Friday, May 04, 2007

Tea in Augusta Kansas

Today I got to have tea at the Historical Society's  C.N. James Trading Post in Augusta, Kansas.

The trading post was used as a general store and post office, and upstairs two different churches met and school was held. It was truly a community building.

It was built in 1868 and is wonderfully preserved by the Historical Society of Augusta, Kansas.

The tea is a fundraiser for them and it's worth every penny. In fact, it was a tremendous bargain.

Greg, Mia and I went. She is out for the Hutchinson Art Fair tomorrow.

I have to say that Greg is quite the sport when it comes to such things. He was the only man having tea. There were some other guys there helping out with the tea, but Greg was very pleasant about the whole thing.

A few years ago I was in Savannah with another friend of mine, Jim, and we decided we wanted to go get a little something to drink. I said, "Well, there's a tea room near here but I'm sure you don't want to go there." He said, "Why not?" I said, "Well, it's kind of a girl thing." He said, "So, why would I not want to be surrounded by women?"

We went to tea. The ladies who ran the shop fawned over him constantly since he was the only man there who was there willingly. We got a fabulous seat by the window. They kept bringing him more goodies and more tea. I was somewhat invisible to them as far as I could tell. But, hey, I can play the game. I just had Jim ask for whatever I wanted. It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours on a May afternoon in Savannah.

This afternoon in Augusta, we shared the room with a number of other tea goers. They seat about 40 at a time and it's a wonderful, cozy, intimate setting.

One of the great things about this space is there lots of windows. We were seated right by one, which gave us great light on our table and centerpiece.

That's a 1943 recipe for Dill Pickles, in case you're wondering. I love the fact that it was written on a piece of paper that had a postmark - waste not, want not.

If you'd like to make this recipe, you can click here for a larger version so you can read it.

One of the cool things about going to tea is meeting other tea-goers. Today was no exception - we met Carol Bates, who was perfectly lovely. There were two other places set at our table but those folks didn't show up. They really missed out.

Carol was delightful. We really enjoyed getting to meet her. She was teasing us, just like we were teasing each other.

She was infatuated with yet another recipe that was part of the centerpiece. It was rather interesting that no matter where you were seated, you had a pretty view of something. Greg and I were opposite each other and both taking photos so we got some different views. I didn't even realize until I looked at the pictures tonight that the pot in the centerpiece had a decoration on it from Greg's viewpoint.

Mia and I had wonderful seats, right by the window.

And outside the window was a lovely view, too.

They ask your name when you make reservations and have wonderful little name tags at each place so your seat is assigned. I couldn't have been happier with my spot. The tags are held in perfect little teapot shaped place card holdesr and done by hand by the director, Diana.

These little dolls hold a teabag and are fitted with a magnet so you can put them on your fridge as a little reminder of the day.

Greg, of course, could not resist having some fun with the little doll...

He was amusing his girlfriend, Mia...

and Carol...

I was busy taking photos, of course.

After tea, I couldn't resist snapping this photo of Greg's shirt pocket with the favors we got to take away poking up out of his pocket.

This is a lovely, lovely place for a tea. It's rustic and charming and cozy and intimate.

If you happen to live anywhere nearby, mark your calendars for next year. It's held the first Friday and Saturday in May each year, two seatings each day. They do a great job and I assure you you will not go away hungry.

They do a buffet style, which, as you know, is not my favorite way to do tea. However, because there are fewer people at each seating than at any other tea I've been to, the line moves quickly.

I always prefer tea to be served in one fashion or another, but this is a minor inconvenience. And, on the plus side, there was far more than you would want to eat. My usual pattern is "one of everything" and that was a heaping plate today and I could not possibly eat it all. They then brought around trays with extra goodies on them so I got to have three cucumber sandwiches. And I enjoyed each one, let me tell you!

Kudos to Diana, the director, and the volunteers who helped make this possible. It was fabulous.

You'll have some time before and after tea to look around the museum and there are some fun things there, too.

One last photo of the day - I loved this portrait of Greg in one of his "normal" poses. He often holds his camera this way and I loved capturing this moment. You gotta love a guy who happily goes to tea.