Partaking in a traditional English tea service is truly one of life’s simple pleasures, yet it’s not often found at the ready here in the States. Speaking as a coffee-drinker for most of my adult life, I came to enjoy tea by experiencing it through one of these traditional services years ago at the invitation of my sister. Since then, I have come to find much solace and enjoyment out of a proper afternoon tea.
Asa Ransom House in Clarence served up just what the doctor ordered: a warm, cozy environment housed within a historic setting, friendly service, and delectable bites for our afternoon. Situated right in the heart of Main Street in Clarence, this 150-year-old house is charming and inviting. Tea is served in the front room of the house, which is a large room but decorated to make you feel at home with floral print wallpaper, lace linens and a fireplace for cold days. Upstairs is where guests can stay the evening at the Inn for the full experience.
My friend Nina and I enjoyed the “Traditional Afternoon Tea” service (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), which included homemade scones with fruit jam and Devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, and an array of dessert bites. We drank pots of loose Earl Gray and Paris teas, which gave us a taste of both traditional and exotic flavors. The “tower of treats”, as I like to call the tiered tray of scones, sandwiches and cakes, is deceivingly filling and every bit as scrumptious as the presentation suggests. It’s worth knowing in advance to block a few hours for the service. Tea is meant to be savored and enjoyed, not rushed. So be sure to give yourself about 1.5-2 hours.
For those looking to enjoy a spot of culture, a pampering treat, or just something different to make your afternoon special, Afternoon Tea delights for all ages and palates.
Photos courtesy of Asa Ransom House