Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Tea — New Hampshire

All I know about New Hampshire is that a friend of mine's sweet husband is from there, and she occasionally shares entertaining stories about the linguistic challenges he experiences here in the South. One of my favorites is the time he came home and told her about a coworker who had named her son "Soy-yur." My friend said, "What an odd name," until he went on and she finally realized, "Oh, you mean SAW-yer!" But fortunately I learned a bit more about New Hampshire, and its connections to tea, by doing a little research this week …

At Polly's Place, which became a well-known tearoom in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the initial offerings were simply cinnamon or plain toast and tea. The tearoom was the subject of a January 1922 feature in Woman's Home Companion magazine, which reads: "It started with a loaf of bread and a pound of tea, away off in the northernmost corner of the White Mountains, in a little hundred-year-old house at Colebrook, New Hampshire, ten miles from the Canadian border, with Mount Monadnock, in Vermont, just back of it, and the Rangeley Lakes country in Maine but twenty miles away. … After the little cottage had had many unhappy experiences with undesirable tenants, its owner decided to subject it to no more indignities, but to give it the dignified place deserved by the oldest house for many miles around. Accordingly, six years ago, it opened wide its yellow-painted door with a brass knocker on it, and made its bow as a tea room, the first one in the great North Country, and a decided novelty in its own home town." (If you'd like to read more of the article, click here.)

• For the second time this month, I have learned of some interesting tea research being conducted at a university here in the US. According to a segment on New Hampshire Public Radio in September of 2014, some genetic engineering of tea is under way at the University of New Hampshire, where a neuroscience major has been working to create a *genetically decaffeinated* tea plant. "If all goes as planned," the reporter says, "the tea from this plant will produce a more aromatic brew than chemically decaffeinated tea." If you'd like to read the full transcript for yourself, or to listen to the radio segment about the UNH project, click here.

Have a spare $3.2 million lying about? This New Hampshire farm with its own Japanese tea house could be yours! This screen grab from the website shows the farm, which comes with "a massive Japanese tea house, which, from the looks of things, is currently being used as a massive rec room." (Great news! I just did a search to see if the property is still available, and it is—and for only $2.95 million. Maybe we could all pitch in and open a tea-themed time-share?)



  1. Wouldn't that Japanese Teahouse make a nice place for tea people to gather for events. I think you should buy it ;). The first tea house sounds quite wonderful as does the research. I hope they succeed because I don't think chemically de-cafs are all that good for people.

  2. Interesting. I wonder how the decaf tea plant project is coming along?

  3. The naturally decaf tea research sounds quite interesting, and I wish them luck!

  4. Great post today on New Hampshire, Angela, that teahouse sounds perfect! I like that photo of that old-time Tearoom: how neat is that?

    When we were growing up in Florida, we would visit Massachusetts in the summer. Sometimes we took a sidetrip to the beaches in New Hampshire, what a beautiful state! I'm enjoying this series, Angela, thanks so much for sharing. Joanie


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