This year, I started the month of September by going on a little day trip to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens for high tea. I'd made this reservation weeks ago, before the arrival of a nasty heat wave. Based on my previous experiences there, I knew we'd have a good time even if it was above 100 degrees.
I made an 11:45AM reservation for a leisurely Saturday brunch, and with the heat wave, I'm glad we got to spend the earlier part of our day in a cool, air-conditioned place. The last time I had tea here, the rose garden tea room was under construction; let me tell you, it was worth it. Between the new(ish) space and new management, we had an absolutely wonderful experience.
High tea at the rose garden takes care of itself - you are presented with 3 options, the only difference being the champagne that is included. If you choose the basic tea option, a glass of Prosecco is included anyway. Both my friend Jeannise and I opted for the most luxurious option when it came to our tea - a rosé Brut with caviar canapes. Go big or go home, right?
We began with the recommended warm scones, which were light and a perfect start to our tea time. We moved onto the savory portion, a selection of tasty items raging from a cucumber herb open-faced sandwich to a cheese quiche. Each item was thoughtful and unique, full of fun textures and rich flavors. While it's hard to pick a favorite savory item, I thoroughly enjoyed the cheese quiche and the bacon mushroom + avocado sandwich. The latter actually featured no real bacon - only the mushroom, prepared in such a way that it literally tasted like bacon.
Some of you may not understand the hype surrounding the concept of high tea, but there is really something to be said about the elegance and delicacy of this tradition that appeals to many. At this particular tea, the tea room is relatively small, but a wonderfully bright room flooded with natural light. Every window looks out to gorgeous roses in bloom, making each guest feel as if she has been transported somewhere far from Southern California. To me, this is what high tea is about. It is an opportunity to feel special, eat special food, and feel, for lack of a better word, fancy.
The tea room is also located in the rose garden, so upon entry and exit, you are greeted by hundreds of roses. Their fragrance is really something else, and of course we took some time for photo ops.
After we went on a marathon through our desserts, we decided to explore the Botanical Gardens and walk off the rosé and sugar.
This was not my first time at the Botanical Gardens; I've only ever had lovely experiences walking through the trellis arches, admiring the flowers and impressively large trees. This location may not be enjoyable for some people - please keep in mind that I am the type of person that can sit for quite a while and enjoy the sound of the wind blowing through the trees. The Huntington Library is absolutely phenomenal for people like me. There are several different sections of the Botanical Gardens, ranging from a Japanese Garden to a desert garden. You can view several different terrains in just a single day.
Because of the heat wave, we had to make stops often, taking what I called "shade breaks" to cool down a little bit. The good news is that there are many benches and areas to sit down. We didn't explore every section thoroughly, but we did manage to see most of the grounds. All together, even in the heat, we lasted until past 4PM!
All in all, it was a very fun day that I would recommend to any local Angeleno. The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is a hidden gem. Prices might be steep, but overall, I believe a visit is worth it. Perfect for nature lovers, tea enthusiasts and SoCal citizens looking for a break from the ordinary.
Check out my full photo gallery here.
Until next time,