Holidays are hectic, and sitting down for tea might seem like the last thing we needed. Afternoon tea, with all of its refined traditions—the dainty finger sandwiches and almost-too-pretty-to-eat confections—was designed to serve as a respite from the fray. Girls on Wheels (Vicki Baker, Lois Reinhart, Susan Hebert, Shirley Monge, Cassie Richardson, Karen Dipietro, and Nancy Burns) captured the joy of this holiday tradition as the Alexander Mansion was transformed into a tearoom with elegant decorations, sweets and treats, steaming hot tea, and sparkling champagne.
Once upon a time, Ross Avenue in Old East Dallas was known as the city’s Fifth Avenue. Residents shared a common denominator: They were rich; very, very rich. Opulent mansions lined the boulevard. Oil tycoons and lumber czars hosted croquet matches in front yards and debutante balls in living rooms. One of the last vestiges of the street’s ritzy history is the beautifully preserved 12,500-square-foot C.H. Alexander Mansion.
For all its splendor, the three-story mansion is easy to miss. It sits too far back from the street to catch a driver’s peripheral vision. Its neighbors are payday loan shops and long-shuttered shells of used car lots, their perimeters still guarded by barbed wire fences and the occasional angry Rottweiler. While it has certainly seen better days, it is still an impressive site. And at Christmastime, it’s decorated to a tee; well, actually, it’s decorated for a tea, the annual European Holiday Tea.
Catered by The Chocolate Angel, Girls on Wheels indulged on white chocolate cranberry scones, egg salad tea sandwiches on pumpernickel bread, cucumber sandwiches on crustless white bread, chicken salad tartlets, ham and Gruyere cheese puff pastries, tomato basil soup, chocolate brownie bites, holiday Linzer cookies, and meringue drop cookies. And, of course, we sipped selected loose leaf teas paired with each course, including the home’s private label, Caramel Almond Bliss.
As one of the oldest residences in Dallas, the Alexander Mansion is a city treasure, and dressed in its best finery for holiday elegance, it was the magical setting for creating special memories. Girls on Wheels raised a glass of bubbly to whoever first had the idea to infuse the festive flavors of the season with the indulgence of afternoon tea. And we toasted the end of another wonderfully adventurous year of “girlfriending!”