The day had finally arrived for Gracie’s 18th birthday celebration:
A Downton Abbey Victorian tea party.
My mom made reservations for us to hold Gracie’s tea party at The Zimmerman Bury Octagon House in Marshallville, Ohio. This Queen Ann style octagonal house was built in 1883 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It now serves as a museum of the middle class Victorian way of life.
Taken from their website:
“Victorian Holiday High Teas at the Historic Zimmerman-Bury Octagon House:
Enjoy an authentic Victorian Holiday Pink High Tea at this unique National Historic Landmark, located 6 miles North of Orrville on state route 57. Drink in the ambiance of the Victorian era while savoring a buffet of tea sandwiches, pastries, fruit salads & always English Trifle, plus more. Your hostesses will greet you in 1880’s clothing, provide a history of the house, and serve the period foods created from original family recipes.”
Our tea party was scheduled for 1:00 pm. After a relaxing morning we began dressing for this special occasion. We gathered in the guest room and had fun doing each other’s hair and make-up as we dolled up for this special event.
When we were all done getting ready we went outside to get some pictures before we left for the Octagon house.
When we arrived were greeted by the butler who was waiting outside to escort us in.
The home was charming and reflective of the Victorian style common at the turn of the century.
The lady of the house sat us in the parlor where she shared with us some of the history of the house and the Victorian customs of that time period.
As she spoke a little kitten wandered into the room to say “hello.” She told us that the kitten was a stray that had been found under the front porch of the home. When they took her in the decided that if the cat was a boy it would be named “Downton” and if it was a girl it would be named “Abbey.” It turns out they are also fans of the show. 🙂 The kitten ended up with the name “Abbey.”
The head housekeeper then announced that tea was served.
We were led into the dining room. The table was covered in delicious food including: three different types of tea sandwiches, scones, welsh rarebit, tomato aspic with dill sauce, fruit compote, trifle, and desserts. For our drink we were offered three different tea choices or strawberry lemonade.
We were seated in the parlor to enjoy tea time. We had so much fun feasting on delicious food, admiring the décor, but most importantly visiting and making special memories that we will be able to look back and reflect on in the years to come.
Having her birthday tea at the Octagon house was a special gift from my parents that I know Grace will all look back on with fondness in the years ahead. It was such a special way to celebrate a special birthday with a very special girl!
Our tea party ended with birthday cake as we all sang to the birthday girl.
“The most treasured heirlooms are the sweet memories of family.”