Like a tin of Twinings, the Emerald Necklace Inn & Tea Room is testament to the fact that good things come in small packages.
Blink and you’ll miss this wisp of a place, perched on a bluff overlooking the Rocky River Reservation in Fairview Park. (The establishment’s moniker pays homage to the Cleveland Metroparks’ nickname.) But its magnanimous stature quickly becomes apparent after stepping across the threshold. Innkeeper Gloria Cipri-Kemer has painstakingly transformed the 165-year-old former general store into a soothing escape that’s part tearoom, part B&B, part day spa –– and total bliss.
From the gilded paintings over the fireplace mantel, to the decorative plates commemorating the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, the Emerald Necklace exudes elegance and British style. When Cipri-Kemer took ownership of the property in 1999, her goal was to create a haven with rejuvenating amenities that would
offer Ohioans a perfect escape. She succeeded: Downstairs, the day spa beckons mother-daughter duos and women indulging in a girlfriend getaway; upstairs, couples find that the B&B’s three bedrooms overlooking the park quickly melt cares away.
Of course, no visit to the Emerald Necklace is complete without sipping a cup or two of the exotic brews offered daily. More than 100 loose-leaf varieties await, including Cherry Blossom, a green tea with rose petals; Angel’s Dream, a maple-and-blackberry mixture; and Bubblegum, a favorite with pint-sized diners. Even the most die-hard Diet Coke drinkers are smitten by the inn’s newest offering: Gemini, a zesty, South African Rooibos tea with hints of almond,
papaya and marzipan. Each of the varieties serves as a satisfying accompaniment to the five-course Emerald Afternoon Tea that’s become a house specialty. It begins with a cup of one of the inn’s signature soups –– favorites are a meatless tomato-rice-vegetable blend guaranteed to keep winter winds at bay or, at this time of year, a chilled strawberry or peach. A plate of finger sandwiches (chicken-apple, traditional cucumber-and-cream cheese or egg salad are most often requested), and a quiche filled with ham, cheddar cheese and broccoli serve as the main entree.
But it’s the scones that take star billing. Depending on the season, they’re filled with blueberry, strawberry, apple or raisins. Meanwhile, the heavenly breads are accented with Devonshire cream and lemon curd, whipped up daily in the inn’s kitchen.18840 Lorain Rd., Fairview Park, 440/333-9100. www.emeraldnecklaceinn.com
. – Linda Feagler