Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tea Room Ventures and Venues

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.

30 comments:

  1. GREAT story, I had to get a tissue, too, to continue reading! Isn't it great to find those "connections" that we thought were long gone.

    Wish I were more into "tea time" - I love the idea but down here where I live, there's very little of that. Oh well, I can "imagine" can't I? Vickie

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  2. Vee! What a beautiful tea room story! Friendship and tea seem to go hand in hand! I especially love how the Friends greeted each customer with a welcoming hug!! That alone would prompt me to sit down for a nice cup of tea! What warm memories they left you with!

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  3. Vee,
    A perfect tea room post! Tea is so much more than just than just the actual beverage. It is more about the warmth and coziness of sharing hearts and lives over a perfectly brewed cup that make it special.

    I have not been able to play tea party with La Tea Dah for a few weeks now so I am planning a whopping post to include all I have missed. I better scoot if I am going to get it done.

    Thanks for the heart lift with this warm and wonderful story. Have a great day!

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  4. Such a sweet story of friendship and tea. Isn't it amazing that your mother's childhood friend recognized her years later. And so wonderful they were able to pick up their friendship as though no time had passed.

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  5. What a precious story --- and it totally captures the true essence of what 'tea' is all about! Great post, Vee! Thank you for sharing from your heart. I love your story!

    LaTeaDah

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  6. What a wonderful story of friendship.
    It was a joy to read.

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  7. This is such a wonderful story. You tell it well - I was picturing it all in my mind. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. What a wonderful story! And as far as it being about friendship, love and hospitality....isn't that what a good tea room is?

    I'll admit we don't even have a tea room around here. I wouldn't know how to act! Iinkie up, pinkie down?

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

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  9. A wonderful story, Vee! Who needs pictures...you painted them nicely for us. And who needs tea...it's the friends we share it with that matter most!

    Since I don't frequent tea rooms, I wasn't planning to join in this week's event...but you gave me an idea. I just might! I have visited a rather famous tearoom in Nova Scotia.

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  10. What a delightful story Vee! I got teary just reading it. It is the memories of the people we've shared these beautiful venues with that matters. Thanks so much for sharing these...

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  11. That was just a delightful story Vee! And you tell it so well! Thank you for sharing it with us all!

    Jan

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  12. I think your wonderful story is exemplary of what a tea room is all about. It isn't just the fancy stuff, but rather the friendships that are built.

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  13. Vee, What a wonderful story! I had to get my tissue out too. Isn't it great how true friends can hook up right where they left off. It was nice that you got to meet your mother's friend and be part of that.

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  14. Wow, that was such a beautiful memory, Vee! New England hospitality at it's best, old friends reuniting, a celebration of your Grandmother's long life... all wrapped up in a place that served tea! Just wonderful, and I enjoyed reading that so much! Maybe Tuesday tea stories can become a permanent event?

    Thanks for your congratulations on my becoming a grandmother by the end of the year -- I'm so excited!

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  15. Oh what a touching story. Thank you. I so enjoyed reading that.

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  16. Hi Vee,
    How wonderful that your mom was able to reconnect with her childhood friend and that you were there to share it with her. I'll bet you heard a lot of fun stories.

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  17. What would our lives be if they were not enriched with the special memories of times spent with friends and family? I loved your story and felt as though I was right there to choose a cup and have a sit down at one of the tables. Thanks for sharing such a precious time, especially the part about finding an old friend. ~Kathy

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  18. Vee, I enjoyed reading your story, and the pictures are lovely. Thank you for sharing.

    Katherine

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  19. Thank you so much for sharing your story today. I enjoyed having my 'green tea' this evening while reading my favorite blogs and posts. Take Care!!!

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  20. Oh Vee, I'm going to get some tissues myself! A beautiful story about your Mother and friendship :). I love the stacked teacups, what a wonderful idea.

    I so enjoy your blog Vee, I try to stop by everyday, I just wanted you to know how that.

    Kathi :)

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  21. That is a great story!
    And it sounds like a lovely place. Marc and I were looking at a farm in the Houlton area..we wanted to move up there so badly..but we could not sell our home in time. :( Beautiful images, Vee, thanks for sharing.

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  22. Vee, that was a great story! How wonderful to share it with all of us. I teared up at the same spot you did.

    I moved away from New England when I was 12...but I have never forgotten the friends and the wonderful ambience of all that is a small New England town.

    Very sweet piece!

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  23. Hi Vee!
    Thanks for sharing the wonderful story about your mom and her old friend. It was delightful!
    Hugs, Sherry

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  24. Vee, I think the basis of this exercise, is to evoke fond memories, through times spent in tea rooms, and you nailed it! (I sound like Simon Cowell on AI, huh? LOL!)....This was a beautiful sweet story. I was crying at the end again, when you said the friend sold out and moved away again...no happy ending there! "smiles" Loved the picture of your grandmother's 90th Birthday...how sweet! Great post!

    Oh, and I did think this week was the last week! LOL! I even said my good-byes, but am so glad that it is not! I've really enjoyed this blog-a-thon!

    Have a great day! ~Rhonda

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  25. What a wonderful story! I would have loved visiting the Friends B&B. They sound like wonderful people!
    Penny

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  26. Melissa's Cozy TeacupMay 14, 2008 at 11:23 AM

    Hello! I was cruising through and saw your pumpkin whoopie pie recipe. What size cookie scoop do I use?

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  27. Your story is so nice..one of the best this week!
    Millie

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  28. Thank you, Dears! I much appreciate your leaving comments, especially when you are on the tour since it takes times and effort.

    Betty lost her husband just prior to my grandmother's birthday tea so the work simply became too much without him. When she went to New Brunswick, she was going full circle as that was where she was born and where much of her family remains. She's enjoying a wonderful retirement!

    Melissa, the cookie scoop is a Pampered Chef and it holds two tablespoons. I see no other markings to help you out. (Never thought of that one before; although, I do know that one can purchase many different sizes... mini, small, medium, large.) Hope that helps.

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  29. that is such a beautiful story!

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  30. Vee, that was a truly wonderful post!!!!

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Thank you for commenting! If you ask a question, I will answer it here in case anyone else was wondering. Reply boxes are provided so that you may feel free to interject a thought on any comment. I do love good conversation!