Holiday Magic at Beans in the Belfry

There is magic in the air at Beans in the Belfry and more than ever this year with the addition of a hundred year old Wooton Desk that holds a plethora of thoughtful gifts for family members and friends.  The DiPasquale family gathered earlier last week to trim our towering Christmas tree with lights and splendid ornaments.  There are so many tables, trunks, cabinets and shelves laden with artisan candy, chocolates, gourmet coffee beans and teas, cookie cutters, kids’ chef hats – descriptions defy reality – you simply have got to come in and be in the midst of it.

Sunday Holiday Brunch in December 2020

On all four Sundays in December we’ll serve our popular four-course brunch, including Eggs Benedict and Belgian Waffles.  Since our seating is limited during the pandemic, we suggest you call ahead to reserve your table.  Brunch is served from 12noon to 3pm on Sundays in December.  

A Festive Holiday Afternoon Tea

The holidays are the right time to get together with a friend your mother, grandma or aunt and there is no better visit than a traditional tea in our festive holiday setting.  Please make advanced reservations for this four-course delight – we look forward to serving you.


Daily Bonus Giving in December

Our Daily Free Bonus Gift Giving starts on December 1 with a preview the evening before each day’s Bonus Gift.  Purchase must be made during business hours on the day the Bonus Gift is offered either in person, by phone or some items online  We will post our Bonus Offers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ every day.  Have fun with Beans in the Belfry!




Melanie DiPasquale, Proprietor

and team members Dan, Anthony, Anna, Maggie, Jimmy, Cory, Jim and Hanna

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WDVM TV features Beans in the Belfry

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Sadly, our live events just virtual, enjoy some samples

Dear Patrons, Friends and Neighbors,

we trust that we can reschedule our fabulous performers and jammers in the near future when authorities allow congregations of more than 10 people and restaurants to be open again.  Meanwhile, we offer curbside food and beverage deliveries (swing on down if you are nearby 301 834 7178) and have collected some samples of live music events at Beans:

on Sunday, March 15, Craggy Island: 


Jazz Brunch in February 2020, Jazz Connection:


Jazz Brunch, Christiana Drapkin and Bruce Fransen Trio:  

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Afternoon Tea is a splendid way to socialize

At Beans in the Belfry we started to serve Afternoon Tea right from the beginning in 2004.  Melanie, our proprietor, had spent some time in London during her high school years and become familiar with this very comfortable and tasty ‘meal’.  Her mother, Hanna, lived in Oxford, England for several Christmas Tea Party 2013years and had gone for Tea Service at the local Randolph Hotel many a Saturday afternoon, to the annoyance of the lobby waiter there who looked down upon the foreign au-pair girls trying to experience British culture.  “In order to stretch our tea time”, Hanna recounts, “we would ask for more hot water for the tea pot and he grudgingly complied”.

So, what should you expect when gathering for this delightful traditional British afternoon interlude?  Of course a properly brewed pot of tea to begin with.  Choose from all types of tea: black, white, green, red, oolong, herbal, fruited, floral and blended, the most traditional being a robust loose leaf black tea such as Organic Breakfast, Earl Grey or Orange Pekoe.  Cream is never used. Use only milk and lump sugar. It is important to large selection of mighty leaf tea note that the milk and sugar go into the cup after the tea, never before. Stir your tea without allowing the spoon to strike the side of the cup. When using lemon, be sure to introduce it after the sugar has settled.

It was Portuguese and Dutch traders who first imported tea to Europe, with regular shipments by 1610. England actually was a latecomer to the tea trade, as the East India Company did not capitalize on tea’s popularity until the mid-18th century.  Afternoon Tea for Two tea sandwiches close upIn the early 1800’s ships carrying tea from the Far East to Britain could take over a year to bring home their precious cargo.  Then, the first clippers came on the scene.  Their sleek design and tall masts’ full sail allowed them to speed along at 18 knots, nearly as fast as a modern ocean liner.  The most famous was the Cutty Sark, built in 1868.

Once you are comfortable with your tea selection, on comes a three-tiered stand with the goodies:  three sorts of very thin tea sandwiches, usually  tomato and chives, minted cucumber and a delightful ginger carrot cream cheese spread. It could also be egg or chicken salad, or watercress of the utmost delicate flavor.  Presented on a bed of lettuce leaves to keep them moist, they are garnished with parsley sprigs, afternoon Tea for Two 3 tier standchives flowers, or blooming rosemary twigs.  One starts with the savory food and always sipping from your tea cup in between bites, and sharing bits of news with your tea companions, it’s quite a filling “meal”.

Just about then you think you might fancy a little sweetness after the savory, and on comes the plate of fragrant freshly baked scones, served with a bowl of clotted cream and two kinds of jam.  Depending on what’s available, you can have cranberry, blueberry, apricot, poppy seed or ginger-orange scones.  There are two scones for each guest, so you can enjoy different flavors. The most “approved” way to eat a scone is to break off a little bitesize piece, apply the clotted cream and jam to each individual piece just as it is to be eaten. Remember, preserves go first, then follow with a dab of the cream.Afternoon Tea for Two scones and sweets close up

By now, you are no longer hungry but the sweets are beckoning, and they are such dainty morsels, like Scottish short bread, cream puffs, pastel  meringues, a tiny square of chocolate cake, or fresh strawberries dipped in sugar. Depending on the season, you might find rose pedals, little field violets, or pea blossoms on your sweets plate. If you feel totally sated now, dare for more and ask for a floral or fruited tea to go with your sweets.  A white orchard or caramel and pear blend will satisfy the ultimate wish for the perfect pairing.

Our vintage tea china comes from the four corners of the world.  Turn over your plates and you will find inscriptions such as Royal Ironstone made in England, or a famous Wedgwood piece, a blue patterned cup made in afternoon tea for mother and daughterBavaria, or saucers from Italy, plates from Japan.  The heritage silver spoons might have a family crest or some secretive looking numbers stamped on them.  Some table linen and napkins are hand embroidered, who knows what glamorous or ceremonial times they have witnessed  before arriving at Beans in the Belfry.

Each tea pot has its own character, tall and slender, alabaster white, thick and pouchy, ornate with curly swirls, jolly pink or blue.  They all want to be ‘tipped over and poured out’.  Each contributes to a lively tradition of taking tea in the library or drawing room.

Afternoon tea is gaining popularity among Americans, many of whom adopt the European tea service format.  But never call it High Tea, that was actually the evening meal of the working class during the industrial revolution.

Holiday Afternoon Tea at Beans in the BelfryTake afternoon tea as a light leisurely repast or in place of the business executive lunch.  Statistics show that tea has become the world’s most popular beverage, consumed around the globe in amounts second only to water.

At Beans in the Belfry everything is prepared to order, therefore it is important that you call ahead at least 24 hours or better a week to make a reservation.  Your carefully decked table will be waiting for you.

Red Hat Society Tea

Red Hat Society Tea

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Prepare for outings on the C&O Canal towpath

Some time ago we became members of the C&O Canal Association.  It was initially a gift from one of our dear regular customers of Beans in the Belfry.  Thank you again Karlen!

C&O Canal picture of mules b&w photo


As members you can sign up to ‘level walk’ to help keep the towpath clean, go on guided walks with a naturalist, join canoe or kayak trips and dinners. It’s been very rewarding.


Just recently their newsletter suggested reading books about the C&O Canal and the people who made it work.  It’s the perfect thing to do on a damp day and you’ll get more out of your next walk or bike ride on the towpath. C&O Canal rest stop for mules and barges b&w photo Here are some suggestions from their January newsletter:

The Geology and Engineering Structures of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, written by William E. Davies, is an invaluable reference for students of the C&O Canal. The 636-page book is a 1989 draft of a lifetime work by Davies, a noted geologist and expert on flooding. Although published after his death and unfinished, this work is a mile-by-mile description of structures and formations along the 184-mile length of the canal. Even though the document is a combination of typewritten pages and hand-written notes, online readers can use the search features of their software to locate relevant material.

C&O canal aquaduct

The Story of The Potomac Refining Company, written by Andrew Clemens, chronicles the history of a company incorporated in 1908 to extract manganese and other minerals from a site along the canal near Dargan Bend at mile 65. Widely advertised to small investors, the company saw its officers indicted for fraud in 1912. The officers were acquitted, but the company entered bankruptcy in 1913.towpath and bridge overpass mules people and barge

Contact Andrew Clemens at if you have any questions or comments.

When you are out and about on the towpath near mile marker 55, no towpath trip is complete unless you stop in the little railroad town of Brunswick, right across the railroad tracks.  You’ll find a charming beanshistoric main street and that’s where we are, Beans in the Belfry Meeting Place and Cafe, on 122 West Potomac Street in a century old brick church building.

Have a feel-good meal, espresso drink, refreshing iced or blended drink and a cozy chair or couch to enjoy it all.   Let us know if you have found us and how your visit was.

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