WASHINGTON – Washington National Cathedral is a prime location for afternoon tea. Twice a week visitors can take an hourlong tour of the Episcopal cathedral and then enjoy an elegant mini meal.

Docents who lead the tours will tell you they don’t work from a script and are free to focus on what interests them most. Jane Junghans, 30, a cathedral docent who also works as a D.C. tour guide, recently led a lively tour that focused on history.

Junghans took visitors back to 1907, the year the foundation stone was laid. The style was to be Gothic; the material, Indiana limestone. It took craftsmen 83 years before the final finial was put in place. “Everything you’re looking at was made by hand,” she said of the building’s stone, wood, glass and iron.

Not to be missed is a statue of Abraham Lincoln in a back corner. Nearby, an olive branch with hands reaching from above and below adorns an archway. Lincoln pennies are embedded into the floor.

After the tour, tourgoers ride seven floors up to the Pilgrim Observation Gallery, where cloth-covered tables feature tiered trays of tasty sandwiches, scones and sweets. Guests may have all the tea they want, but the amount of food won’t spoil anyone’s dinner. A seat by a window affords an unparalleled view of the cathedral grounds and the rest of Washington.

All Hallows Guild members, who volunteer to serve tea, are attentive and welcoming.


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