Hays House hostess prepares Colonial welcome

Eye On Harford

November 30, 2008|By Cassandra A. Fortin | Cassandra A. Fortin,Special to The Baltimore Sun

For years, Betsy Lehmann worked at Ladew Gardens as a tour director.

During those years, Lehmann, a resident of Phoenix, built associations with people and organizations in Harford County. So when she was asked to take over the gift shop at the Hays House in Bel Air, she agreed.

"I love old homes, I love Colonial America, and I love teaching young people about our history," Lehmann said. "So I took the job."

Later she became the co-chairwoman of Hays House. In that capacity, she helps organize and works at various activities throughout the year.

In December, she will be hostess at two events. The first is the holiday open house at Hays House on Dec. 7. The house will be decorated by the Country Garden Club in Colonial style, Lehmann said.

The second event is the ninth annual Colonial Candlelight Christmas Concert and Tea at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 303 N. Main St. in Bel Air.

The tea begins with a performance by Musica Antiqua, a group that has performed at venues including the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, Mount Vernon and the Maryland State House.

Tea will be served in British tradition by Lehmann and other volunteers dressed in period attire immediately after the concert, she said. The menu includes finger sandwiches, sweet delicacies, scones, fruit, shortbread and decaffeinated tea.

"The tea is very festive and relaxing for the attendees," Lehmann said.

But for the volunteers, work begins the day before, when Lehmann and about 20 volunteers decorate the church hall and set the tables. Then at about 1 p.m. the day of the event, volunteers come back to the church to make the food.

"It's a lot of work, but I enjoy it," she said. "We get people of all ages and it sells out every year."

Advance reservations are required. Tickets are $10 for the concert, $20 for concert and tea. 410-592-8693 or 410-838-7691.

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