With festive lights and decorations adorning storefronts and downtown streets, snowflakes swirling against scarves and overcoats, and a feeling of goodwill in the air, there's no denying the magic of the holiday season. But this time of year also brings the gift giving season, and with it the stresses of holiday shopping. Take a break from the hustle and bustle to sit down with a cup of hot chocolate or tea. There's just something about wrapping your hands around a steaming mug of cocoa that helps you regain perspective, recharge your spirit, and reconnect with the people that matter to you.
Whether you're looking for a cozy spot for afternoon tea or a quick and creamy treat for your little one, our guide will point you in the right direction.
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NASSAU COUNTY, LONG ISLAND
The Garden City Hotel's Polo Room serves a traditional afternoon tea, which includes tea sandwiches, scones, pastries, and your choice of tea, for $29. Their menu also includes an A La Carte section. The Polo Room is available for birthday tea parties, baby shower tea parties, and other special events. Reservations suggested. 45 Seventh Street, Garden City. 516-877-9353. www.gardencityhotel.com.
The Witches Brew is a funky, family-friendly spot that carries 85 organic, loose-leaf tea varieties, all of which are fair trade certified. The teas are served in a cast iron pot ($2.75-$4.75). They also carry several varieties of homemade hot chocolate ($2.75-$5), including a standard brew made with milk chocolate, coffee and hot chocolate combos, soy hot chocolate, and a vegan version made with dark chocolate and topped with vegan marshmallows. One of their unique offerings is the Hot Chocolate Float, made with ice cream and topped with whipped cream. Stop by for a late night treat - they're open till 1am every day (closed Monday). 311 Hempstead Turnpike, West Hempstead. 516-489-9482.
Victorian Tea Room offers a High Tea that includes finger sandwiches, homemade scones, fresh fruit in season, desserts, and your choice of tea from a wide selection of organic, loose-leaf blends ($13.95). A lighter option includes your choice of tea and a scone ($5). They also have a full lunch menu including children's meals, a dessert menu, chocolate fondue, and cheese fondue. 222 Main Street, Farmingdale. 516-249-1972. www.victoriantearoom.org.