The McCharles House: A Valentine's Day Ritual

The Feast Day of Saint Valentine pays homage to a truly selfless soul, who so believed in love, that he literally gave his life for it. At The McCharles House, in Tustin, CA, St. Valentine and his loving sacrifice is honored with ritual and a romantic “Chocolatea” celebration, which nurtures old souls, who yearn for a gentler time and the refinement and loveliness of long ago.

The Victorian McCharles House is also, itself, a tribute to romance. The splendor of a bygone era is preserved within its grounds and walls. Strolling its beautiful garden invites one to leave their cares behind, if only for a brief moment in time, in order to refresh the soul. The enchanted atmosphere, with its many beautiful areas, also allows one to wonder and dream, of another place and perhaps another time, where life was steeped in romance and loveliness.

Guests began their Valentine's Day tea with scones, fruit preserves, and clotted cream, then delighted in a chicken dish, an heirloom recipe passed down to the proprietor and chef, Miss Vivian, by her grandmother. The principal indulgence of the day’s Valentine tea was, of course, chocolate, because even in Victorian times, men instinctually knew that chocolate was the way to a love interest’s heart. This may be because chocolate contains the chemicals, tryptophan and phenylethylamine, which activates the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. And we will drink (tea) to that!

So on this day, the Feast of St. Valentine, we honor his life by being hopeless romantics, by embracing the traditions of love and what it’s really about, and by celebrating through ritual (of taking tea). In the words of Daphne Kingma, “We dignify and consecrate our relationships when we set them apart from the ordinary through ritual. Through these rituals, [our lives] become a holy place, with possibilities. Rituals become a reference that goes beyond the conventions of love and romance. It points our relationships to its higher purpose.”

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Info: The McCharles House, 335 S. C St., Tustin, CA 92780 Phone: (714) 731-4063

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