Where: French Quarter, Charleston, SC Style: Traditional Tea Selection: 12 sacheted loose leaf teas by Mighty Leaf Teatimes: Daily 4-7 Reservations: 24-hour notice Contact: 843-723-3446 Cost: $30 Afternoon Tea Destination Tea Tips: If people-watching is your thing, you might request a table at the front, where three sets of glass-paned doors are thrown open in the warmer months.
Destination Tea Notes: If you’re keeping a destination tea bucket list, we suggest adding East Bay Meeting House to it. For what? The scrumptious food, some of the best we’ve had yet. Upon your curate’s arrival, cantaloupe butterflies and kale doilies hint at something unusual, while mini brass shells tucked amongst the savories hold tiny cards that seem to have directed each savory like an honored guest to its place on the lowest tier. While it’s typical for an afternoon tea to have a few signature items, at East Bay Meeting House, in the entire repast, there is only one item we don’t both agree is outstanding. We also enjoy the atmosphere, with the fresh air coming in from the lively street and our gracious host attentive and friendly, but mainly leaving us to our leisure.
Where: Aiken, SC Style: Cheerful Cafe Tea Selection: 2 proposed loose leaf teas from list of 100+ Teatimes: Tuesday to Saturday 12:30-2:30 Reservations: 48-hour notice *ages 10 and up Contact: 803-335-1440 Cost: $28 High Tea; $25 Afternoon Tea; $20 Gongfu Cha Chinese Tea Ceremony; $7.50 Cream Tea Destination Tea Tips: Consider paying the add-on fee to have owner Lady Kelly MacVean hostess your tea. Certified by both the U.K. Tea Council and the American Tea Master Association as a “Tea Master,” Lady Kelly can give you a thorough introduction to afternoon tea. Even if you are an afternoon tea connoisseur, you may still learn something new from Lady Kelly – we did!
Destination Tea Notes: Every now and again we discover a tearoom the likes of La Dolce, where a professional, creative eye attends to every detail in cultivating an afternoon tea service that is authentic and unique all at once. Not only do we love Lady Kelly MacVean’s taste in hats, we also appreciate her love of tradition and history. She’s not play-acting when she calls herself a “lady,” because she is one, having purchased property in the Scottish Highlands during her time living abroad. She sets the tea table with antiques and vintage teaware. As a dual-certified tea master, she recommends tea pairings and hosts tea tastings to help others develop a love of tea. And she wisely teams up with her daughter, Chef Kirstie Wohlfeil, who whips up a scrumptious, made-from-scratch afternoon tea menu.
Where: Upper East Side, NYC Style: Elegant Traditional Tea Selection: 18 loose leaf teas by Dammann Frères Teatimes: Daily 2-6 Reservations: Highly suggested Contact: 212-838-1400 Cost:$55 The Classic Pembroke Tea Destination Tea Tips: For a cozy afternoon tea, request a corner table, and bring tip money for the coat check. To reach the Pembroke Room, you will take a lobby elevator upstairs.
Destination Tea Notes: As you arrive for afternoon tea at The Lowell, you feel yourself a true New Yorker, imagining you’ve just finished shopping at the high end fashion houses around the corner on Madison Avenue, and afterwards might pop over to Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany’s before strolling through Central Park. Built in 1927 and renovated for its 90th birthday, The Lowell breathes refinement and class without being uptight. The staff is inviting and solicitous and the tea selection from France’s Dammann Frères is a rare treat in an American tearoom. We were surprised at the few missteps in the meal, which, based on others’ glowing reviews, seems uncharacteristic of The Lowell. However, all told, we enjoyed making a holiday family memory and luxuriating in the charming Pembroke Room.