Jewel Rosenberry serves tea with meals at her Pa. tea room

December 04, 2012|By AMY DULEBOHN |
  • Jewel Rosenberry takes a break from preparing tea and a four-course meal for 18 guests Friday evening. Rosenberry opened a tea room, Annies Country Fixins', in her St. Thomas, Pa.-area home last year.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

ST. THOMAS, Pa. — When most people think of tea rooms, they might envision dainty sandwiches and finger foods, a light meal with light conversation. So when Jewel Rosenberry opened a tea room in the dining room of her rural St. Thomas-area home, she wanted to change that image.

"I told (my husband), if I'm going to do this, I want people to get full," she said, while sitting near the fireplace of her business, Annie's Country's Fixins'.

And Rosenberry strives to do just that, by, in addition to serving tea, providing a four-course meal to those who come to her tea room. Another difference between Annie's Country Fixins' and some other tea rooms is the décor.

"We're country primitive here," she said, gesturing toward unfinished wooden tables, unmatching china, silverware and chairs.

"I want this to be a homey place where people can come, relax and forget about their problems," she said.

The name Annie's Country Fixins' came from a nickname, Rosenberry said. Her middle name is Ann, and her father always called her Annie. When she was naming her business, she liked the ring of Annie's Country Fixins'.

 She said she's always enjoyed cooking and baking. Rosenberry said her mother taught her and her two younger sisters to bake while they were growing up in Cheesetown in Hamilton Township, near Chambersburg, Pa. Rosenberry said she also picked up cooking tips from home economics classes at her alma mater, Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

Rosenberry, 56, and her husband, Chuck, spent 31 years as dairy farmers. In addition to milking cows twice a day, Rosenberry cooked daily for Chuck and her two daughters, Jennifer and Carmen, now grown.

"I always liked to cook and bake, but this is totally different," Rosenberry said.

Annie's Country Fixins' also uses only decaffeinated teas. Rosenberry said she decided to offer only teas without caffeine to further promote a relaxed atmosphere. She said she purchases standard teas locally and adds things such as juices or herbs to them to create distinctive teas. For instance, for her Christmas tea, she adds herbs and mint to green tea and has cinnamon sticks on the side to give a warm holiday flavor. She also makes a cranapple tea using black tea, cranberry and apple juice.

Rosenberry is a longtime gardener, who grows many of her own herbs for the teas, including mint and lavender.

Rosenberry started her business a little more than a year ago, and said she relies mostly on word of mouth to grow her clientele. "I'm getting more people who come back, and that makes me feel good," she said.

Rosenberry said she does most of the cooking and meal preparations, but does get help from two other people when the situation warrants. The tea room can accommodate two to 22 patrons, and gift certificates are available.

While opening a tea room is not something she had planned on, "I thought I would like to try this instead of going to town to work," she said.

"I like to be around people and I love to have them sit around the table. I love to hear them talk and laugh," she said.


If you go ...

What: Annie's Country Fixins'

Where: 6500 Gehr Road, St. Thomas, Pa.

When: Reservations are required. Lunch and dinner hours are available Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday.

Contact: 717-369-5045

More: Gift certificates are available

Additional tea rooms in the Tri-State area include:

Dollies Tea Room

150 Cumberland St.

Clear Spring


Spirit of the Lotus Tea Co.

Center at Antietam Creek Shopping Center

61 Eastern Blvd.



Sereni-Tea Victorian Tea Room and Bakery

21 E. Baltimore St.



The Larkin Tea Co.

545 Warm Springs Ave.

Martinsburg, W.Va.


Shaharazade's Restaurant & Tea Room

141 W. German St.

Shepherdstown, W.Va.


The Herald-Mail Articles