Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wanderer's Teahouse from Guest Blogger Rachel Gulley

Amid head shops, burritos joints, and chain coffee places, lies the Wanderer's Teahouse in downtown East Lansing. Tucked right in on the edge of America’s eighth largest campus by enrollment, on the prime location of Grand River Ave, literally right across the street from campus, is the new home of an actual Mom and Pop teahouse; one where that Mom and Pop really know their stuff. Michigan State University alumni-run, the husband and wife team of Elizabeth Marazita and Michael Spano have lived in China and both have degrees in Chinese medicine.

All tea served at the Wanderer's is organically grown, and the coffee is all Fair Trade. Spano also mixes his own blends for particular maladies such as allergies or a hangover (perhaps catering to their college-town demographic a bit?). After years of travel, Marazita, a Lansing native, decided along with Spano, to put down roots in a town they knew and where their daughter could have some stability.

The tea house atmosphere is cozy and adventurous. Pictures of famous “wanderers” line the walls, as well as road signs pointing you to different countries with mile calculations, and an international book exchange make one feel as though they could run off to wherever their heart desires… as soon as they finish their tea and sandwich.

Just a couple weeks after opening, the Wanderer's is frequented by studying students and I, myself, have run into MSU professors there. It’s a wonderful place to meet a friend for lunch and catch up over a couple pots of hot tea, or to tune out all distractions and hit the books.

The owners are never too busy to introduce themselves, or help you decide on your tea for the day. (I personally recommend the English breakfast, as it is earthy and not a bit bitter.) Their friendly staff takes care of you and is also knowledgeable on tea, so don’t feel overwhelmed when you see the many, many available choices. You can smell a sample of each and read a description, or just ask away!

So wander into The Wanderer’s today, since as their slogan professes, “...all who wander are not lost.”