Coach and Horses Tea Room

072016-unknown-eater1Would you like a unique opportunity to savor fine teas and fresh, handprepared dishes while enjoying the unadulterated ambience of a historic property? The Coach and Horses Tea Room in Winchester, VA provides an unparalleled experience – even to those patrons who aren’t (yet) great fans of tea.

When you pull into the unassuming gravel lot just off Cedar Creek Grade road, you’ll notice the abundance of healthy trees bursting with thick, green foliage. Their wealth of shade provides cool breezes even on a sweltering summer day.

Flowering trees and blossoming bushes grace the property in a way that draws the eye and brings a sense of balance between the manicured property and the unmistakable spirit of wild Shenandoah flora.

This property, formerly known by names such as “Homespun” and the “Bell House,” has a long and rich history hailing back to the construction of the first structure (now the Tea Room) in the 1790’s.

The land was actually once adjoined to a 466 acre property that was part of the Second Kernstown Battlefield. According to Bell family history, the house was used as a hospital after that battle.

The property also lies within the study areas for the First Kernstown Battlefield and the Second Battle of Winchester.

Local history fans can view the entire archaeological description of the property and the home (including expert opinions) during their visit.

After centuries of changing hands (mostly within few families until the 20th century) RJ Turner acquired the property in 2001 and obtained its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In the summer of 2011, he sold the property to Jane Nelson. With her husband Mick Mallon’s help, they were able to open the Tea Room in early 2013 after a year of careful renovations.


Today, they conduct their business in a way that pays homage to the property’s extensive and storied past.

The atmosphere inside the tea room is quiet, relaxing, and genuinely historic. During renovations, Jane painstakingly hand-painted authentic early-19th century New England stenciling on the walls to recreate “poor man’s wallpaper” and give the antique touches that create a unique and genuine atmosphere.

In one of the first-floor rooms there is a piano which Jane sometimes plays for guests. There is also a local student who is pursuing his Masters in Music who comes to play for the Tea Room. When the piano isn’t being played, recorded classical music plays softly in the background to fulfill the theme. The selection perfectly complements the tranquil atmosphere and culminates in a full experience that will leave you loving High Tea.

During December, each room is carefully and generously decorated in the theme of a Dickens Christmas. This event is a must-see for lovers of English literature and late 19th century English culture.

Husband and wife team Mick and Jane love to join their staff in welcoming and serving guests. Mick finds joy in preparing tea and tisanes (herbal infusions) for guests while Jane, a professional caterer whose clients include Georgetown University, prepares all of the food fresh as it’s ordered.

The venue offers a very long list of tea and tisane options and the kind hosts are ready to offer explanations and make recommendations based on personal tastes and preferences. One satisfying tea is the The Berkshire Apple & Fig, which highlights a mild blend of apples and spices that is highly suitable for sipping with a full lunch.

The Ginger Darjeeling Peach tea is ideal for sipping while enjoying scones and other desserts. This delightful tea is warmed with spices and subtly sweet, while the Ginger, known for its relaxant and antiinflammatory properties, offers a soothing effect.

Chai fans will rejoice in the deep, rich, warm experience of Caramel offers an elevated chai experience that is difficult to rival. No ordinary chai will satisfy after you’ve tasted this heavenly blend of sweet, spicy, and fresh.

For a taste of summer (or to excite the youth), one of the favorite tisanes is the Watermelon, Lime & Basil. This tisane is as sweet as candy, but light, fresh, and expertly blended in a green tea base.

The fare offered is truly extraordinary. Jane pulls out all the stops when it comes to her food, none of which is ever pre-packaged or pre-made as Mick and Jane feel it would detract from the high quality of the experience they provide. Rather, their pride rests in serving fresh, hand-prepared food that blends traditional European fare with American twists on taste.

The food selection ranges from Cornish Pasties (pronounced “Paastees,” not “pay-stees”) and Scottish Pasta & Cheese Pie, to Chicken & Apple Sausage Rolls and Shepherd’s Pie. There is such a large selection of fresh-made lunch items that there is surely something to please everyone. Everything at the Tea Room is worth trying!

For High Tea, lunch parties can receive salads followed by a variety of tiered trays which can include mini sandwiches, fresh fruit, sweet delicacies, desserts, and scones.

The scones, served with clotted cream and fruit preserves, are worthy of separate recognition. Set all of your preconceptions aside, and get ready to go on a sweet but remarkable journey that will bring your taste buds and appetite to life! Enjoying flavorful scones topped with clotted cream and fruit preserves while sipping rich, relaxing tea is a fantastic way to spend a summer day – or any day of the year!

The area is incredibly fortunate to have this unique venue with such caring, attentive hosts who only offer their best – always. Their hard work and dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed either.

In 2015, the Coach and Horses Tea Room was rated #1 of 279 restaurants in the region! In 2016, it was rated #2 which they suspect was simply due to volume, since guests continue to share positive reviews. Regardless, #2 of 279 regional restaurants is not to be ignored!

Mick and Jane are also highly supportive of the community, generously offering discounts for local schools’ students, alumni, & faculty.

If you’d like to take some tea home with you after your visit, there is a selection of favorites available for sale. You could also make arrangements with Mick and Jane to purchase tea and have it shipped to your location if you desire.

It’s wise for guests to call ahead for reservations before their visit. In their desire to maintain the integrity of house’s history, the interior stairs to the second floor prove to be a little steep for some guests. If you would like to ensure you get a table on the first floor be sure to make that request explicitly when you call to make your reservation.

Future plans include a 2-story addition to the old smokehouse in fall of this year. This addition will include a tasting room for tea & scones as a smaller alternative to the full High Tea experience.

It will also provide customers the opportunity to learn more about tea before making a purchase. Additionally, they will have organic items like handmade soaps available for retail sale when the addition opens.

For reservations, call (540) 323-7390. To learn more, visit or you can follow the Coach & Horses Team Room on Facebook.

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