SAINT AUGUSTINE – The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum will host a special event and fundraiser with a Gilded Age Afternoon Tea on Sunday, Nov. 5. Gates open at 1:30 p.m The program continues from 2 until 4 p.m. in the historic garden, 20 Aviles St.
The Tea is limited to 100 guests and tickets are $100 per person. The fundraiser supports the renowned property and includes tea service and program ceremony. Parking is available next door at Trinity Episcopal Church, and admission includes a ticket for the Dressing Downton Exhibit at the nearby Lightner Museum beginning at 4 p.m.. Payment serves as a guest reservation and tickets are non-refundable. To purchase tickets, contact the Museum store at (904) 342-8887. Sponsorship opportunities with special ticket pricing is available.
According to Julie Vaill-Gatlin, executive director of the Ximenez-Fatio House, afternoon tea is unmistakably a British custom known worldwide, with origins in 19th century England. The history of afternoon tea credits Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. Dinner was served around 9 pm which left the Duchess hungry and to stave this, she would order tea, bread, and cakes in her room. The habit caught on and the afternoon tea was born. The upcoming local traditional tea will start with finger sandwiches, followed by scones with butter, jam and or cream, then cakes and, of course, a traditional tea service with fine china and silver settings. The local tea will also include re-enactors engaging the guests with conversation about nuances and period traditions of the afternoon tea.
The event will be sponsored by the Ximenez-Fatio House and Museum and The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Florida (NSCDA-FM) to support public outreach which promotes the nation’s national heritage through preservation, patriotic service, and educational projects.
STEPPING BACK IN TIME
The Dames will host and participate in the proper tea service program reminiscent of the historic Ximenez-Fatio House and its guests from the structures and grounds which were built in 1798 by Andres Ximenez, a Spanish storekeeper.
On display with tours will also be the original portion of the Ximenez-Fatio House that includes a coquina house and the detached kitchen which became a tavern, private residence and later a fine boarding house for military officers, sea captains, dignitaries and families from the north and south.
The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and tours of the buildings and rooms are available from 11 am until 3:00 pm, and closed on Sundays and Mondays. The property is available for group functions including weddings and events. During tours, regular admission is free for St. Johns County residents; adults $10; children, students, seniors and military $8, and the family rate is $20. Private group rates are $6.50 per person.
The Ximenez-Fatio House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic American Buildings Survey. It is a Florida Heritage Landmark and is also recognized as an integral part of the St. Augustine Town Plan National Historic Landmark District. The House is rated as a top attraction in St. Augustine by TripExpert along with TripAdvisor as a Certificate of Excellence designation venue, awarded to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn the highest levels of reviews from travelers.