Thursday, October 11, 2012

Visiting Elmwood Inn

I first heard Bruce Richardson speak in 2002 at the American Tea Society Conference, and again in 2005 at the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association's first annual meeting.
He and his wife, Shelley, opened one of America's well-known tea houses in 1990, called Elmwood Inn, in historic Perryville, Kentucky.  We stopped for Afternoon Tea on one of our trips south, but it wasn't open that day, so we drove across the Chaplin River and visited their retail shop on Merchant's Row instead.

Tea rooms on my "bucket list" often close before I've had a chance to visit, so when I heard Elmwood Inn was closing its doors on July 31, 2004, my hubby and I made a trip to Perryville.  It was a delightful visit.

Elmwood Inn was built in 1842.

A harpist plays during tea time.

Scone Course

Jerry [hubby] and Me
Shelley and Me

Even though Elmwood Inn has closed, Bruce and Shelley haven't retired.  They still host Tea 101 seminars for budding tea entrepreneurs on the Art of Opening a Tea Business, as well as a seminar on Tea and Etiquette.
They also import, blend, and package specialty teas under the name of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas.   They are presently located in Danville, Kentucky where they have a tea shop for retail and wholesale customers.  I hope to visit their shop someday.
Bruce and Shelley travel the country speaking about tea, and they have written and published several books by Benjamin Press, a division of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas.  I don't have all their books, but I have several.
Elmwood Inn Cookbooks.
 Tea Etiquette Books.
And their fabulous guide to Tea Rooms in the United States.

Of the 21 tea rooms featured in the book, I've been to seven - so I've a ways to go! 

I will always be grateful to Bruce for steering me away from the habit of adding sugar to tea without tasting it first.  We were privileged to sit with Bruce and Shelley at the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association dinner, and Bruce commented about the error many people make of adding sugar to tea before tasting it.  He pointed out that sugar masks the true flavor of tea, and it's impossible to know whether a tea requires sweetening without tasting it first.   Thanks to Bruce, I rarely use sugar in my tea anymore.

Bruce has a very good blog that you might like to read.  It's called The Tea Maestro.



  1. A very nice post! I really enjoyed it. Their Kentucky Blend is a favorite of mine (thanks to Linda). I really agree with the comment that tea should be tasted before adding sugar. Sugar really does mask the flavors in tea. Thank you for sharing! It looks like you had a great time!

  2. I have enjoyed all their cookbooks as I sell them. This wonderful tea room would still be with us if it had been located in a population area of at least 1/2 million people. Having had a retail shop for 25 years I see POPULATION as the main ingredient to success - especially in this difficult economy. Their tea room was outstanding- it just needed more people to get to it. Her recipes are incredible.

  3. What a lovely tea room, I'm glad you got to visit before it closed. More books to put on my "wish list"!

  4. We moved back to the Midwest just after this had closed. I was so disappointed!

  5. How fortunate you were to be able to visit Elmwood Inn. We never made the trip, and I regret that we missed that opportunity!

  6. That was always a tearoom I wanted to visit, but alas it was too far away. So glad you were able to have the experience.

  7. Lucky you! I didn't make it to Elmwood Inn in time for tea before it closed, but at least I can still enjoy their tea blends today.

  8. I didn't know about the Elmwood Inn until after it was closed; so thank you for posting the pictures...I felt like I had a chance to visit it!! Looks like you had a wonderful time...~Donna


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