We have had a couple of cold, sleety, rainy, dreary days here recently, and I know Rebecca’s working hard at getting the site in order and could probably use a little warm comfort herself, so I thought I’d throw in a good word for one of our favorite go-to’s at times like these–hot brewed black tea, with some sugar and cream, please! I also thought I would take this occasion to mention a couple of my favorite places–a place where I have purchased a good amount of tea and all the fun things that go with it, as well as a small pottery, both places in Pennsylvania where we lived before moving to Michigan.
First, the tea–I’ve spent many happy hours at a small coffee and tea shop in Camp Hill PA, by the name of “One Good Woman.” Owned and operated by Holly O’Connor, this is a small business that started out very small, literally from the back of her Jeep, and has grown into a lovely shop that sells coffees, teas, gourmet food items, tea and coffee wares of various kinds, and now offers mail order service, which means I can still get my favorite teas even though we are 900 miles apart! Some favorites: I remember a plum tea I especially enjoyed, and a green tea with mango, tea with coconut, an herbal tea by the name of Once Upon a Tea–a wonderful combination of tea, chocolate, mint, orange and spice–to die for! English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, and always, ALWAYS, my Earl Grey.
Just walking into Holly’s shop was a joy–the smell of the coffees and teas mixing and floating out to greet you was enough reason to stop by. But I never went in without coming back out with some new tea to try, a new mug, a teapot, or some lovely preserves to top my scones and biscuits. And the warmth of the welcome from Holly, her husband and her staff–well, words fail me. It always felt like coming home.
I guess that is one of the things that having that bit of time with a cup of tea means as well. It’s all tied in with that kind of cozy, warm, loved feeling you get when coming in from a cold, rainy or snowy day–while the water’s heating, you get out of your wet things, grab a sweater or a lap rug, pop a muffin on to toast and prepare to wallow in comfort (it’s even better if you have a nice fire going in the woodstove!).
My current favorite tea is Earl Grey (of course!), with some lavendar flowers thrown in to brew with the tea leaves (I think that makes it officially Lady Grey tea, but we won’t quibble here.) The smell of bergamot mixed with the lavendar makes for quite a heady scent, and I love it. A little vanilla sugar stirred in, a bit of cream, and I’m good to go.
One other thing that makes this time special is having a loved teapot in which to brew the tea, of course, and my teapot was made in another of my favorite Pennsylvania places, Penns Creek Pottery in Penns Creek, PA. I was introduced to this business by my daughter, whose roommate for a while at college was the daughter of the owner. Bill Lynch heads up that concern, and again, it’s one of those special places. Housed in a restored mill on Penns Creek, he produces and oversees others in the production of beautiful handthrown pottery. I’ve picked up several items over the years, dishes that we use every day, and one of my favorite pieces is the teapot I picked up there several years ago. There is hardly a day when I don’t have something brewing in there, and it reminds me of the pleasure I’ve had in just wandering through the old mill, looking at the various pieces, all really unique works of art, in that old rustic setting.
All good things to think about and remember as I sit sipping my tea…
If you would like to check out either of these places, here are the links: