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Berkeley Castle provides a stately setting for Sunday tea

December 06, 2004|by TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Picture this: Take a drive on a lovely Sunday afternoon to a castle, where you are met at the front door by a valet who parks your car. Walk through the entrance of the original building built in 1885 and find the room overflowing with holiday decorations.

The tree is lighted and the fireplace is glowing. The Bath Recorder Trio is performing music from Mozart. You have come for tea.

The second annual Yule Tea, hosted by the Museum of the Berkeley Springs, was Sunday at Berkeley Castle, and organizers declared it a success for the second year in a row.

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Andrew Gosline, who purchased the castle in 2003 and uses it as a private home, conducted tours of the upper floors for the Yule Tea guests. The original structure, built as a summer cottage for Rosa and Samuel Suit, is on Warm Springs Ridge and overlooks the town.

Museum President Tamme Marggraf said 120 tickets were sold for the Yule Tea, raising about $2,000 to benefit museum projects. The proceeds will be used to update museum exhibits and to provide an outreach program to local schools, Marggraf said.

"We want to provide accurate information to instill an appreciation of the springs," she said.

According to the Travel Berkeley Springs Web site, the museum was opened by local residents in 1984 on the second floor of the Roman Bath House. Museum exhibits include geology of the town's springs, Native American artifacts, James Rumsey, historic bathing wear, Tomato Festival, Berkeley Springs Hotels of the Past, George Washington and Porte Crayon sketches.

Barbara Lynn and her daughter, Julie Arnold, came for tea. Arnold bought tickets as a Christmas present for her mother, she said. Lynn said she remembers when the castle was owned by Walter Bird and was open for tours. Arnold loved coming to the castle, her mother said.

"She was only 4 years old, would get all dressed up and loved to walk down the wide staircase," Lynn said. Arnold said she pretended she was Rosa Suit coming down the stairs. Lynn said Bird gave them free passes since Arnold enjoyed visiting so much.

Museum member Mary Banks Nichols coordinated the event. She said all the food was donated by local inns, restaurants, hotels and tea rooms. Nichols said Gosline provided the decorations in the main hall.

Museum member Betty Trittapoe decorated all the mantels and the dining room, and CJ Floral donated the flowers in the dining room. Banks Nichols said she provided the antique linens on the dining table.

The white damask tablecloth was used at her wedding, she said. Member Betty Breakall provided the silver tea set and punch bowl, Nichols said.

"The whole community came together, and we are very grateful to Andrew Gosline, who opened his home, the castle, for everyone to enjoy and to promote this tea," said Nichols.

Gosline's son, Drew, said "we like to give back" to the community.

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