Make a "High Tea" with Mrs. Tevis the Highlight of Your Week |

Make a "High Tea" with Mrs. Tevis the Highlight of Your Week


Carol Bordeaux, a museum volunteer for the past 12 years, is a natural for the role of Mrs. Mabel Pacheco Tevis. From the porch of the historic Pope House located on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe, she welcomes guests into the year 1906, to join her in an English-style “High Tea.” This character, in her elegant linen gown and tipped hat, is part of the Tallac Historic Site’s living history program titled “Tea with Mrs. Tevis.”

Tea with Mrs. Tevis will be offered at 2 p.m. August 29 and Sept. 5 and 12 to guests over the age of 12 years . The Tallac Historic Site recommends to visitors that they book reservations for the program at least a week in advance by contacting the Baldwin Museum at (530) 541-5227.

The hour-long program begins with the described “High Tea”, a tradition carried over from England to the West by wealthy families around the turn of the 20th century. The tea hour would be an opportunity for women to meet with friends who lived on nearby summer estates and to recreate the social atmosphere that they enjoyed in their San Francisco homes during the winter months. During the tea, Mrs. Tevis gives a lesson about the lifestyle and history of the Lloyd and William Tevis families, who made their fortunes in the shipping and lumber industries. Mrs. Tevis serves her guests with tea and, in the tradition of the day, a delightful accompaniment of scones, cookies and cucumber sandwiches. Guests are encouraged by Bordeaux to ask questions about the activities that Mrs. Tevis and her family enjoy while spending their summer months at Tahoe.

Following the Tea, Mrs. Tevis leads guests on a tour of the estate’s arboretum, which she says, “She coaxed husband William Lloyd Tevis into building for her”. Bordeux’s character shares a history of the paths, plants and trees in the area, including explanations surrounding both historical and recent plantings. She engages visitors to listen for the Chickadee and to study the trees that William would have planted by the arboretum pond, including Norway spruce, giant Sequoia, and western hemlock. Of the flowers described, historical ones include day lilies and fox gloves. Museum gardeners have added more recent plantings that include a milieu of ferns, a “blue” rose developed in France called “Rein des Violettes”, and the sweet woodruff.

Whether one comes to see the lovely plants or to enjoy the tea, they may be surprised by the amount of history packed into the Tallac Historic Site and Pope Estate. A newcomer to Lake Tahoe herself, museum intern Kate MacLean said, “I was surprised to learn at the tea that Mabel Pacheco Tevis had been the daughter of the only Spanish surnamed governor in California. It’s cool that you can get a sense of California history from this one estate.”

Who knows what people might carry away from this afternoon tea beside a list of plantings or a few last crumbs of scone?

Also, anyone interested in volunteering at the museum — in activities ranging from working in the Baldwin Museum and newly opened Dextra Baldwin cabin to gardening, giving Pope House Tours, and general fix-up duties — is encouraged to contact Linda Cole, museum director, at the museum phone number.

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