How could I do that? I wouldn't want to offend anyone, and I wanted them all to come...........so I rented a 32-seat bus. I worked closely with Greg from Checker Transport to arrange for transportation that would be comfortable and affordable. And I worked with Andi from the tea room to schedule a private party for up to 40 guests, some of which I realized could be friends from Houghton and Ontonagon. Though I've planned many an event, I had never planned a bus trip before. I could not have arranged either without the superb customer service by both Greg and Andi, which to me, was always about pleasing the customer and creating a day to remember. Thank you!
Though I was concerned that sending out the invitation in May for July 21 was too early, I soon discovered that many people were filling up their calendars early for our very short U.P. (Upper Peninsula) summer. It seems I invited twice as many as were needed. It wasn't long before the twenty-one minimum seats were reserved and paid for, meaning my dream was on its way to coming true.
And so, on the same day that Prince George was celebrating his first birthday with a tea, twenty-nine of my friends and family, boarded a bus to experience a day dedicated to sharing tea with friends. The two-hour ride went along as planned, with the only issue being a little warmer on the bus than we had hoped for, the hottest day of the summer.
What once was a custom and required fashion item, hats have not been needed or desired to be worn like early days. But there are many of us who feel that hats and dresses (beyond business casual) are what makes an event such as afternoon tea, all the more special.
Anne and Cynthia
The dark green walls and soft lighting around the room, tea cups, linen napkins and table cloths, and glass table tops set the mood for a tea, whether morning or afternoon, spring, summer, fall or winter.
We were expected for tea at 2:00 p.m. and arrived shortly before the hour. Though in the front window a "CLOSED" sign was posted, Andi and Sienna our server, and our local guests were waiting within.
One of the most interesting things guests discover as they enter the dining area is the many styles of hats hanging on the walls and lined up on the shelves, waiting to be chosen by man or woman to be worn during the celebration of tea. Here is Ken, our bus driver, wearing a "required" hat.
Our afternoon began with a greeting by Andi, who welcomed us to the Four Seasons Tea Room and thanked us for coming. Our first cup of tea was served.
Here is our menu:
Queen Elizabeth - a blend of Darljeeing, Assam and Ceylon black teas
Pear Green - an iced tea
Last Mango in Paris - tisane, which is caffeine-free, and a fruity, light herbal blend (this was highly recommended by Andi, the owner of the tea room)
Our first course was a quiche', followed by sandwiches, sweets, scones with lemon curd and cream, and cake. Here are the scones and cake.
We sang happy birthday to Sheryl who was honored with a candle in her quiche'. Many poses for the camera and conversational moments filled the tea room with an atmosphere of enjoyment. It was exactly what I had imagined and so much more.
Cynthia shared a short history of hats, and noted that her enjoyment is to remake or upcycle vintage hats. It was interesting to learn that hats were once worn for coverage from the elements, protection, social position and of course, fashion.
Here are some of the best pictures from the afternoon.
The front seats of the bus included a table and reverse seating. Nancy chose a full length dress, matching hat and lace gloves.
Judi wore a pill box style daisy hat with green veil, and lace fingerless gloves
which match her black lace top.
Wendy chose a pink tam with black plume, and matching bag.
Darleen, Nancy, Janiece and Clarice wait for their first cup of tea.
Birthday girl, Sheryl and friend Kathy in their black and white suits.
Cynthia on the left with her pink hat and matching dress. Connie, LaVerne and Mary Ann all chose large brim hats - aren't they lovely!
Wendy and friend Becky, who chose shades of tangerine for dress and hat.
Louise, Nancy and Janiece. Note the stack of hats behind them.
Janiece and Clarice live in Houghton
The wooden drawers and shelves once used by the drug store make unique display areas for the wide variety of tea pots and cups. Anne and Cynthia enjoy the displays.
Soft lighting and hats add to the charm of the tea room. Asunta and Judy sit across from Wendy and Becky, while friends Louise and Darleen visit.
The three ladies on the left are friends from Ontonagon. Sue and Cathy in yellow and black hats. Note Ginny's hand made white hat on the right.
Carol visits with Anne and Cynthia, as they discover that they all are nearly neighbors.
Scones were served with lemon curd and cream.
Each table setting was different - dishes and cups.
Roberta and Vicki are from Ontonagon. Vicki and Sue (both in yellow) visit as they once worked together.
So delighted was Ginny to attend the tea that she fabricated her own hat. I am wearing a "Minnie Pearl" hat, complete with attached price tag.
We are first cousins from left: Wendy, Clarice, Nancy, Carol, myself, and Judi
What made Monday, July 21, 2014 a memorable day was turning off our cell phones; dressing for the occasion; taking time away from the stresses of life; enjoying being served tea with delectable sweets and savories, meeting new friends and re-aquainting ourselves with long time friends; and for those of us on the bus, being willing to overlook the fact that our bus' air conditioner was not working. Yes, we had A day to Remember. Thank you!
(Ladies: I promised to only post the best photos. I wished I was able to sit and visit at every table during the afternoon. I look forward to your comments and suggestions.)