Tea shop owner Louis Blair proudly presents a tower of treats to the table set in fine china teacups with matching plates.
From the top down he starts to reel off his made-from-scratch creations.
“A tea rose, apple puff pastries, lemon petit fours and pumpkin tea cakes, chocolate covered cream puffs, macarons, tarts, and Pfeffernusse cookies,” he says about the top plate in a three-tiered serving rack.
“There’s butterscotch, Irish raisin and English toffee,” he says about the scones on the middle plate, and on the bottom plate are sandwiches. “There’s egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, and cucumber sandwiches.”
Blair’s heritage is Scottish, and if you ask about the tattoos on his arms, he’ll tell you what they are and what they represent.
He’ll also share photos of his beloved dogs if you talk about yours, and if you ask him about the rules of high tea, he’ll tell you what they are. But he’ll also share that rules are made to be broken and life’s short, so if you want to start at the top of the tower and eat the sweet desserts first and then end the meal with sandwiches, that’s just fine.
Blair has operated the Teatime Tranquility & Treasures shop for six years now and seems to delight in creating a space for the enjoyment of tea, coffee and treats. But more importantly, Blair provides a place to sit down and chat with friends and family.
On any given day the dozen tables throughout the shop are set up in different color schemes and themes. They are filled with mothers and daughters or kids and grandmas or best friends celebrating a life changing event such as a wedding or baby on the way.
And there are hats to wear. Colorful and feathery or vintage, simple and streamlined. They await tea drinkers who might want to experience high tea like the British did in the 1600s dressed to the nines and speaking in English accents with pinkies held up high.
The treasures part of the experience comes in the form of teacups and teapots and trinkets throughout the shop that are displayed on countertops and china cabinets and are up for sale.
Blair buys up unique teapots and accessories at auctions and sells them. Some of the teapots on display are from his personal collection like the Whitehouse teapot, and a fish teapot he uses for Father’s Day events.
Blair said his high tea service draws customers who are visiting the area from all over the world.
“A lot of Brits visit here,” he said. “And visitors from South Africa and London.”
If you go: Tea Time Tranquility & Treasures is located at 14521 Main St. in Alachua and is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed on Christmas).
High Tea is $21.95 per person. Calling (386) 243-9199 is better than booking online, Blair said, and he needs 24 hours notice of an appointment in order to prepare treats and sandwiches. Click to see a full menu here.