Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room | Tea Room Reviews

Unfortunately, Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room closed in August 2011, but the good news is that the Heritage Bakery & Cafe is now in its place, and serves scones and tea!

Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room in Harrisonburg, Virginia offers a traditional tearoom in a non-traditional setting. It shares the historic Hardesty-Higgins House with the local tourism center.

Opened in October 2005, The tearoom is set back in a sunny yellow room adjacent to a lovely patio for outdoor dining, and the restaurant serves traditional tea fare (like scones), a light lunch (11:00 am-2:00 pm), and afternoon tea (2:00 – 5:00 pm)

Formal Tea and Princess Tea

Make reservations for lunch, as the tearoom is often booked up. And be aware: reservations are required 24 hours in advance for formal tea that consists of a selection of tea sandwiches, scones and sweets served on a three-tiered stand and a pot of tea or iced tea.

Recently added to the menu is the Princess Tea, a lighter version of the Formal Tea. It includes four tea sandwiches, a scone and four sweets, and a pot of tea or iced tea. This also requires a 24-hour advance reservation. Both the Formal Tea and the Princess Tea are served 3:00 to 5:00 pm only.

Lunch at Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room

Meredith Sweetpea and her mother enjoyed tea here recently. One highlight of our meal was the delightful selection from over 65 loose teas. Our server led us to a “sniffer bar” where we could smell the teas we were contemplating, and we made our selections from white, green, black and oolong teas, fruit and herbal blends and rooibos tisane. We selected a decaffeinated English tea and Caramel Tea. The caramel tea was a new choice for us, and with a little sugar in the cup, tasted exactly like a smooth caramel. We purchased some to take home as well.

Our lunch selections included “The Rockingham” chicken salad sandwich with grapes served on raisin bread, and “The Farmer,” three ham biscuits served with cole slaw and chips. Delicious.

But what really caught our eye were the orange scones, although a variety of other desserts are offered. We snagged the last two available. (We heard that sometimes you even have to reserve your scones, they are so popular.)  The light texture went perfectly with the jam and clotted cream we ordered extra. It comes with the tea packages, but can be ordered a la carte with individual scones.

The History of Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room

Following our repast, we spent a while wandering through the several rooms of historical displays regarding Rockingham County and the Civil War. It turns out there was a Mrs. Hardesty, and she and her family lived in this house, which is the second oldest still standing in Harrisonburg. Mr. Isaac Hardesty was the first Mayor of Harrisonburg in the 1850s.

During the “Great Unpleasantness,” Mayor Hardesty was said to have entertained Union General Banks in this house as much of the surrounding area of the Shenandoah Valley was being burned by Union forces. Soon after, the Hardestys moved North.

The building then became an inn, and then a furniture store. In summer of 2005, it became home to the Harrisonburg Regional Tourism offices, Valley Turnpike Museum, Rocktown Gift Shoppe, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance offices, and Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room.

We ended up spending the afternoon here in this delightful little tearoom, and encourage others to come here as well.

Mrs. Hardesty’s Team Room is a member of the Southern Association of Tea Businesses

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