High Time for Afternoon Tea


Afternoon Christmas Tea at The Duke Inn’s Fairview Dining Room – Durham, North Carolina

I consider tea one of the good gifts God has given us to enjoy. At Christmastime each year, I look forward to a formal afternoon tea—a special celebration I usually indulge in at The Washington Duke Inn, (with some exceptions).

For me, afternoon tea at this time of year is as much about the festive decorations as it is the brew, the savories and the sweets. I’ve written about and photographed The Duke Inn at Christmastime before, so this year I tried to take pictures from new perspectives.

For instance, I snapped the entry hall Christmas tree from a different direction:


Honestly, it looks pretty much the same from every angle. But this year, I also took a picture of one of the ornaments on the tree—proof of the fine details that might be missed when looking at the whole:


I believe I spotted a new tree this year. It was quite a hit—several folks stopped to get their pictures taken in front of it:


I also tried a different flavor of tea. With a bit of hesitation,  I chose the vanilla almond black tea. It was delicious. (Shew!)

After the tiny sandwiches, cheeses, bite-size sweets, a scone smothered in clotted cream and lemon curd, plus two pots of tea (restraint begins tomorrow), I ventured to the other side of the Inn where the Golf Shop is located. I’d never been there before, (Have you seen me play golf? It’s not pretty!), and found Christmas decorations there as well:


Finally, to prove that I was actually at the Inn, not just stealing pictures off the Interwebs and claiming them as my own, here I am in the lovely sitting room that’s between the dining and the conference center wings.


(photo credit: B Sullivan)

The Duke Inn never disappoints; and I’ll look forward to next year when once again—Lord willing and the creek don’t rise—it’s high time for afternoon Christmas tea.

December at the Duke Inn

Duke_Inn_Christmas_Lamppost_2-2For those who follow a liturgical church calendar, Christmas (a.k.a. Christmastide) is celebrated from December 25th to January 5th.

The 12 Days of Christmas.

I am someone who regards Christmas in this manner. In other words, be prepared for a few more Christmas-related posts here on the Sunny Day Blog!

In past years, I have enjoyed “Christmas Afternoon Tea” in the Fairview Dining Room at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. Although I sipped my tea elsewhere this year, I did savor some fine lunch fare at the Fairview Dining Room whilst the lovely Inn was bedecked for Christmas.


The classic tree in the grand entry at Duke Inn is largely the same year after year but always manages to impress me. — Durham, NC


The “parlor” outside the Fairview Dining Room (on one side) and the Bull Durham Bar (on the other) looks like an inviting living room year-round, but especially at Christmastime. — Duke Inn (Durham, NC)


In one of the hallways, a Christmas scene bids a wintry welcome. — Duke Inn (Durham, NC)


The topper on this Duke Inn tree (left) was loosely the inspiration for my own Christmas tree (right). — Duke Inn (Durham, NC)

Throughout the Inn was an impressive number of lush red poinsettias. Did you know that the actual blossom of the poinsettia is the small yellow center, while the abundance of red bunches are actually leaves?


Down the hallway to the left of the main lobby, Christmas poinsettias are interspersed with busts of the Duke family. (Duke Inn; Durham, NC)

The poinsettia, with its star-shaped, crimson leaves, is accepted culturally as a festive decoration. To Christians, its meaning goes one step further: it symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem and the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.