When I was sixteen, my grandmother took ten family members on an Alaskan cruise. I remember landing in Victoria, B.C. and wandering through the Empress Hotel, past the tea drinkers, and feeling it would be so royal to sit and sip tea. Naturally it was royally expensive and we passed on the experience, instead going to small shops and marveling at the fact that there were two types of money you could use to purchase your items and that changed the cost of everything tagged CAD in the store.
Moving to Portland and being obsessed with fancy things and Christmas, it was only a matter of time before I discovered that we had a high tea of our own at the Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland (for those non-locals, it's where some of 50 Shades of Grey was filmed). The holiday tea service (they have an afternoon tea all year as well), runs from November 27th through January 3rd and is a busy, bustling event with three sittings a day. It's wonderfully decorated with Christmas trees and most everyone attending is nicely dressed in their holiday attire - some are on their way to the Nutcracker showing at Keller Auditorium, and some are just practicing their own holiday tea traditions. I've been begging Ben to go with me, but somehow a tea service didn't allure him and so I've looked at the tea from afar for the past two years.
This year, I was lucky enough to get to with a group of ladies for tea and we spent two leisurely hours talking about all manner of things from AirBnb to Syrian refugees to Gossip Girl. As one does, at tea. We sipped on champagne and mimosas, drank more caffeinated tea than one (me) should on a Sunday around 2 p.m. and ate tiny little treats like mini chicken salad sandwiches in pita, delicious cupcakes, smoked salmon profiteroles, banana bread, deviled eggs, lemon tarts and fresh marshmallows. The Heathman was so kind to provide a complimentary tea to us and I plan to make this a new holiday tradition, hopefully among lovely company like the ladies I tea-ed with on Sunday.
When we left tea and wandered back into the frigid 30 degree day, we had the bellman at the Heathman take a photo of us and though he did a wonderful job capturing the branches behind our heads, we all turned out as blurred objects, secondary to the architecture on the building. Oh well. For fun, the now-artsy photo is below!