Worth the Detour: Bancroft Tower

This mini castle was built by Stephen Salisbury III as a tribute to George Bancroft, his father’s boyhood friend. Bancroft was born in Worcester. He went on to became Secretary of the Navy and founded the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Bancroft was also a US Minister to Great Britain and Germany.

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This medieval monument is made of cobblestones and stands 56 feet tall with several empty rooms. When it was first built in 1900 it was open to the public. Locals could climb the spiral staircase to the top and take in the 360-view of Worcester. These days the entrance to the tower is locked up. The city holds different events on the grounds, but public access to the tower is rare. If you’re planning a visit, Park Spirit started opening the tower to the general public every Sunday in October in 2014. If you’re in the area during the other 11 months of the year it still worth the detour to visit the Bancroft Tower in person.

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Bancroft Tower

  • Located in Salisbury Park, Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • Official site: www.parkspirit.org
  • Admission: Free
  • Completed in 1900
  • Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

 

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A Trip Down the Rabbit Hole to Alice’s Tea Cup

“It’s always tea-time.”

-Lewis Carroll 

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Alice’s Tea Cup has several locations in New York City. I visited the original location, charmingly referred to as Chapter I.  You can rightfully assume that the theme here is Alice in Wonderland. From the beginning I felt like I was going down the rabbit hole as I descended the stairs to enter the tea house. There was even a giant key hole. It’s a popular place, so it was very busy, but there was a cozy feeling which I instantly liked. I saw several children wearing fairy wings. It was so cute! You can borrow them if you have not brought your own. Had I realized that option earlier I might have grabbed a pair for myself.

I had The Nibble (tea for one), which included a scone, cucumber and watercress sandwich and cookies. Everything was delicious. I like a little more cream cheese on my sandwich, but that’s just personal preference. My favorite tea is English Breakfast which I take with cream and sugar. However, I opted for the Berry Brunch without either. It’s naturally sweet and a has a lovely red color. Tea is obviously served in tea cups, but I noticed that other beverages were served in mason jars which is just one of the details that contributes to their warm relaxed setting. My server was knowledgeable and attentive.

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High Tea – Alice’s Tea Cup

Alice’s Tea Cup serves breakfast and lunch items along with their tea service. They have a children’s menus. They have desserts and a few adult beverage options. They have an onsite bakery and also offer catering.

I had a wonderful solo adventure, but it also seems like the perfect place for an afternoon with friends, party or event.

 

Alice’s Tea Cup

  • Chapter 1; 102 West 73rd Street
  • Chapter II; 156 East 64th Street
  • Chapter III; 220 East 81st Street
  • Events Office (917) 474-8950; Mon – Fri
  • Open daily, hours vary by location
  • Afternoon Tea Menu
  • Walk-in visitors allowed.
  • Reservations are allowed; a minimum of 24 hours notice is required. They do not accept reservations on holidays.
  • Tea Service $35 – $100
  • Notes: There is no gratuity it is “baked into the prices”. They have a private space you can book for large parties.

Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?” 
Alice: “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” 

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I am the Doormouse

How 2017 Changed My Life and Why I am Looking Forward to 2018.

In January 2017, I was feeling stuck. I had not really traveled in a while. I was ready to hit the road again, but I was not sure how I was going to do that or where I was going to go. Then a chance trip home and drinks with an old high school friend turned into an adventure I never could have imagined … the opportunity to work with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and live on the circus train until May. That all by itself was awesome, but it also meant visiting a new city every week. Here was my chance to travel! When the circus ended I was picked up by the Marvel Universe Live tour which started with two weeks in New Orleans! Hello “Big Easy” and beignets!

(Circus life)

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans river boat

New Orleans

For the last couple of years I had also been thinking about starting a YouTube channel or blog. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, I had something to talk about. So my blog, Travel, Tea & Me was born. It’s a great way to share my adventures people who are interested in travel, tea, museums, botanical gardens, etc. I have also had the chance to connect with other travelers (and tea lovers) all over the world.

There have been some challenges along the way, including having my phone and money stolen. It happens, but I could have just as easily happened if I stayed in California. It’s not a deal breaker, but I did learn to lock up my stuff. At the end of the day, there is always more good than bad. In the last year I’ve been to:

  • 22 US States and Canada
  • 38 cities
  • 6 Museums
  • 5 Botanical Gardens
  • 6 lovely Afternoon Teas
  • The Mall of America
  • The St Louis Arch
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Fleet Week in New York City

I’ve also:

  • Ice Skated at Rockefeller Center
  • Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Spun Fire (well I tried – I think that counts)
  • Hiked the Grand Canyon (six miles – still pretty cool) and
  • Climbed out on Devil’s Bridge (pretty scary)
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Devil’s Bridge

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Milwaukee Museum

2017 Recap Blog_Toledo Museum

Dale Chihuly Glass, Toledo Museum

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Myriad Botanical Gardens; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Time for Tea at Clara J’s in Maumee, OH

During 2017 I learned a lot about myself, other people and travel (of course). Here are three things that have made my travel experience better:

  • Eat Local. Food is part of the travel experience. If you want to know what a city is really like do not each at chain restaurants. Look up the dishes they are known for (Philly Cheese Steaks in Philadelphia, deep dish pizza in Chicago) and find a locally owned restaurant that serves them.
  • Walk more – Ride Less (unless it’s a bicycle). You see things different when you are not in a car or busy speeding by things with a roof over your head. Walking slows you down. You are more likely to chat with someone from the area. It’s also easier to stop and take pictures. Plus, you will walk off that meal you just had.
  • Pack Light. Traveling with less is best! If you do not absolutely need it do not pack it. I’m not saying to leave out use-as-needed things like medication, first aid or back-up batteries. I will leave the definition of “need” to your discretion. It’s different for everyone, but leave your valuables at home (except for things like your phone, camera or in my case laptop for blogging). Travel should be about the experience not things. When you lose things (or they get stolen) it can ruin the travel experience. You tend to focus on the things you have lost instead of the memories you have made.

“My experiences have shown me that life truly is a journey and the less baggage we carry, the easier the ride.” – Wally Amos

In 2018 I will still be on working on tour and visiting a different city every week. I will get to visit new places like Orlando, FL and spend more time in some of my favorites like New York City. I’m also hoping to grow my blog, work on some new projects and learn some new skills.

One things for sure, every week will be an adventure and that’s the best part!

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