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Published: Saturday, 8/3/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Afternoon tea at Manor House sweeps in high-society attire

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Janice Emmitt serves sandwiches during the Tea at Stranleigh. Janice Emmitt serves sandwiches during the Tea at Stranleigh.
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Afternoon tea at Stranleigh calls for finger sandwiches, bite-sized desserts, and formal dress that brings out a lady’s best features.

Friends Dorthy Henderson, 66, and Brenda Barnes, 62, put on their Sunday best for the 35th year of tea time hosted by the Manor House Volunteers on Friday. The Manor House at Wildwood Metropark off of Central Avenue in Sylvania Township was  originally known as Stranleigh Manor.

“My favorite part of tea is the dressing part,” Miss Barnes said. The Sylvania resident wore white gloves to match her black and white striped dress. Her attire included a black pillow box hat with a mesh overlay that served as a veil.

“I think a lady that's part of society should know how to dress,” said Mrs. Henderson, who wore a white brimmed hat embellished with feathers and mesh. The Toledo resident originally from Jonestown, Miss., said she has been partaking in the tradition of tea since she was 8. Both agreed that etiquette was part of the tea experience and that it was taught when they were children.

Fran Jankowski is served tea by Lois Koopmans during the Tea at Stranleigh. Ms. Jankowski is with others from Glendale Senior Living in Toledo. Fran Jankowski is served tea by Lois Koopmans during the Tea at Stranleigh. Ms. Jankowski is with others from Glendale Senior Living in Toledo.
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The two ladies sat at a round table with other ladies, nibbling on tea sandwiches and sipping a secret blend of tea that the volunteers create for the afternoon teas that take place on the first Friday of each month from April to November.

“Our first tea, no one came,” said Wanda Anderson, one of the volunteer directors. On Friday at the colonial mansion, more than 200 women gathered in the 32,000 square feet. Some were mothers and daughters wearing stylish hats, socializing with the other ladies while also learning about the literary greats.

Each room inside the home is dedicated to a special author. In the morning room, the mantel was dressed with books penned by the late Millie Benson, a former writer and columnist at The Blade. She wrote 23 Nancy Drew books under the ghost name Carolyn Keene from 1929 to 1947, Ms. Anderson said.

Volunteer Barb Kunkle stocks cookies during the Tea at Stranleigh. Volunteer Barb Kunkle stocks cookies during the Tea at Stranleigh.
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The baby grand piano in the library held a polished silver teapot and a variety of books and plays written by William Shakespeare.

Diane Jagielski, the volunteer treasurer, said that she and 85 volunteers made the sandwiches, from chicken salad to turkey croissants, for the fund-raising occasion. All the desserts were handmade and donated by volunteers.

The cost for tea was $9, and proceeds from the occasion are to be used for upkeep of the Manor House and to buy furniture to recreate its original splendor. Ms. Anderson said she expected the tea would raise about $1,500.

The next tea, Women of Character, is scheduled for noon Sept. 6 at the Manor House, Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave.

For information, visit www.metroparkstoledo.com.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com



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