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.

Have You Joined A Tea Society?

Afternoon tea table set at Chastain Park Conservancy
Atlanta Tea Society visited Chastain Park Conservancy for a farm tour followed by afternoon tea

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!).

Rosie Davidson master gardener of Farm Chastain
Originally from Scotland, Farm Chastain’s master gardener Rosie Davidson is our hostess twice over:  part farm tour guide, part afternoon tea hostess. Here she is picking snap peas for us to taste.
One of our new Atlanta Tea Society friends prepares the scones that Rosie baked, spreading them with cream and preserves per her directions. Rosie also brought camellia cuttings for her teatime presentation, in which she shared with us about her teaware, how tea grows, her favorite tea varieties and how the British take tea.

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.

Atlanta Tea Society organizer Prima personally catered this event, treating us to a table set with fine china and tier after tier of finger sandwiches, mini quiches, gourmet truffles and fruit tartlets.

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!

Tea Societies

Facebook – Afternoon Tea Across America
Prescott, Arizona – The Prescott Tea Society
Southern California (SoCal) – Southern CA High Tea Meetup
Southern California (SoCal) – Tea Travellers SocieTea
Athens/Atlanta, Georgia – World Tea Society
Atlanta, Georgia – Atlanta Tea Society
Hawaii – Hawaii Tea Society
Bancroft, Michigan – Grand Oak Herb Farm Tea Society
Albuquerque, New Mexico – Albuquerque Ladies Tea Society
New York, New York – New York Tea Society (NYTS)
Hudson, Ohio – Secret Tea Society
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Victorian Ladies Tea Society of Philadelphia
York, Pennsylvania – The Royal-tea Club
Spring, Texas – Afternoon Tea Meetup
USA/Canada – JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) – not a tea society, but meetings and annual festival include afternoon tea

WWII era hangar
Atlanta Tea Society created a special opportunity for us to take tea inside this historical, World War II era hangar.

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!

Farm Chastain veggies
Touring the raised beds before our teatime
Afternoon tea and farm tour at Chastain Park Conservancy and Farm Chastain
Greeting the Farm Chastain residents
table set for afternoon tea at Chastain Park Conservancy
Repairing to this open-air setting for an elegant garden tea
tea tray at Garden party afternoon tea
Time for tea, replete with champagne, specialty spreads and macarons.
Fortnum & Mason Fauchon teas
Favors! Rosie gifts us with her favorite Fortnum & Mason and Fauchon teas from overseas.

 

Gifts for Afternoon Tea Lovers

Happy Holidays from all of us at Destination Tea! We love this season of giving, especially because it gives us the chance to patronize local craftswomen and small businesses. Without further ado, here are six fabulous gift ideas for someone you love who loves afternoon tea (and if that someone is you, please forward these suggestions to the appropriate elf).

1. Homemade Scones from Vermont

Rose Arbour Scones Shipped

Details:  The homemade scones from Rose Arbour Tea Room in Chester, Vermont are DIVINE! These large three-inch-round lovelies are all things wonderful about a scone:  they break into soft, slightly flaking morsels, buttery with a touch of salt and just a hint of sweetness. Ship them anywhere in the continental U.S., where they’ll arrive ready to freeze or to warm and enjoy (just try and resist immediately devouring them).
To Order:  Call Suzy Nielsen at 802-875-4767 or email suzy@artequine.com; Purchase by the half-dozen at $3 per scone, plus shipping

2. Handmade English Clotted Cream from North Carolina

Blakemere Company Clotted Cream

Details:  Amanda Fisher has brought authentic recipes from her hometown Devon, England, over the pond to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she founded The Blakemere Company. Using cream from local NC farms, Amanda makes the U.S.’s first handmade English clotted cream. “Unlike creme fraiche which is set with a culture, our cream is not sour or tangy but is thick with flecks of yellow buttery “crust”.  Quite literally, ‘Cream to the Power of 10!'”
To Order:  Online, $9.99 for a 6oz. jar

3. Monthly Tea Subscription (or one-time gift) from GeorgiaJust Add Honey tea and honey subscription box

Details: Just Add Honey’s Brandi and Jermail Shelton source and blend their line of teas using local and organic ingredients. The results are delicious, creative blends, which they serve in their downtown cafe and at their afternoon teas. But should non-Atlantans miss out? No, ma’am. We recommend the tea and honey box, which comes with 3 exclusive teas in 1 oz. servings from tea fields around the world, small-batched honey from U.S. beekeepers and a treat; either as a one-time gift, or as a monthly subscription. “Each box contains information about the origin of your tea {so you can impress your friends later}!”
To Order:  Online, $25 for one tea and honey box

4. Vintage Cake Dome with Pottery Stand from Georgia

Details:  Terrie Ponder Watch of Cardinal Lake Pottery finds vintage glass cake dome toppers and then creates pottery stands to fit them. No two are alike, but they are all gorgeous, and come in a variety of patterns and glazes, which you may select if you contact Terrie with a custom order request. We could see this unique cake dome becoming a family heirloom, for setting out Grandma’s famous scones when guests come to call.
To Order:  Online gallery or contact Terrie at terrie@cardinallakepotter.com or 678-984-9549, $65 large cake dome; $35 small dome server

5. Tea Hats and Fascinators from Utah

Tea Hats and Fascinators from Queen Sugar Bee on Etsy

Details:  We like afternoon tea to be fun, fabulous and affordable, and that’s why we like Julia Bee’s line of handmade fascinators and tea hats. Especially helpful in her Etsy shop is that you can search by color, from many styles. The only difficulty might be choosing just one!
To Order:  Online, styles ranging from $20 to $50

6. Tea Wallets from New Hampshire

Tea Wallet from Thistledown Cozies

Details: Thistledown Cozies’ handmade tea wallet comes in multiple patterns and makes the perfect stocking stuffer for us tea travelers because its ten compartments accommodate all the trappings of a delicious steep. You can neatly tuck teabags and sweeteners into this 3″x5″ wallet to prepare and share your own favorite tea-on-the-go, wherever your destination tea adventures take you. Have tea wallet, will travel!
To Order:  Online from The English Tea Store, $12.59 plus shipping