It is Thanksgiving and I want to express my gratitude for you subscribing to this newsletter. I am so thankful for all of the interest and support Willowbrook Manor and I have received these past two years. When I purchased my tractor in 2017 and started planting my first crop of chamomile, I could not have dreamed that so many people would come for tea, for bike tours, and glamping, and that so many more would follow me on social media, sign up to read my newsletter, and share with friends. I am grateful for you! Thank you for your part in making my tea house and chamomile farm a success.
E-bikes are coming to Tea and Tour!
Last issue I shared pictures of the ground-mount solar system that was just installed at Willowbrook. Well, this week I picked up the e-bikes that will make our bike tours even MORE enjoyable. Our ten and twelve-mile bike tours will literally be 'no sweat' with our electric-powered bikes. The coolest part of all, it is that they are powered by the sun!
To give you an idea of what Tea and Tour feels like, Here is a one-minute video that just came out showcasing Skagit Valley. (Willowbrook takes up half of the clip.) Click HERE to watch the video
Gift Certificates ~ Give the gift of a Tea and Tour experience. Order gift certificates now and get FREE upgrades to e-bikes! Click the button below to purchase.
I had a love affair with my first bike.It was a purple Shwinn with chrome handlebars and a purple banana seat with sparkles. I pretended it was my pony and would often ride it wearing my cowgirl boots. This week, when I went to Rad Power Bikes to pick up Tea and Tour's new fleet of e-bikes, I had a flashback to my childhood. When I looked at the bikes loaded into the trailer, my mind reached back 50 years and for a second, what I saw, was a trailer full of ponies!
I am so excited to be able to offer the fun and ease of electric biking to the already amazing scenic and historic bike tours we host here at Willowbrook. Of course I will always have my groovy-cool beach cruiser bikes for those who prefer the old-school biking experience. I can hardly wait for summer!
What a concert!
The latest delight in the Willowbrook concert series was a dinner and concert featuring Richard Rorex. He entertained guests with his guitar stylings, playing everything from classical pieces and standards, to a few songs from the Beatles. My personal favorites were Rich’s own compositions, including one that particularly impressed the group entitled “Blue Waltz." I felt transported watching his fingers fly across the strings and fill Willowbrook’s music room with the rich, deep sounds of his music. If you weren’t able to purchase one of his CDs that night, they are available for purchase on his website. Click HERE to for more information.
Ann, Maureen and Christine are great friends of mine. These are the ladies I call when I need extra help. Ann is my mentor and ghost writer. Maureen shows up at my door to fold laundry or dust, and I always invite Christine when the newspaper reporters come so she can find her picture in the paper. All three of them have helped me serve guests, so I was glad this time they were on the 'dining' side of the table.
My homemade rolls are part of what make having dinner at Willowbrook so good, if I do say so myself. I will bake them again for our December 21st concert. (That is supposed to be a teaser.)
Christmas Dinner Concert and Caroling~
These are the professionals who make caroling an event to remember! Kyler Brumbaugh, Cindy Luna, and Wyatt Wahlgren make up a spectacular trio that makes holiday music come alive! It will be an elegant evening with a holiday dinner of Cornish game hens over rice pilaf and fresh-baked Willowbrook rolls, salad and soup. The dinner is preceded by wine tasting at Eaglehaven Winery which is just across the field from Willowbrook. Our concert will feature YOU joining in caroling with our brass trio and pianist Christine Britsch. Seating is limited, so reserve your table soon.
One of the reasons I am looking forward to our Christmas Caroling Concert so much is the history of Holiday Brass in our family. You see, my father played the trombone, and when my kids were young, he started The Barr Rd Family Band. My mom bought baritones for anyone who didn't already play and instrument, and we would practice on Sunday evenings. We used to drive up to Ferndale to practice at the Barr Rd family farm, but when the folks moved to Sedro-Woolley, we help practice in what is now the Tea Room of Willowbrook. We felt very 'chamber like' though our musical abilities were probably 8th grade level. At one point we recruited other players and had a fairly good sized band. In fact, we brought the whole band to the Bellingham airport to welcome my brother home from his two-year mission with the band playing our rendition of the MTA. We also played for the old folks home at Christmas time, and were actually invited to play for the Sedro Woolley Tour of Homes! The cold air made our instruments change pitch and we sounded very out of tune. We made great memories making mediocre music together. Now I am hosting professionals, but I cant help but reminisce about the carols we played together in the Barr Rd Family Band.
As part of our Tea Around the World segments, we thought it would be fun to explore a few tea houses right in our own backyard. We stopped in Marysville at Attic Secrets for a cup of tea and the dish on their business. Attic Secrets got its start in 1991 as a small gift shop. It was started by Happy Favro and then later adapted to a restaurant and teahouse by Kelli Sobczuk and her daughter Jessie. Recently the mother daughter duo have sold it to Bridget Cullette and the dynamic duo will be relocating out of state to be closer to family. This quaint little shop serves up a mean mix of traditional tea goodies as wells as soups and sandwiches. They have a large menu, a wide selection of tea varieties, and pride themselves on making things from scratch. One of their highlighted events for the year is their tea with Santa coming up on December 14th. Reservations are always encouraged. You can reach them at 360-659-7305 or at their website (click HERE to access their website)
Holiday Tea at Willowbrook~
Above, I introduced you to three ladies who I can call anytime I need help. This is a young lady who I used to rely on for help. Now she is off to college, and I miss her. Savanah Acton is one of the hardest working young woman I know. She made several short videos for Holiday Tea, and I thought I would share a few with you. Click HERE, and HERE and HERE to view them. Thank you Savanah for capturing a bit of the essence of Holiday Tea!
We still have tables available for Holiday Tea ~
Click the button below to make your reservation.
The favorite tea cup today is one I inherited from my Grandma Adair. 'Gram' was a go-get'm, fun-loving lady. She was the post mistress for 30 years in the small town of Panaca, Nevada, where my dad was born and raised. I don't know the story of this teacup other than it has a Norcrest stamp that says it is 9 of 619. Gram is no longer here for me to ask. It is most interesting teacup with an Egyptian theme, and hangs on the wall with my other highly sentimental tea cups.
Gram was a beautiful influence in my life, and I could go on and on about the things she did and the person she was. But in keeping with the season, I want to highlight her gift giving. She was a wise shopper and could sniff out a bargain a mile away. (or 100 miles away, as Panaca is in the middle of no-where) She made Christmas special for every kid and grandkid, spending hours wrapping and decorating each package. She would use Christmas cards from previous years, cutting the backs off, and gluing them as the centerpiece for every package, matching the wrapping paper and adding just the right bow. I remember getting the packages in the mail, every box a loving work of art. I think about her every holiday when I wrap presents, and having tea in her teacup lets me feel a bit closer to her.
If you have a favorite teacup, please share the story and a picture of it with us!