SAME ELEGANCE WITH AN UPDATED TWIST: TEA ROOM AT THE LILLAGAARD
The ultimate staycation is back and more beautiful than ever at the Lillagaard’s tea room in Ocean Grove.
For 13 years, under the tea etiquette-trained Jane Wehr and meticulous Lori Press, visitors from around the world have come to experience the relaxation and elegance associated with the special tradition of afternoon tea at the Lillagaard.
Recently reopened after a two month makeover, the tea room retains the elegance of Victorian past with an updated twist.
I spoke with Wehr about the tradition she and Press are carrying on, on Abbot Avenue and the unique experience they have created.
TBP: The tea room looks even more beautiful – bright and comfortable.
Wehr: I wanted to softly take it into the 21st Century with some new touches but it was important for me for people to feel the same comfort when they walk in the room as they have for years. The room now has a great, warm and cozy fireplace for winter teas lit by my mom’s converted gas lamp. We also have the baby grand that guests play. We still have all the lace tablecloths and doilies and pretty pieces that people love but I also edited out some things for the room to be sleeker. The lighting is new in brushed nickel with drum shades but the style still says late 1800’s.
I took my time with the renovation because I wanted it to be perfect for our guests. This was hours and hours finding the right chairs, wallpaper and tablecloths.
TBP: The makeover feels even more elegant than before with sleeker accents and includes Chiavari-inspired chairs and lovely York wallpaper but your famous china collection remains the same.
Wehr: Some of the china was my grandmothers. Every 10-piece place setting is custom selected for each guest. We have Havilland, Limoges, Wedgewood and Rosenthal. We even have teddy bear china for a special children’s tea we do.
Guests tell me they love the attention to detail. Lori creates a place every day where the focus is on the small things – from the service, to the food to the tables.
TBP: So what can guests expect this year at a Lillagaard afternoon tea? You know I am crazy about your scones and ricotta pie.
Wehr: We have a four-course menu. Each guest is presented with an assortment of 40 teas to choose from as well 15 or so freshly made finger foods – everything is freshly made. We rotate the selections based on the season but you can count on great sandwiches including the classic cucumber. We also accommodate Kosher and dietary requests made during the reservation.
In the spring, we will begin welcoming our bridal showers and small weddings again. New, we will offer a tea and tour – a tour of the Lillagaard as well as Kathi and Phil Franco’s Carriage House B and B.
We have the passion and the love for this and we want to make it as perfect as we can make it every time for every guest.
By advance reservation only. Call Lori Press directly at 732-455-3086.
Read more of The Coaster and TheBPlot’s coverage of the Lillagaard’s tea room here.