This Black Friday our focus was less about great deals at stores and more about exploring Maine with our loved ones (AND OBVIOUSLY GILMORE GIRLS REVIVAL). Our family escapes to Maine every Thanksgiving to a small little town filled with your typical charm and lakeside mountain views. New England is the best. We find that in order to enjoy our time off we literarily have to leave town… smh. Also Thanksgiving is the only Holiday we all take off not only the day but off the entire week. Because we are all in full time ministry we work on other holidays doing our special services such as Easter service / Easter play and Christmas Eve / Christmas service. So, this thanksgiving was especially appreciated after a busy fall where all of our plates were full both at home and at work. Plus, retreating to Maine feels very authentic in honoring my heritage (maternal side). More on that in a bit.
Almost by accident we walked into Clipper Merchant Tea House in Bridgton, Maine and instantly fell in love! Even our husbands loved it. The tea proprietress who opened this tea house in July of this year lived in Whales, Ireland, and London. She had brought back all she learned and experienced to this charming tea house in an old victorian house in here in New England. Magical! Our eyes were wide the entire time.
We’ve always been tea enthusiasts but this outing in particular felt like a memorandum to our great Grandmother, Violet Tepper Eldridge. She was born in 1889 I believe and she was raised in Kensington, England before marrying my mom’s mom’s dad – Earle Eldridge. He had some French Canadian in him but was an American who served in the First World War. Great grandfather Earle met Violet in London during the war. They married and came back to Maine by boat to live in Orland, Maine. Violet later became known as Nana to my own mother and her three siblings. My mom remembers growing up hearing her wonderful british accent and culture that she brought to the family. My mother remembers Nana Violet being an incredible artist and seamstress. Both Violet and Earle were very hardworking but also very creative and artistic (sound familiar?). Great Grandfather Earle was a home builder by trade in Bar Harbor but also did woodworking and other little art pieces with wood. My mother tells me what was hardest on Nana Violet was when her daughter (my great aunt) struggled with her faith. My own grandmother Mary wasn’t saved until her teen years. Her family went to a tent meeting near Augusta and that’s how we first got involved with the Assemblies of God movement (on my mothers side).
So with our British heritage – AND Maine heritage – from Nana Violet this was quiet the afternoon for us. I wonder if Nana Violet went to a Maine tea house with her family! They were very poor though so I would be surprised. My own mother didn’t eat at a Resturant until she was twelve and it was a McDonalds!
This heritage may explain why Kendra and I loooove tea and always considered it a big part of our lifestyle. Tea time represents intimacy, meaningful conversations, quality time with loved ones, and just leaves you with a warm “home” feeling. Maybe some day Kendra will finally open her tea house (she even has a name picked out).
This was probably one of the friendliest and most authentic tea house we’ve been to together. What’s better is that we were able to share it with our siblings. Our surrogate brother and sister, and our husbands, makes up the six of us! We wish we would have brought our mom because she’d like it as well – and we would have gotten some more Nana stories I’m sure – but sometimes it’s refreshing to get out just us “young” people, ie- siblings. We hope you all enjoyed the holiday with your family too!