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Tea and crumpets, anyone? Madison welcomes first tearoom

MADISON — It’s been said tea is always a good idea and, in case you haven’t noticed, downtown Madison is full of good ideas.

Put the two together and you have the first tearoom in Madison.

The tradition of teatime comes straight out a history book on England, made popular as a time for relaxing over “tea and crumpets” – that is usually cookies or sweets.

The Lanier House Tea Room and Private Venue, in the yellow house at 20 Martin Street, is the southern version of that revered British custom – taking some time out of the day to share eats and drink with friends, family and even new acquaintances.

Michelle Epling, executive director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce; Chamber ambassadors; and Mary Beth Broeren, Madison’s director of development services, joined Lanier House owner Tammy Hall to help her cut the grand-opening ribbon Tuesday on the charming southern tearoom with its wide gallery porch and elegant interior.

Lanier House Tea Room is elegant yet inviting in a pure southern atmosphere. (256 Today)

“I have visited many, many, many tearooms over the years and I never thought about opening one,” said Hall. “But an opportunity arose about a year ago and I thought, ‘If a door opens, I will step through it’.

“The door opened and here we are. The Madison community has been great, and we are looking forward to having more events and possibly expanding, probably into Huntsville.”

Teatime at Lanier House is exactly 1 1/2 hours long three times a day, Tuesday-Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Lanier House is the spot for club meetings, bridal luncheons, birthdays, baby showers, children’s parties, rehearsal dinners or just tea with an old or new friend.

Epling recalls hosting her cousin for a bridesmaid tea at Lanier House.

“When I think about having fun with friends and making those memories I hold from that day and those life events, it makes it exciting that our residents have a chance to build those quality-of-life experiences for themselves,” she said. “Lanier House is a great place to do that.”

William Ewart Gladstone, a former prime minister of the United Kingdom, once wrote his praises for tea in a popular British ditty:

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”

In other words, tea is always a good idea.

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