Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Grand Hotel Afternoon Tea

 Afternoon Tea at The Grand Hotel is served daily in the Parlor
on low tables and soft chairs.
(The Parlor isvery much like a hotel lobby without a registration desk.)  
We were a group of eleven and were seated at two tables.

From The Grand Hotel website: 
In keeping with more than 100 years of Grand Hotel tradition, Afternoon Tea is served each day in the Parlor. Guests enjoy tea, sherry and champagne, petite finger sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, and an array of pastries, accompanied by a chamber music recital.
Served Daily from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
There was only one tea served to our group from silver pots. 

The sandwich course was served plated. 
My gluten free sandwiches were beautifully garnished.
Starting at the top: Cucumber,  Deviled Egg, Turkey, Ham and
Salmon tea sandwiches.
Nancy's beautiful vegetarian sandwich/savory course below.
Lori's "regular menu" sandwich/savory course below.
Before the next course, we were offered a choice of champagne or
sparkling raspberry juice. 

 Below: The scone and sweets for everyone but me.
I forgot to take a photo of my sweets course.
I was served four large chocolate dipped strawberries, no scones, no pastries.
Yes, I was a little disappointed. 
The final course for everyone was a small dish of cream-topped fudge sauce/pudding.
After tea, we shopped in the gift shop, walked around and enjoyed the old world charm of the hotel.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Travel to Mackinac Island

Our travels on Friday, September 16 took us to our overnight destination, in Mackinaw City, MI. 
Saturday morning we boarded the Mackinac Island Shepler's Ferry. 
As an added bonus, at no extra cost, we were on the Mighty Mac Cruise, an extended
6 minute ride under the bridge described below.  

"The Mackinac Bridge is the one of the world's most beautiful bridges and the longest suspension bridge in the Americas, with a total length of 8,614 feet suspended. It is currently the third longest suspension bridge in the world
Much of the beauty comes from the setting at the Straits of Mackinac. The Straits link Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge (Big Mac) links Michigan's Lower and Upper peninsulas.
Ground was broken to build the Mackinac Bridge on May 7, 1954 and the bridge opened to the public (and the ferries were shut down) on November 1, 1957."  Source: the Internet
We could see the Grand Hotel, our overnight destination, as we approached the island.  

There is no motorized traffic on the island, instead there are many bicycles and horses. 

The ferries and the hotels have baggage handling well-organized.
We checked our bags at the ferry and the next time we saw them 
were at our hotel room door.
As you can see below, the baggage is pulled by horse and wagon.  
Glenn and I visited Mackinac and stayed several nights at
The Grand Hotel about 15 years ago.  It was the first trip for several of the ladies. 
Most of the ladies in our group took a horse-drawn island tour. Three of stayed 
back and  shopped before making our on ways to the hotel. 
As I walked along the Main Street shops, I approached the Seabiscuit Cafe. 
 I asked the lady  standing outside the doorif they had anything gluten free on the menu. 
She said they had Gluten Free buns.  Yipee! 
Except for the afternoon tea at the Royal Park Hotel on Thursday, I had found
very little gluten free to eat for breakfasts and dinners. 
 The cafe was decorated in with horse decor and memorabilia
about the 1930's thoroughbred, Seabiscuit.  
The movie Seabiscuit shows continuously on TVs. 
Much of the movie was filmed at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, KY.
I felt like I was in my ole' Kentucky home!  
I considered ordering the Triple Crown Burger, but ordered the classic burger. 
It was so delicious!  I rarely have an opportunity to eat a good burger 
on a gluten free bun in a restaurant.  It was delicious!
I was full and satisfied, and a very happy tea lady when I departed
the Seabiscuit Cafe.  (Yes, iced tea was my beverage of choice for the meal.)
I walked to Market Street and continued my shopping, then 
walked up the hill to The Grand Hotel. 
These signs are along the approach to the hotel.

The broad front porch of the hotel is amazing.
Above: The Grand Hotel guest transportation
The view of the lake from the hotel is beautiful.
Nancy, my roommate on this trip in the photo below.

More fun to come in future posts. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tea Tour Interruption

 I interrupt my blog posts about the Michigan Tea Tour to tell you 
about a new Special Collector's Issue of Teatime Holidays.
I was browsing the magazines at our local Walmart searching for a 
Gluten Free Magazine when I spotted the above beautiful magazine. 

 Teatime Magazine publications by Hoffman Media are my
"go-to" for tea party planning.  The photos always inspire me in
menu planning and decorating.  And, I really appreciate the included and 
indexed gluten free recipes. 
If you are a fan of Teatime, run to your nearest magazine stand 
for a Teatime Holidays special issue. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Japanese Tea Ceremony

We departed Utica, MI on Friday morning to travel north in a 15 passenger van, 
driven by Jerry, husband of Phyllis, our Michigan tour planner and hostess. 
The above photo is taken from my seat.  As result,  Phyllis, Nancy and I are not in it. 
 Our first destination was the Japanese Cultural Center in Saginaw, MI.

 The gardens were lovely. 

 We were welcomed in the Tea House by the Tea Hostess
built in partnership with the city of Saginaw and its Japanese Sister-City.  

There are different styles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, 
taught at different schools and different ceremonies for matcha tea and sencha tea.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony, also known as the Way of tea, is the activity 
involving the ceremonial preparation, serving and drinking of matcha.
The ceremony demonstrated for us in Saginaw was the Ryurel style as explained below. 
In the ryūrei (立礼?) style, the tea is prepared with the host seated at a special table, and the guests are also seated at tables. It is possible, therefore, for ryūrei-style temae to be conducted nearly anywhere, even outdoors. The name refers to the host's practice of performing the first and last bows while standing. In ryūrei there is usually an assistant who sits near the host and moves the host's seat out of the way as needed for standing or sitting. The assistant also serves the tea and sweets to the guests. This procedure originated in the Urasenke school, initially for serving non-Japanese guests who, it was thought, would be more comfortable sitting on chairs.  ~~ Source:  Internet

Japanese confections were served before the bowl of matcha 
Nancy, "enjoying" her matcha.
Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and
processed green tea. 
Honestly I didn't "enjoy" my matcha.  
Honestly, I'm glad they gave us the option of not drinking the entire bowl of tea, unlike several traditional Japanese tea ceremonies I participated in during visits to Berea's sister-city in Japan at which I was obligated to drink the entire bowl as is required in the ceremony.
 Above:  Lori, Nancy, Phyllis, and me (Linda)
The four of us traveled on the 2007 Tea in London Tour
and the 2014 Tea Friends Gathering in Kentucky.
The rickshaw with the mums made a pretty presentation near the entrance of the 
Japanese Tea House. 

After our visit to the Japanese Cultural Center, we visited a couple of antique
shops in Old Saginaw City, and ate dinner at Jake's Old City Grill 
then continued our drive north on I-75.
All the photos on this blog are my own.
However, there was quite a bit of photo sharing among the participants.
 Just a reminder, the other bloggers who participated in the tour are:
Phyllis at The Relevant Tea Leaf
Nancy at Rosemary's Sampler
and Judith at Lavender Cottage

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