There are always two sides to every story, a ying to every yang. During the Rock Ledge Ranch Christmas Tea, the guests are welcomed into the Orchard House for a peek of what life was like in the early 1900’s, and the guests get to experience what a tea would have been like. However, not only do the guests get to learn, so do the docents of Rock Ledge Ranch. This year I decided to serve the tea in the morning and my mother and I attended the tea in the afternoon.
In preparing for the tea as a house maid at the Orchard house I put the treats onto the three-tiered serving platters, prepared and brought out the tea, offering it to the guests. When everyone was gone, we cleared the tables carefully of the china. The guests were very polite and nice; they had questions and were very interested in the house and the items in it.
When I attended the tea in the afternoon, I was able to appreciate the beautifully decorated Orchard House. I enjoyed my steaming cup of tea, amazing handmade scrumptious treats created by the volunteers, and the company of newly made friends. Although it was hard to decide, I think my favorite part was the musicians in the front parlor. They played beautiful holiday songs from jingle bells to silent night. I felt very special sitting in the dining room and imagining that this was perhaps how the Sclaters must have enjoyed their holiday tea with guests.
I would highly recommend either volunteering or attending any tea at Rock Ledge Ranch. Everything in the Orchard House was so lovely and picturesque during Christmas time. But, how did it get this way? Why it was the work of the wonderful docents and volunteers of Rock Ledge Ranch.
Written by Rebecca Sachaj who is a Junior Docent at The Orchard House
Originally published in Annunciator 2013
Typically, the Ranch celebrates the Christmas season with events such as High Tea and The Holiday Evening, attended by thousands each year. During the Holiday Evening the ranch is transformed with luminaries along walkways, fire pits serving marshmallows with live fiddlers, Horse-drawn Hayrides, a Victorian Santa in the Carriage House, a Barn Dance with live musicians, the houses are decorated for tours, the Blacksmith Shop is creating ornaments and gifts for sale in the General Store. We look forward to when we can host these events again, but enjoy our ideas below to host your own historic holiday tea at home. Send photos of your creations and we’ll share on social media! The General Store will be open for holiday gift shopping during during the Orchard House Tea events in 2020. Check website for most current information.
The concept of a formalized afternoon tea originated in England in the 1840’s. During this time period, dinner was served at the fashionably late hour of 8 o’clock, leaving a long gap between dinner and the noon day meal with a need for a light meal in between. Enjoy Mrs. Keown’s recipe and host your own holiday tea online!
Mrs. Keown’s Honey Cranberry Scones
A Virtual Holiday Tea 2020
Be inspired by Holiday Tea at the Orchard House and host a virtual tea with friends!
Teas to Serve:
Cranberry, Cinnamon, Ginger Spice or Orange
Serve with cream and sugar, with lemon slices
Sandwich filling ideas: (even cut into holiday shapes)
Smoked salmon with cream cheese, sliced cucumber & dill Egg salad, Ham and cheese, Peanut butter and jelly, Chicken Salad with cranberries, Turkey, Cream Cheese & Cranberry Sauce
Cut the crusts off and then cut into an “X” shape to end up with 4 triangles. Display sandwiches on a platter to serve. Garnish ideas: fresh cranberries, rosemary or orange halves
Mrs. Keown’s Honey Cranberry Scones, Gingerbread Cake, Christmas Cookies with whole cloves. Dress up in historical clothing and enjoy!
Tag #RockLedgeRanch on Facebook & Instagram @rockledgeranchatgardenofgods celebrating a historic season
Mrs. Keown’s Honey Cranberry Scones
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter
1/3 cup honey
½ cup whipping cream
½ cup of dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
2 Tbs coarse white sugar crystals
Preheat oven to 350* Grease baking sheet or use parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender (or a fork) cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.
In seperate bowl, combine honey and half the whipping cream, then add to the butter mixture and stir until all dry ingredients are coated and moistened. Add in cranberries and mix until evenly distributed. Roll or pat the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle ½ in thick. Cut into small wedge shapes and place on greased cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Serve with butter and jam or clotted cream.