A Summer Tea Outing

This past week I enjoyed a special tea with two dear friends. A summer afternoon was spent having tea at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. This summer they have a special exhibit of the wedding gowns from several generations of the Ford family brides.


The Gate House to Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

The tea was held in the Cotswald Cafe within the Visitor Center.fordcotswald

While waiting in the lobby, I had a pleasant surprise, Phyllis from The Relevant Tea Leaf arrived with her lovely daughter Lori who took our photo. A coincidence was that Phyllis and I were wearing similar tops. As they say “great minds think alike.”


Jill & Phyllis

We then went to our respective tables to be served a new-to-me brand of tea, “Tea Forte.”


Perhaps some of the tea connoisseurs are familiar with this brand. I chose the English Breakfast as did my friend who is British. She much prefers the classic teas over the herbal or flavored ones.

The tea comes cleverly packaged and when opened it is in its own diffuser.


The tea caddy was full of savories which we found satisfying. My English friend noted that cream/milk and lemon were not served with the tea as is proper.


Following our hour-long chat while we sipped tea and nibbled on finger foods, we went to the South Cottage (within the Gate House) and viewed the wedding gowns from several generations of the Ford Family brides. Oh my, they were beautiful. A plethora of satin, beads and European lace.


Back View of the Gate House

Eleanor Hudson married Edsel Ford (son of Henry Ford) in 1916, thus the name of the summer-long exhibit, A Century of Love.  While using my phone camera, it was difficult to get decent photos of the full gowns. Therefore, I will show close-ups of gowns in order for you to see the exquisite details. It was interesting to note that some Ford brides chose classic gowns and some chose wedding dresses from their era. As we were visiting the exhibit near closing time, I did not properly identify the gowns with the bride. We were also sidetracked and in awe of the beautiful dresses. My apologizes. Since my original post it has come to my attention that the last gown I featured belonged to Elizabeth Ford Kontulis. 


Wedding Gown of Eleanor Hudson Ford ~ 1916



Bridesmaid Gown from Eleanor’s 1916 Wedding







Elizabeth Hudson Ford Kontulis ~ 1987 Wedding


The display card noted that the lace bodice was imported from Europe and chosen by an historian.

It was a delightful July afternoon which included friends, tea, beads, satin and lace. To see more and/or different photos, please visit Phyllis at Relevant Tea Leaf as she will also soon do a post regarding her tea at the Ford House.

Should you be in the Metro Detroit area this summer and/or in the future, I highly recommend visiting the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House which is open to the public. The grounds are lovely and the house is beautiful although we did not tour house on this tea visit.

Sharing my tea outing with






14 thoughts on “A Summer Tea Outing

    • Yes, Bernideen it was a great time. Once I previously met Phyllis at a local estate sale. Fancy that. I so wanted to touch those dresses. Breathtakingly beautiful.


  1. Jill, You and Phyllis look like brides in your white lace tops! I have a British friend with whom I love to have afternoon tea. She hilariously points out all the rights and wrongs at our American attempts to have a proper tea. The wedding dress exhibit must be amazing. The 1987 bride, Liz Kontulis, is a friend of mine. I didn’t know her then but met through our kids at school. You will be happy to know that she is very sweet and smart! I hope to visit the Ford mansion and the museum there someday soon. Thanks for the tour! Linda


    • Linda, You are quite observant to note that the white lace tops look bridal. I think Phyllis and I perhaps did a Freudian slip. 🙂 The wedding dress exhibit is elegant and tastefully subtle as is the Ford family style. It is not a surprise that your friend is as you say which again is a reflection of her family. Hopefully, you can visit the Ford house this summer while the gowns are on display. A kindly hint, the house is not called a mansion locally. It is/was a lovely large home where they raised their family. Your friend may agree. Your comment is appreciated as I have since identified her bridal gown. Kindest regards, Jill


  2. What a wonderful place for tea…and how fun to run into Phyllis! I love Tea Forte’ and their Estate Darjeeling is my favorite! What a lovely tea presentation. And the displays were wonderful! Such gorgeous lace! Wonderful you could go, and so glad you shared with us. Thanks so much for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!


    • Hi Ruth, The Ford House is a lovely place for tea. They have have several scheduled this summer and it was a fun coincidence to run into Phyllis on the same day my friends attended. We all loved the lace and beading; it was a challenge to refrain from touching. 🙂 It most definitely was a share-worthy event. Kindest regards, Jill


  3. What a fabulous tea experience with your friend, Phyllis! Lovely picture of you both and it was definitely serendipitous that you both showed up at the same time. Such a lot of history you were able to enjoy on your outing. The gowns are exquisite! Thank you so much for sharing with us and have a lovely weekend.



  4. Hi Sandi, Thanks for visiting. The serendipitous coincidence was that Phyllis was in attendance with her daughter and I had reservations with two other friends. Of course, we seemed to be on the same schedule also while viewing the wedding gowns. It was near closing time, and I so wanted to take it all in and memorize all the gown details. Enjoy your family visit the next upcoming week. Kindest regards, Jill


  5. What a lovely place to visit. I am from Michigan and miss these places to visit. How wonderful they had the wedding dresses on display. Tea time looks like it was very enjoyable too.



  6. What a fun outing, Jill, and what a nice surprise that you and Phyllis were able to meet!! The wedding dresses are just so gorgeous. Did I ever mention that I lived in the Detroit area over thirty years ago, for a brief time, before moving to Texas?


  7. Hi Kitty, Yes it was fun and wonderful surprise to attend the same tea as Phyllis. That reminds me, please check her blog out about the Ford House and the wedding dresses. She did three posts on the outing. Once you did mention that you lived in Michigan, but I did not know that you lived in the Detroit area. I do now know if I could adjust to the Texas heat. Kindest regards, Jill


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