Family outing for holiday tea



As the father of three girls, I’ve resigned myself to lots of fancy stuff over the next 18 years. Sometimes this means attending elaborate dress-up parties. Other times it includes fabulous afternoon teas.

On very rare occasions, I get to do both.

Such was the case earlier this weekend, when the five of us attended an afternoon holiday tea at the nicest hotel in our hometown, Hotel Healdsburg.

The tea is a special annual offering for the Christmas holiday. Every year on weekends in December (and, some years, in early January), the hotel (technically it’s Dry Creek Kitchen, which is the hotel’s signature restaurant) serves the fancy meal in the lobby. We’ve wanted to go since L was 3. Finally, this year, we got there. And it was well worth the wait.

For each person, the experience includes tea (of course), savory sandwiches, house-made scones, and house-made pastries. In our case—at least for the grownups—the tea also included special holiday drinks. The price: $34 ($43 if you get a cocktail or wine) for adults, and $14 for kids.

Among the favorites: The egg-salad, scallion, and watercress sandwiches; the cheddar-sage scones; the almond raspberry cake; and the lemon bars. L and R also loved the sandwiches of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and caviar. In fact, they loved ‘em so much that neither Powerwoman nor I even had a taste.

Equally delicious was the holiday themed drink: a walnut-flavored whiskey sour.

But perhaps the best part of our tea experience at Hotel Healdsburg was the setting; the host put us at a table right next to the piano, where a woman played holiday tunes throughout. The girls felt like they were receiving their own personal concert. And Powerwoman and I were grateful for the distraction.

It’s not too early to book for later this year. It’s also never too late to bookmark this idea for next year. Life is better when it’s fancy. Take it from a guy who’s reminded of this every day.

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