Reynolds Tavern in Annapolis

I’ve been on an afternoon tea binge lately.

In early November, Yasmin and I had afternoon tea at Reynolds Tavern in Annapolis. Reynolds is one of my favorite places for tea. It’s historic (1747) and not too expensive. A traditional afternoon tea is $21 per person (compared to $32 at Lady Camellia in Georgetown). Plus it gives me a reason to go to Annapolis.

The Henley Park Hotel in DC also serves afternoon tea, but I prefer the atmosphere at Reynolds or Lady Camellia, as the decor at Henley Park is a bit more modern.

I’ve heard that the Willard Hotel near the White House has a fancy afternoon tea with live harp music. The menu doesn’t appeal to me though. I prefer a traditional afternoon tea – not egg salad sandwiches topped with cavier (ick) or shrimp and watercress sandwiches. What happened to just cucumber and cream cheese?

A friend and I are having tea at Lady Camellia at the end of November. And then I should probably take a break before I gain twenty pounds.


Emma’s Fuzzy Blanket

Ben and I have slowly been redecorating our apartment and trying to make it more cozy. Ordinarily, I’d never buy a fuzzy blanket but I’ve read that you should embrace textures when decorating, so we gave it a shot. I think it’s revolutionized the cats’ lives. They love this blanket, as well as the few others that we’ve bought.

We have a wool throw blanket at the end of the bed, which is Emma’s favorite blanket in the bedroom. When I try to make the bed in the morning, it’s a struggle to get her off of it.

Random Thoughts

  • I’ve taken two of five classes in metal jewelry making. The first one was a struggle. It’s challenging to learn something new, and having it from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. after work on a Wednesday doesn’t help matters.
  • The second class was better, because I somewhat knew what I was doing. I arrived thirty minutes early so that I could catch up (I fell behind in the first class because I took a break to eat chocolate, not realizing that we were supposed to make two pendants, when I’d only made one).
  • We’re making pendants out of brass, before we move on to silver. Once I learn the basics, I’m hoping to make a pendant version of Jane Austen’s ring.

“Creating Camelot” at the Newseum

The Newseum has an exhibit of photographs by Jacques Lowe, the Kennedys’ personal photographer. The photo above, of the couple on a break during campaigning, was one of my favorites. They seem like a normal couple; at that point, they probably were. I think this was before they were famous.

The entrance to the exhibit:

Jackie in front of their Georgetown home:

A photograph of Jackie that appeared on several magazine covers:

On the same floor as the exhibit is an observation deck that provides a view of the capitol:

“Creating Camelot” is on view through January 7, 2018. Admission is $25 per person, which seems pricey given that there are so many free museums in DC, but you can return the next day for free.

Brunch Tea at Historic Rosemont Manor

On Friday, Ben and I took a vacation day from work and drove to the Shenandoah Valley. We had brunch tea at Historic Rosemont Manor, a B&B that has hosted several presidents, including Roosevelt and Kennedy.

Rosemont served non-alcoholic apple cider mimosas, scones, a stack of mini pancakes with layers of jelly, nutella and peanut butter in between; stuffed apple croissants; chicken and waffles; mini pumpkin pie  and several other items. Both Ben and I really liked it (he said it was “surprisingly delightful”).

After brunch, we drove to Leesburg, a town in Loudoun County that’s similar to Old Town, Alexandria, with its red brick sidewalks and storefronts in historic brick buildings. I’m actually writing this post from a Leesburg cafe.

Random Thoughts

  • The metal jewelry making course that I enrolled in starts on Wednesday. Fingers crossed that I like it because it’s 5 weeks long.
  • I finished a book about the Duchess of Devonshire called The Duchess. I’m thinking about incorporating the books that I read into this blog, so that I’m forced to summarize them and retain what I read. We’ll see how ambitious I’m feeling.
  • We’re attending a Halloween party and despite my internet searches, I still don’t have a costume. I may resort to cat ears.

Woodlawn Plantation

In the same weekend that I visited Tudor Place, I went to a house with another Washington connection: Woodlawn Plantation.

Woodlawn is close to Mount Vernon, and that’s because it used to be part of the estate. On George Washington’s birthday in 1799, his nephew Lawrence Lewis married Martha’s granddaughter (his step-granddaughter) Nelly Custis. Washington gave them the land as a wedding present.

This house has fewer objects than Tudor Place (it was sold out of the family in 1846), but it’s just as interesting, given that Nelly is a prominent figure at Mount Vernon. She was raised by the Washingtons after her father died, and she gave birth to her first child at Mount Vernon, likely in the Chintz Room.

Due to the number of people on our tour and the small space, I found it easier to take pictures of the objects in the home than the home itself.

A clock in the dining room:

A vase on a mantel:

The top of a guest bed:

The brass rings would have been used to anchor a curtain that would hold in heat during the winter.

Random Thoughts

  • I’m going to learn embroidery! I saw some embroidered wall hangings in a vintage furniture store and was inspired to make my own. To get started, I bought a cross stitch sampler at the Mount Vernon gift shop and a book on boho embroidery from my local sewing store (I’m not sure what boho embroidery is, but I liked the sample projects in the book).
  • I have a goal to walk 70,000 steps per week, and I’ve been listening to the History Chicks podcast on my walks after work. The episodes are usually more than an hour. I’ve already listened to podcasts on Queen Victoria, the Gilded Age heiresses and Georgianna, the Duchess of Devonshire.
  • Ben and I just watched the first episode of This Is Us. I’ve heard it’s a tear-jerker, and I have a feeling that I’m going to regret this. The first episode had such a good twist that I can’t not watch it.