On girls’ weekends, taking tea and soaking up the good things in life.
I love reading references to the Boston Tea Party of 1773 as one of, if not the pivotal event that paved the way for the American Revolution. For a group to storm a ship in Boston Harbor and throw tea overboard as a political statement, and for that event to eventually acquire the tongue-in-cheek name of the Boston tea “party” is an intriguing glimpse into American culture.
Nearly two hundred and fifty years later, tea is still singed into our collective consciousness as a distinctly British affectation, despite the fact that green and black teas and chai tea have become rather trendy orders in American coffeehouses.
This past weekend, I escaped to a private retreat in the Ozark mountains for a girls’ weekend at my parents’ lake house. Truth be told, we were just a little too far north of the actual Boston Mountains to claim it, but work with me: it’s a good blog post title! We typically have four to six women from Missouri and Arkansas who gather to unwind, prop our feet up and indulge in good food, company and conversation for a few days.
I was given the opportunity to sample some of America’s tea, and brought it with me for the weekend to share since our entire getaway revolved around creating special moments together. Bigelow Tea is an impressive company, and I explored their website thoroughly to learn about the company’s earliest tea blending in the kitchen of Ruth Campbell Bigelow more than six decades ago, their Charleston tea plantation and their actionable steps toward sustainability (as opposed to lip-service… pun intended). I love that the brand has such a deep history as an American family-owned brand over multiple generations. They have a refreshingly fun company blog, with recent posts including Bigelow president (and third generation family member) Cindy Bigelow on a trip to Sri Lanka and an adorable post on a fan of the month wearing an eco-chic, retro dress fashioned partially from Bigelow Tea bags.
Without further ado, I headed out to shop for some Bigelow Tea (<– link to my Google+ shopping album) along with a few little touches to create special moments for my friends during our upcoming weekend of relaxation.
And after shopping at Walmart with my trusty assistant, who pulled several varieties of tea I didn’t intend to purchase as well as an extra set of keys into the cart while having a key made, I was definitely in need of some relaxation.
I bought five flavors: Perfect Peach, Orange & Spice, Sweet Dreams (thinking of my friend who often has trouble sleeping), Cozy Chamomile (my husband has been drinking quite a bit of chamomile tea and avoiding coffee) and a variety pack or herbal teas. One of the stories I loved on the Bigelow Tea website was the origin of the “Constant Comment” tea variety, which was Ms. Bigelow’s original blend infused with orange peel and spices – resulting in constant comments from those who tried it. It’s a personal favorite for me along with the Orange & Spice blend.
I loaded up all our goodies for the weekend and set up a little welcoming display for my friends, including some new square glass tea mugs and a cute cloth napkin for each of them to use throughout the weekend. To keep us from mixing them up, I tied some alphabet ribbons around the handles of the mugs and then added some vintage clothespins with RELAX and each gal’s initial to serve as napkin holders. (Note: per usual, we all mixed them up all weekend anyway.)
And, of course – I threw in a wide array of tea cookies, chocolates, some scrumptious Meyer lemons and Arkansas’ own Fischer’s Honey and included my Mom’s vintage tea cozy set in my little display…
We woke up on Saturday morning to sunshine and February temperatures which quickly rose from a brisk twenty-eight degrees to the mid sixties in the afternoon! We finally had enough energy around noon to get out of our PJs, grab a sandwich and head into the woods for a hike down the bluff to the lake.
After that, we were certain that we deserved to spend several hours visiting in and around the hot tub with our toes and shoulders warmed by the sun, and I’m fairly certain that the sound of cackling echoed down the mountainside. We felt justified showering and getting back into our pajamas for tea.
We only coveted my Mom’s stunning kitchen, lake view, fancy pot filler and gorgeous countertops a little bit…
One of the gals packed up a sampler of Bigelow Tea flavors, and she claimed that she was going to go home and become a tea drinker.
As the tea seeped and my friends semi-patiently indulged me taking photos of them with their tea, the best part of the weekend unfolded…
The sun disappeared behind the horizon, sending stunning colors across the skyline. We all sat in silence in the dark house, not wanting to move or to allow the moment to end. While the weekend was full of the sharing of laughter and of heartache, as some of us dreaded the work week looming ahead and others grew secretly anxious to get home to see kiddos, we all treasured coming together in those sacred and quiet moments as the sun sank away and we sipped tea.
While we probably didn’t go home to become insurgents and plan our own equivalents of the Boston Tea Party, we took home some inspiration, some camaraderie, some sage words from good friends, some quiet moments and the reminder that we have to work hard in life for the things we hold dear (which is why we recover with girls’ weekend).
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Bigelow Tea, but all opinions are always my own and I align with brands that earn my enthusiasm. #AmericasTea #CBias #SocialFabric