There are lots of themed cruises and vacations and that got me thinking, what about tea themed ones? I’d love to go to every country where tea is grown and see how the natives drink it.
Sign me up. How about restaurants devoted to tea drinkers. Ooh and cruises too. Now if I sell all my yarn (my other passion—we can discuss this later) maybe I can afford to do all these things. Not—-the yarn and tea stays.
For what it’s worth, you might be interested in the Bigelow Plantation in South Carolina: http://www.bigelowtea.com/plantation/about.aspx You can go on tours there, and in the spring they have a First Flush Festival. I haven’t been able to go yet, but I hope to someday.
SWEET! U.S. locations would be great (and more affordable!) too! I’ve wanted to go to Hawaii… and even more so now that I know they grow tea there!
Wow, I grew up there and never went. Perhaps some time when we’re down visiting my sister.
I went in the off season last year, so no tea picking/drying was going on, but you still get to see the fields and all the equipment. Also you get free iced tea at the end (southern sweet style). I don’t recall there being any hot tea, but they have a gift shop with a fair selection (some of their tea is Bigelow branded, but some are “Charleston Tea Plantation” blends since Bigelow is only part owner.
Firefly distillery, makers of sweet tea vodka (infused with tea from the Charleston plantation) is right down the road. http://www.fireflyvodka.com/ They weren’t open for tours yet when I went, but are now. (they give samples too I hear!)
This is all on beautiful Wadmalaw island about 20 min outside Charleston. Feels like 200 years ago. Beautiful live oaks covered in spanish moss arch over the road. It’s well worth the drive!! here’s an idea of it I found online: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/11356616
Now that I’m dating a man from SC, I’ll DEFINITELY be going!
Sevencups offers tea tours every year where you can either go see green/yellow tea processing, oolong processing, or Pu-erh. You can find more information about the 2010 tours here: http://www.sevencups.com/tea-culture/2009-china-tea-tours/
WOW! Thanks! The only thing about tea tours like this (especially in China) is I’m afraid someone would find my Bible and I’d get arrested. Oh well- no man shall ever separate me from my Bible or my tea, so sign me up!:)
… Why would anyone arrest you for your bible?
@teaplz That used to happen in Soviet Russia in the 70s but was never common in China. (Falun Gong is another matter entirely.) It is wise to avoid going to communist countries with a desire to convert people or hand out religious literature, though. Bringing your own bible is really not a problem and hasn’t been a problem for quite a while.
That’s what I thought, Carolyn. I took some classes on China in college, and I never came across the government arresting anyone for carrying around a bible.
I think there have been cases where missionaries have had bibles and other literature they brought to distribute confiscated. But people who go to a country and try to illegally convert others and distribute literature are a different issue than people carrying a personal bible.
Carolyn, I’ve had 2 friends go there in the past couple years and they were actually warned VERY heavily against bringing it. But they did anyway.
Did they encounter any problems? My parents went to China two years ago and didn’t mention this to me. (They complained in tedious detail about air pollution in Chinese cities, instead.) They’re both pretty hypersensitive about religious issues so my guess is that if they had seen anything of that sort or heard about it from their fellow travellers I would have heard about it in excruciating detail.
Those tours sound amazing!
re your bible. i visit china a lot. i agree with carolyn – it’s really less about you bringing in your own personal property than what you plan to do with it. they do not search your personal belongings, unless you give them cause to i imagine. it’s certainly a communist country, but i don’t think you should fear getting arrested.
They probably went over board w/ precautions considering it was a large group. Which makes since.
Celestial Seasonings has a tour of their tea processing plant in Boulder, Colorado and it’s a lot of fun as well as extremely fragrant.
SIGN ME UP! Wow! I’m so glad I asked this question!
When we went it was a free tour. It may still be free. They also give you free tea to drink.
Here is the link to the Celestial Seasonings tour: http://www.celestialseasonings.com/visit-us/index.html
Apparently it is still free.
A few years ago, my mom and I went to a special tea event for the 100th Anniversary of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. It was sponsored by Tea Time Magazine, and their sister publication, Victoria magazine.
Now, I have never been all that fond of Victoriana, and the thought of being lectured at over a long weekend about tea etiquette, flower arranging and other esoterica was just not all that appealing. But, my mom really wanted to go, and I love Victoria BC and especially Buchart Gardens, so I whined a lot and went along.
We had a total blast. The Empress gave us a special room rate (otherwise I never, ever could have afforded to stay there), they prepared a beautiful tea for us, as well as gorgeous meals during the lecture portions of the program, and I even learned a little about tea. My favorite lecturer was a lady who used to run a protocol school for diplomats – she had some great stories. The Tea Time magazine folks showered us with gifts – something new at each session. The Empress was serving a tea blend that they had created especially for the anniversary, which was very nice – probably primarily Ceylon. In between, we snuck in some shopping (ok – a lot of shopping!), whale watching and a tour of Buchart Gardens.
So – tea tours? Tea cruise? What a great idea! Where do I sign up?
Oh! That sounds amazing! I LOVE the Empress Hotel (and Victoria in general, though I haven’t been there since I was in high school) – that just sounds like a dream trip! I know what you mean about their rates- I looked in to it a couple of years ago when I was thinking of working up near there for a while (when I worked for a staffing company). Yikes! :-)
Tea tours/cruises/vacations sound like a GREAT idea!
here’s an article on visiting darjeeling:
My best friend wants to visit India- I will DEFINTELY be passing this on to her. Thanks!
I visited Darljeeling a couple of years ago and went on the Happy Valley Tea plantation tour. It was fascinating. I recommend it to everyone.
Shiuwen Tai of Floating Leaves in Seattle is taking a group to Taiwan this coming spring for a tour of the tea farms where she buys her stock.
She’s got some photos and blog entries up about her last trip to Taiwan. She led a previous tour I think two years ago. She still has one or two slots open for the 2010 tour.
tea lovers should definitely go to taiwan. there are tea houses on every block with many different styles to fit your fancy. Wisteria is a must-visit but there’s something for everyone & the teas are outstanding, as is the food. this trip looks pricy, but it hits the highlights. definitely ask for other recs as there are lots of different teahouse types to experience.
I’m getting my 1st Taiwanese clay pot tomorrow (and most likely an oolong from Taiwan) so I will DEFINITELY have increased interest in this. Unfortunately I can’t afford a trip like this that soon.
there are cheaper ways to see taiwan & to tailor another kind of tea tour. i don’t know about visiting tea farms, but just getting to taipei & arming yourself with a good guidebook/online research, it’d be hard to go wrong with food or tea in that city. a lot of people speak english, signs are bilingual, and people love to help out. seriously – tea houses on every block, sigh…
English. Good. Yeah I’m a horrible hypocrit. I always say “try to speak the language.”, but I’m really afraid I’d end up massively insulting someone.