Introduced in Britain in the mid 19th-century, afternoon tea was meant to bridge the gap between lunch and late dinners with a spread of sandwiches, pastries, and of course, tea. While afternoon tea is no longer the popular custom it once was in Britain and in New England, you can still find tea houses here and there to provide the traditional service. Take a moment for yourself and your friends or family this coming season with tea time at one of these beloved North Shore spots. Here’s where to have afternoon tea north of Boston.
Wenham Tea House
Be sure to book reservations to this traditional tea house, serving afternoon tea on Fridays through Sundays and on Tuesdays. With a selection of over thirty different loose-leaf teas, like hot cinnamon spice, green cherry blossom, and crème au caramel to name a few, Wenham Tea House serves a beautiful assortment of scones with clotted cream, tea sandwiches, and miniature pastries, alongside their tea served in glass pots. Celebrating? Add on a champagne toast for $12 per person.
4 Monument Street, Wenham, 978.468.1398, wenhamteahouse.com
Heath’s Tea Room
Satisfy any craving at Heath’s as afternoon tea in a two- or three-tier presentation is available all day, along with a full a la carte menu of soups, sandwiches, and a few hearty entrees like Cottage Pie. Reservations for the intimate dining room are recommended, as they fill up quickly, but not required. As a treat for later, grab a few of their freshly baked scones to go. Currently closed for the winter, Heath’s reopens for the season on May 1.
43 South Street, Rockport, 978.309.3388, heathstearoom.com
Ladyfinger Tea Lounge
Pamper yourself in femininity at “the prettiest room in Newburyport.” Marble floors and tabletops complement bubblegum walls and plushy pink furniture, while the walls are covered from top to bottom with gold-framed Romantic-style oil paintings. Located inside the Garrison Inn, afternoon tea is available daily between 4 and 6 p.m. for hotel guests. It’s only served to the public at 2 p.m. on Sundays, and reservations are required and only accepted by phone. Expect to be indulged in finger sandwiches and scones, and authentic silver tea pots and English china.
11 Brown Square, Newburyport, 978.499.8500, garrisoninn.com/ladyfinger
Jolie Tea Company
However you like to enjoy tea, Jolie Tea Company on Salem’s Essex Street can help make it happen. Enjoy traditional high tea on Saturday afternoons (reservations required) complete with cucumber sandwiches and madeleines, or let their educated staff guide you in picking up the perfect tea blend to bring home. Looking for something in between? The staff can brew any of their 200 tea blends in house for you to enjoy, no reservations required. Add on a pastry assortment or a French macaron (honey lavender flavor, anyone?) for a little treat, any time.
105 Essex Street, Salem, 978.745.5654, istheteainyou.com
Suzanne’s Victorian Tea Room & Shoppe
Enter Suzanne’s and step back in time, into a lavishly decorated 18th-century parlor. The tea room has two tea luncheon sittings per day from Thursday to Sunday, and the menus of finger sandwiches, pastries, and teas change monthly. Suzanne’s creates a “reprieve from modern life,” ignoring no detail, like period flower hats for guests to wear. After your luncheon, visit the Vintage Niceties shop for elegant teacups and other artwork and handmade gifts.
122 Western Avenue, #513, Lowell, 978.855.4345, suzannesteaparties.com