Please join us at Barb's TEA Shop for a delicious cup of tea prepared with the help of Mr. Tea!
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Saturday, June 22, 2013
|Father's Day with the family|
We spent most of the weekend at our cabin up north – my husband’s favorite place to relax and unwind. We were joined by our son, Rob, and my brother-in-law, Bryan ,who not only were guests but boat mechanics for a good part of Saturday. I don’t know how that equates to fun, but they seemed to enjoy themselves. I will say, though, that all their efforts paid off as we launched the boats in the water for their maiden journeys of 2013.
Equipped with snacks, iced tea and sun-block, I joined the crew, along with Rob’s dog, Terra, for the second ride of the day.
|Brothers with hats and Pure Leaf tea|
A quick moment about the tea: we selected Pure Leaf tea right out of the convenience store’s coolers. The guys chose the “sweet tea” flavor and I took the raspberry. I have to say, for bottled iced-tea, it was really good – not overly sweet like many of the prepared drinks and the tea taste came through. The taste was refreshing and even the packaging is pretty, adding a little sophistication to a boat excursion with chex mix, potato chips and a wet dog.
Pure Leaf is a product of a Pepsi/Lipton partnership and other flavors include lemon and peach.
After a few mostly restful hours out on the lake - except for a brief overboard incident when Terra leaped overboard to hunt down a passing family of ducks - we came back in for a pizza dinner and naps all around.
|Enjoying some raspberry iced tea out on the lake|
|Terra back from a swim in the lake in an effort to chase down ducks|
But, lucky me, I was also the recipient of a gift on Father’s Day, too – although it wasn't planned.
|"Tea plant" from Rachel|
Rachel had been to the Birmingham Farmer’s Market that morning and as soon as she saw a teacup-shaped basket with a flowering plant inside, she knew she might succumb to a purchase. The price and adorableness was just too good to resist. It even has a charming metal tag on the front labeled “tea”. All of this for $5.00!! Of course, I’m heading there myself next weekend.
But, back to the Dad in the story, the true focus of this holiday: with a weekend up- north topped by a family dinner al fresco, Father’s Day turned out as good as last month’s family celebration. Maybe even better!!
Saturday, June 15, 2013
|Traditional Mother's Day tea with my family at Goldfish Tea|
|Toile Teapot, Torino's gift card and candy top the treasure bath|
|Rachel prepares the tea as Matt looks on|
|Toile tea towel from Fun Stuff|
|Sharing some a cup of Keemun and a smoothie with Rob|
As we sat down to a few pots of my favorite Keemun Black tea with variety of small pastries, Rob and Rachel surprised me with a the toile teapot from Bella. I absolutely love it and am inspired to create a toile tea tablescape soon. I recently snatched up a matching toile tea towel from Fun Stuff in Birmingham (see "Fun Stuff for your next tea party" Detroit Tea Examiner), so I'm well on my way!
|Celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary at Torino's|
|Best damn carrot we ever ate!|
But, I digress. Back to Mother's Day. It was a wonderful time spent with the kids and my husband. Treated like a queen with lots of "t's" and teas. Can't get much better that.
It's hard to top, but I hope we make Father's Day as good - maybe with some more "T's" and (damn good) carrots!
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
|Afternoon tea with Penelope Carlevato|
In April, my sister-in-law, Cara and I were guests of Penelope Carlevato, tea professional and author of the book, "Tea on the Titanic". Penelope lives just outside of Denver, not far from the Molly Brown House, the home, and now museum, of one of the most famous survivors of the Titanic, and the subject of one of the chapters of the author's latest book.
|Denver's Molly Brown House was featured in the March/April issue of Tea Time Magazine|
When I "googled" the Molly Brown House, I couldn't believe it - Penelope Carlevato was the guest speaker for an afternoon tea there the weekend we would be in Colorado. Unfortunately, it was scheduled for the day we were flying out and there wouldn't be time to squeeze in a cream tea, let alone a full afternoon tea spread and presentation.
|Outside the Molly Brown House Museum in April|
If I had any expectations (which I did and they were filled with crazy anticipation), they were far exceeded the minute Penelope invited Cara and I through the front door. It was like visiting an old friend and I felt instantly at home, albeit a beautiful one.
We spent the afternoon talking over tea about our families and our journeys. Penelope was born in England, her father an American soldier and her mother was British war bride. Her great-grandparents lived in in northeast England and their business was providing household help to wealthy families. They were visited by Queen Mary, grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II, and Penelope's great-grandmother served her tea. Penelope herself, met Queen Mary, as a child, in Sandringham and has had the remarkable story to share ever since.
|"Tea on the Titantic" was written last year during the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated luxury ship|
|My husband, Chris, in Cobh, Ireland on our trip last October. Cobh was the final place of departure for the Titanic.|
|Molly Brown House gift shop carries Titanic-related merchandise, including "Tea on the Titanic"|
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
|Meeting Margo Seymour, tea room owner|
I love social media about as much as I love tea, so when the two come together the results are usually pretty amazing. Such is the case with The Denver Tea Room.A year ago, I received a few comments on my blog from Margo Seymour, owner of The Denver Tea Room. She found me through the web and we started following each other’s posts and would frequently applaud a recent event or note a shared experience. I had been to Denver for the first time a year ago February to visit family and I knew I’d be back, so I let Margo know I’d stop by her tea room whenever that opportunity presented itself.
That time finally came the first of April. Chris (my husband) had a business trip in Boulder, so I tagged along to conduct a business trip of my own – all related to tea, of course. My first notification was to Margo. I couldn’t wait to actually meet her - and see her tea room - in person.
My sister-in-law Cara, who lives in Denver, was my tea companion and she navigated the route from my Boulder hotel to the tea room with ease. A few steps up to the tea room and my year-long wait was over. Margo, and her sister, Arlene Guillen, who manages the tea room, were there to greet Cara and me and instantly I felt like I was talking to one of my friends from the old neighborhood.
And then it was tea time!
Cara and I enjoyed a delicious and beautifully presented afternoon tea. The food is prepared on-site, evidenced by the fresh and flavorful taste of everything we sampled on the tiered-tray. The scones were served with cream and lemon curd, which were scrumptious. There was a great variety of tea sandwiches and the sweets were delightful.
Guests can select their own loose tea from a tray where the individual tea is presented in tins. You can view and sniff the different choices and then the tea is brewed in individual pots.
|Guests can select from a variety of tea presented in tins for inspection|
Another great feature of the tea room menu is that it can be prepared for various dietary restrictions with advanced notice. This was a big plus for my sister-in-law and she enjoyed herself so much, at her request, her husband and sons took her back to The Denver Tea Room on Mother’s Day! There was something for everyone in her family on the menu.
The Denver Tea Room hosts special events throughout the year, too. They have book club meetups, bridal and baby showers, and themed teas, such as (oh, how I wish I could have been there!) their Downton Abbey tea the end of April.
What a wonderful place for afternoon tea. I can't wait to go back, even if it may be another twelve months before I can swing another trip to Denver.
It's no secret tea brings people together, it's part of what makes tea time so popular. Now with on-line connections like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter in the mix, tea friends can be made miles away. In this case, it brought us to the Mile High City and we're so glad it did!
Sunday, June 2, 2013
|Matt and I just outside the Grand Hotel|
Two weeks ago, we traveled to the tip of the lower peninsula and ferried across the Great Lakes to Mackinac Island. My son, Matt, volunteers as a forensics coach for his former high school and they end their competition season the second weekend of May at the Grand Hotel. Matt has a few hours of downtime, so we take the opportunity to meet up with him and enjoy the pre-season prices and smaller crowds. Of course, there's always the chance of pre-season weather and this year, we experienced chillier temps. But, it was still a great weekend filled with family, history, fudge and, of course, tea.
|Shopping at Carleton's Tea Shop inside the Grand Hotel|
This year, we made it to the hotel well before afternoon tea time, and, so had a chance to shop before Carleton's Tea Shop closed. Their tea selection is inviting. Displayed in old time wooden bins, you can view and sniff the tea as you read about the ingredients under the bin lids. I bought Isle Royal and Mackinac Island Breeze tea. Brewing them up once back home, I found both are wonderful with fruity flavors - great for the warmer weather. For a review of Mackinac Island Breeze tea, see the Detroit Tea Examiner's review, Start your summer with a Mackinac Island Breeze in your teacup.
|Chris in a pensive moment during afternoon tea|
We were among the first parties to be seated for afternoon tea. The sweets and savories were amazing. The only surprise we encountered - and different from the experience we had last year - was that the tea came in tea bags. Harney's teas are fine to be sure, but for such a grand place, loose tea just seems to be the expected.
|Delicious sweets and savories served on charming Grand Hotel china|
The presentation, however, with the charming teacups that sport the hotel's signature geranium flowers, along with the service are superb. The views from the Grand Hotel's famous porch are equally stunning.
|Views from the Grand Hotel's famous porch are spectacular|
Despite the clouds and cooler temps, old time baseball demonstrations carried on for visitors to the island. Matt had viewed a game before we docked, and, on our way to the hotel, we were all able to catch few innings of new one. It was really captivating to see how baseball was played before the multi-millionaire contracts were part of the equation.
|Old time baseball played with the straits of Mackinac backdrop|
After a day of shopping, tea and baseball, my husband, Chris and I headed back to the ferry dock. Matt joined us at Mary's Bistro for a quick snack before he headed back to the hotel for his banquet and Chris and I went back to Mackinaw City.
|Enjoying a quick snack before boarding our ferry|
Back at Mackinaw City, we checked in at our hotel and crossed the street for, what we hoped, would be a quick bite to eat. Forty-five minutes later, we got our pizza. Held captive in a dining room filled with stuffed wildlife, my husband was showing signs of the strain.
|The long wait for pizza. Chris was hungry as a . . . well, you get it.|
The pizza wait was just a temporary setback. We woke up the next morning to a beautiful sunrise on the lake, with a spectacular view of the island and the Grand Hotel. We walked the beach and even the swarm of May flies did not deter our spirits.
We took a leisurely trip down Mackinac City's main street before heading south on I-75 to our home. In another four hours, we'd be reliving memories of the Mackinac Island with sinfully delicious fudge and Grand Hotel tea served in a souvenir cup.
|Real tourists don't come home without fudge. Also treated myself to a tea cup from the Grand Hotel.|
We support Matt's volunteering for his former high school's forensic team. We find the team's season finale to be a great opportunity to visit one of Michigan's most scenic and unique destinations!