This holiday season I wanted to take Maggie and Alex into New York City for tea. I looked around and discovered there is a Madeline Tea at the Carlyle Hotel this time of year. The girls love the Madeline books and it’s one of my all time favorite books series too. When I booked the tea, I had no idea the story behind the Madeline Tea and why it’s held at The Carlyle Hotel. But as a lover of history and teaching my children history, learning about Bemelmans’ Bar made me a lot more excited to take the girls to the tea.
The walls of Bemelmans’ Bar, where the Tea is held, are a masterpiece created by Ludwig Bemelmans, the author and illustrator of Madeline. In the early 1900’s, Ludwig Bemelmans exchanged his work at The Carlyle for a year and a half of accommodations at hotel for himself and his family.
He painted the walls of Bemelmans using his distinct style of art and created beautiful, whimsical scenes of Central Park that included picnicking rabbits and ice skating elephants. You can also spot his famous “twelve little girls in two straight lines”.
Tea with Madeline is a special experience for children. Not only is it in the historical room painted by Bememlans, but it’s a day of singing, dancing and treats. Maggie and Alex rain right in when they saw the giant Madeline doll sitting on the bar’s piano. We sat at an adorable little table set with china that had Madeline with her bunch of balloons painted on it.
The two of them sipped hot chocolate while I enjoyed tea. For lunch there was a buffet with teeny hamburgers and hotdogs, tea sandwiches and other foods perfect for little ones (and adults). After they ate their lunch, the girls visited the outstanding dessert table. With everything from chocolate mouse in edible chocolate bowls to a candy bar, there was no dessert Bemelmans missed. The kids were in dessert heaven. To pair with plenty of sugar, was plenty of moving around and dancing.
The highlight of the Madeline Tea is Tina deVaron’s music. She gets the children singing, dancing and joining her alongside her piano. We saw Tina at another brunch years ago and my girls remembered how she let them request songs and were so excited to see her! She is wonderful at engaging the whole audience, young and old. She started out by telling the story of Bemelmans and The Carlyle and then went into a full show of songs, special requests and fun.
The Madeline Tea at The Carlyle was an excellent family event. I would highly recommend it and do think it’s worth the cost. Once you enter, everything from tea to the meal to the amazing candy and dessert bar are included. It’s also more than just a meal thanks to the entertainment from Tina. It’s like taking them to a tea and an interactive show too. My girls are 5 and 6.5 and loved every minute of it. There were also children as young as 2 and as old as teenagers. Everyone in the room was up dancing, singing and enjoying there candy bar. So truthfully this is an event that all ages enjoy!
The Madeline Tea is served at Bemelmans Bar every Saturday from November 5 through December 24 as well as Sunday December 18. There are 2 seatings at 10.30am and 1pm. Visit The Carlyle Hotel site or call 212.744.1600 for reservations.
On the train ride to New York City, the girls realized that their dresses matched the plaid dresses their Madeline dolls were wearing! This was totally not planned but now they have officially declared these their favorite dresses. Their plaid dresses are from (moms favorite) Busy Bees. You can read more about the brand here. Today is the day to enter for a chance to win $150 to shop Busy Bees. Click here to enter on Instagram and click here to enter on Facebook.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
Disclosure: We were not compensated for this post. We were invited to attend the tea. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.