Article by Richelle Putnam
Paige Lawes doesn’t like talking about herself, but she loves talking about community and providing people with an intimate place to relax, have conversation, and enjoy a cup of tea and maybe a scone or two.
Located in a quaint, Tudor-style cottage on North Jackson St. in Starkville, Three Generations Tea Room is more than a space for special occasions, and more than a place to eat and sip tea. When you step into Three Generations, plan to be whisked back in time through a décor of antiques and artifacts, tea cups and china, photos and an old upright piano. Exquisite curved doorways lead you from room to room on polished wood floors that thump like excited heartbeats when you walk over them. The setting is an experience in itself before you even begin your special occasion.
The name “Three Generations” represents three generations of independent women: Paige Lawes, her mother, Nickii Elrod, and Paige’s daughter, Adriana Sumner. Open and running since Thanksgiving weekend in 2001, the longevity of the tea room has proven its independence as well.
Paige moved from Hawaii to Starkville to be closer to her mother and daughter, but she couldn’t forget the wonderful little tea room in Honolulu and decided to start one herself. From the very beginning, the tea room was successful and Paige had a full staff. But opening and preparing for daily business and making sure staff was punctual was more than Paige wanted to do at this point in her life.
“I went to reservation only and found [that] people love to come here because it’s a special place, even the people who come regularly. They really like the setting because it’s so pretty,” Paige said.
Now, through reservations only, Three Generations Tea Room plays host to a variety of special events, especially on the weekends, which pretty much stay booked, according to Paige. Garden clubs, arts and craft groups, and sororities find Three Generations to be the perfect, intimate setting for get-togethers. It’s also ideal for graduations and birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, and more.
When Paige first opened, Three Generations hosted a high school graduation party for a young girl and her family and friends. “I had her graduation party from college, and then I had her bridal shower, and now I’m having her baby shower.”
There’s something about Three Generations Tea Room that keeps people coming back for their special occasions. Maybe it’s the homey atmosphere; maybe it’s the intimacy of quiet conversation; maybe it’s the unique furnishings surrounding them.
“The men really like the Celtic room, which has a Scottish, Irish, and Welsh feel through the décor,” Paige said.
Outside, the garden and playhouse provide additional places for serenity, imagination, and reminiscing. The settings, both inside and out, are perfect backdrops for new memories to mix in with the old.
Still, Paige Lawes wanted to do more for her Starkville community.
“When I first opened, I had been real involved in Hawaii in the pro-life movement, so when I came to Starkville, there was a small pregnancy center here and I offered to them, that first year, an opportunity to come and be a part,” Paige said, who has continued this tradition to help raise money for a good cause during the Three Generations Tea Room Twelve Days of Christmas.
During the Twelve Days of Christmas, made up of several Saturday reservation-only lunch events, Paige prepares turkey and ham along with other holiday menu selections. In addition to the delectable holiday spread, there is live entertainment every day, from bluegrass, to Celtic, to piano, and more. On “Happy Birthday Jesus” Saturday, moms bring their children and the day’s musician sings with them, making it the perfect holiday family occasion.
The reasonable cost of the luncheon makes it easy for people to contribute over and above the ticket amount to this year’s fundraising recipient, Starkville Pregnancy Center. Reservations for the Twelve Days of Christmas go fast, so make yours now.
“Every seat is a reserved spot, so you can’t just show up at the door,” Paige said. “Many reserve their favorite table.”
But remember, in the Tudor-style cottage on the hill, it’s always a special occasion. Afternoon tea, when it was developed, explained Paige, was a time to stop and visit with people and that’s the whole idea behind Three Generations Tea Room.
“It’s an opportunity to take a breath from what’s going on in the world. It takes you away from the busyness of the world and allows you to sit and visit,” Paige said. “The whole idea is spending the afternoon with people you really like and making the day with friends and family what you want, from lunch, to watching a movie, to celebrating heritage and traditions.”
To book a special event or make reservations for Three Generations Tea Room Twelve Days of Christmas, call 662/324-1507
Twelve Days of Christmas:
Dates – Saturdays – December 2 through December 16
Opens at 11:00 am; Merriment begins at 12:15
Cost – $12.00, plus tax (Amounts received in excess of the cost and tax of lunch is donated to the Starkville Pregnancy Center.)