The history of this building dates back to the days of the pioneers and reaches our days with the affection the denizens of San Martín feel for this emblematic point.
Once upon a time, the smoke coming out of the chimney of Arrayán Tea House
could be seen from the town of San Martín de los Andes
. As the ancient pine trees and cypresses surrounding the house grew, this panorama changed. What remains intact is the tradition to visit this house, taste its excellent gastronomy and be dazzled by the view featured by its large windows over Lake Lácar and the hills enclosing it.
The tea house is open almost year round and it lies so close to the downtown that it has become a classic at different times of the day, especially at tea time. Both during the summer and the winter, when visitors who come back from the ski resort are welcomed by a cup of hot chocolate and the burning fireplace, this is the right spot to meet with friends.
It was built by Renée Dickinson in 1939. This young English lady arrived in this region and fell in love with the mountain horizon on this hillside. The road that led us to this venue did not exist on those days. Nevertheless, a fishing lodge was the first construction to be settled at this location, away from everything.
As Renée died at a very young age, her brother took charge of the house. Later on, Janet Dickinson kept the family plan alive. Today, the owners have changed but the idea to preserve its original spirit remains. The tea house is part of a set that includes an inn with very few rooms.
Inside the building, we discovered several cozy corners with eye-catching decoration. The huge stone fireplace is the most outstanding piece where the burning logs are always crackling. The large windows occupy two of the four walls, overlooking Lake Lácar towards the west, showing off the classic sunset mist and the changing reddish hues.
After taking some photographs, we made ourselves comfortable ready to enjoy a nice cup of tea with sweet and salty specialties. One thing is typical of this venue: its slow pace. After that hearty meal, we ordered a tasty drink to watch the sun set on the horizon. We did not need to move a finger: just behold.
This visit to Arrayán Tea House aroused our curiosity about the first settlers of San Martín de los Andes. We bought some books that revealed the origins of this town and we felt thrilled to have stepped on the old wooden floors of one of the houses considered historical heritage in the city.