By MEGHAN GRAHAM
Walking into Pinkadilly Tea at Smythe’s Cottage, in downtown Fredericksburg at 303 Fauquier St., guests are welcomed with the pink color scheme. The walls are bubblegum pink, the tablecloths are salmon pink with a lace overlay and the decorations are rose pink. And then there is the name of the business: PINKadilly Tea.
“I went through about 20 or 30 different names,” said owner Kaye Tippet. “Pinkadilly stuck. It was catchy. Even if it does discourage men from coming.”
Tippet went into the tea business after losing her job in the mortgage industry. She took the loss of her 26-year-long career as an opportunity to try out entrepreneurship. Tippet considered opening an antique shop, as well as a bed and breakfast.
“I was okay with the B, but not the B,” she said.
She settled on opening a tea room, which officially opened for business in January 2008.
Tippet then spent time searching for the perfect location to house Pinkadilly Tea. She drove by Smythe’s Cottage multiple times and thought it would be just the right spot, but it was not for rent. Tippet explaied that she continued looking and ended up finding another location downtown. It was time for her to sign the papers, but something was holding her back. She drove by Smythe’s Cottage again, and a “For Rent” sign had appeared, barely visible in the dusty windows.
She immediately called the realtor, and he assured her the building was still available. “I’ll take it,” she told him without any hesitation, and without ever seeing the inside. And with that, Smythe’s Cottage was hers.
However, Tippet and her guests are not the only inhabitants of Smythe’s Cottage. The site is allegedly haunted by two Civil War ghosts. One of these supposed spirits, Elizabeth, alledgedly hung herself after her husband left her. He returned from fighting in the Civil War and found out that she had not been faithful in his absence.
“Or that’s how the story goes,” Tippet said.
Tippet denies the existence of these spirits, but has admitted to witnessing some suspicious activity.
Tippet named the most decadent tea service “Queen Elizabeth” in the female spirit’s honor. The Queen Elizabeth is priced at $22.95, and includes the soup of the day, quiche, a pot of tea, a tri-tiered platter filled with tiny tea sandwiches, light, fluffy scones, and assorted sweets complete the spread.
Lynne Graham visited Pinkadilly Tea for Valentine’s Day with her daughter. She dined on the Queen Elizabeth and plans on making many return trips to the tea shop.
“They have the best food, and the most of it,” she said. “They made me feel very special.”
After all, their motto is, “Where every day, our special “tea” is you.”