Update: The Hawthorne is now closed.
You don’t have to be a anglophile, or even a royal watcher, to enjoy a spot of tea. Tea is a great excuse for your kids to get dressed up and practice their best manners, and if you choose your tea room carefully, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
There are quite a few tea shops in the area, but I chose the Hawthorn in Old Town Tacoma because it has a large a la carte menu, and mostly, because the pictures on the web site looked like the tables were far enough apart that we might be able to sit down without breaking granny’s china.
The staff is as gracious as can be and didn’t bat an eye at seeing a rowdy little boy walking in the door. Henry had the ladybug child’s tea which included strawberry and cream cheese sandwiches, fruit kabobs, and a ladybug cookie. It also came with a choice of beverage. He chose lemonade, which he received in his own teapot along with his own china cup and saucer. He was beyond thrilled. I had the super yummy curry chicken salad from the lunch menu.
Now, all-in, we spent about 25.00. If this is too pricey for your outing budget, you can order scones or tea a la carte and easily spend just a few dollars, while still having a special experience. A scone from the lunch menu is 2.50 and comes with jam or cream. A small pot of tea is 3.50 and includes refills. There is also a smaller tea set available for 8.00 a person which includes tea, fruit, and your choice of scone. There are pages of tea choices available, so you don’t have to get your kids all hopped off if you go this route.
If this isn’t in your neck of the woods, you can check out this list of Puget Sound area tea rooms. Do call and check first, as some places I used to know about have closed shop in the last couple of years. I also suggest looking at the menu to get an idea of whether the place you’re considering is budget and child friendly. The Hawthorn is quite unusual in having single items available on the lunch menu. Many tea shops also seat at particular times and request reservations. We walked right into the Hawthorn, and were in and out in just under an hour. I would have lingered but Henry was making swords out of his kabob toothpicks, so it was time to go.
Of course, you could just do a tea party at your place! By all means, use real tea cups. You can get them for just a few bucks at the thrift store. If you don’t want your kiddos drinking out of them, use them as centerpieces.
Got your own favorite place to get a cuppa? Let me know! Many area tea places are also hosting special events for Mother’s Day. These are really pricey and will fill up anyway, so if it sounds fun to you (or maybe your mil?) make reservations now.