10 great places to be steeped in tea, tradition and comfort

"Sandwich is a beautiful little village on Cape Cod," Sauer says. Which means this former carriage house, with knotty pine paneling, fireplace and garden, resembles a British tea room — and is not far from where the more famous (or infamous) tea party took place. Everything is homemade, and there's a huge selection of desserts, including the signature "Bumbleberry Pie," made with blackberries, blueberries and raspberries and loads of whipped cream. Afternoon tea, as well as shepherd's pie and other big, hearty dishes, is served here. 508-833-2485; dunbarteashop.com

TeaGschwendner on Halstead St. Chicago

Many items on the menu at this sleek, modern shop and bistro are made with tea (the rosebud blossom crème brûlée, for example, is infused with tea). Monthly tasting dinners, where five courses are paired with five teas, are also offered. "Guests are welcome to linger with a pot of tea here and never feel rushed," Sauer says. 773-525-0671; www.teagschwendner.com

Tower of Cosmic Reflections Portland, Ore.

"You will be transported to another land in this exquisite tea room, furnished with Ming and Tang Dynasty-style tables and chairs, within Portland's Classical Chinese Garden," Sauer says. "They offer teas from all over Asia. I loved the old-growth pu-erh teas, harvested from ancient tea trees in southern China. The tea servers are extremely knowledgeable about tea." 503-224-8455; taooftea.com, then click on "teahouses"

Floating Leaves Seattle

"Floating Leaves is the perfect name for this serene yet enlivening tea room in Seattle's Ballard district. Native Taiwanese owner Shiuwen Tai brews a fabulous oolong and is eagerly engaged in the community, offering tea events and education. You will feel like you just floated into a familiar yet exotic tea salon that harkens back to old Asian traditions. It is simultaneously invigorating and relaxing, just like a good cup of tea," Sauer says. 206-529-4268;floatingleaves.com

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