Olde English Tea Room

3 Devotion Rd.
Scotland, CT 06264
(860) 456-8651

Tea served by reservation only, 4:30-6:30 pm.
Afternoon tea: $19
Reservations required.

The Olde English Tea Room Photo by Julie Sparks.

My visit to The Olde English Tea Room (February 14, 1998):

Every so often in the midst of living you'll stumble into something that makes up for the apathy, cynicism, and fear that are all-too-often encountered these days in the chaos we reside in. Something twinkly and jewel-like and powerful enough in its humanized perfections to stir up that hope that's always lingering inside you that the world can somehow be the way it should be. Pearl Dexter, her husband Jim, and the Olde English Tea Room have done that for me, and I will always be thankful. I urge anyone who enjoys the celebration of heart and palette to toss away the chaos for at least one day and whirl off to the little town of Scotland, CT for the opportunity to be entertained for tea by Pearl and the wonderful, talented friends of hers that may pop in for a visit.

A table in the tea room. Photo by Julie Sparks.

The Olde English Tea Room is part of an old 1759 house set on the village green. It is also the headquarters for Tea: A Magazine, of which Pearl is the editor. You can purchase back issues of the magazine here, and admire collections of tea accoutrements and art.

We attended the reservation-only Valentine Tea on Valentine's Day, which was definitely the most unique and enjoyable way I've ever attempted to acknowledge the holiday. Besides ourselves there were three other couples -- Pearl and her husband, another pair of newcomers to the tea room like us, and two of Pearl's friends. Regretfully, I am horrible with names. I can't remember anybody's!

When I made my reservation for the Valentine Tea, I had no idea what to expect. I had no information on the tea room, and only vaguely understood that I was going to the headquarters of Tea: A Magazine. We were the first guests there, and as I stepped into the old house I was instantly charmed. The tea room was beautiful and cozy and dark and bright all at the same time. Three tables were set with mismatched cups and silverware (as I always do it myself) and arranged to offer couples their own small space while keeping everyone close. We settled down by the huge open hearth, which Pearl lit along with a menagerie of candles, these being our light once the sun was down.

The menu for the evening was not typical tea fare, but creativity must be garnered with applause, and most certainly in this case. We were served up a banquet of strange primary red bread (in keeping with the holiday theme) and baked garlic and onion to smear on it to our hearts' content. Vegetables and dip followed, along with giant shrimp and cocktail sauce, swordfish and snow peas, and sweet potato. Our naughties were heart-shaped shortbread cookies, orange spice scones with cream and raspberry jam, and sugar-iced banana cake. And there was, of course, tea. Throughout, our ears were entertained by "The Art of Tea," a piano compilation by Joe Gibson which was blessedly given to us as a take-home gift at the end of the evening. And after the meal, Pearl's friends treated us to a live musical performance!

Lou by the fire.
Photo by Julie Sparks.

I feel that I cannot properly convey the wonder and comfort that I felt in every minute of being there, the warmth and friendliness which filled the small room, and my supreme disappointment that the night would have to end. Pearl was a wonderful cook and gracious hostess, and it is a priceless thing that she gives to the world in her tea room and her magazine. She gave me the proof I was looking for that a place such as this can actually exist, and that I might even create one someday myself.