Monday, March 31, 2014

Traveling Tea Friends Meet in Berea, Kentucky

In November 2013 my friend, Linda J. at Friendship Tea blog, contacted a few tea friends saying she was considering hosting a tea gathering in her hometown of Berea, KY, and wanted our thoughts on the idea.  My immediate response was, "Count me in!"

I first met Linda on a 2007 tea tour to London, England and we have maintained a friendship ever since.  We met up again in 2010 at a tea gathering in Massillon, Ohio, and then in 2012 on a tea trip to Asheville, North Carolina [Biltmore Estate].  On the way to and from Asheville, Linda invited my girlfriend and I to spend the night at her house, so I already had a sneak peek of Berea, and knew it would be a fun and educational trip.  That trip is posted here.

Linda was Executive Director of Tourism in Berea, with an office in the historic 1917 L & N train depot [pictured below]. During her career she also owned a tour business called Hospitality Tours, so this gathering was the result of her experienced, skillful planning. Thanks for a wonderful time, and great memories, Linda!  

My girlfriend, Lori, and I departed from Michigan at 9:00 a.m. Monday, March 17th anxiously bound for Berea. We arrived shortly after 4:00 p.m.  Pictured below are exterior markers on Boone Tavern Hotel - Boone as in Appalachian hero, Daniel Boone, and Taven as in public inn for travelers, built in 1909.

Berea is a college town.  Berea College was founded in 1855, and has a current student body of 1,600.  Every student receives a full-tuition scholarship, a campus job, and a high-quality liberal arts education, making it like no other college in the nation.  Time didn't permit touring the campus during our stay.

Nellie Frost [below] was the wife of the college president.   One summer she welcomed 300 guests into their home for lodging and meals, prompting her to  suggest that a guest house be built - Boone Tavern Hotel.  When I was looking at photographs of prominent visitors, I noticed Henry Ford in the gallery [a little touch of Michigan in Berea, Kentucky! ;-)].

I knew we were in for a fun time when we checked in, and the envelope containing our room key was stamped with a teacup!  Our room was #212.  Somehow Linda managed to get us a room with two double beds instead of a room with a king-size bed to share.  A hotel key ring medallion was available for $3.50 upon check-out, so I bought one as a souvenir.  

Linda reserved the second floor Nutting Lounge as our private gathering place during our stay, and temporarily renamed it, "The Tea Parlor."  Lori's and my room was next to the parlor at one end, and Linda's room was at the other end. 

The hotel placed a reserved sign on the parlor door for us.  Made us feel like V.I.P.'s!  ;-)

The inside of the beautiful parlor.

Parlor windows from the exterior of the hotel.

Gift bags from Linda greeted us, containing a tea mug, journal, Berea memorabilia, and two "Berea made" kitchen utensils in cherry wood - a French tasting spoon, and a pair of tongs. Berea is the Folk Arts & Crafts Capital of Kentucky, so lots of unique things are made there.

Below is the "tea station" in the parlor with many tea selections, and all the equipage necessary for a "tea-filled" stay!  [The open door on the left was Lori's and my room.]

Angela M. at Tea with Friends blog, and Maureen R. at Tea and Talk blog arrived from Georgia shortly after us. Later in the evening we all had dinner together in the hotel dining room.  

I ordered "Pork Chops the Tricky Way" - Boneless, Breaded Pork Loin Chops served with Cheese Grits, Braised Greens, and Grain Mustard Cream.  Delicious Boone Tavern "Signature" Spoonbread preceded the entree, along with the recipe from the restaurant.  They sell the mix in the hotel gift shop too.

Following dinner, we went back to the parlor to await the arrival of Nancy R. at Rosemary's Sampler blog.  She was happy to arrive after a delayed flight.  We visited awhile, then all went to our individual rooms for the night, eagerly anticipating day two's activities - tomorrow's blog post!  


  1. Linda sure did arrange a nice few days for you ladies.

  2. Gosh, what fun! I have traveled through Berea on my way from Ohio to Atlanta, but never was able to stop at the Boone Tavern. Thank you for sharing the lovely pictures. Your meal looks delicious - my mouth is watering. I was able to walk around town one morning and visit all the craft stores. Amazing homemade handicrafts! I can't wait to go back someday. What a wonderful friend to arrange all this!

  3. What a special time in Berea!
    Linda did a wonderful event.

  4. I'm so enjoying reading about your gathering! What a fun time.

  5. So special! So glad you all had a wonderful time. And thanks again for the postcard! I was honored!

  6. Such a wonderful time you all had!

  7. It's been so fun to relive the trip through everyone's blog posts, and I just *knew* you would capture tons of things I did not! Wonderful!

  8. Tea and Friends! What could be better?
    So glad you all enjoyed your time together.
    I am sure many cups of Friendship Tea were shared.

    Have a happy day, Phyllis!

    Mary Jane

  9. Beautiful post Phyllis! I thoroughly enjoyed our Traveling Tea Friend Gathering. The time just passed too quickly!


Thank you for visiting my blog. If you would like to leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!