Where: Laurel, MD Style: Georgian Tea Selection: 2 loose leaf teas Teatimes: Monthly teas with multiple seatings Reservations: Reserved with credit card (teas can sell out weeks in advance) Contact: 301-377-7817 Cost:$30 Holiday Tea (ages 18 and up); $26 Members (includes gratuity and self-guided tour) Destination Tea Tip: Upon entering the Montpelier Mansion grounds, follow signs for the mansion, winding around to the parking lot and then walk up a brick path to the house. Be sure to allow time for a visit to the gift shop and your self-guided tour of this historical home.
Destination Tea Notes: The volunteer staff at Montpelier Mansion has thought of everything to make their afternoon tea events special, from decorations to favors, from gracious service to a masterfully catered menu provided by The Tea Trolley in Delta, Pennsylvania. Celebrating a holiday by taking tea at this 18th-century estate feels like we are properly ringing in the season. A light snowfall envelopes the mansion as we settle in for a scrumptious tea by a bedecked fireplace. Afterwards we dip a toe into the past during our self-guided tour and find locally made gifts at the mansion’s holiday Artists’ Boutique. Wisely, while bidding us farewell, Montpelier Mansion staff announce upcoming teas for the year, and if we were locals, we would be making every effort to miss not a one of them!
Where: Georgetown, Washington, DC Style: Victorian Tea Selection: 35+ loose leaf teas Teatimes: Tuesday to Friday 1-5, Saturday to Sunday 11-7 Reservations: Strongly recommended (3-week notice recommended for weekends) Contact: 202-333-2308 Cost: $38 High Tea; $32 Full Tea; $24 English Pie Tea; $23 Savory Tea; $19 Light Tea; $18 Cream Tea; $21 Children’s Full Tea; $17 Children’s Sandwich Tea (ages 10 and under) Destination Tea Tip: Request a table in the tea room’s beveled bay window for a cozy, sunlit afternoon tea experience.
Destination Tea Notes: Slipped amongst Georgetown’s historic rowhouses, Lady Camellia’s lime green front welcomes tea-goers for a bit of a “choose your own adventure” afternoon tea experience. Once seated in the feminine, intimate tearoom, you first select your afternoon tea menu (options listed above) and then how you’d like to populate it, from the seasonal sandwiches, scones, croissants, English pie and/or pastries currently offered. Repeat customers could easily customize their experience to have a different tea adventure every time they visit. Ensconced in an historical building where tea was surely taken hundreds of years ago, we perch grandly in our Baroque-style chairs, wondering if the quietude we found upon entering warns of stuffiness. Nope! As new guests arrive for their teatimes, the room fills with animated conversation and the vibe is relaxed and friendly, with tea-goers not there to be seen, but rather to see each other.
New year’s resolution for afternoon tea lovers: join a tea society!
Local or online tea societies bring together tea sisters and brothers for some or all of the following: tea education, society afternoon teas or themed events (i.e., with guest speaker, etiquette class, costumes, book review or historical lecture), discussion of all things tea, recommendations for teas or afternoon tea venues and in rare cases, a welcome gift box (tea goodies!).
As a tea society member, not only are you hip to the latest in the world of tea, but you are sure to make some new friends who enjoy thoughtful conversation over tea.
Tea society membership is oftentimes free — in the case of Facebook or Meetup groups — or can have a nominal annual membership fee, like $25, that comes with certain perks. Society email newsletters or Facebook posts invite members to society events and share tea news. Here are some tea societies for you to explore. If your tea society is not listed, please share its name in the comments, and we’ll update this article with your additions. Thank you!
If you are in the metro Atlanta area and haven’t yet joined the Meetup group Atlanta Tea Society, you are missing invitations to one-of-a-kind afternoon tea outings. Since joining ATS, I’ve not only met new friends who love going to tea, I’ve also been able to experience afternoon tea venues that only take larger parties or special tea events organized by the group, such as this November Garden Tea Party at the Chastain Park Conservancy. I thank ATS for a lovely memory!