Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Afternoon Tea on the MV Lotus

On August 6th, I had the opportunity to take part in a Sunday Tea aboard the historic MV Lotus.  Built as a houseboat and pleasure yacht for lawyer Maurice McMicken, the Lotus was launched in 1909 and has traveled the waters of Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia.  Following McMicken's death in 1940, the Lotus has had several owners including Gorden Newell who restored the houseboat to operating condition in 1982 and the current owners being the MV Lotus Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization. 

The Lotus is currently moored on Lake Union at the Historic Ships Wharf located in front of the Naval Reserve and adjacent to the Center for Wooden Boats.  Its esteemed neighbors include the Arthur Foss (1889 - tugboat), the Seattle Fireboat Duwamish (1909 - most powerful fireboat built until 2003), the Swiftsure (1904 - lightship), the Tordenskjold (1911 - oldest surviving halibut schooner), and the V Virginia (1922 - largest wooden steamboat operating in the US).

The MV Lotus is a nonprofit (501C3) and all educational programs, maintenance, and restoration efforts are supported through donations and grants, as well as through events like overnight experiences, celebrations aboard, and Sunday and holiday teas.

Sunday Tea & Coffee Socials are held on the second Sunday of each month, May through September, with additional teas available during special events and holidays.  Reservations are made by phone and payment in full must be made at that time.  There is no guest minimum for the Sweets & Tea and there is a 6 guest minimum for Savory & Sweets & Tea.

As suggested, we arrived early so we could explore the houseboat before our tea time.  Entry is on the dock to the left.  If the dock gate is closed  (to discourage drop-in tours during tea time) as it was during our visit, simply lift the latch to open the gate and pull it closed behind you. 

We stepped into the saloon (parlor) and received a warm welcome from the crew who were ready to give us a tour, answer questions, and share their wealth of knowledge about the Lotus.

The galley was off-limits while preparations were underway for our tea, though I was still able to admire the clever storage of their teaware.

The Lotus can accommodate up to 10 overnight guests plus crew.  The master stateroom looked especially cozy and features a private bathroom with a full-size clawfoot tub.

Unusual for its time, the Lotus was built with Tiffany electric lighting and a state-of-the-art intercom system (not currently in use).

A curved staircase leads to the pilothouse and covered boat deck.

Weather-permitting, seating for tea is on the boat deck.  Since this was a cloudy late-summer day, we dressed in layers to fend off the cool breeze coming off the water.  The crew also graciously offered to provide blankets for extra warmth.

The view of Lake Union was fantastic and we enjoyed watching the variety of ships, sailboats, kayaks, and more pass by.  There was even a pirate ship sighting!

Our tea selection was Smith Teamaker's Brahmin black tea (newly renamed British Brunch).

The first course included a savory selection of NW cheeses.

The generously portioned sweets course included fresh local fruit and, most appropriately, Lotus biscuits.

Thanks to the crew of the MV Lotus for making us feel welcome and well-fed!

For a calendar of tea events and to make reservations, visit the MV Lotus website.

No comments:

Post a Comment