May 11 – May 17
Share all about one of your favorite tea rooms. Use photos and descriptions to tell about the decor and ambiance, menus, service, and what makes this tea room special to you. Does this tea room have a gift shop? What kind of special treasures does it contain?
Tuesdays mean just one thing here at A Haven... and that is participating in LaTeaDah's Hospital-i-tea. (I'm already fretting about what Tuesday will mean when this wonderful event ends. I've enjoyed it so much and hope that you all have, too.)
This week's assignment has proven a bit more challenging because I don't have lots of pretty photos, etc. What I do have is lots of warm memories so if you have time to read... Otherwise, skip on down to the photos.
Sometime in the 1980s, my grandmother told my mother about one of my mom's old school chums who was making her way back home to Maine after having lived and raised her children in California. This friend and her husband had run a series of successful B&Bs and were planning to start another back in Maine.
I can't tell this part of the story without getting out my tissues...excuse me for a sec...
Some time later, my mother wanted to visit her friend who was now well established in a beautiful Victorian B&B with a gift shop built into the shed that linked the home to the barn. (A typical old-fashioned New England set up.) My mother had not seen her friend since they were ten years old and had not attempted any contact with her up to that point.
So here the two of us were, Mom and I, wandering around in the gift shop with no one in attendance when we heard footsteps coming through the house and then a beautiful blond woman came in smile first. She welcomed us and I could tell that my mother was sizing her up and trying to decide if this could even be her childhood friend. The two of them carried on a pleasant conversation about the dolls and things in the shop. After a few moments, the blond lady stopped and looked at my mom with a long gaze.
"Marilyn?" she said.
"Yes, hello, Betty." replied my mother.
Then they were in each other's arms hugging each other for dear life while I watched this all unfold.
"How did you know?" my mother asked.
"Your eyes. Your beautiful eyes."
*Sniff* Told you that it makes me weep.
Anyway, thus began a rekindling of an old friendship that continues to this day.
After running the Victorian B&B for a few years, Betty and her husband actually moved to the very same town that my mom grew up in. They established "The Carousel" and that was the best thing that had happened in that little community for years. There was a big, wonderful gift shop housed in the barn with a glorious view of Mt. Katahdin.
The F*riends, isn't that a great surname for B&B owners, were warm and always welcoming. One entered their home via the back door directly into the kitchen where one or the other was preparing the luncheon or tea. All preparations would be left as everyone received a hug. This was true for every single person who entered whether one was a personal friend or not.
There was a beautiful fireplace on one end of the kitchen with two wingback chairs drawn close. A vaulted ceiling on that end had windows above the mantel that were tall and showed a meadow rising high behind the house.
The Tea Room, as it was actually called, was a large center dining room with three tables...only three. Each was very different in style...Victorian, French Country, and something else that escapes me at the moment.
The first thing that I always noticed were the stacks of tea cups sitting on a sideboard. From these, a guest selected a favorite and then tea was served.
My grandmother's 90th birthday was celebrated there among family and friends. This is a very grainy, poor picture. I can see the watercolor of "The Carousel" there above the buffet.
Not long after this event in 2000, Betty sold the B&B retiring to New Brunswick, Canada. Edited to Add: Betty now makes her home somewhere in Texas.
So this is not so much a story about a favorite tea room as it is a story about friendship, love, and hospitality. It's the stuff of life that makes it all worth while.