To a Tea

Whether it is green, black, white, or oolong, what makes it true tea is the shrub it comes from, Camellia sinensis. Legend says that in 2737 B.C. Shen Nunn, the second emperor of China, discovered tea accidentally when leaves from the Camellia sinensis bush blew into some boiling water. Others claim that Shen Nunn experimented with herbal infusions of many kinds.

Afternoon Tea

Diaries from Maine in the late 1700s contain many references to tea in the afternoon, served with pie or cake, but it was not until 1840 that Anna Stanhope, Duchess of Bedford, introduced tea as an afternoon snack and social event in England. Teatime became a ritual that many in Britain still follow today, while in America, tea parties are an echo of the past.

Victorian Tea Party

When Charlie and Gloria Morton purchased the Inn of Many Faces in 2001 from sisters Pat Gunter and Judy Johnson, they bought not only a beautifully restored and furnished Victorian home, but also a collection of faces scattered throughout the house. Many of the faces are carved in the lovely old pieces of furniture, not glaring out at you, but quietly waiting for you to find them.

A Whitewright Tradition

Kay B. pours tea from the silver set her parents gave her when she got married. “This is not a fancy one,” she says. “It’s just what people used. Whitewright had a lot of teas when I moved here in 1947. In those days, people dressed up on a daily basis. So, of course, we were always dressed up for teas.”

The Tea Lady

On a winter day, when the wind whips across the open fields on Schneider Road near Howe, Terry Irvin runs across the back yard to her greenhouse and checks on the hundreds of tiny herbal seedlings that bask under grow lights. She waters them and adjusts the lights, and when it is really cold, she creates a small plastic tent to keep them warmer.

Allison Gillies

Allison Gillies paints large, so large that the usual run of canvases don’t provide enough space for her expansive ideas of color, shape and texture. She tried making her own canvases out of fabric from Wal-Mart, but that didn’t work either. An old tarp in her father’s garage reminded her of a sail, and her quest for something big enough to hold her ideas was over.


Did you know that pumpkin pie originated when early Americans scooped out thick-walled pumpkins, filled them with milk, spices and honey, and baked them slowly in the ashes of a fire? I don’t know when I fell in love with pumpkins, those colorful globes, bright and round as beach balls.