Tea Time

One of the Christmas gifts I gave to my mother was a gift certificate for high tea at a new-ish local restaurant. The Duke House Tea Room is located in a lovingly renovated house on Main Street in Wellsville, NY.  Sister Sue and I bought the gift certificate at a Chamber of Commerce auction around Thanksgiving, with the plan that I would take mom to tea for Valentine’s Day. I made the reservation for last Friday afternoon, then I left work a tiny bit early, drove over to pick up mom, and we arrived promptly for our 4:30pm seating. Well, we arrived, but the gift certificate didn’t. Apparently it is still buried somewhere on my desk at work. ARRGH.  We were seated despite this little snafu, so we have that gift certificate still available for later in the year — Mother’s Day perhaps?

Many years ago in Ft. Worth, Texas my friend Lois introduced me to the pleasures of high tea. I know, I know, one doesn’t automatically think of Cowtown and high tea in the same thought, but I tell you, the Worthington Hotel in downtown Fr. Worth had high tea down to lovely science. We would hang out in the hotel’s open air lobby and sip Chambord or Champagne along with our tea . With those old memories bubbling up, I had high expectations for the Duke House. I was not disappointed.


A seasonal wreath lends a cozy feel to the front door of the Duke House.


I love a good chalkboard sign — just the right touch of whimsy.


We sat next to this cozy fireplace. I need one of these in my life!


The matching china was so lovely. Wellsville is such a small town, that the proprietor named the china’s previous owner,  as it was purchased at an estate sale. If I had china, I’d will mine to the Duke House!


The first course was a warm scone. I chose orange and almond. It was accompanied by a spoon of raspberry jelly and cream. Oh.My. This was — hands-down– the best scone I ever ate. Mom chose blueberry. I wanted hers too. Cindy’s DH loves scones. We will score some scones to take to him next time we visit.

The second course was a cup of soup. I chose New England Clam Chowder, mom had the hearty beef vegetable. We devoured it so quickly, that I didn’t even get a picture. Ooops. Warning: never stand between me and a cup of homemade soup. Friendships have been lost over such missteps.

The next course was an onion tart and a fresh green salad.


I remembered to take a picture before I ate the whole thing.


A lemon sorbet served as a palette cleanser before the tea sandwiches arrived.

By the time we finished the sorbet, we were stuffed to the gills with English Breakfast decaf and all the other goodies, but the star of the show was about to arrive.


Tea sandwiches and dessert!

The sandwiches included Egg Salad, Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad and Cucumber Sandwiches (love all of those). The desserts included a linzer torte, a blueberry pound cake and a dense chocolate cake. By this time, we were only able to nibble on a few sandwiches. We had to pack up the rest of it to take home.

I made my mother practice texting with her new iPhone during tea. She now has the ability to record and text every interesting meal she eats. This is a very useful skill at any age, don’t you think?


Texting the next course.

Luckily, I misplaced that original gift certificate. Now we get to go back sometime soon for “free”.

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