Steeped in Tradition

Cocktails at a certain hour, lemonade in the summer, hot cocoa when temps are low—we all have our beverages of choice, and our area is always ready to provide a friendly pour. The Fearrington House Restaurant has always offered afternoon tea exclusively to inn guests, a longstanding experience that heralds all the features of a proper British tea. Recently, they began to take reservations for afternoon tea for anyone who would like to experience a leisurely time sipping Harney & Sons tea, alongside an enticing tier tray of sweets, scones, and sandwiches.

The teas include a variety, from loose leaf to herbals and infusions. While you’ll find the popular favorites, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Darjeeling, go for the full Fearrington experience and select the Fearrington Breakfast or Afternoon teas (find these special blends at Dovecote Home & Garden for a tasty souvenir). All the piping hot goodness, steeped just for you, pairs well with the scones, served with clotted cream, lemon curd, and jam. The biscuit and cake-like combination are delightful as you progress through the multitude of goodies set before you to enjoy. Afternoon tea is a time of leisure, and often, celebration, so you may opt to make it sparkle with a glass of prosecco or another beverage.

Sit back in an inviting space, forget the world outside except for a wonderful window overlooking the refined pastoral setting, with a fireplace perfect for cold days and lingering. The varied mix of sandwiches, tailored to dietary restrictions, are the hearty and savory part of afternoon tea. No crusts, but the different sandwiches to balance the sweet, with cucumbers (of course!), cream cheese, pimiento cheese, and/or light herbs are hearty enough to delay dinner for much later. A perfect summertime sandwich at afternoon tea includes tomatoes, which are fresh from Fearrington’s garden.

Longtime Fearrington guest and friend, Pam, had sandwiches that included smoked salmon with horseradish cream cheese and ham and pimiento cheese; she proclaimed that both were excellent, “The horseradish was a nice surprise and really complemented the smoked salmon. I also enjoyed the chive in the egg salad – it gave it just a bit of freshness and bite.” Staff members, from server to chef, were completely flexible when asked about mixing some of the created sandwich spreads. They are gracious here with suggestions and guests’ tastes and recommendations, making each afternoon tea a distinct experience.

The desserts are dazzling, to photograph and eat, so plan on pacing yourselves. Seasonal treats, ranging from strawberry to apricot, with white mousse, shortbread cookies, raspberries, and other forms of sugary goodness will make you giddy. Chocolate has a place throughout, with a delicate hint of coffee or cream, as an opera cake or a ‘topping’ so you won’t need to fight for your share. Amazing southern hospitality is a constant at Fearrington Village and an indulgent afternoon tea, steeped in tradition, will give you reason to savor every bite, with plenty of quality time at this pastoral escape.