Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Downton Abbey Evening Tea at Walled Lake Library

Downton Abbey tea at the Walled Lake Library

Last week, Barb's Tea Service presented a Downton Abbey-inspired evening tea at the Walled Lake Library. The turnout was fantastic and necessitated set-up at the Fire Station meeting room which is just across the library's parking lot.

Barb with fellow tea enthusiast & DA fan, Barbara Tabb

Guests came dressed for the event, many donning hats and gloves. We were excited to finally meet up with Barbara Tabb, fellow tea enthusiast and Downton Abbey fan.

We shared our stories of our visit to Highclere Castle and Bampton Village, our interview with Lady Canarvon (both featured in the January/February issue of Tea Time Magazine) as well as the lifestyle of the British aristocracy in the Edwardian era.

We served up several pots of tea, and much to our delight, many attendees stayed after the program to visit and share their stories.

Adult Services Librarian, Carrie Crossman with Rachel-Rose

A big thank you to all who came out last Tuesday and a special thanks to Adult Services Librarian, Carrie Crossman, for inviting us to the Walled Lake Library. A wonderful time at Walled Lake!!

Downton Abbey fans - we still have more DA teas coming in May. Check Barb's Tea Service's event page for more details!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Downton Abbey-inspired Afternoon tea at the Townsend: Luxurious setting and delicious treats perfect for celebrating!

Rachel-Rose & Barb surrounded by the luxurious ambiance of the Townsend tea lobby

With a luxuriously appointed tea lobby befitting of the Crawley estate and outstanding service that would make Carson jealous, Birmingham's Townsend Hotel is the perfect place for a Downton Abbey-inspired afternoon tea. Barb's Tea Service was delighted to present our Downton Abbey program last Sunday to over forty guests.

Guests arrive and find their seats under the crystal chandelier

Attendees were seated at the long table under the crystal chandelier or one of the round tables along the decoratively painted walls. Many guests, in addition to being Downton Abbey enthusiasts, chose the event to honor special occasions as well. What a fantastic way to celebrate and what a  treat to be part of that!

Roses and fruit plates on the table, ready for guests' arrival.

Some guests had called us before the tea, after seeing the 'Say Good-bye to Downton with a proper afternoon tea' article in the Detroit Free Press which featured BTS. We were so happy to see that Daisy Lucente and her good friends, Susan Cash and June Whittled were able to make it!

June Whittled, Susan Cash and Daisy Lucente celebrate at the afternoon tea

As we discussed the Edwardian influences on the British aristocracy, our visit to Highclere Castle and the importance of dress to both the upstairs and downstairs families, guests were treated to delicioius scones, savories, sweets and never-ending pots of finely brewed tea. A few who were celebrating birthdays were served up an extra dessert.

Ruth Mayhall with Illene Lipiski

A great time with Downton Abbey-ites: a fun afternoon with girlfriends, husbands and wives and mothers and daughters.

Sandy Dionsi & Anne Dunlap. Anne not happy with the series' finale.

Although all who were at the event shared a solidarity in being Downton Abbey fans, there was some lively discussion after the formal presentation as to whether the series ending met expectations.

Another fabulous tea at the Townsend Hotel. A thank you to Tea Director, Laura, and all the amazing ladies and gents who attended!!

We're not quite done saying farewell to Downton. See our events page on Barb's Tea Service's website for more upcoming tea events!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Downton Abbey Farewell Tea at Otsego County Library: BTS Great Time in Gaylord!

Who's a Downton Abbey fan? Just about everyone!

 Almost two weeks ago, on a bright, sunny Sunday in March, Barb's Tea Service had the great pleasure of presenting to a wonderful crowd at the Otsego County Library which hosted a Downton Abbey Farewell Tea. The events room held over 50 guests and with pastel linens, fine china teacups and scones and sweets on every table, it transformed into a charming tearoom for the afternoon.

Beautiful day and wonderful venue! 

Sharing a cup of tea with Deb Johnston of Otsego  Library

We were invited to present by Deb Johnston, Adult Programming Coordinator at Otsego Library. Like most of the guests, she's a fan of Downton Abbey.  Deb raffled off some amazing Downton Abbey-themed treasures and tea gifts to guests who scored highest on the DA quiz.

Rachel helps with handouts.
Afternoon tea fare ready to be served.

Scones, cookies and tea were served to attendees. Presentation was as beautiful as the treats were tasty!

Scones and other treats were served with freshly brewed tea.

Downton Abbey decor turned events space into a lovely tearoom

The events room was accented with Downton Abbey-inspired decor. We especially loved the silver tea set.

We shared our visit to Highclere and Bampton Village as well as some behind-the-scenes tales from Jessica Fellowes. We also discussed fashion of the area and the advantages of the Edwardian tea gown. Some guests came dressed in period attire which added to the fun.

Melanie McDougall of Gaylord dressed in period chic

Rachel-Rose  takes a quick scone break before  book sales.

A great thank you to Deb Johnston, the Otsego Library staff and all the guests who attended. We had a delightful time and enjoyed the fabulous turnout.

We are in Gaylord often, so we hope to see you all when we next visit!

And, we've got a few more Downton Abbey-inspired teas coming up. We'll be at Birmingham's Townsend Hotel on April 3rd and the Walled Lake Library the evening of April 5th.

In May, we'll be at the Schoolcraft Library in Kalamazoo County and Sweet D's Tea Room in Linden.

For more information, check out the events page of Barb's Tea Service website.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tea from China at Baldwin Library: Great event and featured in the Observer, too!

Baldwin Library  Everyone's Reading Shanghai Girls & t BTS presents Tea from China

As part of the  Everyone's Reading 2016 program, which features the book, "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See, Baldwin Public Library is hosting a number of events celebrating this captivating book. On March 13, Barb's Tea Service presented "Tea from China" as part of this community program. 

A reporter from the Observer was also in attendance and wrote a great article about the event in this week's edition:  Try Chinese Tea at Everyone's Reading.  We'll be presenting the same program at the Canton Library next month. 

Rachel & Pam brew the teas for tasting, and Taylor assists with set-up.

Our presentation on the history of tea included a demonstration of the Chinese tea ceremony in addition to a samping of four Chinese teas. Our expert brewers, Rachel and Pam, prepared and served the tea and Taylor assisted in set-up.

Three of the four teas sampled came from Socra Tea in Detroit

Three of the four teas came from Socra Tea in Detroit:  milky jade oolong, dragon well and keemun. We enjoyed sampling these delicious teas as much as our guests!

Barb with Maria Williams, Head of Adult Services

We displayed Chinese teaware, including the curious clay baby, which has a novel way of indicating when the water is warm enough for tea.

We were special guests of Maria Williams, Head of Adult Services at Baldwin Library and honored to be part of the Everyone's Reading program.

Barb's Tea Service Team:  Rachel, Pam and Barb

Barb's Tea Service had a wonderful time with a great turnout at Baldwin Library.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Canton Library April 17th for more Tea from China!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Count down to Downton Abbey Series Finale: End of an Era, but still more to celebrate with Barb's Tea Service

The doors to Downton Abbey will close tonight, but we'll leave the light on for you.

The grand doors of Downton Abbey will close for the last time tonight when the series finale of the Masterpiece period drama airs tonight. Downton Abbey enthusiasts -  ourselves included -  have anticipated this with mixed feelings. Anxious and hopeful for some happy endings, it nonetheless will be sad to see the Crawleys and their downstairs staff leave our Sunday evenings forever.

But, maybe not!

Tonight may bring some closure to some of the characters' lives (oh my gosh, will Edith ever find lasting happiness??), but aside from that, true Downton Abbey fans will keep the story going in their hearts, their travels, and their desire to celebrate this tour de force with other DA devotees.

Rachel is ready to snap wedding photos at St. Mary's/St. Michael's

For your season finale tea party, The Detroit Free Press' (March 5)  article 'Say Good-bye to Downton Abbey with a proper afternoon tea', includes tips and a few quotes from Barb's Tea Service.

Aside from tonight, there's still more in the way of celebrating Downton Abbey. Barb's Tea Service has a record fifteen events on the books from January to May, and ten of those are Downton Abbey-inspired.

We kicked the year off at the Southfield Library with our Downton Abbey afternoon tea in January. This was followed by three events at Meadow Brook Hall  and one at the Addison Library (see last blog story) in February.

Rachel holding a picture of our visit to the real DA at MBH

The teas at Meadow Brook Hall were especially fun as Rachel-Rose was able to participate in one and family and friends came out to join us, including my cousins, Dianne, Kathy and Karri and tea friends Phyllis Barkey and Lori.

But wait, there's more!

In March, we'll be in Gaylord at the Otsego County Library with our Downton Abbey-inspired presentation. In April, we're back at the Townsend Hotel and two days later,  Walled Lake Public Library.

Back at the Townsend in April!

Then, we pack up our suitcases in May and we'll be at the Schoolcraft Library on the west side of Michigan, followed by fun afternoon at Sweet D's Tea Room in Linden. (Check out for all updates!)

Having tea at Highclere with our Highclere tea mugs, of course!

In the meantime, sit back, get the tea kettle on, reserve a box of tissue, and spend a fun-filled two hours this evening saying a fond farewell to our favorite aristocrats and their charming staff.

Cheers to all our fellow Downton Abbey devotees!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Downton Abbey-inspired afternoon tea at Addison Township Library

Jaema Berman, Library Director (middle) with Rachel and Barb of BTS

With record-high temps last Saturday, a warm welcome to our Downton Abbey-inspired afternoon tea at Addison Township Public Library took on an additional meaning. Library Director, Jaema Berman, invited Barb's Tea Service to present last weekend and we were delighted to see such a wonderful turnout, with many guests wearing attire of the Downton Abbey period.

DA tea at Addison Twp library, with outdoor temps as warm as the tea 

Addison Township Public Library is located on Rochester Road across the street from Lakeville Lake. A scenic setting in Leonard, Michigan, the window views are charming whether you are looking inside or out. The staff had the sills of the large windows filled with tea-themed vignettes, including an adorable frog and turtle tea party set upon a table made from books.

Our library connections, Anita and Carol, holding prized tea cups, with Pam of BTS

Our friends, Anita K. and Carol D. were our Addison Library connections and they both participated - and won - beautiful tea cups in the silent auction that was also part of the Downton Abbey tea event. BTS member, Pam, (our logistics tour de force) joined in for a cuppa after we concluded the program.

Guests arriving at Downton Abbey afternoon tea at the library

While the stuffed animals enjoyed their tea parties on the window sills, BTS set up their tea service, (featuring the Republic of Teas, Downton Abbey teas), in a cozy corner of the library.

Setting up our tea table with Downton Abbey teas

Rachel-Rose stands center stage to introduce teas being served.

After the presentation and tea, guests were given some extra time for picture taking with a selection of the library's decorative doors as a backdrop.

Carolyn, Barb and Deb in 1920's attire.

Guests Carolyn and Deb joined me for a photo shoot with our 1920's attire. If we changed the tone to sepia, who would guess it's 2016?

Carolyn in Deb, 1925 or 2016?

Another group of attendees donned tiaras. Note, they correctly did not add feathers or high comb - a fashion faux pas of the day.

Ladies donning tiaras only, no fashion faux pas here!

Most of the items in the silent auction were tea cups donated by a library patron. It was an absolutely exequisite collection, and, yes, most assuredly, BTS put in a bid. Good fortune again came to us as we won the bid for our Paragon tea cup.

A beautiful day enhanced by Spring-like weather, delightful guests, amazing library and librarians and all new and old friends of BTS!

Apres tea, lunch at nearby  Celtic Knot