If you think tea parties are just for little girls, and maybe their special teddy bear guests, Dee Davies would respectfully disagree.
Davies, proprietor of Tea at BayView in Oregon, hosts tea parties for ladies (and an occasional gentleman or two) in a quaint cottage nestled among the gardens on her property at 7250 Cedar Point Rd., a stone’s throw from Maumee Bay State Park.
Dee and her husband Jim also run the BayView Bed & Breakfast, located at the front of the property, which was for a long time owned by the Carter family.
Tea party guests, who must make reservations in advance, are in for a treat and then some.
At one recent tea, the menu included scones and a variety of spreads, chilled strawberry soup, fresh green salad topped with strawberries and bleu cheese crumbles, finger sandwiches garnished with edible flowers, and strawberry shortcake. And, as one might expect, there was tea – five different varieties including chamomile, strawberry, peach, cinnamon and mint, all poured from teapots that were as intriguing as the teas they held.
“I love looking for teapots at garage sales, estate sales, etc.,” Dee said. “I’ve gotten many as gifts from friends and family members.”
n keeping with the day’s strawberry theme, the cheery red fruit was not only featured in the menu, but was also prominent in the décor – on the tablecloths, the china plates and teacups, miniature teaspoons, etc.
“I’ll continue the strawberry theme as long as I can get the fresh berries,” Dee said. “I’m thinking the next theme may be Tuscan so I can use the different herbs that are coming up in the garden.”
To add to the ambiance, tea partygoers can choose to put on one of the many hats Dee has on display in the cottage. There is also a basket of gloves and even a selection of fancy dresses in various sizes for those who want to really dress for the occasion.
As guests sip their tea and visit among themselves, Dee puts the finishing touches on the food in the kitchen area of the cozy cottage. Soft music plays in the background as guests chat and enjoy each course.
“I really enjoy doing the teas,” Dee said, fussing over the dessert, her slight southern accent punctuating her words.
“As you may have guessed, I’m from the south - from Virginia,” she told guests as she served dessert - strawberries with a Southern-style scone rather than shortcake.
“Jim has lived here his whole life - he was born over there on Wynn Road,” she added.
As the final tea was poured, guests posed questions about the various teas, about Dee’s gardens and about the bed and breakfast.
“This is so much fun - I love to go to tea parties,” said Barbara Snyder, who organized the gathering of her neighbors Ethel Hughes, Marguerite Bennett, Jill Cap’ser, Roberta Loertscher and Caroline Foley, all of Northwood. “It’s such a nice way for the group of us to get together.”
“The ladies really do seem to have a good time,” Dee said. “It’s nice to once in awhile be able to take the time to have a leisurely lunch and to enjoy the company of friends.
“And they don’t have to worry about what they talk about here,” she said. “What happens at BayView stays at BayView.”
Teas at BayView are generally held Tuesdays and Thursdays. The cost is $15 per person.
For reservations or for more information, call 419-836-1847.
Northwood neighbors Marguerite Bennett, Ethel Hughes, Caroline Foley, Jill Cap’ser, Roberta Loertscher, and Barbara Snyder recently enjoyed an afternoon of tea, lunch and conversation at BayView in Oregon. Hostess Dee Davies generally schedules teas on Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)