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Tea for two and two for tea

Elizabeth Chicoine

The Wildflower at The Lodge at Vail knows how to do things right. I was just a mom, looking for tea, but what a great day it turned out to be.The advertisement had a magnificent quote from Henry James: “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”Wanting to teach my young children the culinary art of enjoying and accepting tea, the advertisement in our local paper struck interest: $15 per person, choice of tea and three tiers of delights from the famous kitchen of The Wildflower.Being locals in the valley, we often forget to enjoy the pleasures of our own backyard. I strive to teach my kids about the bounty of what is right here, and how to find quiet treasures among such abundance.On that day I felt fully satisfied that my kids saw such a jewel. The tea at The Wildflower is an inexpensive way to take your kids to England, via imagination. As I sat with my kids, I had a vivid recollection of afternoon tea at The Savoy Hotel in London with my grandmother many years ago.The aroma, the service, and the atmosphere were correct. It was, indeed, afternoon tea.Had I just left carpool? Were my rambunctious children now composed because of a fanciful moment? Quite simply: yes. The ambiance set by this mystic tea somehow overtook even my youngest, 4-year-old-daughter. She drank in the moment.Of course, we had our off-beat moments. Such as when the chef came out to thank us for the visit. When asked about his favorite food, my 6-year-old son replied, “the lemon.” He loves fresh lemons. But indeed, he enjoyed the scones and fresh strawberry jam heightened by the mango tea.Ah, but the tea. My son carefully placed two sugar cubes, some milk, a squeeze of lemon and a dab of honey into his saucer. Why would he want so much added to such a pure tea, I wondered? But he drank it up, and enjoyed each sip of the mango concoction that he ordered. A bit of something for every appetite.I guess this offering to meet many tastes is why The Wildflower Tea at The Lodge at Vail is to be mentioned on a list of “must do’s” this spring in Vail.A nod, a thank you, and off we were, complete with our “doggie bag” of treats from the tier to take home for further delight. Such enjoyment is never too much of a burden on one’s time.As we departed the enchanted world of tea, my son simply asked, “How long did tea last, mommy?”Henry James was correct. It had been exactly one hour. Did the Wildflower plan out such an exact time, too? Who knows.I only can say that this was the easiest hour of my motherly life in terms of teaching manners and customs to my kids, and enjoying an excellent restaurant in the heart of Vail for a modest price. VTElizabeth Chicoine writes about matters of the family for the Vail Trail. She can be reached for comment at echicoine@centurytel.net.


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