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There’s something about a spot of tea. It warms the belly and lifts the spirits. The health benefits are real, too. Many studies have shown that tea is good for you, boosting the immune system, fighting inflammation and possibly even offering some protection from cancer and heart disease.
Taking time out for tea can also be a nice respite while traveling and another way to learn more about the area you’re visiting. With that in mind, we offer up a few special spots for tea times you won’t forget.
Driskill Hotel | Austin, Texas
The historic Driskill Hotel in Austin has been wowing visitors since 1886 and its teatime options are no exception. Take your choice of Austin Breakfast, a Ceylon black tea or Texas Sweet Dreams (with organic rosehips, lemongrass, hibiscus, orange peel, Texas lavender, stevia leaf, and natural vanilla). The Iron Goddess of Mercy is oolong tea with a honey amber infusion of fragrant, earthy flavors and plum notes. If you fancy, have sparkling wine or nonalcoholic sparkling cider.
Any tea worth its sugar includes delectable goodies. The Driskill doesn’t disappoint with orange-cranberry scones, Devonshire cream, lemon curd, and fruit preserves. Course two tea sandwich options include salmon phyllo cups with crème fraiche, dill, and caviar; truffle deviled egg; chicken salad, red grapes, fine herbs, and a tartlet cup; cucumber and cream cheese; and prosciutto, fig jam, brie, and focaccia. Save room for the final round options of lemon poppy petit fours, chocolate custard tarts, rose raspberry Linzer cookies and anise tea cakes with vanilla Chantilly.
When you’ve had your fill of tea, rest for a spell and get ready for the raucous fun that is Austin, including barhopping on Sixth Street, listening to some of the best music anywhere, and dining at world-class restaurants.
The Fairmont | San Francisco, California
Afternoon tea has been a tradition at the Fairmont since 1907. The elegant setting in Laurel Court with its stained-glass windows and chandelier sets just the right vibe for an elegant tea. Options include a variety of teas; delicious Dungeness crab with mango salad and chives on sourdough; chicken salad with grapes, apples, and cashews on Turmeric toast; cinnamon raisin scones; and sides like lemon curd, Devonshire cream and fruit compote. You can add bubbly to the afternoon with the champagne tea service.
While you’re in the City by the Bay, be sure to make your way to the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor museum, and San Francisco’s many unique shops, to name just a few of the multitude of options in this vibrant city.
Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa | Dubois, Wyoming
If you’ve checked into the Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa, you’re in for a treat come Governor’s Tea Time. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a day of outdoor revelry. The tone is set with the historic Tea Room’s mountain views, stone fireplace, and leather sofas. Visitors can choose from a variety of fruits, cheeses, cookies, crumpets, tea, and, yes, cocoa and coffee.
When you’re ready for action, options include horseback riding, hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, and, for those who want something a little less active, playing horseshoes. The 100-year-old Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa is named after Wyoming’s seventh governor, Bryant Brooks, who discovered the valley where the guest ranch makes its home.
Napa Valley Wine Train | Napa Valley, California
The Napa Valley Wine Train recently added an afternoon tea service to its tour options. Take a 3-hour journey on a vintage train as you sip your choice of teas, sparkling wine, toast and cheese, demitasse portion of soup and petite salad course, finger sandwiches, scones with accompaniments, and signature mini desserts. Want to take your tea to the next level? Add a caviar course. With stunning scenery and good food, this is a ride you’ll remember.
Finding other things to occupy your time in Napa Valley will not be an issue. In addition to a plethora of vineyards, the valley offers a multitude of fine dining options, bike tours, hot air balloon rides, shopping and more.
Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead | Atlanta, Georgia
The new afternoon tea service at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead caused a buzz along with the opening of the hotel’s signature restaurant, Brassica. Teatime in the solarium combines classic traditions with Southern flair. The menu offers teas like Organic Emperor Jasmine and Sencha Fukujyu Chan, and French and Southern-inspired sweet and savory treats. Popular bites include the Kentucky Benedictine cucumber sandwich, smoked salmon with dill and cream cheese, and the chocolate ganache and peanut butter tart. A harpist adds to the lovely atmosphere.
Looking for other things to do in Atlanta? History buffs will enjoy the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum and Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park, which includes a museum. Great food abounds. If you’re not sure where to start, consider checking out one of the city’s food halls.
Courtyard Tea Room, Boston Public Library | Boston, Massachusetts
You know tea and Boston have quite a history. What may come as a surprise is that tucked into the historical McKim Building, home to the public library, is the Courtyard Tea Room that overlooks a stunning Italianate courtyard. Not only can you have a classic, traditional tea with sandwiches, scones, jams, petit fours, and some 15 locally sourced teas, but the library also features the Map Room Tea Lounge, where you can drink tea-infused cocktails featuring literary inspired cocktails from authors who mentioned spirits in their novels or drank spirits while writing.
Copley Square, where the library is located, offers plenty of other things to do. Old South Church is a short walk away while Newbury Street, also within walking distance, is a shopping mecca. Other don’t-miss options while visiting Boston: the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Science.
Close to home
The Tailored Tea | Latham
The Tailored Tea has charm and then some. The 1806 farmhouse features vintage furnishings, linens, and china, but you’ll also love the modern touches. The tea party options, which are available every day from noon-4 p.m., are many. The Hudson, for instance, includes a choice of three tea sandwiches, such as cucumber and mascarpone on white/whole wheat bread with a bit of honey; egg salad and olives on banana bread; or smoked salmon and cream cheese with scallions on pumpernickel, plus your choice of a scone, a sampler of mini desserts, and a half-pot of tea or other beverage. The Mohawk includes salad or soup, two types of scones, a mini dessert sampler, and a half-pot of tea.
Mohonk Mountain House | New Paltz
What better place to have an afternoon tea than a Victorian castle resort in the mountains of the Hudson Valley? Relax and take in the experience that includes an assortment of teas served in the most elegant of tea sets, house-made scones with jam, chocolate truffles, petit fours, and sandwiches.
Want to continue the pampering experience? The award-winning spa at Mohonk is legendary. Or work off the tea with a little forest bathing and hiking.
Pouring tea photo by iStockphoto.com/unalozmen.
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