The tea house is filled with the homey smells of fresh-baked scones, cut flowers, and holiday goodies. Ornaments hang like jewels from the ceiling, intertwined with plaid ribbons and twinkling lights. Sara’s wearing her Winter Princess gown, and why not? It’s our very first holiday tea, and we’re celebrating in style.
Sara chooses the TreeHouse luncheon, strawberry tea, and a heart-shaped scone. I opt for the quiche and vanilla tea.
Our server places two teapots and strainers on our table, suggests we might want to read our tea leaves when we’re done.
Sara spoons a generous amount of sugar into her teacup, adds liberal swirls of cream. She tells me she’s tasted sugar cubes, once or twice. So yummy! “At my grandma’s house,” she adds.
“My Nana used to plop them into her English Breakfast tea,” I say; and though I’m flooded with nostalgia, I’m smiling at the effervescence of this day.
Our server returns to the table, refreshes our water glasses. “Those flowers are 100% edible,” she reminds us. Sara takes a nibble, promptly
steals repositions my camellia.
We eat our fill, and then visit the adobe houses and shops along Los Rios, the oldest neighborhood street in California. I follow Sara’s lead…
Turns out, Santa’s elves have an affinity for gardening. Seems they also love birds, same as us.
Such a coincidence, too, that this watering can looks very much like a teapot.
Ho! Ho! Ho! The Grinch nailed a wreath to his front gate–because, you know, Santa’s watching.
Sara’s transfixed by the “love dove” on this merchant’s porch, but I’m drawn to the rusted birdcage that stands empty. Save for its rusted patina, it looks identical to the one in which my Nana kept Curly, her pet canary.
We admire a local artisan’s wares: kitchen utensils, bracelets, and jewelry, exquisitely carved and then polished to a high sheen.
A caboose rumbles down the railroad tracks, chasing its engine, and Christmas tunes blare from hidden speakers. Sara’s humming to herself, and so am I. There’s an easy harmony between us.
We savor our special outing, capture its magic in a gazing ball….
And as quick as you can say “Cinderella,” Sara’s traded her princess gown for play clothes!
“Now,” says my little elf on the shelf, “it’s time to bake Christmas cookies!”