A richly diverse beverage and drink of the people — second only to water in terms of worldwide consumption — tea suits virtually every occasion. A steaming cup, however, can be especially welcome on cold days. So when the winter blues awaken a need to get out of the city, here are eight tea-fueled escapes all within a few hours of Boston, many easily accessible by bus or train and all certain to deepen one’s appreciation for this amazing drink.Read More
Escape the Boston Bustle at These Relaxing New England Teahouses
These peaceful destinations offer interesting options for tea newbies and connoisseurs alike
1. Stone Leaf Teahouse
After a Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) day hike, warm up at Stone Leaf Teahouse in downtown Middlebury, Vermont. Tucked off Main Street in the historic Marble Works District, just a five-minute walk from the town’s central waterfall, this cozy storefront offers an array of teas from around the globe. Head inside to shop loose-leaf options, sip a cup of dark oolong Da Hong Pao outside on the petite patio, or join a virtual tasting — which includes tea shipping in the ticket price — to dive into topics like growing regions or harvesting methods from home.
2. Homegrown Herb & Tea
Homegrown Herb & Tea, a quiet neighborhood gem with generous clay mugs and a pair of snug window seats, lives halfway up Munjoy Hill, the neighborhood farthest east on Portland, Maine’s peninsula. Proprietor Sarah Richards hand-blends and steeps organic ingredients to-order to make ayurvedic blends like Kapha Kick — a stimulating tisane of woody damiana shrub, spicy ginger, warming cardamom, and local apples — and wellness drinks like the Boston Flu, a belly-soothing combination of sweet and earthy herbs including agrimony (thought to aid digestion), aromatic fennel, and calming chamomile.
Somersworth, New Hampshire’s joyfully queer cafe and bakery, Teatotaller, sets an exuberant, Instagram-ready mood with a vibrant rainbow mural and a bright white-and-pink display case filled with colorful baked goods. A passion for pastries and bold flavors shows up in the teapot too, with the shop’s Chai Curious label featuring loose-leaf blends like carrot cupcake, a spiced rooibos tisane. 10 percent of all Chai Curious profits support LGBTQ+ organizations such as Seacoast Outright and PFLAG. Check the website’s happenings page for in-person and virtual events, including “big gay baking day” kits, and watch out for a new location of the beloved community hub opening soon in Concord, New Hampshire.
4. The Cozy Tea Cart
Settle in for a British-inspired cuppa with the Cozy Tea Cart, which offers cream tea and afternoon tea services in New Hampshire. The former, available Wednesday through Saturday at the company’s casual location in Brookline, New Hampshire, includes scones served with Devonshire cream. The latter, a reservation-only event featuring a seasonal menu, occurs at the Colonel Shepard House in nearby Milford. Owner Danielle Beaudette — who was one of the first 15 people in the U.S. to become a certified tea specialist through the Specialty Tea Institute in New York — curates a generous selection of high-quality teas from around the world.
5. Jolie Tea Company
Steps away from Notch Brewing’s session-beer-focused taproom in Salem, Massachusetts, get a different kind of buzz at Jolie Tea Company. Outdoor seating provides people-watching opportunities on Derby Street, or you can settle onto a plush teal bench seat inside for a flight of teas beautifully paired with a trio of macarons. The chic shop also serves high tea by reservation or to-go and cocktail-inspired iced teas like the green fairy — a vibrant green tea akin to absinthe with subtle notes of anise — in coupe glasses alongside a full carafe. With 300 teas and dozens of treats from which to choose, Jolie is a welcome respite after touring Salem’s top attractions like the nearby House of Seven Gables.
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6. Dobrá Tea
A tea room franchise founded in Prague, Dobrá Tea has three New England locations: one in Portland, Maine, another in Burlington, Vermont, and this one with indoor and outdoor seating on quaint Main Street just down the hill from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. (Northampton also boasts a particularly large coffee scene.) Each Dobrá is owned and operated individually and showcases plenty of local products, but they also share loose-leaf sourcing, rigorous training, and design aesthetics, ensuring a high-quality array of international teas at each bohemian-styled locale. The menu is arranged by country, with teaware and service style often reflecting different regions’ traditions.
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7. Ceremony Cafe & Market
Providence, RI 02906
Ceremony teahouse and retail shop on the east side of Providence, Rhode Island, just around the corner from the Brown University bookstore, sources loose-leaf tea from small farmers in China, Taiwan, and Japan. Warm up with a matcha latte and a bowl of congee, or schedule a personalized tasting in the peaceful private tea ceremony room. From the snacks to the pottery selection to the tea apprenticeship program, Ceremony’s thoughtful curation and Instagrammable approach to both place and product make it a must-stop while visiting the capital city.
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8. Arogya Holistic Healing
Tea is among the traditional Chinese medicinal therapies offered at Arogya, a holistic health center in Westport, Connecticut, which is known for attractions including Compo Beach and top-notch restaurants like the Cottage and Allium Eatery. Shanghai-born Wei Bertram, Arogya’s founding director, is a tea importer, educator, and translator. Her selection of organic and wild-harvested teas focuses on Chinese varieties, like Yunnan Province’s naturally fermented and aged Liji Gu Zhuang pu’erh, of which Arogya is the exclusive U.S. distributor.