By Graham Pilotte
With the winter cold and the rush of the holidays, many of us find ourselves needing a moment to sit back and breathe – over a cup of hot tea, perhaps. Locally-owned tea parlor The Sword and the Scone is here for just that reason.
“Tea has been a passion of mine for a really long time,” explains owner Judy Rowland. “Whenever I would go on vacation or travel to different places, I would look for a tea room. There weren’t really any in Louisville; you had to travel kind of far to have that experience. I had always worked in restaurants, so it was a natural progression to owning my own.”
Rowland spent a long time planning The Sword and the Scone “I worked for two years with the small business development center,” she explains. “The whole time, I was collecting all the little cups and chandeliers you’ll see here.” The tea parlor is light and inviting, decorated generously with pink, white and glitter. Throughout the bright parlor, lights hang from hand-decorated chandeliers that Rowland expertly crafted herself. “That one we completely refurbished,” she says, pointing out a nearby fixture.
In addition to being Louisville’s only true tea parlor, The Sword and The Scone is home to another unique phenomenon – blooming tea. “We have ten blooming teas,” Rowland says. “These are tea leaves wrapped around a flower. When you drop the bundle in hot water, it really blooms.” The bundle of leaves slowly unfurls in hot water to reveal its floral center, a fascinating process that guests can watch through a clear pot. The leaves are green or white tea, but flavors range from a more traditional hazelnut to an adventurous chocolate-covered cherry. “They’re handcrafted in China and then shipped over here to be flavored,” Rowland explains. “We’ll give them to you if it’s your birthday or you’re celebrating – or you can just order them. They’re very cool.”
However, The Sword and The Scone also features a range of other delicacies, including their now-famous scones. “If you want the full tea experience, try the High Tea,” Rowland suggests. “It comes out on a three-tier stand. There are bite-sized sweets on the top tier, two full-size scones in the middle tier and then four savories on the bottom.” High Tea is the perfect storybook tea setting, although Rowland also suggests Afternoon Tea for a slightly smaller sample. Their full menu includes soups, sandwiches and over 40 different teas – many of which are for sale in their boutique as well.
“We want people to come and enjoy lunch and catch up with their friends,” Rowland says. “We love to celebrate – bridal showers, baby showers, graduations and we can open just for them on a Sunday. We mostly see women, but the other day we had a 99-year-old gentleman come to celebrate his birthday,” she says with a smile. “He really enjoyed it.”
The Sword and the Scone is quickly becoming a community gathering spot, with after-hours classes and events. “We had a scone-making class here recently with about 25 people,” Rowland explains. “It sold out, so we opened up another one. We also have special events like a paint-and-sip, Grandparents’ Day Tea and Bible studies. When “Beauty and the Beast” came out, we had a princess tea with Belle and the Beast here in costume,” she says. “We try to plan special events for kids and adults.”
The Sword and the Scone is quickly becoming a Louisville staple. With unique blooming teas, celebrations and community events, Louisville’s true tea parlor is a much-needed addition to the community. VT
The Sword & the Scone Tea Parlor & Boutique
1915 Blankenbaker Pkwy.