I have visited the Philly-Baltimore-Washington corridors many times as the proximity to New York makes for a quick jaunt and presents me with the opportunity to enjoy regional foods that each place is noted for.
One cannot make a drive through in Philadelphia, PA. without having cheesesteak or Baltimore, MD. for crab cakes, well Annapolis, that is in close range of the two offers seafood at its best.
Although as a quasi NYC foodie I make my way through the respective towns eating and tasting the culinary offerings my main focus is always Tea.
Most of the sit down restaurants offer tea from bag offerings although I found three locals that offered loose leaf tea and within walking distance of each other.
This makes for a happy tea enthusiast.
Upon arrival at the hotel I inquired about one tea establishment it seemed that the bellman was not familiar with Afternoon Tea and could not provide information about any tea focused eateries, so off we went to explore on our own.
Our first stop, The Spice & Tea Exchange a fairly new enterprise to my surprise unlike other venues I have visited where both spice and tea are sold.
I was happy to see the clear separation and airtight packaging for both the spice and tea.
It has always distressed me when I enter a dual offering establishment where the tea is left to absorb the scent of the spice rendering the tea, in my opinion, useless.
The layout had clear boundaries and the packaging and display was inviting.
Walking down the main street I couldn’t help feeling under-dressed for the number of persons in uniform passing us by. It also amazes me how impressive it is to see the clean crisp look of the naval corps both male and female.
Our next adventure finding Capital Teas, we walked and walked, looked on the map, programmed GPS and still had a difficult time locating this teashop.
The streets are somewhat like a maze with some blocks cut off so abruptly it seems as if they are hiding behind corridors.
We solicited the help of a local and finally reached our destination.
The proprietor Joyce greeted us warmly and my Hubby struck up conversation while I looked over the store. The loose-leaf offerings were many and the display of tea ware lovely. One piece, which I would have liked to bring home, was a Buddha Tea pot. I resisted as not to hear Hubby say “You have too much tea ware”.
Though he did treat me to the featured “Organic Cherry Blossom Rose” a blend of Sencha, Kyoto Cherries, and Roses that I will try soon. After a nice chat and a few photos later we were off to find dinner.
On our walk back past the Church Circle I noticed a 18th century Georgian building with outdoor seating complete with teapot and flower decorations on the tables.
I stopped to take photos only to discover I had found the tea establishment I had been in search of, Reynolds Tavern.
The story goes just a few days earlier one of my tea friends Julia from Bingley’s Tea Ltd., had mentioned on Facebook she would be supplying her line of tea to this establishment so it became part of my mission to have afternoon tea there and enjoy one of her offerings.
I so enjoy supporting my tea sisters.
I rushed up the steps and went in to reserve space for Afternoon Tea for tomorrow, a change to relax and just take time to enjoy.
A young man approached and placed my reservation in the guest book and I was set and about to leave when a voice from behind said “Excuse me did I hear you speak at the World Tea East last year?” Ok guys and gals you know this was not a question I ever expect to hear. I turned around in shock and answered affirmed. Apparently the proprietor Wes and his wife Marilyn Burge had attended my presentation. This exchange made the day even more rewarding.
That evening we dined at a restaurant was noted for both their crab cakes as well as their steamed crabs Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn. We had an hour wait and entertaining Hubby for this time was no easy feat his mantra “I hope this is worth it”.
The evening ended with one last cup of tea.
My main focus the following day was my Afternoon Tea at Reynolds Tavern. I dressed appropriately donning a dress perfect for a Sunday afternoon. When I arrived I was seated immediately near a window overlooking the circle.
The interior decorated in 18th century style with photos of various Presidents adorning the walls. Each table graced with flowers and white linen.
The lovely waitress Heather came over for my order. She explained there were additional new teas available and handed me a menu of Jane Austen Teas. She recommended the Sweet Jane as one which pair well with the Afternoon Tea selection and I eagerly went with her recommendation.
The serve ware began appearing on my table along with my personal Blue teapot. Heather instructed that after 2 minutes I should take out the infuser and place it on the plate as she would collect it shortly. After following the instruction I poured my first cup of the day, that first sip of Sweet Jane was exactly what I needed It was a perfect fit for the environment lightly floral on top a solid core.
I lingered and languished in the joy of the afternoon tea the peace serenity and mind rest of the moment. I enjoyed every bite and each morsel was better than the last.
As sat and observed and listened to the interesting conversations around me all steeped in tea, so pleasant.
Too soon it was over and time to begin life anew. I stopped to chat with Mr. Burge, Wes as I exited I complemented him on such a wonderful experience. We spoke about how the afternoon tea came to be it seemed the previous owner Jill Petit could not find a place to have proper English Tea service and decided to establish one here. In addition another bit of trivia when the establishment was named a tea café the men would drop off their wives for tea and then go around the corner for food at another establishment even though there was a tavern downstairs. They decided to reinstate the original name and the men started returning, which was very apparent whilst I was there I observed a complementary mix of both men and women.
Hubby called to let me know I had been invited to join him and his associates for dinner so off I went to dress again.
The restaurant, Middletown Tavern another 18th century tavern. Part of it’s decor in the dining room hall is a display of herbs and it is said these played an important part of life in early America. They were prized for their culinary seasonings as well as being valued for their fragrance and beauty. “Fashionable ladies of Annapolis always carried a “tussy mussy”, or a little pouch of fragrant herbs, to cover their noses when they encountered some of the odors of the City.” This is so understandable in a city where fishing was a main industry.
At dinner we spoke of many things and of course tea was part of the conversation. By the way I brought my own tea to dinner as seen in the photo and was able to share additional sample packets with the guests. I always enjoy giving mini tea 101 to a captive audience. One of the members of the group was from England and tea was very much a part of his life. I was glad I was able to direct him to Capital Teas were he could explore the loose leaf tea he so enjoyed.
All in all another wonderful tea trip. Thanks for reading