On a random Thursday in April, my husband asked if he could take me on an adventure. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going or what to expect. He just said “don’t eat lunch.”
About 15 minutes on the south side of Georgetown, I see a sign for Hopsewee Plantation. Why have I never seen this sign before on the many trips we have taken from Myrtle Beach to Charleston? I have no idea, but there it is: a large plantation on the Santee River that once belonged to Thomas Lynch, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Other than a tour of the mansion, Hopsewee also offers a full southern tea service.
If you know me at all, you know I love tea. I have it every morning and often throughout the day. I love all kinds from dark, bitter blends to herbal, fruity afternoon drinks.
I also love tea parties. When I was a little girl, I used to go to my friend’s house, Tasha Diamond, whose mother was a highly-trained chef. She used to throw us amazing tea parties. My favorite was the cinnamon and sugar treats.
Since then, I haven’t attended a real tea party until we stopped at the River Oak Cottage Tea Room.
Tea and savory items
The small, window-filled room is packed with tables with real linens, real china and real silver. They do offer lunch items, but the full southern tea is what they specialize in.
The full southern tea is $20 per person and comes with tea, savory items, scones and tea sweets.There are at least 50 varieties of tea to choose from. I chose the Earl Grey Creme while my husband picked the House Blend. The savory items are cucumber sandwiches, blue cheese and spinach quiche, salmon mousse on a homemade cracker, pesto, tomato and mozzarella on a homemade cheese cracker and a curried chicken salad on a ginger snap.
My favorite bite was the quiche followed closely by the pesto, tomato and mozzarella cracker.
After the savory plates, tea partiers get one scone each served with clotted cream, jam and lemon curd. I got the chocolate chip scone while my husband got the cranberry orange scone. I have never had clotted cream before and loved every sweet bite.
The tea sweets are a brownie, a lemon bar, a chocolate and raspberry cheesecake and a chocolate covered strawberry.
The entire time you are enjoying your personal tea party, you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the grounds of the plantation through the floor to ceiling windows. After tea, you can buy a ticket for a personalized tour of the grounds and the house, or you can take a few minutes to walk around outside yourself. Either way, it is absolutely beautiful especially on a warm spring day.
The back of the Hopsewee Plantation home
The Santee River in front of the Hopsewee Plantation home.