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Authentic Afternoon Holiday Tea @ Caramoor

Experience an Authentic Afternoon Holiday Tea @ Caramoor

If you were enthralled with Downtown Abbey then a visit to Caramoor is the perfect way to start a holiday tradition at this splendid Renaissance inspired estate in nearby New York.  A visit here is an ideal day trip from Connecticut that will bring you back to kinder, gentler days with a formal tea and joyful holiday concert set in a gracious home brimming with festive decorations against a backdrop of beautiful period furniture, art treasures, paintings and a mélange of decorative appointments that are amazing. 


About Caramoor

Caramoor is the legacy of Lucie and Walter Rosen. They purchased this gorgeous property in 1928 with the intention of building a Venetian style mansion as a summer home. Due to the Great Depression, the Rosen’s put away their original plan and worked from 1929 to 1939 to transform the farm buildings on the property into a home. They filled this home with art and decorative treasures and sometimes complete rooms from Italian palaces and important manor houses acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Rosen on their European travels. 

The Rosen House at Caramoor is unique in America because it has fifteen complete period rooms from Europe and was left as the Rosen’s lived in it. The collection includes Renaissance paintings, Asian sculptures, jade pieces, tapestries, and European furniture, just to name a few treasures found here. 


Caramoor was built to showcase the Rosen’s love of the decorative arts and to highlight their love of music; both were accomplished musicians. Many soirees were held here over the decades for the couple’s friends as well as for professional musicians. Walter Rosen was an accomplished pianist and his wife, Lucy was an expert on the Thereminist, which was one of the first electronic instruments invented in the late 1920s. Lucy became so accomplished that she traveled the world with this instrument and many works were written for her to perform.   


When sitting in the acoustically perfect music room at Caramoor, remember that many famous friends of the Rosens performed here including pianist Artur Rubinstein, Harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, violinist Zino Francescatti, and famous conductors Rich Weiner and Leonard Bernstein. When their only son, Walter Jr. was killed in WWII, they decided to preserve their estate and musical heritage for future generations to enjoy. 

Holiday Tea @ Caramoor

Afternoon tea originated in England with the wealthy class in the 1840’s and consisted of a light meal served late in the afternoon, usually around 4 pm. It was never intended to replace dinner but rather to fill the long gap between lunch and dinner that was usually served between 8 and 9 p.m. Traditionally, afternoon tea would include light savories and sweets and, tea of course!  Celebrating the season with an afternoon tea, listening to holiday carols, many of which are British in origin amid the festive backdrop of the Rosen House at Caramoor is tinged with a pleasant feeling of nostalgia for days gone by and makes for a memorable holiday tradition.


After a Yuletide-inspired concert in the majestic music room at Caramoor, visitors take a guided tour of all fifteen-period rooms that are architecturally stunning and worth a visit in any season. Here they take decorating seriously, and all the rooms and the endless nooks and crannies of the house are festooned for the season. On this special docent-led tour visitors will learn about the Rosen family and their love of collecting, music, and entertainment.  


After the tour, guests are treated to an elegant afternoon Holiday Tea in the Music Room of the house where guests can relax with friends amid this beautiful backdrop. Tables laid out in fine brocade tablecloths and each table has a festive holiday centerpiece.  


The highlight of each table is a three-tier curate stand of savory finger sandwiches, sweets, scones, jam, and butter. Each tier on the curate stand holds one course. The first tier holds scones and seasonal bread, the second sandwiches, and savories, and bottom tier holds sweets. In keeping with the afternoon tea tradition, the wait staff always pours the first cup of tea in elegant china teacups replete with saucers for each guest. Prior to pouring, the guest is asked if they prefer milk and sugar, one lump or two.
The day trip to Caramoor is the perfect outing to get into the holiday spirit and to experience the pleasures of yesteryear at an authentic afternoon tea in a beautiful European inspired home.

Book the Tour

Tours of Distinction is offering a one-day trip to Caramoor that includes roundtrip motor-coach, Entrance to Caramoor Center for Music and Arts, Concert in the Music Room, Docent-Led Tour, Holiday Tea, Tours of Distinction Tour Director and the gratuities for the Tour Director and Drive. To book click here. This tour is offered on select dates in December.