Only an hour after arriving at The Ivy in Baltimore, Jessie and I raced down the dramatic staircase, past the stunning stained glass windows, to the first floor of the historic, 19th century mansion-turned-hotel for afternoon tea. What could be a better way to kick off a girls’ getaway weekend?
As we sat down in the tea room, surely one of the property’s most charming spaces, we took in its grandeur. From the golden, mustard yellow hues lining the walls and covering the chaises, to the well-considered design objects hailing from all corners of the globe, to the exotic palms in the corners, the lavish tea room feels like you’ve stepped into a glamorous movie set.
Just on cue, the waiters arrived with teas of every variety, from darjeeling to lychee blossom. Shortly after came the Champagne and, of course, the tower of dainty tea sandwiches (from curried chicken salad to cheese to salmon), mini pastries, fresh scones, and clotted cream with lemon curd and jam. If there was ever a time to be indulgent, it’s tea time at The Ivy (We nearly started fighting over the last scone, it was that good).
While we savored the last bites and warmed up by the fireplace with our artisanal teas, what struck me was the overwhelming sense of calm that had come over me during the course of a few hours. It’s not often I get to just sit and enjoy a friend’s company, a good book, and an excellent cup of tea. Just that morning, I had been running around in manic New York City, trying to finish articles, fight the crowds, and make it to Penn Station in time. By 4 p.m. that same day, I felt like I was worlds away from all of that inside The Ivy.
The hotel is surrounded by national monuments and historic treasures in the Mount Vernon district, but I was so enchanted by the hotel’s transporting powers I hardly wanted to leave the premises. It made for the most perfect of weekend getaways and I can only hope that one day I will make it back. Until then, I'll be thinking fondly about those scones...