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Tap into the graceful tradition of tea at these 5 places

                                While on vacation, make time to stop and enjoy a fresh cup of tea with the family.
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While on vacation, make time to stop and enjoy a fresh cup of tea with the family.

Here are five places where you can sample a fresh brew paired with tasty treats:

1. Alice’s Tea Cup, New York City

One family’s affection for sharing stories over a steaming cup of fragrant, fresh tea spawned these neighborhood refuges for tea lovers. Children of all ages are happily perplexed by the nearly overwhelming list of specialty teas as well as temptations such as fresh-baked blueberry, raspberry and pumpkin scones, clotted cream and other mouthwatering creations. Stop by for breakfast, lunch or tea anytime and steep yourselves in an eclectic ambience, where comfortable antiques, sparkly fairy wings and hints of Alice’s Wonderland provide a whimsical haven. Recently opened in Brooklyn, Alice’s Tea Cup to Go, Bakery & Cafe, also serves coffee and is a “fast” version of the original Alice concept. Pick up a copy of the restaurant’s cookbook to create your own magic at home.

Contact: alicesteacup.com

2. Two for Tea, Portland, Ore.

Check in with master tea maker Steven Smith to understand the origins of this aromatic beverage. As the founder of Stash Tea and Tazo Tea, Smith shares his expertise by providing tours of his small facility, where visitors can see his new line of high-quality, small batch tea in production, blend a case of their own, or simply sample in the tasting room. Later, head to Portland’s Chinatown to discover the Lan Su Chinese Garden and Tea House, the result of a friendship project between this city and Suzhou, China. Choose from dozens of Chinese teas and then relax in the second-story tearoom where you’ll have a window onto the authentically built Ming Dynasty-style garden below.

Contact: smithtea.com; taooftea.com; portlandchinesegarden.org

3. The Brown Palace Hotel, Denver

For more than 30 years families have gathered in the venerable hotel’s atrium to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and each other’s company. Sip specially brewed teas amid a bit of western history, as harp or piano music provides a peaceful backdrop. Relish well-crafted tea sandwiches, pastries, scones and Devonshire cream imported directly from England for your culinary pleasure. Reservations recommended.

Contact: brownpalace.com

4. Laura’s Tea Room, Ridgeway, S.C.

Young people will have fun choosing a special hat to wear while sipping specially brewed teas and relaxing with friends and family in a vintage­-hued environment. During high tea, visitors enjoy three to four courses that change with the seasons as well as scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd. Take time to admire the work provided by local artists in this charming small town. Recommended for guests 12 and over. Throughout the year, special tea service is offered for younger children. Reservations required.

Contact: laurastearoom.com

5. Legacy House Imports Tea Room, Madison, Wis.

Laura Schaefer is the author of the children’s novel “The Teashop Girls” (Simon & Schuster), the story of a 13-year-old girl determined to keep her grandmother’s tea shop in business. During a book event, Schaefer was impressed by the way the owners of this Madison tea and gift shop provided ambience-inducing hats for young readers to wear during a traditional English afternoon tea service. Guests can browse for unique gift items and then sample a global tea selection, finger sandwiches, light lunch fare and tasty scones.

Contact: legacyhouseimports.com; teashopgirls.com

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