The Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop

Herbert Williams House, 1890

Herbert Williams House, built in 1890

Welcome to The Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop, located in Sumner, Washington, a charming little town about 40 minutes south of Seattle (that’s with no traffic).  My name is Elizabeth (or Beth) and I live upstairs with my family (Mark and Viola).  Mark is head chef (and groundskeeper and maintenance man) and Viola is our hostess (when she’s not at kindergarten or at grandma’s).  Downstairs, as you might have guessed, we invite people into our home and serve them afternoon tea or lunch and then tempt them with an array of romantic jewelry, clothing, accesories for their homes and gorgeous china and tea time accoutrements and our own house-blended loose-leaf teas.

Ah…tea.  The beverage that both comforts and calms, yet energizes.  I am not a huge coffee fan, despite living in the coffee drinker’s mecca.  It’s okay if it’s loaded with chocolate, but it isn’t mood-altering like tea is.  Coffee makes one want to do more, faster.  Tea makes one want to do more, better and with grace.  Just the process of brewing tea is a ritual that centers you.  I know tea bags in paper cups is a possibility, but there is magic in brewing a pot of tea and carefully pouring it through a strainer into a delicate china cup.  Drinking tea infuses one’s soul with a romantic way of living.

Every year we host dozens of parties, (sometimes 3 a weekend!) from baby and bridal showers to ladies teas and luncheons for churches to weddings and receptions.  As a catering consultant, I work with folks planning parties both large and small in their own homes or other venues, and nearly every Sunday evening we invite our extended family and close friends to our Sunday Family Dinner.  Entertaining is our life.  It’s just what we do.  Even our 5 year old begins planning her birthday party a year or more in advance.

I am also  a collector of lots of things, like books (vintage juvenile series books, like Nancy Drew and The Meadowbrook Girls), 1940’s and ’50’s tablecloths, chalkware fruits, vintage glassware (boopie glass and hobnail are my fav’s) and vintage china (especially Canonsburg Moss Rose) and anything flowery and old-fashioned.  Fortunately my collections combine well with my career, (although no one except my daughter seem to enjoy hearing a chapter of The Bobbsey Twins during the dessert course) and with the upcoming debut of our china rental service, it seemed like the right time to share some of my ideas and tips for enjoying life with a cup of tea in hand.

4 Comments

4 thoughts on “The Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop

  1. Thank You for offering us all a very special place to converse and have a lovely tea time! I am from New Zealand and have visited The Secret Garden many times! We have always had a wonderful time! Your staff is so wonderful!

  2. Love Secret Garden, so does my teen daughter. We will be coming by this week to celebrate her getting into her first choice college!

  3. I will enjoy your new blog! My daughters, granddaughters and friends love coming to the Secret Garden with me. It is always very special and the food is perfect!

  4. The Ladies of Hattitude also love this tea house …. the excellent service, the fantastic food, and shopping in the gift shop. It always seems to us to be a much more civilized way to enjoy eating and drinking tea. And it’s the two or three times a year we all put on dresses and hats and go out to tea. Thank you for taking us into your home.

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