Who doesn't love a little English etiquette and drama, right? Two words: Downton Abbey. The new fifth season of Downton doesn't hit the U.S.A until the new year, but you can enjoy a spot of tea anytime by going to a tea room. Even small towns with old world charm are likely to have a tea room type restaurant.
Tea time was started by the Brits when elaborate dinners started later and later, and the ladies needed a little 'pick me up' in the afternoon. And we are all the better for it. There is afternoon tea, which consists of what you might typically think: finger sandwiches, scones, and biscuits (or cookies for us Americans), and tea, of course. High tea actually includes heavier foods served with tea. There's also cream tea, Victorian tea, and royal tea, just to name a few, but they all have the same basics and little variations.
Tea time might totally scare those of the male persuasion off with visions of pinkies out and lace doilies, and have them running to Buffalo Wild Wings for some football and beer. But stick with me, guys, because there are some things you might like. British food is pretty 'stick to your ribs' fare. Shepherd's Pie and meat pies are sure to fill you up. By having lunch at a tea room, you can totally fulfill your wife/girlfriend's Mr. Darcy fantasy on a full stomach; bonus for you.
On the other hand, sometimes girls just need a girly afternoon together and what better way to be girly than a tea party! Little girls or "grown ups", there's just something special about dainty cups and dainty treats. My favorite part is probably the scones with clotted cream and lemon curd. Yum-O!
It's become a birthday tradition of mine to go to the English Rose Tea Room in Chattanooga, TN. My sister and my mom go with me for a girls' afternoon, which is always a treat being a mom of boys. The shop and restaurant are quaintly situated in a corner store downtown, and I am always pleased with the scrumptious foods and delicious tea. The sticky toffee pudding is delish!
Here are some links to some great tea rooms:
*The English Rose Tea Room Chattanooga, TN
*The Windsor Rose Tea Room Mount Dora, FL (this is the tea room in my home town)
*Top Tea Houses in the World
*Exceptional Tea Rooms in America (I like this list because it provides tea rooms in many states.)
*UK's Top 10 Tea Rooms
So go out and enjoy a good pot of tea with some friends and maybe it might inspire your inner wanderer. Let us help you find the perfect Tea-rip for you.
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