In the heart of Boston, just steps from Copley Square, the Boston Public Library hosts a spectacular display of loose leaf teas, scones, finger sandwiches, and sweet petites. Afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library is almost like being in a movie or perhaps a lovely dream where the historic architecture and ambiance is just as stunning as the menu.
Starting from the neoclassical entrance, every bit of the Boston Public Library is grand. Giving myself plenty of time to explore the library before my afternoon tea reservation, I got to slowly soak in the impressiveness of this famous Boston landmark. Walking from the courtyard to the marbled staircase leading to Bates Hall, I felt like I was passing through the whispering walls of colonial history.
After leaving Bates Hall, a sign labeled ‘Rare Books and Prints’ caught my eye. This sign lead me down long and less glamorous halls to what could possibly be the pride and joy of the Boston Public Library.
If you are following the signs, as soon as you start to feel like you have gone too far, keep going! The Rare Books and Prints archive is just further, to the left and through the glass doors.
Upon entering, you are welcomed by the smell of crisp, dehumidified, and preserved air. This very special and practically untouched section of the Boston Public Library is home to a million and a half rare books, prints, and manuscripts dating back to BC times. The most notable are five clay Babylonian tablets dating 2350 BC! Also, war letters from George Washington and Samuel Adams are kept here, but to personally get your hands on an item in this very special section of the library, you need an appointment.
Wandering back through the library’s grand entrance, I arrived at The Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public Library just in time for my reservation for afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library.
I arrived at the Courtyard Restaurant, famished, thirsty, and in need of a caffeine buzz – luckily I was in the perfect place to indulge! I was seated at a table by the window overlooking the Boston Public Library’s courtyard, then greeted with the afternoon tea menu cleverly printed between the pages of an old book.
Looking over the fixed afternoon tea menu with petite sweets and deliciously salty finger sandwiches, I selected an English Breakfast loose leaf tea to best compliment and balance the small bites I was about to devour.
After sipping on my tea for a bit, the pastry and finger sandwich tower arrived looking as gorgeous and elegant as I had imagined! I started with the warm scones, spreading each bite with a mix of apricot preserve, lemon curd, and Devonshire double cream. Mmm!
After the scones and spreads, I nibbled on a chocolate eclair, some French macaroons, and a slice of lemon poppy seed pound cake. Moving on from the sweets, I dove into the savory selections. One of my favorites was a smoked salmon on pumpernickel bread topped with salmon mousse and a caper.
I also couldn’t keep my hands off of the lemony shrimp salad bite because I don’t think I could go through a meal in Boston without enjoying some kind of seafood! These savory tea sandwiches did not disappoint.
I was practically licking my fingers by the end of my indulgent and delicious afternoon tea!
If you are in town, afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library should be at the top of your list. Reservations are highly recommended.