Destination Tea: Fergusson’s on the Square

Where: Hoschton, Georgia
Style:  Vintage tearoom
Tea Selection:  2 to 6 loose leaf teas
Teatimes: Thursday to Saturday, 11-2
Reservations:  Reservations required for parties of 5 or more, otherwise, walk-ins welcome
Contact:  770-630-2612
Cost: $15.95 Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tips:  Revisit this tearoom to sample all the different seating areas:  in the main dining room, through the arches, at the raised corner table and on the patio.exterior Fergusson's in the Square

Destination Tea Notes:  Every now and again, we experience a tea that is so scrumptious from start to finish, we feel the need to gush. Thinking on our recent visit to Fergusson’s on the Square, that feeling has come upon us again. Put Fergusson’s on your bucket list if you are anywhere in the vicinity because this is a worthy destination tea trip to make. Why? 1.: the husband-and-wife owners have created an entirely made-from-scratch menu that is both generous and 2. very fairly priced, and 3. their service is attentive and accommodating. Step through the door under the hanging teapot sign and you’ve stepped back in time one hundred years. Ragtime background music properly sets the scene inside this early 1910s building, where we note men joining their wives for afternoon tea, possibly because this tearoom balances feminine lace and china with masculine dark tones, soft lighting, brick walls and arches. Whether you take your fella or go with the girls, the important thing is that you get to experience the deliciousness of Fergusson’s!

interior Fergusson's on the Square
Inside Fergusson’s on the Square, dark ceiling and floors, lace tablecloths, antique furniture and masonry properly furnish this 1910s space.
tea table at Fergusson's on the Square, Hoschton, GA
A blend of floral accents and wood tones create pretty and inviting tables.
tablescape at Fergusson's on the Square in Georgia
We spy teapots decorating the tables, either as vases with fresh flowers, or, as at our table, in the form of a silver teapot lamp with fuchsia shade casting a cozy glow over an embroidered antique tablecloth.

Tea Service

teas at Fergusson's on the Square in Hoschton, Georgia
We are offered a choice of green Earl Grey or, much to our delight, Harney & Sons’ Paris black tea (one of our all-time favorites). So good! We share a pot at the table, which is refilled for the dessert course.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

scones at Fergusson's on the Square
In place of lemon curd, clotted cream and preserves, the tearoom’s peach and vanilla almond scones are drizzled with a light icing. The crumb on these scones is much to our liking and we debate which flavor is our table favorite, with no clear winner.
chicken wild rice soup at Fergusson's on the Square
The tea menu comes with a choice of soup or salad. We choose very well:  the chicken wild rice soup with fried onion garnish is hearty and tasty.
greek salad at Fergusson's on the Square
I intentionally eat only half of my fresh and colorful Greek salad, beginning to realize that the menu here is very generously portioned, and I need to leave room for the goodies!
afternoon tea tray at Fergusson's on the Square in Hoschton, GA
Just look at this tea curate!
tea sandwiches at Fergusson's on the Square, Hoschton, GA
Many Southern tea sandwich classics appear, including cucumber and dill on pumpernickel, gouda pimento toast (yum!), tarragon and chive egg salad, roast beef and provolone, and chicken salad on croissant.
desserts at Fergusson's on the Square in Hoschton, GA
Dessert at Fergusson’s requires two tiers! Every item is “just right” in consistency, sweetness and richness, including peanut butter hearts (double yum!), lavender cookies, fruit skewers, grape macarons…
desserts at Fergusson's on the Square in Hoschton, GA
…, fruit parfait tarts and devil’s chocolate cakes with white chocolate triangles. Oh my, it is all so tempting, and so worth the indulgence!

Destination Tea: Annastasia’s Tea Room

Where: Gainesville, Georgia
Style:  Romantic kitsch
Tea Selection:  50+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes: Monday to Thursday, 11-2:30; Friday 11-3:30; Saturday 11-4
Reservations:  24-hour advance notice for parties of 4 or more,
otherwise, walk-ins welcome
Contact:  770-287-1181
Cost: $15.95 Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tips:  You will find Annastasia’s Tea Room on the ground floor of Serenity Massage & Spa. Leave time to explore the nearby historic downtown square.Exterior of Annastasia's Tea Room

Destination Tea Notes:  We say no 200-year-old city is complete without a tearoom in its historic downtown. So this past spring, as we roadtripped to Helen from Atlanta, we knew we needed to stop along the way in historic Gainesville (where tearoom is included). The angular display windows and narrow doorway of Annastasia’s Tea Room give one the sensation that our tea sister ancestors might have walked up to this very entrance a century ago.

We had a pleasant experience at Annastasia’s, where the extensive tea choices and homemade sandwiches are the highlights of their afternoon tea. We did miss though, the made-from-scratch, locally-sourced scrumptiousness in the scone and dessert courses, which we have come to expect at afternoon tea. The very nature of teatime invites the hostess to slow down and relish the care, creativity and personal touches that craft a wonderful afternoon tea experience. In this understandably laborious process, Annastasia’s Tea Room takes a couple shortcuts, which could be better done by perhaps using a local caterer or baker.

Entrance to Annastasia's Tea Room
Pass the chocolate counter and gift shop to enter the tearoom.
Interior Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville GA
A cacophony of romantic wall murals, faux greenery, trellises, china plates and string lights lend color to the dark brown dining sets.
chandelier in Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville, GA
Super pretty chandeliers
sign at Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville, GA
Quietly with a capital “Q” – love this reminder that teatime is time for genteel conversation and a focus on the ones you’re with.

Tea Service

Tea education at Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville, GA
We always appreciate a tearoom that educates its customers about tea.
Tea at Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville, GA
Annastasia’s boasts a long tea list and each guest chooses her own pot.
Pouring tea at Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville, GA
We each love our tea choice, and I brighten at the sight of the very same scalloped Grace’s Teaware teacup, given to me by the ladies of the Southern Tea Time Getaway. So lovely, and happy to be reminded of these fabulous tea sisters!
Tea ball infusers at Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville, GA
The upside of using a tea ball is that you can remove it to prevent oversteeping. We note that here a bit larger tea ball would allow the tea leaves to unfurl and infuse more fully.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Finger sandwiches at Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville, GA
The savories are the best part of this tea meal, including egg salad, pimiento, ham and cheese and chicken salad. We “yum” our way through these housemade finger sandwiches.
Potato salad at Annastasia'a Tea Room
We agree the skins-on potato salad served on the side is our favorite item. Delicious!
Scones at Annastasia's Tea Room
To the contrary, the scones, spreads and desserts do not impress. Two flavors of scone are served — the blueberry one reminiscent of a blueberry muffin mix — with packaged breakfast condiments. Dessert includes two store bought cakes. 
gift shop at Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville, GA
We peruse the gift shop, which has a wide range of jewelry, tea-related and children’s gifts.
Teacup snack plates at Annastasia's Tea Room in Gainesville GA
One of my favorite finds:  teacup snack plates!

The First Picture of Afternoon Tea Across the U.S.

Brenda Wilson, owner of Michigan’s new Lit’l Cuppa Tea Trailers, recently suggested I share more personal stories in these blog posts. Well, when someone as successful as Brenda talks (her first open summer season booked solid), I listen! So here’s the behind-the-scenes story of our newly released infographic,
“The United States of Afternoon Tea.”Infographic The United States of Afternoon Tea

You can’t tell by looking at it, but this one infographic represents two-ish years of research. When the four kids go to school, Destination Tea’s office is open! I hear my father’s oft repeated, “Patience…” at every school closing, holiday, kid sickday and summer break, when I need to pause my Destination Tea alter ego and resume the role of Mom. When I can, I combine the two, consulting with my tech-savvy kids about social media or iPhone photography, or bringing the family to review afternoon tea venues.

Family at Mount Juliet afternoon tea
Our family “Vogue” cover shoot at an afternoon tea in Ireland. Every family vacation now has at least one destination tea on the itinerary!

Finally, last May before the kids came home for summer, I finished and released our 50th state directory for behemoth afternoon tea state California. Since founding Destination Tea in 2016, I’ve had several “I DID IT!” moments like that one:  when I built the website, when I found a way to add the functionality I wanted, and this week, when I designed this infographic. I’m DIYing it all over the place and hoping you all like the results!

What I Learned Researching Afternoon Tea Countrywide

  • Every tearoom does not serve afternoon tea, just as every afternoon tea is not served in a tearoom. Have any of you yet gone to an Alamo movie theater’s afternoon tea showings? It’s on my personal bucket list in the company of many other scrumptious, beautiful venues I found during my research.
  • Many American tearooms and afternoon tea goers call the meal “high tea,” likely because we think of it as a “high fashion” or “high society” event. Actually, high tea is a very different meal from afternoon tea. A few U.S. tearooms do offer true afternoon tea and high tea menus.

    Atlanta Tea Society at Just Add Honey
    Enjoying afternoon tea and great conversation with Atlanta Tea Society this summer at Just Add Honey downtown, where afternoon tea generously comes with a delicious salad course
  • The Middle and South Atlantic states adore afternoon tea!! They swept the state rankings, with dozens of afternoon tea venues in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. I’m guessing these states still have significant populations with ties to England, where the tradition began.
  • My research turned up some surprises, such as how few afternoon teas are offered in Las Vegas, with its promenade of upscale hotels, and many a bachelorette party coming to town. Is afternoon tea too chill for the Vegas tourist looking to party? I also didn’t expect superhot Florida to have oodles of tearooms (assuming tea is most often taken in colder climates). But then, that warmth also attracts retirees — likely the single largest demographic of tearoom owners — to make Florida home.

Along the way, I’ve met several tea tour groups who organize fabulous week-long destination tea trips, both locally and internationally. Whether you have such great ambitions or are just looking for an afternoon-tea-lover’s paradise for your next trip, I hope you enjoy our report of afternoon tea in the U.S., and share with a friend. Also, please keep those tearoom tips coming – it helps us keep our directories up-to-date. Happy tea travels!