After strolling the gardens, why not enjoy a little civilized refreshment in our tea room?
The Tea Garden is open summer afternoons from Memorial Day to Labor Day, from 12:00 to 4:00, every day but Monday. In 2020, we are open from May 23 through September 7. Teas are served in the flower garden, under a covered porch or, when the weather is inclement, in a little plant-filled conservatory. Reservations for tea are recommended (please see below).
Serving Cream Teas Since 1985
Sometime in the mid-80s, Rachel and Judith were returning from a long summer drive and combined their voices in the perennial moan about the desperate need for tea. Couldn’t we have just “murdered a cup!”, said Judith, a true Britisher. “If only there was a good tea room – any tea room, for that matter, that could provide us with that precious liquid refreshment that will allow life to continue?” We realized we daren’t wait any longer for others to step into the breach and provide this essential public service, but had better take on the task ourselves, and so it was decided that Judith open a tea room at the nursery. (Judith oversaw her tea room through 2016, and was a popular (and not infrequently cheeky) figure to her thousands of customers over the years, but sadly passed away on May 22, 2017. We will endeavor to keep up to her standards.)
Beginning with a classic English Cream Tea menu of tea, scones and cucumber sandwiches, the menu has steadily expanded to include a variety of cakes and savory plates. The menu is a la carte, and one can order anything from a simple pot of tea to a splendid Deluxe Tea, which qualifies as a substantial lunch. And yes, we do serve coffee!
Tea is a delightful and affordable way to entertain friends, and is a memorable way to celebrate events and gentle occasions such as engagement and graduation parties, bridal and baby showers, and retirement parties. Combined with the pretty and educational display gardens, it makes a fine outing for any garden club, and is a perfect venue for Red Hat Society ladies to strut their stuff! We hope to see you this summer! Directions and Map
Tea Dates in 2020
May 10, Mother’s Day Sunday Tea: With a special set menu, by reservation only. Mothers will receive a complimentary little pot of spring flowers.
May 23, Saturday: Open for the regular season, 12:00 – 4:00, Tuesday through Sunday.
May 25, Memorial Day Monday : the tea room is closed, the nursery is open 10-2.
June 21, Father’s Day Sunday Tea: The croquet lawn will be set up for games, and fathers will receive a complimentary boutonniere or little pot of flowers
July 4 : Falls on a Saturday in 2020, and we are open regular hours.
September 7, Monday: Last open tea day.
The Tea Room Menu
Tea comes first, and the old English adage “take the pot to the kettle, not the kettle to the pot” is our motto. Here you will find tea made with boiling water, steeped and served in a china pot.
The tea list includes over 30 choices of black, green and herbal teas, including classics such as English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong as well as more unusual types, such as Rooibos (Red Bush), Vanilla Honeybush and Apricot with Flowers. Naturally, we also make coffee for those desiring a stronger brew, served in a press pot. For cold drinks, you can try iced tea or coffee, lemonade or spritzers.
The scones are made fresh here at the brick house, following Judith’s tried and true recipe, as is the strawberry jam. Our kitchen staff add special savories and desserts to the menu on a regular basis. Typical savory plates have included Sundried Tomato and Olive Spread, Spicy Green Pea Pesto, and the occasional quiche. All menu items are vegetarian. There is no fixed menu – if you are on a budget, or in-between meals, you can simply order a pot of tea. The cost of the cream teas range from $10.95 to $25.95, not including tax or tip.
A delicious selection of in-house and locally made cakes and tarts will be found on the menu, such as Cardomom Cake, Lemon Poppy Seed Cake and Chocolate Torte. For parties and events, we can prepare special menus and cakes.
What is a Cream Tea?
Cream Tea is an afternoon repast, which invariably includes scones and cream. (High Tea, by the way, is something quite different, more on the lines of a simple working-class supper than a raised pinkie affair with cakes and dainties.) We offer several options, from a light Petite Tea to a substantial Deluxe Tea luncheon. Our most popular Full English Cream Tea consists of two home-baked scones, served with freshly whipped cream and homemade jam, plus cucumber & herb sandwiches, and a choice of hot or cold drink.
Parties, Special Occasions and Large Groups
Tea is a delightful way to entertain friends, and is a memorable way to celebrate events, or to hold a small meeting. For private parties, it is possible to book either the entire screen porch or greenhouse for your group. Each holds 12 people comfortably. The menu can be specialized for your group.
Under cover, and spread between the screen porch, covered patio and greenhouse, we can seat 30 people. For larger groups, we are at the mercy of the weather. Groups of 10 or more should give us at least one week notice.
Groups of 15 to 30 should give us one months notice. Private garden tours can be arranged for your group (typically $40 for an hour tour. There are free garden tours Sundays at 1:00 pm.)
We cannot accept parties larger than 10 during the two weeks of Phlox Fest.
Reservations for Tea are Always Recommended
Please call 802-472-5104, ideally a day or two before. If calling on the same day, try to call us before 10:30 am. Please do not email us for a reservation. If the weather is iffy, please call us to confirm or cancel, as covered seating is limited.
To Make A Reservation:
Leave your Name, the Number of people coming, the Time you plan on arriving, and your Phone number. If no-one picks up the phone, you may leave your reservation information on our voice mail, and we will call you back ONLY if there is a problem which will prevent us from serving you at the time you prefer.
Please bear in mind! It sometimes happens that we receive a reservation on the answering machine so late in the day that we don’t time to alert you if we can’t fit you in. Or, we find we didn’t bake enough scones! Try to call us before 10:30 am, or, if later, please call us back, and hopefully someone will pick up at that time.
If you are not able to make a reservation, we are generally, but not always, able to fit you in, although there may be a bit of a wait. Very occasionally we are booked for private parties, and will be closed to the public – we don’t want to disappoint you by turning you away. Do give us a quick call. Please do not email reservations, as we are not able to check messages frequently, and will look at you rather blankly when you turn up.