An afternoon tea fit for Lords and Ladies of Highclere Castle

Downton 3-2-14_01Some South Jersey Downton Abbey devotees held on to their Season Four Finale buzz a while longer as they enjoyed afternoon tea themed to the famous British television drama series at The New Leaf in Riverton, NJ.

Phyllis Rodgers, obviously meant to live at Downton Abbey
Phyllis Rodgers, obviously meant to live at Downton Abbey

Proprietor Mrs. Phyllis Rodgers and Historical Society of Riverton President planned the event as a fundraiser for the Society, and it drew a capacity crowd Sunday afternoon despite the expected arrival of another winter storm later that evening.

The Honorable William C. Brown took our coats. Where else but Riverton?
The Honorable William C. Brown took our coats. Where else but Riverton?

 

The New Leaf’s smartly attired butler hung up guests’ coats as Lady Phyllis invited arrivals to enjoy a champagne punch. (Riverton Mayor and HSR Board Member, Mr. William C. Brown, served as stand-in for Carson.)

Downton Abbey 101
Downton Abbey 101

 

Lady Phyllis warmed up the crowd, literally and figuratively, with trivia questions about the PBS hit series as Mrs.Hughes (played by Vicki) helped the maids serve Cook JoAnn’s piping-hot black currant tea and freshly baked lavender and golden raisin scones served with rose preserves and Devonshire cream.

Downton 3-2-14_11Ever-attentive wait staff delivered to each table towers of delectable sandwiches and savories, each menu item cleverly named after show characters.

 

Downton 3-2-14_14

 

The main course, however, was the grand entrance of actress/historian Alisa DuPuy as she channeled everyone’s favorite dowager countess.

Downton 3-2-14_16In her monologue, part English history lesson, part etiquette class, part stand-up routine, Lady Violet schooled all in attendance in the fine points of the British rules of male primogeniture and the lifestyles of the various social classes.

Downton 3-2-14_19Lady Violet presided over a bingo game and another about lines delivered by characters during the course of the series’ four season run.

Altogether it proved a pleasant fix for our Downton Sunday habit since we will probably have to wait until January 2015 for the US première of Season Five.

Photos by Susan Dechnik and John McCormick

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