Like steam engines and cryogenically frozen sea monkeys, tea leaves come to life with just a little hot water. Harness the transformative power of hydration with today’s Groupon: for $36, you get a Royal Tea Celebration for two at First Ladies Tea Parlor in Newport News (a $71.90 value). The Royal Tea Celebration includes:
- Fresh fruit
- Scones, tea sandwiches, and canapés
- Hot or cold soup or mixed-greens salad
- Shrimp pod or relish-and-cheese sampler
- Desserts and sparkling cider<p>
Amid the crisp white linens and fresh flowers of First Ladies Tea Parlor, the staff brews more than 50 teas to pair with fresh-baked morsels through the afternoon. Fragrant tendrils of steam waft from lavender earl-grey and soothing lemon-verbena tea, and knives slather dollops of devonshire cream, lemon curd, and fruit jams over scones. After duos rub elbows and caress kneecaps, fingers can pluck up tea sandwiches such as chicken salad speckled with cranberries or cucumber sandwiches layered with cream cheese. Dessert treats tongues to an ever-changing smattering of delicate petite cakes, tea cookies, and chocolates. Inside the sunlit tearoom, elegant table settings and pale-yellow walls play off of the cheer inherent in an afternoon activity enjoyed for hundreds of years by people wearing crowns. After tea, patrons can peruse the boutique for teacup sets, loose teas, and jewelry.
First Ladies Tea Parlor
Perhaps it’s the dining room’s glittering chandeliers that make diners feel as though they’ve stepped back in time, or maybe it’s the silver tea sets displayed atop baroque-style tables that bring to mind a bygone era. Though it’s difficult to single out the one element of First Ladies Tea Parlor that transports diners to the past, it’s evident that owner KJ Jordan has realized her vision. KJ’s passion for all things old-timey manifests itself in the parlor’s varied schedule of events, from historic fashion shows and presentations by authors and historical interpreters to speakeasy dinners that keep the spirit of the 1920s alive via live jazz and free admission for ghosts. Away from the sun-dappled dining room, chef Gabby Bauman and her culinary crew bustle about the kitchen whipping up light lunches featuring entrees named after first ladies, including the Lady Dolley sandwich filled with roasted turkey and avocado and the Lady Betty salad dappled with salmon fillet and apricot-ginger dressing.