An interview with Susan Windsor Widawski and Shirley George, co-proprietors of The Windsor House of Tea, Tea House and Gift Shoppe, 1044 Marine Drive.

The Windsor House of Tea is much more than a cup of tea. It has emerged from Astoria's historic underground and turned part of the Sanborn Building into an English tea garden offering special tea party events, etiquette classes and dress-up tea parties for people of all ages. They are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The tea bar up front opens at 7:30 a.m. For more information, call 338-6900 or check visit the Web site (www.thewindsorhouseoftea.com)

Tell us about The Windsor House of Tea.

Widawski: I like to say that when you have coffee, you have a beverage; when you have tea, you have an experience. This is not just a ladies tea house. Men and women come in for lunch and we have programs for everyone. We offer 45 varieties of loose-leaf teas. The gift shop has every type of tea accessory made, including Chinese tea pots for tea ceremonies. We are available for special occasion events such as birthday parties, bridal showers and baby showers. And then we have our "special teas" scheduled throughout the year.

What kind of special teas do you offer?

Widawski: We have a large variety of programs. Every month we have a new tea event. In August Shirley will teach "Tea and Etiquette." In September we will have a program on the history of aprons and October is "Outrageous Hat Day." On the second Saturday of every month we have a quilter tea. Bring in a 12-inch quilt block to enter our drawing at the end of the day. The block that wins will go into the next quilt. If you bring in a quilt block you will also receive 30 percent off your meal.

Shirley, tell us about the tea class.

George: It's a class on the history of tea - the different kinds of tea and how they get the different teas from the plant. And I give a class on tea etiquette. I gave a class for the Warrenton High School seniors. Most in the class were boys, and they really loved it.

Why did you start a tea garden?

George: I took my daughter Susan and granddaughter to tea in Tillamook. Susan said "we could do this." That was in March 2004. We opened July 1 the same year. It was our first venture into tea and retail. After two years we have been able to expand to this new place.

What kind of following do you have?

Widawski: Tea rooms have quite a following. On the Internet, go to teamap.com and search for our tea room. Customers can read reviews and you can add your own review. We also have quite a following. Our volume has increased since we moved upstairs. We love the tourists, but it is the local people who have allowed us to expand. We are gaining a lot of regulars. One young couple would come here while they were courting and then held their wedding rehearsal brunch here. And then several months later, they came here for a baby shower. Now all three in the family - two generations - enjoy tea with us.

Tell us about the tea garden?

Widawski: The garden room was designed and painted exclusively for us by artist Dorothy Danielson. It features a gardener's cottage complete with clothing so little girls can dress up for our exclusive Garden Party Tea package. This is a full-service event for children ages 4 to 12 directed by member of our staff. This is a two-hour party with party hostess, dress-up and make-up sessions, story time for ages 4 to 7 and etiquette lessons for ages 8 to 12. A framed photo is included. When not hosting tea parties or special events the tea garden is open to the public. Now people can sit in an English garden in Astoria, year-round.

- Bob DukeAn interview with Susan Windsor Widawski and Shirley George, co- proprietors of The Windsor House of Tea, Tea House and Gift Shoppe,

1044 Marine Drive.

The Windsor House of Tea is much more than a cup of tea. It has emerged from Astoria's historic underground and turned part of the Sanborn Building into an English tea garden offering special tea party events, etiquette classes and dress-up tea parties for people of all ages. They are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The tea bar up front opens at 7:30 a.m. For more information, call 338-6900 or check visit the Web site www.thewindsorhouseoftea.com

Tell us about The Windsor House of Tea.

Widawski: I like to say that when you have coffee, you have a beverage; when you have tea, you have an experience. This is not just a ladies tea house. Men and women come in for lunch and we have programs for everyone. We offer 45 varieties of loose-leaf teas. The gift shop has every type of tea accessory made, including Chinese tea pots for tea ceremonies. We are available for special occasion events such as birthday parties, bridal showers and baby showers. And then we have our "special teas" scheduled throughout the year.

What kind of special teas do you offer?

Widawski: We have a large variety of programs. Every month we have a new tea event. In August Shirley will teach "Tea and Etiquette." In September we will have a program on the history of aprons and October is "Outrageous Hat Day." On the second Saturday of every month we have a quilter tea. Bring in a 12-inch quilt block to enter our drawing at the end of the day. The block that wins will go into the next quilt. If you bring in a quilt block you will also receive 30 percent off your meal.

Shirley, tell us about the tea class.

George: It's a class on the history of tea - the different kinds of tea and how they get the different teas from the plant. And I give a class on tea etiquette. I gave a class for the Warrenton High School seniors. Most in the class were boys, and they really loved it.

Why did you start a tea garden?

George: I took my daughter Susan and granddaughter to tea in Tillamook. Susan said "we could do this." That was in March 2004. We opened July 1 the same year. It was our first venture into tea and retail. After two years we have been able to expand to this new place.

What kind of following do you have?

Widawski: Tea rooms have quite a following. On the Internet, go to teamap.com and search for our tea room. Customers can read reviews and you can add your own review. We also have quite a following. Our volume has increased since we moved upstairs. We love the tourists, but it is the local people who have allowed us to expand. We are gaining a lot of regulars. One young couple would come here while they were courting and then held their wedding rehearsal brunch here. And then several months later, they came here for a baby shower. Now all three in the family - two generations - enjoy tea with us.

Tell us about the tea garden?

Widawski: The garden room was designed and painted exclusively for us by artist Dorothy Danielson. It features a gardener's cottage complete with clothing so little girls can dress up for our exclusive Garden Party Tea package. This is a full-service event for children ages 4 to 12 directed by member of our staff. This is a two-hour party with party hostess, dress-up and make-up sessions, story time for ages 4 to 7 and etiquette lessons for ages 8 to 12. A framed photo is included. When not hosting tea parties or special events the tea garden is open to the public. Now people can sit in an English garden in Astoria, year-round.

- Bob Duke

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