Tea for Two—Hundred, That Is—at Elegant Ochre Court

"Newport to a Tea," an annual event to benefit the Newport Education Foundation held at Salve Regina’s Ochre Court Mansion, brought out 220 very elegantly bedecked women for a traditional tea of champagne, hors d’oeuvres, teas, and lovely sandwiches, served at beautiful tables, all to raise money for public education grants.


Checking in ladies in imaginative hats were Susan McCoy and Stevie Worthington . Pianist Morgan Eschenheimer played enchanting light tunes, and hostesses and their guests bid eagerly on silent auction items and dropped raffle tickets into the containers of their choice.


Anne Oliver & Nuala Pell

Veteran champagne pourers, former city councilman Dennis McCoy and councilman Justin McLaughlin, added a debonair touch in their tuxedos. Gentlemen, including  Australian Rolly Buchanan,  in from Brisbane, were conscripted into service ("I was just visiting my brother..."  he lamented), waited tables.


Dennis McCoy pours champagne

Twenty-two tables were hosted, imaginatively decorated and set by community members. The themes included "Viking Pride," for the Rogers High School team; "Organized to a Tea," with a Tiffany-themed centerpiece; "Embrace Life, Read More," a tree dedicated to books; "School Lunch;" "Tea for the Blue Mad Hatters;" "Duct tape;" and "Peter Rabbit & Friends."


"Embrace Life, Read More" Tree of Books

Seen were Nuala (Mrs. Claiborne) Pell, Bonnie Weber, Pat Toppa (who hosted a table), Anne Oliver, and Mary Ambrogi. Co-chairs Missi Monahan and Amy Machado were busy greeting guests, and honorary co-chairs Barbara Strasser and Linda Gordon were speaking with friends.


Susan McCoy, Stevie Worthington at the check in table

The highest bids on silent auction items were for art works by local artists Richard Grosvenor, Eveline Roberge and Bettie Sarantos, and an overnight and dinner package at the Castle Hill Inn for two. Raffle items included a garden basket, with gift certificates to Chaves Gardens and Island Garden Shop; tickets to the Secret Garden Tour; and other items for the garden. Family excursion and adventure packages featured trips to regional landmarks: the Providence Children's Museum, Plymouth Plantations, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Tickets for the Duck Tour, Paw Sox, water park entry, and more were available.


The event, in its 14th year,  raised $14,000, which will be used to train a new generation of leaders.


Kathy Albanese & Katie Ahearne

"Under the Sea" by Jeanne McGeough

"Viking Pride" helmets for Rogers High School

 "School Lunch",  sponsored by Newport Harbor Corp.

"Winter Blues" by Colleen Crouteau

The silent auction table

 Placing a bid

"Organized" by Bronwyn McDermott & Michelle Mullowney

"Duct Tape" by Pat Toppa

Rogers High School student artwork on display

Sue Cooper, President of NPEF

Amy Machado & Missi Monahan, co-chairs

"Have a sandwich, mate?"

Bonnie Weber, Melissa Mullaly & Michele Mullowney

Erica Sousa

  Ronni Hodosh  & Pat Toppa

Pat Toppa & Tia Scigulinsky

 Ms. Toppa with her table, "Duct Tape"

Pianist Morgan Eschenheimer


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