Old Town is one of those areas I’ve avoided over the years because of the tourists and parking can be a challenge. It’s a great area filled with a lot of historical buildings — from the Whaley House (the number one most haunted house in the U.S., according to the Travel Channel) to Mormon Battalion Memorial — it’s an area rich with the past.
What was formally Casa de Bandini is now the Cosmopolitan Hotel. It is located in the heart of Old Town surrounded by similar buildings constructed around the same time and not accessible by car. It’s a full functioning 10-room hotel and restaurant that has been restored to its 1869 grandeur but with the addition of a second floor. The Cosmopolitan Hotel also hosts various events throughout the year. This holiday season, the hotel is presenting a Victorian tea party.
The Victorian Tea party revolves around Mrs. Robinson, an actual figure from San Diego’s history. Mrs. Robinson is reported to be one of the first American women to have settled in San Diego. Other personalities who existed around that time — a politician’s wife, a woman fighting for equal rights, an Irishman and an eccentric cross-dressing performer — were also in attendance.
While educational, the performance can be unsettling for some because guests are encouraged to interact with the performers and participate in parlor games, singing and other revelry common during that time. Yes, you get to speak with Mrs. Robinson. If you don’t already know the history of Mrs. Robinson, the story and purpose of the event can be confusing. It’s the opportunity to experience first hand what it’s like to attend tea party in the 1800s. Fortunately, guests won’t be lost on the food.
Guests flocked to a food-laden table to indulge in a huge selection of teas (including a beef tea starter), finger sandwiches, cookies and cakes to eat during the 90-minutes performance. The devonshire cream and jam with scones alone complete the whole experience. But hiding behind the program with a mouth stuffed with curried chicken sandwiches doesn’t protect anyone from having the participate in playing the Minister’s Cat. And singing is optional.
Remaining performances are December 28, 29 and 30 starting at 4 p.m. with limited seating. More information can be found here.