Afternoon Tea at Rowena's Inn on the River is a Gatsby-era dream
Fans of literature and history will feel right at home at Rowena’s Inn on the River, a picturesque spot located at the Sandpiper Resort in Harrison Mills, BC.
Set on a golf course overlooking the Harrison River, the Inn itself has a rich history, with many of the original structures and architectural details still intact.
This early 1900s-era property was originally owned by the Pretty Family, who inherited the 160 acres of land from a Mrs. Jackson who resided there previously. The family built a stunning house on the property – a home that wouldn’t feel out of place in the pages of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Offered once a Sunday every month through fall, winter, and spring, Rowena’s Inn holds an afternoon tea in the upper and lower drawing room. Think French doors that open out to the river view, sparkling chandeliers, and a grand fireplace that is truly the heart of the place.
During a recent visit, Dished was given the chance to indulge in the afternoon tea – one of the last for the season – and feel what it must be like to be Daisy Buchanan and Nick Carraway for a day.
The special Afternoon Tea offering is available only by reservation between the hours of 11:30 am and 2 pm, and each reservation is for a one-and-a-half-hour-long experience.
Guests are greeted with a glass of prosecco to start before being offered housemade scones with a selection of fruit preserves, citrus curd, and clotted cream.
You have your choice of tea or coffee as well, of course, with a selection of black, herbal, and green teas. As is fitting with the setting, tea is served in antique teapots and matching tea cups and saucers, and each one is unique.
Guests also have the option of making their experience a “Tipsy Tea,” as for an additional cost you can opt to sip on mimosas, Kir Royale, Aperol Spritz, or a Limoncello Spritz.
As for the small bites, exceptional flavour pairings and a stunning presentation. During our visit, the menu included savoury bites like a smoked salmon tartine (with a bright citrus créme fraiche and local micro greens), rosemary roasted lamb on mini brioche buns, classic English cucumber sandwiches, served open-face, and jammy egg croissant bites with spicy pickled shallots.
High tea experiences can really vary when it comes to the food, but these little morsels more than pulled their weight, with both bright, punchy flavours and deep savoury notes, satisfying our hungry appetites.
No afternoon tea is complete without some sweets though, and the ones at Rowena’s are truly something special.
Think dark chocolate torte with honeycomb toffee, sparkling jelly candy made with prosecco, and gateau au fromage (that’s cheesecake for all the Anglos) with a hazelnut sable crust and smoked maldon salt topping.
A personal favourite was the strawberry-rose pavlova – a soft yet toothsome, delicately floral bite-size version of one of the best desserts ever invented.
After slowly sipping on Earl Grey tea and nibbling on towering platters of food, the fully immersive effects of the setting began to take effect – it was easy to feel like it actually was 1922 and that the only way you could get to this part of the province was by train.
Rowena’s Inn Afternoon Tea is paused for the summer but will resume in November 2023 and run until April 2024.
Until then, you can stay at the Inn to soak up the Gatsby vibes and get in a day or two on the green.
Rowena’s Inn on the River at Sandpiper Resort
Address: 14282 Morris Valley Road, Harrison Mills, BC