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.
Where: Roswell, GA Style: Antebellum Tea Selection: Choice of black or decaffeinated tea Teatimes: Select dates in December Reservations: Pre-paid reservations required (teas sell out weeks in advance) Contact: 770-992-1731 Cost:$50 Christmas Tea (includes historic home tour) Destination Tea Tip: Keep an eye on our Metro Atlanta directory around early fall so that you can reserve your seats as soon as dates are posted. Be sure to allow time for the post-tea historic tour, included in the Christmas Tea fee.
Destination Tea Notes: Non-profit organization Friends of Bulloch gracefully hosts a well-planned annual Christmas Tea at the 1839 childhood home of Mittie Bulloch, mother to President Theodore Roosevelt, and grandmother to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Half of the pleasure of taking tea at Bulloch Hall is imagining American historical figures enjoying the holidays in the very same rooms. Tea here is all about the food — which is plentiful and homemade — and the conversation, as small parties share community tables, which of course, leads to shared stories. We know we are blessed to be seated with an octogenarian whose daughter graciously allows us to pepper her mother with questions about her views on longevity, marriage, career and life balance. Her advice is the true gift of the afternoon. As the tables are gradually cleared away, we gather in the foyer for our home tour led by a knowledgeable docent, marveling at her detailed accounting of family life in this 19th century home.