On our last morning in Savannah, my sister and sister-in-law and I went to have tea at the Gryphon Tea Room.
Back in December, my sister-in-law had presented me with a tea cup for Christmas. “What a pretty tea cup!” I’d said. (And it is a very pretty tea cup). “Yes,” said my sister-in-law, “And it’s also representative of the tea we will have together in Savannah!” She had picked out an activity that would be fairly food-safe for me, had researched where to go for tea in Savannah, and made a special invitation for me. In January, I crafted a “vision board” for the things I hoped to accomplish in 2016, and the invitation to the Gryphon Tea Room was the first thing to go on it.
We strolled from our hotel to the tea room, enjoying the dappled sunshine in each of the squares we passed. We pointed out the landmarks we had heard about on our trolley tour and picked out our favorite houses, where we would want to live if we lived in historic Savannah.
We arrived to the restaurant and found that it was affiliated with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where we had visited earlier that weekend! The wait staff of the tea room were all students of SCAD, and we immediately pestered our waiter with questions about his studies. SCAD has done a lot to renovate old buildings in Savannah, and the impeccable design taste throughout the city (interior and exterior) are clearly influenced by the school. The Gryphon Tea Room was no exception; the restaurant had had several previous lives, including as a pharmacy and the bookstore for SCAD. The floor was carpeted and the walls were covered in dark wood bookshelves. The rich history had been renewed, as it has in much of the city.
We each ordered tea and scones, and I handed the waiter my orange allergy card (though I assumed that scones were fairly safe). He returned in a flash with the manager, who informed me that she had baked the scones herself and that today’s had no peppers or tree nuts in them, but that I should stay away from one of the little treats my sister had ordered as it had almonds. I thanked her and turned with delight to my scones with jam and clotted cream. (I hadn’t had clotted cream since living in England right after college!).
I’ll admit, I ordered coffee instead of tea. But it wasn’t really about the tea at all – it was about experiencing living history, scones, and savoring a morning in Savannah.