Christmas tea offers escape from hectic holiday

Alyse Sargent offers her father, Paul, a Russian tea cake, one of the many cookies and pastries served at the annual Victorian Tea hosted Saturday at the Old Mill Village Church, located in Midtown Park, New Milford. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

A sumptuous buffet of both savory and sweet offerings couple with an assortment of teas awaited attendees at the sixth annual Victorian Christmas Tea held Saturday at the Old Mill Village Church in New Milford.

In the relaxed atmosphere of the 1860s era church, Christmas carols quietly played in the background as patrons filled their fine china with sandwiches, salads, scones, cookies and cakes prepared by The Wooden Spoon, of CASS (Center for Anti-Slavery Studies), which serves as the food supplier for Old Mill Village Museum events.

Old Mill Village Museum, although a placed property of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, no longer receives state funding.  The tea event is supported, in part, by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts through its regional funding partnership, the Bradford County Council on the Arts.

The Victorian Tea is offered free to the public. A silent auction and donations collected are used to defray the cost of the program, as well as to contribute to the upkeep of the OMV church.

The church was built in 1850 and became the First Presbyterian Church in 1869. The church closed its doors in 1961.

In 1982, the church deed was given to Old Mill Village Museum. In 2004, CASS began to rent the lower level of the church to use as its bakery.

The first Victorian Christmas Tea was held in 2006, after flooding had forced the Old Mill Village to temporarily close its Rt. 848 location to repair damage. Since then, the church has been used by OMV for several of its events.