Tea lovers around the region now have a place to call their own.
The community of Oakdale has gained a rare gem which has been a long time in the making. At a time when historical buildings are being transformed to more modern interiors, that is far from the case of the recently opened Tea at 202.
Owner Oly Truhett and lifelong partner Jim Bauman have spared little by way of time, detail or expense in recreating the 1884 Victorian home located at 202 East G Street, Oakdale.
“The minute I bought this house, I walked in and I could see it all done,” Truhett said of the Victorian. “I envisioned everything.”
Admitting to loving all things “pretty” and with a penchant for “playing house” with her sister Judy Furtado, Truhett has hosted tea parties at her Orange Blossom home for friends and non-profits for years. Also a lover of antiques and antiquing, she shared she’d always wanted to bring a Tea House into town, as well as preserve the history of the Victorian time period.
“It’s just me,” she said of the Victorian style. “It’s just always been my thing and my vision.”
So, close to 11 years ago, driving by the vacant home, she drove straight to the Realtors office when she caught sight of the ‘for sale’ sign.
Together with partner Bauman, the couple began transforming the property, starting with the cinder block building adjacent to the Victorian.
“Jim has worked very hard to do stuff,” Oly said of her partner of 34 years.
“We’ve been restoring the building about five years, because we were working on the other buildings,” she added of the Tea at 202 space, noting that while it’s been a lengthy process it has indeed been a labor of love for the couple, as they maintained full-time careers separate of the building renovations.
Over the course of the past five years juggling careers, family and all the things life throws at someone, Tea at 202 has been where much of their free time was spent. The end result is now a unique and period tea house for all to enjoy.
First opened in mid-October, the new tea house has been well received by the Oakdale community, as well as out of town visitors. The reservation only based business offers two seatings, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Friday through Sunday.
With the help of sister Judy, her daughter Tina (Furtado) Lucas, as well as her daughter in-law Carol Furtado, the fearless foursome bring their guests a true tea party experience complete with a variety of teas from the Azores, scones, finger sandwiches and signature desserts.
“This was what we’ve always enjoyed, having tea parties,” Truhett confessed. “We like to play house and so this is a vision and so you know me ... I’m Victorian … so.”
As her three dedicated accomplices chuckle while Truhett shares the story, it quickly becomes apparent that this “side gig” the four have taken on may be work, but it is truly a labor of love. Each week they gather at the house prior to hosting their guests to prepare everything which will be served; homemade in the commercial kitchen of the 1884 home.
“These are recipes I’ve done forever,” Truhett said. “The sugar cookies we’ve baked since we were kids. We’ve baked all our lives. Everything is traditional. We’re trying to do everything traditional.”
Current cost for the 90-minute experience is $35 per person. According to Lucas, the response has been so successful that they’ve already begun booking parties for spring.
“It’s a tea time experience. That’s what we call it, it’s not just come in and have scones,” Truhett continued of the total experience.
The space that’s been created can host 26 to 30 per seating and private rooms are available at an additional cost.
Upon entering the space, the love and attention given to the space from the two owners is apparent. From the furnishings, to the moldings, floors, curtains, to serving pieces nothing has been overlooked. Truhett shared she and Bauman enjoy antiquing and through the years have collected much of what is being used for the current business venture.
“I’ve always been an artist. I love to paint and draw,” she said. “So, this is my painting now.”
And as the couple embraces the success of what was once a vision, they’re both excited and appreciative of the support and admiration from their guests.
“People like pretty,” Truhett shared. “For me it’s a little bit of history. I want to teach a little bit of history, make people appreciate everything their grandmas have had, their moms have had. It feels awesome. People are really enjoying it and we’re having fun.”
To make a reservation or for additional information on Tea at 202, call (209) 493-7431.