Lunch at Hattiesburg’s rustic Simply TeaVine tearoom. From the left are three sisters, my cousins Judy, Wanda, and Carolyn; my sister-in-law Lila, and me.
Tuesday was for me a happy reunion of the special ladies pictured above. They were among the ministering angels to my mother and me after my stroke and during the closing months of my mother’s life last year. And their presence and support offered comforting strength during my mother’s last days.
Judy, knowing that hot tea is my preferred hot beverage, alerted me to a new tearoom in Hattiesburg, the hometown of my youth. A visit to Simply TeaVine’s web site intrigued me, and a conversation with owner Dean Meador Smith started arrangements falling into place.
Lila gave me possible dates that she could join us for lunch and also transport us both to the Hattiesburg destination. Carolyn coordinated with the sisters’ schedules. I made reservations and consulted with Dean about the menu.
Finding the establishment was an adventure. It is tucked away on a pristine and peaceful 3.5 acres. Once we were on the property there were no clues that we were surrounded by commercial and industrial establishments along a busy highway.
Our table awaits.
Another unexpected delight was that our luncheon was set up outdoors, near the family’s 1885 log cabin and the cabin’s “glorified outhouse,” a recent addition that appears vintage but contains a commercial kitchen and modern restroom and shower facilities for the cabin which is now part of Meador Homestead B and B.
The table was beautifully prepared for our arrival, with a perfect environment of privacy, quiet, a comfortable temperature and a view of the surrounding woods, meadow, and pond.
We visited the kitchen and a condensed version of the Simply TeaVine gift shop. A bit of shopping ensued.
Owner Dean and friend Peggy pause in their preparations to fulfill my request for a photo with their cookbook.
In addition to operating Simply TeaVine, Dean and Peggy also assembled Ms. Sippy, a cookbook of recipes featuring the tearoom’s fare. Dean’s second cookbook is set to debut soon. It features recipes of family and friends with the stories behind the recipes. If the descriptions of some of the teas given on their web site is any indication, the combination of history, food and tea will be a good, and tasty, read.
Dean and Peggy created an atmosphere that made us feel like old acquaintances welcomed into a friendly home where hospitality is a priority.
Peggy delivers a glass of iced raspberry tea.
We were surrounded by the thoughtful planning of visual treats, eats and tea.
Engaging cherubs display fresh flowers on a serving tray.
Unique delivery of the tea menus
Our selection of the two teas that accompany the luncheon became a ceremony with the arrival of our tea menus in an embroidered and embellished fabric pocket.
After a lively discussion we agreed on the University of Southern Mississippi-inspired Black-Eyed Susan tea since several of our group had ties to the university in Hattiesburg. From the Web site’s description of the tea:
“Black-Eyed Susan—A black, flavored tea with peach pepper taste and flower blossoms
“The flower that gave the University of Southern Mississippi its black and gold colors brings us this special USM tea! USM has played an important part not only in the community but in the Meador family’s history as well.”
Dean delivers our Black-Eyed Susan tea.
The charming tea cozy that kept the teapot and tea hot had the needle-and-thread wizards in our group wanting to examine the cozy to determine how to construct one.
The Paradise Luncheon salad plate
The Paradise Luncheon included Adams and E’s Paradise Chicken Salad, garden salad, fruit, scone, banana bread and Dean's Cheese Delight.
Clotted cream and lemon curd, mouth-watering spreads for the scone
We took Dean’s recommendation of apple and spice, an herbal tea, to accompany the Iron Skillet Apple Pie dessert. In the midst of my apple pie and ice cream induced ecstasy, I forgot to take a photo.
Even though I traveled back home carrying about two additional pounds, it was a simply “teavine” day.
And I am a sucker for puns. For me the tearoom’s word play on “simply divine” was lagniappe.