It’s such a pleasure to unexpectedly find a restaurant that you want to share with everyone you know. Everything about Miss Bessie’s Tearoom makes me smile, from the comfortably familiar wait staff to the hats on the wall (more on that later).
We had driven the short distance to Forsyth along Interstate 75, then took Main Street into the western hinterlands. Passing 17 miles of pastures and forests, we arrived in the charming town of Barnesville.
Main Street in Barnesville consists of a renovated train station turned art gallery, some fantastic murals featuring FDR, a few shops and several small restaurants. Drawn to the unique display window outside Miss Bessie’s, we decided to give it a try.
You wouldn’t think a tearoom in a tiny town would be bustling on a Saturday afternoon, but bustling it was. In fact, the hostess asked us if we had reservations and we were afraid to admit that we did not. In the end, we were seated at one of the tables without a personalized reservation card.
Miss Bessie’s is a Victorian-style tearoom, complete with antique furniture, delicate china and lots of hats. Some of the more delicate hats are off limits, but the lower ones are available for guests to wear. Our crew admitted that wearing hats added to the whole tea-drinking experience. Your first duty as one of Miss Bessie’s guests is to choose a tea.
With more than 40 teas to choose from, with exotic names like Buckingham Palace Garden Party and caramel Rooibos, selecting just one can be quite daunting. Being traditionalists, we chose the Earl Grey and the English Breakfast.
Next, we decided to try the chicken salad, quiche and soup du jour. Along with these, we added scones, lemon curd and Bessie’s “cheesies,” toasted bits of Parmesan cheese.
The tea arrived in two pots covered in quilted cozies. Our personable server poured the tea into our teacups and delivered our scones.
The lemon curd was the perfect creamy consistency to put on the biscuit-like scone. Into our tea, we each plopped two sugar cubes and enjoyed its warm journey to join the scones.
There are two quotes from Aunt Bessie’s little “Tips and Teas” booklet that we enjoyed. One is, “Of course Miss Bessie welcomes tea lovers of all ages. How will they ever learn to appreciate a good cup of tea if we don’t start them young?” The other is, “Tea cannot be rushed. Part of the Tea Experience is that it requires one to slow down from the cares of the day. ... If the Lord had wanted you to hurry, He would not have sent you here.”
I’ve already told dozens of people to take the short trip to Aunt Bessie’s Tearoom, and I’m planning to take my mother there during the holiday season.
If you’re feeling rushed during the next 45 shopping days, take a break at Miss Bessie’s. Your worries will melt away like sugar cubes in a hot cup of Darjeeling.
Miss Bessie's Tearoom
Three and half stars
Address: 110 Main St., Barnesville
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Not specifically
Noise Level: Low
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Health Rating: 100