The tradition of afternoon tea is alive and well in our area thanks to the Lillagaard in Ocean Grove.

One of the happiest moments I had this summer was the afternoon my mom and I spent at the bed and breakfast’s blast-from-the-past Victorian-inspired tearoom. [more below]

The Lillagaard Tearoom features fine vintage china from around the world

Trained by tea-etiquette icons Dorothy Johnson and Bruce Richardson, hosts Jane Wehr and Lori have created a beautiful Victorian-inspired space to sit, relax and enjoy this rich tradition with a modern, less formal twist.

“I wanted to create a place for people where everything is wonderful and nice and comfortable,” said Wehr.  “When you go to tea you want the doily; you want the beautiful touches.  Lori and I try to do that and more for all our guests.”

For 12 years, tea at the Lillagaard has been a two hour vacation.  The Friday afternoon we were there, the room was filled with guests from as far away as Chicago celebrating a little girl’s birthday party and four other sets of visitors – both men and women, local and vacationers.

“I have gone to many teas around the world and this is the most unique and wonderful,” said Dr. Patricia Yacobacci of Norwood.  “Jane’s scones are superb.”

Each guest is presented with an assortment of 40-plus teas and selection of 16 freshly made finger foods, including the classic cucumber, curry chicken salad with a slice of apple, ham and swiss cheese with raspberry horseradish, sans crust… of course.

Come hungry and save room for Wehr’s ricotta cheesecake.

Beyond the amazing seasonally festive four-course menu, service and atmosphere, what takes tea to a special level here is the 10 piece place setting custom selected for each guest – you can request a pattern when you make your reservation.

“I love china and am mainly attracted to old china,” said Wehr.  “It’s the calmness, beauty and history to me.  I can feel scones, served with white lace and linen and a beautiful Limoges tea service.  I just feel it.”

The finest china in the world is accounted for at the Lillagaard.  Limoges, Rosenthal and even a teddy bear pattern for children’s birthdays is alive and well, not collecting dust. [more below]

Choose the china pattern you like most when you make your reservation

“My favorite pattern is a paper-thin Limoges set with violets,” said Wehr.  “A lot of the china is from my mother and grandmother.  I know they would both say to me ‘Thank god you are using that china’.”

Wehr and Lori also host bridal showers, small weddings and holiday events in the tea room, ensuring all the “countless” china patterns are put to good use.

Tea at the Lillagaard is something very special – comfortable and not stuffy.  The attention to detail is spectacular.  Especially if you have never had “tea,” I promise you – guys, ladies – will enjoy it and want to come back.  You can feel the heart and soul Wehr and Lori put into the afternoon.

“You know when you have something you love and you want to share it?” asked Wehr.  “That is this tearoom for me.  I don’t know anything about computers but I know too much about tea and china.”

Lillagaard.com or 732.988.1216 for reservations.