When thinking of Duluth, Minnesota I visualize a city sitting on an inland ocean surrounded by rocky hills. No matter the time of year, the outdoor adventures are as endless as the landscape photo opportunities. It’s a city that uses its natural elements to attract tourists. While tourism is a well-established industry here, it doesn’t always shine a spotlight on the hidden gems. Duluth’s history is still a wonder to behold and I wish it had more historic tourism built into its infrastructure. Lucky for me, a 1904 Georgian Colonial mansion is using its historic preservation as a way to draw tourists into Duluth. Merryweather Inn currently offers its first Christmas Tea service since its ownership change. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to be served a cup of cheer.
For a quick history lesson as to why it is the first time, the owner bought the bed and breakfast just before the pandemic hit. Although it restricted her first year’s events, it hasn’t damped her spirit for planning events year-round. Last I heard, there are still openings to have Christmas tea. If you like what you read below, don’t wait and book it before it’s sold out!
Parking on the streets of Duluth is reminiscent of the hills in San Francisco except the California city doesn’t have one crucial detail: slick slopes. It’s a wonder how horse-drawn carriages were able to get through the winters in Duluth when the blizzards were often and the temperature stayed in single digits. All the snow sets a nice pretense as the perfect place to have a romantic night or spend time with family. It’s a hospitable home that attracts both long-term lodgers and visiting event-goers.
Beth not only owns but cooks, cleans, and cares for the Merryweather Inn and its guests. While eating tarts and sipping tea, my relatives and I listened to her tales about the mansion and her personal life. Hospitable in nature, she was wonderful to get along chat with during our service. The dining experience was that much more entertaining as we had both Beth and the mansion to ourselves. I realize not every tea service will be that personable in the future as Beth will have others to attend to but I liked the special treatment for our first time at Merryweather Inn. As Beth talked about the Inn, I could only imagine how full the mansion gets when there’s a wedding or concert in-house. Speaking of events, Beth informed me she plans on hosting upcoming events for holidays, pajama parties, music nights, and Valentine’s Day– for both couples and singles.
Duluth’s Prime BNB
If my parents weren’t living in the area, I’d love to spend a few nights in this historic bed and breakfast. It’s under 15 minutes to drive to Canal Park, Spirit Mountain, Miller Hill Mall, universities, the aquarium, or the DECC. Conveniently located on the way up the Northshore, it serves as an accessible location if you choose to lodge here for a weekend or months on end. Not to mention it’s only a 6-minute drive to Bentleyville if you’re planning to see the free Christmas lights after filling your stomach with scones. Overall, the location and service you receive from the Merryweather Inn are phenomenal. Did I mention home-cooked breakfasts are included in your stay?
Holiday Tea Service
Finally, we are getting to the part I’m most excited about. It was enchanting to walk into the foyer out of the cold. The entire main level of the mansion was elegantly decorated with exquisite holiday decorations. The grandness of the dining hall wasn’t too overwhelming as it still felt welcoming and cozy upon sitting down for tea. The china sets were neatly placed for the arriving guests and the tree gave off sweet spice and citrus scents from the edible decorations. It really felt like Christmas time as the afternoon sun hit the sparkling snow outside the window. Our service began with a quick mini-tour followed by the actual tea and snack tasting. The first course was a delightful garbanzo bean soup. The second and third courses arrived together on a beautiful silver 3-tiered platter. The base held a variety of tea sandwiches, the middle pastries, and it was topped off with sweet French macarons and petit fours. (See below pictures).
Warm and Bright
Sipping to my heart’s content, Beth had a tea selection for the festive social gathering. If my memory serves me right, then I believe our choices consisted of (Mrs. Kelly’s) green tea, earl grey, jasmine with currants, and herbal rose tea. I, of course, had to try the rose tea followed by the jasmine currant tea. Both of which were delicious even without the cream and sugar. If you aren’t a tea drinker, don’t fret because Beth does offer coffee in case you want the Christmas experience without the tea leaves. Conveniently, Beth has a butlers pantry set up as a coffee station–I must say, rightly so. Her mornings are consistently offering guests a wonderful breakfast and every cozy BNB breakfast should be accompanied by a hot cup of altered water.
Soup de jour
Petit Fours, Scones, Delicacies, and More
Tastes Fit for High Society
Transporting back in time, Duluth housed many rich families. The ensemble of delicacies chosen for Christmas tea was no exception to the original standards upheld by the once prestigious Olcott household. The soup and platters were prepared, served, and elegantly displayed. It’s amazing that she alone keeps the BNB tidy, hosts her guests, and services each person with an outgoing charm.
Beth’s hospitality, the cozy atmosphere, and the mouthwatering tarts convinced me that this Christmas Tea Service at Merryweather Inn will be an annual tradition I’ll never want to miss. Hopefully, you’re just as convinced and you’re going to leave my blog to reserve your party’s time by visiting the website or calling Beth 218-310-5820.
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