Destination Tea: Bulloch Hall

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.Bulloch Hall in Roswell, GA

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.

Tea tables at Bulloch Hall in Roswell, GA
Decorated for Christmas, each ground floor room sports several cheerful red tables set for tea. Volunteers lead us to our table, which we share with two other parties.
Tea tables at Bulloch Hall in Roswell,  GA
China place settings surround cranberries-and-candles centerpieces.
Remarkable women exhibit at Bulloch Hall
Each festive room also honors one “remarkable woman of the 19th century,” displaying and describing her contributions.

Tea Service

Teas at Bulloch Hall in Roswell, GA
Guests are offered a choice of black or decaffeinated tea.
Docent pouring tea at Bulloch Hall in Roswell, GA
Volunteers dressed in period clothing kindly keep our tea cups full. This wonderful docent expertly led the house tour after our tea.

Savories and Sweets

Savories at Bulloch Hall Christmas Tea
After tea is served, the generous savories course pours forth from the back of the house. Plates are arranged with individual servings of egg salad roll up (yum), pimento cheese thumbprint cookie, chicken salad sandwich, pumpkin bread & cranberry sandwich, cucumber bourbon benedictine, apricot, ham & brie phyllo cup and a mini cheeseburger bite. We take our time sampling each item as we visit with our tablemates.
Desserts at Christmas Tea Bulloch Hall in Roswell, GA
For dessert, we have fun identifying which was which, agreeing that the pound cake with orange marmalade and ginger hazelnut shortbread cookie were the standouts, amongst the toffee pear scone, lemon tart, sugar plums, fruit cake cookie and Christmas trifle. So many Christmas treats!
Touring Bulloch Hall
After taking tea, we meet in the foyer to commence our docent-led tour of this 1839 home, and especially admire the sample inventions woven throughout the home’s decorations, to display the accomplishments of 19th century female inventors.
Bulloch Hall in Roswell, GA
We can understand why these teas sell out so quickly, as this event invites friends and family to gather for a leisurely, festive repast in a historic home that harkens back to the original era of afternoon tea.

Destination Tea: Montpelier Mansion

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.Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD

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!

Walking to Montpelier Mansion from the parking lot
Approaching the mansion from the parking lot
Entering Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD
Entering through the gift shop
Table for tea at Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD
We step back in time at our fireside table for two beautifully decorated with wintry greenery. An unexpected treat:  favors sit at our places – handmade soaps infused with tea — cleverly labeled with upcoming tea dates at the mansion. 
Tea room at Montpelier Mansion
The cheerful yellow tea room decorated with Christmas colors is brightly lit by the sun reflecting off the snow outside.

Tea Service

For this winter tea, mansion volunteers serve two options — a Montpelier blend (Darjeeling) and a Coconut Almond Snowflake black tea (fabulous). We enjoyed copious amounts of our favorite, thanks to the servers’ diligent attentions.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Sweet scones from the Tea Trolley in Delta, PA
The Tea Trolley’s signature sweet scones have perfect texture, and are a bit sweet for us, so we share one between us.
It’s the little things that make afternoon tea special, like these tiny teapot handles on our condiment spoons.
Tea sandwiches at Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD
The Tea Trolley hits the mark with creative and tasty sandwiches that counter the winter chill with a taste of the tropics, with pineapple-ham, spinach cream cheese, mango chutney and chicken salad with grape sandwiches. Yum!
Desserts at Montpelier Mansion afternoon tea
The desserts are too good. We savor our mint chocolate cupcake, white chocolate orange truffle, pecan tartlet and — saving the best for last — an eggnog cheesecake (yes!).
Tour pamphlet at Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD
Time for our self-guided tour of this 18th century home
Touring Montpelier Mansion
Tea service laid out in the family living room
Gift shop finds at Montpelier Mansion
Children’s tea sets, loose leaf teas, locally made gifts and other tea paraphernalia are for sale in the mansion gift shop.

Destination Tea: Lady Camellia Pastry and Tea Room

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.

Exterior Lady Camellia Tea Room in DC

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.

Entering Lady Camellia in DC
Robin’s-egg-blue paned door gives you your first glimpse of Lady Camellia’s sweet interior.
fireplace seat in Lady Camellia in DC
The image of enjoying afternoon tea by the fire is instantly warming as we step in out of the December wind.
Lady Camellia interior in DC
Lady Camellia’s narrow interior is decorated with soft whites, pastels and elegant tufted chairs.
Tea table at Lady Camellia's in DC
Just the right amount of girlishness in our table setting

Tea Service

afternoon tea menu choices at Lady Camellia in DC
If I were local, I would definitely return to try the English Pie Tea (because, alas, there is only so much one can eat in a sitting). For this visit, we opt to make the Full Tea a “Tea for Two.”
pastry choice at Lady Camellia in DC
A chalkboard with the seasonal desserts presents a serious challenge. Which desserts did we choose? Read on…
Tea choices at Lady Camellia
Our “Tea for Two” comes with a pot of tea each. I have a personal goal to sample more unflavored teas, but find Smoky Rose, Vanilla Mint, Gingerbread and Meyer Lemon too tempting to not try one.
Tea is poured at Lady Camellia
Tea is served!

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Tea sandwiches at Lady Camellia in DC
We choose the chicken salad, brie and apple, and smoked salmon tea sandwiches, which are generously portioned and yummy.
pastry and scone course at Lady Camellia in DC
For our next course, we elect to sample the apple and pain au chocolat croissants, and white chocolate cranberry scone, served with cream and jam. Clearly, we unabashedly cater to His Majesty, the Most Exalted Sweet Tooth. 
Desserts at Lady Camellia afternoon tea in DC
For our four pastries, we agree on the red velvet cupcake, vanilla crème brûlée, fleur de sel caramel macaron and pecan tartlet, all delicious. We congratulate ourselves on our excellent ordering and sharing skills.