For 25 years, Susan Notte was a stay-at-home mom who enjoyed raising her children, cooking for her family, and entertaining guests. When she and her husband, John, became empty nesters, they decided it was time to embark on a new adventure—that of owning a bed-and-breakfast and a tearoom. In December 2011, they purchased 600 Main, a Victorian house in the historic district of Toms River that had once functioned as a tearoom. The renovations they had started took on greater urgency when Hurricane Sandy hit the area on October 29, 2012, and rescue workers needed a place to stay. The Nottes accommodated as many people as possible at the B&B. It wasn’t until March 2013, however, that 600 Main’s Victorian tearoom officially opened for business, serving afternoon tea by reservation Wednesday through Saturday.
As they enter 600 Main, patrons may select, from the many on display throughout the first floor of the lovingly restored home, a cup and saucer for drinking tea and a hat to wear during teatime. The centerpiece of each table is a three-tiered stand, which is filled, after the soup and salad courses, with platters of dainty, made-from-scratch delicacies. Susan does most of the cooking for her tearoom, with Maria Warren, a talented 22-year-old pastry chef, handling the baking. Kim Clarizio, one of Susan’s friends from high school, attends to the customers tableside, making sure cups stay filled with tea selected from approximately 80 options from fine purveyors like Mark T. Wendell and The East Indies Tea Company.
For those fortunate enough to book a stay in one of 600 Main’s five luxurious bedroom suites on the second floor, a delicious hot breakfast is included.
From TeaTime September/October 2015
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