While visiting my daughter and her family in the Baltimore area, we decided to take a day and go to tea. The number two tearoom in the United States according to TeaMap.com is in Frederick Maryland and only a 45 minute drive from my daughter Heidi’s home. Wednesday morning we set out just after dropping my grandsons at school and got to Frederick about an hour before our reservation for tea; so we decided to walk around town.
After a stop at the visitor’s center with questions answered about the downtown and ideas for the best viewing of their charming town, Heidi and I set out to walk their canal trail to the tearoom. With plans after tea to walk back by way of the main street in town with more time in the afternoon to stop at some of the shops and boutiques. The volunteer at the visitor’s center was so very helpful and encouraging. He gave us a map, suggestions and information about validating up to three hours parking in the lot nearby. He warned us that parking on the street can result in a ticket as the meters are stringently watched and cars are ticketed frequently. We chose to park in the lot and walk as it was a beautiful day.
The canal walk captivated us from the beginning to end. We delighted in the water spouts, the tromp l’oeil paintings under the bridge, enjoyed viewing the public artworks along the trail and marveled at the variety of water plants and animals living in the canal. Our tourist center guide told us the canal was rebuilt and updated after a devastating flood that wreaked havoc on the area a few years back. They worked with many community groups to get their sponsorship and continue to improve the walk with artwork and plantings. What a enjoyable way to start an afternoon tea.
The tearoom was delightful; bright and airy but still cozy and intimate. Huge windows on two sides allowed us to watch the world go by while enjoying our afternoon tea. Our waitress was quite knowledgeable about tea and offered suggestions since there were over 70 types of tea to choose from. I chose the Black Currant Black Tea with its big fruity berry flavor and Heidi chose the Scottish Breakfast which was described as: “Malty, full-bodied character with bright flavor notes and hints of cask oakiness. A bracing Highlander’s cup of tea.”
Like any proper tea event we started with our chosen loose leaf teas brewed to perfection, serve in pots, just as it should be for a tea-snob like me. The teas were deliciously refreshing! The Scottish Breakast was strong, brisk almost like an Irish Breakfast with a little more malt flavor. The Black Currant was sublime. I love black currant anything.
Served on a three tiered rack, our tea was beautifully presented with scones, savories and sweets. We chose one each of the two scones of the day (Apricot Cinnamon and Golden Raisin), and chose lime curd and lemon curd to accompany the scones and banana nut bread. Our savories included cashew chicken salad served on a crisp tart shell, shrimp salad open-face sandwich, fresh tomato pesto galette made with puff pastry, egg salad with chives on white bread and cucumber sandwiches on wheat and white. Sweets were caramel pecan cookies, fresh fruit tartlets and chocolate covered strawberries.
I let our server know that I was a retired tearoom owner from Illinois and now blog about tearooms and if possible I’d like to meet the owner. About five minutes later, the owner’s daughter Tiera came to our table to meet us and make certain everything was to our liking. We had the chance to exchange a few tea ideas and I told her I wanted to know what she was doing to make her tearoom number 2 in the United States. Basically they are all working as hard as possible to make everyone feel welcome and serving the freshest products and the best tasting foods possible. This dynamic team of pastry chef (Tiera), owner (Blanche) and executive chef (Tiera’s husband Brandon) provide the stability of always having a family member present to represent the tearoom as well as on-staff classically trained chef and pastry chef to delight their patrons with new and inventive menu items. In addition to tea service, this tearoom is open until 9pm with a full dinner menu.
During the day, they also serve sandwiches, soups and salads specializing in Southern low country cooking. While we enjoyed our afternoon tea, people came in for a quick sandwich, a leisurely luncheon, or afternoon tea. I assured Tiera we’d have to come back next time for dinner and some late afternoon shopping.
For a lovely afternoon tea in a very relaxed setting, make a point to stop by the Serenity Tearoom in Frederick Maryland if you are in the area. If you’re not in the area, I highly recommend making it a stop on your next trip.