If you’ve spent any time in the U.K., you have undoubtedly enjoyed the afternoon pleasure of a sumptuous cream tea. Charming tea houses are everywhere, from quaint little villages to bustling cities. Their ambience is warm and inviting, with huge wing chairs, flowery chintz in muted tones on the walls and the distinct feeling that you are being served in someone’s private parlor. Actually, sometimes you are. Whether in the city or the country, the art of afternoon tea is a time honored, traditional ritual.
High tea takes this art to an entirely different level; an elegant repast that is as lovely to look at as it is to experience. From a beautifully set table with crystal and fine china, to a three tiered silver tray filled with freshly baked, fragrant scones, finger sandwiches that are works of art and bite sized sweets to complete the indulgence, High Tea is a quietly grand, intimate dining experience.
If you’re looking for a trendy, electric atmosphere, this probably isn’t your cup of tea, no pun intended. But if gentility, intimate conversation and lovely food, enjoyed amidst soft music and beautiful surroundings strikes your fancy, then an authentic High Tea may very well be what you’re looking for. Here in the Triangle, our favorite place to enjoy this peace and civility is in the Fairview Room at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club, in Durham.
Situated on the Duke University campus, and set back from the street behind a long, circular driveway at 3001 Cameron Boulevard, Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club looks more like a tree framed English manor house than a country club. The interior is both elegant and quietly understated, with paneled walls, beautiful furnishings and an abundance of fresh flower arrangements, tastefully placed at every turn. The Fairview Room, where Tea is served, is just that; a peaceful room with garden and golf course views beyond a large, columned patio.
Afternoon High Tea at Washington Duke includes your selection of fine teas from Taylors of Harrogate, a variety of freshly baked scones, complete with tangy fruit preserves and beautifully done lemon curd, finger sanwiches which have been hand crafted and include traditional watercress and cucumber, and an assortment of lovely miniature desserts for a sweet finish.
Seating for High Tea is done at 1/2 hour intervals, from 2:30 pm until 4:30 pm, Wednesday through Sunday. Their Classic Tea is from $22.00 a person, and Tea Royale, which includes a glass of champagne or mimosa, is from $29.00. Reservations are required and may be made by telephone at (919) 493-6699. Be sure to peruse their website for other outstanding food venues, golfing and hotel accomodations. A small suggestion…….think Mother’s Day!