Saturday, December 29, 2018

An Afternoon Tea at The Secret Garden

Hello, Dear Friends, I wanted to share one last 
  Christmas post before the holidays were over.


Recently, my daughter, Heather,
  her mother-in-law, Patty, and I went 
to 'The Secret Garden' for afternoon tea. 

It's one of my favorite places. 

A quick pic of Heather, right before we went inside. 
She is the mother of 3 little boys - a 2 year old, 
and 1 year old twins.
She is a very busy Mom.
Her dear husband took over for the day
so she could get a much-deserved time out.  

Both Patty and I each help out
2 days a week while they work,
 so Heather wanted to treat us. 

While we waited for our table, we stood in 
the front foyer, enjoying the ambiance.
The long, narrow hallway by the staircase   
was beautifully decorated for the holidays
with treasures that were all for sale. 

We were escorted to a cozy, back room 
that we had all to ourselves. 
But only briefly......we were just ahead of the lunch crowd.
Each table is uniquely different. 

Our table was tucked next to a window with lace curtains. 

Patty and I with our backs to the wonderful rosy wallpaper. 

Heather, next to one of the many decorated trees. 


After we ordered tea (I had a winter chai), 
the first course was a delicious pumpkin-ginger bisque. 

Next, was a raspberry sorbet to cleanse the palate. 
Don't you just love the tiny serving cup?

We were served on
Royal Albert china; Old Country Roses. 

Scones were served next......

We used nearly every bit of that Devonshire cream,
 oh yes, we did! 

Next was a delicious orzo salad with olives and peas. 
Doesn't it look so pretty on the Royal Albert plate? 

Then this wonderful array of delectable's arrived!

So many pretty and dainty delicacies. 

We had such a good time chatting, sipping tea, and popping 
wonderful little morsels into our mouths, that we lost track of time. 

But all good things must come to an end,
so we reluctantly gathered up our very substantial
 'doggy' bags, after whiling away this enjoyable afternoon together. 

Another beautiful tree next to a shelf of interesting things
as we make our way into the gift shop.....

I wanted to take lots of photos, but it was so full
of patrons.....I will just tell you that it was a tea-lover,
Victorian lover, Christmas lover's paradise. 

The treasure that I brought home.

I also found the prettiest pressed glass vase
in the most delicate shade of green.
I am saving that for spring. 


It was a  most wonderful day!

And while I have your undivided attention.....
we took a family photo on Christmas Eve.

We had an ugly sweater contest :)

The winners!
Newlyweds, Steve and daughter Jennie (1st and 2nd),
with daughter Heather coming in at 3rd.
I found the award ribbons at Target.
They say, 'Ugly, Uglier, and Ugliest'!

DIL, Jen holds one of our little elves.
He was smiling a moment before,
but is very suspicious of the camera.
As soon as the camera is put away,
he's all smiles once more :)

Son Dustin, hamming it up.
He was in pain from his Achilles tendon injury,
but kept us smiling all day.
He is healing slowly but surely and can finally put
a little bit of weight on his foot, but still needs a crutch.

This is what happens when Grandpa tries to get a photo
with all four of the grands.

*    *

It was a beautiful, winter day, and not too very cold,
 so we were able to take lots of photos.

Kai with his Christmas toy.
Just try and take it away from him!

He gleefully runs, and he's very fast!

I can't leave any kind of stuffed animal within his reach.

His favorite game is 'keep away'.
He always wins.

I made this pumpkin gingerbread streusel cake at Christmas
for the first time and it was so delicious,
especially with a pouf of whipped cream.

Here's the recipe.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Streusel Cake

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup cold butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)
2 cups canned pumpkin (lg can)
 2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour a deep 9x9 inch square or round baking pan.

In large mixing bowl, combine first six dry ingredients.
Add the cold butter in small pieces.
Cut in with a pastry blender or fork until mixture forms pea-sized crumbs.

Measure 3/4 cups of mixture and set aside for streusel topping.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin,
eggs, molasses, buttermilk, and baking soda.

Make a well in dry ingredients and add pumpkin mixture,
  mixing with spoon until well blended.

Spread evenly into prepared baking pan.
Sprinkle with streusel topping.

Bake for approx. 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

This cake will keep very well,
and improves in flavor each day.

I also made some peppermint bark, and decorated it with sprinkles.

We had an ornament and treat exchange, which was
really fun.

Well, the clock is ticking, Dear Friends.........

Happy New Year!
Thank you for your sweet friendship!



  1. Karen, oh I love Tea Rooms! Couldn't you just sit there all day? So beautiful and the food & tea delightful! Your daughter looks refreshed in spite of having 3 little ones! What a wonderfully memorable day. Love seeing all you Christmas pictures. Those Ugly Sweater awards are too funny! And sweet Kai enjoying his toy! Thank you for the cake recipe. And it gets better each day!! My kind of cake! xo

  2. I've just been catching up with the posts I've missed from your blog as my link still isn't working properly. I find I owe you a Happy Christmas as well as a Happy New Year! This post was very enjoyable with all your lovely Christmas photos as well as getting a glimpse of the delicious Secret Garden meal. What a great place. All the very best for 2019. x

  3. having "tea" at a tea room just like this is one of my favorite things to do. i LOVE the name, the name is perfect!! we have a lovely one, right here in my home town and i LOVE to go. your sandwiches looked a tiny bit "fancier" then the ones we get but everything is always delicious!!

    looks like a fun christmas, merry christmas and wishing you a happy and healthy new year!!!

  4. The sweets are very beautiful like a jewel.

  5. How delightful!Such happiness!Blessings!Happy New Year!

  6. This is such a lovely post full of fun and love. I laughed at the granddad and all the grandkids photo, so typical :0
    Happy New Year.

  7. Hello! !
    Today 31st is New Year's Eve in Japan.
    New Year’s Eve is called “Oomisoka” in Japanese.
    We eat soba noodles called “toshikoshi soba” (year-crossing soba) to wish for a long lasting life. On New Year’s Eve, soba noodle shops are crowded with many people from morning till night.
    Also, a major house cleaning is done by the whole family. This major house cleaning is thought as a ritual to give a pleasant welcome to God on New Year’s Day.
    At night time, many people get together at countdown events.Others stay at home and watch television programs. The most well known one is the “Kouhaku Utagassen”, an annual singing contest.
    At Buddhist temples, huge bells are hit 108 times during midnight to get rid of all evil desires.

  8. That is great you ladies were able to get out and enjoy the day together at such a sweet and special location! All kinds of goodies in there, edible and to look at! Great family photo, glad you had a great day with them all.
    Your peppermint bark looks delicious :)
    Wishing you a blessed New Year!

  9. Such a wonderful post, dear Karen!
    Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family! xxx

  10. What a beautiful post!
    Your blog looks lovely, dear!

    Following you, would you like to follow me back?
    My blog

  11. Hello, the tea room is so pretty and the food looks delicious. what a fun outing for the ladies! I enjoyed the photos of your family and the furbaby. I wish you and your family all the best in 2019. Happy New Year!

  12. Yup. They definitely deserved to win! What a glorious post -- the tea sounds fabulous and so beautiful (delish, too, and what a setting!) and I loved seeing and hearing about the details. A generous gift for a generous action. It looks like it was a wonderful family gathering as well -- and the recipe looks great! Here's to a very happy new year.

  13. What a fantastic way to spend an afternoon and your daughter is so lovely. I'm swooning at the sight of that small mountain of cream but will recover just enough to wish you a very happy new year.

  14. How sweet of your dear daughter to take you to such a beautiful garden:)

    Marvellous place to take time off from busy routine, specially for your daughter

    She is such a lovely smart lady with charming smile

    How kind of his husband to give her opportunity to spend time with you and her mom in law at amazing place!

    Absolutely LOVED the family photo!!!

    Such a blessings to have all family together at Christmas eve!

    Food looks so inviting!

    I smiled over the image in which your hubby is loaded with precious grandkids:)))

    May Lord keep showering his blessings upon all of you always my friend!!!

  15. What a special time spent at the tea house with your daughter, Karen. Everything looks so festive and nicely decorated there. The entryway is so lovely with the tree and the lights. I love the Christmas tree with all the red. The orzo salad and cucumber sandwiches look Yummy. Karen, I have a candy dish in that same rose design. And there's the gorgeous treasure that you brought home. I'm glad you bought something for yourself to remind you of this special day. And I'm glad that you shared this, cause I love to see tea houses, they're so quaint. The pumpkin gingerbread, oh my! - that looks amazing.

    Happy New Year to you, dear Karen, and I look forward to seeing more of your wonderful posts in 2019, and your charming home. : )


  16. Thank you for sharing the cake recipe! I look forward to trying it. I'm glad you had such a delightful afternoon tea with your daughter and her mother-in-law. Everything looked wonderful! Best wishes for a joyous 2019.

  17. What a lovely treat to share together …
    Loved seeing all of your photographs.
    Happy times and special memories.

    Happy New Year Wishes.

    All the best Jan

  18. Karen it looks like you had a wonderful Christmas. What a lovely place for a lunch date. A feast for the eyes. That's a nice photo of your family. The ugly sweater contest was a neat idea. Fun memories. Happy and blessed New Year!
    xx Beca

  19. Peppermint bark is a favorite of mine!! It sounds like a wonderful time at the tea house! I always enjoy your blog! I hope your new year wil be filled with joy, happiness, beauty and wonder!

  20. Oh what a lovely tea room. Your pictures are wonderful. I love having High Tea. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

    Best of the New Year to you.

    Hugs Diane

  21. Such a magical wonderland is the Secret Garden. All the food looked delicious and oh the Christmas pretty you took home....beautiful. The photos of your family brought a smile to my heart; how beautiful you all gather together often. May this year be filled with much beauty and fabulous memories of family and treasured times together, dear Karen♥

  22. The Secret Garden looks like a marvelous place to have tea!! Your daughter is beautiful, looks a lot like you! Love the photo of your husband with hands full of grandbabies! What a happy photo! Makes my heart happy to see that. Kai is sooo cute! Lovely family photo! Have a great weekend!

  23. Hello my Dear Karen!

    The tea looked wonderful!! And love to see some of your holiday fun. I've been missing blogland and have finally returned and even posted something today!

    I will come back and pour over more of your old posts and catch up when I have time. I've missed keeping up with you and your beautiful family. I wish you all the very best and biggest blessings for 2019. xoxo

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Your lunch looked divine. I shall have to explore this "Secret Garden" more... Hope your New Year has been wonderful thus far ♥

  26. Catching up now on some old posts before I have to run off to work .......looks like you had a wonderful Christmas my friend xo

  27. Dear Karen ..What a joy to tour the ‘ Secret garden Teahouse” with you and your daughter... Such fun... OMG ..I love ginger bread and know that I’m going to enjoy the ginger strudel recipe/Thank You ... I always love seeing family pictures especially when they filled with happy faces...Thanks for sharing the good times...Hugs

  28. What a joy to tour the ‘ Secret garden Teahouse” with you and your daughter... Such fun... OMG ..I love ginger bread and know that I’m going to enjoy the ginger strudel recipe/Thank You ... I always love seeing family pictures especially when they filled with happy faces...Thanks for sharing the good times...Hugs

  29. O MY!! Be still my heart.. I came to thank you for your visit and stumbled upon this post which I loved!! That tea room is absolutely precious! Enjoy it as much as you can!! We had a lovely Tea Room here, quite similar to the one you shared with us... I did manage to enjoy several visits there but always wanted to go more often. Sadly the sisters that owned it decided to sell the Victorian house that was the Tea room and opened up a restaurant in their home town , a good 25 minute drive from the Tea Room....It was very sad to see it close because it did so well. However, no one else in this area has picked up the torch and opened another Tea Room so we would have to travel a good hour or so to enjoy an experience like that again....Your family pictures are precious!!
    Thanks so much for coming by!!


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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