Heaven in Chapel Hill, NC

Typically I prefer my coffee nearby and convenient - I want to be able to get it STAT when the craving strike. But certain places are simply worth driving out of your way for, and Honeysuckle Tea House unquestionably falls into that category.

For the record, I'm a pretty loyal Durham dweller - since I work in Chapel Hill, I rarely feel the desire to drive out there during my free time. But Honeysuckle occupies a part of the Triangle that's been forgotten by a lot of us who simply moved here for work or school. Located on farm land at least twenty minutes in any direction from either suburbia or bustling downtown, the Tea House invites visitors to abandon busy life for a slice of fresh air and freedom. The Tea House itself is an open-air structure made of re-purposed lumber and shipping containers - appropriately, it is only open from mid-March to mid-November. The tea house itself is airy and comfortable, with high wooden tables allowing you to look out over the fields, garden, woods, and small pond. A cluster of hammocks is hidden by foliage just outside the house, and a rustic stage hosts several musical acts a week throughout the season. Wifi is free and available, but in a neat trick the password is just long and complicated enough that you have to actually want to use it - no idle Facebook-browsing here.

Perhaps my favorite thing about Honeysuckle is that it's entirely welcoming and friendly. Well-behaved dogs are welcome on the grounds (just not the actual wooden house), and our pup loves diving in the pond and playing fetch with the resident canine, who can be seen wandering the tables with a big stick and a hopeful look on his face. Just off the stage is a small playset and a big king-of-the-hill mound that kids love running around on while their parents chat and look on.

Now, if you've read my blog before you probably realize that I'm a bit of a coffee addict, and yes, a tea house was a little out of my comfort zone at first. No fear - with fresh brewed coffee (hot and iced) and French press, you're covered. But honestly, you probably won't miss your double-foam double-whip extra-shot of whatnot - tea is clearly their passion, and the selection of exotically named teas make it hard to pass up trying something new. There is also a rotating selection of pastries, sodas, and lemonades to try out.

My current addiction/splurge are the smoothies and smoothie bowls. Though, in my opinion, a tad overpriced, you likely won't regret the splurge once you realize just how high-quality and gosh-darn tasty the ingredients are. The Coco Love Boat, one of my favorites, features a banana, strawberry, and cacao base topped with granola, cacao nibs, dried strawberries, and rose petals, while the delightfully-named Wake Up Monkey Head treats you to a banana, sunbutter, coffee, cacao, avocado, and coconut milk smoothie adorned with banana slices, granola, and more cacao.

Full disclosure: after a particularly stressful week I come out here with a book, order an infused lemonade and smoothie bowl, and pretend I'm a 1970s-era child of the earth rather than a young professional with far too many bills.

In addition to its "Slurps, Sips, and Eats," Honeysuckle offers a wide range of apothecary items, yoga classes, garden tours, kids' story time, and bulk tea. It is truly hippie-land, so be prepared (and I say that with the upmost love). You won't be disappointed, and I guarantee you will leave more relaxed than you arrived.

Open Sun - Thurs 9am - 9pm |  Fri & Sat 9am - 10pm(919) 903-9131 | thehoneysuckleteahouse@gmail.com | 8871 Pickards Meadow Rd. Chapel Hill, NC 27516