Saturday, June 30, 2018

Southern Tea Time Getaway - Day 10 Part II

Afternoon Tea at CommuniTea tearoom was bittersweet.  After ten days on the road we were all looking forward to seeing our families and home sweet home again, but we enjoyed all the tea experiences, the fun we had traveling with a great group of ladies, and the opportunity to see Atlanta, Savannah, and Charleston.  We made memories that will last a lifetime.

CommuniTea tearoom is located at 100 Watervilet Avenue in Dayton, Ohio, and the delightful owner's name is Dawn.  She's a realtor, and said she'll be putting the tearoom up for sale soon.

It's in a mixed residential/commercial area, so it has more of a homey feel than a business.

When we arrived a small baby shower was in progress in one corner of the tearoom, but our table was reserved and waiting for us.

We had fun looking around before we settled down for our Afternoon Tea.

Dawn said some of the décor and furniture was her grandmother's.

~ She decorated with a lot of aprons. ~

We selected our own teapots for tea from the shelf pictured below.

~ Jerry and Me ~

~ Teresa and Rebecca ~

~ Ann, Dawn and Cheryl K. ~

 Cheryl K., Barb, and Lori.   Dawn had plenty of hats for us to wear for teatime.

~ The whole gang! ~

~ Two tiered server. ~

Sandwiches/Savories:  Pimento on Rye; Chicken Salad on White;  Cucumber and Cream Cheese Rounds; Deviled Egg Halves; Veggie Skewers - Cherry Tomato, Swiss Cheese Cube, and Cucumber; Colby Jack Cheese Cubes in center.

Top Tier:  Blueberry, Lemon Poppy Seed, and Banana Nut Mini-muffins, Cucumber with Cream Cheese, Mini Quiches, Fruit Kabobs [Strawberry, Pineapple, and Blueberry], and Lady Fingers with Strawberry Cheesecake filling, and Seven Layer Square.

Scone with seedless Blackberry Jam and imported Clotted Cream

I didn't write down what tea I ordered, and I don't remember now.

~ Jerry ordered Lavender Lemonade ~

Dawn modeling her grandmother's hat and parasol from Paris.

~ Dawn and Me ~

~ Lori ~

It was a fun ending to a wonderful tea-themed trip.  After our tea, we drove a short distance to the Lima exit to deliver our four Ohio ladies to a waiting husband.  We dropped four more ladies off in Southgate, MI around 7:30 p.m., and then Lori, Jerry and I headed for Warren, MI with grateful hearts that our Heavenly Father granted safe traveling, good weather, and a rental van that ran perfectly every mile.  The only disappointment was that one of our dear ladies became ill and had to return home early.  Thankfully she's doing well now.

I should have had the group vote on awards, but I didn't think of it until now. Teresa definitely gets the award for being the most creative with the booklets she made for each of us, the tea and chocolate pairing, and the fun murder mystery game. She was also the biggest shutterbug with over 2,000 pictures [I don't envy her when she had to download them from her camera!]. Linda gets the award for being the biggest shopper.  Ann, an R.N., gets the award for being a great nurse and looking out for all of us.  And as one of my readers stated, Jerry deserves the 'Husband of the Year' award for being our driver, valet, photographer, and everything else we needed him to be.  All others get an award for being congenial and great to travel with!

After 2,313 miles, 7 states, 742 pictures, and 26 blog posts, the Southern Tea Time Getaway has finally come to an end.  Thank you for traveling along with us via my blog.

Life has been happening during this series, so Monday my posts will return to normal day-to-day activities as they relate to tea.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Southern Tea Time Getaway - Day 10 Part I

After a good night's rest at the Hilton Garden Inn in Knoxville, TN Jerry loaded the van at 8:00 a.m. for a 8:30 departure.  This was the last time my hubby would have to load luggage for 10 ladies, plus purchases - not that he ever complained.

When we got on the van, Teresa, one of our traveling companions, had placed a bag of candy on each lady's seat.

She asked me before we left home if she could coordinate a murder mystery game to play in the van to pass the time away.  After receiving the green light, she contacted everyone to see which character they wanted to be.  Day 10 was a five hour ride to Dayton, Ohio so it was the perfect time to play the game.

Teresa was Gray Catsby, owner of Catsby Hall [his summer residence].  He invited his most talented and wealthy friends to a charity gala event, but before the dancing and donations began, his fiancée, Ginger Whiskers, was found dead in the dumbwaiter!

~ Teresa ~

I was Clea Du Boudoir, Gray Catsby's maid.  

Ann was Toots Mahoney

Cheryl K. was Art Deco

When it was time to vote on who we thought the murderer was everybody voted for Boo Boo B'Doo - Linda Pudlik.  To their complete surprise, I was the murderer!  ;-)  Thanks, Teresa for making our travel time so much fun.  When we stopped at a rest area, we got a group picture of the entire cast.

Then it was back in the van to keep our 1:30 p.m. reservations for Afternoon Tea at CommuniTea tearoom in Dayton, Ohio.  It would be our last Afternoon Tea of the trip.  We had a total of nine Afternoon Teas at a tearoom or hotel, plus the one Judy treated us to on the van at the beginning of our trip, plus Teresa's tea and chocolate pairing.  Not to mention the three great meals at Mary Mac's, Paula Deen's and Mrs. Wilkes.  

Next [and last post of the series] CommuniTea Tea Room...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tea Time Getaway - Day 8 Part II, Day 9

After Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room we got back on the Old Town Trolley and got off at stop #8, the Davenport House Museum located on the corner of State & Habersham Streets, and the NW corner of Columbia Square.  We had seen lovely things in the gift shop window when we passed it earlier in the morning.
Teresa and Rebecca toured the house, but Linda, Lori and I just browsed the gift shop.  The Davenport House is where Savannah's preservation story began in 1955.  The 1820 Federal-style home was slated for demolition to make room for a parking structure.  A group of seven civic-minded ladies formed the Historic Savannah Foundation and purchased the home and saved it from destruction.  Notice the double exterior stairways!  ;-)  [You'll only understand that if you read yesterday's post.]

[Photo Courtesy of Historic Savannah Foundation]

There were lots of nice things in the gift shop, but the only thing that called my name was a blue and white finger vase.  I didn't have anything like it, and blue and white porcelain is always hard for me to resist.  I'm enjoying it on my entryway table.

Several things called Linda's name, so we got back on the trolley and headed back to the hotel to drop off our purchases.  Stop #11 was conveniently right by our hotel. 

River Street was right across the street from our hotel so we decided to walk over.  Linda had already found a shop Fine Things Under $20 the day beforeso that was our first stop.  I succumbed to buying two things I couldn't pass up for $19.99 each.  The fascinator will be perfect for a tea outing!

Since I didn't take notes on the trolley tours, I also purchased Old Town Trolley's guide book in Simply Savannah. There's a lot of places we didn't see in our brief three day stay, so this book will be useful on a return visit.

After our River Street expedition there was still time for a short walk through Reynolds Square to Leopold's for one last pistachio ice cream cone.  I returned to my hotel room to get my suitcase ready for loading the next morning at 8:00 a.m., while some of our group went up to the hotel's rooftop swimming pool to order pizza to enjoy while looking over Savannah's beautiful nighttime skyline and the Savannah River.  

I wanted a photo of Savannah's City Hall before we left, but we were past it before my camera focused, so Ann, one of our group members, sent me one she took on her Savannah River cruise the day before.  City Hall was built in 1901, and has a beautiful 24-karat gold-plated copper dome.

As poet Geoffrey Chaucer penned so many years ago, "All good things must come to an end," and so it was with our Southern Tea Time Getaway.   Day #9 found us crossing the Talmadge Bridge, leaving the City of Savannah behind us, but taking our wonderful memories with us as we began our trek back home.  We had clear skies and no traffic.

Our destination was Knoxville, Tennessee where we'd spend the night.  As we entered into North Carolina it was time for a restroom break  at the Welcome Center.

And another group picture!  ;-)

Tomorrow's post will be the last day of our Southern Tea Time Getaway.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Southern Tea Time Getaway - Day 8

Our last day in Savannah was a free day with no scheduled events on the itinerary.  Most of us gathered for breakfast in the Hampton Inn dining room.  While we were there two impersonators came in.  One was portraying Forrest Gump, so I had to take his picture.

The movie, Forrest Gump, was a 1994 comedy-drama that starred Tom Hanks. One of his most remembered lines is "My Mom always said life was like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're gonna get."  As you can see in the picture, his box of chocolates is tucked beside his hand.

The scene with him sitting on a park bench was filmed in Savannah's Chippewa Square.  The bench can be seen at Savannah History Museum.  On our hop-on, hop-off bus tour later in the day the conductor showed us the diner on Broughton Street where his girlfriend, Jenny, worked.

[Internet Photos]

Initially I thought the other impersonator was Rosie the Riveter.  It wasn't until I got home and did some research that I discovered she was Frances [Frankie] Kennedy, who is often mistaken for Rosie because of her outfit.  Frankie was a welder, not a riveter.  After her brothers returned from the Army in WWII, she left college and came back to Savannah to help the war efforts.  She used her welding abilities to help build over 80 liberty ships that were used for war cargo.

They never mentioned they were hired by Old Savannah Trolley Tours to walk around Savannah impersonating people connected to the city.  

  [Internet Photo]

Had we known we might not have gone with their competitor, Old Town Trolley Tours.  My hubby drove us to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. where we purchased our one-day hop-on, hop-off trolley tickets.  The 90 minute tour covers 9 miles of Savannah's Historic District, Colonial District, and Victorian District.  The tour is narrated by the conductor during the 15-stop loop. Stop #1 is at the Visitors Center and History Museum.

Biancha was our first conductor, but throughout the day we had others. Our trolley tour began with Judy Garland singing The Trolley Song from her 1944 film, Meet Me In St. Louis.  How fun to hear "Clang, Clang, Clang went the Trolley..."  

We all decided to ride the complete trolley route and then get off at our desired stops, which for most of us was stop #3 - walking distance to Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room. The legendary Southern style dining room opens at 11:00 a.m. and we wanted to eat lunch/dinner there.  You can't visit Savannah without eating at Mrs. Wilkes.

I didn't take many notes on the trolley ride, only that the steeple on Independence Presbyterian Church is 225 feet tall, and Woodrow Wilson married his first wife, Ellen Axson, in the parsonage of that church.

We were duly warned that we would stand in a line at Mrs. Wilkes [they don't take reservations], and that's exactly what we did for an hour and a half - but it was worth the wait.  The store One-Fish Two-Fish was close by, so some helped pass the time by browsing or shopping.  

In 1943 Sema Wilkes took over a boarding house [Mrs. Dennis Dixon's boarding house] at 107 Jones St. in historic downtown Savannah to secure a room for herself and her husband during WWII.  Her goal was to make a living by offering comfortable lodging and homestyle Southern cooking served family style in the downstairs dining room.  In 1965 they bought the building.  She definitely achieved her goal because people come from far and wide to eat there, and all by word of mouth - no advertising.  

Below are the steps to the upstairs boarding house, which is still available for lodging. One tour guide on our trip told us the double staircases in old southern homes is because it was improper for a man to see an unmarried ladies' ankles as she ascended the steps, and if he saw them he was obliged to marry her.  To remedy that dilemma two staircases were constructed for entry, one for men and the other for ladies.  I don't know it that's true, but it makes for a cute story!  ;-)

Pictured below is Rebecca in our group.  We were finally at the front of the line, and ready to enter.

The entryway dining room.

Pictured below is the second dining room where we were seated.  I didn't count, but I read there are a total of seven tables that seat up to ten people. Our group got split up between two tables.  There were five of us at the table below and the remaining three people were friendly strangers. Pictured are Teresa and Linda.

Food is served family style, and I had to take two pictures to get all the bowls of food on the table!

Our offerings were: Mashed potatoes & gravy; cheesy potatoes, cabbage, lima beans, tomatoes & okra, black eyed peas, white rice, red rice with sausage, barbecued pork, fried chicken, cucumbers, cream corn, baked beans, stuffing, collard greens, roast beef with potatoes and carrots, macaroni and cheese, squash, rutabagas, corn bread and biscuits, a bottomless pitcher of sweet tea, and for dessert blueberry a la mode or banana pudding. 

Do I dare show you my plate?  I took a tablespoon of almost everything, [you can work up an appetite waiting in line! ;-)], and I ate everything except the pork.  We were trying to decide who had the best fried chicken - Paula Deen or Mrs. Wilkes.  Both were good.

Mrs. Wilkes died in 2002 at age 95,  and her great-grandson, Ryon Thompson runs the restaurant now. His mother, Marcia Thompson, is there everyday too, and we got to meet her when she stopped at our table.  Just as Ryon's great-grandmother did, he rings the dinner bell at 11:00 a.m. and says grace at the first serving.

Marcia was featured in the 2018 May/June issue of Savannah Magazine.

You know I couldn't leave without purchasing one of Mrs. Wilkes' cookbooks!

We waddled out of the dining room and caught the hop-on, hop-off trolley for a little more shopping and sightseeing, next post...