An Autumn Tea in the Library



It’s that time of year again, my favorite season.  At some point after the kids go back to school, we experience the first signs of fall.  We get a day when the temperature dips into the high seventies and the sky becomes overcast.  We convince ourselves the seasons have changed and hope we’ll be in for some crisp weather.  Usually, the mercury sky rockets the next day and we consider heading to the mountains to experience true autumn.


We were driving through our neighborhood on just such a day last week when we spotted a man high on a ladder, reaching for his second story eave.  “Look!  He thinks it’s winter and he’s putting up Christmas lights!” we laughed.  My husband cracks the same joke, several times, each year during September and October:  “When you see the Christmas decorations appear on the shelves at Wal-Mart, you know Halloween can’t be far behind.”



I’ve convinced myself that fall is a state of mind.  With all the back-to-school hubbub, university visits, college applications and essays, not to mention cross country meets, team dinners, choir concerts, etcetera, I feel overwhelmed.  So, I’ve decided to crank up the air conditioner, play some Vivaldi on the stereo (am I dating myself by using the word stereo?), and enjoy tea in the library.  Remember the old board game where players guessed whodunit—Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the lead pipe?  Well, it’s sort of like that, except it’s Victoria, in the library, with a cup of Twinings pumpkin spice chai.



Now, I don’t really have a library in my home, and the community book depots only allow one to bring in bottled water—so they’re out.  I do have overloaded bookshelves where tomes are stacked every which way, several layers deep.  But taking tea near these would ruin the illusion of peace and calm I’m trying to create.  Just looking at that mess brings on anxiety, and Heaven help me when I need to locate a specific title.



No, I’ll pick a restful spot where everything’s in order, and I can sink into a comfy seat while I enjoy a quiet cup by myself.  I’ll shut the doors to the office and pretend the clutter and jumble doesn’t exist.  Ah, that’s better.

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I encourage you to find your own special little spot where you can relax with a book or just enjoy some stillness while sipping your favorite tea.  Be sure to use one of your best cups.  Even if you’ve only five minutes to spare, it can be a rejuvenating moment to pamper yourself and clear your head before you’re back at it again.






A European Tea Adventure


I recently traveled through Europe.  While overseas, finding fabulous tea rooms became one of my goals.  To my surprise, I found Babington’s Tea Rooms near the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome.

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Venice boasts the oldest tea room in the world.  If you sit outside in la Piazza and enjoy the live music, that cuppa will cost you about fifty dollars, US!  If you’re on a budget, choose one of the tiny tables for two inside.




In Switzerland, our quaint hotel served a simple, yet satisfying tea (I noted they had enthusiastic British tour groups coming and going).  The colorfully wrapped Swiss sugar cubes grabbed my attention, along with the charming view.

In Paris, I visited Angelina’s and Ladurée in the same day (time was limited)!  Okay, I shared a pastry at each with my companion, but we ordered our own individual pots of tea.  I’ll reveal my favorite tea room in a future blog.






However, the big shocker became the plethora of coffee houses in London!  We found Starbucks, Café Nero, M&S Café, and Coffee Republic on numerous street corners.  Where were the tea rooms?

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True, I found lovely places to take tea in Bath and small villages.  What the major museums served  wasn’t too shabby either.  But, what about the rest of London?   On foot, we searched and finally settled for Café Concerto, near Trafalgar Square.  This is actually an Italian restaurant that offers tea.  I must say, they put on quite a spread and we left totally satisfied with our cream tea.




Things change.  That’s a fact I rarely enjoy.  The last time I stayed in London, about twenty years ago, coffee shops did not populate the streets!  I have nothing against those little beans.  In fact, I drink a cup every morning—lovingly prepared by my husband.  It’s how I start my day.  Still, that caffeine-laden drink doesn’t produce the same effect as a cup of tea.  And I find little else nicer than partaking of a pot in the afternoon, or mid-morning for that matter.

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So, go on trendy coffee shops packed with hipsters, try to take over the world.  There will always be those of us who rely on that bastion of comfort and civility, nourishment and nicety, pampering and peace.  Tea, please!