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At the start of every month, we offer you a short list of pleasant activities to consider, 
some focused on afternoon tea, some not.

Herewith five suggestions for April 2014

 Cherry blossom time
“It’s official: First cherry blossoms mark the start of spring”. This was a headline in the Japan Times of 27 March 2014. Trees at Yasukuni Shrine were under constant observation for signs of the handsome pink and white blossoms. Their appearance marks the beginning of two weeks in which Tokyo’s parks, temple grounds, schools and streets will explode in pinks and whites.  Elegant and beautiful; yet cursed for expiring too soon. Cherry blossoms bloom at the mercy of the weather. The blooming period can last up to 14 days. Two weeks at best. Their peak is when 70 percent of the blossoms are open. The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. has been set for April 8- 12, 2014 according to the chief horticulturist for the National Park Service.


Maple syrup time
Towns and villages up and down the eastern seaboard are celebrating the sweet sticky stuff. Our maple trees will seep liquid gold this month! The cold winter kind of guarantees it. Often referred to as the first agricultural crop of the year, maple syrup comes from the sap of sugar, red and black maples in late winter and early spring. The process starts with ‘tapping’ to collect the sap and then boiling it down to make the unique, wholesome and pure maple syrup. We definitely practice what we preach and we’re off to the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival in southwestern Ontario on Saturday April 5 to taste, smell, experience and sample (of course) the local maple syrup.


Bill Cunningham exhibit at the New York Historical Society
American photojournalist Bill Cunningham is one of our favourite contemporary photographers. Cunningham photographs people and the passing scene in the streets of Manhattan every day, focusing on how people use clothing to express a personal style. He has made a career taking unexpected photographs of everyday people, socialites and fashion personalities. These photo essays appear in the Style section of the Sunday New York Times. Back in 1968, he embarked on an eight-year project to document New York’s architecture and fashions. Scouring the city’s thrift stores, auction houses, and street fairs for vintage clothing, and scouting sites on his bicycle, Cunningham generated a photographic chef d’oeuvre entitled Facades, pairing models in period costumes with historic buildings as backdrops. The Facades exhibit runs until 15 June 2014 at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, dedicated to the dynamism and influence of New York on the world. After visiting this fascinating exhibit, we plan to repair to the Museum’s fine restaurant, Café Storico, for a cup of Earl Grey.


Kid-friendly afternoon teas
We’re on a mission to bring afternoon tea to children everywhere. Start them young, we say! So from time to time, we will blog suggestions for afternoon teas that would enthrall a princess, thrill a pirate and deliver a treat to all. We often cater multi-generational afternoon teas – teas that include a grandma or two and several grandkids. Young children are thrilled to be included in grown-up activities and afternoon tea is no exception. Each child has a china cup and saucer and we dedicate one teapot to … apple juice. Older children can have a teapot of berry tea or drink regular tea with lots of milk. So this month, think of all the kids in your life and gather them round the table to take tea with you. Keep sandwiches simple – like turkey with a thin spreading of apple jelly; remove the crust, cut in four triangles and there you have it: a splendid afternoon tea for the younger set.


Earth Day – April 22

Walk in the park, hike a nature trail. Discover the sheer pleasure of reconnecting with the earth. Celebrate Earth Day with hydrating cup of Fair Trade tea.

You will have noticed we changed the name of this monthly feature from: Afternoon tea, five things to do in ….
to the zippier and simpler title of The List.
Enjoy the April 2014 List!