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Jun 19, 2012
08:42 AM

Tea for Three: A Family Tradition at Greenfield Village

Think it's strictly a fancy girly affair? Think again. A 'spot' of the beverage at this Dearborn place is how a local mom and her sons kick off the summer.

Tea for Three: A Family Tradition at Greenfield Village

Tea parties aren't only for girls. Just ask my two boys!

Our tradition of enjoying the afternoon tea service at Cotswold Cottage in Greenfield Village began four years ago – and now, it's how we begin our summer vacation. We clear our schedule and confirm our date as soon as it opens for the season in June. I love the ambiance of the stone cottage: brick paver patio and picturesque flower gardens that practically transport you back in time to the English countryside where Henry Ford purchased the cottage for his wife, Clara, in 1929.

My boys just like to eat cookies and pastries for lunch. "You're going to let us have cookies for lunch?" my younger son asked the first time I told him about our plans. The excitement level was at an all-time high at the very thought of breaking our steadfast rule of limited sugar and sweets. My boys' eyes lit up like lighthouse beacons when I admitted that some rules are made to be broken once in awhile.

"But, aren't tea parties for girls?" my older son asked.

"Says who?" I replied.

I tried to nonchalantly evade the gender-specific question, but secretly wondered if my two rambunctious, energetic boys really could enjoy a decorous lunch complete with elegant china and fancy napkins. Instead of adhering to stuffy formalities, we decided to make our experience more about trying something new and enjoying each other's company.

Now, as seasoned patrons, we know we don't have to be all fancy and graceful. We just enjoy the tasty food. Over the years we've kicked the fun quotient up a notch by hoisting our teacups and saying, with our best English accents: "I'm having a spot of tea" or "Pip, pip, cheerio" with our pinky fingers extended high in the air. It doesn't matter if you are a girl or a boy; this kind of family bonding is what cherished summer memories are made of.

The scrumptious menu consists of tea sandwiches, cookies, pastries and scones with real Devonshire cream. And, of course, tea. Hot or iced tea is available and, depending on the humidity level and our moods, we've been known to try both. The lavender egg salad on nut bread or blue cheese and cucumber tea sandwiches are yummy – but nothing compared to the lemon scones, cherry cream puffs and molasses cookies. The boys opt for the children's menu with substitutions like soy-nut butter and jelly sandwiches. Every morsel is delicious; every bite an adventure.

Our afternoon tea at Cotswold Cottage has become a treasured summer tradition. If you think tea parties are just for girls, think again. My boys are the very best tea party companions around!

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