Monday, September 23, 2019

A Proper English Tea at the Boston Public Library

For many of us this past weekend was Downton Abbey weekend and to celebrate I had the opportunity to go to a proper English tea.  My mother in-law, 2 sisters in-law, and I had just come from the Downton Abbey exhibit (which was fabulous and I will share all the details later) and headed for the Boston Public Library for a tea! I've been to teas before and I had a feeling this one would be something special.  Plus you know how much I love libraries! (one of my dream jobs is to work in one!).  

I had never been to the library before and was very excited, not only for the tea, but to see the library. We came in through the front entrance and walked through the library (past the grand staircase) to the dining area.  I loved the smell and feel of this old building as soon as I stepped foot in it. 

 This "tea bar" was just outside the formal dining area.  It was more casual and had a very cool vibe.  

The lounge draws inspiration from writers and innovations of the 1880's.  They even offer tea cocktails named after authors! 

On to the Courtyard Salon where we had our tea.  Beautiful, bright, and elegant. 

As you can see everything was inspired by books.  Our tea menus were pasted on the pages of books stacked on the table.   The food offerings were listed on the bookmarks.  

We all ordered a different tea so we would have the opportunity to share.  The one I selected was a lemon ginger and it was amazing! 

We were all given a choice of strawberry salad or gazpacho to start (I had the strawberry salad : )  and then they brought out the sandwiches, scones, macaroons, and petit fours.  All so delicious.  The jars on the top tier were clotted cream, orange marmalade, and lemon curd.  

After tea we were able to walk around the library and explore.  I had been admiring this fountain through the window ever since we got there and couldn't wait to go into the courtyard.  It was so lovely! 

The Boston Public Library was founded in 1848.  It was the first large free municipal library in the United States.  The library was moved in 1854 and again in 1858.  At that time it had over 20,000 volumes. As the library continued to outgrow it's space it was finally settled in Copley Square in 1895.  

In 1986 the building was designated a National Historic Landmark.  Within the library there are exquisite murals, sculptures, additional works of framed art, and a peaceful inner courtyard.  They run daily tours for just the artwork.  Something I would love to do one day.

This is Bates Hall, the iconic reading room on the second floor of the McKim building.  Fun fact, it's named after Joshua Bates, a London merchant banker who was born in Weymouth, MA (my hometown!).  In 1852 he donated $100,000 to the library, for it's establishment and the purchase of books. 

Can you image studying here?  I don't think I would be able to get any work done.  I would be too busy admiring the room : )

If you are ever in Boston I would highly recommend visiting the Boston Public Library. I think it's one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.  Full of culture and history and served the most delicious tea that I will never forget.  A perfect fitting for my Downton Abbey experience.  More on that next time.... 

Have a wonderful day friends!  xo 


  1. Wow!! What an amazing and beautiful experience. I loved seeing all the pictures of your food. ;)

  2. Oh, Danielle, what a perfect way to celebrate the release of the Downton Abby film! The Boston Library looks gorgeous, as does the tea! Looks like it was very special and something you will look back on fondly for years to come!