One of the highlights of our trip to Massenutten was a visit to Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room in the Hardesty-Higgins House in Harrisonburg, VA. This tea room is housed in the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center. Construction on the building was completed in 1853 and it was home to Harrisonburg’s first mayor, Isaac Hardesty who lived in the house with his family during the early years of the Civil War.
The city of Harrisonburg purchased the building in 2001 and began renovating and restoring it in 2003. It now houses Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room, a gift shop and the Valley Turnpike Museum, as well as the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Civil War Orientation Center.
We arrived after our 3 o’clock time slot for our afternoon tea. Lunch is served until 2, then afternoon tea from 3 till 5. The space is cozy and inviting and very welcome after rushing several blocks along Main Street in a cold blustery wind. We had been visiting Harrisonburg’s excellent Fire Museum down the street and the time got away from us. We shouldn’t have worried – the Lieutenant at the Museum called ahead and told them we were on our way.
We made our tea selection from an extensive menu of over 65 loose leaf teas. Don chose Angel’s Dream and I had Keemun Panda. Christian had a pot of the European drinking chocolate.
His children’s platter looked lovely on a cake stand and offered several of the afternoon tea selections that we also enjoyed. His special scone was chocolate chip.
Our three tiered tray had a selection of nine or ten wonderful sandwiches for each of us. They included chicken salad in a phyllo cup, a delicious pimento cheese, tomato spread on pumpernickel roll ups, cheese scone with ham, cucumber, egg salad, veggie spread (with tomato garnish), turkey & Swiss and a wonderful melted Gouda cheese with apple slices on raisin bread.
The scones were delicious too – cranberry orange flavor served with thick Devonshire cream and marmalade.
The sweets were hard to resist – we polished off the plate. I was going to leave the dark cookie with the icing, until Don reminded me that it was made with Earl Grey tea. We very much enjoyed the Battenberg lace squares, sugar cookies, lavender fairy cakes, cinnamon bread, cream puffs and shortbread.
I’m sorry that I didn’t take a photo of the cute little tea cozies that were snipped off across the corners, instead of rounded. I’ll be keeping them in mind for a future sewing project. I also forgot to make note of the maker of my teacup which was lovely. Of course Christian was in some of the pictures, but he was having one of those days and pulling such faces, well I’ll spare you.
Too bad Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room is so far away from my home (about a ten hour drive), it’s definitely worth a return visit.