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'It's tea time' in Lancaster

BY: Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Editor | November 08, 2012

LANCASTER- Whether you’re looking for a special way to spend an afternoon or have a bigger celebration in mind, enjoy a delicious English afternoon tea at Seven Owls Tea Room, located in the historic district of Lancaster.

Patrons will feel they have stepped back into the past upon entering the 1850’s Queen Victorian home. Beautifully decorated to create the prefect atmosphere for traditional English High Tea, the parlor features a custom designed hand-painted wall treatment and the Garden Dining Room is surrounded by murals of gardens in full bloom.

Opening the tea room seven years age, Owner Myra Vining describes it as her “big girl playhouse,” because it is all about people having fun and enjoying themselves.

Vining said she always enjoyed going to tea with her sister and cousin to celebrate each other’s birthdays and she was at an age where she wanted to head down a new path. Leaving behind her job as an architectural sales representative, she followed her dream and opened what is now considered one of the top three tea rooms in all of New York State.

“We have a huge selection of loose blend teas,” remarked Vining. “If you’re not familiar with loose teas, and I wasn’t before I started this business, it is completely different from tea in a tea bag. People were sending us samples and we started trying it and you sort of become a tea snob. It is so much better. It is a different level than just a tea bag. It is really wonderful flavored tea.”

Vining offers a wide selection of black teas, red teas, green teas, some white teas, and a couple of herbal teas. Patrons will be left with the tough task of choosing which tea to try, but to get a better idea what the teas are like; Vining has samples of them for each patron to see and smell.

The teas come from a tea importer in Philadelphia so it is very fine quality, said Vining.

The loose teas are sold inside the tea room’s gift shop which features one of a kind painted accessories and tea themed gifts.

During an English High Tea, homemade soups are served in the winter months with two types of fresh baked scones, served with Devonshire cream and lemon curd. Then a three tier tray filled with tea sandwiches and bite sized desserts is all served with a pot of tea.

“We do a lot of details in the presentation and our food is very tasty,” said Vining.

And for those who really want to get into the whole “tea experience,” guests are able to pick a decorative hat to wear during high tea.

“People love it,” Vining said. “I know when I am in the kitchen and I hear laughing, people are just trying on hats and having a good time.”

Also, there are different themes each month. For the month of November, guests can enjoy “Harvest High Teas,” which includes pumpkin and maple scones served with a harvest squash soup. “Holiday High Teas” will be held in December and with Victorian Christmas theme decorations and delicious orange cranberry and gingerbread scones to be served, it is surely something that shouldn’t be missed.

Furthermore, Vining offers psychic high teas readings, which have become very popular so much so that there is a waiting list to attend one of the events. Readings are held either with Psychic Ellen Bourn or Kathleen Boldt, both who are affiliated with Lily Dale.

“I have a lot of people who come back repeatedly, because they really enjoy it,” remarked Vining, who mentioned that she has a couple of openings in January.

Seven Owls Tea Room will also being holding a “Hokey Holiday Sweater Tea,” at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. There will be prizes for most outrageous sweater, for most attractive theme sweater, and a crowning ceremony for holiday sweater queen.

Reservations are required for any event or sitting. Reservations can be made by calling 683-1777. The tea room, located at 42 Aurora St., is opened from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays. There is no minimum number of guests and private parties can be scheduled on any day. For more information visit, www.sevenowls.com.

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