Boston Public Library Courtyard, Boylston St., Boston, Ma.
View of The Courtyard Restaurant set up for afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library, Boylston St., Boston, Ma.
Map Room Tea Lounge, Boston Public Library, Boston, Ma.

Relax with Friends and Family at Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is a special repast to enjoy with others. In or near Scenic Shopping towns, you will find places where you can enjoy this tradition. Teas often require reservations on select days and times like the afternoon tea at Sweet Marie's Tea Cottage in Wickford, R.I. Other teas are incorporated into the regular menu and don't require reservations like at Dunbar House in Sandwich on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Tea pots, tea cups, brewing supplies and all kinds of tea making accessories are available in shops focused on the things you need to enjoy your tea at home. Bar Harbor Tea Co. has colorful teapots, cups, mugs, infusers, tea cozies, and tea. (More)

Dunbar House Restaurant and Tea Room, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Ma.

When planning to attend tea, it's good to call to check if establishments have made last minute changes to their times and menus, especially for special tea events. Getting together over tea to catch up with friends, or treating yourself or family to this tradition is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Here are some of the shops, inns, historic homes and restaurants that share their love of tea with customers and guests.


On Boylston Street in downtown Boston near Newbury Street, the Boston Public Library serves afternoon tea. You can have tea in the Courtyard Tea Room by reservation Tuesday's through Sunday's, or in the Map Room Tea Lounge which also takes reservations. The Map Room Tea Lounge can accommodate walk-ins for a "bar bites" menu. Check their website to see the times and days of service, and to make reservations. Library closing time can affect the end of the last seating Friday through Sunday.


For a family friendly afternoon tea in Boston, try Abigail's Tea Room and Terrace at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. They feature a lunch menu of sandwiches, salads, soups and of course tea. They also have a tea platter with tea and 2 scones for four guests. Or try their tea sampler featuring 5 historic teas. They have treats like scones, pie, cookies and muffins. Admission to the museum tour which includes a guided tour of the replica of the ship from the Boston Tea Party is not required to visit the Tea Room and Museum Shop. The museum shop sells a variety of teas, teapots and teacups, plus Boston Tea Party themed souvenirs.


You can find a lovely casual afternoon tea at Sweet Marie's Tea Cottage in Wickford Village, Rhode Island. Located steps from West Main Street and tucked away in a shingled antique cottage with eclectic decor and wooden beams, this tea room is open from Thursday's to Sunday's with scheduled seating times. Reservations are required (cancellations needed 24 hours prior; for groups of 8 or more, 72 hours cancellation notice is needed). See their website for details. Reservations can be made through Open Table, calling or sending email. Special event group sittings can be arranged also.


Teas are sometimes special events that require reservations and go for a set period of time on select days like the Springtime Afternoon Tea at Blithewold Mansion in Bristol, R.I. This afternoon tea service ushers in spring with a delightful opportunity to tour the Blithewold Mansion and attend afternoon tea in one of their historic wood paneled rooms. Combined with their amazing display of daffodils on their waterfront grounds, this tea is a wonderful way to spend an April or early May afternoon.


In Newport, Rhode Island, Stoneacre Brasserie in conjunction with the Preservation Society of Newport County offer afternoon tea and brunch starting in April at the Chinese Tea House Cafe located at Marble House mansion on Bellevue Avenue. This experience is open to visitors with tickets to tour the mansion, and tea reservations are recommended. Most scheduled tea servings are on weekends. Cancellation fees apply. See their website for details. There is also a self-service cafe for sandwiches and snacks with seasonal outdoor seating, and indoor seating when afternoon tea is not being served.


In Bar Harbor, Maine, you can find a casual tea at the Jordan Pond Tea House inside of Acadia National Park open seasonally starting this year on May 1, 2024. The Jordan Pond House Restaurant offers priority seating at their website but they advise advance planning because of low connectivity for cell phones in the park. They serve a traditional afternoon tea with popovers, in addition to their signature lobster stew, ice cream and lemonade. See their website for the latest hours and tips for visiting.


In Mystic, Connecticut at Olde Mistick Village on Coogan Boulevard you can find the tea room and gift shop, Alice in the Village. You can order sweets at the counter and your tea. They do not have finger sandwiches and table service. The experience is casual and reservations are not required. There is indoor and outdoor seating. Teas can be packaged to go. The menu includes Boba tea and Butterfly Pea Tea. There is an "Alice in Wonderland" theme to the shop, and the tea pots, cups and gifts in the shop reflect this passion.


Historic Plymouth, Massachusetts has Shelly's Tea Rooms on Court Street in downtown Plymouth. Having previously owned tea rooms in England, Shelly and her family chose Plymouth as home for themselves and their tea rooms in America. Their delicious scones are also packaged frozen to go so you can bake them at home. They have raisin. blueberry, chocolate chip and classic take and bake scones, and new in 2024 are several savoury scones with cheese and ham. They offer tea and tea making accessories in their gift shop. Reservations are recommended especially on weekends and holidays, but they offer same day bookings if available. And nearby on Court Street is British Imports of Plymouth, a shop selling English gifts, jams, dessserts and of course, tea.


In Somers, Connecticut you can find the Old Mill English Tea Room with a focus on traditional English tea and a strong affection for Queen Elizabeth II. Their tea room menu includes soups, salad, quiche, crepes and scones plus a large selection of tea sandwiches and lots of tea choices. Tea is served by reservation Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with the last seating at 3 p.m.


Sadly the previously featured Drawing Room Cafe and Tea House in Cos Cob, Connecticut has closed. Nellie's Tea Company in South Portland, Maine has also closed.


In Camden, Maine, the Blackberry Inn Bed and Breakfast invites overnight guests as well as the general public to afternoon tea on the second Saturday of each month. These events require reservations at least three days prior. Their three tier service for $35 per person includes tea sandwiches, scones, desserts and Tea Forte brand tea. During several months the tea takes on a seasonal theme as for Valentine's Day, autumn and the holidays.


The Cozy Tea Cart in Brookline, New Hampshire has a retail shop with over 150 loose teas, plus tea accessories, and a cafe serving tea, sweets and lunch items. You can pay for samples of multiple teas so you find out which ones you like. They have tea accessories and gift ideas. Call ahead to check hours, currently posted as Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Seasonal garden seating is now open.


The Silver Fountain Inn and Tea Parlor in Dover, N.H. has a May menu with tea options ranging from $16-36 per person and a children's tea for $18. Adult libations available for an extra charge. Check their website for the monthly tea menu details and to make reservations. The inn is a historic Victorian bed and breafast with rates for May and June ranging from $145-205 per night in downtown Dover. A stay at the inn is not required for visiting the tea parlor. Special events and functions are held at the inn as well.


In the Garrison Inn's Lady Finger's Tea Lounge in Newburyport, Massachusetts you can feast your eyes on a delightful explosion of pink velvet lady finger shaped chairs and couches in a tea room decorated with ladies' portraits. They offer an open tea and champagne bar for ages 21+ at noon on Saturday's and Sunday's by reservation for $100 per person. There is also a second tea room called the White Room. For overnight guests, there is a complimentary self-serve evening tea buffet from 7-10 p.m. in their Pink Room and their White Room. Suites, lofts and guest rooms range from $300-560/per night this spring.


Whether you're looking for a fancy tea experience, a casual tea, a kid friendly tea or want to shop for tea and accessories to enjoy at home, there are many unique experiences throughout New England for you to explore involving this beloved beverage.


-M.A. Barrett (May 17, 2022, updated May 16, 2024)




Shelly's Tea Rooms, Court St., Plymouth, Ma.
Blithewold Mansion, Bristol, R.I.
Blithewold Mansion afternoon tea, Bristol, R.I.
Blithewold Mansion, tea room, Bristol, R.I.
Sweet Marie's Tea Cottage, West Main St., Wickford, R.I.
Sweet Marie's afternoon tea, West Main St., Wickford, R.I.
Bar Harbor Tea Co., Main St., Bar Harbor, Maine