Bates Grove Mansion Tea Room & Art Gallery
Built in 1923 by Henry Bates, a Dutch oil baron from Pennsylvania, the building that is now the Bates Grove Mansion Tea Room & Art Gallery was his personal residence. Today, the Larsen family owns and operates a reservation-only tearoom.
Sandwiches, tea, and pastries are the main draw, in addition to the fine watercolor art painted with coffee. Owner Steve Larsen paints watercolor scenes with coffee grounds, diluted to create different “paint values” of the coffee.
Scenes include nature, wildlife, dogs, and old Florida, such as the cracker cowboy. Original pieces range from $100 to $5600 and prints from $1 to $100. The artwork of Larsen — who has never had an art lesson — decorates the mansion and is plentiful in the gift shop, which was once the piano room of Henry Bates’ daughter.
The building itself still retains much of the original architecture, including cast iron light fixtures, huge solid oak doors, double Dutch doors and 13-foot ceilings.
It was said that the house, which has 5000 square feet under the roof, was the first to have indoor toilets in Haines City. Mr. Bates had the sweeping hardwood staircase torn out and rebuilt three times before he was satisfied with it.
The tearoom hosts luncheon meetings, bridal and baby showers, birthday parties, children’s tea parties, and reunions. Party reservations for the tearoom can be made through the art gallery. An afternoon of “high tea” will include scones and jam, a pot of tea, a tier with sandwiches and desserts for $13 per person. Parties of 6-40 can be accommodated.
Cottage baked goods are made to order and include scones, biscotti, lemon cookies, meringues, madeleines, lavender shortbread, petit fours, and artisanal bread.
The tearoom is available Tue – Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. It is located at 380 Patterson Rd., Haines City. For more info contact 863-206-1443 or visit BatesGroveMansion.Weebly.com.