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Afternoon Tea at The Dunbar Tea Shop

Dunbar Tea Room Sandwich MAThis Christmas we are doing things differently. The past few years I’ve become terribly jaded with the holiday season. Christmas music playing on the radio in October, the mad crush of holiday shopping and just the general excess of it all. As I sat watching my kids open an obscene amount of gifts last year, I vowed to myself that this year would be different.

This year we are walking away from the piles of presents, the craziness of holiday shopping and the focus on materialistic things. Instead we are spending our holiday dollars on experiences that edify the family and also activities that benefit others.

Today I’d like to share with you one such experiential gift I gave the girls today…

This afternoon we dressed up in our holiday finery and lunched at The Dunbar Tea Shop in Sandwich, MA. The outing was a total surprise for the girls. I had them dress up in their holiday dresses and told them to get into the car and just trust that mom was going to take them somewhere truly special. And at this point in their lives they know to listen to mom in just this one area.

Leela Dunbar Tea Room Sandwich MAMy girls love the fanciness of tea. We’ve been to only one other tea room, but that experience was enough to leave them hooked. And I’m not sure what’s the most appealing to them…

The dainty teacups, the decadent sweets, getting dressed up or just spending time with mom. My hunch is that it’s the latter.

Dunbar Tea Room Sandwich MassachusettsThe Dunbar Tea Shop is a very special place. It’s located in a picturesque antique colonial in historic Sandwich, Massachusetts. It exudes charm and daintiness.

Dunbar Tea Room TeasWhen you walk into the shop, you are greeted by shelves of every type of tea imaginable. If you are a tea lover, this is the place for you. You can also purchase teapots, cups, saucers and all kinds of luscious baked good creations. Check this out…

Dunbar Tea Room TreatsNot the place to visit if you are on a diet. The temptation is mighty fierce. They do have gorgeous salads and healthy fare, but when you are greeted by a table full of baked good awesomeness, how can you resist?

Dunbar Tearoom Sandwich MAThere is just so much to love about The Dunbar Tea Shop. I think one of their best selling points is how sweet they are to children. They truly make them feel welcome and treat them like little adults. I really appreciated how gracious they were to my kids. The whole affair was entirely civilized and delightful. A very special holiday treat.

Shannon Dunbar Tea Room Sandwich MAI’ll admit that I was a bit on edge. There was so much breakable stuff on the table. But I held my tongue and my breath and let the kids pour their own milk, add their own sugar cubes (all eight of them, ahem) and didn’t harp if they weren’t totally proper with every little table manner I’ve tried to instill in them. This was a treat for them, after all. I didn’t want to destroy it by nagging them to death.

Shannon Sipping Tea Dunbar Tea RoomOk, that’s not entirely true. I did quietly beseech them not to slurp the tea. Not a nag, entirely. Just a gentle suggestion.

Leela Sniffing Tea Dunbar Tea Room

Smoked Salmon Platter Dunbar Tea RoomMy lunch was so perfect. Smoked salmon over fresh greens. Honestly, if I had to choose a last meal, that would be it. I adore smoked salmon. And this salad was just spectacular. Buttery smoked salmon, fresh greens, herbed cream cheese and toasted French baguette. Perfection.

Leela Canapes Dunbar Tea RoomShannon chose a simple bowl of clam chowder while her sister picked out the mother of afternoon tea delights, the sandwich and dessert tower. She was not disappointed. Although I think the tower would’ve been more than enough for two kids and a fruit loopin’ bargain at $10.95.

Melanie and The Girls Dunbar Tea Room

Girls Dunbar Tea Room Sandwich MASuch a wonderful holiday experience. So much better than anything you can unwrap from beneath a tree. And memories that I hope last a lifetime.

If you ever get the chance to come to Massachusetts, do visit The Dunbar Tea Shop. It’s one hundred shades of lovely and so worth driving onto Cape Cod for. Be sure to check out their website for hours and directions. You won’t regret it!

This is NOT a sponsored post. I happily forked over my own cash for this very wonderful experience. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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  1. THAT was a gift that will last a lifetime. Truly.

  2. What a wonderful experience! My mama always took time to make sure we learned the niceties of life, and I still remember & appreciate every lesson. :-)

    • Shari- I love how some lessons can be fun to learn. Having tea is a great way to cultivate social grace without a lot of resistance. :)

  3. Such a lovely thing for you and your girls to do coming up to Christmas! xx

  4. What a lovely way to treat your girls (and yourself). I’m sure they’ll remember if forever. I grew up in England and still remember going out for a Sunday afternoon drive with my parents, and stopping at a nice hotel for afternoon tea. I wish we had a Dunbar Tea Shop close by, but here in Arizona such establishments are a rarity….

    • What an amazing place to grow up. Lucky you! It’s such a civilized concept, really. In this day where most of our lives are sort of virtual between Facebook and all of the other social media spaces, the idea of meeting another person for tea in the flesh seems sort of old fashioned but very real. Does that make sense?

  5. How sweet!

  6. Maureen L. says:

    Oh what a special gift for your girls and you too! Thanks for the recommendation. I live in central Mass, and will definitly make plans to go there with my adult girls.

    • Maureen, if you are out this way, it’s so worth stopping for. Also, Sandwich is worth visiting on its own. It’s such a beautiful little town!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good morning Melanie. What a lifetime shared memory of a special day with Mom and the young Ladies. You and your girls look lovely and it sure does look like they had a truly marvelous experience. Once again you have taken some amazingly beautiful pix of your Ladies and the food as well as the Dunbar Tea Room. Very nice. I hope you and yours have a safe and memorable holiday season.

  8. I think this is a fabulous idea. When I think over my life I can remember experiences more often than I remember material things. This post and pics made me smile!

  9. Charity S says:

    I love this! I find it so stressful trying to figure out the perfect gifts. I would love to do some fun things with my husband and kids instead of spending money on things they don’t really need. In the end they will remember the time you spend with them and not the things you buy for them.

    • I agree with you Charity. It is stressful. It’s a hard concept to teach the kids that experiences are more valuable than purchased goods. Especially when they are bombarded with all of the shopping advertisements. It’s so easy to lose perspective of what’s truly important. I’m trying to take back Christmas from the retailers this year.

  10. I love love this! How sweet, I am sure they will remember this for ever!

  11. What a wonderful experience for you gals!
    Thank you for posting about The Dunbar Tea Shop.
    I am filing this away for a future visit with our nieces and grandnieces!
    - Lee

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