While the title of this post may sound figurative, I was actually thinking of something quite literal. How far is too far to travel for tea? It’s a question that I’ve wrestled with occasionally, but I must confess that I rarely turn down an opportunity if it’s special enough.
Long time readers may recall the year that I discovered Clipper Merchant Tea House in Limerick, ME. I’d been on vacation with my family and we were driving east to the coast. We saw a sign that made me realize we were about 20 minutes from a tea house I’d heard of and my husband suggested we drive past. I was immediately smitten and was determined to return. The problem? The tea house was two hours from my house. Just a few weeks later I left my husband at home with the two kids and drove that four hours round trip just to enjoy afternoon tea there. It was worth every mile and I had the good fortune to return when my book was released.
Then there was the time that I got an assignment to do a round-up for Connecticut Magazine on the best tea shops in the state. It happened within weeks of an assignment from Yankee Magazine to do a Top 5 Tea Houses in New England piece. My amazing husband once again gave his blessing and I jumped in the car for a whirlwind trip. I was gone for two days, drove about 400 miles, and visited about 10 teashops (maybe more.) My favorite moment was at Savvy Tea Gourmet in Madison, Conn. I’d gone for their afternoon tea where they pair each course with a tea. The owner, Phil Parda, was captivating. Five teas later he and I were chatting and he mentioned that he was about to do an oolong tasting and he hoped I could stick around. Let’s consider the fact that this was the fourth shop of that particular day. So, of course I said yes. He was serving TEN oolongs. I stayed for six and then knew I still had a drive ahead of me. He still remembers the day that he nearly did me in with tea.
There was a trip to London, but that was more a mini-vacation with a dear friend — a Christmas gift from aforementioned and amazing husband. The main reason for my trip was, again, tea — Jane Pettigrew’s master class.
More recently there was a crazy down and back to Washington DC to cover the Mother’s Day Tea at the White House for Tea Magazine and last year’s World Tea Expo trip, but those were work. I could justify it, right?
The most recent test of my tea travel capacity was an invitation to A Gift of Tea’s annual White Tea which would be featuring The Devotea’s Robert Godden. Now, would I really fly from Boston to NY and back in one day for tea? That would be completely unreasonable, right? Yes it would. But I loved every minute of it.