Discussion
Leave a question or comment -- or describe your dream tea room




Have you always dreamed of running your own tea room? If so, describe it for us. Feel free to fantasize. Or, if you run your own tea room or have a favorite place you like to go, let us know about it. Or ... say anything you want about tea rooms. Why you like them, why you don't. Ask questions, add your comments.


Click and type in a question or comment

My name is Ursula. I am German and have lived in the UK for nearly 25 years. I've been wanting to have my own tea room/Café for years and friends and family have been saying this for years too. I've had the idea to create a vintage Tea room/café in our home and offer the experience of Vintage cream tea with a 'German twist' for a maximum of 20 people. I'm a full time Theatre Nurse through my own Ltd company. Basically I LOVE BAKING AND AM HAPPY WHEN PEOPLE ENJOY MY CAKES!! I've been baking for over 40 years ( since I was 10). Has anyone out there ever done something like this before in their own home? I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. And I'm really stuck for a name....here are some ideas: Afternoon Tea& Kraut, Apfelstrudel with Ursula, Gugelhupf over to Ursula's, Uber afternoon tea. Really not sure...HELP. I thought maybe the name should say what I offer but also you must know there is a German connection... (as I will serve German cakes as well) but also it would be fantastic to have my name in it too. Thank you so much and I cant wait to get a reply :)
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My name is Lincoln and my wife and i are in the planning phase of our very own tea house.I get excited whenever i come across a site like yours because i feel like you guys get me! it's been a dream of mine to open a tea shop for about fifteen years believe it or not and my biggest hurdle is putting together a business proposal that will get me the necessary attention.Can you help me in that area?Any suggestions you can make will be greatly appreciated.We live in the Bahamas and being that we were once a british colony we are a tea drinking society,we even have our own selection of bahamian teas. I would be more than happy to describe my dream tea house to you upon receiving a response. I thank you in advance. -- It should help a lot that you are among tea drinkers. It's a tough business. Location near a tourist site or recreation area would help. And it's always been considered important for tea rooms to ooze with atmosphere so I'd pay a lot of attention to a charming decor. I would not go into a Victorian theme, but maybe that's just my tastes. Maybe 1920s? Having cocktails as well would be a good idea. -- JW
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My great grandmother had a tea room in SC, I think Sumter. Any ideas how I can find out about it, pictures, etc? -- If you know the name of it you could search through digitized newspaper archives. Or, you could search for your grandmother's name. Or look through directories from Sumter if you have a rough idea of the date. -- JW
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I have a card like the one's shown I thought it was a post card but perhaps an early business card. It is for The Blue Horse Artistically Unique 21 - 8th East Greenwich Village 2770 Stuyvesant Luncheon Tea Dinner Dance Music 7:00-1:00 By Ike Famous B. H. "Blues." -- Nice -- that's Don Dickerman's place, kind of a tea room/night club. He also ran the Pirates' Den in Greenwich Village and other places in NY and Florida and California. -- JW
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I have always enjoyed the experience of "Afternoon" or "High" tea, which I have shared in my home with family and friends for over 25 years. I have a special designated area in my home for the tea experience. I have an extreme love of Christmas and Saint Nicholas, with twelve Christmas trees (for the 12-days of Christmas of course) which are decorated and lit 365 days a year. My home is surrounded with over 3000 Santa/St.Nicholas figures. I have also been a collector of depression glass for over 40 years. I have always had the dream of opening a Tea Room which would of course be called "The Saint Nicholas Tea Room", and all tea/food service would be served on vintage Depression Glass. My favorite depression glass pattern is called "Tea Room"....how unusual!! I will soon be retiring from a 45 year career as a Registered Nurse in the Operating Room, so I hope that my wish of opening a Tea Room of my own could someday be a reality. I have educated family and friends (male and female) to the joy and love of the tea experience. Thank you for accepting my comments. Respectfully, Art Ciccarelli......Waterbury, Connecticut -- Art, I wish you the best of luck! Great name! JW
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I have taught people how to open tearooms and tea bars since 2003. I love your book and always recommend people read it. It really gives a feel for the history of the industry from a female point of view. I see my online class. http://www.StartATeaBusiness.com as a modern update of the mail order training once available. Thank you!! JW
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Thank you for putting together so much information. I find it very interesting to see that so many tea rooms took bird names. As a matter of fact, the house I grew up in, in Leicester, MA, was known as the Brown Owl, too, but I can't find any information on it other than an old postcard from the early 1900's. The house is now being sold for the land, but I would love to know if you have any history of the place. The house was built around 1889. -- I know a little about the Brown Owl tea room in Marblehead but nothing about Leicester. If local newspapers have been microfilmed you might find something that way. As far as I know, it was not advertised in the automobile guide books of the 1920s. -- JW
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I enjoyed giving a talk about department store tea rooms at the Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield MA on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Thanks to the people who attended and asked such great questions. -- JW
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I loved giving a talk on tea rooms and flowers to the May 5 meeting of the Scarsdale Woman's Club. Standing room only crowd and a wonderful afternoon tea following. Fabulous publicity! -- JW
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A friend heard your interview on the Diane Rehm show on NPR about a year ago. During the interview regarding your book, Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn, you mentioned that the early tea houses were a place where stuffy, corseted Victorian women could relax in loose-fitting tea gowns and, unbeknownst to their husbands, carry on discussions about women's rights. I bought your book but didn't find much information on that topic. Is there somewhere I can learn more about that?
I have not been on the Diane Rehm show. I didn't hear the interview so I'm not sure who it was, but I suspect she was talking about women getting together for afternoon tea in homes rather than tea rooms. I may be wrong but I think tea gowns were not worn in public. Sounds like a great book -- please let me know if you find the title. I really haven't done much research on private tea parties myself. -- JW
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My 2 daughters have taken me to 'tea' all over the island of 'Oahu in Hawai'i whenever they come home from California and Texas. We've had grand times dressing up and enjoyed the little sandwiches and desserts. Since we liked certain aspects of each tearoom, we decided to have our own 'tea' baby shower for our soon to be born granddaughter. We spent 6 months at garage sales and thrift shops collecting all of our individual tea cups, silverware, tablecloths and serving receptacles for 20. I sewed my own eyelet napkins and fashioned chair covers from embroidered pillow cases. We made our own lemon curd, clotted cream, 3 types of sandwiches, 3 different desserts and fruits to dip in warmed chocolate or marshmallow creme dips with potted orchids which decorated our tables to take home. The best part was using our teenaged grandson and his 2 cousins dressed in white collared shirts to serve when the little silver bells were rung. They collected a generous tip from their aunties. Our 'tea' was enjoyed by all who came and are still talking about it a year later. BAK
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I turned my dining room into my own personal tearoom, and hung photos on the walls of all the teas I had with my friends. My favorite tearoom makes me feel like I'm in someone's cozy home enjoying their home cooking. There are many tea lovers, and tearoom owners who share their love on the Yahoo Group, AfternoonTeaAcrossAmerica. Please join us! Val L. San Diego, CA
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I think the tea room that Theodosia Browning has in Laura Child's Tea Murder Mysteries IS A DREAM tea room - I believe it's the Indigo Tea Room. Her employees are UNBELIEVEABLE, working day and night and loving it! Bernideen's Tea Time Blog
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I have a tentative date next spring to give a talk about Connecticut tea rooms for the Madison Historical Society. More on this later. -- JW
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Morrison Community Hospital Foundation has a yearly fundraiser called "the Big Squeeze" to raise funds for Women's help. The money stays local. Last year we had a "High Tea" and sold out almost immediately with 90 participants at once. We had two ladies from Peoria IL area that came and gave a very nice presentation. Our problem is that they are not available again this year and we are in need of a "tea" presenter for Oct 1. Does anybody know of a person or group that would be good for our High Tea Fundraiser that is in IL? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Responses for the tea presenters may be sent to wkschmidt@mchsi.com -- thank you!
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Would love to have the recipe for the Terrace Tea Room "Chicken Salad." It was the best. msh3@cox.net
Now that two people have asked for this recipe, I want it too! If anyone has it, please post it on this page so everyone can have it. Thanks!
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I am searching for a couple of recipes from the Terrace Tea Room that was located in the William H. Block Co. department store in downtown Indianapolis. They had "the best" chicken salad served with a warm cinnamon bun. I would like to find the recipes for both items, and I would appreciate any help you or any of your readers may be able to provide. Thank you. rfarr@HTONLINE.NET
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I love anything to do with tea, i.e. vintage tea rooms, vintage advertising tea tins, tea ephemera, tea pots, etc., etc. Wish someone would open an authentic "vintage" tea shop in Moline IL. I know of one in Davenport IA and have never been there. I've ordered Jan's book and can't wait to receive it. I'm just short of being old enough to have visited one in the 1940's. A number of years ago I had tea at the Ritz in London and also at Brown's, a small hotel in London. If I had the money and ability to take a tea shop tour in England, it would be a dream. I "hunger" for old tea shops. DO YOU HAVE AN OLDER WEBSITE. I TRIED TO E-MAIL YOU AND IT DIDN'T GO THROUGH. -- Hi, Thanks for your message. Yes, I do have an older website out there that just won't disappear for some odd reason even though I haven't had that email account for years. If you click on the last item in the right hand column on this site you will reach me. -- JW
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This is such an awesome website. A treasure trove of information on an interesting topic! I certainly do remember department store tearooms. I can remember being 6 or 7 and going with my mother back in the late 60s when ladies STILL didn't wear pants downtown..at least not in Cleveland, they didn't! I even remember doing fashion show 'tea room' modeling as a teen in the '70s and as a young woman in San Diego in the early 1980s. One of the cool things? How my mom would order us girls a "shirley temple" while she had a champagne cocktail! I did the same in the 90s when I took my then-teenaged daughter up to Portland, Oregon to the old Georgian Room at the now defunct dept. store Meier & Frank. To me mall food courts just don't compare.
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Jan, I have a copy of your tearoom book, and have learned a great deal from it. We have named our Victorian tearoom The Blue Parrot, after the Blue Parrot Tea House that was in Missoula, MT, 27 miles from us in Stevensville, from 1923 - 1925. We have a picture of the interior on our web site, www.BlueParrotTeaHouse.webs.com. I will encourage the family who now lives there to add her comments on this site. It has been in that family since 1940, I believe. We offer many Victorian related tea events. Please check out our web site above and web store within. Our contact email is Victorian7Rose@aol.com. Kindly, Joyce
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In researching my family genealogy, I discovered my Uncle and his wife owned the Palm Garden Tearoom on the lower east side in New York City round 1920. How "important" were Tea Rooms in the social fabric of communities at the turn of the century? Also, in searching the Internet for the Palm Gardens Tea Room, I came upon many contemporary Tea Rooms with the same name. Can you explain the popularity of Tearoom names including the words, "Palm" and "Garden?" By the way, I just ordered a copy of your book. Thanks in advance. Dave Rafky Miami, FL --Hi Dave -- The whole idea of palm gardens had associations of elite society, the kind of associations that tea rooms loved to claim, rightfully or not. I believe hotels were the first to create palm garden tea rooms. The custom of afternoon tea started among women of leisure in the 19th century. The public tea room "democratized" this privilege, but part of the allure of many tea rooms remained their genteel and refined atmosphere. The peak of the palm garden theme was before WWI. By the 1920s many tea rooms had become more playful in their themes and decor. Your aunt and uncle may have been on the verge of redecorating their tea room in 1920. -- JW
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I love your book, Jan, and would just like to put in a fond word for my happy memories of The Green Parrot in Fort Bragg, California. It was as colourful as a flock of parrots, but, alas, i cannot recall the name of the wonderful woman who used to run it. It's all gone now -- but i'd give a hundred bucks to travel back in time and see it once again. -- Thank you! I just did a little search for your Green Parrot, but came up empty handed, darn! -- JW
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Anyone have any info on "The Little Green Light Tearoom" that was in Marshfield, Ma? I am putting together some fun family history, my grandma was the niece of the owner, and subsequently my grandma raised her entire family in that teahouse until her death in 2001. Rumor has it that before it was a teahouse, it was something else far more interesting. any help would be appreciated. mmick8@yahoo.com
I looked through my tea room notes and old postcards and I found three tea rooms in Marshfield, but none of them The Little Green Light. They are: the Winslow House Tea Room, run by the Historic Winslow House Assn; the Willow Tea House; and the Gretchen McMullen Tea House. I'll keep looking. The Marshfield Historical Society might be a place to look. -- JW
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Does anyone have any information on a place in Minneapolis called Miss Unger's Tea Room? My grandmother worked there in the 1930's for about one year. I believe it was on or near the U of M campus.
Just a wild guess but there was a sculptor named Edith Unger who ran a tea room in Greenwich Village in the WWI era. It was called the Mad Hatter and was a popular gathering spot. She sold out after encountering hostility from neighbors who thought tea rooms such as hers were corrupting their sons and daughters. Combining the facts that so many of the Villagers were from the Midwest, and that Unger is not a common name, it's just possible she moved back to MN and ran a tea room there. You might check old University publications to see if there are any ads. -- JW
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Hi there. I am with the GFWC Hollywood Women's Club in Hollywood,FL. We are holding a Vintage old Florida Tea Party, just as the ladies who started our club in 1922 would have done it. The will be fund raiser to restore our old clubhouse. I am responsible for the table set-up/decorating and finding the appropriate props,dishes and linens etc.. used in Florida at that time. Can anyone direct me to what was used and where I can obtain the items needed to pull this off without breaking the bank? Nanette S. nanettesw@comcast.net
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What a wonderful website! The tea rooms featured on this web site have been the inspiration for my tea room. My tea room, Camellia Rose, is located in Plant City, Florida in the downtown historic district. We completely renovated the historic building. The building was originally the Bank of Plant City and built in 1919. This building holds many memories for the native Plant City residents. After the bank closed, many other businesses occupied the building. One of which was White's Central Pharmacy, which had a soda fountain. Many of our guests have memories of drinking their Cherry Smash at that fountain. I want our guests to feel like they are stepping back in time to the era of the bank building. Our decor is a reflection of that period. My servers dress in period attire. Our menu features the homemade soups, garden fresh salads, sandwiches, desserts, and of course the traditional afternoon tea. Our guests have described my tea room in many wonderful words. One of my favorite descriptions is from a lady battling cancer, we are her "Haven of Rest". We celebrate Friendship, Fine Teas, and the traditional English Tea time with a southern flair! Please visit us sometime. Camellia Rose Tea Room & Gifts 120 N. Collins Street Plant City, Florida 33563 813.659.TCUP(8287) Or visit us on the web at www.CamelliaRose.com Sincerely, Ellen & Staff
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HI. I REMEMBER THE FAMOUS SKYLINE RESTAURANT OVERLOOKING THE ILLINOIS RIVER ON THE 7TH FLOOR OF THE BLOCK & KUHL DEPARTMENT STORE HEADQUARTERED IN PEORIA ILLINOIS. BLOCK & KUHL WAS THE LARGEST DEPARTMENT STORE CHAIN (21 STORES)IN ILLINOIS OUTSIDE OF CHICAGO.
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Oh these places are heavenly, the old tearooms. I can't express how miserable I would be when I'd go to places that called themselves "tearooms" only to find horribly prissy, fussy furniture and ornaments of the "teddy bear in a scratchy synthetic lace dress" type. Ugh! How twee! I was looking for the fun tearooms of Nancy Drew fame. The places where the wild girls of 1902 hung out while comparing the height of their pompadours and chewing sen-sen. Real tearooms. If I had one of my own I think I'd decorate it with old Ouija boards, and Edwardian Halloween---from the days when it was spelled Hallowe'en---decorations and have the servers wear smocks of various colors. There'd be fortune telling cups for tea and coffee and fun pastries (good ones---not that run of the mill stuff every bookstore coffee shop carries) and meat pasties, and croque monsieur, and roast tom turkey and all the trimmings! Ooooh, and we could have seance nights, and host ghost hunter lectures, and all the music would be from the early 20th century.
A big hooray to someone who really "gets" what the tea rooms from the teens and 1920s were all about! -- JW
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I opened my Tearoom - Tea At 1024 in Hawaii in 1999 as an addition to my clothing boutique. The place exploded with excitment. It is now my primary source of business. The journey in establising my tearoom has been great. I have the best customers and their loyalty in sharing my dream place with the friends and family is great. Visit our website is www.teaat1024.net
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Until I read your book (Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn), I didn't realize the former restaurant I most miss in the town where I live was a kind of tea room. It was run by two women, one of whom trained many of the good bakers still working around here. You can still get good coffee and baked goods, since it's a college town, but the new places lack what the tea room had: salads that add up to an elegant, light, main course. There's also just something rare these days about a simple chicken salad, tuna salad stuffed in a fresh tomato on a bed of lettuce, or a great, nutty Waldorf salad. Plus, this place had a restful atmosphere, access to outdoor dining, a beautiful view instead of a busy street -- all of which is missing in the coffee shops that replaced it. -- MBB
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I love the old 1920s multi-color look, so I would buy old tables and chairs and paint them all different colors. I would decorate the walls with the hooked rugs I've made (that are currently stuffed into a closet). I would feature delicious little sandwiches and salads, but would never use lettuce out of a bag. Everything would be homemade. I would try to attract all kinds of people, men as well as women, oddball characters. I might make a sideline of baked goods but I don't think I would sell gifts. I'd want it to be a very lively place, sort of a coffee house atmosphere. Maybe I'd host poetry readings, jazz combos. -- JW