Destination Tea: The Book & Bee

Where:  Hendersonville, North Carolina
Style:  Charming cafe
Tea Selection:  14 loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Tuesday to Saturday 11:30-1:30 (last seating), and Special Tea Events
Reservations:  24-hour notice for afternoon tea; walk-ins welcome for cream tea (Tu-Sat, 10-3)
Contact: 828-845-4242
Cost:  $25 Afternoon Tea; Cream Tea $7.95
Destination Tea Tip:  This new teahouse is very popular, so book your reservations well in advance.

Prices and teatimes are subject to change. Please see our North Carolina afternoon tea directory for the latest details.

outside sign at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
book binding steps at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville

Destination Tea: The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea — newly opened this year, just 30 minutes south of Asheville — was the perfect teahouse to pair with our book club’s visit to the Biltmore. We set out to tour “The Last Castle” after reading this book by Denise Kiernan, and how à propos to kick off our trip by meeting fellow bibliophiles Lesley Shipley and Victoria Cummins, the mother-daughter owners of The Book & Bee. Throughout the teahouse, you’ll find nods to the ladies’ favorite tales and love of British culture, from the book spines front steps to the themed tea rooms, and teas given literary names. A Harry Potter fan in our group even spied a Marauder’s Map teapot. Lunch is also served here, where most everything is made from scratch, and we appreciate that seasonal ingredients are featured. The Book & Bee afternoon tea experience is so lovely from start to finish (as well as extremely affordable, with service that is on point) that the afternoon tea newbies in our group became instant fans of the tradition. Reviewing the weekend, one in our group even comments, “the afternoon tea was the highlight of our trip.”

telephone booth at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Just making a quick call, “Darling, you’ve just got to see this teahouse.”
welcome to afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Loving the art installment in the foyer of The Book & Bee
The Stratford Room at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
In Tudor style, The Stratford Room — named for Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon — has darkly stained exposed beams and a stone fireplace.
The Garden Room at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
The very feminine Garden Room, with elegant light fixtures
The Garden Room at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
You might think you have shrunk like Alice when dining in the Garden Room, papered with huge blooms.
teacup wreath at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Again we spy the creativity of our hostesses: a handmade teacup and saucer wreath above the mantle
The Eagle & Child room at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Victoria explains her love of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings, which inspired The Eagle & Child room, a reference to the famous 17th-century English pub where Tolkien’s writer’s group met. We love the faux copper ceiling to give this room character and warmth.
The Jubilee Room at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
And here we are in the Jubilee Room, a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II
antique chair at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Want to help me identify this style of antique chair? My first time seeing chair back with a shelf!
selecting teas at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
The ladies study their tea choices
British display afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
A display of British memorabilia and teaware to celebrate the home of afternoon tea
mousehole at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Wait, what’s this?
mousehole at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Seems even the mice are British in the Jubilee room

Tea Service

pedestal teacup at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
So many gorgeous teacups in this teahouse! We also love our copper demitasse spoons.
pedestal teacup at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
A very royal pedestal teacup, sits atop a decoupaged table of clippings and book excerpts
teacup at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Foreshadowing the beautiful Biltmore gardens we would visit the next day
teas at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Each guest is offered a large 6-cup pot of tea, so we agree on a variety of selections because part of the fun is trying each other’s teas
tea poured at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Such a pretty pot! Some of the table favorites are The Poppins (vanilla black with caramel) and The Little Women (apple cinnamon black tea), but overall everyone is very happy with their choices.
afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Greetings, milady – color-coordinated from teacup to fascinator

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Michelle is the perfect server, taking excellent care to make sure we have everything we need, but also leaving us plenty of time to chat.
owners Victoria and Lesley at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Hello lovely hostesses, Victoria and mom Lesley who pops out of the kitchen to present the tea trays
afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Each lady has her own 3-tiered tray, creating lots of smiles.
afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
An afternoon tea forest, the best kind
afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Afternoon teatime = the best time
finger sandwiches at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
The plentiful and delicious savories include: egg salad on marble rye, mini croissant with chicken salad, spinach and feta pinwheel, heart-shaped pineapple sandwich, cucumber with dill, and apple and cinnamon canapé.
apple pie scone at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
The apple pie scone is wonderfully soft and aromatic, served with cream. It is accompanied by a smoked salmon dill crepe and a strawberry piped with cheesecake filling.
desserts at afternoon tea at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
The teahouse brings in the dessert course: lemon bar, macaron, chocolate layer cake, baklava (it’s a bird’s nest!) and pumpkin truffle.
locally made gifts at The Book & Bee Cafe & Tea in Hendersonville
Teas and gifts are available in the front of the teahouse. Locally made molded soaps remind me of the ’50s, and I buy a rose-scented, jade colored one for the lovely lady who organized our trip. Coincidentally we were talking about this very thing on the drive up: wrapping a book with only a summary written on it for an adventurous book exchange.
DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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