There is comfort in wrapping your hands around a cup of tea and feeling your worries melt away in its familiar warmth. Whether or not it truly has healing qualities, sipping this hot beverage has an undeniably therapeutic feel to it. Enjoying some tea in the comfort of one’s home or cottage is great, but if you’re a tea lover you have got to try one of the go-to spots for tea in Ontario’s Highlands. Find a fellow tea fanatic and get ready for a mix of the fanciest high tea and the chillest spots for savouring a fresh brewed cup.
As you approach Grey Gables Inn in Pembroke, you’ll quickly realize why this is the perfect spot for afternoon tea. This elaborate manor, built in the early 1900s, looks like it belongs in the English countryside. Afternoon tea service on weekends graces guests with a picture-perfect spread of mini sandwiches, scones, petit fours, and your choice from their selection of exotic teas. It’s best to reserve your spot ahead of time, especially on holiday weekends where they prepare special menus to mark the occasion.
Venture off the beaten path and you’ll be rewarded, especially when you find yourself in the tiny town of Ormsby, Ontario. This single-room schoolhouse sat abandoned until 1997 when Ernie and Debbie Pattison restored it. Become immersed in the atmosphere and learn the history of the school from Ernie as you nosh your way through three tiers of delicious sandwiches and desserts. Afterwards, walk over to the Old Hastings Mercantile and Gallery gift shop to meander through 11 themed rooms.
The proprietor of Tea & Cake in Almonte has a passion for British tradition, and it shows. The homey décor is pleasantly comforting and reminiscent of the sitting rooms you might have seen in a British TV show. Their selection of sweet and savoury bites served alongside a pot of your favourite tea will satisfy your desire to feel decidedly British, even if just temporarily. Order the Devonshire cream and/or lemon curd to go along with your fresh scones – you will not be disappointed!
Crossroads Tearoom is on the main street of the exceptionally adorable town of Perth. This family-run business sits in a heritage building with original tin ceilings and walls, which give the appearance of an elegant wallpaper, making you feel you’ve been transported across the pond. You’ve got multiple options for tea here, starting with the basic Queen Mum’s Tea and ranging to a full afternoon tea served with a glass of bubbly. All of their afternoon tea options are served with delicate sandwiches and scones, so any choice you make is bound to be an excellent one.
Another place for a cuppa in historic downtown Perth is the newly opened Maggie’s Tea and Toast. Shop owner Maggie has kept it simple by limiting the menu to just tea, toast, baked goods, and few other beverages. Maggie’s is a great spot to meet up with friends, get some work done, or just chill out. You won’t find any Wonderbread and Jiffy here – all the bread comes fresh from Sunflower Bake Shop and it’s topped with your choice of gourmet spreads, jams, or fresh avocado.
Honourable Mention: Memories Bakery and Tea Room
Memories Bakery and Tea Room may not have a presence on Instagram but they certainly deserve a spot on this list. The quaint little converted home beckons those driving along Highway 62 in Maynooth with its wrap-around porch and outdoor seating. It’s an ideal spot to warm up with a cup of tea accompanied by a delightful dessert.