I’m Mad for The Mad Hatter: A Spectacular Saturday Tea!

If you are newer to the blog or if you don’t already know, I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life. It’s just not my thing. Now tea? That’s what it’s all about for me! When two tea lovers connect, it’s something special. I have loved it since I was a little girl and anytime I have the opportunity to visit a new tea room, I will sure try to make it! Such was the case when it came to The Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tea Room in the small town of Anoka, Minnesota.

I somehow discovered The Mad Hatter on Facebook. It was during a time owner Liz Koch was in the midst of moving locations and renovating Anoka’s historic Woodbury House. I sat and drooled over all of her new touches and since I just happened to have an upcoming conference in Minneapolis, I Google Mapped Minneapolis to Anoka and wrote Liz on Facebook to confirm it was a mere thirty minute drive! I checked her Facebook page weekly and I celebrated at my computer screen when Liz and her family opened their doors.

When August finally arrived, a bit jet-legged, but very eager to finally visit, I made my way to Anoka. I was beyond excited and expected to sit for a short while, have my tea, roam the grounds a bit and go on my merry way. What I got instead was the warmest of welcomes and what I consider a new life-long friendship.

Liz’s family could not be sweeter. Her two children, named for musicians (and their names are SO cool) are pure delights. What personalities, humor and presence! She and her husband also ride a Harley, so you just know this meeting was meant to be!

I kicked myself for forgetting my camera when Liz offered to give me a tour of the entire Woodbury House (the cell phone camera would have to do). WOW WOW WOW. I cannot believe the work they put into it! They did the renovations themselves and what an undertaking they had! A little history: They rescued this house which was in serious danger of falling apart after developers were unable to move forward with their plans for it. The original owner passed and his wife and their children decided she should not live there alone. The housing crash of 2007 meant the developers’ funds ran dry and it sat empty, exposed to a harsh Minnesota winter. The city of Anoka attempted to restore the house, but soon after it went into foreclosure. Liz stepped in and after a lot of city council meetings and I imagine many hours of her time, Woodbury is now in the hands in which it belongs. They took a lot of care to preserve the history and integrity of the house while renovating. She wouldn’t want the credit for all of the work her family did, but they deserve it. It is absolutely stunning.

Liz rarely gets to sit and have tea in her own tea room, but I was absolutely delighted she took the time to sit with me. Actually, I was pretty honored. We shared a Queen of Hearts tea service. The food was AMAZING. The house blend, made of orange, chocolate and bergamot was, forgive my lack of eloquence, SO good. It might seem like a funny blend, but as a matter of fact, I am sipping it as I type this blog post right now!

Liz and I chatted for hours. Each time I kept telling her I should let her go, we started a new topic! She has lived an incredible life and has such wisdom. I could have stayed there for days. No, I’m not kidding. You could not meet a nicer, more generous person. And on the topic of generosity, though I protested, Liz took care of our service.

I went into her shop – beyond cute! – and made a few purchases. If you haven’t tried Crème brûlée tea, I also highly recommend it when you want a creamy, rich treat! It will do the trick. I definitely took some of that home with me along with the House Blend. I also really need to mail my mom the Mad Hatter mug I got her!

In The Mad Hatter’s too cute for words shop!

After almost five hours of conversation which felt like five minutes, while I wanted to move in, we took a walk of the grounds and alas it was time for me to head back to Minneapolis. We will most definitely ride with our husbands in the future and you can bet I will be back! If you are in the area, be sure to stop in. You will fall in love just like I did. Visit The Mad Hatter on their website (here) and give them some love on Facebook and Twitter.

This was, truly, one of the best tea experiences I’ve ever had. And even if I hadn’t gotten to spend time with Liz-the house, the tea and the food would have still been worth it, but I am sure grateful that the universe led me to her Facebook page, her tea house and most especially, to HER. And it all started with tea…