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Boston Public Library, Boylston St., Boston, Ma.
Blithewold Mansion, tea room, Bristol, R.I.

Relax with Friends and Family at Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is a delightful way to spend a spring afternoon. In or near Scenic Shopping towns, you will find places where you can enjoy this tradition. 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. 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, plus teabags, and many loose teas. (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.

 

In Newport, Rhode Island, Stoneacre Brasserie at Washington Square has a tea section on their regular menu from Friday to Sunday from 2-4 p.m. There is a separate Stoneacre Garden Restaurant at Brick Market Place but the tea is at the brasserie. At $28 per person, the tea consists of three tiers, the first being a buttermilk biscuit with jam, honey butter and Devonshire Cream. The second tier is an array of finger sandwiches and deviled egg. The third tier is gluten free brownies, macarons, biscotti and snickerdoodle. The also have a brunch and kids menu available. Later this spring, Stoneacre will host brunch and afternoon tea with reservations at the Tea House located at Marble House mansion on Bellevue Ave. beginning May 27, 2022. This menu also has a kids section and adult drinks.

 

On Boylston Street in downtown Boston near Newbury Street, the Boston Public Library serves afternoon tea on select days with three seatings. You can have tea in the Courtyard Tea Room by reservation Wednesday's and Thursday's or in the Map Room Tea Lounge which has table seating by reservation on Friday's and Saturday's. The Map Room Tea Lounge also accommodates walk-ins for a "bar bites" menu. Seating times are 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reserved seatings are 90 minutes at set times, dress is smart casual and coat check is required. Both venues offer their unique author inspired tea-infused cocktails. 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.

 

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, pastries and of course tea, in addition to a tea platter of tea and scones for 4 guests, and a tea tasting sampler of 5 teas. 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 plus Boston Tea Party themed souvenirs.

 

In Bar Harbor, Maine, you can find a casual tea at the Jordan Pond Tea House inside of Acadia National Park starting this year on May 25, 2022. 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, but reservations are not required and the experience is casual. There is indoor and outdoor seating. Teas can be packaged to go. The menu includes Boba tea and Butterfly Pea Tea (also known as blue tea). There is an "Alice in Wonderland" theme to the shop, and the tea pots, cups and gifts in the shop reflect this passion.

 

In Somers, Connecticut you can find the Old Mill English Tea Room. 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 Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. with last seating at 3 p.m.

 

The Drawing Room Cafe and Tea House in Cos Cob, Connecticut near Greenwich has a combination cafe, boutique and interior design business, plus an art gallery. The cafe has a three tiered tea service for $36 per person. They also have breakfast, lunch and dessert menus. The boutique sells home decor, soaps, books and photo albums. And the gallery hosts exhibits and special events.

 

Founded by tea specialist, Marianne Russo, Nellie's Tea Company has expert advice, tea service by appointment, curb side tea pickup, tea blends and tea accessories in an off the beaten path location in South Portland, Maine. Retail hours and tea experiences, including classes can be scheduled with Marianne. The latest news is posted on her Facebook page.

 

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 as well as 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. Throughout the year, in nearby Milford, N.H. they also hold themed teas at The Colonel Shepard House on select days with reservations required.

 

The Silver Fountain Inn and Tea Parlor in Dover, N.H. is holding French Tea in May for $36 per person and a children's tea for $22 per person. 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 $115-155 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.

 

The Inn at Montpelier, Vermont has an onsite restaurant called The Social which includes an afternoon tea menu between lunch and dinner. They also have appetizers and a meat and cheese board along with scones, sweets and tea sandwiches. The tea is $16 per person with a la carte add ons for an additional cost so you can supplement your tea if you are feeling particularly peckish. This 19 room boutique hotel has rooms range in price from $137-239 per night. The inn is within walking distance to the center of this small city, Montpelier which is also the state capital.

 

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. This experience is only available to hotel guests. It is an evening activity, complimentary and self-serve. A second tea room called the white room is also available for enjoying tea. Suites, lofts and guest rooms range from $290-490/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)

 

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Blithewold Mansion, Ferry Rd., Route 114, Bristol, R.I.
Blithewold Mansion, Springtime Afternoon Tea, Bristol, R.I.
Bar Harbor Tea Co., Main St., Bar Harbor, Maine