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Tea Time
Old World charm, historic tradition at Doris Tea Cottage & Caf
Visitors can enjoy an atmosphere full of Old World charm and nostalgia inside Doris Tea Cottage & Caf on Main Street in the town of Groveland, the Gateway to Yosemite. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

In the heart of the town that labels itself as the Gateway to Yosemite, aka Groveland, is a quaint cottage where you can relish being pampered by almost everything that is traditional English before you head out to the wilds. That place is Dori’s Tea Cottage & Café at 18744 Main Street, which is also Highway 120. The famous 

Yosemite National Park is a mere 26 miles away.

Tea Cottage owner Dori Jones, who opened the business seven years ago in May, is proud to point out that the tea room is a point of historical interest in the area. It was the former residence of Minnie Ferretti, one of Groveland’s first United State Postal Service postmasters. The nearly 80-year-old cash house-turned-tea-room and gift shop provides visitors a visual feast at the entrance with its flower-festooned rose bushes and grapevines in the front courtyard. Inside, guests are transported to a nostalgic bygone era as they step on the original hardwood floors of the house while they admire the old stone fireplace and the delicate lace curtains accenting the windows.

Dori’s Tea Cottage & Café invites guests to experience the English tradition of taking tea first introduced by Anne, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in England in 1840. The business is Jones’ way of extending to all her own lifelong love of tea. While growing up in San Francisco, Jones was introduced to tea by her English grandmother, Elsie. In fact, among the prized decorative pieces she has on display inside Dori’s Tea Cottage are her late grandmother’s favorite teacup along with the teacup that Doris herself used at her grandmother’s house.

While browsing through the Tea Room menu, notice the following entries: Duchess Dorothy, Lady Elsie, Countess Eleanor (vegetarian), Miss Maddy, Queen Jean, Princess Patricia (lighter faire), Maiden Marilyn, Duchess Dorothy, and Royal Rose. The names were not plucked out of the blue. They are names of women in Jones’ family.

Two years ago, Jones said she decided to expand her business by opening Dori’s Café in the adjacent space of her Tea Room. The Café caters to lovers of fresh-brewed iced teas, espresso, sandwiches, wraps, quiche, soup, salad, and a variety of bakery items.

Jones invites visitors to either sit down and enjoy a quick breakfast plus a longer and more indulgent English Tea luncheon, or “build a picnic” basket to take with you as you continue on your trip to the majestic nature feasts at Yosemite National Park.

And if you’re looking for something to bring home with you to remember your visit at historic Doris Tea Cottage & Café, there are plenty to choose from in the gift boutique.

English-style tea luncheons are served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). Reservations are recommended.

The Café is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It is open until 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

From Manteca, you can reach Dori’s Tea Cottage and Café by following Highway 120 (Yosemite Avenue) all the way to Groveland. It’s a small historic town; hence, it’s easy to spot Dori’s Cottage. Just look for the historic building with the attractive curb side full of rose bushes and grape vines. It’s on 18744 Main Street (Hwy 120 becomes Main Street just as 120 in Manteca becomes Yosemite Avenue). Call 1.209.962-5300 or visit; email