There is a vicious rumor going around that you can’t get a decent cuppa tea in Small Town America. There really is such a rumor. I’d never make up anything so scurrilous! No doubt the perpetuators of this untruth have not dared to venture beyond the easy driving distance from their favorite tea store in “the big city.” It’s sort of like the ancient Romans when the Empire was at its height thinking that all outside of a certain distance of Rome was some vast uncivilized wasteland.
Seek and ye shall find, as the saying goes. If you can’t find good tea near you, perhaps your search has not been as in-depth as needed. I have learned in recent years that, much to my chagrin, I had totally overlooked some highly-rated tea rooms and tea shops in smaller towns when living there. My only excuse is that it was in the days when the Internet was young, there was no GPS, and the iPhone app “Open Table” was not around.
Today is different. You have GPS and “Open Table” and, probably best of all, websites like TeaGuide.net with listings of hundreds of tea rooms not only across the U.S., but also in Canada, the UK, and many other countries. You can also search online for various places and get reviews from people who have been to them.
Here are a few samples:
Name: Pink Bicycle Tea Room
Town: Occoquan, Virginia – population 834
Owner: Lisa Renee Johnson
Description: Typical tearoom décor with pink hues and lots of lace. A menu that ranges from the Classic Cream Tea at a modest $10 per person to the rather pricey Queen’s Tea at $26 per person (as of the writing of this article).
Name: Ivory Goose Antiques and Tea Emporium
Town: Homer, Alaska – population 4,231
Description: A tea shop that sells teapots (new, hand-painted, and antiques) and some of the worlds finest teas, including the “Queen Mary” teas from Seattle, Washington, “Basilur” teas from Sri Lanka, and the “Tea Spot” teas from Boulder, Colorado.
Name: Ana Beall’s Tea Room
Town: Westfield, New Jersey – population 29,678
Description: Another dainty tearoom with some very luscious-looking pastries and other teatime yummies. They are in Westfield, well-known for its small town atmosphere.
Name: Madeline’s Tea Room
Town: Palestine, Texas – population 18,458
Description: Victorian décor with lots of lovely pastel hues of yellows and pinks, dainty tea time foods, and a limited by tasty selection of teas.
Name: Church Mouse British Imports
Town: Fairhope, Alabama – population 17,550
Owners: Spencer and Mary Ann Johnson
Description: A shop full of fabulous tea stuff and British foods. The Johnsons travel to Britain yearly to see what goodies they can bring back and fill the shelves of this store.
Name: English Rose Tea Room
Town: Carefree, Arizona – population 3,876
Owner: Joanne Gemmill
Description: A Victorian-style tearoom that offers a list of teas to make any tea drinker happy, along with a menu of tea “go-withs” to satisfy your appetite for the delectable. From classic black teas such as Irish Breakfast, blends like Lemon Solstice, fruit teas like Apricot Black, plus greens and oolongs (which they call semi-green), the line-up is impressive. There are also herbals and decafs. Don’t miss their gift shop with English Bone China and more.
Name: The Canon City Queen Anne Tea House
Town: Canon City, Colorado – population 15,906
Owners: Al and Linda Ballard
Description: In a gingerbready Victorian house you will be treated to luscious teas and such traditional treats as scones with Devonshire clotted cream and jam, along with less traditional treats.
If you don’t happen to live in or near one of these towns, do not despair. There are tea store chains springing up almost daily along with an absolute plethora of great online tea vendors. Do your own search, and who knows what delights you will find!
No more excuses. Small Town America, you can enjoy a tasty cuppa tea!
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