Allison Bennett, Michael Arth, and Miriam Welch
207 W Voorhis Avenue, DeLand
Yummy! That's the word to describe the latest recipient of West Volusia Pperties Fall Restoration Award at 207 W Voorhis in DeLand. Located in the heart of the Garden District, the yummy pink building is owned by Michael Arth, one of a dozen Garden District developers. After restoration efforts over a two year period Arth then leased the building to Allison Bennett and Miriam Welch, two extraordinary women who created one of the most delicious restaurants in town--The Garden Cottage Tea Room.
When this downtown residential revitalization project was initiated four years ago by Maggi Hall, Broker/Owner West Volusia Properties, Arth was the first to buy into her dream. He purchased 19 derelict buildings, rolled up his sleeves, and got to work. Both Hall and Arth realized that to make the project succeed all of the buildings between Howry and Euclid and Amelia and Woodland would have to be restored. At present over 50 buildings have changed hands, some up to three times, in an effort to bring graciousness back to these former dwellings.
When Arth purchased the tax deed for the Voorhis property the building had been used for illicit activities. Filth and debris covered the floors. Arth pulled off the plywood from the windows, ordered a dumpster, and began cleaning up the corner. Code enforcement forgave him liens on the property amounting to over $300,000 and with it's blessings watched the improvements take place. Arth restored the floors to their original luster, re-plastered, re-plumbed, and re-electrified. He put up a picket fence, painted the exterior, and waited for just the right tenants.
He didn't have to wait long. When Bennett and Welch cast about for a place to open a tea room they visited West Volusia Properties for a list of possibilities. Hall gave them only one: The Garden District. She called Arth who met the ladies at the door of 207 E Voorhis and, well, the rest is history. The women began interior decoration which included bright colors, wall murals, and Victorian wallpaper. In one of the bathrooms they even have silk flowers strewn on the floor of the tub. Cozy rooms offer decorative tables covered with linen and lace. China and crystal grace the tables. The interior design beckons you to want to sit a spell while the food will bring you back again and again.
So if you want High Tea and an ambiance that is reminiscent of long lost days of leisure, visit the Garden District and its most magnificent Garden Cottage Tea Room. Sit on the front porch swing with a cup of tea served in a fine bone china cup and raise it in appreciation to Michael, Allison, and Miriam.