Where: Arden, North Carolina Style: 1930s stone cottage Tea Selection: 17 loose leaf teas by Asheville Tea Co., 3 Mountains Rwandan Tea and others Teatimes: Monday to Tuesday 9-4; Wednesday to Friday 9-9; Saturday 9-1 or 2 pm; Monthly Themed Teas Reservations: 48-hour notice, Saturday 2pm teas book weeks in advance Contact: 828-676-3870 Cost: $25-$30 Monthly Themed Teas; $20 Afternoon Tea Destination Tea Tip: You don’t need to wait for Saturday 2 pm teas to enjoy afternoon tea here. As long as you call a couple days in advance, you can reserve afternoon tea anytime during open hours, also giving you the option to augment your meal from the main menu.
Destination Tea Notes: Thanks to the masterful culinary skills of the incredibly twenty-something pastry chef-owner Jill Wasilewski, afternoon tea at Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen is a scrumptious treat from start to finish. While jazz plays in the background, a mix of afternoon tea goers from college grads to retirees and young married couples fill the rooms of this former private residence, and I think, “this place is so Asheville.” It may be 20 minutes south of the city, but it’s got that unexpected personality, blending a love of the old with the fresh and original, an unpretentious farm-to-table ethic, a DIY craftsmanship. It feels good to be here, like a happy home. One that welcomes an increasing number of afternoon tea goers, who knew what they had found in Jill when she opened Ivory Road three years ago. In fact, it was by popular customer request that Jill began offering afternoon tea, whose Saturday service now sells out weeks in advance. Expect to see evidence of Jill’s travels — to DC, Guatemala, New Orleans and Australia — in her scratch-made menu here, and to find several interesting tea choices from two Asheville tea purveyors. In sum, this gem nestled in the cool green mountainside is a worthy destination tea for any Blue Ridge Mountain tea tour itinerary.