As most of you know, I have recently moved cross country. On my journey I had the pleasure of stopping at St. James Tearoom in Albuquerque, NM. This place, as I have said before, holds a special corner in my heart. Here, the obsession of afternoon tea truly toke root in my life. My grandmother would have special teas with me when I was a child; however, I did not consider tea time as a grown up affair until I had tea with my great Aunt Marsha (my grandmother’s sister, yes our love for tea runs in the family) and my mother. I always remembered the special childhood tea times, and when I went to the St. James Tearoom for my very first grown up afternoon tea, the love for tea came full circle. My mom and my sister also caught the tea bug after that experience. If you ever get the opportunity, please visit the St. James Tearoom. It alone warrants a visit to Albuquerque.
Since I last went, they changed locations, and I was lucky enough (mainly because of my Aunt’s connections) to take a tour of their new venue. It is Ah-mazing! The small nooks for having tea are absolutely darling, and my heart almost bursts with joy thinking of all the conversations and teas hosted there. Each nook is named after famous British people and important places in their lives. Beatrix Potter, Florence Nightingale, C.S. Lewis and his Inklings, Admirals, and a famous gardener to name a few. And last but not least, Miss Jane Austen, whom I adore. Her little area is in the library and is called Pemberley! It is complete with pages from her books as wallpaper including a portrait of none other than Mr. Darcy, as portrayed by Colin Firth. The other little nooks also represented their “owners” well. When I went with my mom and Aunt Marsha, we sat in the Beatrix Potter section. Oh how, I was thrilled. (I want to have my nursery as her books theme with Peter Rabbit and his friends. ;> ) The little nook has a beautiful love-seat and chairs with a English cottage feel to it. As you can kind of tell in the pictures, Pemberley has a chaise lounge facing beautiful chairs. Oh I just adore it! I almost want to go again just to sit in each of their sections!
Another wonderful aspect of my trip there was the theme of that month’s tea. Before I say what it is, I have to say that every time I go, their food is wonderful, and their tea pairings are spot on. However, my trip could not have been more perfect with this month’s tea theme being in honor of Miss Austen herself. August marked the 200 year anniversary of the publishing of Sense and Sensibility. The tea was named Tea with Mr. Darcy. *Sigh* The food was spectacular, and in their gift shop, they had gift items featuring Jane Austen and her work. And by the way, their gift shop is HUGE! It has so many teapots and tea cups. Also included is books from the various authors featured in their rooms, and a small section with the recent Royal Wedding memorabilia. How brilliant!
The most important aspect about the tearoom is the staff. Everyone I met was so pleasant and inviting making whole atmosphere peaceful and elegant. One leaves the place feeling refreshed and calm. I have met the proprietress on a few occasions, and she is lovely. The food and décor is wonderful, but when the people serving you have an attitude of service and calm, you feel as though you can relax and enjoy the few hours of quiet from the outside world. When talking with Mrs. Mary Alice, the founder, she speaks of afternoon tea being a time of communion with your friends and family. And I completely agree with her. She and her tearoom is a true gem in New Mexico. Please visit if you have the time.