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“Being a rather a rather liberal Yankee, I was a little apprehensive to sign up for "Tea Party Tours" but so glad I did.”

Charleston Tea Party Tours
Ranked #7 of 27 Food & Drink in Charleston
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Attraction details
Owner description: Many thanks to all my guests who have launched me onto Trip Advisor. My tour is Monday through Friday starting at 9 am with breakfast on the Battery, going through the gates and front doors and into my friends' historic Charleston houses and gardens. You are invited in for a refreshing and hospitable tea party at my home overlooking the Ashley River at noon at the end of the morning tour. The goal is to be faithful to the Southern history and to give you the passion of a Charlestonian as you are treated like a guest, not a tourist.
Reviewed June 6, 2013

Laura Hipp's tour was both informative and personal. She shared both her extensive knowledge of her fair city, and personal stories, based on her research and experience. Even though she was having a big party at her house in just two days, she gave us her full attention and demonstrated true "Southern Hospitality." She picked us up from 204 Ashley, an apartment she had rented for our group, and drove us to her house where she picked up the rest of the people going on the tour. we started with buffet full breakfast on the piazza (porch) of what was the home of a local dentist and I think still in the family, but now a Bed and Breakfast. It overlooked the Charleston harbor with Fort Sumter in the distance. After a satisfying breakfast and stories, we got back into the van to tour the gardens of another lovely house and carriage house. Then we drove to the home of the Doctor who attended her delivery and introduced to its occupants and ancestors through family portraits and family treasures. Finally, we returned to Laura's home where a lovely lunch awaited us and more stories. Although the group consisted of more women than men, I think it was equally enjoyed by all.

2  Thank Ariagno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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68 - 72 of 149 reviews

Reviewed May 30, 2013

I had the delightful pleasure of partaking in Mrs. Wichmann-Hipp's tour. This was most definitely not your average tour. Mrs. Wichmann-Hipp is one of the most knowledgeable & uniquely interesting tour guides that I have met. Although the visited locations were few, I feel that they were made very special. I left the tour feeling as if I had known her much longer than the couple of hours spent on her tour. I have read the other reviews & was somewhat disheartened by the extremely cruel comments, however I can assure you that my experience was very positive. The experience is personal & genuine. In comparison to the overly professional & dry tours, this one was welcomingly refreshing & special.

1  Thank Libbyl9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

If you're ever lucky enough to be in Charleston; one of the very first things on your "Must Do" list should be to take The Charleston Tea Party Private Tour guided by Laura Wichmann Hipp. Laura has been giving these for several years now. Though she was born in Charleston, she speaks in a beautiful English accent acquired from her English born Mother. Laura's very knowledgeable in all things Charleston and eludes the essence of a proper southern lady. My two friends & I have been blessed to take this tour before. Being the highlight of our last trip, we called for reservations this year. Laura, in her long sundress & straw brimmed hat picked us up in her van at 9:00 A.M. She introduced us to a lovely couple from Dallas, Texas whom we were delighted to spend our day with. Off we were to meander through the beautiful gardens & homes of some of her personal friends. We actually met some of these people & their dogs. We also drove down many of the streets of Charleston viewing the beautiful homes, gardens, churches, parks and the Battery. Laura elaborated on the beauty & historical facts pertaining to each as we passed by.

Around 1:00 our tour was winding down & she drove us to her beautiful home. Upon arrival there, she reverted from tour guide to the most gracious southern hostess. We were treated to a meal prepared by her own hands. The table was adorned in white linens complimented by blue dinnerware, silver candlesticks & a silver urn flowing with flowers cut from her garden. Our entree was a salad consisting partly of greens & herbs fresh from her garden & a homemade buttermilk dressing. Following the salad, we were served hot Earl Grey Tea and a special treat. While making our reservations, my friend stated that our tour date happened to be her birthday. Laura, always attentive to details, remembered this. She baked a wonderful shortbread that she topped with fresh raspberries & cream. Between the two layers of shortbread there were fresh strawberries & cream. Topping this off was a silver turtle holding a birthday candle.

What a memorable ending to yet another Charleston visit. Laura lives & breathes Charleston. She literally brings this beautiful city to life for you. We have been blessed to take this tour twice and plan to go again. Thank you to a beautiful & gracious lady.......Ruby D.

1  Thank Ruby D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

Let me start by saying that I am very extensive world traveler and have worked with guides around the globe. A good guide can make all the difference in getting to know a new location and a bad guide can ruin it. In the case of Charleston, Ms. Wichmann-Hipp fell in the latter category.

This was my first trip to Charleston and I wanted to take an organized tour to get a good overview of the city, which is so rich in American history and so famous for its beautiful architecture and lovely gardens. Well, Ms. Wichmann-Hipp's tour failed to fulfill any of my expectations. First of all, she is much more expensive than the other tours of similar duration but justifies it by saying that you will be getting two meals - a breakfast in a home on Battery Street and then lunch in her own home - implying that this is special. Well the breakfast was hardly better than what you'd find in a fast food joint and the home where it was served is a B&B that is neither pretty nor special. As for the lunch in her house, it was mediocre and barely enough to satisfy a modest hunger. And her home? Well, its not going to be on anyone's house and garden tour beside her own!

Now lets talk about the actual tour, which can hardly be called that. Ms. Wichmann-Hipp fancies herself as a true Charlestonian and an avid history buff, but she failed to present the history of the city in any coherent manner. If you are hoping to leave the tour with a good basic grasp of the important historical events in the city of Charleston, then you will be sorely disappointed. Her narrative wanders all over the place and she makes no attempt to connect her thoughts or ideas in a cohesive way. She loves to quote things from the diaries or books of famous historical figures, but they are not placed in any context. She simply babbles on, thinking that her quotations show research and knowledge but they only show her misplaced desire to appear scholarly.

As for the gardens and houses, she also told me that we would get to see the homes of her special friends, again implying access to unique properties. While we did see one beautiful garden and go into the ground floor of one nice home, they hardly constituted anything so special that it compensated for her otherwise disjointed guiding skills.

To make matters worse, Ms. Wichmann-Hipp told me she had two places left on the tour when I called to inquire. I asked how many were already signed up and she said 4, clearly implying that it was limited to 6 people. Well, when she picked us up she had a big van and we were 13 people. The people in the back row of the van could hardly see out the windows!

To make matters even more inappropriate and infuriating, Ms. Wichmann-Hipp kept talking religion. As we drove to breakfast she informed us that she had a special prayer for us to say that morning. She asked us all to bow our heads and went on for a good 7-8 minutes about the holy matters that were worrying her. We were treated to the same thing at lunch. If she wants to inject religion in her tours, she should bill them as Christian tours.

While Ms. Wichmann-Hipp is personally quite sweet and personable, that hardly compensated for her incoherent and disjointed tour of this wonderful city.

Disappointed Experienced Traveler

7  Thank Bobbi882
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed my recent Charleston Tea Party Private Tour lead by Laura Wichmann Hipp.
The tour was quite unique as Laura took us to the homes of some of her personal friends. Our small group started with a delicious southern breakfast at one home on the Battery. At another private home , we walked through lush gardens, and at a third home, we admired the antique furnishings and beautiful chandeliers
Laura is well-versed in Charlestonian history and made it "come alive" for us as we toured her city. Our tour ended with a lovely lunch at Laura"s home.
I truly did feel like more of a guest on this tour, than a tourist.

1  Thank Mary B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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