Tea for Two

The finest services around the state.

Photo courtesy of the Jefferson Hotel

There is a difference—a distinction, if you will—between what’s commonly referred to as “high tea” and the leisurely ritual of “afternoon tea.” High tea is in fact a full meal, historically taken by servants at suppertime, while afternoon tea is a light repast served “upstairs,” inviting an hour or so of relaxed conversation and nibbling.

Virginians happen to love this most Anglophilic of traditions, which is why we’ve rounded up a few of the best tea services in the Commonwealth. 

In addition to regular Southern Afternoon Tea Service, the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond hosts a Chocolate Lovers’ Tea on the first and third Saturdays of each month, featuring a buffet of assorted chocolates. Friday to Sunday, 3 – 6 p.m. $36. JeffersonHotel.com 

Belle Grove Plantation in King George County offers occasional themed teas, including “Titanic Tea,” during which guests are given replica passports from actual passengers aboard the ill-fated liner. Wednesday to Saturday, 1 – 3 p.m. $40. BelleGrove.org

The Pink Bicycle Tea Room in Occoquan hosts afternoon tea on weekends, featuring blends like spicy pear, white cherry and hibiscus green tea, and homemade lemon blueberry and white chocolate-peppermint scones. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. $24. PinkBicycleTeaRoom.com

In addition to loose-leaf varieties, Camella’s Remember When in Abingdon serves lavender iced tea—known locally as “The Taste of Abingdon”—year-round. Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. $18. CamellasRememberWhen.com 

The Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room offers traditional high tea service in a thatched cottage in the countryside outside of Staunton. The Windsor Plate offers a selection of two sandwiches and a salad. The Ploughman’s Lunch features English cheddar, ham and a pickle. Wednesday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. $25. Anne-Hathaways-Cottage.com

For even more inspiration on how to take your tea, including where to buy your key ingredients and our favorite pairings for tea time fare, be sure to check out our August issue.

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