I cannot go away without sampling something tea related. So reservations (always recommended) were made for Serenity Tea Garden, which is a quick drive from Marie's home, for afternoon tea.
Located on Vallette Way (Bronte anyone?), it was as if we'd stepped into the pages of Victoria magazine. Hats, trinkets, dresses and fabrics, tea paraphernalia, you name it, covered the walls in the two dining rooms. The chairs were cushiony, the teaware was eclectic (much preferred to matchy matchy in my opinion) and a general calm prevailed, you know, the kind that is extinct in New York no matter what efforts are put forth.
The owner, Sylvia, also served us the tea. She was friendly in a non-stuffy way, which I love, because even if tea is fancy it should always be easygoing. We were impressed by the soup we were given before the 3-tiered service. It was a good way to ready one's system for the afternoon tea. The bread was almost the highlight of the day - Marie would have been content with that and the tea I think. Everything was just wonderful. The sandwiches weren't dry at all, the scones came with a generous amount of cream, jam, and loads of lemon curd. We couldn't even finish the sweets, but they were nice little baked items that I wished I had room for - the only downside to the soup I guess.
There were only two other people in our room, a mother and daughter who were so suited for the environment. They weren't all dressed up, but the daughter was so polite and she and her mother communicated so well, something one rarely sees nowadays.
There is a garden to sit in, hence the name, but indoors was just fine. Truly an hour of serenity, and thankfully they didn't do the sereni-tea thing or eyes would have rolled!
I'd recommend this place to almost anyone (well, in the female gender anyway) unless they really don't go for chintzy at all.