Destination Tea: Smith-McDowell House Museum

Where:  Asheville, NC
Style:  1840s antebellum
Tea Selection:  2 preselected teas from Elmwood Inn Fine Teas
Teatimes:  Special Tea Events
Reservations:  Reservations required
Contact:  828-253-9231
Cost:  $20 Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tip:  Tea lovers will want to tour Smith-McDowell House Museum’s “Infused in History: A Tea Exhibit,” running through September 2019. Tea is poured for guests at their tour’s completion.

exterior Smith-McDowell House

Destination Tea Notes: Kudos to our hostesses, Education Coordinator Lisa Whitfield and tea blogger Lynn Karegeannes, for their work at Smith-McDowell House Museum on “Infused in History: A Tea Exhibit.” Collaborating with an admirable cadre of sponsors — including tea aficionado Bruce Richardson of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas (Danville, KY), Sara Stender of 3 Mountains Tea (Asheville, NC); tearoom owners Kym Brown of A Southern Cup (Hendersonville, NC), Jill Wasilewski of Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen (Arden, NC), Jennifer Stowe of The Three Sisters’ Tea Room (Ethridge, TN); and tea blogger Sara Shacket of Tea Happiness (Brooklyn, NY) — Lynn and Lisa have curated educational displays and a series of tea-themed events to explore the history, use and practice of taking tea. Fortunately, we are in town for their afternoon tea, which opens with a napkin-folding lesson and presentation from A Southern Cup‘s Kym Brown about the origins of afternoon tea, including the historical significance of African-American ownership of tearooms. Local pastry chef Jill Wasilewski of Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen provides a tasty menu, while Elmwood Inn supplies our teas. We thank Lynn for reaching out to make us aware of these tea programs and for giving us the opportunity to take tea in a home built in the same era in which afternoon tea was born.

Solarium in the Smith-McDowell House Museum
The most romantic space, we’d love to invite friends for afternoon tea in this solarium.
Wardian Case info display by Jennifer Stowe of The Three Sisters Tearoom
Learning! Thank you Jennifer of The Three Sisters’ Tearoom for this history lesson on Wardian cases and their relationship with conservatories.
silver set in the parlor of Smith-McDowell House Museum
Beautiful silver set in the family parlor
white linen tables set for afternoon tea in the Smith-McDowell House Museum
Linen-covered tables set for afternoon tea.
napkin folding at Smith-McDowell House Museum
Ta-dum! Proud of my final product.

Tea Service

Admiring my pretty place card holder and china
Elmwood Inn teas poured at Smith-McDowell House Museum
We enjoy both Abigail’s Blend (a “historic blend reminiscent of the black teas tossed into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773”) and the aromatic Blueberry Tisane, which are offered throughout the meal.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Spinach wraps from afternoon tea at Smith-McDowell House Museum
These spinach and goat cheese wraps are our favorite. Also pictured here are curried chicken salad cups.
Three-tier tray at afternoon tea at Smith-McDowell House Museum
Sandwiches include cucumber on homemade multi-grain, and ham on white.
spreads for scones at afternoon tea
Strawberry rhubarb compote is a special treat, alongside soft butter and clotted cream for our scones.
desserts at afternoon tea at Smith-McDowell House Museum
Jill’s desserts are the stars of this meal: macaron, lavender shortbread teapot cookie, tea-infused panna cotta (!!!!), chocolate truffle and chocolate covered coconut ball.