Saturday, November 19, 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Tea — Virginia

My knowledge of Virginia is quite limited, having visited only once, years ago when I was a journalist and attended the famed American Press Institute in Reston, Virginia. I enjoyed mingling with the journalistic bigwigs there (especially some editors from the Washington Post and the Detroit Free Press, as I recall), but the main thing I remember was the inside of the conference hotel—which probably isn't the best place to get an accurate image of any city or state. So instead, I found a few tea tidbits to give me a better idea of Virginia's history.

• Hot Springs, Virginia, is legendary for its waters, and President Thomas Jefferson visited for three weeks in 1818 to enjoy the hot springs there. This image I found on the Library of Congress website, circa 1910-1920, shows "Five O'Clock Tea at the Club House, Virginia Hot Springs." Doesn't that look like a beautiful place to enjoy tea?

The Miller & Rhoads English Tea Room was once a gathering place for shoppers in Richmond, Virginia. Although the store closed in 1990, I was glad to learn that some of its recipes have been preserved, and when I was researching "Dainty Dining" some years ago, I took great delight in rediscovering the tearoom's famous Chocolate Silk Pie. (The recipe is here.)

Another charming Virginia tearoom was the Ella Cinders Tea Room in Ashland, Virginia. This old postcard is dated 1947, and the back of the card tells us what sort of establishment this was: "Recommended by AAA for past nineteen years. Delicious balanced meals served in an atmosphere of quiet refinement. Ultra modern Guest rooms, Private baths." I like "quiet refinement," don't you? And those awnings would have charmed me the minute I saw them!


  1. My ancestors on my mother's side came from England to settle in Virginia, I would not be surprised if they brought their love of tea with them. I would love to have visited either of those tea rooms or had tea at Virginia Hot Springs.

  2. I had an exceptional glass of iced jasmine tea in Virginia years ago while visiting a friend. I always hoped to drink another but was saddened to hear the restaurant closed a few years ago.

  3. Angela,
    don't post a response very often, but I am a faithful follower and reader of your blog. This morning as I was reading about thought was: this should be a book! Just a thought, because I know so many of your readers are enjoying this series! God Bless you.


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