Traveling with Kids: Teddy Bear Tea Time

Staff Writer
Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea with your children (and the teddy bear can come, too!)
The Rittenhouse Hotel

Mary Cassatt Tea Room at The Rittenhouse in Philadelphia is serving afternoon tea for children and teddy bears alike.

The traditional British tradition of afternoon tea might be associated with elegant women sitting in an extravagant tea room, sipping tea from decorative porcelain cups and nibbling on scones and tea sandwiches laid out on a tiered tray. But you don’t have to travel to the U.K for a nice cup of tea — throughout the country the trend of tea rooms had led to the opening of several lounges for tea fans. In time for the holiday season, some hotels have also come out with a different kind of tea room experience, one that the whole family — teddy bears included — can participate in.

The idea of Teddy Bear Tea is to give the families' youngest members a fun introduction to the sophisticated afternoon tradition of taking tea. Many hotels, including the famed The Plaza in New York City, The Rittenhouse in Philadelphia, the exquisite oceanside resort Castle Hill Inn in Newport, R.I., and The Roosevelt in New Orleans, are offering these special occasions, starting from the end of November and running through early December.

During the Teddy Bear Tea, children can bring their stuffed animals with them to a traditional tea-serving, where scones, petits fours, tea sandwiches, and other small treats will be served. Each hotel also provides different activities, from book readings to visits from Santa Claus. Here are four different locations around America where you can go and have a fancy "cuppa tea," and bring your kids, too!

1. The Roosevelt in New Orleans

At the classic New Orleans hotel The Roosevelt, Teddy Bear Tea will be served from Dec.1 until Dec. 23, during which guests will be taken on a "holiday journey to Santa’s Wonderland."  While enjoying a spread of sandwiches, mini teddy bear cakes, truffles, and more, guests will be visited by Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will read holiday stories and pose for pictures with the children. Besides tea, there will be hot cocoa for the young ones, and for adults a glass of sparkling wine. You can bring your own teddy to join the party, but children 12 and under will also receive this year’s commemorative Roosevelt Teddy Bear.

2. The Rittenhouse in Philadelphia

From Nov. 29 through the end of December, the Mary Cassatt Tea Room at The Rittenhouse in Philadelphia is serving a classic tea lunch for children and teddy bears alike. The Rittenhouse invites its youngest patrons and their precious teddies for a leisurely afternoon tea service, featuring sweet and savory petits fours and teddy bear cookies in the recently renovated tea room.  Each child will also receive a complimentary teddy bear to take home.

3. The Plaza in New York City

Each Friday in December, guests are welcomed to the Eloise Shop in New York’s The Plaza Hotel for a holiday-themed tea party. After enjoying the traditional teatime spread of tea sandwiches, fruit, and an assortment of desserts, the children can visit Santa in his workshop for story-telling and picture-taking with Santa. Photos are given to the families and the children to take home, along with a gift bag from Eloise

4. Castle Hill Inn in Newport, R.I.

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On Dec. 7, 14, and 17, Castle Hill Inn in Newport, R.I., will host its traditional Teddy Bear Tea. The afternoon tea is a leisurely event for the whole family, as well as favorite teddy bears, and guests will enjoy warm tea and petits fours while listening to readings of classic holiday books. Families are also encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped teddy bear in original packaging to donate to Newport Child & Family Services.