On the first of May, Diane had posted about high tea at the Biltmore, the hotel across from my nearest and favorite local beach.
Tabby told me she brought her daughter for a child’s meal and ordered herself a cup of tea, and how they bring bread too. With tip it was only $15 (which sounds like a lot anywhere, I’m sure, but here it is very reasonable!) and I thought, now that I would like to do.
So during Ravinia’s piano lesson I prepared to surprise her, picked her up having changed into a bathing suit and a dress. She wasn’t ready right away so we parked and took the puppy onto the sand. We enjoyed our current read aloud book and got chilly what with the sea breezes and the fog. So then it felt good to go in and order tea.
Walking boldly up the path, countering my natural reticence born of a childhood of saving pennies and wearing hand-me-downs yet a joyful one, I was thankful for Diane’s pictures that were like signs on a roadway appearing just as needed: I recognized and calmly steered Ravinia to the dining room.
“We just need a snack, is that okay?” I asked the pleasant Maitre D’ who smilingly assured us it was and led us to a table for two next to the fireplace.
We sat, and were kindly treated. Water? A pot of tea? Ravinia?
At first too cold and tired to order, staring at the menu, she said a bit dispiritedly, “Whatever is cheapest.”
Then she told me she had an idea of ordering cheese fondue here. This seemed like a place for it! Not that it was on the menu, but cheese quesadillas were, so we ordered that.
But first came tea and bread, a tallish focaccia, very soft. Then came birds, hoping for a crumb.
In an elegant hotel they let in birds?
Ravinia pointed out that the ceiling was open but the fireplace was in the way of my seeing where she was pointing so I handed her the camera.
“Yes, they fly in. We just shoo them away. They love that bread, though, so what I will do is give them a piece they can have and then you will have peace.”
The sun came out, I noticed, and the ocean out the windows looked so beautiful, blue and bright.
We ate, we talked, we washed up after, and we went to get the puppy out of the car and spend another hour on the beach.