Opened in 1912, the Wenham Tea House of Wenham, MA claims to be the oldest tea house in the country. The teahouse, which includes a clothing store, bakery, and gift shop, is run by the Wenham Village Improvement Society (WVIS) with the goal of making Wenham a nice place to live. The restaurant portion of the teahouse, currently named The Exchange at the Wenham Tea House, is leased out, and the current operator's (Emma Roberts) lease expires at the end of the year. Ms. Roberts has chosen not to renew the lease. The WVIS expects to find a new operator for the restaurant.
Profits from the tea house are supposed to help support WVIS but, in fact, the money's been going in the other direction. Ms. Roberts, who ran the restaurant for five years, said she estimated the annual losses when she arrived to be about $80,000. That's improved to an annual deficit of about $10,000. Planned improvements are expected to run about $150,000.
Michael Stern, in the Roadfood.com review of the Wenham Tea House, said it's a "gracious little shop and restaurant, a true taste of Yankee hospitality."