Taking Tea on Cape Cod

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In April this year, Rich and I traveled to Victoria, British Columbia for a short break before beginning our 12th season as innkeepers, the last six of which we’ve spent here on Cape Cod. We encountered some lovely weather in which to enjoy the flowering trees and spring blossoms in what is considered the “most English city outside of England”. Having never been to merry old England myself, I enticed Rich into taking afternoon tea at Buchart Gardens.

We walked the garden paths of the Sunken garden, the Japanese garden, the Rose garden and the Italian garden, before stumbling upon the seasonal garden show in the very Victorian greenhouse. After a brief visit to the gift shop, we meandered over to the tea room for an authentic “cream tea”. Sitting in the solarium on a warm and sunny April afternoon, we sipped our tea and nibbled on berry trifle, savory tea sandwiches, scones, cakes and other sweet treats. It was an amazingly relaxing and refreshing way to spend the afternoon and was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Upon our return, I began looking into the options for afternoon tea here on Cape Cod. It was a delightful surprise to find three tea rooms located very close to the Inn that offer an authentic tea experience. The most recent addition to the tea room lineup is the Village Tea Room at the Bosari Gallery located on Route 6A in Dennis, MA. We paid a visit to the proprietor today, and were most impressed with the setting. Created in a restored 1800s barn, the spacious gallery attempts to blend the art of tea with the art displayed on the walls. Perhaps the most endearing aspect of having tea here is the delightful tea master, George Davidson, who hails from Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m a sucker for a good-looking guy with a brogue.

The Dunbar Tea Shop and Tea Room is perhaps the premier Cape Cod tea emporium, having a long history of serving tea in an old Colonial-era carriage house in the village of Sandwich. Although afternoon tea can be served at any time, the current proprietors have expanded the tea room’s offerings to include breakfast and lunch. Served in the English tradition, tea comes in a cosy-covered pot with a strainer.

Finally, the Optimist Café on Route 6A in Yarmouthport, is a charming, if quirky, little place that combines tea with other English traditions, such as the “Ploughman’s Lunch”. An exceptional array of homemade seasonal soups takes the chill off a winter’s day here on Cape Cod, but their iced “Teatini” takes the cake for creativity and whimsy. Served in a martini glass, your teatini comes with a garnish of olives and a sprig of mint, sliced oranges and lemons, or crystallized ginger. Stirred, not shaken.

So the next time your visiting Cape Cod and have an urge for a spot of tea, try any one of these authentic English tea rooms. It could be the perfect end to your perfect day on Cape Cod.