Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Afternoon Tea at Smith-Byrd House

Last week I had the privilege of sharing teatime with dear friends Cathy and Stacey at Smith-Byrd House in Prattville, Ala. All three of us are busy with the responsibilities of home, work and church, so it has taken us awhile to coordinate our schedules. But as women who pour ourselves out daily for our families, it was such a blessing to pause for a moment to refill the vessel over a pot of tea. Our afternoon was such a blessing, we have determined to meet regularly.

Located in historic downtown Prattville, the Smith-Byrd House Bed and Breakfast sits on the corner of North Washington and East Fifth Streets. Owners David and Beth Melling bought the house in 2007 with dreams of opening a B&B inn and tea room. The two are lovingly restoring the Queen Anne Style Victorian home to its former glory. Built in the 1880s, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We enjoyed the Queen's Tea, which includes quiche and salad, followed by a three-tier tray laden with scones, tea sandwiches and desserts. We savored every bite of our delicious meal! Our tea menu follows. I look forward to experiencing afternoon tea at Smith-Byrd as seasons change.

Smith-Byrd House Afternoon Tea Menu

Three-Cheese Quiche with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Mixed Green Salad with Dried Cranberries, Freshly-Shaved Parmesan, Homemade Croutons and House-Made Meyer Lemon, Olive Oil and Golden Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Cinnamon and Ginger Pear Scones with Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream

Cucumber Sandwiches with Herb Butter on Oatmeal Bread

Ham Spread on Pumpernickel

Turkey with Cranberry Cream Cheese on Whole Grain

Cinnamon Marscapone Cheese Spread with Sliced Apples on Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Chocolate-Orange Brownie

Pumpkin Trifle

Lavender Cookie

Cheese Teapot

Above you see a close-up picture of our dessert course. We couldn't wait to try the pumpkin trifle, a delicious treat with pumpkin bread, pumpkin mousse, cream and a raspberry. The cheese teapot, much like our southern cheese straws, balances out the sweets with a bite of savory.

Teatime guests enjoy a bottomless pot of tea, and Beth graciously encourages visitors to sample a variety of blends. I enjoyed a pot of lilac bouquet, then tried Spiced Caramel Apple. 

The gift shop at Smith-Byrd sells loose tea, as well as a variety of teatime books and treasures. Browsing the lovely selection of tea wares reminded me of Joe's law school days in Kentucky. One of my favorite places to visit was famed Elmwood Inn in Perryville, Ky. A couple of times, Joe took me to tea during the holiday season and did all of my Christmas and birthday shopping in the gift shop while I waited in the car and tried not to sneak a peak!

Pausing for tea at Smith-Byrd House with Stacey and Cathy reminded me of these words from Kim Waller in The Pleasures of Tea: "Tea is like a hug and a handshake; something about it warms friendships and inspires confidences. Though we don't always stand on ceremony with good friends -- mugs will do for that marathon chat at the kitchen table -- it's also fun to honor them with the flourish of a tea nicely presented."

For tea nicely presented in Central Alabama, be sure to visit Smith-Byrd House in Prattville. Tea is served Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5. Reservations are strongly recommended. The tea room is also available for birthday parties and showers. After our visit last week, one of my friends has already scheduled her daughter's birthday party at Smith-Byrd, so I look forward to returning with Mary Ashley and Emma in December. Visit the Smith-Byrd House web site for more information about the tea room and B&B.

Here is a final look at the flowers that border the lawn of the Smith-Byrd House. This beautiful rose reminds me of the beauty that fills our days if we will just slow down enough to drink it in.

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for a special book review and giveaway!

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