  

We began every morning on the van with a brief devotional from Sarah Young's book, Jesus Calling.  It was the perfect way to start our day.

Teresa, one of our traveling companions from Ohio, made each of us tea journals that included the trip itinerary, information about the places we would be visiting, and a page to review each tearoom.  She's a very creative and talented gal, and we were blessed to have her with us.  She enhanced our travels in many ways as you will see in my posts.  

The Southern Belle on the cover of the journal [or Crinoline Lady] was the logo for the cancelled trip, but it was perfect for the journal cover.  Teresa brought along her bone china teacup that she searched over a year for on E-bay to match the logo identically.  It was too late for implementation when I got the idea that I should have made Magnolias the logo for this trip [as in Steel Magnolias].  I ordered the DVD to watch on the van but FedEx temporarily lost it, and it didn't arrive until we were on the road.  

When we crossed the Tennessee state line into Georgia we stopped at the Welcome Center for pictures and a potty break.  What a lovely Welcome Center - the nicest of our entire trip!

The vignettes inside the Welcome Center told us our time in Georgia was going to be just peachy!  

After our respite, we were back on the van for the remaining 2-hour ride to Woodstock.  Upon arrival it was picture taking time outside the tearoom.

[Photo courtesy of Tea Leaves & Thyme Website]

Three wonderful Georgia ladies were waiting to join us for Afternoon Tea.  Angela McRae [Tea with Friends blog] who I felt like I knew long before I met her in 2012. It was the first meeting with Joy Breedlove and Angela Renals, but we were kindred spirits.  Joy has been a faithful follower and supporter of my blog since it began in 2012.  In my 1,540 blog posts I could probably count on one hand the times she hasn't left a comment.  Every blogger needs a Joy to cheer them on!  Angela Renals is the creator of Destination Tea, a wonderful online tea directory providing up-to-date listings and reviews of tearooms and Afternoon Tea venues in the United States and beyond.  A blog is at the website as well.
Back row L-R:  Angela R. and Angela M.
Front row:  Joy and Me.

Standing in the photo below is Kim Jordy, the owner of Tea Leaves and Thyme.  The popular Atlanta area tearoom opened in 1997 [this is its second location since they outgrew the first one], and Bruce Richardson bestowed the honor of featuring them in his Great Tearooms of America book.

The staff were ready and waiting for us.

 ~ We started off with a friendship toast of Sparkling Punch ~

I think Teresa took the photo below of Angela McRae and me, and as soon as I saw it I said, even though separated by miles, good friends pick up right where they left off.  [Which for us was last summer when Angela and her hubby passed through my area on their way up to Mackinac Island and stopped at my house for lunch.]

Pictured below was the Tea Menu.  I ordered Snowflake Tea - a black tea flavored with coconut and almonds.

Our soup and salad came out first.  I ordered Sun-dried Tomato accompanied by Mixed Greens with a Citrus Vinaigrette.

Our wonderful server, Diane.

Then came the three-tiered server.  Fresh Fruit and three Scones [Cranberry, Pecan and Vanilla] were on the top tier. 

The middle tier held the savories:  Pimento Cheese on Brown Bread, Cucumber rounds on White Bread, Ham on Wheat Bread and Pineapple Cream Cheese on Marble Bread.

The bottom tier held the desserts:  Chocolate Trifle, Lemon Squares, Chocolate covered Strawberry, and Blueberry Muffin. 

L-R Standing:  Lori, Me, Angela R. and Angela M.  Seated: Joy.

The tearoom has a lovely gift shop which we were happy to shop in!  

[Photo courtesy of Destination Tea]

Angela M., Angela R., and Joy all came bearing thoughtful gifts.  Angela McRae blogged about her Frances Virginia Tearoom Cookbook in her May 11, 2018 post, and when I inquired if it was still available, she brought me one of her copies. 

Joy gave me a tea-themed note pad, tea-themed napkins, and a bag of Savannah Grey loose-leaf tea from The Tea Room in Savannah which we visited.

Angela R. gave me a replica tea bag filled with tea and other useful information.  A tutorial on how to make them can be found at her website.  Thank you ladies, for your thoughtfulness and kindness!  

While I was still inside the tearoom, the ladies in our group had fun with my hubby waiting outside.  He was such a good sport the entire trip, and was so kind and helpful to all the ladies. 

After we said our goodbyes to the three Georgia ladies, we piled back into the van and traveled 17 miles to the Drury Inn & Suites in Marietta, GA where we spent the night.

The day still had one more treat in store - Mary Mac's Tea Room in downtown Atlanta... tomorrow's post.

As I type these posts it's with gratitude to God that the dates of our trip were before Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall causing flooding, high winds, and possible tornadoes. We're thankful to be back home safely. Prayers for those impacted by the storm.