There’s something to be said for politeness. Mind your manners and be sure to say please and thank you. We remember our parents making these agonizing statements repeatedly. Hopefully you didn’t have to wear a book on your head growing up! Chances are it comes full circle as we are telling our children to do the same thing.
While I didn’t grow up in a prim household, my parents made sure I was well groomed and displayed good manners. My father was a former butler so the art of etiquette was big in our family. I didn’t want my five year old to endure rigid lessons in being cordial, but a place she could learn and have fun doing so. Being Irish, we love tea. When you enter our house, the kettle is always on. Tea time is any time. I discovered a brilliant concept that combines etiquette and high tea. Enter Mrs. B.
Rebecca Czarniecki, better known as Mrs. B, is a sensation sweeping across the metro area. Her jovial demeanor is a crowd pleaser with families. Mrs. B focuses on manners sessions for boys and girls, monthly story tea time, birthday tea parties and spring break and summer camps.
I surprised my mother and daughter by telling them to get dressed to the nines for afternoon tea at the Grille at Morrison House. We arrived in Old Town to attend Story Time Tea with Mrs. B.
Mrs. B and her assistant, Ms. Nina, gathered the children into the study to make place cards for the table. There were ten girls present from the ages of 3 to 12 and all were dressed in their finest attire. Mrs. B gave short, but fun lessons on manners like the ten ways to say yes, do not put your elbows on the table and introduce yourself to others.
The table was set with linens and crystal. There is a choice of three menus from Royal, Traditional or Children’s Tea. Children’s Tea included a tiered serving tray with petite scones, bite-sized PB and J, ham and cheese, egg salad sandwiches, and a pot of hot chocolate. My daughter chose Earl Grey tea instead of the hot chocolate and loved that she got to sip tea using real china. The sweets display included French macaroons, chocolate truffles, maple pecan tarts and fresh fruit.
Story Time Tea includes a craft, a touch up on manners and of course, copious pots of tea. We were fortunate to be part of a special Easter-themed tea which included wearing bunny ears, an Easter egg hunt in the courtyard and a reading of The Egg. There were two lucky winners of the gold and silver egg which entitled them to dinner or a one night stay at the Morrison House. While my child didn’t win, she learned to be happy for those participants that did win. She was ecstatic the other eggs were filled with candy, feathers and butterflies.
I highly recommend taking your daughter or son (yes, boys are welcome too), to Story Time Tea. Mrs. B’s warm and friendly personality had the children entertained and engaged for nearly two hours. My daughter surprised me when she asked, “Mommy may I be excused from the table?” I wish my child were always this well behaved.
The only negative thing was the arrangement for the seating. The tea is open to the public, not just for children participating in Story Time Tea. The children and their families were split into two rooms. It would have been nice if the children were together in the same space. Nonetheless, Mrs. B gave every child plenty of attention.
Story Time Tea is held the third Saturday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. The cost ranges from $38 to $44 per adult and $28 per child. While it is expensive, it is an event that will provide you with fond memories. Seeing the joy on my mother and daughter’s faces was priceless. Be sure to make reservations in advance. I waited two months to secure a coveted reservation for tea. Past themes have included a Princess Tea and Sweets Tea. Upcoming events include the Mother’s Day Tea on May 19 and Green Tea on June 17.