Staatsburg, N.Y. (1/27/15) - Are you looking for a unique Valentine's Day gift? Consider treating your beloved to gourmet tea, scones and tea sandwiches in the former dining room of a Gilded Age tycoon overlooking the Hudson River, while learning about love and marriage as they transpired in the Gilded Age. Staatsburgh State Historic Site still has openings in its Valentine's Day weekend tea programs, a highly-acclaimed program.

On Saturday and Sunday, February 13 and 14 at 1 p.m., the Gilded Age Tea & Talk series takes a look back at the customs of love, courtship, and some high-profile marriages over 100 years ago. Staatsburgh, the former estate of Ogden Mills and Ruth Livingston Mills, will offer an elegant and entertaining refuge from the cold by presenting this program in the mansion's elegant dining room, while guests enjoy scones, tea sandwiches and the site's unique and delicious tea, custom-blended by renowned local tea purveyors, Harney & Sons. In honor of Valentine's Day, this program will include some chocolates to finish the meal. After the talk, there will be an optional guided tour of the mansion available to all participants.

During the Gilded Age, many wealthy American heiresses sought titled European husbands. In turn, these heiresses supplied enormous dowries to keep struggling European estates afloat, much like in the TV series Downton Abbey. Countless Americans left the country to become duchesses, countesses and baronesses. Beatrice, daughter of Ruth and Ogden Mills, married an Earl to become the Countess of Granard. The talk will explore this trend and take a look at some period wedding dresses and engagement rings.

In case of bad weather, the tea program will be postponed to the following weekend. Individual tea programs are $30 per person, or $25 per person for Friends of Mills Mansion members. Seating is limited and reservations are required, so please call 845-889-8851 or email staatsburghshs@parks.ny.gov to reserve.

Staatsburgh was the Gilded Age country home of financer and philanthropist Ogden Mills and his wife, Ruth Livingston Mills, a prominent figure in New York society. The mansion was redesigned and expanded to 79 rooms in 1895 by the famous architect Stanford White.

Staatsburgh's beautiful museum shop is a favorite stop for many Hudson Valley shoppers. The shop features a wonderful selection of jewelry, books, scarves, keepsakes and gifts. The shop will be open during each program. Friends of Mills Mansion members always receive a 20% discount in the shop.

The site and the Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills Memorial State Park are located on Old Post Road in Staatsburg, off Route 9 between Rhinebeck and Hyde Park. The historic site is one of six sites and 15 parks administered by the Taconic Region of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For more information, please call 845-889-8851 or visit our websites at www.nysparks.com/historic-sites/25/details.aspx, www.facebook.com/StaatsburghSHS and www.staatsburghstatehistoricsite.blogspot.com.


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Contact:
Maria Reynolds | Maria.Reynolds@parks.ny.gov | (845) 889-8851, ext. 355
Chris Steber | Christopher.Steber@parks.ny.gov | (845) 889-3880