Hey y’all! Today I’m sharing all about one of my favorite girls’ afternoon activities: high tea. Last month I got a lot of replies to my Instagram story from a tea party bridal shower for my cousin’s fiancée. That inspired me to write a post about some of my favorite places in North Carolina to enjoy high tea with girlfriends. Also, I figured this post was timely with the Royal Wedding coming up on Saturday. I don’t know about y’all, but whenever I have hot tea I feel like I’m channeling my inner Brit. And of course, I’m also going to share some tips and inspiration about what to wear to high tea!
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What to Expect at High Tea
In case you’ve never been to high tea before, here’s a brief overview. At every place I’ve been, you select a flavor of hot tea from the menu, and they bring you a whole teapot. The waitress usually pours your first cup, and then you can refill yourself as you please. Your tea experience also includes a plate of finger foods, with a combination of sweet and savory. The actually foods vary depending on the place, but there is always a scone with lemon curd! Eating a scone also makes me feel very British! Also, they typically serve the goodies on a three-tier platter.
Now I’m going to share my three favorite places I’ve been for high tea in North Carolina, with some pics of the delicious goodies.
The O’Henry Hotel (Greensboro)
The O’Henry Hotel in Greensboro is the first place I ever enjoyed high tea. I have been for tea at the O’Henry a total of three times. The most recent time was the bridal shower I went to last month. Here are a few pics of the deliciousness:
Finger foods during my most recent O’Henry high tea experience included: scone, macaroon, chocolate coconut cake, cheese straw biscuit, chicken salad, and open-face cucumber sandwich. I’m actually not a huge fan of cucumbers, but this little sandwich was so good!
The Carolina Inn (Chapel Hill)
As a life-long UNC fan, I love the ambiance of the Carolina Inn. It is on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, and is another great place to enjoy high tea in North Carolina. I’ve been to their tea twice. One of those times was during the week after Christmas, when they had a special holiday-themed tea. It was really fun to walk around and look at all the Christmas decorations afterwards. Going to high tea at the Carolina Inn is a treat no matter what time of year you go there. Here are some pics from tea-time at the Carolina Inn:
I think that the frosted lemon poppyseed mini cupcake and the homemade oatmeal creme pie from the Carolina Inn might be my two favorite treats I’ve ever had at high tea!
The Washington Duke Inn (Durham)
Despite the fact that it’s on Duke’s campus, I do enjoy the Washington Duke Inn‘s high tea. I’ve also been there twice for tea. Once I went with one of my good friends, the other time I went with a small group of girlfriends. The hot tea and the sweet & savory combo of finger foods did not disappoint!
This plate of sweets from my most recent tea at the Washington Duke Inn really hit the spot! The lemon bar was AMAZING, the white cake with raspberry filling was amazing, and you can never go wrong with a classic brownie. Yum!
What to Wear
Although the tea and treats are amazing, one of my favorite things about going to high tea is picking out the perfect outfit. If I go during the spring or summer, I like to wear a sundress with my Lilly Pulitzer floppy hat. (You may remember this hat from my Kentucky Derby post or Easter post).
My dress is the Liz Shift in Sunnyside from the Lilly Pulitzer Spring 2014 collection. Click here for one of my favorite printed Lilly shifts currently available.
This past fall when I went to the Washington Duke Inn it was an 80-degree October day. I wore a black lace skirt, white sleeveless top, my dainty Minnie Mouse necklace, and my Lilly hat. Even though this hat has more of a spring/summery vibe to it, I couldn’t resist breaking it out for tea on a hot fall day. And my neutral colored outfit helped me still be seasonally appropriate.
Anything you would wear to church or a bridal shower would be perfectly appropriate to wear to high tea! Next time I go to high tea I will try and take more detailed outfit pictures so I can share them to provide some inspiration for y’all!
How to Find a High Tea Place in Your Area
If you’re in central North Carolina, I highly recommend high tea at the O’Henry Hotel, Carolina Inn, or Washington Duke Inn. If you’re not in this area, I would advise researching boutique hotels in your region to see if they offer an afternoon tea. Reservations for high tea places are also required or highly recommended.
Hope y’all enjoyed this post. High tea really is such a fun way to spend a girls’ afternoon out, whether it’s to catch up with a friend one-on-one, or socialize with a group of girlfriends. If you need to host a bridal shower, it’s also a great idea for that. And you won’t have to worry about cleaning your house or preparing food or drink in advance. High tea is a bit on the pricey side (and you also need to factor in tip), but it’s definitely worth the cost for a special treat every once in awhile!
Have you ever been to afternoon high tea before? If so, where?
Also, do you plan on getting up super early on Saturday morning to watch the Royal Wedding live?