We would walk up a stone path, through fragrant bushes of rosemary, lavender and a flowering butterfly garden, to enter the historic 1882 home that was the Faded Rose Tea Garden in Chamblee, Georgia.
It was only after more than a year of ordering off the à la carte menu of freshly made salads, soups and sandwiches, that we discovered the bottomless pots and delectable treats of afternoon tea at the Faded Rose. This world was foreign to us three girls, coming from Italian, Dominican and Vietnamese cultures. No matter; the Faded Rose gradually acquainted us, promising to be “an oasis of calm, gentility and impeccable service,” and it so was. It was our place for a time. We became regulars. We had much to discuss, we knew we would laugh and sometimes cry over our tea. Does memory exaggerate the Faded Rose’s vast tea selection? We were eager to get there and reluctant to depart.
In fiction, mystical places can wink in and out of existence and time after they have served their purpose. With hindsight, we see just how magical the Faded Rose was and how precious our time there. As the Faded Rose closed its doors and was ultimately torn down, that time passed and along with it, that “us”: that new young mother, that job-seeker who was moving home to New York any day now, that about-to-be Match.com favorite.
The Faded Rose lives still, surely in many fond memories, but also here at Destination Tea, because it is there that we first began playing with the idea of helping others learn about afternoon tea and where to find it.
Thank you Faded Rose and all the local business owners who give free reign to their imaginations to create beautiful and whimsical afternoon tea rooms and menus. Your hard work creates a home: for friends to gather, for time to slow, for stories to spill and for senses to wallow in delight.